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Step parent or biological parents?

(112 Posts)
Clilanne09 Wed 02-Oct-19 20:57:33

Hi so sorry for long post but it’s my first one I’m looking for opinions and advice.

Me and my ex had a daughter together she is only just 10 years old.
He is married with two other children 5 and 2.
He has contact with my daughter from Friday school pick up to Monday he drops her to school - every other weekend.
My daughter went to his on Saturday as her birthday was on Friday and she had a party.
Fast forward to Monday evening. I picked my daughter up from school and the after school club informed me that she had attended breakfast club at 08:10 and I would be charged - she doesn’t usually have breakfast club.
I discussed with dad, he told me he and his wife dropped my daughter off at school 35 minutes early and drove off to take their other child to school.
My daughter told me it was only when they drove off that she checked the time and realised she was early and she panicked so went to the breakfast club, she said she was scared and didn’t know what to do.
Later that evening she told me they done nothing special for her birthday, just ordered pizza Saturday night. She received for her birthday a knock off smart watch from eBay that she isn’t allowed to wear at school.
Daughter told me that night that that weekend dads wife had bought her clothes from a charity shop, while bought her sister a brand new coat from Asda. Daughter told me dads wife packed their lunch for school and gave my daughter a bagel and an orange while gave her own daughter bagel, orange, biscuits, and strawberries.

Now I understand it should be her dad doing things for her but historically the wife takes over everything and there have been issues similar to this before but he sticks up for her and she cries and says she tries her best.

Simply put I don’t think this is fair treatment of my daughter, she has come home and told me his wife makes her feel left out and she doesn’t want to see either of them again.

OP’s posts: |
NorthernSpirit Wed 02-Oct-19 21:14:16

Lots of things going on here and I think you need to break it down.

Firstly he doesn’t have contact with my / your daughter, he sees ‘our’ daughter.

If he’s dropped her off early, then he needs to pay for that childcare as it’s on his time.

As for the.... she told takes, she told me this, she told me that.... how he parents in his time has nothing to do with you. Just as you parent has nothing to do with him.

My DSC apparently tell their mother that they we don’t feed them. Which is hilarious as I spend all weekend cooking for them from scratch and they eat us out of house & home.

She’s only just turned 10 and is too young yo make the adult decision of cutting contact. Thanks would approach your EX with your concerns and keep it child focused.

Firefliess Thu 03-Oct-19 00:04:04

It's very hard to disentangle exactly what's going on in a different household. Your DD is clearly feeling unhappy, and that's a problem. But there's a fine line between empathy and reinforcing her sense of being hard done by and fueling it.

You really need to get her to speak to her dad about the things that are upsetting him. I helped my DD to write down the things that were bothering her when she had similar problems at a similar age. I can't recall whether she actually gave him what she wrote, or just used it to help herself articulate what was wrong. And you could forewarn your ex that there are things she'd like to talk to him about. But he needs to sort out out, and DD needs to learn to go to him to sort out problems in their household.

swingofthings Thu 03-Oct-19 06:36:57

You should be helping your daughter to de-dramatise the situation and encourage her to talk to her dad about what upset her.

The issue about the drop off is no big deal. It happened, a misunderstanding. You can encourage your dd to talk to her dad and say that she was confused at what to do when dropped early and what should she do next time as she didn't like being left on her own for that length of time.

Re. the birthday, if she had a party the day before, I don't think there is wrong that she should celebrate the next day with a pizza at her dad. What did she expect? She got a nice present for a 10yo, the fact she can't wear it during school doesn't take that away. Even if it isn't what she wants or asked for, she should be grateful.

As for the second hand clothes, it's fine if she doesn't like them, but comparing with her mum having got her daughter a coat is not on. A coat is a necessary item of clothing. You need to explain this to her.

As for the lunch box, maybe she forgot, maybe she'd run out. Again, she needs to be encourage to share her feelings. Why didn't she ask her SM why she didn't get the same lunchbox, not in an upset tone, but in a curious one. It might have been a misunderstanding.

Your DD is 10yo now and at an age when she needs to start taking responsibility of her emotions and encouraged to talk them through rather than enabling her to feel that she is victim of unfair treatment at her dads. Otherwise, she'll build resentment that will impact on her behaviour.

Sotiredofthislife Thu 03-Oct-19 06:49:11

You will struggle to get support on the step parenting, OP. It seems step parents can always find a reason for treating children poorly.

I would discuss with the school the breakfast club issue. I pay for childcare on my ex’s time because he won’t (even though he uses it) and I need to keep the space open for when he trots off on holiday with no notice and no alternative arrangement and I have to work. If you don’t need the childcare space then be very clear with the school that it is your ex’s responsibility at that time and that you are not going to be making payments.

The food issue is something my children have experienced and been confused by. We once had his girlfriend wander off at an event and come back with ice cream for her child and my ex but not my children. It really is disgusting behaviour and speaks volumes about your ex’s priorities that he stands by and watches. All I can say is that I encouraged contact constantly but now in their teen years, they are voting with their feet. It is heartbreaking to watch but it isn’t me, I have had no influence, the ex has done it all himself.

The clothes are a bit different, perhaps, in that if money is tight, priorities will be with the resident child. And particularly so if your ex pays maintenance. I couldn’t get het up about this. A second hand birthday present is probably mean but if it’s what they could afford, it’s hard to argue with.

Reinforce with your DD that what matters is her dad loves her and sees her regularly and just play down the rest. Although god knows, you shouldn’t have to.

Spanglyprincess1 Thu 03-Oct-19 07:33:53

How do you know the lunch wasn't something she wouldn't eat? My dad said that once an Di pointed out all we had in was x brand of bars and she hates them. I'm not giving her something she doesn't like, pointless.
She ahd a party for her actual birthday. Doing pizza night with her dad sounds nice and she did get a present from him plus clothes. A coat is. A priority item so I'm not sure how you can get upset by this.
I think normalising stuff or saying to her did you ask why and explain adults are not physic and make mistakes. If she doesn't understand she should ask and talk to her dad.
Also don't underestimate that she might not be telling you 100% the truth!

user1493413286 Thu 03-Oct-19 07:42:59

That’s really sad that your DD feels that way. I think those things by them self could be explained but altogether it’s obviously made your DD feel upset. Could you ask her dad to come round to see her so she can talk to him about it? Even if there are reasonable explanations then they need to think about how it’s all making your DD feel and how it’s coming across.
If my DSD felt like that I’d want to know and see what I could do differently. Sometimes my own DD does get treated differently to DSD or it can appear that way and I always try to explain it such as my DD getting a new pair of shoes and DSD not getting any on a weekend but then I’d explain that DD hasn’t had any for ages and DSD got an expensive pair a month ago or similar.

Sotiredofthislife Thu 03-Oct-19 07:58:09

How do you know the lunch wasn't something she wouldn't eat?

She said it was biscuits and strawberries confused. It might not have been, they might have been for the parents lunchbox and she assumed they had gone in the other child’s lunch box and not hers.

As for the lunch box, maybe she forgot, maybe she'd run out

Forgot one lunch box but not the other. Really? Run out, possibly. But why not say ‘right, there’s not enough strawberries and biscuits to go round. Who wasn’t biscuits, who wants strawberries?

NoCauseRebel Thu 03-Oct-19 08:15:28

You need to be very careful here to not be drawn into a situation where your DD comes to you with everything she feels is wrong at her dad’s and you then take her side without question. Do bear in mind that it’s entirely possible that at some stage this could reverse and she could go to her dad when something you’ve done has annoyed her, and then you’ll be the one on the back foot, especially when she becomes a teenager.

It’s always worth bearing in mind that children can and do play their parents off against each other even when those parents are together, but it makes it so much easier when the parents are not and as such have differing ways of doing/reacting to things.

Reality here is that because you have only one child and your ex has three, the dynamic is going to be different in the two households from the start. You also have to bear in mind that while your DD is yours and your ex’s, so are the SM’s other two children. So whereas you have one child to consider, he has three.

In terms of expectation, she had a birthday party, I’m not sure what else she should have expected? Similarly a smart watch is quite a big present for a ten year old, even if it was bought from eBay. So again, I see no issues there.

WRT dropping DD off at school early this is something that perhaps your ex needs to look into e.g. whether breakfast club would be more appropriate at this stage. If the children are at different schools then it stands to reason that one of them would need to be dropped before the other. As your DD is the eldest then it makes sense that she would be the one to be dropped first. Added to which, she’ll be starting secondary soon and that won’t be an issue anyway as presumably she’ll be making her own way there and back.

In terms of clothes bought, you can’t compare a coat which is a necessity to everyday clothes which are not really. And complaining that he buys clothes in a charity shop doesn’t show you in a particularly good light. Lots of people use charity shops.

But your DD needs to be able to talk to her dad about things she feels are bothering her. Yes you can listen, but it’s not up to you to wade into their home and tell them how things should be done.

PS: I’m not a step parent, and i have an ex who absolutely prioritises his SD over our DS, but DS is old enough now to have made his own decisions on that score, I have never become involved in their family other than the time he cancelled his contact night because it was DSD’s birthday.

How his partner’s child is treated is none of my business. How ours is treated potentially is my business, but not in comparison to the DSD, those are separate issues.

stuffedpeppers Thu 03-Oct-19 08:47:36

I feel for you OP- you are being given a hard time and being patronised when you are obviously being faced with a load of upset info from your daughter.

Why peole expect children from blended families to be able to confront their parents at the age of 10 - Dad - SM gives me less food to eat than my younger siblings - is of course an easy thing for kids to have. ( As others have said - it happens more often than you think, def happened to my eldest)

The issues to focus on would be
1. School drop off - this is a safety issue, luckily your daughter has some brains and did the sensible thing. but EX needs to pay for breakfast club if that is the case.

2. Food - it may be worth her asking if she could have a bit more as she was hungry last time.

3. Buying your daughter clothes from a charity shop and their child new clothes, regardless would be a big red flag to me- if true, she is not exaggerating.

You can not normalise this behaviour - she perceives she is being treated differently to her siblings and they need to explain to her why and justify their actions. It is very hard to sit by and watch your child be treated like crap ( mine slept in a bed in the utility room and the tumble dryer or washing maching was always on in the evening when they went to bed, they had to pick all the laundry off the bed ( not theirs) before crawling under the duvet. But that was OK, because they had bought them the duvet cover - whilst their SMs had a playroom and 2 bedrooms - none of which they were allowed to enter!) However, on here I was told this was OK as my DCS did not live there all the time.

Support your daughter to try and tell her Dad how she feels - it is hard and directly confront the breakfast club issue.

Tojigornot Thu 03-Oct-19 08:56:36

Were you expecting a second party on Saturday night?

And do you only ever buy her presents that can be worn or used at school? That seems a bit restrictive hmm

Witchydearest Thu 03-Oct-19 08:56:52

Be very careful OP, kids lie. It’s about the right age for it too. They can’t get what they want, they feel jealous etc. My Hs Exw ate up my SDs lies and it has caused years of problems. I cannot forgive either my H for letting it go on so long, my SD for the awful lies and her mother for actually believing I was capable of what i was accused of. I’ve never received an apology and it ate me up for years. I do nothing for my SD now. We actually found out later that she loved the drama it created when she got home. BM gave her attention. She was working full time and had a new boyfriend. They were having really lovely weekends without her and she was jealous. Get ahead of it OP don’t make the same mistake, be transparent with SM, your a team after all.

Witchydearest Thu 03-Oct-19 09:05:20

Reference charity shop clothes: Why is SM buying her clothes anyway? She doesn’t have to be. And maybe she intended to buy a coat for her C but couldn’t find one? It’s not off the rack after all. Also do you have any other children yourself? I may have missed this info, apologies if you repeat yourself.

Sotiredofthislife Thu 03-Oct-19 09:10:05

Get ahead of it OP don’t make the same mistake, be transparent with SM, your a team after all

Might be nice when it works like that but it is unrealistic for the majority. I am not a team with my ex, let alone the woman he chooses to be and bring into our children’s lives. It’s not like I have a say in that. I don’t do ‘team’ with someone who treats my children badly.

swingofthings Thu 03-Oct-19 09:10:43

You need to be very careful here to not be drawn into a situation where your DD comes to you with everything she feels is wrong at her dad’s and you then take her side without question
That exactly, and I'm not a SM, more known to be unfair to them smile but in this case, I do agree that taking literally everything she reports and agreeing that everything is unfair to her is not going to help the situation in any way.

Wornoutmum67 Thu 03-Oct-19 09:15:02

These are all none issues.

They have a 5 year old to get to school. So it makes sense to drop eldest first. She could have just sat in the playground.

I assume they has to buy her clothes because she didn't have anything appropriate and bought second had to save money. They probably can't afford to buy her new stuff every time she forgets to pack something.

Pizza is an acceptable birthday treat.

There's nothing wrong with buying her a smart watch and you're both being a bit spoilt if your not happy with thr brand. I have a "cheap" smart watch and its fine.

The lunch box seems weird but as others said she could have just run out.

You could solve a few of these issues by them dropping her off Sunday night.

funinthesun19 Thu 03-Oct-19 09:22:30

Ok. A few things here.

Firstly, I’m with you completely about the school thing. Dropping his daughter off at school at that time with no formal arrangement in place for her care is wrong and pretty neglectful if I’m honest. He is well within his rights to use the breakfast club if he wants to, but he can’t just dump her at school and hope for the best. Also he needs to pay for it, not you. He put his daughter in that position. If he wants to take her to school earlier in future then he needs to sort breakfast club out on Mondays.

Daughter told me that night that that weekend dads wife had bought her clothes from a charity shop, while bought her sister a brand new coat from Asda.

This I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you. She is providing for her child just like you do for yours. She doesn’t even have an obligation to buy your child anything anyway. Your ex does, but she doesn’t. So I think you’re nit picking at her there.

Daughter told me dads wife packed their lunch for school and gave my daughter a bagel and an orange while gave her own daughter bagel, orange, biscuits, and strawberries.

All food is family food, so if your daughter wanted strawberries and biscuits then she should have been offered them. Does she like strawberries and biscuits generally?

funinthesun19 Thu 03-Oct-19 09:28:05

Also I forgot about this gem...
Later that evening she told me they done nothing special for her birthday, just ordered pizza Saturday night. She received for her birthday a knock off smart watch from eBay that she isn’t allowed to wear at school.

Are you trying to teach your daughter to be ungrateful? hmm

You did a party for her and they ordered pizza. What’s wrong with that? It’s not up to you.
And they bought her a watch from eBay. Maybe they couldn’t afford a brand new one and your daughter wanted one, so they thought a second hand one that works perfectly fine would be a nice compromise for her. It’s the thought that counts op.

Witchydearest Thu 03-Oct-19 09:29:58

@Sotiredofthislife that’s a real a shame. I’m not either. But I can see the how life with SC could be so much easier if BMs and SMs just communicated. All my difficulties with my SD stemmed from her jealousy and her parents inability to communicate. They ruined my relationship with my SD because of their petty crap. Op your not going to be like us. Your going to put your D first and communicate and be open minded. Get her point of view first. She’s a woman like you, doing the best she can. Don’t fall into a stereotype.

Clangus00 Thu 03-Oct-19 09:37:32

Is your daughter allowed to have biscuits in her lunch box at her school?

OctopusNow Thu 03-Oct-19 09:41:05

Tbh, you can get nicer clothes in the charity shop than you can in Asda sometimes.
It depends on what you want.

Sotiredofthislife Thu 03-Oct-19 09:49:07

She’s a woman like you, doing the best she can. Don’t fall into a stereotype

I’m sorry, but this really isn’t always the case. My children’s step mum is nothing like me. I don’t, and wouldn’t, live with a man who doesn’t financially support his children, I work 3 jobs. She doesn’t work. She makes her own child breakfast pancakes and refuses to even put a bowl of cereal in front of mine. She takes —steals— money from my children, ostensibly to put it in their bank accounts. When encouraged by me, they ask to see evidence of the bank accounts (rather, as stated in posts above, me believe that she has taken money from them I thought she was trying to keep it safe) and were told they were ‘rude little shits’ and that their ‘fucking bitch of a mother hasn’t brought you up properly’.....I could go on.

No, she is not a woman like me and nor is she doing her best. There are women out there who treat their step children badly. Something this forum struggles to believe (or tries to cover up). And I believe my children are capable of getting the wrong end of the stick, not able to see things from an adult perspective, don’t necessarily see the bigger picture and are not beyond outright lying. They’re not perfect but they don’t deserve that.

funinthesun19 Thu 03-Oct-19 09:59:40

Sotiredofthislifeand then there are stepmums who are trying their best but get nit picked at.

The stepmum in the op’s case seems to be being dragged down by her husband. Tends to be the case in many stepfamilies if I’m honest.

The school thing- not her fault
The birthday thing- not her fault (neither of their faults really because they did nothing wrong)
The clothes thing- not her fault
The lunchbox thing- maybe her fault if she did the lunches, but it’s the only thing she’s done “wrong” if you dig deep enough to find something. Yes ideally you’d offer all children the same as it’s all family food, but thinking about it there could be a reason. The op’s daughter had some lunch. So yes I would say this stepmum is trying her best.

The dads need answer more for mistakes that their exes are seeing. But it’s quite easy and and convenient for the ex to just blame another woman. Probably makes them feel better.

Witchydearest Thu 03-Oct-19 10:05:27

@sotiredoflife I’m sad that that’s been your experience of SMs. But we are not all the same. I can tell you all the terrible things that I have been put through by my SD and her BM. Maybe I’m an exception! But I doubt it. I know that not all BMs act this way because I don’t allow my personal experience to cloud my judgement. I will advise OP not to make the same mistakes as me.
** It’s not always the case ^^but sometimes it is.

Sotiredofthislife Thu 03-Oct-19 10:10:46

Why? I am my children’s mum. Not Birth Mum.

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