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How do I get my partner to value me as part of the family?

(10 Posts)
Spanish26 Tue 08-Mar-05 15:19:57

Hi! Really need some advice.

I have been with my partner for only a year. However we have been living together for 10 months of that time & I have fully taken on the role of step mother to his 2 girls.

Luckily for me I am already once removed in that his ex wife is not the mother of his 2 girls.

We have both been through some emotional upheaval with our divorces and so have his girls....firstly adjusting to life without their step mother & then adjusting to life with me only 6 months later!

Its been a HUGE learning curve for me but have taken to life with the girls fairly naturally....of course we've had our ups & downs while learning about each other but we have now found each other boundaries and are close.

BUT they do have bad behavioural problems which my partner has decided to remedy in a fairly drastic way....he's told them and their mother that he does not want to see the girls till there is a change!

Their mother, I belive, is the root of all their problems as they lack discipline at home. We see them only every other weekend so our disciplinary ways have little long term effect on their behaviour.

I feel my partner should be punishing their mother, not them. Yes we can do our bit when we see them once a fortnight but the major influence will come from a change in their day to day life.

However my concerns are falling on deaf ears and I am now being made to support my partner in a decision I don't agree with. While being made to feel that my short time in their life counts for nothing & that I have no place to comment.

I have no children of my own & I am only 26 but I am a young woman with an old head on her shoulders.

Am I right or wrong in how I feel?

tarantula Tue 08-Mar-05 15:34:40

Blimey thats a really difficult one. Im not surprised the girls ahve some problems if they ahve been through such a difficult time. I think that your dp may be underestimating how much his divorce may have affected his kids and he needs to face up to this fact and not put the blame totaly on his dds mother. I know that if dp and I split that dss would be devastated and would probably affect his behaviour.
Jsut wondering how does he think that not seeing the girls is going to change their behavior? Also does he think not seeing the girls will make them love or respect him more?? Im afraid I think hes being out of order and totally unrealistic and if dp did this hed get an earful. Unfortunately I cant think of much that you can do except keep talking to him and discussing what needs to be done. But I would makeit very clear that you are not happy with what he has done.

Did any of taht make sense????

tarantula Tue 08-Mar-05 15:39:19

Sorry had a urgent phone call there. Anyway just wanted to say good luck and these things take time. Ive been a stepmum for 11 yrs now and still working things out Hope you do get things settled and gos luck with your two dsds

marthamoo Tue 08-Mar-05 15:51:44

I think that's shocking. They are his daughters - he can't just wash his hands of them until they behave in a way that's acceptable to him. He has to accept some responsibility and have some input into helping them to improve their behaviour. I don't think he should be "punishing" anyone - not them and not their mother. It would be far more helpful and constructive for you all to work together to try and give these poor children a bit of stability and continuity in their lives.

I'm sorry that you find yourself stuck in the middle of this - but I think you have to start asking yourself some serious questions. If your partner won't listen to you and thinks it is not your place to comment (after you have worked hard to integrate his daughters into your new family and built a relationship with them) you have to start asking yourself if this is a man you have a long-term future with. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh but he sounds very dogmatic and dictatorial to me.

Spanish26 Tue 08-Mar-05 16:17:29

Tarantula - he belives that not seeing them is a punishment and they will start ot reflect on their behaviour. But they are only 9 & 10! And their mother is re-inforcing their behaviour with lack of discipline.

Marthamoo - I would love for us to sit and talk this out - I have nothing against their mother - like I said she is once removed already. And I've backed her in the past. However I have now come to see how selfish she is. She is always putting herself, her job & her boyfreind before her children and I'm often the one picking up the pieces. In her case the girls are treated like unwanted baggage.

HOWEVER she won't let their father get involved in their lives - even to the point where he is having to contact their schools direct because she is witholding school reports and other important information about their behaviour.

He tried to talk to her on numerous occasions but she usually slams the door in his face.

There is little love loss between them!

Setting this aside - I agree! The girls need stability and I'm trying my hardest but I can't do it on my own. I try and stay neutral for their sakes....then they have a person to turn to when Mummy & Daddy are both being baddies but then I just upset their father....he feels that by doing that I'm not being supportive.

Oh gosh....the more I talk the more I'm opening up a can of worms!

Surfermum Tue 08-Mar-05 16:41:15

Hi Spanish. This sounds like a really difficult situation for you. Can I just clarify, the "mother" is that their birth mother or their father's previous wife?

Spanish26 Tue 08-Mar-05 16:49:50

Hi Surfermum,

When I refer to their mother I'm talking about their birth mother - his ex wife, which was step mother number one, is totally off the scene now.

I'm step mother number 2!

I know - what a mess!!

Spanish26 Tue 08-Mar-05 16:53:57

Sorry that must have looked confusing I didn't meant to put a (-) in between mother & ex-wife.....there should have been a (.) in there!

Surfermum Tue 08-Mar-05 17:12:15

OK! Well I have to say I do think it's unfair on the girls to not see them as a punishment. I would have thought that would just make things worse for them. We've had problems with my step-daughter in the past but would never, ever have said she couldn't come. We just dealt with her behaviour in our way and made it plain to her what was acceptable to us. It is difficult when there are different boundaries at home, and things going on there that you don't know about, and I always feel we should take that into account when expecting her to go from one set of boundaries to another.

It's difficult too when the x won't discuss things. We have had the door slamming when dh tries to discuss things with his x. She thinks that it's none of my dh's business what happens to his daughter when she's with her. It has been impossible to raise any form of concern with her (eg she's a fussy eater) without her taking offence, thinking he's having a go at her and going off at the deep end. So, so difficult when all he wants is what is best for his daughter. We just go direct to people like the school for reports and things.

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. I would find it very hard in your shoes. They are very lucky to have a step-mum like you.

Spanish26 Tue 08-Mar-05 17:19:04

Hi again surfer mum.

Sounds like you dh is having the same troubles as my partner.

He just wants the best for his two girls and he can see their lives turning into a disaster before him and he feel powerless.

We have till now acted with his girls as you act with your step daughter.

But this sudden change in direction from my partner is not helping.

Thank you for your support

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