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Being Step-Mum

2 replies

SueMcP · 04/04/2016 17:48

I think I need some advice.

I'm brand new to mumsnet, and I will admit, that I never expected it to be a site I would visit, but here I am.

My partner has recently got back in touch with his ex, about seeing his little girl (Long story short, they had a falling out and she disappeared about 3 years ago with their daughter). All pasts have been put behind and they've moved on.

So after a few meetups, we got to have her stay over during the Easter weekend. To set the scene a little, myself, my partner, his ex and her new partner are all into gaming, and so it seems is my partners little girl - who, for the record, is almost 11.

Turns out her mum has allowed her to play games that she really should not be playing. She played them very briefly while she was here, but my partner and I were very uncomfortable about it, and so put a stop to it... mostly because she was being pretty violent while playing said games.

I offered to take all three of us to the cinema to watch a movie and she told me she didn't like movies.

She also asked some very odd questions when she was with us. One directly to myself, which was to ask if I had any savings... I'm making an assumption that this has come from her mum. The other question she asked while we were out for a meal, was if we had ever "accidentally not paid for something". Now having any involvement with children is something I am completely new to. I don't have any close friends with children, and I was the youngest in my family. I know kids can ask odd questions... but it really made me wonder.

We also went to see her grandfather while she was with us, because again, it had been a number of years since he'd seen her. As she's diabetic, we were all laying off the chocolate as an easter treat, and he had bought her a very sweet looking little toy lamb. He asked her what she was going go call it... "Satan".
I'll admit, that it was quite funny... but in hindsight, it made me uncomfortable. We also bought her another little sheep for easter, and this one was named Darkness.

The last encounter before we handed her over to her mum, was her wanting to viciously stomp and kick at some pigeons, not in a playful run towards them kind of way. I stopped her and asked what she was doing, only for her to respond as "They're flying rats, they kill people".

Now I may be painting a rather gloomy picture, what I will say is that when she was with us, she was quite affectionate towards both myself and my partner, came for a cuddle in the morning. I even did the whole routine of hiding her easter treat for her, and she seemed completely taken in by the idea of the easter bunny being real.

I'm at a bit of a loss. I'm really concerned about her upbringing so far, and it is worrying me. I want to, with my partner, give her a proper decent upbringing. My partner is worried about approaching his ex with his concerns in-case she decides that he's not getting any further involvement in his daughter's life.

Any help, suggestions, or advice would be gratefully appreciated


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corythatwas · 10/04/2016 10:31

How much did your partner actually do about gaining access to his daughter after the split-up? He seems to be telling you that it is in his ex's gift to decide whether he gets any access or not. It isn't. Not unless he has given proof of being a danger to the child. Did he go to court? Has he paid the maintenance he owes?

This little girl seems to be exposed to some unsuitable influences; she is also probably quite stressed at the unusual situation of staying with a father she no longer knows, so may be pushing the satanic references deliberately to shock him (pre-teens have a very acute sense of the shocking).

The important first question is not "how can we take her away from her mother and stop these influences?" but "how can we show her- and the world- that nothing will now stop her father from being a real father to her, that she matters more to him than anything in the world and that he will move heaven and earth for her sake?".

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SueMcP · 11/04/2016 00:35

Thanks for the reply.

My understanding at the time they split up, she disappeared following an argument over money. Didn't tell him she was leaving the area, left no forwarding address and didn't take any of his calls. He only happened upon his ex's Facebook account maybe 6 months or so ago and decided to contact her at Christmas.

I believe it was not through lack of trying, but he had no idea where she had gone, and no means to chase it. In terms of maintenance, that was a mutual agreement through them both, which was quite minimal, but was what was agreed and accepted with them both at the time.

I know full well she is being exposed to things that are not suitable for her, and it really worries and concerns both myself and my partner. I hadn't given the stress factor a consideration. We had seen her a few times with her mother and her partner as a mutual taking her out, all 5 of us, and everything had seemed fine. This was the first time we had had her to stay, so maybe looking at this from a refreshed perspective, the satanic references were more of a shock factor, which they definitely were. Part of me is beginning to wonder if this was her trying to see where the boundaries were.

I don't think the idea was ever how can we take her away from her mother, it was more so, how can we approach it with her mother and say, we're not happy with her being exposed to things she shouldn't be. I think your last question sums up what I am looking for, how can we, that is myself and my partner, show her the love and care that is seems like she needs, without causing issues with her mother. I'm just worried that she's going to be continually influenced by things far too explicit for her age, and not really going to be able to make an impact on trying to help her grow into a healthy minded young lady, or as much as possible before it's too late.

An additional problem is the distance. She now lives a few hours from us, and having her for regular visits is not going to be an easy thing as she doesn't travel very well. we are hoping to at least see her at least once a month, and have her over for a weekend whenever she is on break from school.

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