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What should my DD and her partner do?

(77 Posts)
Seb2015 Tue 03-Jan-17 14:35:20

My eldest DD's DP has two children aged 10 and 7 from a previous relationship and was seeing them most weekends. My DD is a fab step-mum and gives her time generously and lovingly to them both. However, there has always been tension with the children's mum who seems to see my DD as a threat even though she had nothing to do with the breakdown of the relationship.

Anyway, the older of the children has, over the last few months decided that he wants to stay at home and play computer games most weekends, which has greatly upset his dad and my DD. They have tried persuading him; accepting that he has other interests and that he doesn't want to spend all of his free time going to see dad (even though there are always activities for them to do; it's not just a change of wallpaper!) to be told the following weekend that he isn't coming again; telling him that he hasn't got an option - in other words, playing it every way they can think of but to no avail. They are getting no support from the mum who thinks that children should be free to make their own decisions (even to the point of choosing which high school he should go to) and who has made no secret of egging on backing up her son. He, in the way that all children will, had no trouble tearing himself away from his computer games when it came to visiting his dad and DD to get his Christmas presents, nor did he for his birthday.

Any ideas on how to handle this please? They have asked for my input and I think they need to keep the door open to him but, as they don't have any back-up from his mother, their hands are pretty much tied but you wise lot may have some other thoughts.

grannypiper Sat 07-Jan-17 11:28:14

Maybe the adults in the situation need to take a step back and understand this child has feelings,opinions and wants. My DGD is aged 10 and fed up to the back teeth of being pulled from pillar to post, her life is so bloody complicated, Mum has just re married to a lovely man so my DGD now has a step father and step brother (aged2) Her Father lives 100 miles away with his girlfriend and they have just had a second baby so DGD now has 1 step brother, 1 half brother and a new half sister ! she has to travel 100 miles after school on a Friday and back again on a Sunday, she has no weekends to rest, play with her friends or take part in Brownie camps, School fetes etc
Why cant this young man visit just once a month ? why cant he be involved in making plans instead of being told ?

marionk Sat 07-Jan-17 11:36:15

Are the computer games a cover up for depression maybe. Sounds like the mother is using him as a weapon against his dad so maybe he is trying too hard to please the parent he spends most time with. Could his dad make an appointment to speak with his school and see if they have noticed any issues?

Luckylegs9 Sat 07-Jan-17 11:41:02

I don't think anyone is doing anything to be difficult. 10 year olds seem to want to be on their computers and play games, can appear quite anti social at times. If possible I wouldn't come over as needy or anything, but would keep in touch by text or face time. I would tell him that he is always welcome and if he want to chill out on his games at yours he can, that you are interested in seeing the games he plays and would give it a go, they love to show off their skills, knowing that he is welcome, I am sure in time at all he will be round.

meandashy Sat 07-Jan-17 11:52:04

I think I'm right in saying a child aged 10 in a family court has a right to decide about seeing the absent parent.
As difficult as it is that the arrangements have changed I would suggest trying to keep communications open. Maybe suggesting a trip out that he'd enjoy every now and again?

Tessa101 Sat 07-Jan-17 12:10:09

Exactly same situation my DD & SIL were in with his eldest child 15 yrs old. They just accepted and respected his decision as he was growing up, now 18 months later he is back going to there's every other weekend. So I would respect his wishes and pick your battles carefully.

Legs55 Sat 07-Jan-17 12:18:28

It's a total minefield, my DD's F walked out on us when she was 5, we moved about 15 miles away from our home town where he still lived, then after 3 years I met my DH & moved 250 miles away. I never said a bad word about her F but she never forgave him for leaving her & would resist visits although the distance did help with that.

My DH was more than a Step-Father to her, he was her beloved Dad & she was devastated when he died, death of her own F caused her little sadness although she did attend his Funeral. She couldn't wait also to get rid of his surnamehmm

I would advise keeping the door open as far as communication goes but accept that as they grow up relationships change between Parents & DC. As for choice of School, better that he is happy to be going to a School with his friends than being forced to go somewhere he doesn't want to be. Friendships change at Secondary School in any case. At 10 I would have known my own mind but would have found it difficult to express my feelings

Elrel Sat 07-Jan-17 12:52:02

I volunteered at an Access Centre and in training it was emphasised that it was the child's right of contact with the parent, not vice versa. Does anyone (lawyer, SW) know whether this is still the case?

paddyann Sat 07-Jan-17 12:58:37

marionk do you think its wrong for a mother to side with her child?

Teddy123 Sat 07-Jan-17 15:27:01

Am remembering when my son was 10 he mostly wanted a friend over at weekends. Just wondering if an option to make a weekend at yours more appealing would be to also invite one of his friends for a sleepover occasionally.

To me 10 is still far too young for him to make important life changing decisions such as schooling. Parents do have to put their foot down hard sometimes on such matters because they are the adults. This boy is still a child.

All the best with helping your Dd to resolve this situation .... If she goes with her gut instinct, she won't go far wrong.

paddyann Sat 07-Jan-17 15:57:00

welll Teddy 123 ,his parents appear to have made life changing decisions without much thought for him!Divorce is not easy for children and a new partner,however nice they are, is not their mum.This boy needs to feel he has some control over decisions about HIS life ,it appears to be all about what his dad wants .10 and 11 year olds are not the children we were in the 60's they are far more mature ,or the ones I know are

Teddy123 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:21:37

Well Paddyann
Thank you for your kind considered remarks.

Funnygran Sat 07-Jan-17 16:36:30

Sadly this situation is happening more and more. We have our DS's two boys with us this weekend as we have most weekends. And the older one has brought his Xmas present iPad to play his computer games! DIL encourages the visits and my son phones the boys every night when they are at home. Neither partner has met anyone else but I am very aware that if it does happen then the dynamics of visits, access etc may change. The older one already has sport commitments most Sundays so he too may not want to come away from home as he gets older.

Solitaire Sat 07-Jan-17 16:43:31

EIREL yes the child at 10 has a lot of input when consulted about contact, but of course the bigger picture is important. I was a Family Court Adviser and interviewed hundreds of children about contact. Every weekend is really too much to impose upon any child of any age. Children benefit from spending time with friends and extended family too. Compromise is vital and respect for their opinions....even if adults don't agree.
Dad could ask what this young lad would like to do and I often found that as children got older they were happy to meet up for a burger mid week or an hour at weekends.
The less pressure the better as sadly I've seen too many parent child relationships end completely because of the insistence that contact continues. Far better short happy visits, than longer unhappy ones.

Jalima Sat 07-Jan-17 17:03:36

And she gives into him with most things including decisions that are too big for him to make alone - such as which high school he goes to.
hmm DD2 was very decided indeed when she was 10 where she did not want to go.

Jalima Sat 07-Jan-17 17:07:21

I agree with the views of perhaps shorter visits or a meet-up during the week, doing something the boy wants to do rather than trying to find activities you think they will both like every weekend.

Is the younger one a girl? A 10 year old boy will not want to spend every weekend solely with a much younger sibling, even a brother, he will want to be seeing his friends, playing football/rugby/computer games etc.

joannewton46 Sat 07-Jan-17 18:03:35

You all seem to be worried about GS but what about GD? Concentrating on GS may be making GD feel unwanted, insignificant etc. I would suggest making it clear to GS that he is always welcome, keep in touch by email, FB etc, and continue to invite GD as usual, she should not be penalised got GS preferences.

Jalima Sat 07-Jan-17 23:04:42

I got the impression they are trying to keep both DC entertained at the weekend - but what suits a 7 year old may not appeal to the 10 year old.
You're right though, the 7 year old may like some time to herself (or himself) and be happy to be taken out to places and activities .

Jalima Sat 07-Jan-17 23:06:15

I think it is the fact that the DGS doesn't want to come and we were trying to think of helpful solutions whereby they could keep contact with him, whereas the 7 year old is still quite happy to spend the weekend there (for the time being anyway).

jacey1 Sat 07-Jan-17 23:57:36

why can't dad play games with the boy- and DD go shopping or something with the girl? That way it would let the kids know that Their interests are important.

BlueBelle Sun 08-Jan-17 04:30:43

It's absolutely inevitable, children are made to pull away from parents/ grandparents just as birds get pushed out the nests It s the first stages of learning how to fend for themselves The mistake the OP Is making is equating this with love and blaming the real Mum , find a compromise, forcing him is going to make him rebel, blaming his mum will be felt by him even if nothing is said in words
I can feel the animosity in Seb 2015 s words when she speaks of the real Mum so he will pick up on it and draw more towards her and although it's been edited ( not at all sure how) I did read her calling the mum an idiot in the first few posts the lad will feel this even if he never hears any words of disapproval Less is more, a shorter visit perhaps not an overnight stay
Don't worry too much about the games when I was a kid I was always accused of 'having my head in a book' equally unsociable it s the same but with a different 'toy'

Lupin Sun 08-Jan-17 09:21:32

I just feel that this is a difficult situation for the boy, too. Probably in ways he might find hard to put into words.
If you can all work together to let him know that he's loved and welcomed in both households and he doesn't have to listen to criticism, one adult of another, that he has choices and will be listened to, that there is a common policy on the amount of time he sits in front of a computer, that there is a measure of co-operation in his upbringing, then there is a balance and you are demonstrating something of a valuable example.
I hope, and suspect, that this will work out if you can all relax and step back a bit and look at it through his eyes as well.
Best wishes for a happy outcome to all of you.

maggie273 Sun 08-Jan-17 09:34:22

Hi all
I got divorced 2 years ago after 40 years of marriage. Within 3 months he had moved in with someone else. I took it really bad and starting drinking which resulted in several attempts to end my life. My 2 children have turned against me at a time when I most need them I have not seen my Son for over a year and my daughter for 7 months. I have 3 GranC my daughters daughter I am very very close to she is 8 recently she has made several attempts to contact me by letter phone and email her last email sent from my daughters email account was a message is desperation saying she was missing me I responded and said I want to see her and miss her too . I have heard nothing back I don't know if my daughter is allowing her to see the responses. I dont know what else to do I am in the hands of my daughter she gets married in April at the moment I am not going to the wedding I have paid for her wedding dress and towards the reception I am desperate to see my Grand d Maggie

kitnsimon Sun 08-Jan-17 13:03:25

If his name is on the children,s birth certificates then Dad has equal Parental Responsibility with their mother. Important things like a new school must be a joint decision. Perhaps if they leave it for a few weeks the son will come around to thinking
He misses them and has fun when he is with them etc of his own accord ?

GrandmaJules Sun 08-Jan-17 19:25:54

stillaliveandkicking - very true. My DF always used to say there are three sides to every story: His side, Her side, and then there's the truth.

Penstemmon Sun 08-Jan-17 21:06:53

Maggie273 Sorry to hear of your difficult situation. I hope that you have some support either professional or from friends at this difficult time.
I am not sure I understand why your children have estranged themseles from you unless your drinking caused you to behave inappropriately in fromt of the children. If you are no longer drinking to excess and have regained better control of your life after the shock of your divorce/ex remarrying perhaps writng a letter to your children might help. If you can accept what you did must have caused them difficultiies in maintaining a relationship say so and ask for them to forgive you and invite them to come for a short visit e,g a cup of tea/cake! Take it slowly..they may come round . Good luck flowers