Personal space boundaries

(43 Posts)
theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 06:43:57

Dp is now listening to my concerns regarding dsd2 aged 15 who lives with us.

She's a lovely girl with a nice personality. She's predicted all a/a* for gcse, has friends and a boyfriend at school. all nice people. However, she spends every waking minute being with my ds. She rarely socialises nowadays, doesn't have friends back and has given up any after school activities she used to do. She seems perfectly happy and well adjusted apart from this.

Ds says he finds it odd that she sits next to him the whole time but says he doesn't mind. He says he doesn't really understand why she does it. Ds often has friends over at weekends and she literally sits in between them, only leaving when it's time to go to bed and she's told to.

Ds has an x box and spends his free time playing online with friends. He uses headphones and isn't able to hear much of what is going on around him but she still sits next to him, often for hours on end. She tries to sit and do her homework next to him whilst he's on x box, shouting at the -- game-- chatting with his friends.

Her relationship with her older sister is pretty much non existent now too, despite sharing a room when they are both here.

Both girls have a tv in their room but its been out in the floor and unplugged for months, they say they're not interested in having it. They all have smart phones, so can be on Facebook etc in their rooms (which is girls equivalent to x box) but dsd only seems to want to sleep in her room. She's had new furniture and bed linen recently but her room obviously doesn't have much appeal to her.

We have a rule if no "screens" after 8pm so they can get ready for school the next day. Dsd will have her shower when ds has his bath, will make her sandwiches at the same time as ds and sit next to him in the sofa when he's finished.

I also feel ds doesn't out as much effort in with homework as I'd like and I suspect that's because dsd is by his side.

ATM they go to different schools but I know she will want to change to ds school next year for sixth form meaning she can spend all day and all night by ds side. shock

Now I know it's good they get on and I could be in here talking about the terrible rows they have but I also know this situation isn't good.

Dp says we need to encourage both children to have different interests etc. personally I feel ds is doing enough after school activities, has friends round every week / visits friends. He has interests and hobbies and yes, he likes the x box.

I would like to implement a your room is your space rule. Ie. ds bedroom isn't the communal room that dsd (and other dsd's treat it as when they're here). I feel this would force the situation a bit. Dp says he will "encourage" dsd to go to friends more but I know she will just make excuses. Dp also seems to think the x box is the problem and is hinting that I should let ds play less and this will help with the problem. It won't, ds would just sit on the PC downstairs instead with dsd by his side as sometimes happens anyway.

It would be a BIG thing if I effectively banned her from his room. All the kids are so used to ds room being communal.

We are moving house soon so I thought it might be a good time to adjust to some new rules.

Any suggestions or comments please?

Saralyn Mon 25-Mar-13 06:54:42

To an outsider it sounds like she is in love with him. I might be way off the mark, but is that something you've considered?

peanutbear Mon 25-Mar-13 07:00:05

She has a massive crush on him.

peanutbear Mon 25-Mar-13 07:03:54

Sorry pressed post to soon. how old is your ds ? He sounds very patient. Or he doesn't realise why she is hanging around him
I think one of you might have to broach the subject about her having feelings for anyone

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 07:05:10

Yes it's certainly something I've considered and am concerned about. I've often wondered if ds is the reason she chose to move in here.

We were out yesterday and dp realised just how close they are by their behaviour.

I don't know what I'd do if they started a sexual relationship. hmm

One of us would have to move out.

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 07:05:52

He's the same age, so same school year.

Stepmooster Mon 25-Mar-13 07:15:48

Yes I too agree it sounds like she has 'fallen in love' with your DS. Honestly why else would she drop her social life to sit and watch him play xbox all day?

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 25-Mar-13 07:26:38

Sounds like she's massively in love with him. My first thought.

MrsBucketxx Mon 25-Mar-13 07:29:34

yup massive crush going on, maybe have a chat with her and say I know how your feel but its not the right thing etc.

how does your ds feel?

Branleuse Mon 25-Mar-13 07:31:12

how long have you and dp been together? Were they brought up together?

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 07:35:04

We've been together five years, living together for three years. Dsd came to live with us last summer full time, it had been a third if the time before that.

Ds appears to be oblivious.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 07:41:30

DS obviously sees her a sister but I would agree with the others that she has the massive crush on him.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 25-Mar-13 07:41:53

I think the house move is a good opportunity to implement some new house rules about spending time in each others rooms etc and be honest!

Tell them that its because neither you nor your DP are comfortable with them having a physical relationship in your home, and as they get older, the chance of that happening will increase.

My best friend at school was 12 when she and her stepbrother 'got carried away' one evening - she had to take the morning after pill and it destroyed their 'stepsibling' relationship and subsequently, their parents relationship too.

Gigondas Mon 25-Mar-13 07:45:57

Agree with others that it is a crush.

I would definitely go with dp Idea of getting her to do more activities- it isn't great if she has isolated herself at that age. Can you also try and do things with her ? Get her to help/chat while you do jobs, sit with you at table to do homework rather than bother ds (or have them both sit there - that way you negate the argument that ds is on x box or whatever , can supervise a bit but also make sure that she isn't getting into ds' space).

Also if it is because she has a crush on ds, it is doing her no good to think that relationships (not that this is one) are based on slavishly following someone around. I did that with my mum which might sound a bit odd but it helped offer an opportunity to talk (when I was older I was allowed a small glass of wine with her on some nights so felt grown up) but also made homework time seem less lonely and onerous.

I think the own rooms thing as their space is a good idea - but might be easier to enforce when you move rather than change the status quo.

Gigondas Mon 25-Mar-13 07:46:58

Sorry bit about sitting with my mum was meant to follow first paragraph blush - idea to do something productive with teen girl mooching.

BuiltForComfort Mon 25-Mar-13 08:05:24

How about your DP doing something with her exclusively? Taking her to an activity once a week? Doesn't sound healthy that she is basing her whole life around your ds like this, she needs other interests and friends.

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 08:28:59

Dp will take her out but as soon as she's home she's glued to ds again.

I know he will suggest she sees friends and takes up her hobbies again but she will make excuses and he won't push her to do anything. To be honest I'm so glad he's acknowledging this is a problem but I know he will have trouble parenting her and getting things to change.

I suppose it looks obvious to all of you but all dsc have been the same around ds. It's like they treat him as their entertainer.you would have thought an only child would have felt the odd one out in our blended family but they all swarm around ds.

I'm also a bit shock at dp that he is saying we should be encouraging both kids to do more and the problem is with both of them not just her. We got into a silly argument where I was counting out to him how many times my ds has socialised in the last few weeks compared to how many times dsd has. hmm

I spoke to ds earlier (different school run so I got 5 mins without dsd) and asked how he felt about the possible implementation of the private space bedroom rule and he said he doesn't mind either way.

purpleroses Mon 25-Mar-13 09:55:44

What about encouraging her to invite her BF round? That ought to disrupt the dynamic a bit.

Would guess that them attending the same sixth form might actually help things a bit - as the closeness they share at home will probably feel odd in the company of others.

Your DS sounds like he's not really able to articulate what he wants - easygoing maybe, but either he likes her in his bedroom (but is afraid to say that to you) or he doesn't like it (but is afraid to say that to her). Would you be able to spell out to him that you think maybe she fancies him, and he needs to make it clearer that he's not interested? Or just take the initiative and do as you suggest and say bedrooms are private space.

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 10:25:27

When we invite boyfriend round, she says yes but when pushed says he's busy. Could be true or could be her making excuses.

Ds is very much like me and not very good at putting in boundaries and tend to gets walked over a bit. I've made it clear to him his room is his space and there have been a couple of times when he's asked dsd4 to leave when she's been annoying him. Dp jumped up the first time and told ds he was wrong to tell her to get out. Dp and I talked about it and he now supports me on this, but it so rarely happens.

In a bit frightened to tell him I think she fancies him as it might stir up feelings in him that he doesn't know he has, if you know what I mean.

billingtonssugar Mon 25-Mar-13 11:11:48

Aww, definitely a crush blush

BuiltForComfort Mon 25-Mar-13 12:21:25

I don't think her boyfriend is really a boyfriend is he? She would want to see him out of school if so. It does sound like your ds is so laid back he's getting walked over. He may not mind everyone hanging out in his room, but he should be allowed private space. I would have thought that both he and the dsd in question would by now have a lot of school work to occupy them, separately.

What if you took your ds out on this own once a week or fortnight - cinema or meal or just a walk, and your DP does the same with dsd on another evening, so that would be two evenings or half evenings apart. Plus doing stuff as a family as a whole. Just to start breaking the cycle of constantly being together.

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 13:53:30

Spoke with dp about it again just now, he has said he will agree that when we move, they will have to keep out of each others bedrooms. smile

I've suggested that dsd helps me with cooking, that dp looks into music lessons for her and he has agreed.

So all good.

But he keeps interjecting it all with "we need to encourage both of them to get out and about".

I'm biting my tongue because I know he feels I'm "picking on" dsd. I'm not, I just want her to have some sort of life without ds. She won't even sit in her own room and paint her nails. She does it in ds room.

I'm probably just pointing out to him that his kids don't have the best self esteem and he knows deep down it's because of the warring between him and his ex. He knows its affected his parenting.

He told me today that he agreed we should ban screen time for several hours during the day during the holidays and said there should be consequences for not living by the rule. In five years I've never known dp to give his kids a consequence. He, on the other hand, has seen me do it with ds many times.

I really feel the issue here isn't that ds is on the x box for a few hours, it's that dsd can't amuse herself at all. hmm if she was mine, I'd be really upset that she is so unable to function without ds. I'd want to help her to grow and flourish as a strong individual. I want all those things for her but it can't be my responsibility alone.

If ds isn't on the x box, he'll be on the PC or watching tv and she'll be by his side. He used to read but I suppose he feels he can't do that anymore.

flurp Mon 25-Mar-13 14:53:47

Your ds sounds lovely and It sounds like she sees him as a form of security or comfort and this could be turning into an infatuation. My DSD (8) is a lot like this, but with me and DP. I wonder if it is a result of her parents messy divorce.
She literally will not do anything by herself. All she wants is to follow DP and I around like a puppy. Whatever we are doing she is next to us. She will only play with her toys or dolls if we watch her. I often tread on her in the kitchen as she gets behind me while I'm trying to cook!!
She is a lovely girl but I find her a bit too intense sometimes and feel a bit suffocated by her so i make excuses to get some space away from her. Like your DH my DP sees the problem but can't won't do anything so I leave him to it. She is very manipulative and wants DP all to herself which is understandable but her older brother can't get near his dad at times which is wrong. sad

BuiltForComfort Mon 25-Mar-13 16:44:06

can your ds go round to his mates' now and again to play xbox? that way he's getting out and about as per your DP's wishes, and is removing himself from dsd. He could also have his mates back and then may realise that dsd sticking to him is odd, or she could join in with the group which would dilute things a bit.

theredhen Mon 25-Mar-13 18:41:22

Ds does go round to friends but not every night and why should he? hmm

Ds also has friends over and dsd sits in between them, even ones she claims to not like.

She even has a permanent chair in his room, which I keep removing and she keeps putting back.

If ds has a friend round /goes to friends once or twice a week, dsd has done the same about 4 times since the end of the summer holidays last year.

I'm just so angry that I've been saying this is a problem for the last 8 months and dp has poo pooed me. Heaven forbid he stops his kids from doing anything.

What made him take some notice was my ds being "annoying" to and sitting "too close to" dsd on the sofa at a friends yesterday.

I think I'm angrier at myself for not putting my foot down a lot earlier.

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