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Any advice on stepchidren please
October 14, 2005
5:13 pm
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mrdibbs
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My husband is in a clinic having therapy for his alcohol addiction.His two children,a boy and girl,havent once rang me to ask how their Father is doing.His ex wife had custody of them since they were little,she has in the past tried to make things difficult between them and their Father but he has always sustained a relationship with them.His son has always been a "Mummies Boy"so his relationship with him has been strained,not like a Father&Sons kinda thing at all,my husband always has to do the running ie ringing him etc.When it was his sons birthday he bought him a card and present,4mths later they were still here waiting to be picked up,then my husband found out that the present he bought him wasnt what he wanted,this coming from the Daughter.We moved back to this area 7mths ago we are a 10mins walk away from where his children live but not once in that time has his Son come to see his Father.The Daughter,left home when her Mother threw her out for being pregnant,unbelievable isnt it?She came to live with us and we did everything we could to help her through,she wanted me at the birth,, which i felt arkward about,but told her that if at anytime she changed her mind and wanted her mom then i wouldnt be offended.Anyway what im getting at is,we have done our upmost for the two of them,by the way the Daughter is now back living with her Mother and thats fine but why are they both treating their Father like this?Ok they know he has a drinking problem but he has never done anything to deserve the way they treat him.He never gets a Christmas card,Birthday card,nothing, no aknowledgement what so ever,
that he is their Father.I know my Husband is hurting,though he doesnt say much other than when they want something they will come running.Well im sorry but that just annoys me.I feel like really ripping into the pair of them for treating their Father as if he doesnt exist.

Any advice anyone?

October 14, 2005
5:45 pm
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Shaney
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There's no telling what their mom has told them over the years, about their father, if anything. While the daughter was living with you, did she ever confide in you about how she felt about her father, or how her brother felt? Did she treat her father well when she lived with you? They may just be at a real loss when it comes to knowing how to develope a relationship with their father. I'm not giving them an out, by any means, for their past behaviour. I think acknowledging their father on special occasions is the very LEAST they can do. But maybe there is something standing in their way. I'm not sure.

Maybe you could encourage visits or gatherings by inviting them over for dinner or calling them to give them weekly updates on their father while he's in a clinic. Maybe develope some sort of relationship with them - something casual and not pushy. When there are certain occasions coming up, maybe you can call and see if they want to go shopping for a gift for their dad - eat lunch, make a day of it. I'm not sure, but it doesn't seem like their making an effort on their own. Maybe you can jumpstart the relationship by openning a door.
Good luck with this - :o)

October 14, 2005
6:02 pm
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mamacinnamon
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mrdibbs:

Personally, I would say for you to stay out of it. It's not your problem. The problem is between your hubby and the ex. If you get involved, specially w/o him there to back you, then you now become someone for mom to bash, bad mouth, whisper about. (not that she doesn't already maybe). But, you may be the only SANE link the kids feel they have. Don't put the kids in a position to have to "hear about it" from their mom. If you talk to the kids you can tell them you know their dad would love to see them or hear from them, but otherwise, I'd stay out of that one.

Just my opinion.

October 14, 2005
6:30 pm
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lost and found
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why are u asking what the problem is?
you have already said it. the mom has had custody of the children since they were little. she is raising her family while the ex is drowning his liver in alcohol. you can't throw away years of parenthood to be a drunk and think things wont change. it is not a childs place to hunt the parents. it is his responsibility to be there for them.

October 14, 2005
7:51 pm
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lessthanalive
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totally agree with lost and found. chances are these knids are probably harboring some really angry feelings tword your hubby. they most likely are having some abandonment issues and again, it is not the childs job to chase down the parents. if he doesnt have the relationship he wants with his kids then HE needs to change that. probably make some ammends, let the kids know he wants a better relationship with them, then activly pursue it. this is not the childrens fault. its no ones fault and you cant change the past. but you can change the future.

October 14, 2005
9:50 pm
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tinkrbell
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I am the step parent of my husbands 10 year old son. Believe me when I say it has been a long hard road dealing with his mother. Thank God that we have custody of this boy or his life would be pure hell and caos.

In a way I agree it should be between your husband and the ex and yes I am sure the children are harborng alot of anger issues. It's not easy to understand why your parent would choose and addiction over you. He cannot change what has happend in the past but the children should see that he realizes what has consumed his life and is trying to be better. Keep your chin up. My prayers are with you.

October 15, 2005
8:18 am
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Matteo
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Where was your husband when his children were little, again? If you were their mother and knew that he might be drunk anytime and not reliable, would you make everything easy for him, or would you worry if he will takr proper care of them?

It is sad that your husband is suffering because of that - or is he? But what was for him just a few years of his drinking time, for his children was their whole childhood! It is impossible to make up for that. And it is not up to the children to ask how their alcoholic father is doing. Let him heal from his addiction and then reach out to his children. For years they were robbed of the parent, and that was his choice, not theirs. No wonder why they don't care about the little gift he buys for them - because they didn't get the love they deserve from him.

It is entirely up to him to mend his relationship with his children. And if it will be impossible and he will be hurting because of that, so be it. His children were hurting too, and I am sure they do till this day. Good luck with his recovery!

October 15, 2005
3:39 pm
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mrdibbs
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In a lot of ways what you all say is very true but their Father has always been there for them and when together he made sure he was sober too.His ex has always bad mouthed him but he never did the same about her not in front of them anyway.She has told them some really awful untruths about him and as they have got older and asked questions he keeps having to justify himself all the time,needless to say when they left for home he would get really upset and hit the bottle.
His daughter and I have a very good relationship.When she lived here we became even closer.I think she missed her Mom,but i encouraged her to go keep in contact with her and although i am not her Mum i will always be her friend.Her attitude to her Father was mixed,she said her mom had told her so much about him(all bad&all lies)That she didnt know who to believe,I told her that it wasnt up to her to believe what had happened between them as both her parents love her and her brother and she should just get on with enjoying a relationship with both Mom&Dad,but She sees her Father more as a friend (her own words)
My Husband is not a bad man and has only ever done good for his children our home has always been a safe haven for them when things got bad with their Mom so i think a phone call to see how he is is not to much to ask for surely?

October 15, 2005
5:55 pm
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StronginHim77
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What are the ages of these kids? Are they adults yet? Also, people who are never taught to do thoughtful things for others (cards, thank-you notes, telephone calls, little gifts, etc.) when they are young, grow up into selfish adults with no concept of how to manifest kindness to others, including their own parents. This sounds like a combination of poor parenting and possible resentment of a dad who was "not there," regardless of the reason. I have seen kids like this because their dad was working two jobs to support them and never home. I have also known many kids with an alcoholic parent who suffered greatly because alcoholics are "unavailable emotionally" for their spouse/kids. This is a fact of alcoholism. There are organizations and books dedicated to helping adult children of alcoholics cope with the emotional deprivation of having an alcoholic parent. Even when they stop drinking, they need alot of therapy to learn how to give to others, rather than looking to others to give TO THEM. IF YOU FOLLOW ME. And they frequently marry highly codependent spouses who try to fix things for them. I would suggest that you take a hands-off attitude on this, and let him work this out directly with his children BY HIMSELF, rather than trying to "fix" it in a purely codependent fashion.

October 15, 2005
7:59 pm
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mrdibbs
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The daughter is a very young 21yr old the Son 19yrs.My Hubby used to buy cards&presents for his kids when they were younger so they could give their mum something at Christmas etc,it wasnt reciprocated.

When they were younger and up until a few years ago we always took them on days out,Cinema,Theme parks,etc.They have stayed over but there was always remarks made when they went home again.His ex always made things difficult for them and made them feel guilty for the time they spent with us.

I dont try to "fix" anything,i just look on in the background,if you like,I dont really discuss his children with him.When he talks about them to me i dont really give an opinion but let him make up his own mind,likewise with his kids,if they want to talk they know im here to listen to them also.

I just think its a shame that my Husband is sort of being punished,if you like,for being an Alcoholic if what you are saying is true,and i know it is.It just doesnt seem fair to them all.

His Son is friendly with my Son,also 19yrs,I dont know what they say or discuss when together,i dont ask its not my business,but when my husband went away for therapy my son told me that his kids thought he had gone into a mental home because he had gone nuts!!Now i wonder where they got that from eh? SAD!!!!!

October 15, 2005
8:33 pm
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StronginHim77
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Is your husband "emotionally available to his children? There is such a huge difference between taking a kid to Disney, and being there for them emotionally when they need your compassionate listening ear, etc. I have no doubt your husband has attempted to do good things for his kids. The gifts and outings sound like a valid effort. My only concerns would fall in the area of EMOTIONAL connection to the kids. That is usually a tough one for most alcoholics. Does he numb his bad feelings with alcohol? That is not a good sign. Hoping all turns out well. I am glad he is in treatment. That is a solid, first step toward his recovery. I pray that he will resurrect a truly intimate relationship with his son and his daughter.

October 16, 2005
8:29 am
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mrdibbs
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Thank you StronginHim for all your input.I suppose in someways my H,does find it hard to open up to his children and vice versa.I think they need to find some common ground to begin with but as you have said, its not my problem so i will just stay in the background on this one.

Hopefuly when my H,comes home next week he will be able to accept his addiction was the reason why his relationship with his kids suffered.

I must just say, im kinda scared about him coming home.Ive spoken with him each day via the phone and he seems to have got it together and is much happier in himself,like when we first met if you like,and i know that this is only a short step to his recovery but at the back of my mind i keep having this niggling feeling that once home he will,after a time revert back again.Perhaps i should start another thread here.What do you think?

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