My partner has two children aged 8 & 7. The father left them when they were 2 and 1 for another family. I have been with my partner since they were 4 & 3.
The father has 4 children total (He does not live with either mum) and its clear the other two are favored, even his current wife has voiced her concern regarding his behavior & commitment on a recent telephone conversation.
In the past 4 years he has not seen the boys over 52 days per year with on average 10 weekend cancellations per year, never taken them on holiday, went a few periods of 4-6 months without contact, didn’t take them at all Christmas 2018 and currently ongoing struggles with maintenance, every action or move he makes is overturned by either our solicitors or CMS.
Generally, this man has failed the kids as a father and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I would openly describe him as ‘toxic ex’ who has no respect for the kids mother, let alone me. Everything he does is in HIS best interests.
The kids however are very happy children, they want for nothing and even through COVID showed no signs of being disheartened with life, all the want to do is spend time with us and have fun. They talk very little about their father, he has not been in contact with them for 7 weeks to date, not even a phone call.
The reason for my post is to discuss the future and the potential of the father’s toxic ways. I often worry that as the kids get older, he may attempt to turn his children against me? He will have to face the music himself with regards contact with his children as they get older and start asking more questions, which may in turn lead to more contact which is fine, historically we always urged him to have contact and try better but the last year we stopped chasing him to have a relationship with his kids, it was a thankless task.
Note – The step dad of his other two children separated lately from their mother, a key contributor to this was the behavior and attitude of the eldest child (Currenlty 15 or 16), funnily enough the one that spends most time with the father – go figure.
There are absolutely no issues with my relationship with the kids at this stage, I treat them like my own and they in turn respect me as a step dad, we spend all our time together.
There is no doubt the kids have probably overheard us discussing their father, I have several times made comments to the kids in anger about how I am frustrated with their father and think he should be doing a lot more for them but they are young, I want them to understand, but they live minute by minute, my comments are most likely dismissed.
Am I allowed to show my frustration towards there father to them? Should I stop discussing their father to them? One thing I certainly won’t do anymore is cover for their dad when he cancels or they ask why he is seen doing things with other kids and not them, our normal go to quote is ‘It seems daddy isn’t making good decisions at the moment but hopefully he starts soon’
Will these kids grow up remembering who was there for them when they were young and respect that? I hope so.
One thing for sure is, these kids deserve the best and they arent getting it from their father. my partner lives her life for them, does everything for them and always has their best interests at heart.
I am 100% committed to these kids and want us to grow as a family but always have in the back at my mind when these kids turn 10/12/14, there father may try to turn them. I have sacrificed a lot and put up with a lot with regards the father’s narcissistic ways and lack of presence.
We need to make sure when the time comes these kids know that no matter what, both me and my partner are there for them and that their father’s unwillingness to be a father is nothing to do with them.
Its actually quite sad, my dad is my best friend and I want the same for them but it seems he has his hands full with the older kids and his partners kids.
Thank you for taking time to listen and i appreciate any feedback whether it be advice or experience.
It is awful their dad does not want to be involved, I never understand that? . But kids are not stupid and they will work out what he is like themselves when they are older. I would suggest not bad mouthing him in front of the children, just in case they mention it to him, he could try and use that against you in the future.
If he is not seeing them, we cant manipulate them, even when they are older. If he says "your step dad is ****" they will know you well enough to know this is not true. As long as you are there to help and support them and be part of their life, they will know whatever he is saying is untrue. By the sounds of it, he won't be seeing them much at all.
Just keep being the good stepdad that you being and support them through this tough time, they will always remember you were there and their dad wasn't.