do any of you have this living situation and is it fair to the kids? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I were talking about his childhood the other day and were talking about his living situation at his Dad's and it sounded kind of unfair to me. His mom and dad divorced when he was 10 and his sister was 7. Dad was having an affair and immediately moved in with the woman who became his stepmom. She had two daughters who were 7 and 3. DH and his sister spent every weekend at their house. Each of DH's stepsisters had their own bedroom at their house and DH and his sister had basically no space of their own there. They slept on the couch and the living room floor when they visited, had absolutely no personal space there to store anything - not a drawer or a cabinet or anything. They brought everything back and forth with them each weekend. Is this a typical situation? Kids having no room or no space of their own at the non-custodial parent's house while stepsiblings have their own rooms?
DH now is not at all close with his dad or stepsisters (we don't even have their phone numbers, one of them we see semi-regularly, the other we've seen once in 3 years, DH does not in anyway consider them his sisters) and I am wondering if this had anything to do with the unequal treatment of the kids at his dad's house growing up.

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#2 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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Well, in our house, dsd has her own room, toys, etc. (she is with us every other weekend plus one overnight every week). Dd also has her own room. We are hoping for one more, but dd and the new baby would probably share a room because of the large age gap (dsd is 6 years older than dd) while dsd keeps her own room. I think that situation with your dh is what gives NCPs a bad name, and no I do not think it is right/fair. I can udnerstand if the kids are only visiting for a couple weeks over the summer, but in an every weekend situation, the kids deserve to have a bed, even if the room is being shared.

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#3 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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That sounds like it really stunk for the kids! I wonder how your dh felt he was treated by his dad?

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#4 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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Is this a typical situation? Kids having no room or no space of their own at the non-custodial parent's house while stepsiblings have their own rooms?
I do not think that's typical. We live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom tiny mobile home. My husband's son gets the second bedroom. He has a bed, including a headboard his dad built for him, a dresser, a toy cart with sliding drawers, a bookshelf, a laundry basket, his own clothes... all are there all the time.

Our daughters share our bedroom with us. The four of us are quite cramped in our tiny bedroom. The girls' toys are in the living room and the extras are stored in a box in my stepson's bedroom.

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#5 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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DSD has her own room here.

DH and I don't have children together (yet), nor do I have any children of my own.
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#6 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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Nope, your situation doesn't sound fair.

I can understand a difficulty with providing a child with an immediate bedroom, but what you describe sounds bad.

DSD did not have her own bedroom for a while. She did have a room when her dad moved back in with grandparents right after divorce, and then not for a couple of years when he was renting his own place with roommates. So they co-slept for a long while. In fact, the three of us co-slept on the floor for months! Fond memories. She was about 9-10.

We moved to our current place no more than 6 years ago, and she's had her own room ever since.

I can understand the difficulty with rearranging rooms for the kids who already live there, and finding the right balance and space considering the fact that the weekend is not a full-time thing. BUT! If I were a parent/stepparent in that situation, I would insist for us to move to a new house that would accommodate the needs of our family, and provide your DH and his sister with a place to call their own when they are there.

I'm curious as well to see how your DH interacts with his dad and stepmom these days.

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#7 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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Definitely not normal or fair.... in fact in some states the other parent can deny overnight visits if the child does not have their own room.

For us DSD has to have her own room or ex can deny us overnights.

She has her own dresser full of clothes, tons of toys etc too.

Though, currently, DSD really wants to bunk with her lil' sis when she is old enough... so we shall see how relations are with ex at that time...

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#8 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nope, your situation doesn't sound fair.

I can understand a difficulty with providing a child with an immediate bedroom, but what you describe sounds bad.

DSD did not have her own bedroom for a while. She did have a room when her dad moved back in with grandparents right after divorce, and then not for a couple of years when he was renting his own place with roommates. So they co-slept for a long while. In fact, the three of us co-slept on the floor for months! Fond memories. She was about 9-10.

We moved to our current place no more than 6 years ago, and she's had her own room ever since.

I can understand the difficulty with rearranging rooms for the kids who already live there, and finding the right balance and space considering the fact that the weekend is not a full-time thing. BUT! If I were a parent/stepparent in that situation, I would insist for us to move to a new house that would accommodate the needs of our family, and provide your DH and his sister with a place to call their own when they are there.

I'm curious as well to see how your DH interacts with his dad and stepmom these days.
Yeah I agree it is beyond weird. It was like this until he turned 18 and went to college, so 8 years for him and 11 years for his sister. They took tons of vacations in this time, owned two timeshares, a boat that his dad used in fishing tournaments all the time, newer cars replaced every few years, etc. So the money was there, it was just not where they chose to spend it. I get that he has the "boy" excuse since all the other kids were girls. I don't get why one of the stepsisters didn't get bunkbeds for DH's sister to use while they were there, and perhaps he gets a dresser in the living room or something. He describes weekends there as not about Dad spending time with them, but just weekends aka Dad watches football on tv, etc.
Our relationship with them now is very superficial. Once we get past the small talk there is really nothing there. He really has no relationship with his Dad at all, it is sad. There is also lots of political posturing and diplomacy that goes on with things that go unsaid. And stepmom's DD are most favored. IE DH's dad paid for stepdaughters college but not for DH and his sis. When older stepsister got married DH's Dad bought younger stepsister a plane ticket to go to the wedding but not DH's sister who was in much worse financial straits. When I asked Stepmom what she was doing for Mother's Day this weekend (because we would be in the area and would like to see them) her response was "J & J (her bio DDs) plan Mother's Day not me". : Ummm, well that is real helpful considering we don't really talk to them.

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#9 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 11:18 PM
 
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my dsd isn't even allowed to come to our house yet, I actually haven't even met her (see previous posts for explanation) and she has her own room and toys at our house...
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#10 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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Sometimes, kids don't have their own rooms for whatever reason, and that's fine--there are lots of MDC families with big family bedrooms, or whose children all share and then have a separate playroom/homeschool study/etc., or who all live in a small apartment/house and make due with the space they have.

But a place to keep your things--a closet or dresser or ??? --is a must. It's impossible to feel at home otherwise. And really, the disparity your husband and his sister endured really is unfair.

And, wow, JSMa, that's really something the court will order in your state? I don't think the court would order a separate bedroom here--it may order that the sleeping arrangements be appropriate (no room-sharing with members of the opposite sex or with non-related people, for instance) or that a separate sleeping space (be it a crib in the parent's room, a fold-out couch, or a bedroom) be provided...but they would never say same-sex, close-in-age siblings and stepsiblings couldn't share. Here, courts are usually really loathe to dictate living arrangements.

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#11 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 11:44 PM
 
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No, not fair. My boys see their dad like every 3 months or so (for school vacations, usually at least a week at a time), so when their dad only had a 1 bedroom, it was cramped and they didn't live sleeping on the couch, BUT, they weren't having to give up anything because of step siblings or half siblings, it was just my boys, their dad and his girlfriend. Because my ex will have the boys almost the whole summer this year, he and his fiance actually moved to a two bedroom so the boys could have a room all their own. They wont leave clothes there because they are here more and it is easy just to pack up their clothes and bring them back, but my ex wanted the kids to have their own space. The boys hate having to share a bedroom with each other (they don't at my house, but my youngest does share with his step brother at my house), but they can deal with that a lot better then the couch.

I think if it were a very infrequent thing, it wouldn't be as big of a deal as every weekend or even every other weekend.
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#12 of 36 Old 05-05-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Well, just to offer a different perspective... my parents split when I was 13. My siblings were 11 and 9. Neither of my parents have dated or remarried, so no additional siblings to speak of, but my dad only had a one-room apartment and thus we slept on the couches and floors and had no space of our own in his home. I can't remember being bothered by it at all. Perhaps if there had been other children with their own space it might have been an issue, but for us, or at least me, it wasn't.

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#13 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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Oh, I can't imagine. I know my father never kept a dedicated space for me when I wasn't there, but the week before I arrived, they rearranged and made space for me, space that was my own, with a dresser and posters that I had chosen, a stereo that had been purchased second hand, books they thought I'd like, and a roll of tape so that I could tape up pictures of all my friends, etc. I had to share a room with my sister or brother, but that's nothing compared to sleeping on the couch, especially for that many years. I can't even imagine how hurtful that could be to a child.
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#14 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 02:06 AM
 
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I can imagine situations where it would be impossible to give a child space. When my DH was first on his own, he was in a tiny apartment, I mean tiny! There was a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom--that's it, and in the bedroom, room for a TV and a bed and a chest of drawers--that's it! The kids took turns sleeping on the floor and with him. He could not afford anything better. Once they got comfortable with me, I basically gave them my study and they all stayed in my apartment. They were much happier in a place where they could stretch out a bit, even though they had to share a room. Kids do need their stuff with them--just like we do!
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#15 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 09:28 AM
 
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Reading this thread, I realized that I never had a space of my own at my dad's house (the NCP). I wonder if that subconsciously contributed to my decision to stop visits with him after just a few years. I had lots of reasons at the time and that was not one of them, but looking back on it, it probably added to the feeling of being an unwelcome visitor.

DSD has always had a space of some sort with us, even before she lived here half-time. Right now she shares a room with DS, but plenty of siblings share rooms.

JSMa - could you skirt the rule as long as you kept a seperate room for your DSD, but had bunkbeds in DD's room? That way they could sleep together, but you would still be technically following the rule. It says you have to have the room, not that she has to sleep there, right?

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#16 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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my mum and dad divorced when i was 10.. he went to live with his mistress who had a daughter living with her and 2 sons that stayed with their dad, and they had a baby together... when i stayed over i shared with her daughter who was only 2 years older than me and her boys stayed in the other room.. when i moved in i got the other room, which i shared with the baby and her boys stayed with their sister, we nmoved to a new house and her daughter moved out, in the new house i shared with my sister and her boys got their own room.

when i went to visit my mum i slept on the floor, which was bad because she used me as her baby sitter and i woke up alot when she had brought a man home with her and into the living room!

i did feel like she didnt really want me and i still do but thats the reason social services (cps?) took me and sent me to live with my dad anyway.

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#17 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 10:13 AM
 
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Pink, that's a pretty good idea. lol

It's more of a CYA thing... because if ex wanted to make trouble she could. I know of a few people in this area that lost overnight visits because their apartment was too small and their ex wanted to create drama.

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#18 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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my son (an my daughter before she moved there) have the same situation. He has no space for his stuff, and sleeps on the floor in his stepbrother's room. He is not even allowed to play with their toys unless he brings something to share with them every time, and yet he has no place to keep anything there either.

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#19 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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My DD doesn't have a room or a bed at her dad's. He is in a shared flat and only his room is under his control (to make it safe for her) so when she stays he puts her own specially purchased bedding onto his bed and she sleeps in there - HE sleeps in the spare room, which is in no way safe for a curious toddler. She does have a couple of drawers for clothes and masses of books and toys there though, and at the end of his bd is a row of bikes, trikes and scooters he's gotten for her.

I think it's the spirit of the situation that matters. DD knows she is loved and welcomed at her home-with-dada even if she doesn't have her very own room as she does here (she's with us 6 nights a week, he visits her here almost daily, he's bathing her upstairs right now as i type!). There is a big difference between "this is the small/modest place you are wanted and welcome to be" and "this is our place, where you sleep is your problem".
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#20 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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He is not even allowed to play with their toys unless he brings something to share with them every time, and yet he has no place to keep anything there either.
Seriously? That is just wrong. :

My husband's family is kind of complicated, because both his parents were widowed and came together kinda like the Brady Bunch (Shh... don't tell MIL I said that.) and then had him. Also, one of my BIL's is divorced and his ex had a child with her second husband and my in-laws consider her their grandchild. In fact, this girl and her father (who is now divorced from her mother) sat with us in the family section at my FIL's funeral. My MIL is very adamant there are no 'steps' or 'halves' in her family.

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#21 of 36 Old 05-06-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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yes. seriously. and they wonder why he hates going there.

i think my dd went just to see if it is better when you live there.

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#22 of 36 Old 05-07-2009, 03:41 AM
 
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#23 of 36 Old 05-14-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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Not fair. IDK if it's normal, but it shouldn't be (IMNSHO).

DSS is almost 11. He has his own room here. DD1, age three, and DD2, EDD 6/12, will be sharing a room. This has to do as much with the age difference as anything else.

Plus, hopefully by the time it's a big deal, we will have remodeled the attic into another bedroom... or possibly DSS will be living independently.

If I had kids who each needed their own room, and no other bedroom for stepkids, I would, at minimum, have a set of bunkbeds in each bedroom, and have an extra dresser/underbed container/whatever for the stepkids stuff. Minimum.

If the kids and stepkids weren't comfortable sharing with each other, I'd move the kids into the same room and give the stepkids the other room during visitation.

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#24 of 36 Old 05-14-2009, 10:39 PM
 
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my son (an my daughter before she moved there) have the same situation. He has no space for his stuff, and sleeps on the floor in his stepbrother's room. He is not even allowed to play with their toys unless he brings something to share with them every time, and yet he has no place to keep anything there either.
Sounds to me like you'd have a case for custody, if you wanted it.

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#25 of 36 Old 05-15-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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thanks. i do have sole custody, i gave him temporary physical custody, since in our state 14 is old enough to talk to the judge and have an influence over where they live. I still have some control this way, and wouldn't otherwise.

FTR-i think it's wrong for kids to not have their own space in a place they are supposed to consider home. and by own space, I just mean a place for their things when they're there, not necessarily a whole room. But a place to sleep and a place to put their stuff, and leave some stuff if they want with a reasonable expectation of it still being there and in one piece when they return. i think that children have a right to be treated fairly, even in blended families. Just my soapbox...I'll step down now...

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#26 of 36 Old 10-14-2009, 08:00 AM
 
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We live in a three-bedroom flat. We get custody of the kids for one weekend a month, plus a week in the summer. When I first moved in with F, he had two lodgers, so the kids often slept on the living room pull out sofa. We got rid of those two dirty hippies and turned their room into the spare room, so now one gets the bed and one gets the pull-out sofa (which we move into another room, cause who wants to sleep in the living room?). We've also given them a cupboard to keep things in, like books, pajamas, etc. and bought a toothbrush (dry as a bone) for each of them in the bathroom.

But I seriously do not understand an entire room --each! -- for children who come over once a month, and sometimes (depending on their whims and their mother's whims) not even that! Our house is simply not big enough. And even though we don't have kids of our own, I would not put once a month toys in its own room while my own had no place of their own. Not everyone can afford the space of a child's part-time room!
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#27 of 36 Old 10-14-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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My parents split when I was tiny, then my mom remarried when I was two. Then she and my stepdad split. So, I went to my dad's every third weekend, and to my stepdad's (along with my brother) the following weekend. I always had a room and toys/space for my stuff at my dad's. When he was living in a really tiny space I would go to my grandparents' instead, and he would stay there with me for the weekend. I always had a room there. I didn't keep clothes at either place, but I always had toiletries, toys, books, movies, games, whatever. My dad bought a bike rack so I could bring my bike with me. At my brother's dad's, we shared a room that had nothing in it but a bunkbed. We couldn't keep anything there - I had to bring soap and shampoo, because he only had men's toiletries, like old spice soap or whatever. Any books, toys, movies, games we had to bring with us. Ditto for any snack foods that we liked that he didn't regularly buy. Later on, he decided to make the second bedroom into a computer room, and we had to sleep on the couch/floor in the living room. He would stay up late watching movies, so I was always really tired and never felt comfortable. I begged my mom to stop going there. She finally relented when I was 15 (he wasn't my dad, and there was no custody arrangement. I think she mostly had me go to keep up the farce that he considered himself my dad, which is what he told her). My brother stopped going soon after, when he turned the computer room back into a bedroom for his gf's kids, for when they stayed over, and my brother was still on the couch. The whole arrangement really made us feel like baggage, completely unimportant. I have no relationship with him, haven't spoken to him in years. And despite the fact that I never remember my parents being together, I have a great relationship with my dad and we talk at least a few times a week.

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#28 of 36 Old 10-14-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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my 2 oldest kids have never had a room/belongings/space of any sort at their dad's. granted, they rarely ever see their dad, but when they do go over (which is only for the afternoon at at christmas now and that's about it), it still bothers my oldest that he never made the effort to establish a space for them. they have *2* spare bedrooms now, and nothing is set up for the kids. even when they had the one room used by his stepson, they didn't set aside any space for my kids.

i would have personally been happy with just a drawer in a chest for some stuff for them, and don't think that would be too much to ask because my ex has the space AND money. even just a couple of pictures of my kids on a dresser, or a small box of stuff for them. but nothing. no toys, no space, no games - nothing.

it bothers the kids. i feel so badly for them. they have a father who lives in a separate home which has no reminders of the fact that he has children. how are the kids supposed to feel?
it's no wonder my oldest wants nothing to do with her dad and my next youngest just doesn't care.

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#29 of 36 Old 10-14-2009, 03:34 PM
 
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#30 of 36 Old 10-14-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Though, currently, DSD really wants to bunk with her lil' sis when she is old enough... so we shall see how relations are with ex at that time...
My step-daughter has her own room at our house, but she chooses to sleep in her brother's room. Her bed and bedroom is available to her but she doesn't ever choose to sleep there.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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