....how to cope with step kids when they decide not to come round?

(35 Posts)
Icantstopeatinglol Sun 29-Sep-13 21:32:55

Just that really. Dsd15 is in a huff over something so trivial that she's been round once in 3wks and I think it's getting ridiculous now.
It's difficult to resolve things when they just don't face upto problems and just hide at home!

FrauMoose Tue 01-Oct-13 09:35:28

Perhaps what's important is that you did all the right stuff i.e. you made it clear that you were worried about her safety and you made sure her mother was in the loop.

Icantstopeatinglol Mon 30-Sep-13 22:49:25

Thanks for the replies! I've just sat down after a busy day so sorry for the late reply.
It's only been 3wks now and she's not saying much at all but is using excuses to not come round which I think isn't helping as just not coming round isn't going to resolve anything. The actual fall out was to do with her safety as she was texting an older guy and when my dh found out obviously he was very upset and worried. He talked to her and said he wouldn't tell her dm but obviously once we thought about it we realised that wasn't possible and her dm had to know!.....she's been in a huff ever since. She's been round once and said she was waiting for my dh to apologise!!
Think we'll just see how it goes over the next week or so. I do think however that her dm won't push her to face up to the problem and will let her keep making excuses etc but I might be wrong.

FrauMoose Mon 30-Sep-13 21:02:30

My stepson used to be rather elusive and disappear if challenged. We usually just kept going with the odd text or email with bits of family news. And then succeeded in luring him back when there was some family gathering or big dinner. Often the added numbers felt 'safer' for him I think. Rather than there being some big talk about what happened, behaviour, feelings etc - he could just slide back in in a low-key way.

TheWinterOne Mon 30-Sep-13 19:56:07

Your DP has to remember she is still only a 15 year old hormonal child. I'm not saying he has to bypass the way she behaves but he needs to be the less stubborn one and maybe send a text just saying that he'll always be there for her, that she's loved and is ready to talk when she is.

What is his relationship like with his ex like? Could they tackle her stubbornness together or would that only make things worse. If she refuses to speak to him/ have contact - could he still get updates from mum about how and what she's doing. Keeping lines of communication open for when she's ready but still having an interest in her life?

Absolutely under no means would I give in to her demands of a shopping trip and money though, that only gives her an excuse to do it again if she gets in to a hissy as she's already got away with it once. Giving in to her demands like that will only make a rod for your own backs.

louby44 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:46:35

China I completely agree with you! But how can he 'parent her' from 40 miles away? And as the NRP it's so difficult to make amends.

I too believe she wants him to choose between me and her! I think she has deep seated anger issues about her dad/mum/split and he coming to live with me (and my 2 DS). All the negativity towards me is to hurt her dad further I think.

Luckily her mum is trying to encourage them to come here (for her own selfish reasons but what does it matter). So we do have her on our side.

But I'm the one talking about it all the time, my DP seems to have buried his head in the sand!

theredhen Mon 30-Sep-13 19:38:21

Louby, the absent parent can only do so much. It's really down to the resident parent to support the relationship.

It sounds like at least your dp ex wants dsd to see your dp, she just needs to help facilitate it.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 19:35:15

But DSD15 is just being awful to him. She's told him she's stubborn and he thought he could win her back with sorry cards and flowers but she hates him and never wants to see him again.

No, she's not being awful to him - she's behaving like a perfectly normal 15 year old who has not been given appropriate boundaries and as a result beleives she can manipulate her Dad to get what she demands.

A parent shouldn't try to "win back" their DC - it leaves them feeling insecure and overwhelmed by the responsibility that gives them over their parents emotions.

The fact that she is still seeking financial handouts is actually a good sign - it means that despite her behaviour and his response, she stills see him in a parental role at the moment - if he shapes up and starts parenting her, then the chances are this will all blow over.

I think the wording of the text you suggest is spot on; and if she chooses not to reply, or contact her Dad in another way, then he can continue to remind her he loves her in other ways - a postcard now and again telling her what he is up to, a good luck text when she has an exam or similar coming up; just keep the lines of communication open and more importantly, ensure that she KNOWS him, so he's not a stranger if she ever does need him.

I understand that he is digging his heels in; its so easy to do - but perhaps my experience will shock him into changing his mind. My DSD chose not to have contact with her Dad for 2 years after some perceived slight; she gave him an ultimatum - me or her. DP told her there was room in his life for both of us, and DSD Mum supported her to stay away. DP kept in touch in any way he could - and ignored her Mum who was telling him to stop writing to her, not to go to performances she was in, and not to keep in touch with her school because DSD didn't like it.
When things went wrong between DSD and her Mum, DSD didn't hestitate - she called her Dad for help.
If your DP refuses to be a parent now, then his DD may not have a Dad she can turn to when she needs one most.

louby44 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:32:47

I think my DP just needs to pick a time when his daughter is there and turn up! They need to sit down and talk. Although he did this once before a few months ago after a falling out and she locked herself in the bathroom, refused to come out and so he left. It was ridiculous! She acted like a 3 year old having a tantrum. So I can understand his relunctance!

We just don't know what to do. Ex wife has text DP numerous times to ask when the girls are coming for a weekend as she needs a break! But what can we do? He could probably get DSD13 here with a friend which he is going to suggest.

We have no way of encouraging DSD15 to come unless of course we use ex wife's suggestion and bribe her by a promise of money and a shopping trip! But no way that will happen.

She has no friends here, there is nothing for her here and even if we suggest cinema or a meal out that won't cut it with her.

I just don't understand why she is carrying this on. She and her dad have had a close relationship in the past. She wants to join the army next year and as her dad was a soldier for 23 years she'll want to seek his advice I suspect at some point. Or not!

theredhen Mon 30-Sep-13 19:16:15

Louby, how do you get a teen to do anything?

Normally by negotiation, consequences, rewards, punishment, incentives. If these don't work, it's certainly worth looking at counselling, mediation etc.

Ultimately if a teen just refused to go to school, all if the above would be tried before making the decision to home school. We don't teach kids to just run away from other problems, so I don't understand why seeing a parent is any different?

louby44 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:07:06

Hi OP

many people on here know about my DP and his DD, she too is 15. She hasn't been here since 16th August. His 2 DD usually stay EOWeekend

After a really shitty holiday where her dad and her had a massive row/fight after he'd caught her smoking and then other stuff/bad behaviour continued for 2 weeks. On our return, I (the terrible step-mother) told her (and her sister 13) how disappointed I was in their behaviour. How they had spoilt our holiday etc and of course their dad reiterated my feelings. I'd paid for half the 2 week holiday to Turkey and my 2 DS also came with us.

They have refused to come here since. My DP has tried and tried. He's made headway with DSD13 who he speaks to weekly and has taken out for lunch once.

But DSD15 is just being awful to him. She's told him she's stubborn and he thought he could win her back with sorry cards and flowers but she hates him and never wants to see him again. She also won't come here if I'm here as apparantly me and her have never got on, I look down on her and have never made her feel welcome! Bollocks. Utter rubbish. My 2 DS laughed when I told her what she'd said about me! She hates him so much she then text him to ask for £20!!

DP is at a loss what to do next. They are very similar and he's as stubborn as she is. He's refused to text her again which I have told him is wrong. He needs to be the adult!

I think he needs to text her and say "I love you, you are always welcome here, I don't like how you are behaving and when you are ready to talk text me". But he's digging his heels in.

So I am too am stuck, piggy in the middle - which is often my role!

I've arranged some couples counselling for us both which I hope will help us manage our relationship better regarding all 4 kids - it's the only aspect of our relationship that we struggle with.

How do you get a 5' 8" teenager into a car against their will??

theredhen Mon 30-Sep-13 14:03:55

My answer to this is always "what would the children do if the natural parents were still living together?" The answer is that the child and parent would HAVE to sort out their differences because they would see each other every day. This might involve constant dispute and arguing but more likely, it would involve a small disagreement and both parties working out a resolution. The child would learn that confrontation is not always a terrible thing, it doesn't always end in disaster but it's a way of communicating.

It is VERY common for teens to rebel against a parent, to refuse to obey house rules and be disrespectful. It happens because as a child grows he/she realises that his/her parents aren't perfect and have flaws in their personalities. It can come as quite a shock for many kids and they often become angry with that parent.

In a "together" household, most probably the "favoured" parent would help to sort out a solution for both the child and the other parent, to enable harmony in the home. There is no such pay off in a separated family, and in fact, it oftens pleases the other parent to see the child turn against someone who they themselves dislike so much. It makes them feel supported and hence fills THEIR need for acknowledgement on how difficult they find their ex partner.

I have experience from both sides. I have 2 resident children in my house, neither of which want to see their respective NR parents, both children are made and encouraged to go, both children have found their own coping strategies through talking it through and working things out for themselves. They are both 15. I actively dislike both NR parents and get very angry and frustrated by their behaviours but ultimately I will not be able to control their behaviour now or in the future and enabling the children to cope with their other parents is something I feel is my absolute duty. Both are doing well in school and achieving as well or better than predicted, have friends and although are not perfect, are functioning reasonably well as teenagers.

We are also have a non resident child as part of our family who refuses to see us and have anything to do with us or our extended families. He is 14 and after being actively supported in his wish to have nothing to do with his NR parent is now refusing school, has welfare officers involved, is attending school counselling (on recommendation from school), has dropped social activities and is suffering from low self esteem. He was predicted all A stars in GCSE but is now not on target. Part of self esteem is feeling "part of something" and for a child to choose not to be part of such a large chunk of his and his siblings lives has understandably taken it's toll. His resident parent has refused to encourage him to attend family counselling or mediation.

A parent who actively refuses point blank to see their NR child, is rare in my experience and often will just need enough rope to hang themselves but ultimately you need the child to learn from this, to protect them might feel a natural, caring thing to do, but ultimately part of growing up is learning to cope with all sorts of situations. We often teach our child the practicalities of growing up, doing chores etc but just as important is it to teach a child the emotional confidence of coping with difficult people, even if that person, is your parent.

Tuckshop Mon 30-Sep-13 14:01:27

I arranged mediation for dsd and her Dad via our local youth advisory centre, although dsd was on board with going because she was so desperate to sort things out with her Dad.

Petal02 Mon 30-Sep-13 14:00:48

A week becomes a month, and then a year and maybe two or three or more. Suddenly, Dad has become a stranger, and life is ticking over quite happily without him. So why rock the boat?

China, that’s EXACTLY how it is. And whilst DH is obviously very sad this has happened, he has (after 7 years) almost got used to DSD not being around – he’s not happy about it, but in the same way as when someone dies, you just have to accept it.

They did meet up a while ago to see if any bridges could be built (we still think DSD was after money, but that’s another story) but there had been so much water under the bridge, so much time had passed, that they no longer knew each other, no longer had anything to say, the meeting didn’t go well and neither side has initiated contact since.

Mueslimorning Mon 30-Sep-13 13:57:53

Agree with the idea that some form of mediation by rp is required.
When ds, 15, suddenly decides that seeing friends on his dads weekend is more important I intervene, I may suggest that a trip to the cinema could be put off until his weekend at home, for example. Usually ds acquiesces.
Once there had been a "misunderstanding" and sm and I had a chat and we both helped father and son to talk to each other again. I do it because I know long term my ds is better off emotionally forming a close relationship with his dad.
I do realize not everybody has this view, dh ex did everything in her power to alienate dsc. Needless to say, it didn't work out, we now have dss 50:50 and even dsd has happily given up misplaced loyalty to her mum for a balanced relationship with her dad.
Things were sooo rocky in our home for,such a long time (so much in fact that I recently thought of packing it in) mostly because Dsc were not to feel welcome; it leads to Disney parenting, prioritizing time with dsc over partner and many more avoidable catastrophes.

Tuckshop Mon 30-Sep-13 13:44:46

Yes, it is difficult. My dsd was so stubborn at that age. Keep the door open for her, keep in contact with her. Ring her, invite her round. Apologise if you need to. Let her know she is loved.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 13:17:17

she was (IMO) too embarrassed/stubborn to back down, positions had become entrenched

This happens so easily when parents are apart - the anticipation of what is going to be said encourages the DC to opt out of contact, which in turn leads to them thinking things will be worse for them because they did opt out and a week becomes a month, becomes a year and maybe two, three or more. Suddenly, Dad has become a stranger, and life is ticking over quite happily without him, so why rock the boat?

Petal02 Mon 30-Sep-13 13:06:39

When DSD was approx 15, she had a huge melt down about something DH said to her, everyone just thought it was a teenage strop. She refused to see DH, and the ex (thinking that was a great opportunity to needle DH) supported DSD's decision. However unfortunately DSD had made such a huge fuss that she was (IMO) too embarrassed/stubborn to back down, positions had become entrenched, and by the time that even the ex realised it was actually in everyone's best interests to seek a solution, a few years had elapsed, and DSD didn't feel she could face her father.

Fast forward 7 years, father and daughter remain estranged. The more time that passes, the less likely reconcillation appears.

Everyone - even the ex - now realises a 15 yr old girl was not mature enough to make the decisions she was allowed to make, and the ex admits she should have driven DSD over to DH's house and things would most likely have been resolved.

In a bio family, there's no 'other home' to retreat to if a child falls out with a parent. And allowing this to happen in a separated family is not healthy.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 13:06:03

oops seemed to have hijacked this thread - sorry OP grin

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 13:05:28

the school are so vile - all the counselling they offer is 'anger management' with an unqualified worker who break confidences.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 13:04:11

I know it makes me weep - thanks for the suggestions flowers

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 13:02:26

my children's school has never offered anything btw and never will.

What a shame - I know how frustrating it can be to seek support from the school only to be rebuffed. Perhaps a local youth club, or even Youth Church group may be able to refer you?

In my DSD case, her school DID offer support (obviously not play therapy, but youth counselling, which I think all Secondary Schools have to offer?) but she didn't think she needed it, then. It's only now she's older she realises the damage that has been done and is sadly, living with the consequences.
DSS, who is younger, has been referred for play therapy by his school link worker; his Mum has currently blocked it from happening, and DP is curently looking into a Specific Issue Order.

Of course, if your DC's Dad has rejected them then your DC's receiving support is even more important - the knowledge that one of their parents doesn't love them unconditionally will be incredibly destructive.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 12:51:57

thanks for the info chinacups but i think 15 year olds are a bit past 'play therapy' - don't you? my children's school has never offered anything btw and never will. Quite honestly if the cost of them not seeing a man who knows nothing about them and has no desire to, plus is married to a cow who has actively discouraged him from seeing them or contributing to their costs, is possibly gaining a C grade instead of a B, i think we can live with this.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 12:41:56

counselling, support, negotiation, mediation and reconciliation are far more sophisticated tools

sure that sounds lovely in an ideal world

If your ideal is that your DC's do access these services but you've been unable to secure them, then perhaps you could post on MN Local to find out what other parents have used in your area?

Family mediation, play therapy, and reconciliation services are available widely, and cost is no longer the inhibiting factor that it used to be, as many schools and childrens centres can refer families to fully-funded support, as it is recognised that the long-term impact of family estrangement can include lower attainment, and relationship problems as adults.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 12:41:35

also i wonder who provides these 'support services' you mention, exactly?

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 12:34:29

ffs it was a metaphor?
that is from the Greek meaning 'transport' btw, and it is used...oh never mind.
counselling, support, negotiation, mediation and reconciliation are far more sophisticated tools
sure that sounds lovely in an ideal world.

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