Boundaries becoming blurred with future inlaws... - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-03-2013, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's the backstory...

 

My fiance is a widower with three children.  His girls are 13 and 5, his son is 9.  Their Mother died pretty suddenly three years ago, and it took a while for my fiance to get back on his feet, especially acclimating to being the sole caregiver to three children, plus running a household.  When I first met my fiance, over a year and a half ago, he was literally all over the place- crazy messy house, no discipline at all for the children, children eating anything they want (think along the lines of 10-12 little restaurant containers of half-and-half for dinner and nothing else, etc.), children literally up watching movies, running around the house, blasting music, etc, all night long, and then missing every other day of school from exhaustion, etc.  The kids were WILD, writing all over their apartment walls, tantrums over the tiniest things, (even the then 11 year old) fistfights between the children constantly, etc.  Don't get me wrong, he's a good Dad, a very loving Dad, but for the first year and a half after his Wife died, him and the kids... everything was NUTS.  He was lost on what to do about the children, and it was getting to the point where he was so exhausted from the effort that it was easier to give up and give in.

 

I met my fiance a year and a half ago, and for some reason, I didn't run as fast as I could the other way- lol.  My fiance has gotten much better in most these areas, and has been willing to let me help him learn some of the finer points of parenting, plus, he's not so exhausted and overwhelmed all the time now, because I'm here now and we've made a good team taking care of our 5 combined children, so probably 90% of the time, things are not at all crazy like they were a year and a half ago.  (though that other 10% of the time is always when I'm not there to help.)

 

But here's a complication...

 

My future in-laws are lovely people- I really adore them.  But I don't think they have faith in him as a parent or respect him.  His Father kinda just goes with the flow, but his Mother pretty much runs the show.  Don't get me wrong, she'll present her argument in a respectful manner, but SHE'S got final say with the children, pretty much.  For example, the oldest girl was packing for summer camp last summer, (which the grandparents paid for and signed her up for), and she actually sent my fiance's father to my fiance's house with some of the camping supplies, and a list of what to pack (not just "shorts", but "the this color shorts that are this length long"), where to put the name tags on them, and which bag to pack each and every item.  Because I was there, she completely bypassed him, and gave me the instructions (which I didn't mind because I love taking care of the kids and getting them ready for things, but I'm not the parent here, not yet).  Another, more recent example is, the grandparents are homeschooling the two older children this year.  They live about a half hour from my fiance's house, so the kids go up to their grandparents' house Monday morning and come back home Friday evening after school.  The grandparents are paying for the homeschooling material, plus doing the actual teaching, plus feeding and caring for the two children 4 1/2 days a week, so they do have some serious involvement and investment in the children, I'll give them that.  But, they completely planned the 9 year old's birthday party for him and THEN told my fiance when and where it will be.  They actually gave him an invitation.  My fiance is not a planner, but the know I'M on the ball with that.  And the week before the 9 year old's birthday, the 9 year old was sick during the week at his grandparent's house, and my fiance was told that "they're not sending him home this weekend because he needs to rest and have his own space".  That particular comment there made me REALLY uncomfortable.

 

And here's the problem...

 

My fiance... yeah, I know, he needs to take more initiative with his children and with his parents.  Working on that.  It's been established already, so you guys don't need to hash that one out... but I'm gonna be his Wife someday and the children's Mother someday.  If I'm to be the adult female figure in the family, I need to be able to have some say in the children and in what goes on in the household.  I'm more than capable of taking care of the children, plus my two.  My fiance's parents have seen my house (clean, not cluttered, well run) and have seen how I handle the children (all five equally and fairly, well taken care of, clean, well fed, on time for church, etc), so there's no reason for anyone to not have faith in me as a parent or respect for me as a parent.  Basically, I don't like how my fiance's parents treat him (even though I do believe it's out of love for him and his children) and I feel like the children will not respect me or know they can depend on me if my fiance's parents treat me like that, or continue to treat him like that once we're married and a "unit".

 

My fiance... I suspect is a little intiminated by his Mother, he already feels like the black sheep of the family, as his two siblings are literally perfect in every way, and as of yet, lacks the confidence to overrule ANYONE who parents his children.  But... if I'm being brought into the family as "Mom", I expect to be treated and respected as "Mom".  I know they are the children's grandparents and they have put alot into helping raise those kids, but there is becoming boundary issues and if I'm to be their second parent, wouldn't it make sense that I'm not overruled or expected to do things my inlaws' way, but as me and my soon to be Husband's) way?

 

Also, I have two children of my own and my fiance plan on having more together, which I WILL have final say in raising, so it would make even more sense for all 6 children to be raised the same, not with varying rules, and certainly without me giving up rights to raise MY children the way I want.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

*In case anyone wants to bring up the part about me being "Mom" to my fiance's children, even though I'm not technically Mom, this is a mutual decision between me, my fiance and his children.  They know who their biological Mom is, they miss her and they love her, and talk about her in Heaven, but they also need and want a Mother hear on Earth.  The girls and now my fiance refer to me as "Mom" or "Ma" half the time, and the boy doesn't call me that yet, maybe he never will, and that's okay, but he says I'm "a Mother to him".  I love my fiance's children so much and I plan on doing my very best to raise and love these children the way they need and deserve.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:34 AM
 
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It will have to be a very gradual change. In the scheme of grief and so on a year and a half is not that long and the grandparents I am sure are just trying to lighten the burden as I am sure they were doing with their son before you came. I would talk with him very seriously about how your marriage and so on will effect this dynamic and how you two feel to best transition. They lost their mom and changing their relationship with grandparents quickly might not be a good idea. Also if you don't want their input don;t let them pay for things. If they pay for her camp and want to help her pack oh well. If they pay for their home schooling and actually do the schooling well then they get that say. If they live a half an hour away why on earth do they keep the kids? That seems extreme to not have kids home 4 or more days a week. This sounds more like a dynamic agreement between your fiance and his parents and honestly though I understand your want to be more the primary care giver I think it is unreasonable to think ill of them for wanting to be so involved or even a little controlling when you describe your fiances state a year and a half ago. I understand your need to take the reigns. I had to do that with my MIL (she was in control of all of my partners finances and so on) But i really feel you need to handle this situation with care.

 

This might be way out of line also and I do not mean to offend but the way you talk about your fiance and your inlaws just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I am up too late. :)
 

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Old 06-04-2013, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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They lost their mom and changing their relationship with grandparents quickly might not be a good idea.

 

In the children's eyes, at least the girls, about halfway for the boy, they see me as an authority, or "parental" figure already.  The listen to me and respect me more than they do their own Dad (which also bothers me, but one step at a time, and the girls call me Mom and all three refer to me as their Mom now.  This has been gradual over the last year.

 

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Also if you don't want their input don;t let them pay for things. If they pay for her camp and want to help her pack oh well. If they pay for their home schooling and actually do the schooling well then they get that say.

 

Neither me, nor my fiance have the finances to send any of the children to anything "extra", such as paid schooling, camp, etc.  If I paid for your children's summer camp, would you really be comfortable with me telling you what items to pack in what bag, how to label and fold each item, or if I paid for your children's schooling and they stayed at my house during the week, would you be okay with me telling you your child is sick and I'm not gonna send him home for the weekend?  If I were to do this for your children, would you be happy if I made decisions such as when and how to cut your children's hair or what you daughter can wear to church, or if I came into your house and told your children to turn off a certain tv show, it's not appropriate (read: Christian enough for my tastes) and then told them that you are wrong for letting them watch it?  That's what I don't get- if they have more resources to do things for the kids (not that my fiance doesn't do for the kids, but they have the money to do it "better"), then does that really give them the right to overrule my fiance?

 

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If they live a half an hour away why on earth do they keep the kids? That seems extreme to not have kids home 4 or more days a week.

 

It's about a half hour, give or take a few minutes.  It takes $12 of gas in the car to drive from my fiance's house to his parent's house and back.  Do that twice a day, 5 days a week, it gets expensive.  He tries to take them Wednesday nights through Thursday mornings, to break up the time away from home, but it's not always possible.  The grandparents have not offered to drive them back and forth.  They're older people (their words, not mine), they live on top of a mountain, and they take care of an elderly man who needs assistance, so they don't have alot of time to drive around, plus, they're paying for schooling for two of the children, so they shouldn't be expected to pay for transportation.  On some level, it makes sense, but still...

 

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I think it is unreasonable to think ill of them for wanting to be so involved or even a little controlling when you describe your fiances state a year and a half ago.

 

When did I say I thought ill of them?  I clearly stated that they're lovely people, but I also stated that they seem to have no faith in my fiance's parenting or respect for him as a parent.  He's come a long way since he lost his Wife (and yes, I have helped, since I've been around for the last year and a half), but how's he gonna gain the confidence to parent if nobody lets him parent, if half of what he does is overruled and disapproved of openly?  They know I'm capable (not to say he isn't now, but a year and a half ago, he was pretty lost), so they know that even if he were to drop the ball, it's not like they're there with no adult for backup.  I'm not sure they're even aware of how capable my fiance is, because they never get to see him actually parent, they either have the kids and we're not there, or we're together and they're either parenting for him or telling him how he should be parenting.

 

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This might be way out of line also and I do not mean to offend but the way you talk about your fiance and your inlaws just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I am up too late. :)

 

I don't understand why?  My future inlaws are wonderful people, but they seem to have taken over the children's care and it's a concern for me for my fiance's sake (he should be allowed to care for his own children) and for my sake (I will possibly be in the same position as he is when we are married).  They overrule him almost constantly, even in his own home.  I didn't think mentioning that would be seen as disrespectful towards his parents.  And I thought I was also very careful to state that my fiance was lost after his Wife died, and his children's Mother and primary caregiver, but that I made sure to also state that he has been doing much better and feels like he has very few rights to his children now.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:16 AM
 
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Honestly - your fiance needs to grow a pair and actually parent his children. Not pawn it off on his Mom or on you. Your issue should be with him, not her. IMO.

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Old 06-04-2013, 07:43 AM
 
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I think it's wonderful that they stepped in when they were needed. It sounds like the problem is that they aren't needed to be as involved as they were, and there isn't any communication to them about this new boundary. What does your fiance say about this? He's the one who dropped the ball they picked up, and he's the one who will have to set the new boundary now that he and you are ready to take care of things again. I'd say it in a way that acknowledges how loving and kind they were to be there when the kids and your finace needed them.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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If they have the kids most of the time then of course they should have a lot of say in how things are done. Some of that seems a little over the top, but in a loving and worried way not a malicious way. Your description of him makes it sound like he has passed a lot of parental control on to them and is fine with how things are. I think you two need to sit down and talk seriously about the changes you hope to see and whether he has the same goals before going further with the relationship then you need to step back and see if he makes them.

Or you need to accept that the grandparents are the primary caregivers of these children and try to let go of the resentment you feel about their decisions.
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:38 PM
 
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How does your fiancé feel about the things you mentioned? He is the one allowing his kids to basically live with his parents and allowing his parents to pay for the kids' activities. Lots of times, when people are financially responsible for something, yes, they do feel entitled to be heavily involved in decision-making.

Financial independence and physical location (having the kids live with you guys full time) are the best ways to have autonomy over their activities, but if your fiancé doesn't have a problem with the way things are, then it's unlikely to change.

What a tough few years this must have been for all of them. From the state of things you described when you met your fiancé, his parents must have felt that they needed to step in so heavily, since their son wasn't physically or emotionally capable of doing everything on his own. As someone else said, this will be a lengthy transition. I do think that instructing you on exactly which clothes and how to fold them is completely over the top -- that's a little much!

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Old 06-05-2013, 04:34 AM
 
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I was just thinking about the packing for camp thing, and I suspect that the camp has some pretty set "rules" on what clothes are acceptable. I went to an ethnic/religious (and almost paramilitary) summer camp when I was a kid, and we had pretty specific uniforms - light blue tshirt/dark blue shorts (and the length was specified) for every day, BSA-type uniforms (slacks or long shorts for the boys, skirts for the girls) for flag raising, church and other more "formal" functions.We had inspection every morning, and yes, things had to be folded a particular way in our trunks. It was VERY regimented. It occurs to me that this girl may be going to a similar type of camp. 

 

In retrospect, it was a very odd experience. But at the time? It was fun. Especially when we played Capture the Flag and whooped the boys. ;)

 

I really do think the problem is your fiance more than his parents. And honestly? He needs to take the lead on manning up. Because what I see going on here is his capitulation on his parenting all around - first to his wife, then to his parents, and now to you. This does not bode well for your future, IMO. 

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Old 06-05-2013, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just thinking about the packing for camp thing, and I suspect that the camp has some pretty set "rules" on what clothes are acceptable. I went to an ethnic/religious (and almost paramilitary) summer camp when I was a kid, and we had pretty specific uniforms - light blue tshirt/dark blue shorts (and the length was specified) for every day, BSA-type uniforms (slacks or long shorts for the boys, skirts for the girls) for flag raising, church and other more "formal" functions.We had inspection every morning, and yes, things had to be folded a particular way in our trunks. It was VERY regimented. It occurs to me that this girl may be going to a similar type of camp. 

 

It wasn't that kind of a camp, it was just 'cause she wanted everything to get done.  Someone posted that it didn't seem malicious, and I agree, it is done in a caring way, if to the excess.  There have been a couple times where I'VE been told how to take care of MY two year old, where it was unnecessary, such as trying to overrule me and put my two year old in a booster seat and buckle it up when he's been sitting in a regular chair and doing fine in it for at least six months, and going so far as to take him out of the regular chair I put him in and buckle him into a booster seat when I turned away to help another child get their food.  It seems she doesn't trust my fiance to parent, and it's spilled out on me like that a couple times, now.

 

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I really do think the problem is your fiance more than his parents. And honestly? He needs to take the lead on manning up. Because what I see going on here is his capitulation on his parenting all around - first to his wife, then to his parents, and now to you. This does not bode well for your future, IMO. 

 

Please don't get the wrong idea.  His Wife was primary caregiver 'cause she was a stay-at-home Mom and he had two jobs.  They'd started with both having jobs when the oldest was young, staggering the child care, but when the second child came, she lost her job and he found a second job before she found a first job, so it just worked out that way.  His parents took over some of the child care because he sent them to live with his parents for the last 4 weeks or so of his Wife's life, because he was round the clock caregiver to his dying Wife.  I'm not sure where you get that he's deferring parenting to me.  I'm very hands on.  I don't do all the work, but if someone needs a bath or help with their homework and I'm the first one to get to it, then I'm the first one to get to it.  I'm a preschool teacher/parent.  I've been taking care of children since I was very young, it's what I do, it's what I enjoy.  He needed some help with learning how to get things done when I first met him because he was still grieving, his children were still grieving, and I was there to help.  He helps with my children as well. Perhaps I'm not seeing what you're seeing, and vise versa, but when he does step up when his parents are around, he gets blown off and they do it their way anyways.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:07 AM
 
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If they have the kids most of the time then of course they should have a lot of say in how things are done. .... Your description of him makes it sound like he has passed a lot of parental control on to them and is fine with how things are. I think you two need to sit down and talk seriously about the changes you hope to see and whether he has the same goals before going further with the relationship then you need to step back and see if he makes them.

Or you need to accept that the grandparents are the primary caregivers of these children and try to let go of the resentment you feel about their decisions.

I agree with this. Your finance was a neglectful parent (no food, no order in the home, no birthday party) and the grandparents are raising the kids. Thank goodness some one has been!  The children are being cared for by people who love them and have known them their whole lives, and it sounds that they are well cared for.

 

And their dad is fine with that.

 

I think you and your finance need to sit down and have a real talk, may be get into couples counseling, and figure some stuff out BEFORE your relationship goes any further, or you add more children to the mix. From reading your posts, I'm not sure if they life that you have imagined is possible with this man or is best for these children.

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. but I'm gonna be his Wife someday and the children's Mother someday.  If I'm to be the adult female figure in the family, I need to be able to have some say in the children and in what goes on in the household. 

.....  But... if I'm being brought into the family as "Mom", I expect to be treated and respected as "Mom".  I know they are the children's grandparents and they have put alot into helping raise those kids, but there is becoming boundary issues and if I'm to be their second parent, wouldn't it make sense that I'm not overruled or expected to do things my inlaws' way, but as me and my soon to be Husband's) way?

 

Also, I have two children of my own and my fiance plan on having more together, which I WILL have final say in raising, so it would make even more sense for all 6 children to be raised the same, not with varying rules, and certainly without me giving up rights to raise MY children the way I want.

 

you will be step mom, unless you and your finance are planning on you adopting the children. Step mom is a funky role, and plays out differently for different families. These children are being raised by their grandparents. This isn't about you.

 

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Originally Posted by kblackstone444 View Post
 My future inlaws are wonderful people, but they seem to have taken over the children's care and it's a concern for me for my fiance's sake (he should be allowed to care for his own children) and for my sake (I will possibly be in the same position as he is when we are married). 

 

 

honestly, from what you described, he could have had the children taken away, or have been required to make a lot of changes to keep them. I don't think this should be around the RIGHTS of the adults, but about respecting what the NEEDS of the kids are.

 

There are some issues, like the birthday party one, that would be easy enough to deal with by themselves. You could just talk to the grandparents and thank them for having done birthday parties up til now, but explain that from now on, you'll take care of that. But the overall situation is such that those things will not fix the problem. The problem is that your finance is not the primary care giver for his children, and he is fine with that. You are the one who wants things to be different, but the situation works for the kids.

 

I don't understand why you want to have children with a man that you know couldn't not parent his own children when his wife wasn't there. If you should get very ill, or heaven forbid, pass away before your children are grown, those same grandparents would raise YOUR children as well. I don't get that.

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Originally Posted by kblackstone444 View Post

 It seems she doesn't trust my fiance to parent, and it's spilled out on me like that a couple times, now.

 

He has proven that he can't do it. I can see why it gets under your skin when she tells you want to do, but a lot of MIL say those sorts of things. Its a pretty common complaint.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 06-05-2013, 04:02 PM
 
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It's about a half hour, give or take a few minutes.  It takes $12 of gas in the car to drive from my fiance's house to his parent's house and back. 

 

REALLY?! That seems like quite a lot for two half hour trips. Are you sure?

 

The children are likely very attached to their grandparents, who co-parented them through their father's grief. You don't want to kill their wonderful attachment--you want to foster your own attachment to them.

 

I think having them over for more evenings a week is the right place to start. Perhaps say that your own children miss them and that you'd really like some more family activity time! Maybe they can come home on, say, Tuesday and Thursday nights. And then you guys can plan some fun evenings for everyone as a family. Most importantly: invite the grandparents to these family nights! You're not breaking up their family; you're adding yourself in. Hopefully your relationship can grow naturally from there? That is my very best advice.

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Old 06-05-2013, 04:17 PM
 
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REALLY?! That seems like quite a lot for two half hour trips. Are you sure?

You make some excellent points -- I love the suggestions in your last paragraph.

Regarding the gas, I can see how it could cost that much. Where I live, $12 only buys about 3 gallons of gas. Assuming a round-trip distance of maybe 45 miles (20-25 each way), that would be a gas mileage of about 15 mpg, which is the gas mileage for some larger vehicles like SUVs.

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Old 06-05-2013, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with this. Your finance was a neglectful parent (no food, no order in the home, no birthday party) and the grandparents are raising the kids. Thank goodness some one has been!  The children are being cared for by people who love them and have known them their whole lives, and it sounds that they are well cared for.

 

I never said there was no food.  My fiance is a chef- there's an abundance of food in the house at all times.  But the two little ones will throw a tantrum if they don't get exactly what they want, when they want it for food, so many family meals were left untouched because one or both of the little ones screamed and cried because they didn't want what Daddy cooked, they didn't want an alternate meal, they wanted, a bowlful of ketchup, for example, and he was worn down enough he was just giving in at that point.

 

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And their dad is fine with that.

 

No, he was not fine with it (but he saw the neccessity of it when his Wife first died) and he is not fine with it now, so please don't assume that.

 

 

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You are the one who wants things to be different, but the situation works for the kids.

 

I do want things to be different.  So does my fiance.  So do both the girls.  The boy has not expressed either way, but he has Asperger's and does not take to change easily, so he may never.  The situation does not work for at least two of the kids- the little one misses her sister and brother and she is being taken care of nicely by her Dad.  The older girl wants so bad to come home and live with my fiance (and me when we marry), but it's not possible with the current home schooling and living away from home issues.  They love their grandparents but also talk about wishing to be in a "normal" two parent family again.

 

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I don't understand why you want to have children with a man that you know couldn't not parent his own children when his wife wasn't there. If you should get very ill, or heaven forbid, pass away before your children are grown, those same grandparents would raise YOUR children as well. I don't get that.

 

Maybe because when my exhusband left me and took the little girl I had raised as my own since she was a baby, I understood what it felt like to be so devastated by loss that it took every ounce of strength to get up in the morning and take care of my ONE teenage son at the time, and for the first year or so after I lost half my family to divorce, I knew just how dark things could be.  Maybe because I know what it's like to wake up in the morning and curse myself for waking up and pray I had someone to take my son for a while, just so I could learn how to breathe again, or figure out if it's even possible to breathe again.  Maybe that's why I don't penalize my fiance for falling after the loss of his Wife- he's only human.  Parents should always be there for their children, but parents are only human, not everyone can be as strong as everyone expects them to be.

 

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The children are likely very attached to their grandparents, who co-parented them through their father's grief. You don't want to kill their wonderful attachment--you want to foster your own attachment to them.

 

Who says I have to kill their attachment with their grandparents?  Plenty of children have grandparents AND parents and everyone- children, grandparents, parents- respect eachother's role in eachother's lives.  The plan is that my fiance and me raise these children together.  My plan, my fiance's plan, both girls' plan, most likely the boy's plan (he says so, but again, change is hard for him) and the grandparents also talk about the expected plan- for me, my fiance, my children, my fiance's children to all live together as a family after my fiance and I marry.

 

 

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Regarding the gas, I can see how it could cost that much. Where I live, $12 only buys about 3 gallons of gas. Assuming a round-trip distance of maybe 45 miles (20-25 each way), that would be a gas mileage of about 15 mpg, which is the gas mileage for some larger vehicles like SUVs.

 

Unfortunately, I don't have a vehicle and my fiance's only vehicle is an older van- the only thing he could find that fit all seven of us in.  He's hoping to get something smaller at some point, for when it's just a couple of us, but in the meantime, it eats gas like there's no tomorrow.  greensad.gif


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think having them over for more evenings a week is the right place to start. Perhaps say that your own children miss them and that you'd really like some more family activity time! Maybe they can come home on, say, Tuesday and Thursday nights. And then you guys can plan some fun evenings for everyone as a family. Most importantly: invite the grandparents to these family nights! You're not breaking up their family; you're adding yourself in. Hopefully your relationship can grow naturally from there? That is my very best advice.

 

They do Wednesdays 'cause the oldest girl has therapy near my fiance's house on Wednesdays, though we'd break it up more if we could (and will, if we can figure out how to work the therapy in). We do do family nights, etc, on weekends, but the weekdays are harder.  Interestingly enough, we do invite the grandparents to join us when we do family nights/days (and we do see them at church, too), but they always say how much they need a break from the kids, so they're gonna stay home and rest.  My fiance's Mother isn't in the greatest health and they're both in their 70's.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:55 PM
 
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Who says I have to kill their attachment with their grandparents?  Plenty of children have grandparents AND parents and everyone- children, grandparents, parents- respect eachother's role in eachother's lives.  The plan is that my fiance and me raise these children together.  My plan, my fiance's plan, both girls' plan, most likely the boy's plan (he says so, but again, change is hard for him) and the grandparents also talk about the expected plan- for me, my fiance, my children, my fiance's children to all live together as a family after my fiance and I marry.

 

If this is the case, and everyone is on board with the "new plan" - what is the problem?  Perhaps the grandparents agree with the plan in theory, but have some concerns?  Is it possible for you and your fiancé to sit down with them to address these, hash out how it will work, and delegate responsibilities?

 

I don't think I have a very good idea what this will look like.  You say the girls want everyone under one roof all the time - but the grandparents pay for homeschooling, and daily transportation is not an option.  Do you have other educational options?  Would you be open to a more relaxed approach to homeschooling, like unschooling (without a pricey curriculum) - or cutting their "school" hours way back per week?  More self-directed learning?  Could the children do educational outings once a week with the grandparents, or just go to spend "non-school" time with them instead?

 

You mention that you are very "hands on" - and that appears to be evident in your parenting of the children and your taking charge on this issue.  I can see that you are chomping at the bit, saying they already know you, should know you are capable, etc. - but simply knowing and observing a person does not automatically build trust.  They have been raising these children as their own - and as someone who knows what that feels like, I'm sure you're aware that it may take a while for trust to slowly build and this transition to occur in teeny tiny increments - not a big hand-off.

 

Lastly, I think the reason it's being perceived as your fiancé "being ok with it" is that whatever he may *say* to you - it doesn't appear he's actually doing anything to alter the situation.  If his parents shoot him down, and he doesn't stand up to them, he's consenting.  That lack of resolve is enough to question the depth of his motives.  It could be less than ideal to him, sure - but still nothing to make a big fuss over.  It just seems to be a mismatch between his behavior and yours.


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Old 06-05-2013, 11:07 PM
 
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I think the reason the tone seems off is because you focus on your fiancé's weaknesses, and your own strengths, but not vice versa.  So it sounds like, "oh, my fiancé was a total mess, so his parents stepped in and picked up the pieces.  Now he's only kind of a mess, but that's because now I'm here to save the day, teach him everything, take charge and keep the ship running (it only usually falls apart when I'm not around)."  You are upset because the grandparents don't respect him as a full-fledged, capable parent, but the way you worded it makes it seem like you don't, either.  You even said they wouldn't be handing the reins over to him, so much, as to you, because you're on top of things.


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Old 06-06-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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here's a suggestion -- you and your DH sit down and drawn out a plan and a timeline to get things how you want them to be. It needs target dates.  At a minimum, you need to figure out when and how:

 

1. You are getting married

2. You will start co-habituating (if you aren't already) (plan should include where all the children will sleep)

3. The kids are transitioning to an educational option they can do while living with you and dad.

4. At which child's birthday you take over party planning.

5. You adopt his kids (based both on your past and the need for it is to clear who "mom" is, I highly recommend this)

6. He adopts your kids (if they are adoptable)

etc.

 

I suggest the plan include how you will pay for this without his parents help. Many of these things can be done very inexpensively.

 

Then, once you guys have a real plan with dates, you sit down with his parents and show them the plan, letting your finance do most of the talking. These are HIS parents, and he needs to be in charge of the relationship.

 

Until you do all of this, I suspect there will be boundary issues.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 06-06-2013, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If this is the case, and everyone is on board with the "new plan" - what is the problem?  Perhaps the grandparents agree with the plan in theory, but have some concerns?

 

The thought has crossed my mind, and it would be understandable, given the history, but if this is the case, then my fiance and I need to figure out how to make them see that he's capable now.

 

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You say the girls want everyone under one roof all the time - but the grandparents pay for homeschooling, and daily transportation is not an option.  Do you have other educational options?

 

The grandparents started homeschooling the two older ones "just for a year or two" as a transition for them between Christian private school, which is no longer affordable, and public school.  (It wasn't neccessary for the little one, as she started Kindergarten this school year.)  I wouldn't mind them continuing home schooling, if we could find a way for us and the grandparents to live closer so that the kids can live at home more, but it's not fair to the grandparents to pay for it and my fiance and I won't be able to afford it, plus the grandparents are in their 70's, so everyone agrees that they can't do it as a long term thing.  Also, the 5 year old is in public school and my fiance and his parents plan on keeping her in public school, and my 2 year old will go to public school in two years when he hits kindergarten.  (I'm not opposed to homeschooling all the kids, I'd love to do so myself when the grandparents can't anymore, but financially, it's not feasable.)

 

Quote:
Lastly, I think the reason it's being perceived as your fiancé "being ok with it" is that whatever he may *say* to you - it doesn't appear he's actually doing anything to alter the situation.  If his parents shoot him down, and he doesn't stand up to them, he's consenting.  That lack of resolve is enough to question the depth of his motives.  It could be less than ideal to him, sure - but still nothing to make a big fuss over.  It just seems to be a mismatch between his behavior and yours.

 

I hope you're wrong.  I've had many conversations with him, very upset, about how he feels like he's made to feel like a five year old doing it wrong every time he tries to parent his kids and his parents undermine what he says or does.  greensad.gif

 

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Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post

I think the reason the tone seems off is because you focus on your fiancé's weaknesses, and your own strengths, but not vice versa.  So it sounds like, "oh, my fiancé was a total mess, so his parents stepped in and picked up the pieces.  Now he's only kind of a mess, but that's because now I'm here to save the day, teach him everything, take charge and keep the ship running (it only usually falls apart when I'm not around)."  You are upset because the grandparents don't respect him as a full-fledged, capable parent, but the way you worded it makes it seem like you don't, either.  You even said they wouldn't be handing the reins over to him, so much, as to you, because you're on top of things.

 

I didn't mean it disrespectfully towards my fiance.  He DID drop the ball when his Wife died- that was just a fact- but he does a good job now.  He does have three very high energy, high needs children and he does get overwhelmed sometimes.  What I meant was me being on top of things, so to speak, is that his parents have NEVER seen me mess up, they've seen what I can do, even if they don't see what he could do.  Kinda like, if they really thought he'd mess up, they'd know they had another adult around to handle things, either me and my fiance working as a team (easier to not get overwhelmed if you know someone else is there to help), or if he dropped the ball like he did before (I honestly don't see that happening now), there would be another adult around to handle things.  I was trying to put myself in my fiance's parents' shoes, so to speak- I get the impression from them that they really don't expect very good results letting him take care of his children on the weekends.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

here's a suggestion -- you and your DH sit down and drawn out a plan and a timeline to get things how you want them to be. It needs target dates.  At a minimum, you need to figure out when and how:

 

1. You are getting married

2. You will start co-habituating (if you aren't already) (plan should include where all the children will sleep)

3. The kids are transitioning to an educational option they can do while living with you and dad.

4. At which child's birthday you take over party planning.

5. You adopt his kids (based both on your past and the need for it is to clear who "mom" is, I highly recommend this)

6. He adopts your kids (if they are adoptable)

etc.

 

I suggest the plan include how you will pay for this without his parents help. Many of these things can be done very inexpensively.

 

Then, once you guys have a real plan with dates, you sit down with his parents and show them the plan, letting your finance do most of the talking. These are HIS parents, and he needs to be in charge of the relationship.

 

Until you do all of this, I suspect there will be boundary issues.

 

 

I like your ideas.  We've done some already...

 

1.  We are still planning on the wedding, haven't set a date, since we're trying to figure out how we're gonna finance it, therefore how much we need to save up.  We would like to be married within the year, a small wedding.  We're both living pretty much hand-to-mouth right now, though oddly enough, our current situations imply that when we are married, we will be better off financially together than apart.

2.  My fiance comes from a very religious family- we will cohabitate when we marry.  My oldest just turned 18 yesterday, he'll likely be moved out by the time we're all living together, but if not, he will need his own room.  The girls (13 and 5) will share a room and his boy and my boy (9 and 2) will share a room, most likely, unless we can get separate rooms for the boys, as their needs are very different from eachother, while the girls have similar personalities and needs.  I have Section 8, so there will be options regarding this when we marry and move in together.

3.  My youngest and my fiance's youngest will go to public school.  My fiance's two oldest will transition into public school at the end of next school year.  (I'm open to suggestions on how to afford homeschooling for the oldest two, or even all four children, and I'm open to ideas on myself homeschooling some of all of the children myself.  I'm not sure of my fiance's feelings on this yet, but since he's already got his two oldest in homeschooling and is not crazy about public school, he may be open to the idea when the children are no longer being homeschooled by their grandparents.)

4.  My fiance got into an argument with his parents over his boy's party, which was in April, so this may already be in the process of being resolved.  He was very upset because we were already in the process of planning his son's party, then he got an invitation to it from his parents and my fiance felt he had to cancel out plans. The oldest girl's party is this Saturday, but SHE planned it herself and then told everyone how it's gonna be.  (This is typical of her, probably from trying to take over being the "Mother" for her younger siblings when her Mother died when she was 10, me, my fiance and her grandparents are working on trying to ease her out of this and let the adults do the planning and parenting and her be the kid.  But that's a whole other story there.)  The younger girl's birthday is next month and so far, it looks like my fiance and I are planning it together.  She's the easy one, though- he has more say in what goes on with her because she's not with her grandparents as much.

5.  We're actually discussing me adopting his children.  All three children want me to, as do I.  My fiance likes the idea, but would like to know more pros and cons regarding this, as he'd never heard of stepparent adoption, and I've heard it can get costly.  

6.  This has come up as well.  This might be trickier, however, because my older one is 18 (and not interested) and my little one's biological father (long story, abusive relationship, infrequent supervised visitations, etc) will very likely be opposed to it.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:21 PM
 
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I hope you're wrong.  I've had many conversations with him, very upset, about how he feels like he's made to feel like a five year old doing it wrong every time he tries to parent his kids and his parents undermine what he says or does.  greensad.gif

 

In your first post you said that you didn't want to be told that he needs to man up, but you know that it's true. Has your finance had counseling to both to help process his grieve over losing his wife AND to help him accept his dropping the ball on parenting (because without accepting that and forgiving himself, he's bound to make decisions based on guilt rather than what he really thinks is right)?  I think it might be very helpful for him in standing up to his parents. 

 

A phrase I find helpful with my own parents is "I can see how you would feel that way, but none the less, this is what I've decided to do."  I just keep repeating to what ever they say, and eventually it ends the conversation. But part of the key is that HE NEEDS TO START PARENTING HIS KIDS INSTEAD OF HAVING THEM DO IT.

 

Until the kids live with him, have their educations overseen by him, have him pick activities and plan parties, then grandma and grandpa will be running the show. They are the people raising the kids. That's why the boundaries are all screwed up.

 

....

I like your ideas.  We've done some already...

 

Talking about something and having a solid, workable plan are very different. You guys are just talking at this stage.

 

1.  We are still planning on the wedding, haven't set a date, since we're trying to figure out how we're gonna finance it, therefore how much we need to save up.  We would like to be married within the year, a small wedding.  We're both living pretty much hand-to-mouth right now, though oddly enough, our current situations imply that when we are married, we will be better off financially together than apart.

 

no date, therefore, you don't have a workable plan.

 

2.  My fiance comes from a very religious family- we will cohabitate when we marry. 

 

since this is based on the first item, it doesn't have a date either.

 

3.  My youngest and my fiance's youngest will go to public school.  My fiance's two oldest will transition into public school at the end of next school year.  (I'm open to suggestions on how to afford homeschooling for the oldest two, or even all four children, and I'm open to ideas on myself homeschooling some of all of the children myself.  I'm not sure of my fiance's feelings on this yet, but since he's already got his two oldest in homeschooling and is not crazy about public school, he may be open to the idea when the children are no longer being homeschooled by their grandparents.)

 

no plan - not sure on homeschooling or public (BTW, the homeschooling board on mothering is super helpful and active, and could answer a lot of your questions on homeschooling).

 

I really think this is a key section to iron out, because as long as the kids live with grandparents more than half the time and are being educated by the grandparents, there will be boundary issues.

 

4.  My fiance got into an argument with his parents over his boy's party, which was in April, so this may already be in the process of being resolved.  He was very upset because we were already in the process of planning his son's party, then he got an invitation to it from his parents and my fiance felt he had to cancel out plans. The oldest girl's party is this Saturday, but SHE planned it herself and then told everyone how it's gonna be.  (This is typical of her, probably from trying to take over being the "Mother" for her younger siblings when her Mother died when she was 10, me, my fiance and her grandparents are working on trying to ease her out of this and let the adults do the planning and parenting and her be the kid.  But that's a whole other story there.)  The younger girl's birthday is next month and so far, it looks like my fiance and I are planning it together.  She's the easy one, though- he has more say in what goes on with her because she's not with her grandparents as much.

 

"it looks like" isn't a plan. Call grandma and let her know what the plan is, or have your finance do it. All the adults here need to have open, polite dialogue.

 

5.  We're actually discussing me adopting his children.  All three children want me to, as do I.  My fiance likes the idea, but would like to know more pros and cons regarding this, as he'd never heard of stepparent adoption, and I've heard it can get costly.  

 

no plan. You are discussing it, but haven't even agreed on it.

 

6.  This has come up as well.  This might be trickier, however, because my older one is 18 (and not interested) and my little one's biological father (long story, abusive relationship, infrequent supervised visitations, etc) will very likely be opposed to it.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 06-06-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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OP, you say you are still planning the wedding, and how to afford it. In your financial situation, I think you should concentrate on the getting married part, not the wedding itself. You can get married very very cheaply and do not need to have a wedding. Since you can then live together, and you say that will improve your financial situation, it might help with your other financially related problems. You also need to get the accomodation situtation remedied as soon as possible - there is no point in talking about having those children live with their father full time if you don't have adequate accomodation for them. Take care of the practicalities first.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP, you say you are still planning the wedding, and how to afford it. In your financial situation, I think you should concentrate on the getting married part, not the wedding itself. You can get married very very cheaply and do not need to have a wedding. Since you can then live together, and you say that will improve your financial situation, it might help with your other financially related problems. You also need to get the accomodation situtation remedied as soon as possible - there is no point in talking about having those children live with their father full time if you don't have adequate accomodation for them. Take care of the practicalities first.

 

Very good advice.  The housing is in the works- if my older son moves out, we can all fit into my current apartment, a 3 bedroom.  If my older son chooses to stay at home, in my building (actually, it's 6 buildings part of the same community), I can apply for a larger apartment, 4 bedroom, which would fit out needs, and the waiting list is 2-4 months.  My older son just turned 18 yesterday and has not yet decided if he's ready to move out.

 

I agree on the wedding verses marriage.  Personally, I'd prefer a small wedding, sweet but inexpensive.  My fiance prefers a large wedding, inviting just about everyone he's ever met.  We've compromised, it's only about 65 people, family and close friends, but we're gonna have to tweak it some more.  We both agree that we can't start out our marriage broke, or at lease, any broker than we already are.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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