Stepson's Disregard - FamilyEducation
Stepson's Disregard
06/17/2009 at 05:37 AM

My husband of 1 1/2 years has 3 sons, 23,13, and 10. He has an excellent relationship with the 23 y/o. From the begining of our relationship, the younger two have made it clear they want to come live with us. Their mother is a good mother and we would have no reason to fight her for custody. They live about 15 miles from us, my husband has generous access to the boys, and willingly pays reasonable child support. They say they understand and know they can live with us when they are older if they wish as their older brother moved in with my husband when he was 16-20 years old.

The problem is that the boys, who are very intelligent and capable, have begun to not give notice when they are not coming for scheduled visitation. The court order is for every Sunday from 10-8 and 2 overnights a month. My husband, his ex and the boys made the agreement that when they have alternate plans they are to call by Thursday to let him know. In the past 10 weeks, there have been 2 times when we have arrived to pick them up on Sunday morning and they have not been available and 3 when my husband has called to confirm pick up times and has been informed by them that they have other plans set. My husband does not want them to miss out on sleepovers or get togethers with friends or relatives. He wants them to want to spend time with him. They are perfectly capable of picking up the phone to call (they have 3 #'s memorized and call often to chat or play online games with my husband) and at each incident, promise to call next time. We have not been able to come up with any logical consequence, as missing their next visitation only punishes their mother who has a life of her own. She states she reminds them to call which they admit. We live in a resort town at the beach, have a Jeep which we take out onto the beach and 3 computers for online games. They always enjoy their time with us and genuninely love me, so that is not the issue. We are at a loss and would appreciate any feedback.

Hi I think that 10 and 13 year old boys.... well the last thing that is high on their priority list is spending time with someone other than their that age their friends and their social and school life are their world..... I have a 12 year old step daughter...... even though you live on the beach...have 3 computers....that's YOUR idea of fun.....probably not theirs... Talk to the boys......they are old enough to have a discussion about this.tell them how you feel and ask them how they feel see if you can come to a comprimise... This is just a suggestion...just my thoughts.. (actually the first time I have ever answered...only ever just read. I signed up today as I am having difficulties with my relationship with my 12 year old step daughter.) Take care Mamamarg

Glad you finally decided to jump in with us mamamarg! Enjoy and please keep sharing your thoughts with us. Marti

We plan on having that discussion with the boys yet again when (and if) we see them tomorrow. As it is Father's Day, we are hopeful they will make the choice to see my husband especially since my husband's father passed away 2 weeks ago. As far as their idea of fun, we let them make the choice of the many activities available at the beach where we live. One of the reasons the boys have given for wanting to come live with us is that we do live at the beach which they love. Though they live just 15 miles away with their mother, she is an "inlander" originally from central Pa and only takes them to the beach 2-3 times a year. Also, she strictly limits their computer gaming time and my husband who is also very into computer games, lets them play a lot, especially when the weather is not good for the beach. It is definately not my idea of fun, I have no interest in gaming, but they do chose their friends based on this interest and get to play at their friends houses also. We are sure the draw is their friends which we completely understand. When they have no plans with friends or realtives, they always come over rather than just hanging around at home where they constantly complain there is nothing to do and that their mother makes little effort to provide what they consider fun. They live in an isolated area and have no friends close to their home and always go to the homes of their friends. The issue is how to get across to them that we just need them to have the regard and respect for us to let us know in advance when and if they have made alternate plans during their regularly scheduled visitation time.

My husband talked to his sons about them not giving us notice when they make other plans with family or friends during their regualrly scheduled visitation times. They seemed bewildered by the entire discussion, stating that they did not realize it was so inconsiderate to us. It seemed to me that they somehow think our lives just go on hold when they are not with us. It must be because we see them so seldom that they are the center of attention when they do show up. Very frustrating. We'll see if they call next time.