DSD1 (the eldest of 2 DSDs) refuses to see her biological dad

(36 Posts)
stairdad Mon 24-Dec-12 10:42:47

I have two DSDs; the eldest is currently 9, the youngest is 8. Both DSDs live with me and my OH (their biological mother (BM)). The formal arrangement, which has been in place for a few years, is that they see their Biological Dad (BD) every other weekend, every Friday, and either every Tuesday or Thursday - basically they see him a lot and if ever they want to see him or speak to him outside of this they are free to do so - something we encourage and something he wants. So far so good.

About 18 months ago the kid's BD moved into a new house with his new OH; about 12 months ago he and she had a new baby. Good for them.

Over the course of the last year our eldest DSD has been wanting to see her BD less and less; she has stopped wanting to sleep at his house all together and is now starting to refuse to see him at all. Not good for anyone (I think?)

There is some obvious stuff in here in that the eldest DSD (DSD1) had undivided attention for 18 months from both biological parents (BPs) before DSD2 came long, at which point DSD1 had to share the BPs with DSD2. Then when the kid's BD lived on his own both DSDs had him to themselves when they saw him, then when he moved in with his new OH they had to share him with her. And then when the new baby came along both DSDs had to share their BD with his new OH and his new baby. So it's been diminishing time alone for DSD1 with her BD from when she was 18 months old.

There is some less obvious stuff in here in that both DSDs tell us that their BD's new OH has had words with the DSDs along the lines of "don't wreck my house in the same way you wreck your own house" (I can't blame her for that) which has made DSD1 not like her much, or to be more accruate not like going round their BD's new house where DSD1 feels she is not in control (DSD2 is 'totally' fine wth all of this and appears to love the new baby). Also, both DSDs had their own bedrooms at their BD's new house and where DSD1 has been refusing to go round to the BD's new house the BD decided to give one of the two bedrooms to his new mother in law when she stays and consequently make both DSDs share a bedroom. This makes sense on paper as DSD1 had pretty much stopped sleeping there when this happened, although (understandably) in the eyes of DSD1 this is another reduction in how much she feels her BD is focusing on her. Finally, DSD1 can be a selfish little cow whereas DSD2 is a bit more balanced.

My problem now is that DSD1 is refusing to even see her BD at all, this has been happening for a couple of weeks after consistently deteriorating over the past year. I can hear the screaming in the background as I'm typing this as her BD is coming round in 5 minutes to take them out for a mince pie (this year he is having them boxing day and we are having them Christmas day, it alternates each year).

I strongly believe both DSDs should see their BD regularly and as agreed. My OH, the kid's BM, believes that forcing DSD1 to see her BD will end up in DSD1 hating her BD, which no one wants to happen.

What should I do when DSD1 refuses to go out the front door with her BD when he calls for a planned meeting? DSD1 is admirably strong willed and sees this as another control issue.

Short of physically dragging DSD1 out of the house, something I'm not allowed to do, I don't know what to do with this. DSD1 is not materialistic in the slightest and can't be persuaded by such things as having her Christmas presents taken away. In general she can be a little selfish cow when she isn't getting what she wants; when I was her age I'd have received a few smacked bums and that would have been that, these days though that isn't an option.

From my own selfish perspective with DSD1 refusing to see her dad, and my OH refusing to use baby sitters, we don't get any time to ourselves anymore, but I don't want that to be the focus of this thread.

What d'ya reckon? Should DSD1 be forced to see he BD? If so, how?

stairdad Mon 24-Dec-12 17:22:07

As an aside to what I'm learning from this thread (thanks everyone) something my OH often says is that things would be easier if I also had my own children. I'd say that's a huge double edged sword.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 24-Dec-12 17:26:37

As an aside to what I'm learning from this thread (thanks everyone) something my OH often says is that things would be easier if I also had my own children. I'd say that's a huge double edged sword.

I think it is perfectly possible to learn the skills required to be an effective parent without having your own biological children, so no, I don't think you need to have your own.

I think many decisions are a lot easier for someone at "arms length" to make. Does your DP want her DC's to like her - or is she prepared to make the tough decisions and be the bad guy? Parenting isn't a popularity contest!

It does seem that your DP intends to exclude you from her own parenting decisions - have you talked about it with her at all?

stairdad Mon 24-Dec-12 17:32:26

Yep, broached that topic with her during my posting interval this afternoon. Got my marching orders to begin with but it calmed down after that. Its going to be something I need to keep hammering away at.

She's also suffering from norovirus and throwing up everywhere so I could have picked a better time to do it but at east it's back on the table again. Can't think where DSD1 gets her determination from smile

stairdad Mon 24-Dec-12 17:35:41

Being the bad guy makes her sad but she frequently does it. This is a particular topic of trouble for her in that respect though. For instance DSD1 went out with her dad today after a huge screamning fit and all was well with the world when she got back.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 24-Dec-12 17:38:03

She's also suffering from norovirus and throwing up everywhere so I could have picked a better time to do it

Um, yes - you could have!

Hope she feels better soon - Christmas is stressful for all families, more so for blended, and illness certainly doesn't help!
Wait til you have some time together without the pressures of every day life and explain how you feel to her about being excluded - without any expectation that she will change, but at least putting the issues on the table will give you both a starting point.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 24-Dec-12 17:45:26

DSD1 went out with her dad today after a huge screamning fit and all was well with the world when she got back.

Excellent - it's important that the DC's continue to have positive experiences with their Dad as a contrast to negative thoughts/memories that they may be having.
It's also important for your DP to remember that even when the DC's refuse, the reality of the contact is far more positive than the anticipation - hopefully, todays experience will give her the motivation to insist that her DC's do maintain contact.

If the DC's lose contact with their Dad now, they may never have a father figure in their life. Does she want their Dad to walk them down the aisle? For her grandchildren to have a grandfather? If so, she may need to use some "tough love" with her DD's now, alongside putting support in place to help them, rather than take the easy option.

My fear, given what you have said about her refusal to involve you in their lives, is that she sees no value in any male role models in their life. What is her own relationship with her Dad like?

stairdad Mon 24-Dec-12 18:59:18

It was brilliant by all accounts, sadly he died very very suddenly eight years ago. There is a lot of fall-out for the whole family around that, which manifests itself in a variety of ways, in my OH's case one of the outcomes is a fierce independance, among other things. Got to sign off now to wrap presents and put on clearly fake cotton ball beard.

Pantomimedam Mon 24-Dec-12 19:41:47

'I think it is perfectly possible to learn the skills required to be an effective parent without having your own biological children' - true but it takes time and doesn't come automatically, as it does for many new parents when they have a baby (although not all new parents, of course, PND/difficulty bonding and all that).

If you've had your child since a baby, you know them thoroughly and have lots of adorable memories of all the great times to help you through the more difficult ones. It's tough for step-parents who don't have that life-long (for the child) connection. It is true what they tell you 'it's different when you have your own' as many nannies will confess - far easier to manage children you nanny than deal with your own who know how to press your buttons! Can also be an issue that step-parents sometimes have expectations that are out of kilter - unreasonable for the developmental stage of the step-child, for instance, especially if they have their own children who are much younger.

Basically, families are complicated, human relationships are complicated, being a parent is hard and being a step-parent is hard. Somehow most of us manage to muddle through, thank heavens, and often more by luck than judgement!

stairdad Mon 24-Dec-12 20:27:19

It was brilliant by all accounts, sadly he died very very suddenly eight years ago. There is a lot of fall-out for the whole family around that, which manifests itself in a variety of ways, in my OH's case one of the outcomes is a fierce independance, among other things. Got to sign off now to wrap presents and put on clearly fake cotton ball beard.

stairdad Mon 24-Dec-12 20:47:15

Sorry, just duplicated my last post.

I can definitely relate to what you say about unrealistic ecpectations. Just because I can have a conversation with them doesn't mean they are adults.

Also as I'm their step dad I don't have the automatic unconditional love that their mum and dad have, I have to work at it.

Pantomimedam Mon 24-Dec-12 23:30:57

Yes, exactly that. They can talk grown up but you have to remind yourself they are very far from grown up!

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