Hi, I'm new to the forum. Sorry if this is long-winded, but there's a lot of history and I think it's probably an unusual situation. Here's the scenario:
My 15 year-old daughter is living with her mum and I'm living with my new partner and our 15-month son. My daughter claims that she doesn't see enough of her step-brother, never mind that she doesn't want to see me.
Now she's threatening to go to court to get a contact order so that she can see her step-brother.
I'm advising her to settle down (she went to live with her mum in Sept 2006) and make sure that she gets good grades at school instead of getting worked up over everything. She's quick to criticise me and my partner and never cared about her step-brother when he was very ill just after birth. Looks like a case of me, me, me by my daughter.
If she is stupid enough (or ill-advised) to go to court (she is publicly-funded), how will the court consider her request? Surely my son has rights too? Where are the rights of myself and my partner to decide where our son goes and who he sees?
I'm new here too so please bear with me.
I hope you won't be offended by my thoughts on this.
I think you're missing the point. Your daughter wants to see you, wants to be part of your life and is missing you.
All she sees is that her parents aren't together anymore (which is devastating to any child at any age) and sees you with a new family, which she is not part of and, more than probally, jealous of. I have no doubt she wants to see her stepbrother but she also wants to feel part of the whole family unit.
Parents don't have rights but children do. Try to include her more, allow for the fact she's a teenager (trust me it can be hell!)and show that she is just as important to you as your new son is. Give it a go and I wish you all the very best.
First, your son is your daughter's half-brother, not her step-brother. This may or may not matter to you or to her. But I think it's interesting that you use a more distancing term about their relationship.
I think the most important thing to bear in mind here is that your daughter is a teenager. Teenager's emotions are all over the place, particularly if their parents have relatively recently split up. It is particularly difficult for them to deal with one parent going off and starting a new family. For her it is as if you have not just abandoned but replaced her. You probably don't feel that way, but she may well.
In these circumstances I think it is absolutely wonderful that your daughter wants to see her brother. Seren may also be right to say that it is a way for her to see you without losing face, but, even if it isn't, it is something to be rejoiced about in its own right. It shows that your daughter wants to be some part of your new family and it has the potential to be a wonderful relationship for both of them. It doesn't matter that your daughter didn't show any interest when your son was ill. That was a long time ago in teenage time and in any case she may have been feeling much more raw and uncertain at that point.
Think about the positive aspects of this. If your daughter and son form a good relationship, then in the longer term he has someone nearer his own generation to whom he can turn to for help and advice. In a couple of years you will have the most caring babysitter your son could possibly have. When she sets up home on her own he will be able to go and stay with her, giving you and your partner time to yourselves.
Frankly, I don't know what the problem is for you here. I also don't see why your son's 'rights' could not equally well to be to get to know his half-sister. I have no idea what a court would say, but it seems to me to be a really bad option to let things get that far. Why don't you just let her see more of him, stipulating that you would have to be there too as she is too young to look after him on her own.
I too think you should allow your chilren to bond no matter what the circumstances up untl now unless you have a real fear of which you have not expressed here.
Allow them to lead with your blessing but be watchful at the same time, if your Daughter feels you are neglecting her over your Son or she feels pushed out by your 'new family' you might just lose her for good.