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Hi Ladies! I'm new to this board but not new to JM. I'm a 25 yr old mom of two, a 4 yr old DD, and a 3 yr old DS. We moved in with my boyfriend in February. He has no kids of his own but is now taking on the "step-dad" role with my kids. My kids have a very good relationship with their father, as do I, we're still good friends. DBF's family has been very welcoming of me and the kids. I guess the reason I am here is because we've been having some discipline issues with the kids and I'm trying to figure out the best way for us all (myself, their father and DBF) to work together to get the kids back on track. I understand their world was just turned upside down, and it's a sensitive thing for all of us, so we want to do it "the right way".
Anyway, back to my original question. DBF doesn't have any kids of his own, so do we count as a "blended family"? If not, is there somewhere else I should post?
Welcome, I'm Chantelle one of the co-hosts here on BF's, I am both a bio & step mom. I have a 9 yr old DS from a previous relationship, my DH has a 12 year old DS from a previous marriage, together we had two more DS' (ages 4 & 2), and my ex has since married, had twins (they're one boy/girl), and my DH's ex-wife is single. We're about as blended as they get.
You are dealing w/ an ex, but...you're more of a single mommy, you're in a relationship w/ a guy, you have 2 kids w/ another man but there are no divorces, 2nd or even 1st marriages either. I mean, you could probably benefit from our board about "blending an issue" but blending is very difficult. How long have you been together? What issues are you having w/ the kids?
IMHO, what ever was working for YOU & YOUR kids BEFORE you met your boyfriend should continue. If he is not comfy w/ it, too bad, it works, dont try to fix it! JMHO. Also, most of the discipline is coming from you any ways, so I don't see why there would be issues. You get along w/ your ex, your kids have a good relationship w/ their father, that's all your boyfriend needs to know. Sure in a perfect world he would be a loving, dotting man, marry you & all live happily ever after but it's complicated b/c the kids already have a dad, and they might start to see your boyfriend as a "threat"...by now coming into the picture. Kids will act out w/ a choice they have no control over b/c they don't have the words to vocalize their frustrations.
I need more info to be able to give you advice...
As far as "What board?" or "where you belong?" you can always post here, we don't discriminate and you are more than welcome to join us. The ladies here are honest & helpful.
Thanks for the welcome, Chantelle! I guess I did leave out quite a bit of important info. First, the kids father and I were married, well....ARE married (since 2004), been separated awhile (this gets complicated but please don't judge..). Let me explain.
In April of 2008, I packed up the kids and left their father. Having been a SAHM mom and having no family in the area, or friends that could put me up, we moved a few states away to my mom's house. We were there for a few months before problems started to arise there. Stepdad was determined to raise my kids for me, constantly undermining my authority with my own children and even encouraging forms of discipline for them that I was just not comfortable with.
In July 2008, I decided to bring the kids back to IL to see their dad for his birthday, since they'd missed father's day with him too. Since we have such a great relationship, nobody thought this was odd. I was going to bring them back, stay in the house he and I had shared together, with him there, but in a separate room. While we were back on our visit, several things happened. He and I had discussed my Stepdad's behavior towards me and my children and their dad was just as uncomfortable with it as I was. About a week after we arrived (we were to be there for 10 days), their father's best friend died tragically and unexpectedly...he took his life. This shattered my kids' father and left him in a completely unhealthy emotional state. I was very concerned for him, being my kids' dad. I told my mom the kids and I would be staying a little longer than expected, to attend the funeral and so that I could make sure their dad was going to be ok and get the help he needed, if he needed it. During that same conversation, it came out that my stepdad didn't like living with the kids because he wasn't used to dealing with young children and maybe it'd be best that we find somewhere else to live.
So, the ex and I decided to live together. After consulting with a lawyer (because we did want a divorce, we just couldn't afford one) we were told that this was ok, as long as we were living separately, as roommates, not in the same bedroom, not being intimate...etc. As long as we could sign an affidavit to that, we'd be considered physically separated, not legally separated (which we were told was unnecessary. I don't know how this works in other states..but that's what we were told.
So we lived together, in separate rooms/beds. I was actively trying to find a job after having been a SAHM for all of our marriage. We moved into an apartment together (separate rooms) in August of 2008. In January 2009, I met a guy and we became friends, but we both knew we were attracted to each other. Nothing happened between us for awhile..but the ex knew about this guy the whole time, we are very open and honest with each other, and he was ok with it. We both knew our marriage had been over well before I had first left him. So eventually, started dating this guy, and introduced him to my kids in September of 2009. I wanted to be absolutely sure he was someone I wanted to be involved in my kids lives. They hit it off really well.
Then things started going downhill fast. Kids' father lost his job, and struggled to find a new one, bills weren't being paid, I had a min wage/part time job and struggled to make ends meet. We were going to lose the apartment and knew it. Once again, found myself without a place to go. The kids' dad would be moving back in with his mom and I had no idea what I was going to do. I silently stressed about it...and then one day my boyfriend offered for us to move in with him. I had honestly never thought to ask, I would never have. I tried to talk him out of it for weeks before finally saying I'd give it a chance. I knew he was serious, and I knew he would never have asked if he wasn't. He's not the type that would make rash decisions. So after extensive discussion with him and the kids' father, we moved in Feb of this year.
The adjustment has been going well. The kids love my boyfriend and as I said before he and his family have been very welcoming of us. He's gone above and beyond to make his home "our" home. As far as the discipline issues, they aren't HUGE issues. My kids aren't acting out in a horrible way, it's just sometimes our lines get crossed on how to discipline them when they do something wrong, what to say...etc. You brought up the "what worked for you before should work now" thing...and the only thing is, what worked before was working when we still lived with their dad. Now that we don't, we're just trying to find a good way of blending our rules from before, with boyfriends rules ..I want him to be involved, and their dad is ok with that. They're both reasonable men. But especially with this being "his" house...he should have some say. We don't argue, we just get confused sometimes and this is causing some inconsistency in how we discipline the kids.
As far as their dad and I go, we will be divorced before too much longer. He's working again, paying me child support, paying off our old bills from the apartment that we couldn't pay because of him losing his job...and we're working on finding a lawyer that will do an uncontested divorce for us that won't kill our bank accounts. He's also emotionally stable again (in case anyone was wondering).
So that's my story, sorry so long.
Formerly known as "mommynina"
Thank you Jaidynsmum for my beautiful siggy!
Last edited by pumpkinseed; June 15th, 2010 at 07:46 PM.
Okay, well, you're still married, but in the process of a divorce, legally separated so yes, this is one of the many boards on JM that can help you w/ your situations.
I don't find it odd that you were able to live w/ your ex & things go well, I've seen it done, I've had it done w/ my aunt & her now ex-husband. Not a big deal. No judgement from me.
The one thing I have to chime in on... your BF, you saying it's "HIS" house, that's the problem. You're viewing this as "HIS" house, or he's viewing this as "HIS" house & the kids feed off of that. They realize it's not THEIR home. That's a big issue emotionally. You guys need to get a home TOGETHER, pick it out TOGETHER & do it all TOGETHER, as a family, joint, not you guys staying at some guy's house. Which is blunt in how I'm putting things but it's the way it is in reality. Make this YOUR home, all four of you, not your BF & you & the kids are the "guests"...which is how the kids, and even yourself, may subconsciously may feel & therefore act out as if you're frustrated, sad, angry or even jealous. It's normal to feel that way, nothing to be ashamed of.
When it comes to discipline, do your children stay alone w/ your BF all the time? Is he in charge w/ out you a lot of the time? Is he the one providing the kids' the care most of the time? If so, then yes, there needs to be a "plan"...on how the rules are going to be laid out & enforced (which honestly should have been done before you moved in, but never usually happens). The children do not have to like your BF, but they have to respect him. When it comes to discipline, it should "always" come from you, or at least be discussed w/ you before hand so that both of you are coming from the same place. Even if you both agree to disagree, you can go forward & talk to your kids as if you are on the same page. You never want them to see that you two are divided in your views of discipline otherwise they will take advantage of it REALLY fast. And not b/c they're bad kids, but b/c it's a natural thing to do as kids, they like to test, see how they can work the other person/parent against one another.
IMHO, you & BF need to sit, and talk, really talk (w/ out the kids in ear shot) & discuss what your expectations are, what his expectations are & if HE is feeling like he's being disrespected, what you feel he is able to say to the kids, that you feel okay w/ & know that will work for your family.
It may be "his" house, but they are "your" kids... if you & the kids had a good thing going & your discipline was working, you need to bring that dynamic into the home, and explain to your BF (who's never been a dad) how important this consistency is for the kids, how this has worked for the kids. If the kids see how mom has changed her patterns on discipline and only since you've moved into your BF' home, they're going to be angry, sad, and jealous. They may adore your BF, but again, they never chose him, and now they're being thrown into this mix & expected to adjust to a new environment that is being looked at by their mother as not even their home. Big problem there & that's why I say, it would be a great thing "IF" you could all move into a home/apartment that you would all pick out together, as a family, so that no one has the "it's my house" thing going on.
HIH... thanks for taking the time to give more info. Very helpful.
Thank you for your advice, Chantelle. I do agree that the BF and I need to sit down and talk about things. And not to start any drama, really, but I have to address it...in reading and re-reading your response, it seems as though you're writing it from the stance that my boyfriend is main "problem", which is anything but the real case. I'm saying this calmly, without any catty-ness (I know how these boards can be sometimes lol) and without trying to defend him just because I love him. I just wanted to point out that I think you misinterprated my saying "his" house. As I said in that post...he has gone above and beyond to make his house (as in it was his before we lived in it) into our home. I put "his" in quotes before, because I wanted to make that point, that it was his before us. That's all. He has never once pulled the "this is my house" card on me and I know he would never. All I want is for him to feel included in how we all raise the kids. To answer your question, no, he isn't the primary caregiver at home, though he does watch them on occasion. Prettymuch all discipline comes from me, he doesn't try to intervene, ever. He'll tell them not to do something if he sees that they need to be told and I'm either distracted with something else or not in the same room, etc..but he doesn't take it upon himself to punish them for anything. Ultimately, it is mine and their father's decision and I'd never let BF have the upperhand. But in talking with him about it before, he's had some good ideas and insights that I hadn't really thought of before. They're not radical changes that would confuse my kids, and lets be honest...my kids aren't perfect, their dad and I aren't perfect, and we've had a few disciplining issue when we still lived together. Not major stuff, but I'm sure everyone goes through it...we tried this method and it wouldn't work, so we tried that method..etc. I think we all (myself, their dad and BF) have very similar views on how to do this or that...I think it's the consistancy that's the main problem. (maybe I just answered my own question on what to do?) Making sure we're all on the same page and stay constant in our decisions. And just to be 100% clear...they ARE my kids and I'm not afraid to defend that if I feel like someone is doing them wrong. I'm not just going to hand over the reigns to BF and let him take control, nor would he want that.
As far as moving into a new place together...within a month after we moved in here, BF started looking at houses to buy (on his own, I didn't plant the idea) and, of course, we've been looking at houses together and, if we find one, it will be a mutual decision. He's currently trying to build up his credit (he has great credit..just not enough of it) and we're hoping within the next year we'll have a home of OUR own.
Thanks again for your reply. I think BF and I should talk, I'll ask him if he has any input on what he'd like to see in the house (just to ask, not saying I'm going to make any drastic changes regarding how I raise my kids) and I'm going to talk to their dad about some things. I want to make sure we're still on relatively similar pages on how we're doing things here and at his house. That's just another issue we're dealing with. It seems as though with some things, little things (maybe not even worth stressing over) they get away with it there but not here, or vice versa. I know we'll never be completely 100% on board with everything, and I accept that, I'm not trying to be a control freak. My overall concern is building communication, getting everyone on the same page and working it in a way where the kids see we're all going to back each other up.
Formerly known as "mommynina"
Thank you Jaidynsmum for my beautiful siggy!
Last edited by pumpkinseed; June 16th, 2010 at 08:29 AM.
Don't apologize. I don't think that your BF is the one that is saying "this is my house"... I think you feel like that more or less. It seems like you are needing to change things b/c it's his house b/c you have that in the back of your head. Which is valid too, I've BTDT & I understand that when someone move's into another person's home, it can feel like it's not really YOUR own place, that it's theirs. I guess that's what I mean.
Ultimately, a conversation, communication has to happen w/ you & your BF, that's the deal breaker for you. Which out that, it wont be good. You guys can also say "okay, let's agree to disagree on this in person, but in front of the kids, we will remain neutral on this issue regarding ________" what ever that issue is. Either way, you want to approach the kids as a team rather than "mommy feels this way" and "Boyfriend feels this way"... kids are so smart & truly play each parent, even in a regular home w/ both bio parents. My DH walks in the door & my 2 little ones go from quiet & obedient to loud & crying. They realize that the crying & screaming will get daddy to do what they want him to do. I could have told my boys "no more milk today, just water"... and THE SECOND my DH walks' through the door they run to "Daddy" and say "can I have some milk?!?!?!?" first off, DH KNOWS that the boys aren't suppose to have dairy after 3pm (medical stuff), and instead of looking at the time & realizing that it's 6pm, he will say "sure honey, just a second"...then I'll come in & say "no, no milk, water"...and instead of the "that's right boys, no more milk, here's some ice cold water"... he'll say "mama said no"... I finally sat back & had a conversation w/ my DH about making me be the "bad cop"...and how I hated that & how the boys were literally taking him for all he has b/c they know he'll cave in. He's slowly learning, and he means well, but our approached are so different it's like we're on different planets.
I commend you for wanting to have your BF be part of the kids' lives in this way & talking about stuff, important or basic. Either way, you want to have that dialogue w/ out the kids present & it should work out.
And again, no need to apologize, I understand, you weren't rude & often things will come across a different way than they were meant to come across from the original poster (yourself) and it's read a different way from others like myself. That's the part of being on-line that I don't like, you can't truly see the person's expressions and if they mean it sarcastic or anger or hurt. Depending on how people read a post can determine what is posted in response. No worries.
I have been reading about this... And i have a bf and he has a child ( 4 YEARS OLD ) SAME AS ME... and i personally couldnt live in his house he lives in now...because his ex lived there haha but im enjoying reading this,..... i think your very smart!!!
Single mommy to the most amazing child in this entire world!