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both my dss and dsd want to come live with my partner me and our children, HELP ADVICE NEEDED!!!

(25 Posts)
sleepytinkerbell Mon 24-Jan-05 16:58:24

I could really use some advice here ladies, cutting a long (7 year story) short, my two step kids age 14 and 13 have just told us how miserable they are at home with thier mum and they want to come and live with us. I love them dearly but...... i have a almost 5 year old and a 5 month old baby and there are so many reasons that it wouldnt be easy, i cant see how i can say no, yet i cant see how it would be good for everyone. Im scared that if it doesnt work out a) they will have nowhere good, happy and safe to be and will have been let down yet again and b) it could damage my relationship with dp let alone the effects on our little ones. We are used to a certain way of life which does not include 24/7 teenagers. what do i do? I feel so torn and yet also see how even more torn my dp is? their mother is (and has always been) incredibly selfish and does the minimum for them, spends little time with them and from what they are saying the little time they do spend together is just full of shouting and screaming either between the kids and her or her and her fiance. Any advice ????

beansprout Mon 24-Jan-05 17:10:08

Oh, you poor thing. I have been in a similar situation and know exactly how you feel (are you assuming the crash brace position?)

First of all, there are a lot of practical questions:
- what does dp want?
- how big is your house?
- would they have to change schools?
- would a change in the current set up help, but not one so drastic?
Teenagers often decide that their parents are rubbish (God knows dsd did) but moving is not necessarily the answer. Perhaps they have a bit more freedom at yours that would not be sustainable on a full time basis? Dsd was basically a guest when at ours and did not help.When she stayed for a few weeks and was asked to wash up (and she was 16 at the time), all hell broke loose.... Different ground rules will be needed.

What does your dp think? And what do you think? Honestly? Is this viable?

Caligula Mon 24-Jan-05 17:13:14

Also what does their mother think? Would it involve massive ructions and going over old ground?

Is this a teenage thing where it's merely the grass is greener and of course, everyone's home and parents are better than their own, or is it a really serious problem that she is not providing them with a nurturing home?

beansprout Mon 24-Jan-05 17:16:51

btw, you have a say in this. I have been excluded from too many decisions on the basis that I am not part of their family unit but this absolutely affects you too. Please be honest about what you feel you can offer and proceed on that basis. I haven't done that in the past and the stuff swept under the carpet just didn't go away...

sleepytinkerbell Mon 24-Jan-05 17:22:03

baensprout, thanks for the immediate support can i bounce this around with you? (and anyone else please) Yes i do think this is a crash brace!!!!!!!! situation however.....
A) yes it is viable they could get to school from us, it would mean a longish bus journey rather than a current walk but yes they could.
B) They would have to share a room which they dont do currently
C)but we are planning an extension in 4-5 months time so then they could have a room each but it wont be easy whilst we move out for the works either.
D) actually they have far more freedom in their own home they are left to there own devices most of the time with very few rules (or boundaries)but are pressurised to do chores which equally at weekends they do at ours.

At the moment i am of a mind to suggest that they come and stay for a month; to give them all some breathing space and time out and i make sure that for that month no holds barred and lovely stepmum has to be more realistic and no more mrs lovely loads loads more normality instead of fun. I am totally aware that they have a distorted view of how great life is with us because that is what we have created over the years but now i thinks its coming back to bite me on the bum!! But i dont see how i can let them down and live with myself either???

sleepytinkerbell Mon 24-Jan-05 17:26:39

caligula, i think it is a mixture of both, without a doubt she provides little to know nuturing, younger son has some problems (behavioural and educational) is being bullied at school and we are trying to get him into another school whe will not even get out of be in the morning to take him to the coach for the new school which he is dying to go to!! She say,, wait for this ' it is not my responsibility' my heart breaks for them both, yet i have to be realistic, put my own kids first and make sure that i really can give what is necessary without risking damaging them further!!!!!

Caligula Mon 24-Jan-05 18:43:54

I think your idea of having them for a month's "breather" is a good one, so that you can all see how it would work in normal life.

What are your DP's views on this? Bearing in mind that he may not agree with you about putting your children ahead of his children of his first marriage. But also Beansprout is right, you have to have a massive say in this decision, it's your house and your family.

What about 50 50 (ish)? Is this totally unfeasible as regards distance etc.?

Ah the joys of modern family life!

beansprout Mon 24-Jan-05 19:36:54

Please bounce away.
I agree that the month/trial period/breather is a good idea. Four kids, inc teenagers AND babies is a bloody tall order, esp when they are not your own. I have one baby (3m) and one teenage sd (who doesn't live with us) and that is hard enough on its day!
I think the reasons for them asking for this need to be explored to see what can be done. Moving house/changing your family, not to mention the tall order that 4 children would be is a huge, huge step to take on a whim. If it is the right decision, it will still be the right decision in 6 months time. There is no rush (I assume they are not in immediate danger?)

What are the current arrangements? Is it the standard every-other-weekend deal?
I completely understand your fear of not being able to do this and causing more harm than good. Hold that thought, it is very, very valid. And please remember that their BM has first responsibility towards them, not you. Oh and dp's guilt is not the best basis for a decision either (believe me!!)

sleepytinkerbell Mon 24-Jan-05 20:06:02

wise wise words ladies, we are due to have dinner with ex wife and her partner tomorrow to discuss dss's schooling and him coming to live with us because this all blew up on thursday of last week and she is/was quite happy for us to have him, when we suggested a weeks breather she suggested a month and then said, actually you keep him i cant deal with him anymore, heat of the moment maybe but underlying truth there too, when my dp said he would not take one without the other she said no way could we have dsd then we had dss on friday night at talked till late to try to get to the bottom of stuff and he is desparate to come to us but then we had dsd on saturday night and were both incredibly shocked when questioned where she would rather live and i put the option of the aunt, grandma, mum or us to her (all of which she adore) and she said us! and then went on to explain how unhappy/uncomfortable she is in her own home since her mothers finance moved in! There mum is due to get married in 3 weeks time and a part of me is wondering wether the impending wedding is playing a big part for them and whether in a few weeks when stuff settles theyll be happier at home?

beansprout Mon 24-Jan-05 20:10:25

How long has their mum been with her fiance? Why do I suspect he has not got kids?

sleepytinkerbell Mon 24-Jan-05 20:17:33

how did you figure that one out beansprout? actualy he has but it think it was a kinds kid shoot and leave thing 20 years ago, hes never been a live in dad, son has been (sadly )institutionalised for years and hes only 22ish all really they have been together for just over a year and he moved in after 4 weeks He is a drug and alcohol counsellor and we were until sat night under the stupid misapprehension that it was all very steford wivesy peace and calmness and twelve steps no one must lose their temper in this household and now it seems that that all went out the window pretty quickly. Poor poor kids

beansprout Mon 24-Jan-05 20:23:20

Just a hunch. Sounds like the classic child unfriendly new relationship?

What does your dp think? It sounds like things are moving too quickly for the kids and they prefer the continuity and stability they get at your house?

sleepytinkerbell Mon 24-Jan-05 20:29:50

my wonderful niave dp is just pleased that they want to come to us and that he may get a chance to have all his kids under one roof and get her to pay him maintenance ha ha !!!!!

cornflake Mon 24-Jan-05 21:32:26

The meeting with ex wife and new fiance might be a good chance to talk about what they are like to live with, their house rules, issues with the kids etc. Then you all might be able to guage whether this is 'grass is greener' stuff or they truly want to come and live with you. I assume there would be ongoing contact with mum so if they do live with you, you should get regular breathing space and time to spend with your younger two. I don't want to be mean but my stepson has lived with us for 12 years and the fortnightly weekend contact thing has given us regular kid free time! (until the new baby!!). It does help keep tension down.

beansprout Mon 24-Jan-05 22:10:59

STB - hope I am not speaking out of turn, but I feel your dp really needs to think beyond the image of all his kids together under the one roof and consider a whole range of factors. All of the questions you have need to be answered and a big dose of "it will work if we want it to" doesn't necessarily cover it. I may be completely wrong and judging your dp by my own, but if he is taking this approach, I can speak from experience and say it doesn't quite work!!

I had a counsellor who had quite a lot to say about the adults taking decisions and it not being appropriate for kids to have (as she put it) "all the power". Guilt can play a large part in allowing children to make major decisions on the basis that parents "just want them to be happy". In the long run, it is not necessarily healthy. That does sound harsh, and it is not to say they should not be heard, only that they must not be the sole decision makers.

BeenThereBefore Tue 25-Jan-05 10:41:35

sleepytinkerbell, the grass is always greener on the other side. Of COURSE the s'kids think it would be better/easier/more fun living with you, but when it comes down to it, things would actually be very different. My feeling is that this situation could be too stressful for you (with your own two young children plus the stepkids) and you may end up completely regretting it.

I have been in a very similar situation in the past and it didn't work out. My stepson came to live with us as a teenager and he, too, had come from a very different background - basically he'd had very few rules and did what he liked a lot of the time. He was always great when he came to stay with us on the weekends, but I saw him with his mother once and his personality seemed to completely change around her. He was disrespectful to her and spoke to her like dirt, whereas he was always very nice & polite with us. This rang alarm bells for me, because I figured he could also be like this toward us if he lived under our roof. When he came to live here, things deteriorated quite quickly as he wanted to do what HE wanted to do and didn't like abiding by our rules. I had my own young child to care for and dh was extremely busy at work, so I ended up with most of the tension & responsibility.

In the end he moved out after about 12 months (he left school and got a job) but it really affected my relationship with dh for the worse, and unfortunately our relationship with SS is not as good as it once was. In fact I think it's going to take a while to rebuild the relationship we had before he moved in. It wasn't solely his fault, sometimes he tried, but other times he made life hard for us - but the person I really blamed was dh, because he never gave me a choice about whether or not SS lived with us. I felt that it was forced upon me which I resented, not to mention that dh was absent so much of the time.

I would think so carefully about this and at least have a trial period to see how it goes. My SIL & BIL's marriage is currently on its last legs due to the conflict in their house regarding the stepchildren. It's one of those situations that's extremely difficult but if you can make it work, then that's wonderful and very admirable on your part. I just think your dh needs to know that it won't all be 'happy families' once his kids move in, as it's bound to get a little more complicated than that. Best of luck.

beansprout Tue 25-Jan-05 10:50:39

I can echo a lot of what BTB has just said, esp the stuff about dsd being different with her mum. BTB illustrates really well that these things can't just be changed back so we have to think long and hard about what we are able to do. If you have reservations now and they move in before these are resolved, it will become an almost impossible situation. Please let your dp know how you really feel. He might not want to hear it (mine never wants to hear anything other than an unconditional "yes!" where his dds are concerned) but it will not go away.

How does it all feel today STB?

sleepytinkerbell Tue 25-Jan-05 11:12:18

thanks so much ladies i am sitting here with my dp having read through the whole thread and we have done a load of talking we are just about to go and pick up dsd from school to have a further talk to make sure we are all completely clear about her feelings before dinner tonight. I am very very clear that we are ONLY offering a one month respite breather for the kids and mum and fiance right now but dp and i will be looking closely at the situation to try to see what it would be like on a permanent basis. However we did find last night that the mums relationship with fiance is 'shakey' and apparently there has even been the question of whether fiance will do a runner before the big day, so maybe there is alot of insecurity for the kids picking this up. I have had a bit of a go at dp about the fact that if this is what he wants then he needs to make himself more available to be around for them as i do know that i wont be able to do it all without building huge resentment. But im not sure how practical it is for him to be able to rearrange his working life to be around in the mornings and afternoons.

sleepytinkerbell Tue 25-Jan-05 11:30:08

also i do think deep down i have been very very worried that my dss behaviour will be just as unmanageable on a full time basis for us as it is for his mum and then i worry about the effects of all that angst on my little boys... so thanks for makiing me face up to those thoughts, btw i dont feel that anything anyone says is out of turn, i asking for guidance and am just so grateful to have your thoughts views and experiences to wiegh against.

Caligula Tue 25-Jan-05 11:35:17

How long have the DSD's been apart stb? It could be that he has got to an age where he needs the input of a father, and the stepfather his mother has chosen for him simply isn't up to the job. (Sounds like he might not be up to the job of being her DH, for that matter!)

Is the 50 50 idea a non-starter in terms of distance, schools, etc?

sleepytinkerbell Tue 25-Jan-05 11:51:48

caligula i just feel that the 50/50 would be too dispruptive for everyone concerned by its strange because ex wifes fiance was a really really good influence at the beginning and seemed to almost fill the absent father role and im not quite sure what has changed but yes there seems to have been a shift at least in the fact the both kids individually are very resentful of the fact that apparently 'he' makes all the decisions in the household and has a bit of a temper (inference is vocal rather than physical) but without a doubt dss needs his dad a lot made numerous suggestions this weekend to me sleeping in with dss and him sharing our bed with his dad maybe just feeling a need to cling to dad as mummy is now being taken away by another man, maybe mum and soon to be step dad are so wrapped up in themselves 3 weeks before the wedding that the kids are just feeling really neglected.

sleepytinkerbell Tue 25-Jan-05 12:05:34

caligula did you mean half the week or half the year?

Caligula Tue 25-Jan-05 13:46:04

Not sure really, whichever is most practicable for both households (tbh I always wonder what Fathers 4 Justice mean when they go on about 50 50.) I guess you could do 1 week here, one week there, depending on how far you are from each other, how it would work etc. If you're very close, you could even do 1 day here one day there, but I suspect that could get VERY difficult to organise unless you're in walking distance and also the two households would have to get on really well for that to work.

You could also consider something like 70 30.

I wonder if it is the wedding stress that's causing the current problem? We all know how stressed couples become around weddings, could it be that this has put an extra "camel's back" straw on to the household?

sleepytinkerbell Tue 25-Jan-05 15:52:28

The two households dont get on too well as a rule, we do our best when the chips are down like now so a split is really unlikely distance is about 20 mins by car 45 mins to an hour by bus for them and yeh i do have a hunch that the impending marraige is playing a big part in their feelings right now!!

Caligula Tue 25-Jan-05 19:18:55

Perhaps you could have a chat with them about the fact that they shouldn't make any decisions about where they want to live until about 3-6 months after the wedding - they're probably too young to realise how much effect the impending wedding is having on their domestic circumstances, and things may well calm down afterwards.

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