Tag Archives: child mental health

Stories form us

I believe us humans learn how to behave, and a certain amount of our moral compass from stories, either family stories, books, tv – think Friends, songs, film etc. 

So by sticking our male children from 10-20+ in front of a story that is or similar to Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty for hours and days at a time (unlike a single story book) what can we expect from them as adults. It amazes me they can function in the real world at all after almost total submersion with their peers into a world of sex, violence and narcissism. 

I’m not saying they will all be serial killers but their out- look on the every day minutae of life will be framed by the stories they have been submerged in. Expectations of relationships and how to treat women, the ability to just restart if something goes wrong. How to treat fellow humans that get in your way. It scares me. 

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Being a step parent is hard

Being a step child is hard too. But there are rewards. Step parenting should not be undertaken lightly. You have to do everything you would do for your own kids, but more to win them over, then yours are jealous…

This means cooking their favourite foods to be told their mum does it better, crispier, softer, with lemon, without. 

Washing all their clothes including skidded pants, and yes they will use every item of clothes in the cupboard and give you more to wash after one weekend than your own kids do for a week. 

Putting the clothes away as they are not back for two weeks. 

Changing endless bed sheets as the spare room is overtaken with sweet wrappers and nerf bullets.

You will not feel like a luxury bubble bath after hearing that they’ve accidentally poohed in the bath again. 

You will worry they’ve used your toothbrush again. 

You worry if it’s appropriate that they climb in bed in the morning for a cuddle.

You have to learn to cope with their little of big problems from autism to fear of spiders.

You will buy them clothes or suffer other people judging that you’d let your kids out in ……. Fill in the blanks or unsuitable clothing.

When they behave badly you can’t tell people they are not yours. 

Your weekend will be centred around them as you only have them two days in fourteen. 

They will sit in your favourite chair and you won’t say no.

You’ll watch their choice of TV.

You’ll buy them birthday or Christmas presents to watch them toss it aside to say they have a better one at home. 

You won’t be able to discipline them or they’ll hate you, run to dad or mum and say how evil you are. 

You will be their carer but not welcome at parent school meetings, or sports days or family celebrations, anything important in their life.

You won’t get a Mother’s Day card for all you do for them but you will help them make one for your partners ex.

They will assume you have to do all the things you do for them and not realise that actually you don’t. 

You will lose them if you split with your partner. 

You are a parent with no rights. 

You will get close to them yet have no say in their upbringing. 

 

It’s all worth it when my partner comes back from sports day and says his son asked why I wasn’t there (I  would love to be but wouldn’t want to upset his mum) but he missed me and that makes me feel like I’m doing ok. 

 

So you want a divorce? 20 thoughts.

So you want a divorce? Some tips if you have kids on how to keep it amicable from someone who failed. Do as I say not as I do! My biggest regret about my divorce is that we couldn’t keep it amicable. Written from the female perspective as I am, but I’m sure you can adapt it however your relationship is made up and balanced. 

1. Don’t post anything on face book or other media. Delete your account or at least post nothing. Your ex will grow resentment (yes they’ll find it even if blocked), your kids won’t understand that your fun without them isn’t a reflection on them or why you are being snide about dad. If they are young they will see it soon, it’s out there, just don’t. 

2. If you have the money be generous, if you don’t be grateful. Split it in half if it’s been a long marriage. 

3. Make a final settlement, otherwise you (or your new partner) will always resent paying or receiving and not be free.

4. Don’t ask your ex for help, no light bulbs changed or cakes made. It’s over.

5. Try to avoid lawyers, at least as much as possible, you have to legally disclose how much you have  to them and they seem to be able to make their fees exactly that! A good lawyer means one who’s made amicable divorces in the past, not a Rottweiler that will screw your ex.

6. Don’t text, email your ex anything but facts about the kids. No calling them a moron or sending emotional emails about ‘winning’ the divorce. Yep he did!

7. Do text them lots of info about your kids, so they know about sports days, the cat dying and events and what’s going on in their lives. Kids are terrible at coms. Schools are generally pretty hateful and uncommunicative to dads in my experience. 

8. Be prepared to lose most of your friends, don’t worry it leaves spaces to make new genuine ones. 

9. Be final. No getting back together and then splitting. It will break your kids hearts. 

10. Don’t play games and get mean, no starving ex to get them to sign (yes he did), your kids will suffer and you will only look bad. 

11. Don’t stop access to kids, for any reason apart from their safety. Set up a good routine.

12. If you disagree with something for kids, like phones, you can tell that to ex but you can’t stop it. You can’t micro manage their world with your ex anymore than your ex can manage yours. 

13. Try to work around arrangements, lives are complicated but you can say no, sometimes making an ex husband take responsibility for the time he has his children and finding his own care arrangements can help the kids see daddy cares. Try to give notice.

14. If you do alternate weekends try to make it a pick up after school, then whole weekend and drop back to school. That way you get a chance for a proper relaxing weekend without home work and meals to prepare. He gets to do meals, homework and washing with kids and bonds through that (it really is the little things that count), the kids get a great role model of capable dad and the bond is stronger. 

15. Don’t send messages through kids, they get forgotten/missed and the child is drawn into your fight. Try to acknowledge messages politely so everyone knows what’s happening. 

16. Regular child sharing is great, as a woman it was my first taste of freedom for years and I learnt to value it, if you poison your child about ex they will not want to go and you will be exhausted and fed up of asking friends for a favour. 

17. Pay your maintenance when it’s due. 

18. Don’t speak ill of ex, it’s hard as we naturally need to alienate them to allow us to move on, (who wants to moon on about someone whos rejected them!)but your kids love them much as they love you, if you alienate the children have some very confused feelings. 

19. Make your new partner understand that you may not appear to hate you ex, but you will never be together again, reassure them. 

20. Be honest about your assets, including the bullion and the old stamp and the designer number plate. This is the mother of your children. Remember karma. 

Shades of Grey, Bitter Lake, Actions and consequences

My last blog documented a mini melt down, but I’m calmer now and I see things clearer. My son is 18 and I have to let go, for want of a better way to say it I have to care less, I can’t change the the love I feel but he’s not my responsibility any more.

My partners son who has some learning difficulties fell off my off road sidecar yesterday and has a sprained ankle. When I say fell, it was more of a step, and today I have resolved to renew my campaign of ‘actions have consequences’ with him. My partner was driving and feels guilty but the truth is it’s the lads actions of stepping off that caused him pain. Because of his condition too much is let slide and other people suffer the consequences of his actions. This time he is. For example I have to clean up when he spills sugar all over the table at breakfast, when actually he is quite capable of cleaning up himself or taking more care in the first place. His condition isn’t black and white, just because he has a few problems doesn’t mean he can’t do anything and he needs to be taught by his parents that actions have consequences. But I too need to remember that my actions have consequences.

I watched a brilliant film (twice) recently called Bitter Lake, it attempts to explain the mess of Afghanistan and that area. It talks of how past politicians presented ‘the problem’ as black and white, good and evil. It seems to me a lot of war is cast in this light, whoever we are, whichever side we are on, we are sold a war, or reason to war as we are the good and they are evil. My divorce too became like that. I’m certain it was for my ex too, I’m sure I was demonised as much as he has been, this demonising enables us to act in a way that would previously have been unthinkable. We need to keep in mind that there are so many shades of grey in any conflict and it’s not so simple as black and white, good and evil.

Driverless cars – beware the revolution

Our future is to be driverless cars which although a bit scary is incredibly exciting, the question is should they be driverless cars like cars were horseless carriages or should we be thinking bigger and more originally than that?

I see a transport revolution, many jobs will be lost, taxi drivers, lorry drivers, transport police so it will be painful but it will be a world where no one breaks transport law, no parking on double yellows, speeding or traffic light running. Less accidents so the ambulance, fire and police services will be able to concentrate on other things. No petrol stations no having to go to food shop, will we all become agoraphobic?

The kids can be taken to school and you can go to work. No one to drive so your work day can start the moment you get in the car, probably with a coffee machine instead of a driving wheel. No more parking problems, the car can drop you off then take itself off for other journeys or wait in an out of town park waiting for your call.

Thinking big though, should we be thinking this is the end of car ownership? Instead a subscription service, you pay your subscription and order a car for your daily commute, a computer can work out all the journeys of every commuter so you always get to work on time. You book a car like taxi. To go out to a rural pub, you can both drink, country pubs take note in 10 years you will enjoy the fruits of this revolution.

Still there needs to be thought into the downsides, I could send a car to take my mum to her frequent hospital appointments but our older generation is lonely as it is, me and my mum still enjoy seeing each other on these visits, the school run has been a useful time to prepare my kids for their day ahead and ‘download’ on their way home the events of the day. The job losses will be far reaching. The lack of individual expression in our cars could have negative side effects – who doesn’t smile at an old classic driving by or even a young driver with their blinged up banger? But there are huge positives that we can’t ignore, but I would hope it could be thought through in a creative, innovative way instead of an adaption of something we already have.

Damage Control, Autism and step children

I’m being made to feel grumpy, and I don’t want to be. Every other weekend we have my partners autistic son to stay. I brace for impact, he’s very loving which I’m thankful for and can be great fun. However the physical stress is quite demanding, I find myself hovering constantly trying to initiate damage control.


We work hard on getting him to do things for himself, poor a glass of juice for breakfast seems a simple task but in reality this means when he takes the carton out of the fridge other things just fall out. That he chooses a pint glass and fills it to the brim overflowing – waste and mess. The lid is then just lost. It costs me so much energy to manage each simple task. I can’t afford to waste a pint of juice, that I end up fighting the urge to do everything for him or becoming a tired nag.


It’s hard making constant judgements on whether this is his condition or is he just being thoughtless and lazy.


However I’m determined not to raise a child that expects to be waited on hand and foot when I know he is capable. I did a simple test to check what he could do, I bought him an app game he really wanted and said if I find poo covered boxers on his bedroom floor and not in the wash basket again the app would be deleted. For 6 months now the boxers have made it to the wash basket. So I’m being tougher on the other stuff and I’m coming across all nasty. Yes I need to talk to his dad about it, we do, but he suffers divorced dad guilt and like so many dads who go through divorce are completely in their kids hands.

Three wishes, what do we really want?

Watching Aladdin in panto I was struck with the question of what my three wishes would be?

1. Health for sure… Not to groan as I stand, to be able to run and move like I was 17… Or 7!

2. My second surprised me, it was to be amicable with my ex. It would make mine and my kids lives so much happier. I have tried a few times but I can’t break through, I don’t think it’s possible till the financials are sorted (which he tells me is never) and frankly it’s probably too late. However I can encourage my partner to be kind to his child’s mother.

3. I’m leaving this one for all of you! What would you do with your wish?