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First Visit to Step Children since their emigration

(10 Posts)
greeboclovis Wed 20-Oct-04 21:22:23

My husband and I are about to visit his 3 children (aged 8, 10 and 13) in Australia for the 1st time, since his ex-wife took them there over a year ago. Since their departure their father and I got married. To cut a long story short – whilst when I first met the kids (a year before they went we got on very well). When the ex-wife realised how well and to ensure that they told the courts that they wanted to emigrate, she tried every trick in the book to estrange them from my husband and I. Whilst her actions did not manage to estrange their father by the time they went, they were extremely hostile towards me. Although they are settled in Australia, their mother is still very aggressive towards my husband and from past experience, I have no doubt that she will try to upset them before hand. The kids are looking forward to see their father but I am deeply worried that I will receive a hostile reception. Their father is so desperate for things to go well, I’m dreading a situation where the kids are overjoyed to see him but foul to me. If this happens, how should I handle it? I want everything to go well but am frankly scared at the moment.

zubb Wed 20-Oct-04 21:35:37

sounds a horrible situation greeboclovis, but I would suggest that you let their Dad meet up with them first on his own, and then he can see how the land lies. The visit is really about them seeing their father I suppose, and if they don't know you that well they may not be overjoyed to see you, but I would hope that they are not hostile. Do you have any contact with them - e-mails / phone etc?

greeboclovis Wed 20-Oct-04 22:11:02

During their last year in the UK, they saw a lot of me -most weekends and 1/2 their school holidays. As I said initially they looked forward to seeing me until their mother started telling them that their father wouldn't want them anymore now that he had me etc etc. Since they left, I have had no direct contact although I have made sure that their father mention me in their twice weekly phone calls (i.e. L. says well done in..whatever). To add to the strain the ex knows that without my financial support that my husband could never afford to visit the kids - she once admitted that one of the reasons for going to Oz was so that my husband would have no contact with the kids - so I know that I will be the target of some frustration on her part!
Thanks for your comment about letting him meet the kids first on his own - I had suggested that I stay with a friend initally but my hubbie was angry that the ex-s behaviour was effectively driving me away.

happygolucky Wed 20-Oct-04 22:57:16

Hi Greeboclovis.

I am not sure how I would approach this if it were me but thinking about it I think that my dh would be angry with the idea too. He would say that I am his wife and I will attend as his wife.
But that is him. How do you feel about his idea of being pushed aside?

Thing about stepping is that you should not expect too much from it. The children do not have to love you, and you do not have to struggle and pretend to love them as your own.
As long as there is respect between you then you should be fine. Respect takes a while to develop, especially in children. It may never come about but yr dh feels he has a responsibility for your happiness too.

BM is doing her best to show that she is insecure and unhappy that her children's father is married. The children's ages (IMO) are at a very vulnerable stage. OF course they will listen to their mother, they live with her. It will eventually wear them down and they will see the situation as it is, from their own point of view... eventually.

Bad mouthing BMs is far too common but in some cases there is just cause. Bad mouthing steps is a no no in my book. They have such a difficult time trying to please everyone and putting themselves last, they sometimes feel lonely and left out of the family unit. (Not intentionally tho).

It is important to *step* carefully to begin with. You may not be the childrens' mother but you are an adult who deserves the chance to earn respect.

I hate being a step parent at times. If someone had told me what it would be like, I would have said no thanks. Much as I love dh and all the children, stepping is not my favourite occupation.

Do you have your own bio children? Are you planning children with dh? - forgive this personal question but was dh divorced when you met him?
You need to keep your chin up and be strong because it is not going to be easy by the sounds of it.

You will *beat* BM's attempts if you remain calm and non confrontational. Not easy, I know.

{{{{HUGS}}}} and hope that you don't worry too much - try to enjoy your trip. You are there as dh's wife - not his children's mother.

greeboclovis Thu 21-Oct-04 07:47:08

hi Happygolucky - thanks for your advice. My DH alas wasn't divorced when I met him as the BM was dragging out the process for as long as possible - partly out of spite, partly for financial reasons. However we know that she has had several serious-ish partners in the interim. The latest appears to be quite a good guy as the kids are now being taken out and about in Oz rather than just sitting around the house each weekend (despite being a few miles from some of the best beaches in Australia).
I appreciate the advice, we have always tried not to bad mouth the BM and I'll guess I may be biting my tongue in the near future again! On a different note how should I deal with the kids if they do bad mouth me or misbehave? Do I ignore it (my tactic in the past)and leave it to my DH to say something??

valleygirl Thu 21-Oct-04 10:20:02

well you would hope that now they have a pretty amazing lifeand their mum has a new decent partner who i guess she must love,and the kids love that the badmouthing about you on her part will have come toan end.
Personally if it was me in your shoes (and i am a stepmum) and my dp's kid bad mouthed me i would demand that firstly my dp told the kids in no uncertain terms that this was totally unacceptable, and secondly i would probabaly discuss it face to face with them in a calm manner, asking them to tell me tomy face what their problem is.
with luck though it won't come to this and you can all have a really lovely time together as a family.

happygolucky Thu 21-Oct-04 21:52:01

Hi Greeboclovis.

I Absolutely agree with valley girl. The children are old enough to *understand* right from wrong. If this awful thing is happening then it should be brought into the open and talked about. You are an adult who, in your opinion and that of your dh, does not deserve this.

I am sure that if it were me I would need to know.

When I first met my dh, and I was *introduced* to his children, dh cooked us a meal. We sat down at the table and ss suddenly blurted out, "You're not my mum, you can't sit there, this is my daddy's house." He was only 5 yet I was so shocked. This was all new to me at the time. I am not sure where it came from within my tiny brain but I replied by saying something like "I know I am not your mummy, but your daddy has invited me to his house for dinner with you. I am an adult and daddy's guest." I wasn't angry either. From then on, nothing else along that line was said. Thankfully we do get on ok and he gets on great with my own two ds's.

I have had my moments, as I said, with BM. She is trying hard (very trying) but she is a lady living on her nerves. I try not to step over the line. I think she understands.
DH was already divorced when I met him. I was confronted on many occasions but I didn't get involved. I made it clear to her (BM) that all I was concerned about is making sure the children are happy and healthy, where ever and who ever they are. I think this helped her realise that I am not going to take her children away, as they were obviously happy with her, but as happy with their father on visits.

It is a long windy path being a step but as long as you are respected and respectful, I don't think you can go too wrong.

Talk to your dh about talking to the children if it gets too much for you. dh has his parental right to make sure that they are happy and not being *twisted* away from you or dh.

Hope all goes well. When are you travelling?

greeboclovis Fri 22-Oct-04 07:39:36

Thanks for the advice. We're flying out on Christmas eve and getting there on Boxing Day. It's costing us a fortune but we were keen to show them that their father wants to keep in contact.

happygolucky Fri 22-Oct-04 09:57:17

Good for you both. You certainly seem keen for the contact and that is good for BM and the children to know too. It's a boot quaking time but I hope that it won't be too nerve wrecking for you.

DH must be feeling nervous too? More excitement than nerves I expect but I really do hope that all goes well for you all. Let's hope BM now has a different view of the situation and everyone can be happy and get on with their lives.

Keep up posted to how you are getting on - and a blow by blow account when you get back! Fingers crossed for a very happy Christmas.

{{{{Hugs}}}}

greeboclovis Sun 27-Feb-05 14:22:29

Just a quick note to say that the visit when ok and the kids were very pleased to see their dad. The kids were ok with me, although given the nastiness before the emigration and the distance, if it obvious that there will never be a bond between us. My dh is a lot happier for seeing that they are ok although we had to bite our lip on some occasions when they came out with details of their home life i.e. they wake their mum up to take them to school and after school spend the evenings with relatives and are collected at bedtime (fair enough if their mum was in fulltiem employment but she just attends college for 15 hrs each week!), and considering they live only 5 miles from the beach only go there about once a month if that, as normally they are dropped off at relatives each weekend.....but enough of that, in summary we are all happier for the visit..so thanks to everyone for their support beforehand!

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