Dsc's and my sister's wedding

(74 Posts)
babyhmummy01 Wed 17-Jul-13 22:16:10

My younger sister gets married later this year and asked me if I thought dsd and dss would like to.be flower girl/page boy. Dss is a typical 9 yo and not fussed, doesn't want to stand in front of ppl he dpesnt know etc which is fine. My sister suggested they hire him a suit and he could decide on the day which is fine. Dsd (7) was very excited and we managed to get her a dress that matched the existing bridesmaids.

However, we have been having issues with her wetting herself which I have posted about previously. We have literally tried everything. Dr confirms no physical issue, this is happening at mum's, grandma's, ours and school. When asked calmly she tells the same story to everyone, she was busy and forgot to go to the loo. Mum insists she is just being lazy and whilst I suspect there is part of it that is about attention seeking (dss is very much pfb of mum) there is a part of me that suspects there is some of it that is just laziness as sometimes she is brill and we have no issues and others we have it 4-5 times in a weekend.

We resorted to using the wedding as bribery to try and encourage her to think more. She has had several "last chances" due to dp and Disney issues but after doing it at a christening a few weeks ago dp told her it was last chance salon, once more and no wedding which means dss can't go either.

Today she has done it again. I have washed and changed her, told her she knew what it meant and she needed to explain to daddy. Dp wants to give her yet another last chance but she has had at least 3 already. I don't think its fair on my sister who has spent a lot on her much awaited wedding to have it spoilt by dsd...

DP doesn't like to see his daughter upset and neither do I, but this is my sister's big day and I don't want it ruined because we have to leave to deal with dsd.

Am I being the step mum from hell or am I right to make dp stand by his statement that this was her last chance?

PrettyPaperweight Thu 18-Jul-13 09:57:39

Most posters here have recommended that you don't use the wedding as a hold over your DSD, and yet you say you have decided that she isn't going

The OP hasn't decided that, her DP - the DCs Dad has.

The idea that a stepparent could unilaterally decide what their DSC are, or are not, doing is laughable!

This DC is being let down by the adults in her life - but the stepparent has two choices; go along with the parents decision, or disengage.
Clearly, neither are acceptable to some people who expect a stepparent to wade in and compensate for the parents inadequancies.

babyhmummy01 Thu 18-Jul-13 10:03:31

He doesn't want to have a row with his exw which is what it will lead to and as she has already tried using the kids in the divorce I can understand why he is reluctant to steam in. We have contact row and one night in week but his shifts mean they are often with just me. His exw is a complete nut job and control freak. She has belittled him so much over the years and still does as I have witnessed at pick up and drop off that he has no confidence to parent. Exw also has a poor record at discipline as she doesn't believe you should.say no to a child or tell them off for anything and as a result we have real issues.

My hv will be diff as we live in a totally different town so may just see if I can.have an.informal chat but still can't do anything from that as mum refuses to shift.

If it is attention seeking I can't see how me disengaging will help, surely if the one person who is consistent and supportive washes their hands of it she will get worse?

babyhmummy01 Thu 18-Jul-13 10:03:49

He doesn't want to have a row with his exw which is what it will lead to and as she has already tried using the kids in the divorce I can understand why he is reluctant to steam in. We have contact row and one night in week but his shifts mean they are often with just me. His exw is a complete nut job and control freak. She has belittled him so much over the years and still does as I have witnessed at pick up and drop off that he has no confidence to parent. Exw also has a poor record at discipline as she doesn't believe you should.say no to a child or tell them off for anything and as a result we have real issues.

My hv will be diff as we live in a totally different town so may just see if I can.have an.informal chat but still can't do anything from that as mum refuses to shift.

If it is attention seeking I can't see how me disengaging will help, surely if the one person who is consistent and supportive washes their hands of it she will get worse?

wickeddevil Thu 18-Jul-13 10:05:23

Pretty paperweight. I read OPs thread from 02.01

It says we decided. Not DP decided.

Like I said this isn't about step parenting.

babyhmummy01 Thu 18-Jul-13 10:07:54

We = his decision that I have to abide by as they arent my fucking kids

wickeddevil Thu 18-Jul-13 10:29:13

Babyhmummy. Earlier you implied that you were pushing your DP to follow through on his threats. Now you are saying we = his decision.

I am actually trying to help. I would like you to understand that this doesn't sound like a discipline problem with your DSD, and so if you have a different view of discipline to the child's DM and DD, in this circumstance it doesn't matter. (Though I can see you are up against it when there is a genuine behavioural issue).

Is that the problem?

Is this about your frustration with other issues, and how your DP and his ex deal with them? If so it is a shame that your DSD's continence problem has led you to focus on the wider relationships.

Can you separate out the other issues and accept that this isn't about DSDs behaviour. Punishing really won't help her, and is quite likely to make things worse.

babyhmummy01 Thu 18-Jul-13 10:52:03

I think if dp makes a threat he should follow thru irrespective of what it relates to

wickeddevil Thu 18-Jul-13 11:09:09

But you shouldn't make a threat when a child is incontinent.

SJisontheway Thu 18-Jul-13 11:13:54

Generally speaking, yes. But not when the punishment is beyond cruel. I would back down and make sure your dh learns not to make idle threats in the future. And as others have suggested encourage your dh to stop using punishments altogether for issues relating to her continence. That's my advice. I know others disagree, but to have this opportunity removed is something that will stick with her for a long time, and is unlikely to solve the underlying issue.

UC Thu 18-Jul-13 12:13:12

I have only skimmed the thread.

I agree with SJ above. I think refusing to allow DSD to go to the wedding over this issue is something that she will remember and hold against you and your DP for many years.

If she is using the incontinence to get attention, then any attention, even bad attention i.e. punishment, will be the reward. I would try to go with rewards for continence, and ignoring for incontinence - obviously help her to dry up and change her clothes etc., but no more punishment for it. If there is no medical problem behind this, then it sounds to me as though all the adults in DSD's life are giving this issue masses of negative attention.

I would also back down over the wedding, and I would actually tell DSD that I am aware I am backing down - because this is an important occasion. Although it is important to stick to threats, it is also important that we teach our children that when we make a mistake, we rectify it.

BTW, I think it is lovely of your DSIS to want to include your DSCs in this way.

babyhmummy01 Thu 18-Jul-13 12:58:08

I never asked for your opinions on what we chose as punishment only on whether dp should follow through so I am not interested in your accusations of me being cruel and evil frankly

ItStartedInRome Thu 18-Jul-13 13:02:27

OP, I am sorry you feel people's replies (no doubt including mine) are unpalatable. I have read the entire thread, and even those that disagree with my view point, all seem to have something in common - they all appear to be written with sincerity and based on the experience of the poster. IMO a partner with child(ren) all come together as part of the package. If you feel you can't parent this child, your opinion isn't valid, or you feel DP doesn't listen to you I would seriously think about what the future holds. Kids can be very difficult and you still have the teenage years to come. I hope the poor child gets to go to the wedding. I KNOW she'll grow out of this wetting phase. I am fairly sure she'll always remember not being allowed to the wedding if that's what is decided and as it's your sister she'll 100% blame you as step-parent not your DP.

babyhmummy01 Thu 18-Jul-13 13:07:39

rome its not about can't but as a step parent its not my job. Read the board here. We are constantly told ts nothing to.do with us

brdgrl Thu 18-Jul-13 13:48:50

I think you really need to treat the wedding as a stand-alone.

I fully understand about the 'can't win' status of the stepmum, and having married a Disney Dad, you will often see me on here making a vigorous defense of consistency and limits in parenting!!!

BUT. I truly don't think this is the occasion to put your foot down. Manage the wedding by telling her that, because she has trouble staying dry, she will have to wear a pull-up. Take (no, have your DP take!) a change of clothing. The actual ceremony will not be that long, will it, and after that she can be changed. On the day, it should be your DP's job to help her get changed should she need it; he ought to be able to do this discreetly enough that no one is even aware that there has been an issue. It does not have to be a big thing that has potential to "ruin the day".

I totally understand why you want your DP to stick to his word. I think, though, that it is too late - it is too big an event for DSD and it involves other people as well. You and DPO don't have to appear weak or uncommitted - you can reverse the decision without appearing to 'give in' - and I agree that is important.

And after the wedding, definitely time to come up with a new and more consistent approach, one that is led by DP. Good luck.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 18-Jul-13 13:55:53

No OP, your DP should not follow through on his threat regarding the wedding. It would be a horrible thing to do to a child.

Are you going to tell him that?

UC Thu 18-Jul-13 18:31:49

In that case then OP, no, on this occasion, I don't think your DP should follow through with this threat. For the reasons I outlined above.

RinseAndRepeat Thu 18-Jul-13 19:05:02

To be fair this isn't your problem to solve OP. Her parents need to sort it out. And if her mum is being an ostrich then your DH needs to man up and start tackling this himself.

He has parental responsibility. He can take his DD to the docs whenever he feels it's necessary. He's being a coward and letting you deal with all the shit work from his and his ex's inaction.

RinseAndRepeat Thu 18-Jul-13 19:11:32

Rome how is it the OP's fault if her DP dismisses her opinion as invalid and doesn't listen to her?

It sound like she does a huge amount for this child already.

You seem to be attacking OP for 'not parenting' her DSD. If you're concerned the child isn't being parented then you need to direct your anger towards the child's actual <parents>. Whose job it actually is.

ItStartedInRome Thu 18-Jul-13 20:10:09

Rinse I think, much like OP, you are seeing the negative in everyone's comments rather than thinking these people have the benefit of being a distance away from the problem, and can offer a more objective view. I haven't attacked anyone. I simply said if OP feels she is unable to parent the child (as you and OP keep saying that is not the job of a step-parent) then she should think about how this will work out long term as there will be many more challenges involving the kids to come. I know you don't agree with me, but my view (which I always try to express calmly and politely on MN) is that when you meet a DP with kids you take on those kids too and you do your best to love and parent them. If you can't then you shouldn't be in that relationship.

brdgrl Thu 18-Jul-13 20:26:00

Rome, I have been parenting my stepkids for three years, and I don't agree with any one who makes a one size fits all pronouncement that it is not the job of stepparents to parent.

However, I can't agree with this, either: when you meet a DP with kids you take on those kids too and you do your best to love and parent them. If you can't then you shouldn't be in that relationship. The truth is that a parenting role is not always the appropriate one. There are too many variables for a blanket statement like yours to make any sense whatsoever.

Even if it were always the right approach, where both the child's parents act to prevent the stepmother to take on an effective parenting role, it is very difficult for her to do so.

PrettyPaperweight Thu 18-Jul-13 21:35:54

when you meet a DP with kids you take on those kids too and you do your best to love and parent them. If you can't then you shouldn't be in that relationship.

Even if that isn't what my DSC's parents want?

I should establish myself into the DSC lives, insist on fulfilling a parental role, pick up the slack and fill the gaps that their own parents leave, gain their trust, love and co-operation regardless of whether their own parents (either my DP or their Mum) are comfortable with that?

Are you a parent, Rome? What would you do if someone else, who you didn't know (a teacher, childcarer, neighbour or other trusted adult in their life), began to parent your DC? Took them to dental checkups without you being aware during school time, for instance? Sought non-urgent medical care and made decisions relating to that care? Took your DC to have their ears/bellybutton/nose pierced? Dissuaded them from pursuing a particular career path? Went to school open evenings with them?

Why does a DC need a step-parent to "parent" them anyway? Are all separated parents so incompetent that they need a "step-parent" to do the job that they are failing to do?

SpockSmashesScissors Thu 18-Jul-13 22:18:56

No your DH shouldn't follow through, in this case he has got it wrong and needs to admit that.

Tell her that she can be a bridesmaid, let her look forward to it and enjoy it, all it can do is good, your sister sounds lovely.

Take a few other pretty dresses for her to change into if needed and some wipes etc, it really isn't a big deal at all, people won't even notice if you don't make a fuss and if they do see, well they are all family & friends so they are hardly going to point and laugh are they.

Please stand up for this little girl she is having some problems and has a lot going on in her life by the sounds of it but just wants to have a chance to be princess for a day, you can make that dream come true for her.

mikulkin Sat 20-Jul-13 22:55:20

You are not in an army, if your DP made a mistake he shouldn't follow through on it. You asked whether he should and 95% of people here said to you he shouldn't, so why don't you tell him that instead of continuing to insist that he should?
Poor dsd - I feel sorry for her, her dad made a silly threat and now feels sorry about it, hence trying to extend chances but no, you don't give him such chance...
And well said, StarBallBunny
"Personally I think you have baked yourselves into a corner and now you have to be the grown ups, back down and admit that using the wedding as a carrot was a step too far"

Fairy130389 Sun 21-Jul-13 17:17:53

Sorry babyh but I agree with posts above. I understand your concerns but stopping her going to the wedding because of wetting could have enormous emotional impact. It may make problem worse. I agree completely to not punish wetting, but make it clear that tantrums will not be tolerated and she must wear a nappy or similar. Also, I have found that family events such as these have helped mould our family together as it makes dscs feel included in the wider family, you don't want to jeopardise that.

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