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My ex has his 5 year old stepson sharing a bedroom with our 10 year old daughter

(15 Posts)
Catlumps Wed 27-May-09 09:01:30

Im at a loss as to how to deal with this. Every time my 10 year old daughter (who is now entering puberty) goes to my ex's house he makes her sleep in the same bedroom as his 5 year old stepson (every other weekend). He and his wife to be don't have much space in their tiny 2 bedroom house so I can't say much about the situation. But my daughter comes back stressed and angry and dreads going there because she is constantly bickering with her step brother. My ex makes her go to bed at the same time as the stepson (7:30pm) so that it's 'fair'.

He phoned me last night to tell me that he is not happy with our daughter, he thinks that there's something 'wrong' with her as she has started lashing out at him (which she's never done before) and becoming a bit of a 'madam'...hardly surprising if she has no personal space of her own to retreat to and is getting a dose of the teen hormones!

What do I do? Can I take legal action? Im really not happy about this. Please let me know what you think.

ramonaquimby Wed 27-May-09 09:04:13

legal action seems a bit extreme, can you not have a reasonable conversation about it, explain your pov and your daughter's feelings?

Tommy Wed 27-May-09 09:06:15

agree with ramona - he's not actually doing anything illegal. Your ex has obviously noticed that there's something wrong so perhaps you could take this opportunity to explain why your daughter is unhappy about going there

BecauseImWorthIt Wed 27-May-09 09:06:38

Legal action sounds a bit severe!

What do you want him to do? If they only have a small house, where else could she sleep?

I think the going to bed at 7.30/the same time is a bit unfair on your daughter though - and if they weren't in the bedroom together, perhaps they wouldn't bicker so much?

When did you split up? It sounds like your ex hasn't come to terms with the fact that your daughter is growing up and isn't the same little girl as when you were together.

You need to talk to him and explain that she's going through puberty, and therefore needs to be treated with a bit more sensitivity.

But ratcheting it up and talking about legal action is just silly! You will only make it a lot worse. Talk to him. And talk to his wife too, if you can - maybe she will understand a bit more?

GypsyMoth Wed 27-May-09 09:06:56

You have to tell him all this! It's not fair, no. But what can really be done? Could she not come home in the evening and go back next day? Not ideal I know.

expatinscotland Wed 27-May-09 09:06:58

If they don't have much space they don't have much space. They can't exactly magic up another bedroom.

He's being a twonk to make her go to bed at the same time and tbh his behaviour makes it sound like he'd rather not be bothered seeing her at all.

What a twat.

But given that he is, instead of taking legal action and making him angry, why not just pay out the little bit of rope he needs to hang himself?

And instead bring up decreased contact as it's all upsetting your DD?

HecatesTwopenceworth Wed 27-May-09 09:07:38

I doubt you can take legal action to what? make him buy a 3 bed house? stop him having her overnight? would that really be in her best interests?

She's 10, her brother is 5 - the fact that they are not biological siblings makes no difference - you ask ANY parent of 2 kids and they'll tell you the squabbles are totally normal (and sometimes quite severe!!) I think it would be a mistake to try to make more out of childrens bickering than is really there.

Kids get difficult. If a parent expects an easy ride, then they are going to be in for a shock! You and him need to TALK about your daughter, try to come up with solutions and ways to handle her. you all need to get together and change the way you are all dealing with the situation and the way you present it to her.

Catlumps Wed 27-May-09 09:07:48

Yes Ramonaquimby agree that the legal action is prob extreme, Im trying to see if there is a legal standpoint on it but there only seem to be housing guidelines - I think their house is part of a housing association. I want the all the facts that I can find first before I embark on a conversation with him about it...I find it really stressful to do that as we both get so angry and it all ends in tears but got to be done I suppose :-(

Catlumps Wed 27-May-09 09:14:10

Thanks guys
We've been divorced ages - since 2004!...not had these problems before as he's been living in a 2 bed place by himself and had plenty of room for DD. Now that he's met someone else he's moved into her tiny place and that's the crutch of the matter..I can't expect him to do much about that really. I guess Im going to have to bite the bullet and talk to him...easier said than done
His Fiance seems nice but if I approached her to talk he'd throw a wobbly.

HecatesTwopenceworth Wed 27-May-09 09:25:18

Your daughter's problem is probably not the space, but the new relationship. The new family, iyswim.

You really need to get together and talk about how to help her adjust - try to get across to him that it's not about the 2 of you, it's about the daughter you share and in that you are both on the same side!

3littlefrogs Wed 27-May-09 09:30:26

A first step would be to put the five year old to bed first, then dd later at around 8.30/9. That would be perfectly reasonable IMO. He should spend that hour or so having quality one to one time with her. Common sense should prevail.

2rebecca Wed 27-May-09 21:27:40

I would put it to him that it is not "fair" to treat a 10 year old the same as a 5 year old, and that if they were full siblings you wouldn't put them to bed at the same time. It's only "unfair" if when the 5 year old is 10 he's still going to bed at 7.30. Later bedtimes come with advancing age, until you hit about 16-18. The younger child needs to learn that. The bedroom thing sounds irrelevent. Large families of 10 used to sleep in 2 bedroom houses. I think we've all become a bit spoilt and used to huge carbon footprints.

prettyfly1 Thu 28-May-09 10:02:15

i second the others advice. Legal action is ridiculous and you cant force him to move them back out so she will have to learn to share the space - it wont kill her BUT she shouldnt be going to bed at the same time as a five year old. If he is being silly and insisting on reducing a ten year old to equality with a five year old is that causing the problem - is he babying her too much as that would cause a lash out at that age.

mrsjammi Fri 29-May-09 08:22:04

Message withdrawn

Fruitysunshine Tue 30-Jun-09 22:45:18

I am a stepmum and it is always easy to jump to conclusions about what you perceive is happening in somebody else's household when really anything you know is probably taken out of context and has somebody else's spin on it.

I agree that a 10yr old should have a later bedtime, especially on the weekends and at a time when she should be spending time with her dad. I disagree that them sharing a room is an issue. My two stepsons share with my 8yr daughter and at times they get on great and other times they fight like cat and dog and drive me nuts. I treat them all like my own children and from that point of view they are all treated the same BUT they do have different rules for age related things depending on the situation.

It sounds like, dare I say it, your daughter is having heated discussions with her dad and they are both struggling to cope with it. He is her father and your daughter needs to know that you and him are both singing from the same song sheet. That means you have to get talking and put your own personal feelings aside about his home life and let him know your concerns about what your daughter has told you and allow him to respond with his side of things THEN make a plan to move forward together of how you can resolve things. Try and reach a point where you can both express your genuine concerns about your daughter without negativity or oneupmanship creeping in. Believe me, kids will have adults fighting between themselves for years if adults did not take control of the kids. I know my stepsons have said some horrible things about me to their mum but I also know they have said some horrible things about her to me which she would never believe. Kids do play separated parents off against each other in order to get their own way.

I have to deal with my husband's ex from time to time regarding my step sons and although she is not happy about the boys spending time with me she knows that I treat them fairly and with love because I do love them now. Maybe you need to also try and open up some dialogue with his fiancee. After all, they could be with each other for the rest of their lives and that means in your daughter's life too.

As for the legal stand, forget it. It will cost you loads of money unless you are planning to get Legal Aid to pay for your solicitors and any court time you may need over this issue?

Hope that helps.

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