View Full Version : How do you help older kids while not taking away from your own?
I wasn't sure if I should add this to one of the other threads, but then thought I might be better to start a new one, as the other threads seem to be more introductions at the moment (and I've introduced myself and my family situation already LOL).
I'm sort of sitting here tonight with lots of thoughts running through my head to do with DSD. (For those of you who don't know - she's 13). I'm guessing that this is probably a thread for me to put my thoughts down to help me think rather than a thread where I'll expect too many responses. (However, responses are welcome).
We would normally have the two kids for this weekend (fortnightly access), but access is suspended on Mothers Day.
Started out this morning, with a phone call from my stepkids' mum. She called me rather than DH (why? - think it's because she thinks she can talk to me better). The call consisted of her telling me I have to get DH to call DSD as she's been playing up heaps. This isn't new (DH usually gets called in when if the kids are playing up to give them a call - much as it is hard on the kids and him if it's about getting someone to tell them off when that person wasn't there). Anyway, the reasons were...Lying, stealing and drinking. Apparently stealing her mum's cigarettes (for a friend???), and the drinking was apparently discovered when she was throwing up. This does all concern me, but what concerns me more is that mum reckoned she didn't know about any of it - yet, both kids are allowed to go out to friends' houses till all hours, or just out for a ride etc after dark without supervision... End of conversation was that DH needs to have a talk with DSD, as the mother now wants to move them back to the place they moved from 4weeks ago and has just about had it with DSD so the next move is to send her to live with us. BTW - I hate the hidden meaning here that it's punishment to send her to live with us.
I know DH has been very disturbed by all this - he hates that he's so far away from the kids and that they are being brought up in a totally different way to how he wants, but at the same time we try to honour their mother's role, but only intervening when asked (however, the kids know that we have rules for our house that are different to theirs and they respect that) - it seems like a mutually respective thing (most of the time). All this means that DH doesn't like talking much about the situation as he feels it's one he can't do too much about, no matter how he disagrees with different things - as contact has been witheld in the past, and also to minimise any negative talk about us in the other house.
DH tried to call DSD, but her phone was off all day, so I messaged her after DH went to bed. Ended talking to her on MSN for an hour and a half, and she admitted to having phone off due to not wanting to talk to anyone - also is worried that her dad is very angry with her. I tried to tell her that dad is more worried bout her and how to help her as she is obviously in a tricky place at the moment. She seems convinced that her mum should have given her a chance to see if she would behave before threatening a move back to where they came from. (There is a lot more to this story too, but this post is already getting long) She thinks mum is really against her, and she'd rather stay at her friend's than move. I think her mum is seeing behaviours she doesn' t want and is trying to cut ties before they get any worse, where as I'm also seeing that my DSD is starting to spiral out of control and her rebellion will only skyrocket if told she can't do things (she admitted as much when saying that her mum has banned her from seeing certain people, but she's going to go behind her back).
There's prob a lot more that I could add, but at this point I'll cut it short to say that my dilemma is that much as I would take DSD in for her benefit (not mine, or her mother's), I feel on another selfish level that this would be a huge undertaking and would require a lot of work that isn't fair on my 2 year old or my bub due in two months. Most of the responsibility would fall back on me and I'm at a stage in my life where I have to give a big percentage of myself to my two children. I worry that DSD would resent us, and we'd have to start a lot of stuff at the beginning with her wanting to push the boundaries all the way, but the way things are going, things are going to get worse. Can also predict I'll be writing the same things in a couple of years time to do with DSS (except then I'll be dealing with a 2 and a 4year old).
So the question is how do you help the older kids, while not taking away from your own?
Oh Pegasus my love I have been where you are right now for the past probably 14 months meaning my entire pregnancy & since charlotte was born. Mostly though our stuff relates to DSS as you know.
It does definately sound like DSD is in a bad spot at the moment, & is crying out, testing limits etc. Firstly I want to let you know I also know what its like to have most of it fall on your shoulders my DH is the same & for some reason its easier for me to deal with it. Not to say he doesn't try. Secondly your DSD's behaviour isn't going to change any time soon & it will be a massive up hill battle. I can't tell you personally what to do but I'll share my experience. My son is almost 10yrs old & he came to tell me how he resented the fact that most of the time I was always worrying about or parenting DSS & he was missing out (not his words but his point all the same) & you know what he was right. Then due to what my DSS was up too at the time, sort of similar to ur DSD my health during my pregnancy was suffering, doc told me to lower my bp or else. I was overwhelmed with stress. With a scare at 26weeks I decided that was it & since I have been stepping back (also DSS decided because of new rules & expectations set by me & his dad - he went back to live with mum after 8 years). My children are my world, I love my step-children & have a close bond with DSS but I can't fix what is wrong in thier lives. I have tried. I also want my family unit at this point in my life & DH wants the same. He has a really good setup as far as contact goes and for the first time, he's happy, I'm happy, but most importantly all four of our children are happy. I know its not ideally the way DSS would like it but it has to be for everyone involved. To top it off at 9am yesterday on mothers day I got a lovely sms from him & my heart smiled. I really hope this works out, I'm sorry to say this because all children are precious BUT you need to put yours first. You are their only mum. It is not selfish I still tell myself that most days.
God this is long :ecomcity: if you want to talk further pm me - always up for a chat or just to listen
Thanks Tara - somehow I knew you'd know what was going on for me. It's all very confusing as my parents both get on the phone to me and say - it's all about the karma of when the kids were little and their mother told them what a b!tch you are and that you'd never have the kids etc - that I should remind her of what was said and refuse to have them.
My mother has said their biomum is reaping her parenting as she sees a lot of this as being a result of what we've witnessed - I tend to agree a fair bit about this, and I try so hard with my son (and will do with my ?daughter?) to give them the upbringing that I believe in with the consistency, no violence, swearing, and teach them the values that will help them have the self esteem that hopefully will help them avoid the other road.
I can't help agreeing with my parents (and the brief conversation I had with MIL yesterday), but I also can't help thinking that it's not about me, or their mother or their father, it's about (in this case) DSD. On my level (and on her father and mother's level) it would be much easier to pass the buck over.
It's strange, but when I first met my DH I wanted kids straight away, we went through so many tests and cr@p that the time wasn't right for 6years and now I am so thankful due to the fact that my son will be 7 and my daughter (so I've been told) will be 5 when my DSD is 18 and hopefully this will lessen the impact on them.
I always predicted the behaviour would get worse, and that's probably why DH lets me deal with a lot of it - it's all too disheartening when you feel so powerless, so his thoughts were always let them go until they decide to rebel against their mother and want another life (with us), whereas my thoughts were that it's too late by that point, and we should do what we can before it ever gets to that point.
Sorry for long rant - thanks for your thoughts - maybe I should take to pms...:detective:
my dss (15) lives with us and i am the one that has to deal with everything as dp works long hours often out at 4 am and not back to 7-8 pm
im the one that deals with the not doing homework chores letters and phone calls from teachers the teenage attitude and everything that comes wit that
i know that once dss comes home from school thats it ben as horriable as it is gets pushed aside by the time i finish yelling at dss getting him to sports training or work im in such a mood poor ben has to deal with it
and what do i get from dp "well you should have rang me and i could have spoke to him " wtf is ringing dp going to do when hes in the middle of nowhere and im pulling my hair out
dss2 (7) is very full on and has lots of behaviour problmes that his mother refuses to get help with so he his bad mannered and generally a little s**t when hes here and again dp works saturdays so who deals with all the s**t ME
sometimes its hard but im trying to step back and let there mothers and my dp take responiability ben needs me
its not that i dont care for or love dss but sometimes i dont think its fair that ben should be missing out on me
sorry guys just having a really bad day :thumbsdown:
ive been a mess since yesturday just one of those days (well maybe a few days)
I am in the oppisite situation with my daughter. She is 13 and giving me trouble at the moment because she thinks she knows so much more about life than I do.
I have spoken to her stepmum and her dad and all they do is blame me for the way things are. They don't consider that teenagers can be a handful without the parents doing the wrong thing. I believe that when you marry someone with children you also have a commitment to the children. If the mum is having a hard time maybe you should support her and talk about what you all expect from the child and work together. Teenagers are totally different to young children and need to know both sets of parents are going to stick together. I know myself I would love to get that support instead of the critisism. Also I can relate to the stepmum issue because my husband and I have children of our own but we both have children from previous marriages as well.
I hope everything works out well for all of you. I just wanted to give you and idea of the other side. Good luck and take care.
Caroline - thanks for your perspective from the other side. I think it's tough on all parties, but toughest of all on the kids. If my hubby and his ex had the same parenting styles then they might have stayed together (actually probably not as they'd already broken up when she told him she was pregnant 5weeks after meeting him). The problem is that in my situation, I've been predicting a lot of issues for years, I don't believe that this is due to unfair judgements that I've placed on the parenting in the other house, but when I have witnessed first hand the violence and swearing etc that these kids grow up with it's been obvious to me that their two houses are poles apart and inconsistency is the worst enemy of self esteem and knowing how to act. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that I have been asked for extra support from the kids' mum before (as with this time), and I try to offer what I can - we took DSD two years ago straight after my son was born as her mum wasn't coping with her then. Much as I didn't really want to as I had a newborn I wanted to give my all to at that time.
Bensmummy - thanks for you perspective too. It's understandable that you need to vent sometimes. (Look at the fact that I started a thread on it - LOL). I'm not too sure what's going on for us at the moment - we've got a lot to talk to DSD and her mum about before making any rash decisions. If we only lived down the road then it would be a different story - but we live about 150km away, so we'd be uprooting her.
Caroline - I do understand what you are saying but along with Pegasus we have not just judged or blamed mum a lot of things came to light directly from DSS through counselling etc as to what he had been through when in his mothers care. I do know that teenagers can be a handful & play up & rebel & that this has nothing really to do with the parents, just teens being teens. But you are right to show us sometimes the bio mums point of view.
Pegasus - Definately don't make any rash decisions as this is a big one & you really don't want to keep sending her in between I imagine. How is DH feeling about it?
Bens mummy - I can totally relate to what you have said in your post. Been there & done it. I feel for you, it is a hard long road. Do try & involve his their mum more & ask her to take some of the responsibility on. You never know when I pushed I received & it was the best thing for all of us. But it took 8years & its still me he calls when things aren't going his way. Feel free to vent on here or pm me if you'd like to talk.
Thinking of you Peg :yes:
Just thought I'd post a quick update as to what's going on for us. Firstly a small piece of background is that at Easter, my two step kids moved with their mum from about 60km south of Perth (100km from us), to about 70km north of Perth (?130km from us), this was due to a new start being needed, and to get closer to biomum's boyfriend's parents. (Don't know yet if Centrelink ever knew that biomum and her boyfriend were living together before, and that was the plan when they shifted).
Anyway, I spoke to DSD on Sunday night and then again on Monday night (via MSN), and it turns out that her mum has told her that she's shifting them back to where they came from to get away from the issues that have arisen in the new place. DSD told me that she didn't think she could return to the school that she attended before due to some incidences that occurred before they left, but that her mum has now fixed it. This is stuff that we didn't know about and it makes it really hard to be called in to help in a crisis when you don't know the whole story.
I left it to DH to do a lot of the talking to DSD about her options (I was there mainly to listen to anything she wanted to share), he spoke to her on Monday night on MSN as she'd said she wasn't going to answer her phone. He basically told her that he thought she should come to live with us for a while so she could wipe the slate clean and we could help her get on track as some of the things she had been doing were unacceptable. She replied that she didn't want to leave her friends, boyfriend and school, and would probably go back with her mum, but would rather stay where she is as all of her friends' had offerred that she could stay with them. DH then told her she should be with us or her mum (I agree with this, to stay with friends long term is just asking for trouble), but if she came to stay with us, she couldn't smoke, drink, or steal. If her behaviour continued, then we would have to think seriously about whether she could see our son or new baby. (I was really proud of him putting it like this as it's my belief that I don't want bad influences round my children, but was wondering how much I could say seeing as my children are as much my DH's as the other two). DSD got very upset with this, but when I spoke to her later, didn't bring it up again, just wanted to know if her dad hated her (which I assured her he didn't).
Yesterday, it turns out that biomum has called DH and abused him for saying DSD can't see our children. He then told her that he didn't want DSD's behaviour to be around them, and not that he'd closed the door on it. Biomum said DSD doesn't smoke herself - it's just her friends, ignoring the stealing and drinking etc, to which DH said "monkey see, monkey do" and from what I gather it all went downhill from there... ending with us being denied access this weekend again (the week after DSS's birthday where we haven't been able to see him to celebrate or give him a present). She also said that she didn't need to let us know what was going on:banghead:
This is all so frustrating. My thoughts are that biomum only knows about half of what DSD is up to, we only get told about half of this and therefore we know only about a quarter of what's going on. Why do we get asked to help, only to get it thrown back in our face to get more frustrated?
Sorry - this has got really long again, but there also seems to be so much not said as well - thanks for letting me have my vent!:ecomcity:
I am happy you didn't seem to take offence to my post. I find it hard writing some times as what I want to say could sound bad but isn't meant to be. When talking to someone, tone of voice etc can make something sound so different. I would never make judgment on anyone because as I said I have step children also and that job is even harder than parenting our own.
You guys seem like you are trying to do a great job. Well done. Sometimes I think as step parents we do get a lot of hostility from the biolgical mum. I know I don't think a lot of my childrens step mother but that has happened in time. We did get along well until my children started telling me the things said about me. I did my best to never put her down to the children.
Good luck to all who have to live with this situation, it is hard on everyone.
:hugs: and :kiss: to you Caroline.
That's what this forum is about - support for all.
I've tried to place myself in my DH's ex's shoes many times, in nearly 10 years though and the things we've been through I've decided that we just try our best.
I know what you mean about worrying if you post something if it comes out wrong - I worry that I'll offend some single mums with some of the posts that I put here - truth is I'm only usually writing about my experience with my step children's mother which is not a positive one, but I get that and I try not to generalise.
At the end of the day, we all just do what we think is right.:)
:hugs: for you pegasus. I really feel for you guys, it is so hard isn't it. Damned if you do & damned if you don't is how it feels at times.
Well I'm feeling a bit :( with my stepkids atm. Nothing really is wrong I just feel a little cranky with DSS because he is almost 17 & the reason he went to live with mum was to do home schooling, which surprise surprise isn't happening :rolleyes: . He isn't working at the moment either so I feel like he is doing nothing except having fun clowning around. We've talked to mum & she assures us homeschooling will be underway again soon but he's supposed to be in yr12 & its may & he hasn't been at school for over a year now. DH is sick of following up only to have it made out that its not a big deal.
Q about DSD's - do you think they feel more torn between their mums & dads than DSS's do. We just keep getting really mixed messages form her & its starting to get quite frustrating. DH is losing patience as this is the start of them building a relationship & she so often pulls away & then is full on. We are concerned for our kids as well as we don't want them hurt or confused.
Oh the joys
Hi guys (this is mostly a vent, so skip it if you feel - it's long...)
I haven't posted in this part of the forum for a while as our situation has been a really frustrating one and in those times I prefer to keep it a bit more private. (Well Ok it's still really frustrating but I'm ready to share now). My fears are starting to be realised just now (with respect to how I've predicted DSD is acting)
We finally had both kids 2weeks ago and all seemed to be fine. They'd moved back to south of Perth and everything seemed quite normal. It had been 2weeks since we'd had DSS, but 2months since we'd had DSD. Anyway, turns out their mother hadn't put them back in school (she'd decided to move 3weeks before the end of term) and while DSD can't (apparently) go back to her previous school (note here - need more info, but not sure what we can do with the info), DSS should have been able to go back to his previous school.
Anyway, I arranged with biomum to have the kids this weekend - they catch the bus to Perth where DH meets them and then catch the train with him to get home. Biomum said that was fine if both kids come, but DSD is so up and down atm that if it's just DSS then I'll have to pick him up (as he's younger)- fine (I've got other things to worry about - going to hospital on Thursday for bub, so I just go with the flow). Anyway, hubby calls me to say kids aren't on the bus as DSD is sick, so I'm to organise something with biomum. Then he calls back about 10mins later to say DSD isn't really sick - she'd written a note to her mum saying that she didn't want to come as I treat her like a cow when she stays...
Ok - that hurt, but hubby (and biomum) agreed that she was lying about that so she was to get on the bus and come anyway. End of day - neither kid came on Friday as DSD didn't get into gear to catch bus. Hubby got on MSN to talk to her on Friday night and said she had to apologise to me before she came again. (I was keeping out of it at this stage). DSD basically said whatever - admitted she lied, but also said it seems like no one wants or understands her. She then went on to change the subject to ask about how she can see the baby and when's it due. Hubby said she had to talk to him first before changing subject at which point biomum got on the MSN and said he wasn't being fair and she'd dealt with it. I'm sorry - but no she hadn't dealt with it...DSD is showing all the signs of a very troubled little girl who is heading off the rails. (A couple of her MSN signatures say things like - "If you were my homework, I'd be doing you on the desk...") Her mum spoke to my MIL last week and told her she's having real issues and was going to speak to me and DH to tell us about it as she's not handling it!!! DH ended up telling DSD that she needs to come to live with us so we can help her get her life back on track. I think the problem is that she doesn't see that her life is off track - she sees it as everyone elses fault. I did then send her an email on Friday night asking her to let me know how she's feeling and how I could help - no reply so far.
In the mean time, I organised for MIL to bring DSS up to stay for a couple of days as I worry he misses out. He's here now, and has said he wants to stay till whenever (think I'll take him back on Tuesday or Wednesday so I can get ready for bubs). Apparently they haven't been to school in the last 3 weeks (now holidays) and are moving back to north of Perth. Oh, and hiomum doesn't want to drive too far to meet me for handover as she's hurt her knee (too which MIL replied, don't think V will be wanting to drive too far as she's giving birth this week!)
Sorry this has been so long I'm just so frustrated that I needed a vent...
Anyway - now I've got that out, I'm going to concentrate on bubba.
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