Lady of the house

(61 Posts)
TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 07:55:03

Has anyone found themselves in a situation where you've suddenly noticed a dsc are taking over your position in the house?

I've been through a very rough patch of late, nearly splitting with dh (not just over dsc). We have talked a lot, agreed to couples therapy, but until we get that in place, both wrote down what would help the other.

Through this, I have noticed that my dsd and her actions have caused me a lot of upset. We once had a ver good relationship, and she still can be quite loving but now it's like she is the lady of the house? Dh recently told the dsc that a few rules will have to be put in place I.e no jumping on sofa, play fighting in front room and being overly noisy (they have a room for that). Dsd started being quite noisy and was told you can do that in your room, dsd said in front of me "you're only saying that because of MumsRush". It's that lack of respect that I'm even there! That's just one of many,she takes over dh, will not give me one moment with him.

Anyway, how do I get control back without her resenting me? I don't want to get to a point where I don't enjoy them coming, I've tried more one on one time with her to build our relationship back up but relies I also need to make myself heard. Any suggestions?

Boreoff456 Tue 14-Jan-14 07:57:55

Can I ask how old the Dec are? And how long you have been with their dad?

Ragwort Tue 14-Jan-14 08:01:54

I'm not sure that's necessarily just a 'step-child- thing, I know you've only given one example but it is the sort of thing my 12 year old will say to either my husband or myself - a sarky comment along the lines 'I can do that when Dad's not here' or similar. I agree it is incredibly infuriating but I try and see it as children testing boundaries - and that happens in any family set-up.

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 08:14:10

She's 7, I've been with her dad 5 years. We have had them consistently for 4 years. I'm sure it's not just a step parent thing but as I'm their SM I posted here. I know kids push boundaries but she has been quite hurtful in the past! I don't want to "overstep" but do need to be heard. Her brother (12) and I have a great relationship. Someone told me it's always the girl that have the problem, I laughed this off at first but wonder if there is any truth in it? Maybe she is just working things out in her head as for example, she asks me if my surname is the same as her mums (knowing full well it's not as it's the same as dsd). I can deal with that, I just correct her. It's the clinging to dh, not just in the house, if we walk down the road, I'm left walking behind as she won't let me near him? He made a point of it by stopping suddenly and so did she.

Peacesword Tue 14-Jan-14 08:41:30

I thought you were going to say she was much older than that. 7 is really young. I can't see anything wrong with wanting to walk down the road with her Dad, I just wouldn't make an issue of it.

I also think she's just adjusting to some boundaries being in place. I think as a SM we can get targeted and blamed for things that aren't necessarily our fault, just because it's easier for them to do that rather than be angry at their own parent.

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 08:53:11

Yes but how do I go about putting in boundaries without being the WSM? I don't think it's unreasonable to want to spend a small fraction of time with my dh when they are here? I understand she doesn't see him all the time but that doesn't make being rude to me ok and my ds and I being left out. Can I ask, those of you with dsc, do you all go to bed at the same time at weekends? Or do the dsc go to bed first?

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 08:55:40

I ask as dss can't watch films with us as dsd won't go to bed unless we all are, this means we can't watch a film that dss would enjoy (and dh & I to a certain extent)

Ragwort Tue 14-Jan-14 09:01:59

I think that as DSD doesn't live with you it is understandable that maybe she wants to stay up late with her dad and watch a film - I think you need to be the adult here, maybe meet up with a friend for a meal, take your DS out to do something special, let them have some quality time without you occasionally. (I am not a step-parent, but I am a step-daughter).

I don't sit with my DH every evening - we do our own thing, sometimes with our child (ie: one to one time) or sometimes we do things as a family.

uc Tue 14-Jan-14 09:02:46

On that last question, my 7 year old goes to bed way before me at the weekends! He's 7. Our 13 year old goes to bed before us too, but not as long before us as the 7 year old. When you say DSD "won't" go to bed unless we all are, who is in control here?! It sounds as though this is the crux of your issue. Neither of the adults is in control. The 7 year old child is.

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 09:07:31

Yes ragwort, that's somthing I've mentioned to dh. He can take them out with so they have time with just him. I don't drive so it's easier for him to go out than me but I've said I will take ds out so it's not always them having to go out. That suits me fine and I totally understand the importance of it.

purpleroses Tue 14-Jan-14 09:07:57

I think you probably need to get your DP fully onboard with trying o sort her out. Even at 7 some girls can be very sharp at reading people's intentions and can go for a divide and conquer approach! Saying things like "you're only saying that cause Mumsrush is here " suggests to me that your DP is playing the good cop when you're not around and letting her get away with things that he knows you don't like - house rules like no jumping on the furniture ought to be enforced all the time not just when you're there.

I think it's normal enough for 7 year olds to want quite a lot of attention when they're around - I wouldn't expect her to give you time alone very often, though you could engineer it by letting her watch a film or something sometimes, or have a friend over.

But I would expect her to go to bed at a reasonable hour. WE have the younger DCs/DSC in bed by 9pm at weekends and 10pm for the teenagers. I think letting a 7 year old stay up until you go to bed is ridiculous - it's not fair on you, or on her older brother who probably feels much like you do that he'd quite like some more grown up time without her in the evening.

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 09:11:16

I don't go to bed late as my 1 year old wears me out, but do think dsd should go to bed a bit earlier? Poor dss never gets to watch what he wants, I give up with films as one or the other is unhappy with the chosen film and as dss can't watch most we end up not bothering.

NicknameIncomplete Tue 14-Jan-14 09:12:46

I think if things are to change your dh needs to do it. He needs to put in rules/boundaries and follow through with discipline if rules are broken. He needs to show that he supports you and when dsd makes comments about you he needs to tell her off for that.

Peacesword Tue 14-Jan-14 09:12:53

Is your dp completely on board with sticking to boundaries? IME you will be the WSM if he always implies or says that the boundaries are something you want or say should happen. He can lay them out as a "we both think", but are there times when he more subtly might imply that he doesn't necessarily agree and it's what you want? Also, your plans for boundaries will be undermined if he says what the boundaries are but there are no consequences from him if they don't stick to them.

We abandon any hope for couple time when dp is here. If we get some, great but if not that's because we have 2 children to take into account. We just become a "normal" family. And at 7, I'd be getting her off to bed earlier than us.

Another thought I had was how does your dp treat you? How does she see him treating you? Is she just mirroring how she sees Daddy treating TheMumsRush? Is she just picking up on the atmosphere between the two of you and responding to that?

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 09:15:51

Yes, dh will often say "stop doing that as it's annoying MumsRush"....even if it's not, it's his sofa rule but he's not consistent with it. This has come up when we've been talking! Drives me crazy!

purpleroses Tue 14-Jan-14 09:18:02

I've found putting the news on at 9pm is quite a good way of asserting adult time and getting the kids to shift off to bed. It's not just about getting some couple time, it's about marking out who the adults of the house are.

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 09:20:26

I think I need to sort mine and DH's expectations before I can start with dsd. In the past I've gone to him and said what I would like to happen if I see a potential for a problem so we are both on the same page and avoid a future argument. This in itself has caused a row, I get "why would you think dsd would do that?" Then I'm left looking like a WSM (until she does it).

Peacesword Tue 14-Jan-14 09:20:51

Right, so in a 7 year old's eyes it's you that is having a problem with her, not her Dad. He's not being fair to you doing that. And maybe a lot of your understandable frustration is actually not at her, it's at him. I had exactly the same thing and it was a difficult dynamic to see in the thick of it. I had a lovely friend who pointed it out to me, and once I'd seen it I could suddenly see where it was happening a lot and I'd challenge him on it.

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 09:22:21

Yes purple, you are right. I understand she wants to be with him, but there should be a cut off. It that unreasonable?

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 09:26:59

Peace, we only had this breakthrough as my DH's sister pointed out that dsd will take a mile! If I'd said it he wouldn't have listened. Now he's trying to be more vocal (he's said in the past he doesn't line to have to get cross). It isn't her fault, but we can't just about face so abruptly, I will get the blame. I'm trying to figure out how I go about it hmm

Peacesword Tue 14-Jan-14 09:27:08

I think she needs an earlier bedtime than everyone else, yes.

Is it something that your dp knows irritates you and therefore is deliberately not enforcing it? Are there other ways that he does that, so that there is niggle after niggle after niggle which you try to avoid bringing up as they happen as they seem so small - and then when you react it all becomes about your reaction, not what he's done, and you're the bad guy?

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 09:40:57

Never thought of it like that peace but you could just well be right hmm

croquet Tue 14-Jan-14 09:52:21

hiya - when I was having these probs I asked DP if DSCs could have a proper bedtime enabling us to watch TV for half an hour and have a cuddle/glass of wine without them. It was really good for us. I explained it's not I don't like them simply if they were my own kids I would be gagging for some me-time before bed, nothing to do with them being DSCs!

The other thing about her clinginess -- how often is she /they with you? If not often just put up with it, even faciltiate it and you go off to do something else? If v. often maybe you do need to rejig slightly.

But time moves quickly with children and it will all change soon

TheMumsRush Tue 14-Jan-14 10:00:57

They are here eow Friday after school to Sunday evening. We are hoping to move closer in the future. The clinginess has only been the last 8 months or so, wondering if our ds has anything to do with it, I didn't think so at first as she adores him and is very good with him. But just typing that makes me think

croquet Tue 14-Jan-14 10:04:56

Ah that's not very often. I think you should partly see your role as helping to get dad and kids together and make sure they maintain a good relationship. Divorce does damage kids and I think you should be happy to go along behind while they catch up.
I am speaking from experience.
The only times when that's not possible are when your own self esteem is low and you need lots of validation about your relationship with your DH. I'm sure your little DS does affect things, not necessarily negatively. It will all come right in the end. I found it all got a lot easier when I moved to a point where I thought the DSCs should have v close time with dad when they visited.
I mean poor them, really. It must be so confusing. Also she's only little and it's a q of where she feels safe, out of mum's care. She probably makes sure she stays close to dad out and about like little kids are supposed to.

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