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Help :((14 Posts)
Step parent to a 3yo girl and 7yo boy. I am genuinely at the end of my tether and don't know how much more I can take. I have spent the last 2 days locked in my room crying because I just can't cope with their behaviour. Before I go on - when they are good they are absoulte angels, but this is an hour a day max. Understandably my OH has rose tinted glasses on and thinks I am the problem as I cannot cope with the screaming, shouting, crying, tantrums and insults. I think alot of it boils down to no rules, routines etc. Whenever they come I am the one left bathing, cooking and cleaning up after them. Does it get easier? I have tried ignoring the behaviour, tried speaking to my partner. As it stands the only solution he has agreed to is that I have to leave our home when the kids come to stay. I guess I just want to know if it is okay for me to feel this way ☹️
Why are you doing everything? I have no idea why so many women take on the parent role when there is actually a parent there who should be getting on with the parenting. I'd be putting a stop to all that for a start!
My DP is a step-parent to my DD I don't expect him to parent her. He is very generous and will help pick her up and run her places ( she is a teenager). But I am her parent, care and discipline is my job, not because I am a woman, but because I am the parent.
Are you me? 😂
I was like this when OH and I first moved in together, its tough but it does get easier I promise. My advice would be stop doing everything, in fact stop doing anything. The time when they are over is time for you, go to the gym met with friends, have wine and a movie in bed etc etc. Change it to time when you get to do exactly what you want, you don't have to think about anyone, even your OH.
Over time talk to your OH about some things he could do differently to make things easier for you. Mine gets defensive when I do this but he also does take it on board and over time it has got better, improved manners, less yelling etc etc. My SCs are similar ages and I think it has got easier as they have got older.
I am sorry you are feeling this way. You are a lovely person to take care of them. I don't have step children, so I have no experience, but I have experienced my friend go though this. They are children, and maybe they are just expressing their unhappiness through misbehaving. You are not their mum, so you don't need to tolerate it, on the other hand, their dad is the one who should be dealing with them. You are doing nothing wrong. You should set a boundary and stick with it. When they start screaming, just let your DH deal with it.
Also no its not ok for you to feel you have to leave YOUR home when his kids come to stay but that's not your fault your feelings are valid. Your OH should be working with you to help you not feel like that
No it will not get better unless your partner gets his act together and starts actually parenting his kids. The fact that the only solution he’s come up with is you leaving your own home says everything. Sit down together, get some proper rules / routines in place and insist they are adhered to. If he doesn’t, I’d seriously consider leaving. Unless you want to spend a whole lot more time crying in your bedroom.
Thanks everyone. Like you've all said, best to take a step back and let him deal with everything, and see if it gets any better. Not sure what I expected really, but I thought a year in it would have gotten better! It's reassuring to know I'm not going insane and other people have been through this too. The kids aren't here for a week from tomorrow so I will try and talk to OH over that time and see if we can establish some boundary's and routine.
You have my sympathies!
My SDCs were under 7 when I met them, and I know that “Disney Dad” really is a thing. I am very very lucky that my DP sets down really firm rules. But without him setting the discipline, i know I couldn’t do it.
The behaviour that can be easiest changed, and most effectively, is that of your DP.
If his current behaviour is to let you do all the donkey work, dismiss your views on behaviour and send you packing as the easy answer, it sounds like he really doesn’t respect you very much
Actually, sounds like the easiest way to change your DP behaviour would be to get a different DP!
I had to go on antidepressants when I first moved in with my dp I found it so awful. Things are a bit better now partly because they are older and also I now feel like I'm embedded enough to tell them off. Literally everyone else in their family will tell them them off if they are being awful but I felt completely powerless. Stop doing all the work and go out for as long as it takes to make you feel sane.
That being said I would literally never do it again. Your couldn't pay me enough.
It's wrong that you are doing all the difficult, boring hard grind of looking after the children. You being a newish person in their lives should start off with the lovely fun stuff so you can establish a positive relationship first. So step back on the chore type stuff and join in with the more lovely stuff. Just like grandparents do.
Try love-bombing. Take the time to catch them each at a quiet moment soon after they arrive and say something like ‘I’m so happy you are here. I’m so happy to spend the weekend with you’. Use any excuse to vocalise this. It made a huge difference with my DSD. She always squirms when I do and sometimes says ‘yeah yeah yeah’ but I see her laugh and her little smile too.
I have a mum friend with two girls and I talked to her about tantrums. She taught me that it’s all about knowing the exact moment to intervene - to know when to go in and put your arm around the child. So
true and so hard to get right!
I’m very straight with my DSD. She knows where she stands. The line is always in the same place but I’m super careful not to back her into a corner or push the wrong button when she’s tired.
These are the things you can do but their dad needs to be there. My DP and I are a team. DP does all the baths, bedtime stories, getting up in the night (less of that now) I buy clothes (a fun way to connect), help with cooking and drop offs/ pick ups. Basically the things I feel like doing. In my view I can pick and choose. But I do that very much with the view of investing in the things that make our relationship stronger.
Why isn't he bathing and looking after his children?
Leave it to him from now on. Far too many women do the parenting of SC... what does he do in practical terms with them.
It's also okay to end the relationship if it's not working for you. His kids aren't going anywhere...and as they get older you'll face more difficult challenges with them.
Do you really need the headache?
He’s agreed you’re allowed to leave your home? Might be your phrasing but that sounds really weird and wrong. You shouldn’t have to, he shouldn’t be so out of control that his children/his lack of parenting make you feel it’s impossible for you to be there. But when you choose to, take your keys, open the door and walk out.
He should be doing all the heavy lifting. He shouldn’t need you to do to it, he presumably coped before you moved in together and would have to again if you split up. Take a huge step back. Are you worried about what he’ll say or do if you do that?