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Warring parents...

(42 Posts)
Mamma66 Sat 25-May-19 11:35:43

My Stepson has three children aged 7, 5 and 2. His relationship broke down in February 2018. His ex wouldn’t allow him (or us) to see the children until early June 2018 when they went to court and it broke our hearts. He lives with us since the split and we have the grandchildren every other weekend from 5.00pm Friday to 5.00pm Sunday. To be honest I look after the children. We love them dearly but it is hard work. The parents are so busy scoring points that they really don’t put the children first. They are now having full on war and his ex is now demanding that we have the kids every Wednesday after school which was in the original court order. There is absolutely no way we can do it, and she is insisting all his contact is supervised (long story but this is really not necessary). We keep saying to them that they need to sort things out between them and not involve us, but it makes no difference. I am at a loss as to what we should do now. They really are not putting the kids first and both using them as a weapon. We are so fed up of getting in the middle and frightened of losing contact with our lovely grandchildren.

March Sat 25-May-19 11:48:51

Your stepson needs to look after his children. Not you.

If it's court ordered it must of been agreed when it all went to court?

crazyH Sat 25-May-19 11:55:22

Shame, isn't it? That's my biggest fear....the breakup of my children's relationships and me not being able to see them.
Please God, I hope you are all able to sort things out and you continue to see your lovely grandchildren. Good luck.!

Mamma66 Sat 25-May-19 12:36:54

Thank you crazyH, it is awful, we didn’t see them for five months when they first split as we have had them every other weekend for the last year we have got really close to the children and I am really frightened that they will be kept away from us again. I really hope that they come to their senses, but am not holding out much hope 😢

Mamma66 Sat 25-May-19 12:40:52

I agree with you March my Stepson should look after his children, but he just doesn’t, I have tried everything but he just doesn’t. I think he likes the idea of being a parent, but not the reality. Some weekends he spends 1 to 2 hours with them and that’s it. The original Court Order was 5pm Friday to 5pm Sunday and every Wednesday but we simply cannot do it.

sodapop Sat 25-May-19 13:01:21

That's difficult for the children and you Mamma66 You are in a catch 22 situation now.
You really need to talk to the Services involved with your family and tell them things are not working out. In the long term this may help as your stepson is clearly not taking responsibility and no one is benefiting at the moment.

EllanVannin Sat 25-May-19 13:07:57

To my mind, the parents in a split are so wrapped up in themselves they don't give the children a second thought and it's they who are the damaged ones-----not the selfish parents. It seems to be happening quite often, in fact most of the time and it's unforgiveable. Poor children suffer all the time and it isn't right.
I couldn't care less about the parents. Sorry, but that's how I feel. They're selfish to the core when things go wrong with THEM !

Namsnanny Sat 25-May-19 13:51:13

I’m assuming the court order is directed towards as, and the condition is that you Supervise?
If so the fact that you can’t be available should mean that other arrangements could be made for Wednesday?
Perhaps he should be told/encouraged to meet the children at an approved centre?
If you can’t make him understand his responsibility towards his children, I don’t know what you can realistically dosad.
I hoe others can advise flowers

Namsnanny Sat 25-May-19 13:52:08

For ‘as’ read Step son

jenpax Sat 25-May-19 14:07:40

Gosh how stressful for you! unfortunately I have heard similar stories quite often through work, and also with friends of the dads gaining shared care and in effect it being his parents who end up with the child care. I am not sure what the solution is for you as if Step Son breaches the court order then DIL would be within her rights to ask the court to look again at the original order and vary it, which might involve reduced contact with the DGC;,equally if it comes to light that step son isn’t actually looking after or spending time with his kids then mum might use this as a further argument to reduce contact. However you do say she is now looking to add the original Wednesdays to the set up and I wonder if you are unable to do Wednesdays specifically or if it’s a general feeling of it all being too much?

Buffybee Sat 25-May-19 15:03:44

At the end of the day the "buck" stops with your Stepson regarding keeping to the agreed Court Order.
He doesn't seem to want to have much to do with his children on the weekends they stay with you, 1 or 2 hours you say.
As he lives with you, what is he doing for the rest of the weekend?
You mention that having the children is hard work for you for the two nights you look after them and you feel unable to take on the School pick ups which your Stepson should do every Wednesday as agreed.
So, what do you want to happen?
Your stepson doesn't want to take responsibility for his children and it's too much for you.
This is not the ex's fault, she is only asking for your Stepson to keep to the agreed Court Order.
What a waste of space he sounds! angry

BlueBelle Sat 25-May-19 15:13:56

No sympathy for the step son but how heartbreaking if you miss your time with them because of his disinterest it is very hard work having three children for two full days
The trouble is once you say it’s too much or speak to social services it will go out of your hands and the time may well be taken from you completely So from my point of view I d struggle on but put more pressure on him to take some of it off your shoulders

Ilovecheese Sat 25-May-19 15:22:14

If the children's mother is asking you to have them on a Wednesday after school as well as every other weekend, could it be that she has got used to having time to herself and would be very unlikely to stop you from having them every other weekend.

I don't know if you speak to her directly but if so could you ask her why Wednesday after school and would she agree to you perhaps paying for an after school club for them.

Neither you nor she can force their father to take more responsibility, however much you would all like him to.

Joyfulnanna Sat 25-May-19 15:27:52

This is dreadful for you Mama66. What a dilemma and fragile situation you're in. The problem lies with the immaturity of the parents.. Unfortunately they sound like they've never had any parenting training. You can't train them, it has to be an outsider. I am surprised Cafcass didn't highlight or recommend this course of action before the court order was made. I don't know if you could contact them for advice. In the meantime, could you get some additional help with the gc on a practical level. At their ages, it is so tiring looking after them as much as you do. You must have a plan, otherwise you will become ill with all the care you're providing. Even more so as the summer holidays are coming (a fractious time for most) and no doubt the parents will argue and fight more. I really sympathise with your situation.. You are literally holding the family together.. You're a total star and don't you forget it.

M0nica Sat 25-May-19 15:34:34

They are your stepson's children and it is up to him to look after them weekends and weekday as set up by court order. If he has fought so hard for it, he must now honour it. Not farm it off on you.

He does, of course, have you nicely boxed in. He knows that because you love your DGC and worry about their welfare, you will immediately cover him for any of his deficiencies.

It is now up to you to stand up to your stepson and tell him in no uncertain terms that they are his children they need his company, attention and care and that in future he must look after them for most of the time they are with you. You could volunteer to spend, say Sunday afternoon with them, but the rest of the time, he is responsible for their care.

If he doesn't want to and is clearly one of those fathers who really cannot be bothered to fulfill his commitments to his children, then the children will probably be better off if he renegotiated his contact time so that the children see less of him and have time to develop an out of schoollife at weekends with their friends at home with their mother.

Personally, I would put pressure on him to move out and find his own accommodation, so that the children go to his place for access.

Starlady Sat 25-May-19 15:36:41

My heart goes out to you, Mamma66! And to your GC who are caught in the middle of all this though, hopefully, they don't feel it right now.

I'm sorry you and DH (dear husband) didn't get to see them for 5 months. If it's any comfort, this is not unusual during a divorce, until a court order is worked out, as in your case.

I'm glad you get to see them every other weekend now. No doubt, both you and the kids get many joys from these visits. It was very kind and loving of you and DH, IMO (in my opinion) to open your home and your hearts to SS (stepson) and his children.

I'm sorry he doesn't seem to want to spend much time with them or do any of the childcare. I'm guessing he is very young, maybe early 20s? That's no excuse, of course, as he and XDIL chose to marry and have kids, and, no doubt, kids need love and care. However, it might help explain his lack of involvement.

I'm not sure why some posters are blasting XDIL, as well, at this point. She's taking care of the kids most of the time, if I understand correctly, and only wants SS to adhere to his responsibilities as per the court order. It's not her fault that SS tends to shift his responsibilities onto you and DH. IMO, that's immaturity on his part.

Hopefully, as the years pass, he will mature and begin to take on more responsibility for his kids. But, of course, that doesn't help you now.

Also, you don't say if he is working. Perhaps that's why he doesn't/can't pick up the kids from school on Wednesdays? If so, he should have brought that up when the court order was first written up, not just assume you and DH would take care of it. But I know, I know, that doesn't help you now either.

So I agree with what PPs (previous posters) have said - please see about getting the court order revised/Wednesdays taken out of the picture. Could you do it another day? Or will every other weekend have to suffice?

About her "insisting" that all his contact be "supervised" - Is this in the court order? If it's not, to my knowledge, you can just ignore it. If it is, can it be done, as a PP mentioned, by Social Services? This way, SS would be supervised and you and DH would get a break at the same time.

I know you're afraid that if XDIL doesn't get what she wants, she'll keep the kids away altogether. But, really, she too, needs to follow the court order. SS can always take her back to court if she doesn't.

Starlady Sat 25-May-19 15:54:12

I love Iloveheese' idea of an afterschool club for the kids. Or if that's not feasible, for some reason, maybe a nanny? Would you and DH be willing to pay for this? Or perhaps SS? Would XDIL agree, do you think?

Also, do you know why XDIL wants SS' visits supervised? You say it's "unnecessary," but perhaps you're too close to the forest? His lack of interest in them suggests he might not be the most responsible caregiver, so maybe he needs supervision on that account.

I saw BlueBelle's concern about your talking to Social Services. I get her point, but I can't see just ignoring those Wednesdays, as this, too, could lead to your losing contact with the children. It is more reason, however, to try to work together with SS and XDIL to find another solution for those Wednesday afternoons.

IMO, your GC are very lucky to have two such loving GPs in their lives! Bravo!

March Sat 25-May-19 16:52:53

If he only spends time with his children max 4 hours a month I can see why she would want supervised access.
The kids barely know him.
This speaks volumes for you though as it seems she trusts you.

She must be bloomin fuming though. She is the fulltime career for her children and their 'Dad' can't even manage 2 weekends a month.

She has every right to take this back to court as he isn't sticking to the court order at all.

Mamma66 Sat 25-May-19 23:37:02

Sadly, both parents are immature and self-absorbed. Neither work, my Stepson had a very bad accident and can’t really work at the moment. His ex partner is using the Wednesday afternoon contact to stop him from seeing the children. Alas they are so busy trying to manipulate the situation and exercise control that neither of them can see past that and realise the impact on the children. We tried initially to support them and to help them to become better parents. Through Social Services involvement they are just about adaquate, but neither of them is the parents our lovely grandchildren deserve- it makes me so sad

GG65 Sun 26-May-19 09:48:32

You say that your stepson’s ex wants him to take the children more, then you say she is trying to stop him from seeing the children. Which one is it?

You say they are both as bad as each other and inadequate parents, however, your stepson’s ex is the one raising the children, whilst your stepson isn’t even doing the bare minimum. How do you expect your stepson’s ex to work when she is solely responsible for 3 young children with no support from your stepson?

You are lucky that she hasn’t went back to court to have the court order revised given your stepson’s clear lack of interest in his own children. It may well end up that your stepson doesn’t see his children at all, and it will be his own fault, not his ex partner’s.

March Sun 26-May-19 10:43:30

Agree with everything GC65 has said.
I presume he isn't paying for the children either.
He doesn't see them, spend time with them. He doesn't seem to parent them. You do.
If he doesn't work how is he only spending 4 hours a month with his children, where does he go?

If she has a 2 year old she will be looking after him aswell as doing the school run twice a day.

I imagine she is at the end of her tether trying to get him to step up to be a Dad. I'd be fuming if I was her, he isn't sticking to the court order.

4allweknow Sun 26-May-19 10:55:15

Who exactly did the Court Order give access to the children at the times you say, you or their Dad? If you are the official supervisor then you do need to be present but then so does their Dad. He needs to be made to realise the terms of the Order which he no doubt agreed to. Obviously the risk you are worried about is if he doesn't comply then you don't see the children and we all know GPs don't seem to have rights if access. Your DSS needs to accept his responsibilities and at least help look after the children as he is given access to them with you being present. Very hard situation and you will feel you could be the one to make or break the situation. You are not, it's the parents and you need to make them be parents!

FarNorth Sun 26-May-19 11:21:48

Are you able to see ex-DiL to discuss the situation, rather than leave it to SS who seems to be a useless dad?
I think she is not being selfish. She is trying to get him to meet the responsibility he took on at court, which is understandable.

FarNorth Sun 26-May-19 11:25:30

Btw, I'd be very reluctant to leave 3 children of those ages in sole care of this man, from the way you've described him.
He may not be an active danger to them but sounds like he wouldn't be very competent.

Starlady Sun 26-May-19 15:07:46

"Neither work, my Stepson had a very bad accident and can’t really work at the moment."

I'm so sorry about SS' accident. Is he in a lot of pain? Could that be why he can't seem to focus on his children very much?

" His ex partner is using the Wednesday afternoon contact to stop him from seeing the children."

Not sure I understand this^^ statement. How is asking him to fulfill the Wednesday requirement a way to stop him from seeing the children?

"Through Social Services involvement they are just about adaquate, but neither of them is the parents our lovely grandchildren deserve-"

I can see that SS is not the best dad. I know that must sadden and frustrate you, and I'm so sorry. Again, hopefully, he'll grow into the role over time.

I'm not sure why you feel XDIL is not the mum she should be, but I suppose that's not relevant to your concerns here (the Wednesday and supervision issues). If it's any comfort, perhaps you and she just have different ideas of parenting. Regardless, I'm glad Social Services has helped. And bless you and DH for being there for your GC as well!