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Navigating blending/becoming a family
42

TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 14:20

My DP doesn’t have dc (not through choice, he always wanted them). I have 2 dc, they are 10 and 13. We’ve been together 18months. We were careful to slowly introduce, the dc like him, we’ve don’t days out, overnights, a weekend away and just did a week holiday.

DP has struggled on occasion because as he says, he’s just not used to dc. He doesn’t feel he is able to ‘parent’ them, and finds it really hard when they are stroppy/moody/whingy as all dc are at some point on holidays 😁

We went away with another family who have dc (although mostly grown up now) and they reassured me that my dc are normal, lovely but just as whingy as all kids their age, removed from their PlayStation/Wi-Fi 😂. The weather wasn’t great either so lots of spending time in small space together.

He’s not criticising my parenting or my kids. He is trying really hard. Any advice on how we navigate this?

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PetalParty · 05/08/2022 16:04

He’s showing you quite clearly he’s not into the whole kids thing. Why do you want to foist them upon someone who doesn’t want them.

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TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:12

He absolutely does want them, he’s always wanted children but couldn’t have them. I’ve actually said I would understand if he wanted to walk away and he said he doesn’t. It’s just that he isn’t used to being around children and is finding it hard.

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TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:17

I think for him it’s the difficulty of not going through all the stages, and being suddenly with 10 and 13 year olds.

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MaxOverTheMoon · 05/08/2022 16:18

Just don't make plans to live together yet OP. It will be fine, take it on the chin that other people's kids are annoying and don't take it personally. He isn't coming across in your OP as being unkind and is trying. Maybe at this point in time anymore than a weekend away is a bit much for him so go away with your dc separately to him but also go away with just you and him. Enjoy having a boyfriend who doesn't live with you and make the most of any dc free time together. Your dc are probably fine but a week is hard work with other people's dc. I like all of my friends dc and find a week away hard - and I work with dc, I'm a kid friendly person.

Don't expect the Waltons and tell him you don't expect it to be the Waltons either. Get in the present moment and don't overthink it. Obviously if he becomes unkind then that's a different story but right now take the pressure off of blending and enjoy having your dc and a bf that you don't have to live with.

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TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:20

Oh yes, we are not moving in together any time soon! We don’t have anything else planned for a while. All of the going away has been at his suggestion.

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MaxOverTheMoon · 05/08/2022 16:23

Tell him you really appreciate how hard he is trying with your dc and just gently explain that you get it's hard for him to come into your unit. Maybe read a few blending families books - stepmonster is a good shout. If you both try to understand each other and don't take things personally around dc then it should all work out fine.

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Wallywobbles · 05/08/2022 16:24

My DH loves kids just no so much mine who are stroppy feminist outspoken older teens. I like his, the same age but I also enjoy that they are not mine. When they are stroppy with their Dad it makes me laugh.

He actually loves babies. Not teens I suspect. It's mostly hard and bollocks. And being hands off is not always best for the kids either. Step parent is a hard gig. Parenting teens is pretty complicated too.

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Wallywobbles · 05/08/2022 16:25

That said I'd recommend weekly family meetings.

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Endlesslypatient82 · 05/08/2022 16:26

We went away with another family who have dc (although mostly grown up now) and they reassured me that my dc are normal, lovely but just as whingy as all kids their age, removed from their PlayStation/Wi-Fi

You needed to be reassured OP about your own children??

This man is planting seeds of doubt in your mind.

walk away. Walk the hell away. For your children’s sake

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Endlesslypatient82 · 05/08/2022 16:32

op Is it your DD’s autism he’s struggling with?

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GiselleRose · 05/08/2022 16:35

I think it’ll get easier as they grow up. I have a boyfriend of just over a year and 2 dc aged 15 and 17 and they all get along. My boyfriend doesn’t live-nearby but stays for weekends, occasionally for a bit longer. I don’t expect him to parent my children because of their ages and because they have parents who do that. In your situation, I think I’d leave the ball in his court and maybe stick to date nights and weekends together for a few years. If I’m being really honest though I think I’d find it very hard to be with someone who was irritated by my children. I think I’d be out of there and happy with just me and my kids, quite honestly.

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TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:36

Tbh I’ve always worried that my dc are worse than others, even when I go away with friends and their dc (before DP was in the picture.) I actually think ex planted that seed- he was always comparing our dc to others.

Thanks for the advice. I think their ages are already difficult, the 13 he old was particularly stroppy, storming off and refusing to do stuff. And the usual declaring that they are bored every 2 mins.

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TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:39

I didn’t mention their sexes or her autism, so that’s a bit weird?

But no actually. He does find it hard, but understands. I think he found my older dc more challenging this week.

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Endlesslypatient82 · 05/08/2022 16:39

TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:36

Tbh I’ve always worried that my dc are worse than others, even when I go away with friends and their dc (before DP was in the picture.) I actually think ex planted that seed- he was always comparing our dc to others.

Thanks for the advice. I think their ages are already difficult, the 13 he old was particularly stroppy, storming off and refusing to do stuff. And the usual declaring that they are bored every 2 mins.

That sounds rather rude actually

especially on a group holiday with another family

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Endlesslypatient82 · 05/08/2022 16:39

TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:39

I didn’t mention their sexes or her autism, so that’s a bit weird?

But no actually. He does find it hard, but understands. I think he found my older dc more challenging this week.

I was on the other thread re autism. And you mentioned your DD with autism.

surely relevant to this thread?

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TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:43

Yes it’s relevant. I didn’t want to make my OP too complicated.

I agree that it’s rude. They were particularly bad this week and I was fed up of them. I would have been angry at their behaviour regardless of DP being there.

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Thefailinghousewife · 05/08/2022 16:52

I may be way off with my advice, but DH have 5 kids between us varying from 30 down to 10, and 2 are autistic so we have run the gauntlet with them all at varying stages!

We both back each other up and acknowledge when the kids are just being dickheads - because, god love them, sometimes they just are, and I think we should both be able to say that rather than pretend everything is fine.

We both try and have our own ‘thing’ with each of the kids so my step daughter I might take to get her nails done, or for bubble tea. The eldest boy I might drop off some beer or get us a take away. It doesn’t really matter what it is, just that we try have a relationship outside of the other parent.

Lastly, any issues and we both back off and support the other parent as a United front, but they take the lead. Our 2 youngest live at home (his daughter, my son) so we do have to discipline equally there, but we always back each other up even if we discuss if it was the right track afterwards.

if he has no kids, being suddenly transported into difficult stages is hard! Take it slow, and be ready to back off if any of you need the space. Good luck!

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Endlesslypatient82 · 05/08/2022 16:52

TorviShieldMaiden · 05/08/2022 16:43

Yes it’s relevant. I didn’t want to make my OP too complicated.

I agree that it’s rude. They were particularly bad this week and I was fed up of them. I would have been angry at their behaviour regardless of DP being there.

Op

Including that one of your children has autism in the context of a partner struggling to cope with your children is not “over complicating”. It is probably central to his difficulties.

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TorviShieldMaiden · 06/08/2022 10:34

Actually the difficulties though are less with my autistic dc and much more with my other dc who is 13. Speaking to friends who have dc the same age (we’ve known each other since they were babies) it seems some of the behaviour is similar to their 12/13 yr olds. Doesn’t make it easier to deal with if you’ve never been around kids.

I liken it a bit to my sister and her reactions to my small children before she had kids. I know she was thinking (and judging occasionally) wtf, because she was child free. She even commented on how clueless she was once she’s had dc of her own 😂

I suppose what will be will be, if it doesn’t work and he can’t manage then that’s it. I’d be sad though as otherwise brilliant relationship. I hope taking some time and space will be enough.

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Endlesslypatient82 · 06/08/2022 10:40

How does he struggle? Grumpy? Stressed? Walks off?

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Endlesslypatient82 · 06/08/2022 10:41

He doesn’t have any nieces or nephews? No close friends with children?

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TorviShieldMaiden · 06/08/2022 10:54

He has nieces and nephews and friends with children. But that hasn’t meant spending long periods of time, like camping for a week with them in the same small space. I don’t think he ever looked after the nieces/nephews on his own or with his ex wife.

He struggles by becoming very quiet. He doesn’t walk off, he helps where he can (so when 13 he old stropped off and went missing in a wood for 15 mins he went to look for him with me, covering different places. He will stay with older dc so I can remove autistic sibling from a stressful situation. He’ll go and get food/drink if that’s what I think is needed. He started a distraction game of spotting certain coloured cars to distract a dc whinging about walking “so far”. Otherwise he goes very quiet.

He’s open about it (not in front of kids) that he finds it hard. I think he doesn’t quite know what to do as he doesn’t feel he can intervene and discipline them, but also doesn’t want to just walk off. I think it’s the reality of how mardy/whingy/ungrateful kids can be sometimes on holiday. Especially camping ones with lots of rain!

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Endlesslypatient82 · 06/08/2022 11:00

Tbh I am a single mother of 2 and I would find what you deceive so stressful.

My nephew is autistic and I am in awe of my brother. As a mother of NT children, I do struggle when I have him longer than a couple of hours, which is rare.

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Endlesslypatient82 · 06/08/2022 11:01

Describe

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Endlesslypatient82 · 06/08/2022 11:03

Maybe take the children out of the equation and just have more of a “fun” relationship with him where you enjoy dating rather than family stuff

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