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Issues! Changing living arrangements...

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
A little background- DH has 2 kids from a previous marriage (12 and 14), they live with their mom and we all get along fine. DH and I have been together for 11.5 years, married for 10.5 so I have always been step mom. His son has MAJOR aggression issues (yelling, screaming, irrational behavior, physical violence) , his mom didn't do anything about it until last year, now he has all these DX- oppositional difiance disorder, ADHD, etc... on major meds etc. His step dad is a control freak and eggs him on as do his half siblings there. And BM (bio-mom) is often all talk no action. Their whole family is in counseling. Back in dec BM called and asked if he could come live with us in Jan. I was not very comfortable with the situation- new baby coming and all but, agreed as his Dh's son, my only stipulations were he be allowed to unschool with our family and we stop paying child support. The school part was OK, but DH got mad that I mentioned $- well we can't afford to add a 12 yo boy to our family and still pay her CS!. In addition, the reality of the situation is- *I* would be his primary caregiver as DH is here very little. Well of course, he never came b/c BM is all talk.

FF- tonight she called and asked if he could come live here after school is out. Normally both Sk's come for 4 weeks in the summer- she wants him here all summer- 8 weeks. Dh got all excited and started talking about all the summer camps and baseball we could sign him up for (never mind he was just squaking about $$ for odd's piano lessons) and I said it's fine if he lives here but since again *I* will be doing ALL the extra work, I am not interested in driving him all over town with 4 other kids, and I didn't want to talk about it until after the baby comes and then only if it was really going to happen.

DH got all irritated and said "fine I won't work all summer" or something equally stupid... and acted like I was being unreasonable, am I? I think I am being very open minded about letting a physically violent preteen in my hosue with a 3 little kids & new baby but maybe I am not?? I am overwhelmed with the thought of 4 kids- let alone adding another one who has problems...
Opinions?
post #2 of 35
I too have 2 step dc visit in the summer, though it's only for 2 weeks. My biggest challenge is entertaining teens and young dc at the same time.

I'm assuming you live far enough apart that the teens won't be able to "hang" with their friends when they visit you. Ideally sending them a "day camp" would help. My dsd have never enjoyed being around my dd (part jealousy and part just don't want to be around young dc, they take care of their younger siblings a lot)

I keep them as happy as possible with free access to a cell phone during me "free hours " 6pm-6am. They also sleep till after noon so dd and I have our time in the morning. We also try to rent a game system for them to play (as they stay up all night)

assuming your 2 dc play well together, maybe a membership to a local pool or rec center might give them a place to hang out.

Can you trust the older dc? I would need help just to deal with the 4 younger dc. Ideally you have a swing set in your large back yard and can set up a small kiddie pool.
best of luck
post #3 of 35
You are the one that will have to make changes and be the primary caregiver. You need to sit down and have your husband understand that you may love his son BUT you can not make all the sacrifices! Make a plan for how he will get to the activities. I don't get how bm's can still get cs when the kid is with the other parent for extended periods of time ie summer or christmas visits. We do all the transportation, pay all the extras and still pay her $ when she doesn't even have the kids... sorry just my rant!
I would set up a time, maybe a walk or go out for coffee with out kids and have a good talk. Plan out what you want to say and what points you want as priorities. Make sure he understands that even though this is exciting it has to work for the whole family!
Good luck!
post #4 of 35
It seems that this issue comes up here frequently-- the dh is soooo happy to get the kids for the summer. . . .then goes off to work and leaves stepmom alone with all the kids, all the adjustments, all the issues! You do not sound unreasonalbe to me. What is dh's plan. What will he do with the child? What time will he allot?
post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
He will have NO plan- he never does.
OTOH I do have a plan- it is- I will not be enrolling DSS in ANYTHING It will be ALL on DH- which means it will not get done. I take that back- we have a park and rec where ds can walk/bike- DH can enroll him in anything there b/c he can get there on his own, If Dh chooses to sign him up for anything else- he'll have to figure out the logistics- which CAN be me- if it works in MY schedule.
I feel better seeing as no one here thinks I am being unreasonable about this.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by augustgirl69 View Post
I feel better seeing as no one here thinks I am being unreasonable about this.
I didn't post because I didn't want to say anything that might be construed as mean. However, after reading this post, I have to state for the record that I think you're being quite unreasonable, and I feel very sorry for your stepson (because of his entire situation--not because of you--his home life sounds awful). I hope you can take this in the spirit it's meant, which is one of concern.

This boy is your husband's child. Your husband, and you because you chose to marry a man who had children already, both have responsibilities to this child that equal those you have to any other child in the house. It makes no difference if his mother isn't "stepping up." Take the high road. Sure, it's infuriating, and I can understand the financial worries, but it's important for your stepson to know that he is not begrudged a place in his father's family, or his father's home. I understand that it's extra work, but presumably this man did not spring his children on you after marriage--you were aware of their existence.

Again, I would say take the high road. Don't make it a question of money. Try to work on your issues with your stepson, because he belongs in his father's family--your family--as much as in his mother's.
post #7 of 35
If the stepson lives with you, wouldn't the support be reduced or bio mom have to pay for him?

He is your DH's son and you took that on when you married him. He has every right to live with his father. I have no doubt you love him, and that it will be hard for everyone but the kids shouldn't suffer because DH has a new family.

Quote:
If Dh chooses to sign him up for anything else- he'll have to figure out the logistics- which CAN be me- if it works in MY schedule.
I feel better seeing as no one here thinks I am being unreasonable about this.
Shouldn't you be figuring it out together? It's not that I think you are being unreasonable, I can imagine 5 or 6 kids will be overwhelming this summer. I just get the impression that you have your kids with DH and he has "his" to figure out. I apologuze if I am wrong.
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosedotcom View Post
If the stepson lives with you, wouldn't the support be reduced or bio mom have to pay for him?
He is your DH's son and you took that on when you married him. He has every right to live with his father. I have no doubt you love him, and that it will be hard for everyone but the kids shouldn't suffer because DH has a new family.
Shouldn't you be figuring it out together? It's not that I think you are being unreasonable, I can imagine 5 or 6 kids will be overwhelming this summer. I just get the impression that you have your kids with DH and he has "his" to figure out. I apologuze if I am wrong.

A CS reduction would have to go through the courts and that costs $$ for us and BM would probably fight it as she like her $$ and b/c she has said since it may be a temporary change she wants to leave things as they are meaning we can have him live with us but she still wants CS payments

Yes, in theory we should be figuring it out together, but the reality of life is DH is FT law student, working as a law clerk PT and training for a marathon. He will say he can help, but he can't/won't. He gets up at 4:30 and leaves to go trian and returns at 6 PM. I've been down this road before with him, he feels guilty as a long distance dad, so he has some wierd idea that showing his older kids (not ours together) love means lots of activities, then he is gone when those activities happen so I shoulder the burden alone.

I should also add for clarification in case I wasn't clear before, DS actually living with us is NOT big the issue ( I do have $$ concerns but that's not the big thing), it's DH signing him up for baseball, basketball, summer camps etc and then ME having to drive all over town.

We are an unschooling family, we hang out, we play we do things together- my 2 girls have gymnastics, but is it at a time thats works for ALL of us. I am happy to have DSS in an activitiy that works in with everyone elses, just NOT willing to sacrifice our lifestyle to *keep DSS busy* and FWIW, I think dss would be FAR happier just hanging out with us and playing games than being shuffled around to 10 different camps. Oh and DH is always telling me to slow down, let the kids enjoys life, yet he doesn't feel taht way about his older 2.

Anyway, I think my original point was I did not sign up to be a single step parent - which is what I am every summer - so since I am the one who will have 90% of the responsibility, I should have most of the say in what is going to happen when my SK's are here WRT the driving, camps and impact it will have on the 4 other kids too. I am not willing to spend all of limited budget and time on my DSS- it needs to work for all of us. Does that make sense?
post #9 of 35
I mostly agree with Individuation on this one. With the caveat that I think it's important that all the responsibility for daily care not be shoved on you, I think your husband needs to take as much responsibility as possible when he is not doing his paid work.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
I
This boy is your husband's child. Your husband, and you because you chose to marry a man who had children already, both have responsibilities to this child that equal those you have to any other child in the house. It makes no difference if his mother isn't "stepping up." Take the high road. Sure, it's infuriating, and I can understand the financial worries, but it's important for your stepson to know that he is not begrudged a place in his father's family, or his father's home. I understand that it's extra work, but presumably this man did not spring his children on you after marriage--you were aware of their existence.
:

This is a child - a child that is hurting and needs to find his place. I imagine it's painful for him to visit his father and his new family. Be kind, gentle and sympathetic - he didn't ask for this situation - you did. You knew your dh has children.
post #11 of 35
Can you try to turn it around in your mind and vow to make this little boy's summer as much fun as you can? He's a child, and he didnt choose this arrangement.

If you need to work with your dh about the sharing of parenting, make it an overall issue - sharing the parenting of all the children, not just this one. Your ss is not an addition, he's a part of the family. He is a different age, and he has different needs. Your dh needs to step up for all the kids.

You knew that your dh had children, and although it might be tough, your obligation is to them as much as it is to your bio kids. I would have thought that if you change your mindset and stop seeing it as driving your ss all over town, and more as an act of love, it won't seem as stressful to you. That's what it's about, having a larger family, no matter who is your bio and who is your step kid. They all have needs, and all those needs need addressing with a willing heart.

HTH. I mean it gently, but I do think that you need to step back and look at it from another angle.
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by woo27ks View Post
:

This is a child - a child that is hurting and needs to find his place. I imagine it's painful for him to visit his father and his new family. Be kind, gentle and sympathetic - he didn't ask for this situation - you did. You knew your dh has children.
Fiar enough, but we are NOT new to him, I've been his step mom since he was a year old and for the 1st 4 years live 2 blocks away. And really it's not about DSS - it's mostly about DH's involvement or lack thereof and how it all falls on me.
post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
Can you try to turn it around in your mind and vow to make this little boy's summer as much fun as you can? He's a child, and he didnt choose this arrangement....

You knew that your dh had children, and although it might be tough, your obligation is to them as much as it is to your bio kids. I would have thought that if you change your mindset and stop seeing it as driving your ss all over town, and more as an act of love, it won't seem as stressful to you. That's what it's about, having a larger family, no matter who is your bio and who is your step kid. They all have needs, and all those needs need addressing with a willing heart.

HTH. I mean it gently, but I do think that you need to step back and look at it from another angle.
Maybe- but if I wouldn't run my biological kids all over town (which I don;t and wouldn't) why should it be different for him? And FTR DSS is NOT asking for all this - it's DH who wants all the camps etc. And YES I have asked Dh to talk with DSS about his wishes, he just forgets
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by augustgirl69 View Post
Anyway, I think my original point was I did not sign up to be a single step parent - which is what I am every summer - so since I am the one who will have 90% of the responsibility, I should have most of the say in what is going to happen when my SK's are here WRT the driving, camps and impact it will have on the 4 other kids too. I am not willing to spend all of limited budget and time on my DSS- it needs to work for all of us. Does that make sense?
Absolutely... There's is absolutely NO reason that the happiness of your own children should suffer to make sure DSS has a wonderful summer. When you don't have a ton of money or time, there is only so much you can do beyond your every day needs and tasks and to add another child to that mix and then be expected to provide extras that the other children don't have is just silly.

I treat my step children no differently then my own children. If DS is doing a sport or fun activity, I try to include my step-children if possible and get them involved in something as well. But I'm not going to go out and find something special JUST for DSS or DSD to do just because I want him to have more fun here. I treat them as part of my current household. If THEY ask to do a sport or activity that is reasonable and falls into our schedule and budget well, Of course I will let them but I'm not going out of my way to afford it or schedule it anymore then I would for DS and eventually DD.

We do not have a good relationship with the bio-mom so if we don't do tons with them, we aren't doing enough..... If we try to do a lot of fun stuff with them, then we're "Disneyland parents" so no matter what we do, we lose so we do what works for us and fits into our lives well.

That being said, I do think that you should try to make it fun for DSS as much as you would for your own children. 12 year olds still enjoy going to the playground, playing in a pool, anything that your younger do for fun, most 12 year olds still enjoy so just include him.... that's the most important thing, that he feel INCLUDED. Not special, just included. 12 year olds are smart, and if he's treated differently then the rest of the family he will still see that and feel like he's still not really "one of you" because he's being treated "special" not like one of the family, as he should be. KWIM?

Anyway, it's so hard being a step-parent... there's just not enough support out there for us! (((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))
post #15 of 35
It sounds like daycamp would be a way for him to get social interaction and not be in your hair tho, no? And your partner can't very well take him if he is working days. I think it's a fair expectation that you would take him.

It doesn't have to be an us or him thing, IMO. This is another child in your family. You can surely as a family find a way to include him and his needs in your circle, no?
post #16 of 35
I see this as a marital issue, not a step parenting issue.

It's sometimes easier to focus on kids doing things instead of dealing with husbands, but I don't think this issue will ever really be solved until you and your husband discuss his involvement in the family, especially as you are bringing additional children into the mix.

Having children is both a joy and responsibility. It sounds like your husband needs to rethink his outside obligations so he can parent the children he has helped bring into this world.
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by offwing View Post
It sounds like your husband needs to rethink his outside obligations so he can parent the children he has helped bring into this world.
Fair enough. IMO tho paid employment *is* a way of helping parent, if the income is used to support the family.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
It sounds like daycamp would be a way for him to get social interaction and not be in your hair tho, no? And your partner can't very well take him if he is working days. I think it's a fair expectation that you would take him.

It doesn't have to be an us or him thing, IMO. This is another child in your family. You can surely as a family find a way to include him and his needs in your circle, no?
True and if DSS was/is set on one camp/ activitiy, just like my bio kids I would do my best to accomodate him- it's the multiple camps/activities Dh is suggesting that I feel is over the top, KWIM?
post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached2Elijah View Post
Absolutely... There's is absolutely NO reason that the happiness of your own children should suffer to make sure DSS has a wonderful summer. When you don't have a ton of money or time, there is only so much you can do beyond your every day needs and tasks and to add another child to that mix and then be expected to provide extras that the other children don't have is just silly.

I treat my step children no differently then my own children. If DS is doing a sport or fun activity, I try to include my step-children if possible and get them involved in something as well. But I'm not going to go out and find something special JUST for DSS or DSD to do just because I want him to have more fun here. I treat them as part of my current household. If THEY ask to do a sport or activity that is reasonable and falls into our schedule and budget well, Of course I will let them but I'm not going out of my way to afford it or schedule it anymore then I would for DS and eventually DD.
...
That being said, I do think that you should try to make it fun for DSS as much as you would for your own children. 12 year olds still enjoy going to the playground, playing in a pool, anything that your younger do for fun, most 12 year olds still enjoy so just include him.... that's the most important thing, that he feel INCLUDED. Not special, just included. 12 year olds are smart, and if he's treated differently then the rest of the family he will still see that and feel like he's still not really "one of you" because he's being treated "special" not like one of the family, as he should be. KWIM?

Anyway, it's so hard being a step-parent... there's just not enough support out there for us! (((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))
You said it better than I did
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by augustgirl69 View Post
True and if DSS was/is set on one camp/ activitiy, just like my bio kids I would do my best to accomodate him- it's the multiple camps/activities Dh is suggesting that I feel is over the top, KWIM?
Yes, that seems fair to me.
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