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AIBU to be annoyed with DStepSon and his attitude?

253 replies

SummerHolidayStress · 24/07/2015 20:20

NC because I've seen the judgment and flaming some Stepmothers get for having any issue with DSChildren. Some advice would be really appreciated.
I've been with DP for 9yrs, 3DCs together, 1 DsS from his previous rship. DsS (age 12) lives with his Mum.
All children have always been treated equally, I love them all equally, and treat them the same, as does their DF.
The issue is, how to deal with DsS at the moment. We moved away 18months ago because of work and university situations (work for DP, Uni for me- commuting 4hrs daily was physically and mentally exhausting), so it made sense to move. DsS was aware of this from the start, that a move was the only way we could keep our heads above water.
We've tried our hardest to see DsS in this year, to the point we travelled the 3hrs back to our old town as arranged, arrived at his home and was told, "he's out, doesn't want to see you".
He ignores us all of the time, despite is really trying to talk and arrange to see him. He doesn't talk until until a week before his birthday, when he tells us what he wants...and then a few days before Xmas, and tells us what his DM is getting him, so we can " decide what else so he doesn't get two of the same".
He's largely ignored our calls and texts for months now, until Lo and Behold, a text three days ago, saying "It's school holidays now, when are you coming to get me?" followed by "You can take me to place, as it's near to your new house. And, "Mum wants to know when your coming, and where you're going to take me. Answer me"

We have always treated all four children to have respect and manners, and if he was here, he would be told off for blatant brattish attitude.

I'm just annoyed. He ignores DP and me for 11 months of the year, but when he thinks treats and presents are involved, he wants some contact and issues demands. We wouldn't take that from the 3DCs at home, are we meant to from DS who isn't here? I don't know.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

OP posts:
AbbyCadabra · 25/07/2015 04:38

Agree with riveravon. And I would suspect that DSS mum (or the boy himself) has wondered the same.

saoirse31 · 25/07/2015 07:31

Agree with riveron and other posters. you've shown your dss by your actions that a long commute was fine when it was for something that you wanted to do but was not possible in order to see him.

Actions speak louder than words. your 'I love dss ' is not reflected by your attitude. but really it's your dh at fault. just explain why he couldn't get dss every other week?

Spartans · 25/07/2015 07:45

From dss point of view...your dh has left him.

You chose to do a uni course with a long commute, even though you had 3 kids and a step son. And because of this he has ended up being left behind.

He has gone from lots of contact to scho holidays. Whether you feel it's a fair assessment or not doesn't really matter. He is a child, his assessment isn't the way you see it, but his feelings are still valid. He isnt an adult and probably believes that your dh could have got a job nearby. Or that you could have not gone to uni, found a uni closer, quit uni and got a job to enable you and his father to stay living near him.

And tbh I agree with ptolemy you need to stop pretending you love them all the same. We don't believe you and he probably doesn't either, this pretense isn't helping. Especially since you would never leave your own children but left him behind.

Your dh should love them all the same and he left him behind. His own father did. cant you understand him at all.

Rather than constantly defending your position. Stop being defensive about your reasons and just a try to see it from his point of view

JeanSeberg · 25/07/2015 07:49

Begs the question why your husband went on to have 3 more kids when he can't afford train fares to see his first.

Spartans · 25/07/2015 07:59

I am still shocked that no visits were scheduled for the summer holidays.

They didn't sneak up on anyone. If your dh (or you since you are the go between) hasnt arranged anything by now, then it's reinforcing the boys feelings. If you tried to arrange something and he said no, then the reply should have been 'we thought you didn't want to come, but let us try and arrange something'

And EOW should have definitely been maintained!

YouMakeMyDreams · 25/07/2015 08:13

Sorry you feel you're getting a flaming but there are some good point in amongst it.
Exh and I live 3 hours apart. He doesn't drive and only has a Saturday off every 6 weeks and none of us are well off.

He sees the dc eow. Finishes earlyish on a Saturday and gets the train up he stays in the are overnight often at our house which I admit is unusual and every 6 weeks when he has a weekend off Dp and I take the dc to him Friday night and collect Sunday. It's just what we have to do. I admit it may not be possible if exh couldn't stay here but there has to be some compromise other than half holidays etc.
Even if your dh went up and spent the afternoon taking him out a couple of times a month. Your situation now is not good enough and your dss is telling you this loud and clear.
Exh has a 15 year old son. We had dss every week day from after school until 9pm every week. His mum moved him 600 miles away with 2 weeks notice. Their relationship has never been the same. Exh has him every holidays but they were so close and it just isn't the same now. It's sad don't let this be your dh. You went from so much contact to very little you are thr adults it is your job to sort it out. He feels abandoned and nobody seems to be doing anything to dissuade him of this.

LocatingLocatingLocating · 25/07/2015 08:22

For those defending OP, can I just point out that she didn't post asking if she was BU to move. She posted to whinge about her DSS attitude following their move. Whether she needed to move it not is beside the point, her OP makes it clear that she had little sympathy for the impact of that move.

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan · 25/07/2015 08:25

It's very telling that the OP hasn't answered the question as to how it was possible for her to commute to uni but not possible for her dh to collect dss eow.

Posters sympathetic to the OP have said that she and her dh had every right to move away. Leaving that aside, since they have moved away, why wasn't eow and holiday contact set up at the point of the move?

The OP is blaming a child for lashing out after he has been horribly hurt by his family.

I feel really sorry for the dss.

DoJo · 25/07/2015 12:00

I have the wonder how many of the posters who are judging OP so harshly are step parents or step children themselves?

Not sure if I would be considered to have judged the OP harshly, but I am someone whose father moved to another country when I was about 9. I went from seeing him every weekend (so less frequently than the OP's step-son) to seeing him every school holiday (more frequently than the OP's husband has seen his son) and I still felt as though I had been left behind and that he had chosen a better paying job over seeing me.

I don't agree with pp who say you should have stayed in your home town if you were going to end up with no home and on benefits. Are those pp really suggesting that OP's other 3 children should have to suffer so they can stay near their brother?

Why the assumption that they would have ended up on benefits with no home - I have asked if the OP's husband even attempted to find another job in their home town to enable them to maintain contact, and no response has been forthcoming. For most people, losing a job doesn't mean immediate house repossession and a lifetime on the dole.

JeanSeberg · 25/07/2015 12:25

I have the wonder how many of the posters who are judging OP so harshly are step parents or step children themselves?

I'm neither but if my ex did this I would consider it extremely shoddy behaviour.

notinagreatplace · 25/07/2015 12:33

I can understand why you had to move house - I don't think that many posters are actually criticising you for that. What does seem to be the case - and I've read the full thread and all of the OP's comments - is that no thought was put into how contact with the stepson could be maintained.

Did you try to find a house in between where your SS is and where your work/university are? That might have made it possible to maintain eow contact. Did your DP even ask his workplace about the possibility of finishing work early every other Friday so that he could go and see his son? It kind of sounds like, no, you just went for the option that massively reduced contact and expected that your SS would just deal with it. Surely you can see that this was a really harsh way to deal with your SS?

Having made the decision to live 3 hours away when neither of you drive and, mysteriously, the money and transport that you used when you were doing this commute have disappeared, it then sounds like you didn't put in place any kind of contact schedule and just expected to arrange it ad hoc with your SS directly. He's too young for that - your DP and his ex should have agreed some dates between them. It's really no wonder that your stepson is feeling abandoned and hurt.

LilacWine7 · 25/07/2015 13:35

I don't think the move was unreasonable. I've read the full thread and it sounds like OP and her husband had little choice over re-locating; they needed to support their family and the closest job offer was 3hours away. Which happened to be close to where OP was studying. It was clearly a move that benefited OP, her husband and their 3 children, so why should the SS's needs take priority over everyone else's? It's unrealistic to think they should have stayed where they were just to avoid him feeling upset or left behind. He wasn't abandoned, he has his own family and he hasn't lost his home or his mum. It sounds like OP offered to take him with them if his mum agreed, but his mum refused... hardly OP's fault.

I agree with those who are saying better contact arrangements should have been put in place, but shouldn't this have been sorted out between the husband and his ex-wife rather than left to OP? A 6-hour round-trip is not something most families can afford to do every weekend or even EOW. If the boy's mum refuses to meet halfway or share the travelling, half-terms and holidays might be the only option. Also, aren't most 12-year-olds capable of taking a train or coach if someone sees them onto it and meets them at the other end?
It's natural OP feels fed-up that her SS doesn't seem to appreciate the time and effort this journey takes... most people would be livid if they made a 6-hour-round trip for nothing. It's a massive waste of time and money.

There's no hard evidence he feels 'abandoned' and 'traumatised' or that he is too young to understand why the move happened. He's 12 not 6.
12 is an age when many adolescents start pulling away from parents, younger siblings etc and want to spend time with friends instead. Maybe he's simply growing up and wanting his own space now? Maybe he's got used to the new routine and the thought of staying with his dad and stepmum and younger half-siblings has lost it's appeal. Even if OP hadn't moved away, it's likely the SS would have soon started pulling away anyway, and wanting to see them less. Teen years are about new interests, new hobbies, new friends and relationships, more freedom and independence.

OP, try not to feel guilty. You made a decision to relocate based on what would benefit the whole family, and have made attempts to include your SS in your new life. IMO his dad needs to do more to establish proper contact arrangements, things like which weeks of the holidays he's coming need to be planned in advance. But do be sensitive to your SS's feelings and needs. It was a big change for him, and he might be more upset than you realise. Try to make time for him and you to have a private chat, and ensure he has time alone with his dad too. Since you don't see him as often, I think it would be nice to plan some special trips and activities for when he visits. It will help him feel valued and wanted. He doesn't need to be treated as an 'honoured guest' but he does need to feel welcome and wanted. Try to be tolerant and kind if he seems sulky, he's at a difficult age and is finding his feet in a new environment. In a few years he'll be more independent and able to make the journey by himself. Good luck and I hope it goes well for you.

LineRunner · 25/07/2015 13:39

Also OP I think you don't pay a particularly huge wedge of CSA. Your DH surely will be paying 15% of his net income AFTER the CSA/CMS has taken account of your 3 resident children? So 15% of 75% of his net income. I don't see how that is affecting his ability to travel to see his son, especially as you had the means to pay for travel before.

textfan · 25/07/2015 14:01

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oswin · 25/07/2015 14:12

Lilac you say the dss has his own family. His father is his family! Bloody hell. I cant believe Yu said that.
They had choices they could have took. They moved three hours away knowing they wouldn't be able to regularly see him.
I wonder how many people on this thread who have stuck up for the op also layed into the mother who did this exact thing on the other thread?

Mrsjayy · 25/07/2015 14:22

He is 12 he doesnt really know what financial reasons or why Further education is important all he knows and understand is his dad moved away he is demanding attention because he was left out of the big move you moved for you your husband and your childrens benefit and he was left, the message was probably anxiety based he wanted to make sure you were coming to get him and have time for him sothats why he demanded to go to the place, surely you can understand that, if you got divorced and your husband moved away you would be dealing with kids who felt abandoned. Give the boy a break

textfan · 25/07/2015 14:23

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Battleshiphips · 25/07/2015 14:31

Yabvu to be annoyed at your DSS. Ywnbu to ask for advice on how to handle the situation.

RedHelenB · 25/07/2015 14:49

140 pounds a month doesn't sound like much to spend on contact tbh.

lunar1 · 25/07/2015 15:16

Lilac, are a dad and siblings not considered to be part of the child's family then?

The money for travel eow should be easily available given that the op had to constantly do the same commute. Why is education worth more than a child?

GrannyWW · 25/07/2015 15:32

You moved and say it had to happen which I can understand but then the fact your DH did not prioritise access and I mean really prioritise ie more important than almost anything else and have NOT arranged anything for the summer holidays shows your DH and to an extent your real feelings - and if you think a 12 year old is old enough to accept that you need to move, you should also they are old enough to realise that they are the bottom of your pile. The fact you resent them for understanding this is your real problem not his attitude - hope that helps :)

SanityClause · 25/07/2015 15:43

Okay, yes at 12 he may understand in his head why his father chose to move away to work. But that doesn't mean he doesn't feel abandoned.

And the father seems to have made very little effort to ensure contact is kept up. One visit in 11 months?

The OP has implied that the mother turned them away, and perhaps is manipulating him. Has the father tried to formalise contact arrangements through the family courts, at all?

YouMakeMyDreams · 25/07/2015 16:02

I totally understand the need to move. Given the choice between relocating with a current job or having to search for a new job I don't know many people that would risk it especially in todays job market. Had the OP been on here saying how much of a struggle it was surviving on benefits and told Mumsnet her DH had not taken a job 3 hours away to stay close to her DSS she would have been lambasted for that too. Mumsnet is forever telling people if they can't get a job where they are to relocate simple as that. OP and her DH have done that and that's wrong too.

Like I said above exh and I live 3 hours apart. I am the one that moved not him but we agreed how travel would work and budgeting for that was all a part of the conversation we had about me moving. This is where the OP and her DH went wrong not the moving away. They didn't factor in a budget for meeting EOW they just decided that holidays and if he wanted to come were enough after so much contact. I have a nearly 12 year and and although mature in so many ways is not yet mature enough to fully arrange contact on an ad hoc basis and tbh would probably opt not to go if that was the case.
The dss needs routine, he needs his dad to fight for him a bit right now after a year of not bothering his arse. He needs his dad to turn up and collect him and be prepared for a bit of aggro from his son who is still a child and is hurting and angry.
Exh and I moved heaven and earth to get proper communication opnenwith dss mum and got him to us at every agreed time and date with no let downs or excuses. Yet still the close relationship between father and son has suffered but not because exh doesn't do enough.

Myname15 · 25/07/2015 16:03

Fucking hell, what a mess.
To call your dad blatantly brattish is incredibly insensitive and lacking in emotional awareness.
I feel so, so sorry for your poor dad.
He sounds desperate for contact, but so hurt he is scared of being rejected again, as this is how he'll see it, whatever the 'adult' reasoning.
For him, money on gifts is likely a substitute for the love he feels has been taken from him, and something tangible that cannot be taken away again!
Also, just at a time when he's gaining independence may not be the ideal time to be away during the holidays when he could be seeing his mates. Is there anywhere your Dh could stay in his son's area?
At least acknowledge to him you've thought about this. It doesn't sound from your post that his dad is doing anywhere near enough, and I think there's a complete lack of understanding. He is NOT being a brat ffs!
As for parroting his dm, you have no idea I imagine of the shit she's copping. Also, you don't know if this is true and she is saying these things.
I imagine she dealing with a very hurt and difficult boy, whilst angry and hurt herself. Try and foster your relationship with her, and ffs make every effort to see him, speak on the phone, Skype etc. It don't matter whether or not he even responds, he needs to know how he (hopefully is) missed.
However, despite asking for advice, you claim, in an incredibly defensive way whilst slating a child who if you'd given birth to would never be treated this way, you seem to have disappeared!
Be an adult. Love him, see things from his pov.
But since you can't even answer the completely reasonable question of how you could afford to commute for uni but not for a dependant child, I doubt you'll read this, and have probably gone off somewhere else to slag of this poor child.
Unless you're off with YOUR happy family, and just ignoring the understandable backlash. There is some really good advice here, are you still reading?. Are you going on holiday this year? Please tell me he's invited?!
If you've just fucked off again and are ignoring all these posts (as seems to be your want) your doing just what you complain your dad is doing!
Are you still there?
Look at your husband an demand he looks after the emotional needs of this child like, you hope, he would for your kids. If you stick with wanting to see him and making sure he knows he's not forgotten, he should come round eventually. Maybe it's time to apologise.

Myname15 · 25/07/2015 16:07

Dss not dad! Fucking autospell!!

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