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Need advice on how to deal with my kids new step family

(37 Posts)
elastamum Mon 22-Jun-09 22:03:46

My H is moving in with a woman with 3 kids (younger than mine) My boys play with them but say they find them irritating as they are much younger and are very excited about having older children around and wont leave them alone ( I have tried to explain to my eldest to talk to his Dad or their mum when he needs some space and not get mad with the little ones). My youngest son is confused as he thinks he has gained a set of half siblings, I have had to explain that they arent at all related and the other children have a father of their own. Not sure what to do to help things best here. I want the kids to get along and be happy but am worried that my H hasnt explained to them what the situation really is and they seem a bit confused by it all. any advice?

mrsjammi Tue 23-Jun-09 23:06:47

Message withdrawn

2rebecca Tue 23-Jun-09 23:24:22

My kids got the hang of the stepsibling thing. They still refer to them as step brother etc rather than brother, but then they don't live together most of the time. My stepdaughter refers to her stepbrother living with her as her brother, but then will sometimes refer to her biological brother as her "real" brother if people aren't familiar with relationships.
If the stepchildren are much younger than your kids, as you said, I'm surprised they don't understand the situation. They'll understand in time. It doesn't matter much anyway, whether they like each other is more important than sorting out family trees.
Can you talk to your ex about your kids needing a bit of space some time and maybe him spending some time just with them?

elastamum Wed 24-Jun-09 20:04:40

Thanks for your advice. Unfortunately I dont really get the chance to raise anything with my ex as he takes any comment from me very badly so I have pretty much given up. I am not sure I agree on not explaining the siblings issue. the other kids have a dad of their own and I think it is important mine realise that there are other imortant adults around as well as my ex and his partner. I am more worried by them not having their own space in his new home as I think this will be a negative for them in the long run as they wont feel it si their home too. To be fair they are only going there one night a fortnight (his choice)so the little ones wont cause them too much grief. I just hope one of mine doesnt thump them if they pinch his DS as they have never had elctronic toys shock

2rebecca Wed 24-Jun-09 22:46:39

I'd tell them initially not to take anything they value and that small children could break. If just going overnight they should be OK. If they want it for the journey there then dad could keep it in the car for them. Once they've been going for a while they'll get the hang of which toys are safe to take.
The kids will hear their stepsiblings talk about their dad anyway if they're old enough to talk and mum allows dad access/ dad wants access.
Do they have a bedroom of their own? I presume not 5 to a bedroom.

Fruitysunshine Wed 01-Jul-09 09:54:19

I have to say that I am surprised at the amount of control that separated parents feel they can exert in the other's house. You quite understandably want to know that your child is safe and looked after but they are staying with their other parent, one who loves them as much as you and has he same amount of responsibility.

I have 2 ss's and when they are with us we are one huge family and we have always made the relationships clear between the children. They know who is half and who is step but they all refer to each other as brother and sister because a) they have that bond now and b) it is easier for them. We went through the scenario of DH's ex telling my ss's that they are not related to my children and they have their own fathers. She was wrong and out of order. My children and her children are legally related and in one case biologically related. It is almost comes across as the ex's refusal to accept that her children are related to mine. But DH made it very clear to her that every time she tells the boys that it will only create a counter response when they come to us and say "Mum said again that we are not related".

At the end of the day, the paternity of the other children has nothing to do with anyone else except the biological parents and the goings on in sombody's home has nothing to do with an ex partner unless the welfare of a child is at risk.

Children only learn what adults teach them and we are teaching our children to be one big family and love each other. What message is it sending to children when you create division and friction? The kids would not be confused if they did not have a conflicting opinion. Just allow your husband and his partner to deal with what goes on in their home, after all we can only assume they have the interests of ALL their children at heart, whether biological or step.

You have nothing to worry about, honestly and as for the older and younger siblings not getting on together, that will continue forever!

Good luck.

Chandra Wed 08-Jul-09 10:25:26

"I have had to explain that they arent at all related and the other children have a father of their own" Good heavens... I would rather keep my mouth shout, that doesn't help the children at all.

I agree with everything that Fruitysunshine said. They are trying to get to get to terms with the new family setting, there will be some hiccups. But eventually, feeling part of a family unit would be great for the children, for all of them.

Surfermum Wed 08-Jul-09 10:38:55

Why not explain it to them Chandra? I've had that discussion with dd too - although she is related to dsd, I've explained that dsd has her own mummy but they share a daddy. I don't think it's any different to explaining who cousins are or that the lady next door who we call auntie isn't actually related. It's factual.

Chandra Wed 08-Jul-09 10:49:23

I don't think is wrong to explain the setting, but the way it was said. Saying they arent at all related, is the problem. They are obviously related now, not by blood but because they are sharing a home, experiences and yes, a dad.

prettyfly1 Wed 08-Jul-09 10:51:53

I kind of agree with both of you - I have had that chat with both ds and dss BUT in a kinder way then op is suggesting. OP tone seems to be very "they are nothing to do with you and dont you forget it" whereas for me I explained it in the context of "there are all sorts of families, some have a mum and a dad, some have just a mum or a dad and some have different mums and dads, some even have no mum and dad but a family is about how you treat one another and support one another" which is totally different.

prettyfly1 Wed 08-Jul-09 10:52:33

x posts

Surfermum Wed 08-Jul-09 11:06:29

Yes, how it's put across is key.

I don't think them not having their own space is necessarily a negative. It's not always possible. What's more important is that they are made to feel part of the family despite the fact that they aren't there much.

Chandra Wed 08-Jul-09 11:30:04

I think sometimes they need a bit of space, but I would not make a rule of it, just treat the children as if they were all part of an average family, sometimes is possible, sometimes is not.

I used to give some "space" to my exb's older child. His brother and my son were absolutely driving him up the wall if too immersed in role playing. However, we also took care that that space didn't become a "rift". Having that space normally involved doing more grown up things with me or his father, rather than allowing him to withdraw for long periods in a space where younger children were not allowed.

Surfermum Wed 08-Jul-09 11:32:58

Oh I get you now grin, you don't mean bedroom space <hits self on forehead>. In that case I agree! Dd can drive dsd up the wall sometimes, understandly.

elastamum Sat 08-Aug-09 04:43:56

thanks all, I had a brief look back on here and I was amazed at the level of agression dolled out to what I thought was a fairly straight forward comment. Obviously there is no love lost between most step mums on here and childrens biological parents. I'm not at all trying to diserupt my kids new family and have tried really hard to support, even though my ex has moved a couple of hours away to be with his new family and I dont even know where they live now. Think I will probably go elsewhere for advice in future as life is hard enough without being flamed by the stepmums army sad

Buda Sat 08-Aug-09 06:41:28

Sorry you have been flamed elastamum. I took it to read that your ex has moved in with this woman but they are not married? In which case you are correct and your children are not related to his new girlfriend's children. And I think you were quite right to explain to your children that these children are not half-siblings because they aren't.

I am sure this transition period will be hard for all of you but your DCs will get used to it and it is only one night a fortnight.

I do think you should try to have a chat with your ex. If you come across as reasonable and calm and wanting the best for everyone, he should be amenable to listening. I would start by saying that you just want to make sure that this all works out best for everyone and that you don't want your DCs to dread going to visit him and that you are sure he doesn't want them moaning about being unhappy and that if you chat about concerns now it should make for an easier transition.

elastamum Sun 09-Aug-09 04:14:10

thanks Buda. No they are not married, I am still in the process if divorcing him and he started seeing her in April and a month later announced they were moving in together.
Just prior to that the kids came home and announced he was moving in with his previous gf?? Have given up talking to him about it as he feels it is in his kids best interests for him to go from being round the corner to 2 hours away and I am unreasonable for suggesting otherwise

Apollinare Tue 11-Aug-09 05:52:03

Elastamum, I remember your posts from last year and how positive and courageous you were. I am sorry things are still difficult for you. No advice to offer, as I know nothing about anything, but just to let you know I am thinking about you. You are a lot more rational than I would be in this situation!

elastamum Tue 11-Aug-09 07:41:36

Thanks Apollinare. It is just a year since he left and he is now on relationship number two! however, me and the kids are doing fine, we are away atm having the most fab holiday in the sun. I have got a full time job and an au pair to help out and am just about managing to keep us all afloat. All in all life is pretty good. It is a shame their dad has moved away but my boys are in good spirits, have made friends and doing really well at school so I am staying put. I do know the new gf of old and suspect she is a past affair but its not my problem anymore. I just want the kids to be happy and not feel they have been deserted by their dad. On that one only time will tell...

mrsjammi Sat 15-Aug-09 18:33:33

Message withdrawn

abeeceedee Sun 16-Aug-09 15:22:07

To elastamum, sorry you were flamed, I was too in my post which took me a long time to think out and find the guts to actually post - I too will be going elsewhere for advice as I don't need to come here to be judged and made to feel stupid and petty.

For what it's worth, I agree with you - the children are not related, so you are just being upfront and honest. And it is totally your business - they're your sons!

logi Sun 16-Aug-09 16:28:26

hi,i would suggest your ex see his children alone and maybe an hour before he brings them home maybe see the other children,and as for telling them they are not related...they arent.my older ds dad used to take him out for the day we didnt do sleepovers then didnt get the probs that come with it,althhough im sure that for lots of stepfamilies things run smoother, but its not always the case unfortunately.

elastamum Mon 17-Aug-09 13:39:11

Thanks all. Mrs J, you are not going to like or agree with this but you do seem to me to be quite agressive in tone, not just to me but to other posters too. So thanks for your advice, but if you do have issues towards birth mothers they are your issues and I wont be carrying your baggage for you thanks!

I dont have any issues or an axe to grind at all with ex's new GF who I know of old anyway. but I do believe in the truth and my kids understand that, telling the truth is not about disrupting anyones family, it is just how it is. I do reinforce the importance of them all getting on and them being kind and respectful to the little ones and to their mother. They are happy living with me and I try very hard to make sure they see their dad and do offer him far more opportunity for contact than he seems to want at the moment. I have never critisised their dad or any of his gfs in front of them and thats not always easy but it is one of my personal rules.

My boys have a strong grasp of whats true and whats not and i think its important that they grow up understanding how things really are. They dont believe in god, father christmas or tooth fairies either so I'm not going to pretend they are related to his gf's kids, when in fact they are not. If they marry then they will become part of their extended family and I will help them understand how their family fits together with ours.

KaPe Wed 19-Aug-09 19:57:15

Have been following this post for a while, I'm new on here, a BM with DD9 and I have to admit I was facing/am still facing similar problems to the OP.

Just a couple of minutes ago, I read a thread on another SM forum, just from the other side's point of view ... a boy asked his BF and SM whether he could bring his half-sibling (BM's son from new relationship) to stay for next weekend contact. SM explained to SS that this was not possible, "because he is not related to us". Funnily enough, there was not outcry condemning this statement.

Many of my SS friends get very upset when they are an issue of discussion between BM and BF (well, you discuss BM with DH, right?) or at the thought that stepchild takes home photos of SM and her birthchildren to Mum (again, you have photos of BM's child and possible some old ones of her). Same thing!

During the first couple of months after our separation, I gave a lot of thought to this issue ... joined SM forums, read SM books to see the other side. Now, three years on, I have learned that "family or not family" are as difficult to define as "the best interest of the child".

I ultimately decided not to go with the "blended family" approach a la Brady Bunch that my ex and his new wife are following rigorously ... because I noticed fairly soon that whilst it was expected that SM joins "my" family, I wasn't very welcome to join SM's (by the way, I have never met SM or spoken to her).

So the first time SM attended DD's school, I announced to ex that I will attend her daughters' school the following week ... after all, they are my DD's stepsiblings, no? We have since a consent order (rather grudgingly though on behalf of my ex) that stepparents (from neither side) do not get involved in education, medical issues or issues of appearance.

Just food for thought ... because no matter how unreasonable you consider the "other woman" (old or new), doors would need to open both ways for this to work.

prettyfly1 Wed 19-Aug-09 21:55:46

Kape thats a really excellent post from the other side. I wish all BMs were as rational and reasonable as you. OP your sentiments werent necessarily entirely wrong, but how you worded it seemed unnescessarily harsh which is suspect is why you were rounded on. You werent flamed, there were just a number of us who held a different opinion, which isnt a bad thing.

That said, please dont make personal attacks at other posters in this area. Step parenting in particular is a very difficult area - we try to make this area as supportive as possible - Jammi in particular is EXTREMELY supportive towards other steps struggling through tough circumstances and I dont think any of us feel the need to make one anothers lives even less pleasant by attacking one another in the one area that we should be safe to express ourselves honestly and openly.

You may find it interesting to visit the lone parent area of the site, a lot of the mums there are in the position you are - trying to get used to their children having a new "family" or whatever you want to call it and their support may be just what you need right now, whilst you and they get used to the changes. Good luck.

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