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Can’t bond w. Step son(27 Posts)
I have two children, my partner has one. Her child has Autism and attachment issues, but has also been treated like a baby for most of his life. As I’m not that kind of parent, he refuses to bond with me at all. I physically cannot carry him, and refuse to baby him because that brings out similar traits in my own daughter, so we are at a stalemate. My partner has toned her side of this down but his other Mum has made it very clear she has every intention of allowing him to continue this way because he’s her only one. My partner still allows toddler bad behaviour that I don’t agree with too and then I am left to deal with the consequences. I can tell them til I’m blue in the face that these behaviours are normal toddler behaviour that needs dealt with, but they make allowances for him because of his Autism and this leads to dangerous situations, my daughter feeling ignored (because he needs 100% of my attention) and my frustration.
Due to child care arrangements he is now in my care more than anybody else’s and if I’m totally honest, I hate it. I loved staying home with my own children, but this is exhausting and rewardless because there are no breaks, no fun and no affection, no matter how hard I try. I feel like I’m just doing what I can to keep him alive, on very little sleep because he gets up at 4am.
I tried explaining this to my partner that I find it hard and that my efforts feel unappreciated by her and her ex wife, but she tells me that this is my job as his parent but as we aren’t married, I have no rights to him whatsoever, I’m not sure that I am his parent. He certainly doesn’t appear to see my that way and if he had been mine, I wouldn’t raise him this way. I feel like my own children are suffering and so is my relationship but I don’t know how to improve things 😔
Does anyone else have issues with bonding? Has anything improved the situation?
It sounds like you're being unsympathetic. ASD alone is hard enough but attachment disorder too? I think you should put up and shut up or leave your partner.
And you call me unsympathetic! I am completely understanding of his additional needs, but those are not the issue and I’m here trying to find a way to make this better for him, and the rest of our family. Your response was rude and unhelpful
Regardless if this is a same sex relationship it should be treated in the same way a heterosexual step parent relationship you shouldn't just become a parent because of you're sex you're a step parent the child has two parents and they should be meeting their main needs of that child first and foremost with op being a supportive partner
Agree, that response was rude and completely unnecessary, and sounds like coming from someone who hasn't got a clue about the situation you're describing, ignore it OP you're dealing with enough already.
How old are the children? I know it's not helpful but generally these things improve once the kids get older. Also why are you doing most of the care? Is there any possibility this can be changed?
It sounds OP like you're expected to do the main parenting but to parent to their parenting style, any step parent would struggle.
How old is he? How long have you known him?
I completely get you. I'm a mother of two adopted children with attachment difficulties and asd "traits" and mothering them as young children was utterly joyless.
To parent such a boy with such complex needs without it destroying you, you will need to do two things. The first is put your ego to one side and fulfill the boy's needs without expectation of getting anything back, from him or anyone else. The second is to manage the impact on your children in as sensitive way as you can, eventually guiding your children to greater understanding of asd.
It's an incredibly difficult undertaking and it will be years before your children being older makes things easier. Only you can know whether you are committed enough to this relationship to go on this long journey. Really feel for you.
That was how I had expected things to be if I’m honest. My two children take up a huge amount of my time and energy but I still only ask my partner to help when I can’t do something myself. I rarely leave her alone with them, if I need child care I contact their father first but I seem to have become a stay at home mum and house wife to all 3. I take all 3 to 3 different schools in the morning, do a mid day pick up and do it again in the afternoon. I then work evenings. I do almost all of the house work too. I’m stretched very thinly and am unsure how to give the little one the attention and love he needs 😔
He is 4, but with delays that take him to a mental age of 2.5 so we are going through the terrible twos but to a more dramatic degree. Behaviours I struggle with are things like putting an iPad in the oven and turning it on, blowing up a microwave with a toy car, escaping the house and running away. I feel he needs boundaries for his own safety. I can lock doors, have built a high fence and have a wrist strap for the school run but until he understands boundaries I can only stop him putting himself in great danger by watching him 24/7.
My daughter is 7, tries her best to be understanding, but is a very emotional child who is used to being my shadow since birth. My son is 10, he is on the spectrum himself but is fantastic with the little one so he copes better.
We have been together 18 months x
Where is you're partner in all I this? Should alot put on you in such a relatively short relationship OP, it sounds like she's taking advantage of you.
Why have you ended up having him the most? That isn’t right at all and it’s not fair on you, your two or him so I’d change that ASAP.
Your DP’s ex doesn’t need to be grateful for anything you do though, that’s between you and DP and if it’s not working and you’re miserable and resentful - which it’s not and you are - you need to stop and review things. And if you do you get married you still won’t have any rights. Being a step parent isn’t a legal status.
I don’t think you’re being unsympathetic, I think you’re struggling badly and I would be too. Your own children have to be your priority and that’s not happening while all of your energy goes into a child who already has two parents. If you’re going to have any time on your own with this child then you need to be able to discipline him and if your partner won’t back you up you can’t do it.
Such a difficult situation. I agree that in my opinion the hardest thing about being a step parent is expectation of treating the child as your own but not being able to raise them as your own. So in turn you become a babysitter not a step parent
This child has complex needs, it's not just about being 'babied'. He's a bolter with no sense of danger who needs a very high level of supervision and care - I think you really need to get the idea that if he would be parented 'your way' things would be better out of your head, because it's not helping anyone (and let's be honest, you are now with him most of the time and your way of parenting hasn't actually made a difference, has it?)
That said, your partner and their ex have a fucking cheek using you as their main carer, especially after such a short relationship. It's obviously convenient for them, but it isn't working for you, or your children - and that is perfectly OK. It doesn't have to be about different parenting styles, or anything like that, it can just be that childcare for three DCs, including one with additional needs, is too much for you.
What would happen if you refused to do it? Who was taking care of him before you came on the scene?
It all sounds like too much for all the children. You've only been together 18 months so presumably you've known him even less time and you are now main carer. Ridiculous. Why would you put your kids in a situation like this?
You arent his parent, they are.
Tell them to sort out his childcare between them.
No way would I be letting my own kids go without attention for somebody elses child.
Its not fair on your kids.
You have no parental responsibility here, they do tell them to step up!
So wait? You do school runs three times a day, and you work at night?
Oh man. NO WONDER you don't have the extra capacity to give this boy what he needs.
Agree with others who are saying the boys' legal parents need to step-up.
This isn't fair, it's not sustainable, you're going to burn out at some point.
By babied I mean things like carrying him like a baby in public so he’s not used to walking, letting him eat with his fingers meaning that feeding him in public becomes incredibly messy, allowing him to hit out at others with no repercussions, sleeping in bed with him so he won’t sleep alone for me. Things he’s able to do perfectly well because if I push him to, he’s perfectly capable, but he doesn’t want to because he prefers those options. With his other mum he grunts and babbles like a baby when he actually is very fluent and also signs with me. He will only eat snack foods when I feed him meals. I’ve learned to sign to deal with situations where he too becomes distressed to talk, and have studied his condition in great detail. I have attended all of his nursery meetings so I do have a good understanding of what he is and isn’t capable of so it’s not that I’m expecting anything from him that he can’t do.
He is with me all day because his private nursery were unable to deal with his needs, and the SEN school he has transferred to can only have him 3 hours a day but they didn’t tell us this until his first day. My partner works full time and for some reason her ex partner just put her hours up, both assuming, without discussion that as I only work part time and my kids are at school, that I would pick up the 5 full days around the 3 hours. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, I just want to find a way to make it work where I don’t feel like this x
You sound like a very kind and caring person.
Your partner and the ex on the other hand... well they sound like they are taking advantage of your nature.
Not even a discussion that you'd take on this responsibility? The ex should put their hours back down and take on a bit more responsibility in my opinion.
You're being used, and it's to the detriment of your own DC.
They are clearly taking advantage of you op I'd wake away from the relationship and put you're DC needs first.
18 months in you should be in the honeymoon phase, not being treated like unpaid childcare. What on earth is your partner doing while you do everything?
You don't seem compatible as parents and that is never going to end well. I imagine I'm much more like you parenting wise.
Is this really what you want want for you and your children?
How on earth have you arrived at this degree of parenting in an 18 month relationship? And the kids all so young. Does nobody get to know people before cohabiting these days?
I think if it was just my partners different views it wouldn’t be so extreme because our core values are similar, it’s input of a third, completely different style of parenting that has completely thrown a spanner into the works. My partners ex has switched back and forth between two relationships recently, involving the little one both times, and is on the process of moving in with a woman she’s known for 14 weeks. This coupled with the baby like treatment has left him very clingy and confused. I completely understand why he doesn’t bond with me, and if I haven’t made it clear, I love him and don’t blame him in any way. I just feel that the lack if discipline and routine are holding him back and I’m the one dealing with the consequences. I’m tired and frustrated but I don’t want out, and I would never walk away from him or my partner. What I would like is for my partner to appreciate what I do and make her ex sort out child care on her own days, as it’s one thing to ask me to do it during our time, but another thing for it to be every day.
I really appreciate those who have taken the time to insert my frustrations and offer support. Thank you x
You are blaming the other mother, but not seeing that you have issues in your relationship.
As a good mother, you are the main caretaker of your children and you admit yourself that you rarely ask your partner to babysit them. How come you accept to take care of her child almost full time and do all the housework all the while working at night and all this without appreciation on top of that? And even with appreciation, it's not right.
You have to think about yourself and your children. Open your eyes.