VeggieBoards banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always loved kids, and they've always seemed to love me back. I've never been seriously involved with anyone who has them before, so this is completely new territory for me.<br><br>
I'm meeting my boyfriend's kids for the first time when I visit him next month. His daughter is 8, and his son is 6. As we're long distance and I'm visiting for several months, then I pretty much am going to be living there once I arrive.<br><br>
From what I understand, his daughter hasn't coped with the divorce well at all, and to some extent is mad at him for them breaking up. They split up last year, so its still fresh wounds.<br><br>
Now, he's nervous about the best way to handle introducing me. And if they don't accept me, I'm kind of scared of this spoiling what we have. I'm never going to try and replace their mother, but it would be awesome if they eventually took to me as a cool auntie-ish figure. As I said, I love kids, and his seem incredible.<br><br>
My visit is a month away, so very curious about 1. The best way to interact when we first meet, 2. How to ease any fears he may have, and 3. Things he can do to help his daughter cope with the changes of her parents splitting up, whether or not I'm in the picture. Advice from both single parents who are dating and people involved with single parents would be awesome, thank you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,196 Posts
I don't have experience being a step mom or anything, but my parents are divorced, and be aware the girl will probably be very upset and not handle it well, although i think it is good that she is only 8, if she were like 12 or something that would be the worst, has he at least mentioned you? I hope the plan isn't to just let them know you exist once they meet you, i think they need to know before hand that there's someone new so they can process it for a while.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He hasn't mentioned me to them, but then again it's tricky for either of us to know whether he should. We're long distance and on different continents, so we haven't had a chance to spend a significant amount of time together, unless you count GoogleTalk. I know that one concern of his about mentioning me right now is that when I fly over, they will have just gone on vacation for 2 weeks with his ex to visit her family, so he's worried about his ex's reaction giving his kids an unfavorable view of me before they've had a chance to meet me. The timing worked out very well, as I finish all of my coursework for my degree the week before I fly over.<br><br>
I was 13 when my parents split up, although to be honest they were fighting so much that I spent several years before hoping they'd split up so I could relax in my own home. His son actually saw my photo, by accident, a few weeks ago, and it went something like: Son: "Who's that?" BF: "That's Mia." Son: "I love Mia." BF: "Why do you love Mia?" Son: "She's so beautiful." Seeing as kids have a remarkable 6th sense, I'm taking that as a great sign. His daughter expressed a few weeks ago that she wants another auntie. So if we work this the right way, I can see myself having an awesome relationship with both of them.<br><br>
Although as they're his kids, I can understand completely that he's more nervous about this than I am.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,160 Posts
I have never had a step-parent, been one, or been through a divorce, but purely from instinct I think it's a terrible idea for him to keep this secret from his kids. It sounds like he's planning to tell them a few days before you arrive. They need time to get used to the idea before you turn up to live with them!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
I agree- on instinct only, not having experience in this, I would say he should tell the kids as soon as possible- children hate their parents keeping things from them and if you just appear they will suss that they have been kept out of the picture.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll talk to him about telling them about me, and my instinct tells me that if we decide to go ahead and do that, then it would be best for me to send a video and/or letter just for them. One thing that I think might also be an issue is them thinking that I'll take away their dad's attention. Where with all kids, I've always been the type to give them lots of attention, and one of my strengths with kids is relating to them in a way that respects their innate intelligence and wisdom without being patronizing. So whenever they're in the room, they'll never be an afterthought by any means, and I think that my boyfriend knows this.<br><br>
Though if we do tell them now, what's the best way to deal with any complications which might come up? Once they know then their mother will probably know soon after, and its unfair to expect them to not tell her. How to interact with her is another tricky issue. I get the impression that she can be difficult, although 1. I am never going to try and replace her and 2. If something ever happens to my boyfriend then I still want to be able to carry on a relationship with his kids.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One more thing that I should point out about this is that he's in the UK, his ex is German, and he's very nervous in general about her retaliating, whether its because of me or for any other reason, and taking the kids back to Germany with her. When I fly over, the kids will be there for 2 weeks visiting her family. He is aware that he can contact passport control if they go missing while in her care, though hard to say how much good this will do when they're not on UK soil. Which is the main reason that the kids haven't been told about me, yet. The only reason that their divorce isn't finalized yet is because of a dispute over the house, and he's been fighting hard to get that sorted. In short, its a very real possibility that she could decide to not board the plane to come back to the UK at the end of their trip because she's upset about me being in the picture. While she really has nothing to be afraid of. I'm not trying to replace her.<br><br>
He has been extremely hands on with his kids. They live with him 50% of the time, and because he's self-employed, he is the one who picks them up from school every day. So its tricky to know how too approach this in a way which doesn't threaten his ability to be this fully involved in his kids' lives.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,160 Posts
In that case, maybe guys should postpone your visit until the divorce is finalised and the custody stuff is sorted out.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmmmm, for various other reasons though the timing for me coming over next month works out perfectly, for one, I'll be there for his birthday. And I'll have just finished my degree and won't be tied down by a job here.<br><br>
That said, I'm not familiar with what the laws are as far as what protection he has from her taking the kids. I guess what I'm saying is if hypothetically, if he tells the kids about me now, she gets mad, and as a result she doesn't come back from her trip, will he easily be able to get them back? I figure hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.<br><br>
Not to mention that they are amazing kids, and it would be a shame for this or anything else to interfere with my ability to form a great relationship with them.<br><br>
Also, if me being there constantly does get to be a bit much for them, I do have other friends in the UK and elsewhere in Europe who I can visit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
Re her keeping the kids in Germany beyond the agreed visiting times, that constitutes child abduction and, provided he can find them, your bf would have a right to get them back. If they are in Germany I'm sure he could find them, and her keeping them there without his consent would be illegal.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>lucky_charm</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2935349"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Re her keeping the kids in Germany beyond the agreed visiting times, that constitutes child abduction and, provided he can find them, your bf would have a right to get them back. If they are in Germany I'm sure he could find them, and her keeping them there without his consent would be illegal.</div>
</div>
<br>
Thank you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I'm not familiar with laws anywhere regarding custodial issues, and the kids do have dual citizenship, so I wasn't sure.<br><br>
I do know that as for my bf, reality has hit him extra-hard in the last week. So I figure best to go into this as intelligently as possible, both where the feelings of the kids and not provoking his ex are concerned, so thank you all for any input so far and anything else you guys may have to say about things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
Actually, unless there is a legal custody finding in place then her keeping the kids in Germany is unlikely to constitute abduction, and certainly the technicalities of repatriation are trickier than the legal rights of the situation in any case.<br><br>
Custody is nearly always awarded to the mother in contested custody battles in the UK (I believe consistently with much of the rest of the world) which means that if she fights him, she will probably win. As the kids will need to be in one country or the other for schooling and "social needs" this means that it is likely that the non-custodial parent is likely at best to get access for a couple of long holidays each year if it goes to court and the ex decides to relocate to Germany, leaving him in a much less favourable access position than the current 50/50.<br><br>
Whilst it seems convenient timing from your perspective for you to visit at the moment, it seems a bit short-sighted as far as his future relationship with his kids is concerned.<br>
I dont think I would ever have forgiven my parents for parachuting a new SO into the house without discussing it with me first (or even into my life really) so just keeping quiet about it until they get back from holiday seems like utter insanity, and I would imagine you are quite likely to end up with his daughter asking to go back to her mother, which would be very predudicial to his position in a custody case, not to mention the impact on her future relationship with her dad.<br><br>
If you do tell them about it beforehand, the mother may well find out and if she is uncomfortable (and assuming custody is not yet legally settled) is likely to push for (and win) much more than she is currently getting, particularly if she chooses to relocate herself to a different area of the country or back to Germany. I have to say that if I had kids, I would be very uncomfortable with my SO bringing someone they had never met before to live in the house, and even outside of any vindictiveness would want to limit the amount of time the kids spent there.<br><br>
I think if you are going to visit at all during this period (particularly as it is now a bit late to give the kids time to come to terns with it/be involved in the decision at all), it needs to be as a friend of dad, staying in the spare room like a normal guest, not as dads new girlfriend, and I think your visit should be short (like 2 weeks max) before you go to stay with one of your other friends so the kids aren't faced with a stranger who turns up and is never going away. If it is all going well and doesn't seem to be causing massive issues with the wife you could re-visit again later in the trip, perhaps having given him time alone with the kids whilst you are away to discuss the relationship with them.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,160 Posts
I think that was all excellent advice from queenarmadillo <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
She is still not allowed to take the children to Germany (or keep them there permanently) without informing him and he would still have rights of access (and could dispute her custody) so she can't just keep them in Germany and never let them come back.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>queenarmadillo</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2948682"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Actually, unless there is a legal custody finding in place then her keeping the kids in Germany is unlikely to constitute abduction, and certainly the technicalities of repatriation are trickier than the legal rights of the situation in any case.<br><br>
Custody is nearly always awarded to the mother in contested custody battles in the UK (I believe consistently with much of the rest of the world) which means that if she fights him, she will probably win. As the kids will need to be in one country or the other for schooling and "social needs" this means that it is likely that the non-custodial parent is likely at best to get access for a couple of long holidays each year if it goes to court and the ex decides to relocate to Germany, leaving him in a much less favourable access position than the current 50/50.<br><br>
Whilst it seems convenient timing from your perspective for you to visit at the moment, it seems a bit short-sighted as far as his future relationship with his kids is concerned.<br>
I dont think I would ever have forgiven my parents for parachuting a new SO into the house without discussing it with me first (or even into my life really) so just keeping quiet about it until they get back from holiday seems like utter insanity, and I would imagine you are quite likely to end up with his daughter asking to go back to her mother, which would be very predudicial to his position in a custody case, not to mention the impact on her future relationship with her dad.<br><br>
If you do tell them about it beforehand, the mother may well find out and if she is uncomfortable (and assuming custody is not yet legally settled) is likely to push for (and win) much more than she is currently getting, particularly if she chooses to relocate herself to a different area of the country or back to Germany. I have to say that if I had kids, I would be very uncomfortable with my SO bringing someone they had never met before to live in the house, and even outside of any vindictiveness would want to limit the amount of time the kids spent there.<br><br>
I think if you are going to visit at all during this period (particularly as it is now a bit late to give the kids time to come to terns with it/be involved in the decision at all), it needs to be as a friend of dad, staying in the spare room like a normal guest, not as dads new girlfriend, and I think your visit should be short (like 2 weeks max) before you go to stay with one of your other friends so the kids aren't faced with a stranger who turns up and is never going away. If it is all going well and doesn't seem to be causing massive issues with the wife you could re-visit again later in the trip, perhaps having given him time alone with the kids whilst you are away to discuss the relationship with them.</div>
</div>
<br>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,609 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>queenarmadillo</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2948682"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><b>I think if you are going to visit at all during this period (particularly as it is now a bit late to give the kids time to come to terns with it/be involved in the decision at all), it needs to be as a friend of dad, staying in the spare room like a normal guest, not as dads new girlfriend, and I think your visit should be short (like 2 weeks max) before you go to stay with one of your other friends so the kids aren't faced with a stranger who turns up and is never going away.</b> If it is all going well and doesn't seem to be causing massive issues with the wife you could re-visit again later in the trip, perhaps having given him time alone with the kids whilst you are away to discuss the relationship with them.</div>
</div>
<br>
I very very strongly agree with this.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
841 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
He looked into it as well, and if she does try to take the kids there, he can file a report and passport control at both ends won't let them through. Though I'll ask him if the current custody arrangement is actually in writing. As of right now, the divorce is pending. And another consideration, which they've talked about with each other, is that neither of the kids know enough German to get by in the schools there, just enough to hold a basic conversation.<br><br>
We have talked about this, and he is going to mention to them before I arrive that he has a friend coming over, much like a male friend of their mother's (who he thinks isn't really platonic) who comes over to her place often. As far as sleeping arrangements go, his son has eczema, so he has to sleep in the same room as him when the kids are over anyway, at least untill his son is old enough to where he definitely won't scratch himself.<br><br>
Also, one thing that looks very likely to happen when the kids get back from Germany is that his mother is renting a holiday flat, and we're all going, this is for a week. So even though we have to sleep in separate rooms, its going to be hard to pretend that we're just friends. His daughter is 8 and very switched on so she can put 2 and 2 together, however after talking with him I really don't anticipate any problems with her. Though I am prepared to play it by ear and give space as necessary. My philosophy on how to conduct myself around the kids consists of:<br><br>
-Don't baby talk to them, speak to them like I would to an adult, except maybe a softer tone of voice.<br>
-When I talk to them, get down to eye level with them, don't stand over them.<br>
-They can call me by my first name, they don't have to call me anything pretentious. In fact I'd rather they not! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br>
-Untill a few weeks or months have passed, the most physical affection I'd show for their dad in their presence would be a quick hug and kiss on the cheek. And even once years have passed, the most affection I'd probably show him around them would be holding hands or snuggling!<br>
-Find out as much about their interests as possible.<br>
-Let them take the lead on what activities they want to do with me when we meet.<br>
-Let them take the lead on how much physical affection they want to show me.<br>
-Hold out on buying them presents, probably untill Christmas, neither of them have a birthday coming up between now and then. I don't want to come off like I'm trying to buy their affection, that, and I need to get to know them.<br>
-Don't try to be their mother, instead relate to them more like I relate to my nieces and nephew.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top