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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:
Coffeemarkone · 25/07/2015 16:12

" All children have always been treated equally....I love them all equally, and treat them the same, as does their DF. "

how is moving away leaving one behind 'treating them equally'?

AyeAmarok · 25/07/2015 16:53

I only posted for hopefully some advice on how to handle a tense and hard situation. But the same people who said "don't make out your stepson means as much as your DCs- they don't" have also said, "why didn't you make DsS as much a priority as DCs" ...which one is it?

I can't do right for doing wrong

Well I thought this was pretty clear, but since you and one of your supporters are more hard of thinking than I realised, I shall spell it out.

I said this in response to you saying:

Maybe people can't see that you can love a child that isn't "your own" as much. I'm guessing these are the families with no stepchildren. I am a Family of 6, not 5


All children have always been treated equally, I love them all equally, and treat them the same, as does their DF

Because it's blatantly not true. You are lying. You DON'T treat them the same because you would never abandon one of your own children in order to give yourself a less tiring commute. You say this yourself. And you wouldn't allow a piddly £70 a fortnight stop you seeing your children for months at a time.

And this from your OP, the text your DSS sent his dad "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". Sad

Is very sad. Your DH knows so little about him he feels he needs to tell his dad that his school holidays have started, obviously because there have been no arrangements made by his dad to see him. And then your DP doesn't even reply? So the poor kid has to beg " Answer me", that is so awful. Sad

Coffeemarkone · 25/07/2015 17:00

It's tragic actually.

Iamatotalandutteridiot · 25/07/2015 17:05

How would you feel if you split up with DF and he moved away and stopped seeing your kids.

How would you feel if he moved back to his eldest child and saw that child regularly?

Now review how you see this situation.

he is 12. his father isn't there. His father is with his new family. Give the kid a break!

Iamatotalandutteridiot · 25/07/2015 17:09

And, by the way, give yourself a break.

OF COURSE you treat the kids differently. I treat my step kids differently to my bio kids because THEY HAVE A MOTHER. THey don't need me as anything other than what I am - a stepmum!

It's time your partner stepped up and sorted this out. It's not really your bag to sort.

jacks11 · 25/07/2015 21:18

The OP and her DH have clearly not handled this situation well, but I have to say I find some of the responses OTT (and a few a bit hysterical).

I really don't think it is reasonable to expect the OP and her husband to stay put, even if it meant unemployment with all that entails. I see some people say they would choose to become unemployed and impoverish themselves, risk losing their home etc in order to stay near their children- well fine, if it's just you to consider, I suppose. But would you do that to the other children too? I wouldn't, because the elder child is just as important as his younger half-siblings not more so, and the OPs children's welfare needs to be considered here too. Clearly, losing their home etc would not be in their best interests.

Some posters have said they should have both commuted until DH could find a job closer to home. How would that work practically? Who would look after the other children? Surely all that would happen is that all 4 children would suffer from lack of contact. How would OP's DH manage to spend quality time with any of his children with a long commute like that?

I'm not convinced OP should give up a degree course with 1 year to go, seems a waste. I had to do a long commute for a year meaning DD had to spend more time with my parents and less with me- and while not ideal, my DD learned to adapt. Children do, if it is handled properly, which is where I think the problem lies here.

As to the Poster who had "are all of you lurking" in relation to DSS contact time- well, yes as they live there I imagine they are present quite a lot. I would not describe that as lurking though. Do you really expect everyone to vacate the premises for the duration of DSS time there? Madness.

OP, in my view what is wrong is that your DSS is struggling to adapt, and probably does feel a bit abandoned/sidelined. He is old enough to understand the concept of why you had to move, but not emotionally mature enough to assimilate that into his feelings about what has happened. He is therefore acting out, and being rude.

I can understand your feelings of frustration, but agree with other posters that you need to put these to one side because you and your DH are the adults- he is behaving badly because hurt and he is lashing out. You did not intend to hurt him, and I think it was the least worst option of those you had, but that doesn't change the fact that he is hurting.

So you need to be persistent about contact, even when he says he does't want to speak to you, doesn't text back etc- just keep trying. I would aim for consistency- e.g. regular visits et, if you say you will call, do so (or let him know that you can't and when you will reschedule). However, when he is really being rude this should not be ignored. Nor can his visits be constant treats etc- he needs to be indulged a little for now but not indefinitely. For a while he will need a fair chunk of 1:1 time with his DF but this needs to be managed carefully so he does not expect everything will revolve around him indefinitely. With regard to presents/treats etc I would say "you can provide a list of things you'd like for christmas/birthdays but you won't get everything on your list". If he asks for things that are unreasonable/ you can't afford/ treats when he's behaved badly etc you simply say "No, you can't have that because....".

Good luck op.

AyeAmarok · 25/07/2015 21:44

They (the other 3 DC) lost their home anyway, Jacks, they moved 3hrs away from their home and their extended family. So that is just a crap justification and it holds no water.

But its okay as it meant the DP and OP didn't need to commute everyday anymore. That commute was so exhausting that following the move neither of them were able to even manage it once a fortnight. Hmm

And they don't know that the DP would have been unemployed. He didn't bother trying to find a job nearby.

And she wouldn't have had to give up a degree course with one year to go. She could have continued to commute, which was what she intended to do when she signed up for the course. It's better that all 4 children see an hour or two less per day of a parent for a few months than for one of the children to only see a parent twice a year.

CrispyFern · 25/07/2015 22:08

DSS could get the train alone after school on Fridays and arrive at six / seven ish, your DH could travel back with him on Sunday for some one to one time.

Would that work?

Bunnyjo · 25/07/2015 22:24

jacks11 - I have already posted to say that I would give my degree course up in a heartbeat if my children/family were suffering.

DH lost his self-employed contract with City Link on Xmas day. Within days I had spoke to the deputy head of my school to discuss all my options - the school immediately offered me a deferral for a year to allow us to get back on our feet. I am about to finish my second year with a First; all I have left to sit is early Jan exams that I did defer to give us some breathing space. For a while leaving university was a real possibility and it was only my deputy head giving me a host of other options that prevented this. This degree means the world to me, and is something I treasure, but my family mean more and I was more than prepared to give it up for my family.

Did OP do any of this when her DH was faced with losing his job? Why was relocating 3 hours' away the only option available? Even when the move was decided upon why did DH not speak to his HR dept. about arranging occasional early Friday finishes to maintain regular contact with his DS?

Truthfully, I very much doubt they explored all the avenues and is seems to me that this move was convenient rather than a necessity. Their actions since the move do not suggest that maintaining contact with DSS was high on the list of priorities. How must the poor boy feel when he was aware his DSM commuted daily to university, yet they have managed one commute to him this year?! I am not surprised he decided he was busy with something else, in all likelihood he was trying to hurt them in the way he'd been hurt.

OP, I suggest your DH needs to organise regular contact between him and his DS. No more excuses as to why this isn't possible, because it is - you proved that with your commute to university daily. You can say your DSS is treated equally and that you love him as much as your own children, but actions speak louder than words...

jacks11 · 25/07/2015 22:50


Disagree with you- I think losing their home (as in not having a home/having to go into emergency housing, as opposed to moving house) is a big deal, frankly. That is not the same as moving home. The parent earning a wage becoming unemployed with resulting impact on financial stability is a big deal- I don't imagine that would be in the best interests of the 3 other children either. I feel for the OPs DSS, he has been hurt by their actions.

I agree there are ways in which this could have been more carefully considered and better plans arranged for contact. I also agree OP could have shown more empathy into why her DSS is acting the way he is.

loveareadingthanks · 26/07/2015 07:35

I've been a step parent, and I also have a child with an ex husband, so I do get the issues with access.

But I don't understand the decision to move so far without any way of maintaining regular contact.

I understand the need to move. But if you had a 2 hour commute, but now live 3 hours away, you chose to move an hour the other side of where you needed to get to. Why didn't you move halfway? So an hours commute and an hour to see this child? Both very manageable and normal. I'm not surprised the poor boy feels abandoned, as it was necessary for you to move but it wasn't necessary at all for you to isolate yourselves from him.

My child's father moved 3 hours away but it made zero difference to the amount and type of contact. He put in the effort to still see him exactly as much as before. OK, the two of you don't drive - all the more reason for you to have considered the impact on this boy and only move 1 hour away. You and your husband have destroyed your relationship with this child for nothing. You now have an hour commute to work/uni. You could have moved a reasonable distance (1 hour) from child and had the same one hour commute to work/uni.

How to fix this?
Move halfway between child and work/uni and start being part of his life properly again.

captainproton · 26/07/2015 08:08

loveareadingthanks That would be my solution, when DSS moved with his mum we had a bloody awful journey EOW, so we moved half way. We ended up in a town none of us had any connection with, having to start from scratch with friendships etc. it's hard but was totally worth it. It was my house we sold, and it was my local area and friends we said goodbye to, but I had the children to think of. I admit I don't love DSS like my own but I still love him, and my children adore their brother. I could see DSS falling out of love for traveling EOW and Us Hardly ever seeing him, I just couldn't let that happen. DH has a longer commute to work but our housing costs are less, we are all happy that we still get to see DSS.

OP I do think your own kids might not be so sympathetic to moving away from their brother as they get older and wonder why you didn't make some sort of compromise like say moving a bit closer or maybe every 3 weeks if finances tight?

Boooboop · 26/07/2015 08:21

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Crosbybeach · 26/07/2015 08:33

I think you've had a hard time on here.

LilacWine7 · 26/07/2015 09:13

Lilac you say the dss has his own family. His father is his family!

Yes his father and half-siblings are his family... but so is his mum! According to OP his primary home has always been with his mum. So he has not lost his home or been 'abandoned' by his family! He is still living at home with his mum, because this is what she wants. It's unfortunate his dad and extended family no-longer live nearby, but he still has opportunities to stay with them. Surely at 12 he could take a train or coach if he wants to visit them more often?
He was lucky to have 10+ years of his dad and extended family living so close by. Many children of divorced parents don't have this luxury. It's often impractical or financially impossible for divorced parents to live close enough for such a regular contact arrangement. What would have happened if SS's mum had moved away for work and took him with her? Would you expect OP and her DH to follow and re-locate their family too, just so SS doesn't feel abandoned by one parent? Would you judge the mum if she'd taken a job in a new area in order to support herself and her son?

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

We don't know this. Many 12 year-olds are capable of understanding the world does not revolve around them. They are capable of understanding complex financial reasons for a move and why further education is important. If OP and his dad explained why the move was necessary I see no reason why SS can't understand.

JakieOH · 26/07/2015 09:46

I'm not reading all 8 pages, the 1st 2 were enough.

To those posters blaming OP and her DP for moving away, would you say the same if it had been their mother that 'needed' to move because of her work situation and that had impacted on the relationship with DC?

I posted about DPs exw thinking about moving away due to work and the fact it would have major consequences for his contact with DC. Some of the posters I have seen on here saying OP shouldn't have 'abandoned' the children were the same ones telling me we were being selfish stopping DPs exw moving because she had every right to go if she was struggling and DP was being selfish stopping her?!

Double standards on this site Regarding SC are laughable!!

clam · 26/07/2015 10:14

This thread demonstrates exactly why I've had just about enough of MN now. The flaming of the OP has been unnecessary and appallingly nasty. If you disagree with what she and her OH have done, then why not point that out calmly, without all the aggression? And then go back to your perfect lives. Hmm

LavenderLeigh · 26/07/2015 10:29

OP, I wonder if it would help you to put things into perspective if you could hear about how your DSS might be feeling and acting?

I've been the parent left trying to console a child whose father has moved far away and has viturally dropped out of contact. I have lost count of the times DD has cried her eyes out and wondered why her father does not love her - because if he did, then he would make an effort to be in her life. And I have no answers. All I can do is to reassure her that it is not because of her, or anything that she has done. What I want to say is that its beacuse he's a stupid, selfish prick who doesn't deserve to be a father. Of course, he is a father in name only.

She is now at university and has virtually no relationship with her father because of the way he behaved, which was to put himself first and her a long, long way behind. He knows nothing about her or her life. He has missed out on so much. It is his loss. She is a wonderful young woman and he is missing out on so very much. But it is all because of the decisions he made and which had a terrible impact on her, her confidence and self-esteem. And that is so hard to see and to know you are powerless to do anything about.

Please, do not .under estimate the effect this lack of contact may be having on your DSS. Try to imagine how your children would feel if your DH did this to them? And how you would feel about it too.

Your DH needs to radically alter the way he has been behaving and move heaven and earth to see his son on a regular basis. It cannot be money, because a trip every two weeks would cost much less than your previous daily commute.

He might pay child support, but at the moment your DH is a dead-beat dad in every other way bar financial support because he is making no effort to be a part of his sons life.

MadamArcatiAgain · 26/07/2015 11:04

OP y6ou haven't answered my questions

  1. whether you let your DP have a relationship with his son without you and your DC lurking about?
  2. Your location.You were originally 2 hours from your university- so why are you now 3 hours away from your stepson?
    a)You must still be at least an hour away from the university??
    b) Why not move midway between your old home and the uni?
    c)Where is your Dh's job in relation to your old home new home and uni?
  3. Is your DH really such a loser he can't get a job within a 3 hour radius of his son?
jacks11 · 26/07/2015 18:33


I find your tone quite hysterical. Why the rudeness?

re OP and the other DC "lurking about"- what utter rot. They are not "lurking" by being in their own home. Yes, DSS needs some one to one time, but the rest of the family are also entitled to be in their house and I dare say that DSS may want to spend time with his step-siblings too?

MadamArcatiAgain · 26/07/2015 19:07

Hysterical? What are you talking about?The OP is evading some pretty crucial questions[

Of course they are entitled to be in their own home, but the father could take his child out, or could go and visit him alone couldn't he?

HoldYerWhist · 26/07/2015 19:08

And then go back to your perfect lives

I fucking hate when this drivel is trotted out. Disagreement with OP equals perfect life? I mean, seriously???

Mrsjayy · 26/07/2015 19:31

I stand by he is 12 he does not understand why his dad moved away he probably knows why people need to work to earn but he more than likely doesnt get why he has been left going from popping into see his dad every other day to texting to remind his dad his school holidays have started is bang out of order and the op has the cheek to think the poor kid is being disrespectful,

LavenderLeigh · 26/07/2015 19:40

Madam - you aren't a prosecuting lawyer and OP isn't standing trial.
As for "lurking" in their own home - that's just silly.

CinderellaRockefeller · 26/07/2015 20:03

If contact was 50/50 and now is not, surely maintanence will have gone up? Maybe that was where the money has gone. Maybe the DH had to take a pay cut? Maybe they had to move somewhere where the rent is considerably higher e.g the South east from the north. Maybe the OP got a travel grant that now she doesn't qualify for.

Am surprised how many people seem to have confused mumsnet with being in a court drama as well. Are you wearing wigs and banging imaginary gavels?

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