Not dealing with stepson coming to live with us.

Claire - posted on 01/14/2016 ( 24 moms have responded )

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Hi, I'm 50 and have a daughter of 30 who is happily married and lives in her own house. I met my husband on the internet and we totally clicked, had a whirlwind romance and got married 10 months later. He has a son of 8 who has lived with his mother until now. We used to get him every second weekend and holidays. Now he has come to live with us full time because his mother is out of work and cannot/will not find another job, so she is pleading poverty and says she can't afford to look after this child. She had him on Ritalin from the age of 5! Now he is off all medication. My problem is that I DO NOT WANT TO LOOK AFTER AN 8 YEAR OLD BOY! Before we got married, told him that there was no way that I was going to have his child full time. Circumstances have changed and I realise that this child has no where else to go, but I am so resentful of him. I'm now having to fetch him from school after work each day because his dad work's late. I leave for work a 5AM each day, pick him up at 5.30PM each day, his dad arrives home between 6 and 7. I cook, clean up and am exhausted by 8PM (which is his bed time) so I have no personal time with my husband anymore. I used to be so happy!!!! This child is making my life absolutely miserable as he's with us 24/7. Any suggestions on how to get my sanity back??? Thanks Claire

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Jodi - posted on 01/20/2016

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Why, oh, WHY do people marry someone with minor children and then get all upset when they end up living with them? I will NEVER understand that. There is ALWAYS the possibility, when you marry someone with children, that they may end up in the care of you and your partner.

Sarah - posted on 01/20/2016

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Kathleen, the issue I take with your statement of:
"In our legal system, the dad is still responsible for providing for his own child until he reaches the age of 18"
Is that is sounds like no matter what role either parent is playing in physically raising the child the father is the one on the hook financially. Every situation is different and there are instances where a SAHD may need spousal and child support after a marriage dissolution.
One other point, is many women's shelters will not take boys over 5. As it is a communal living situation.
However, we drift for the original post; mother is either refusing or unable to parent. Given the comment about the Ritalin, perhaps she is having a hard time parenting the boy. The OP states: "Now he has come to live with us full time because his mother is out of work and cannot/will not find another job, so she is pleading poverty and says she can't afford to look after this child." For whatever reason keeping the mother child unit together is not optional, therefore it is the father's responsibility.
If the new wife does not want to parent, the mother either can't or won't parent and the father works such extreme hours that his parenting time is limited; what is left for this child but sadness, rejection and misery. Shame on all three of the grown ups in this dynamic.

[deleted account]

Hi Claire...wow. You did a great job of sincerely describing your situation! I can feel your sadness, pain, and sheer exhaustion you are experiencing due to this unforseen, huge shift in your daily life.
Of course, the fight or flight response is in full swing, and you've probably given thought to cashing in your chips and moving on! As you said, your daughter is all grown, so you thought your job was finished.
The first question that occurs to me is: What happened to the child support $$? The child is only 8yrs old! You described that his dad works long hours, so I know he has a job. In our legal system, the dad is still responsible for providing for his own child until he reaches the age of 18.
When you marry a man with a child, even though you state before you marry that you have no desire to raise the child, you have to agree that his dad STILL has the responsibility to raise him. Does that make sense?
The other question is, why is he being separated from his mom? There are plenty of moms out of work these days, but that doesn't mean they have to lose their children. In the WORST case scenario, she goes to a homeless shelter with her son ( if the dad is providing nothing). The shelter connects her with organizations that help people in her situation. In the BEST case scenario, the dad is a good provider, the mom has the bulk of the custody and child raising responsibility. If the mom loses her job, it's not the end of the world. She and the child have to scale down their lifestyle to live within their means, but they utilize the support from the dad, sect.8 housing, food stamps, church help, WHATEVER IT TAKES, to keep this little family of a mother and her 8yr old son together.
Does this make sense Clair? Let me know what you think...can you put yourself in your stepson's shoes? What must life be like to be him??

Raye - posted on 01/18/2016

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The boy did absolutely nothing for you to be resentful of him. He did not ask to be put in this situation any more than you did. He has parents that apparently have not been providing the best for him or working together to make the child's life more stable. And that fallout has started to affect you. You love your husband... wonderful. If you really love him, the boy is part of him, and you should be able to love the boy, too. I didn't want kids, but I happened to fall in love with a man that had two. They get on my nerves all the time. They're kids, and that's what kids do. But I love them, and I want to help them grow and learn how to be respectful adults. You have to be willing to put forth the effort. If you're not, then that's your choice, but it's not fair to the kid or his father for you to despise this child.

You and your husband were very selfish to begin a life together knowing that you would not be willing to handle this type of situation. You CHOSE to be with a man that had a young kid. So either put your big girl panties on and live up to the responsibility of the life you chose, or get out. If you stay and can't bring yourself to love the boy, you'll make everyone's life more miserable. Yes, we understand that it may not be easy to divorce. Your lives are intertwined. But the child deserves to have a safe place to live where he won't be abused. If you resent him, that will come across to him, and that is mental/emotional abuse. Of course it's a big adjustment for everyone to have him living with you, but if you can't get through it and try to help him, and love him, then the best thing we can think of is to remove yourself.

If the mother is willing to be involved, but needs financial help, then she should file for child support payments. He should not be expected to pay ALL her expenses, but he should be helping to pay for the child's upbringing.

Michelle - posted on 01/17/2016

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But like we have all said, when you are involved with someone who has children, there is always the possibility of those children living with you full time.
You really need to have a discussion with your husband about your feelings. Being resentful towards a child isn't fair on the child, he didn't ask to be in that situation. Maybe plan to have a babysitter a couple of times a month so you can spend time with your husband.
Basically, if you don't figure out how to accept this child into your life you are all going to be miserable. You also don't want your husband to have to choose between you and his child.

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Ev - posted on 04/25/2017

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I have to say that when you marry someone with kids, they also become your family no less than if you had kids of your own or not. Sometimes things happen and things change for the parent that has the kid full time and then the other parent ends up with the kid full time. As a step parent you should have understood that might happen and you would be helping care for the child. If you did not want to care for someone elses' kids then you should not have married.

[deleted account]

I would be resentful, too! Depending on your state, maybe you and your husband can get back child support once the mother decides to support herself. As for the child, can you get him involved in something after school that eats up a lot of time? I am a childless step parent and have 2 teens half of the time. I live your life on those days. Its exhausting. I couldn't imagine it being my full time life. I'm very sorry.

Raye - posted on 01/20/2016

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The mother can't just say "pay up or take the child" (if the father has allowed her to do this, then that is the same as him agreeing to the mother's terms). If the mother wants to keep the child, then she should file for child support though the courts, and also have custody and visitation signed off on by a judge. If she doesn't want to keep the child (regardless of support), then the mother and father need to go to court and formally give custody to the father.

The step-mom is basically an outsider in all this. She can't control where the child ends up, but she can control how she treats that child, and if she wants to remain married to the father if he has custody.

Amber - posted on 01/20/2016

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Kathleen,
(1) not all states are the states same!
(2) re-read the post. She said the mother cannot/ will not get another job.now I know if she really wanted she could indeed get a job so she could have her son back.
(3) both parents do not have to provide for the child. it sounds like dad and step mom have a little money considering they just bought a farm together so chances are they won't charge the mother child support and the mother has no job so she won't be taking him to where she is living if she can't feed him.
(4) a STABLE home is where a child has food, heat and clothes and is not being abused and the environment is CLEAN.

[deleted account]

Sarah e, Actually, in the state which I live in, we're both right. Each state in the US has different mandates pertaining to family law.
You said, "Actually, both parents must provide for a child until they're 18". In fact, (at least where I come from, and by my personal experience), the amount of support mandated to be provided by each parent depends on how the family is structured.
In my case, my husband and I decided when we started our family that I would suspend my career to be a stay at home mom. When we were divorcing, the court gave a much higher percentage of support to me because I was a stay at home mom.
If I had decided to continue working full time as I had children, then I would fall into the category you described. If you are a stay at home mom, and don't operate a home business, you have no stream of income. So, the dad is responsible for providing, as he was in my case.

[deleted account]

Hi Shawnn, You need to read a post carefully prior to commenting. You misrepresented what was posted in several ways:
1) I never advocated the shelter. It was described in the post as the WORSE CASE SCENARIO.
2) The county I live in has very new, nice shelters for single moms who are down on their luck. They actually provide clean, safe apartments as well as job placement assistance.
3) The child's mother did NOT indicate that she wanted the father to take over primary care. She did indicate that he needed to provide for their living expenses, or care for the child himself.
4) In my experience a STABLE home is one where the child is cherished, loved and cared for by someone they also love and trust. It has little to do with the strucure of the building they live in. This is why so many affluent kids are miserable.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/19/2016

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Wow, so (to the poster who advocated sending the mother and boy to a homeless shelter) you really think that a preferable, STABLE solution would be to have the child's mother live in a homeless shelter with the child??????

Wow.

To the OP: Here's the deal. Your husband has a child. The child is his responsibility. Yes, the child's mother also shares that responsibility, and will for the rest of the kid's life. If mom cannot provide at this point, it is your husband's parental obligation to provide a STABLE home for his child.

You don't get to dictate. Period.

To the poster who advocated the shelter...Well, sorry, but "keeping the little family unit of mother and son together" is not as important at this point as a stable home where the child doesn't have to wonder where his next meal is, or where he'll be sleeping (of if he's even safe). Especially since this child's mother has already indicated that she would like his father to take over the primary care.

Sarah - posted on 01/19/2016

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" In our legal system, the dad is still responsible for providing for his own child until he reaches the age of 18."
Actually both parents must provide for a child until age 18.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/18/2016

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Feeling resentful of an EIGHT YEAR OLD BOY indicates that perhaps you need counseling. How in the hell can you blame AN EIGHT YEAR OLD BOY for circumstances ENTIRELY BEYOND HIS CONTROL?

Stop making excuses. You can be a business partner without being married.

Dove - posted on 01/18/2016

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HE IS AN 8 YEAR OLD BOY!!! If you are resentful of him... YOU are the one w/ the problem. Not the child. Period.


YOU are the one that married a man w/ a child. YOU are the one that bought a farm. YOU are the adult. Get over yourself and get into counseling... or get out of the marriage.

Quit making excuses for you resenting an innocent child. How would you feel if when your daughter was 8... she had someone in her DAILY life feeling about her the way you feel about that boy? Would you want them to continue seeing your daughter EVERY day and resenting her and her feeling that painful, negative crap? If not... stop it.

Claire - posted on 01/17/2016

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@ everyone else who says I should just divorce him.... not that easy. For a start, we love each other and secondly, we have bought a small farm together, we are in the process of building our house, we have livestock etc. Also, my step son HATES farm life. We do not have TV (which is how we like it), all this child wants to do is sit in front of the TV all day and not go outside. Oh, and his mother is quite willing to have him live with her, as long as we pay her rent, electricity, fuel and groceries... So yes, I feel very resentful towards my step son and his mother.

Sarah - posted on 01/17/2016

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I think Raye sums it up the best in the first response; if you can't change your attitude about your circumstances, then change your circumstances.
You told your husband that you did not want to parent his son, which of course was not realistic; because as you see situations change. If you leave, then dad will have to step up and find a way to be the sole parent for this poor kid. Maybe he can find a way to make his job hours flexible so he can be the primary caregiver rather than you leaving and forcing the situation. BTW how old is your hubby? Just curious.

Michelle - posted on 01/16/2016

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I agree with the other ladies. As you have found out, people's circumstances change and with children you have to be open to having the full time.
If you had told me that you would never want my children full time I would have run a mile. I don't care how much I loved that person, if they couldn't accept my children then that's a deal breaker.
You need to work out if you really love this man enough to put aside your unrealistic expectation and work on accepting this poor child or be a selfish person and leave.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/16/2016

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"how do I get my sanity back?" Well, you probably shouldn't have committed to a relationship with a person who already had kids.

That being said, I'm actually amazed that this guy even gave you a second look with an ultimatum such as the one you gave. One should NEVER enter a relationship with someone who is a parent, unless they are FULLY ready to take on parenting responsibilities.

You're an adult, who is letting a friggin EIGHT YEAR OLD KID turn her world upside down. A kid, mind you, that you were aware of prior to marriage. At this point, if you want this relationship to work and last, you need to attend counseling. You need personal counseling to help you handle the transition from a single adult to a step parent, and I'd also recommend family counseling so that you can learn to interact as a family, without placing blame on an eight year old for disrupting your life. I get that you're done raising kids because you've raised your own, but you need to face the fact that your chosen partner has a child that still needs to be raised, and loved. If you can't bring yourself to do that, bow out gracefully now, before you destroy that boy's heart.

Amber - posted on 01/15/2016

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I don't think you should leave the marriage if you really love this guy you will find a way to adjust. I'm not a stepmom, but I do understand the no time thing. Its not the child's fault though, when you married the man I'm sure you knew there was a chance he would live with y'all. I know it's hard to have the same conpassion for him like you do your own but at least try to bond with him and ask someone to watch him (or encourage him to go to friends house) so you and your husband have date nights or whatever you do. And please don't get upset by my next words. I know you are up in age a little so maybe moving isn't as easy because of pain but at 8years of age he can clean up after himself and you could even help him learn how to fold laundry and put it up that could be part of his chores. Just try not to be the wicked stepmom, with strickness you also need to show love. I wish you the best!

Dove - posted on 01/15/2016

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Never, ever, ever marry a person w/ children unless you are willing to help raise them. Period. What if the other parent DIES?! You would then have no choice.

My advice? Get out of this marriage before you crush that innocent child's heart. He deserves a stepmom that loves and cares for him. He WILL feel your resentment and you could screw him up for life. Stop being selfish and leave.

Raye - posted on 01/15/2016

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I am a step-mom of two, so I understand how tough it can be to look after kids that aren't your own. But, no matter what the custody/visitation arrangements are when you start dating a single parent, you should go into it knowing that it could change and be willing to accept the child(ren) into your life full time should that happen (as it happened for you). If I were a single parent, I would never marry someone that said they would not allow my child to live with us. You were being honest about your feelings, and that's great... but you both should have realized that maybe your lifestyles were not compatible.

How to get your sanity back? You have to make the choice:
1) accept this child and the work it creates for you to both care for the kid and care for your marriage, find/create moments of happiness,
-or-
2) leave the marriage and go find happiness somewhere else.

You're not doing anyone any favors to stay and live with resentment toward an innocent child. If you can't change yourself, then change your circumstances.

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