[Solved] Relationship in turmoil
Hello, so... about 8 months ago my GF and her two young kids moved into my house, a girl whos now 4 and a boy whos now 6. I've known them for about 14 months, perhaps it was too soon to move them in but that's how things panned out. I also have my own son 7 who lives at the other end of the country and he comes down for half holidays and every 3rd weekend on average. My partner hardly ever disciplines her children and is very inconsistent with her parenting, it is always their dad they fear the most, and as a result it has been an extremely challenging time. The girl has taken to me and is not a problem, the boy however hates me with a passion, he is very intelligent and because he wants his mum and dad to get back together, (totally understandable) he tries anything to make me and his mum argue, his mum and I never argue when the children aren't there, only when they are there. He does things so that I have to step in and discipline him, on purpose, so that he know that he can cause an argument, he has a smurk on his face when she steps in to have a go at me or undermines most of my efforts to discipline within my authority. Also, he blanks me constantly and will never answer to me, if I tell him off and for example say to him to sit on the stairs and take time out he will look at his mum first and completely blank me. I have tried to bond, gone on bike rides, taken him fishing, play with him etc but he doesn't engage or say a word. The other day he did the classic 'you're not my daddy, you can't tell me what to do' Although his mother will talk to him about this after the event but not always, it doesn't ever make any difference. So in a nut shell, I feel like I'm being bullied in my own house, I'm playing a battle of wits with a child and treading on egg shells constantly, the mother will not accept this and has now accused me of being horrible to him when in reality he is playing a very clever game with me and I desperately need her help. My son came to visit over half term and he has found it very difficult with them in the house which is also understandable, as a result he was making comments about how the boy was following him everywhere and annoying him, subsequently my gf felt the need 20 minutes before he went back to his mums to call him a little s@~t and lay into him calling my son a bully. I have never referred to her son or called him anything like that, because I know its normal behaviour. Anyway she can't see it from my sons point of view even though I can see it from her sons point of view. Just something to add, all 3 children get on lovely its only when I'm there when her son makes me and her argue and also my son plays up to when i'm there because I think he thinks he wants me to see him not liking them, i'm so confused !
It might be worth having a word with Relate, initially just a session on your own to see where they suggest you take it from there, but I certainly think it needs resolving,
Some children of this age will try to control others and create unpleasant situations but they can only do this if they are given the power to do so. It is up to the parent to take that power away from the child by disciplining unacceptable behaviour and recognize when a child is manipulating a situation. and not let it get out of hand. In this case, I believe, it is the mother who should take action for the sake of her Son and out of respect for you. Until she does I do not think the situation will improve.
It is to your credit you have tried to bond with him by doing various activities together. Unfortunately it has not been a fruitful exercise from what you write and he is not responding to any discipline from you. I think you need to have a very serious talk to his Mother regarding the control this child is exercising and the effect on the whole family and your relationship with her. I don't believe you can do any more than you have and the onus is on your partner to take responsibility for her Son's behaviour. You should not be having to engage in, quote, "a battle of wits" or "treading on eggshells" in your own home because of the attitude of a six year old child.
Regarding your biological Son, you appear to have a good relationship with him and have regular contact. My concern is what effect will your partner and her Son have on your Son? The atmosphere in the home when he visits you cannot be very pleasant with all what is happening.
Do all you can to safeguard the relationship you have with your Son, he needs you and you need him.
With regard to your partner speaking to a child of 7 years of age 20 minutes before he went back to his mums and saying quote, " call him a little s@~t and lay into him calling my son a bully," is in my opinion shameful. I question, if your Son's mother becomes aware of this, how will she feel and/or react about your partner talking to him in this manner?
I agree that attempting a session or two with Relate might help you both sort this out.
You and your partner need to be united and tackle this together. Easier said than done when you bring children in to the mix as you're both going to defend your own children.
I think it can be so difficult trying to blend families. It's often easier to see what is going on or what a situation needs, when it's somebody else's child. I do think it can be harder to be objective when it's your own. I do feel for you though and if talking isn't going to help as it stands, Relate might really be a good idea.