I hate being a stepparent

(76 Posts)
3GirlsMum Wed 02-Jul-03 10:50:34

The title says it all really. Yet again we are having problems with hubby's ex because stepson has gone home and told a whole series of lies which she chooses to believe!

I have gone out of my way to make sure stepson is included in our lives even though we live nearly 300 miles away. He is invited on holidays and has long stays in the school holidays, yet nothing I ever do is right for him. Everytime he has a problem according to the ex its all my hubbys fault, even though she has been in a very on/off relationship with an alcoholic for the past two years!

Stepson goes home and tells his mother that his father has given him no attention and that he is afraid to talk to him. This is so untrue and we are at a loss to understand why he is behaving this way (I should add that he is nearly 11 years old).

Ex refuses to believe that all the problems are in stepsons head and wants father to take a more active role but then cant be bothered to tell him when she has problems at school with stepson like she has recently. Hubby has suggested that his son has real problems at the moment and that they need to join together to sort this out, she doesnt agree, she thinks there is nothing wrong with him other than security because in her words he walked out on both of them.

I should add that I have been with hubby for 10 years now and he didnt leave her for me although we got together soon afterwards. We have three children together and they used to adore seeing stepson but now ask that he doesnt visit. They feel very resentful because when he is here he is rude and bossy to them and he commands all his fathers attention.

Whilst I realise he is still a child and it must be hard for him he has grown up knowing the way things are. He has turned into a really manipulative boy and I suspect this his mother has poisoned him against me because of how he reacts when he first comes to visit.

Sorry needed to rant but I wonder if anyone else has had similar experiences?

spikeycat Wed 02-Jul-03 12:15:19

I have the same problems really. I met my other half about 1 year after he had split with his wife - and she has been a total b***h to me all the way through, to the extent that her 5 year old came out with "my mummy says you are a sl*t" - which was nice! I try to rise above it and when this happened I said that I really didn't think it was nice to repeat what other people said about people as it can be nasty some times.
I try to have the best relationship that I can with my Sd's but it takes a lot of tounge biting....
She also sends them round with nits EVERY weekend for me to deal with - lovely when you are pregnant or have a new born!
(PS - am not a new person but have changed my name!)

3GirlsMum Wed 02-Jul-03 17:45:58

Like you I try to rise above it but the same thing happens year after year and is getting worse not better! Its so frustrating because I do the best I can and its never good enough for either of them!

SofiaAmes Wed 02-Jul-03 21:27:20

oh I so empathize with both of you. Spikeycat, I had 8 months of nit infested weekends until we refused to have the kids until they were nit free. Even then, she didn't believe dh until he went to pick up the kids (2 hour drive) and having checked their hair and found nits, he turned around and left without them.
Or what abou the time the ex sent the kids to play with their cousin who had chicken pox 1 day before sending them on a 2 week holiday with us, and I was 6 months pregnant and she didn't tell us.

codswallop Wed 02-Jul-03 21:28:25

werent the kids a little disappointed?

3GirlsMum Wed 02-Jul-03 21:42:02

Poor you Sofia....8 months of nits...yuck. Luckily that is not something I have ever had a problem with with my stepson as his hair is always kept very short anyway.

Slinky Wed 02-Jul-03 21:47:49


You don't have to tell me how b****dy annoying nits are, but I have to say how awful it must have been for your stepkids to have their dad turn back round and leave without them.

Had my dad done that on our access visit, I would have been distraught

SofiaAmes Wed 02-Jul-03 23:20:29

Unfortunately, before you think we're evil, we thought long and hard about it and made many attempts at other solutions, including having the kids for a whole school holidays just to have them long enough to get rid of all the nits (of course they came right back as soon as they went home), hair cuts (despite mother insisting that both kids had to wear their hair long and loose) and even bribery (offered her money to comb their hair every night). In the end we decided that it would be the only way of making their mother deal with the problem. And it ultimately was hurting the children, not just annoying us. My step daughter had large bald patches on her head from scratching the nits. And their activities were limited when at our house, to avoid passing the nits to my ds (1.5 yrs) and me (heavily pregnant). In fact, the children themselves were desperate to get rid of the nits and were thankful that we had forced their mother to deal with it. (they were too young to comb their own hair, but old enough to understand the negative associations with having nits).

spikeycat Thu 03-Jul-03 08:58:35

I have said to my dh that next time they are sent round with nits I will take them back and will go and pick on the following day - have never followed this through though.... Although I have also said I am sure its them that are taking them in to school and investing other children - Oh for the times of the nit nurse eh!

3GirlsMum Thu 03-Jul-03 14:17:15

We always found that stepson was sent around in his oldest clothes, and even now when he comes to stay we have the same problem. We did in the past buy new clothes for him then got told off by the ex because she would rather have had the money instead and our choice wasnt her choice!

SofiaAmes Thu 03-Jul-03 22:35:11

3girlsmum, I get the same with my stepkids. In the very very beginning I was dumb enough to buy them new clothes thinking they didn't have any. I soon realized that they had more new clothes than I did. I don't actually care if they aren't in brand new clothes, so don't worry about it any more. I'm sure it drives their mother crazy not getting a reaction out of me. And occasionally, if there is something with a really big hole or rip, I sew it. The kids love this (often beg me to sew non-existent holes), and it drives their mother crazy (I'm supposed to be the rich, snobby, b**ch who doesn't know how to do anything functional).

Spikeycat, we did a lot of threatening to send the kids back before actually doing it. I think that if you do follow through one day, it's probably important that if the kids are your dh's, that he takes them back, not you.

spikeycat Fri 04-Jul-03 10:12:59

I wouldn't tkae them back - I have never even met her! Which seems bizare as I would want to meet someone who played such a part in my ds's life.....She hates me!
Did laugh recently when she offered to have our ds (7mnths) while we went on holiday,I said I would rather myra hindley look after him - is she mad - I don't know her!

pupuce Fri 04-Jul-03 17:39:16

SofiaAmes you regularely how blxxdy awful your DH's ex wives are (living off benefits, badly behaved kids, spoiled on candy,...) .... why did he marry them.... and if I want to be cheeky why are you so much better What happened to himn that he "saw the light"????

3GirlsMum Fri 04-Jul-03 18:47:40

So does that mean anyone that has an awful ex is automatically going to look for the same type of woman time after time??? Pupuce do you hold a grudge or something, if not I think your comments are out of line.

pupuce Fri 04-Jul-03 19:30:21

3girlsmum... I specifically said I was being cheeky
SophiaAmes and I have been around mumsnet for a very long time.... I would think she knows me well enough not to take it like a mean comment.... however Sophia very regularely criticises her DH's ex (I don't think she'd deny that) - so I was wondering how awful are they really.... that's all ! Feel free to get cross.... It's Friday night I am not getting into a row....

sis Fri 04-Jul-03 19:55:59

Pupuce, I think that all the comments relate to ONE ex! - one woman with an awful lot of ill will to her children's stepmother!

sis Fri 04-Jul-03 20:04:31

3GirlsMum, nothing really helpful to say in relation to your original question but it just occured to me that if your dh's ex has had an on/off relationship with an alcoholic for the past two years, then badmouthing your dh may be one of the few guaranteed ways your stepson has of getting attention from his mum? As I said, even if this were true, it doesn't really help you ...

SofiaAmes Fri 04-Jul-03 21:49:56

That's ok, I don't mind pupuce asking. (do mind having my name spelled wrong! ).

As sis pointed out, it's really only the one ex that I have a problem with. (By the way, I am the first one that he has been actually married to). The other one is dumb, but harmless (does that sound condescending?...oh well).
But to answer your question, dh came from an extremely dysfunctional family. Both his parents were alcoholics. His father beat him regularly (he was hospitalized at 7 because he was beaten so badly). And he was put into care at the age of 12. Hence, he never had a role model of what a good relationship or family life should be like. He didn't know how terrible things were with the "evil" ex, until he met me and saw what a functional real family could be like. Although they had split up before he met me, it was because she was consistently unfaithful to him, not because he thought there was something wrong with the relationship. All he ever wanted was the happy family he never had growing up. Sorry if this sounds a little soppy, but it's the truth.

codswallop Fri 04-Jul-03 21:54:14

I feel really nervous reading this thread because i feel so sorry for the children ands I dread that One day I would become one of these awful ex wives...

pupuce Fri 04-Jul-03 21:59:33

See I knew Sofia (sorry about spelling ) would explain.... thanks

3GirlsMum Fri 04-Jul-03 22:27:02

OK Pupuce..being a newbie I didnt realise that

3GirlsMum Fri 04-Jul-03 22:28:27

I feel very sorry for my stepson..he is a very happy boy when he is with us and a very lonely one when he is with his mother. I think that this is part of the problem...he feels so guilty for being so happy with us and makes up stories when he gets home.

SofiaAmes Fri 04-Jul-03 22:40:30

Cods, we really only hear about the worst cases. (For example, I rarely talk about the ok ex, as there are really no issues with her). There are plenty of separated/divorced parents who get along with each other purely for the sake of the children. I think at the bottom of it all, it's important to remember that you have to love your children more than you hate your ex (Judge Judy's words).

codswallop Sat 05-Jul-03 10:10:18

I am sure I would not behave well if my dh binned me.. I like to think I would be angelic but I know I wouldnt be,,,

3GirlsMum Sat 05-Jul-03 10:25:09

At the end of the day though how is being bitter going to help..and surely the thought should be for the child?? What does it do to a child when a parent constantly runs down the other parent and their partner? Surely if the stepchild has a good relationship with the step-parent it can only be for the better.

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