I know I am being unreasonable. But how unreasonable?

(63 Posts)
MarmiteMania Sat 03-May-14 16:44:44

Dsd 15 lives quite a distance away but comes whenever she feels like it in holidays. Love having her, but visits always accompanied by a drama of some sorts. Last time (recently) she found some hidden vodka, downed a huge amount, vomited at 3am and woke my dd to clear it up which she spent most of the night doing as there was so much. Problem was dd was meant to be revising for Gcse's and wasn't able to the next day as she was exhausted from lack of sleep. To cap it all, dsd blamed my cooking (only later that we found out about alcohol).

She has now said she wants to come the days just before my dd's actual Gcse's. I KNOW this is her home and she's entitled to be here as much as my dd is. Despite the dramas I usually look forward to her visits. But it's just going to be such an incredibly stressful week (dd suffers severe exam nerves) that I don't want to be policing dsd or even worrying about dh watching her (useless anyway as tends to turn blind eye). Ok, I still know I'm being unreasonable but just wish she could wait till after exams. Rant over and ready to be flamed!

NigellasDealer Sat 03-May-14 21:38:56

marmite hope you are OK after 'blazing row' - what if they were just two daughters of DH? what would he do then?

DrinkMoreWater Sat 03-May-14 21:47:29

Marmite - I would tell your 'D'H that if he doesn't prioritise needs over wants then you will take matters into your own hands. I would tell him that not only will you tell DSD you know about the Vodka, but you will tell her mother too. Frankly, that should have happened anyway.

He's being a prick - fight fire with fire.

MarmiteMania Sat 03-May-14 21:56:12

Marmite I asked him that question- to which he replied he would feel the same, which knowing dh is a ridiculous statement.

DrinkMore yes I threatened to tell dsd I know about the incident and that any disturbance will result in her going back to dm. Dh turned quite pale. If I carry it out though i will forever be blamed for her not wanting to visit and stopping contact. I am sorely tempted though.

DrinkMoreWater Sat 03-May-14 22:06:35

Marmite - well, that's the risk he takes if he doesn't tell his DD that actually, that week isn't convenient.

Oh and next time she comes, whether it's 'this planned visit' or not, I would tell her that I knew about the Vodka and I would tell her if she was out of line in my home, around my DD - she might be your DH's DD but she is your DSD and she is in your home - you are an adult, she is not and HE doesn't get to dictate what you say to who.

It's time to start sorting things out at your place with bloody disney dad!

MarmiteMania Sat 03-May-14 22:23:32

I wish it was that easy. Dsd has been dropping not-so-subtle hints for dh to take her plus friend to Euro Disney at one point; perhaps it's best if they both disappear off there, at least he'll feel at home there

PumpkinPositiveHmm Sat 03-May-14 22:46:23

Why isn't it that easy?

How will DD feel about not going?

PumpkinPositiveHmm Sat 03-May-14 22:47:06

Sorry it's drinkmorewater just a fun namechange on another thread.

MarmiteMania Sat 03-May-14 23:11:51

Thanks drink, It's not that easy to undo years of his dcs knowing they call the shots and have the power to get away with anything they like simply by threatening not to come and see dh. My dd would have no problem with not going, she'd just be grateful not to have her revision disrupted!

tiredandsadmum Sat 03-May-14 23:27:25

It seems clear from your posts as if there is a whole back story here of Disney dad. But your DD's exams are important and she has the right to study for those free of unnecessary interference. So I would force the issue and call DSD mum. I would politely explain that you love seeing DSD, are so looking forward to both girls having some fun after the exams, you were slightly disappointed about the vodka incident so will be fixing a date post exams. As an ex-wife whose ex is a terrible Disney dad, I would love it if I found out that ex's partner also didn't like the Disney dad behaviour. If she is not interested it still means that she knows about the vodka and that her DD will not be coming to stay before exams.

MarmiteMania Sun 04-May-14 08:35:54

Tiredandsadmum, thanks for your advice, I don't though have a relationship with the mother whereby I can phone her about anything, although dh communicates with her when necessary.

I wouldn't mind so much if it was my ex who was the Dismey dad as there are may forms of poor parenting which are worse.. but to live with one who only Disney's his OWN children- that's worse!

Thank you all for help on this thread, will be having words with dsd when she arrives whether dh likes it or not.

Ohbyethen Sun 04-May-14 14:10:14

If he doesn't like it, he knows what he can do.
Dsd is 15 she is old enough to have an independent relationship with you and is old enough to be taking responsibility for her behaviour, do have a discussion with her and make the consequences clear. I'm afraid I agree her father has no say over what you can and can't do in your own home.

He is not coming across well here at all. Disney dad behaviour has sadly been the death knell of more than one marriage. He is doing a disservice to his children by failing as a parent, he is doing a disservice to you and your dd and to himself.
If he is too weak to face his own behaviour and start being the parent he is then it's his loss. No, you can't single handedly undo years of being held to ransom with contact - the way to handle that was for him to stand firm and assert his parenting chops when he was first being mucked around.

This has been ongoing for a while it seems. If it's taken this to bring it to a head then maybe this is the time to lay all your cards on the table and say everything. Get it out into the open and find out if he cares enough to change. It's not ok for you and all the children to suffer his behaviour (and that's not even going into what dsd's mum might have to put up with as a result), it's not ok for him to shirk his parenting responsibilities and it is most definitely not ok for him to assume that he can announce what is going to happen and then throw his weight around to attempt to force you to comply when you have stood up for your dd.

He obviously has good points or you wouldn't have married him. But his treatment of your dd and you must undermine everything he says because he doesn't act as if she is important to him. Which calls his blustery response about feeling the same if they were both his into even more question.
Good luck to your dd regardless, I don't know if rescue remedy would help her stress? I have no idea if it was the remedy or placebo but I found it got me through very stressful vivas. Revision, rescue remedy and I had a little positive mantra (and my teddy at night, but don't tell anyone). The nerves didn't go till exams were over but the above did enough to let me give a good account of myself.

peggyundercrackers Sun 04-May-14 14:31:22

if he isn't going to compromise why should you? does his DD know its exam week when she wants to come over? if so do you think she would come over to cause trouble during that week for your dd knowing she had exams?

I think you need to sit down and set out ground rules for all the family which would including his dd when she is in your house. its unfair on all of you.

DrinkMoreWater Sun 04-May-14 17:02:59

Marmite - only you can decide if you are happy with the way things are and only you can change them if you aren't.

I know it's not 'easy' - but the things worth achieving seldom are.

You don't have to make a big song & dance about it, just start doing things your own way.

In this instance I would say 'DH - DSD is very disruptive when she is here, DD will be studying & it's unfair on her to be distrupted, I wouldn't allow DD to do that if DSD was studying. You know you cannot guarantee she wont do this if she comes, so either you tell her that week isn't convenient or I will ring her mother and tell her that it's not convenient. This is my and DD's home as well and I am not backing down'.

Then leave him to it - he can mouth off all he wants, but he has been warned.

You might not have that sort of relationship with her mother right now, but perhaphs it's time you did.

If he tells his DD not to come that week and she chucks a strop about 'never coming again' - so what, she'll soon change her mind.

Getting him to take her to Euro Disney to keep her out of the way is rewarding her for being a disruptive, selfish little madam and that would be happening over his dead body frankly.

and as I said, I would not be having some stroppy teen think she had one over me or ruled the roost and I would tell her, next time she comes, that I knew all about the vodka and that her behaviour had better improve in my home.

matildasquared Sun 04-May-14 17:17:37

I can't imagine telling my child she couldn't stay with me--because it would be inconvenient for my new family. That's really awful.

You describe one incident in which DSD was sick in the night. Yes, annoying and dumb, and inconsiderate that your daughter had to clean. But being woken up at night meant that your daughter couldn't revise AT ALL the next day? Come on.

Seriously, this child's mere presence in the house for a few days is enough to cause your daughter to fail her GSCEs? There's some scapegoating going on here.

Have a serious talk with her, ringfence your daughter's studying time, tell her she'll be seriously punished if any vodka nonsense happens again. But I'm not surprised your husband is shocked at your suggestion.

purpleroses Sun 04-May-14 17:34:22

Presumably DSD is Y10? Doesn't she have mocks at the same time as your DD has GCSEs? I would suggest she stays at her mum's so that she can revise in peace, and try and make some fun plans for the summer with her. But if she insists on coming, then make it a really strict house where everyone revises quietly and goes to bed early.

I don't think it's really unreasonably of her to want to come to see her dad and stepsister for the half term week. Your DSD won't actually have exams during half term will she? What does your DD think? If she's the kind of child you puts pressure on herself, having another teenager around a bit to chill out with at times in between revising might actually be quite good for her.

I wouldn't try to keep my DSC away just because one of mine had exams. GCSEs go on for several weeks. But I would expect them to be respectful of the need to give the one revising peace and quiet.

MarmiteMania Sun 04-May-14 18:12:47

Thanks again ohbyethen, I have laid my cards on the table with regards to our lives being dictated to generally by dh's inability to say No to his dcs and his terror of 'losing' them if he does. I have told dh I want us to attend counselling because I can see this wrecking our marriage in the future- his dcs already demand presents/money for no apparent reason, what will they be demanding in the future and what if dh is not able to deliver?

Despite all the above, I would say that is probably his only failing- he is unusually kind, the type to top up a random car meter if about to expire, tireless for charity and (dopy as it sounds) enriches the lives of those he comes into contact with. But yes this is a deal breaker for me hence the counselling. Thank you for the Rescue Remedy advice, I think it contains tiny amounts of alcohol so prob not just a placebo. Glad it worked for you!

Peggy dsd knows it's exam week but would in no way want to disturb dd on purpose, she likes dd.

Drinkmore I will most certainly be telling dsd that any disruption and she will have to go home for the week. Mathilda dd had 3 hours sleep the night of the vodka incident, would you be able to revise the following day? Having said that, you are saying what everyone in RL, even my dm is saying- that dh should be able to have his daughter in his home WHENEVER he likes. I posted here to get step parent's' perspectives as I know none in RL.

Purple, dd usually loves her step sister coming but is dreading it as she knows how easily distracted she is (her fault? And how distractive dsd is!

Thanks all again.

MarmiteMania Sun 04-May-14 18:15:04

Sorry should read (her fault)

alita7 Sun 04-May-14 18:48:06

in a sense I think it's worse if they get on really well because it will be a bit like having a friend round and if they normally spend a lot of time together and dsd isn't revising then she will want to spend time with dd and dd may struggle to not hang out with her. unless you can convince them to spend most of the time with dsd helping dd revise then dsd will probably get bored if her 'playmate' is trying to revise.

MarianneSolong Sun 04-May-14 19:59:12

Re the accusation stepmothers sometimes face re trying to keep children away from 'their own home'.

It's one particular week when this one particular stepchild's visit might be especially problematic. And the previous visit had been a disruptive one

Stepchildren may - consciously or otherwise - want to have it both ways. Yes, the non-resident's parents house is, on one level, a home. However if the NRP isn't good re boundaries, it may be a place which stepchildren can treat a bit more like a hotel. For example a stepchild may not help out or do any chores. 'Why should I do any chores? I'm hardly ever here. I just wanted to see my Dad....'

There are children whose parents live together who have a similar sense of entitlement, but it's more common in that situation for there to be ground rules, and for poor behaviour to be checked in some way. Meanwhile stepchilden may treat their step parents either with minimal politeness or rather rudely - despite the fact they are cooking meals, doing laundry, tidying up after the child in question.

I think there are stepfamilies that work very much better than this. But in such cases the Non Resident Parent and the Step parent will have spent time talking about their needs and expectations, and what will work out for everybody - and then jointly giving out a consistent message to the children involved.

matildasquared Sun 04-May-14 20:13:39

She doesn't "treat it like a hotel" because 15-year-olds can't stay in hotels. She's a kid who only sees her Dad on visits in someone else's home. You love your husband because he's a decent person--a decent person doesn't tell his teenaged daughter, "Sorry, no visit this time because it's inconvenient for us." As far as I can see the dsd had exactly one stupid incident with the vodka and she deserves a roasting for that, I hope you'll both give it to her.

I revised for my exams with a whole house full of siblings and did just fine. You are really making this into more of an issue than it ought to be.

DrinkMoreWater Sun 04-May-14 20:32:12

It's not just 'one incident' though. Marmite has said that there is always a drama when she's there, she lies - she blamed the Marmite's cooking for her being sick, and as far as she's aware that's what her Dad still thinks.

Marmite 'isn't allowed' to tell her off/give her 'rules' - let alone 'a roasting' for the vodka incident.

She does treat it like a hotel, she doesn't even clear her plate from the table hmm (not being allowed to stay in a hotel is irrelevant to how she treats this home).

She is unable to be quiet.

Her Disney Dad wont tell her off or make her behave...

Yet, despite all of that the Marmite's DD still likes her so you have to add in the 'I'd rather be hanging out with her than studying' element with DSD wanting to hang out with her DD too and it's a recipe for disaster.

Not because she is a step child - but because she is allowed to rule the roost unchecked while she is there

Ohbyethen Sun 04-May-14 21:05:13

Not because she is a step child - but because she is allowed to rule the roost unchecked while she is there.

^^ This absolutely.
Not buckling down to revision in the face of distraction, bluntly yes this is dds problem & not dsd's.
But with my children what I say goes, I can discipline them as the need arises or make requests like being respectful of a studying sibling. If they don't I can sort it out.
Op isn't allowed to do that but she also can't rely on her DH to do so either.
Dsd's general behaviour and dsd herself are not the issue here. Marmite's Disney dad DH is.
There is no situation with my biological children where I wouldn't be prevented from balancing the needs of them all - and they are all as equally important.
DH has put Marmite in a position where she has had to support her dd because he doesn't. It's not a one off incident and he won't step up and parent her.
A long pattern of behaviour from him has pushed Marmite to feel this is her only option. Instead of looking at himself and why after being chief cook and bottle washer for his dd Marmite might feel like this, he has turned it on her because it's easier to target her.
This isn't the guide for revising step siblings, it's one specific situation.
Matilda - you may well have had a house full of siblings but one would assume your parents didn't let them get in your way.
If the op could or her DH would then this wouldn't even be an issue. It's him, not dsd.

matildasquared Sun 04-May-14 22:07:35

Again, I'm seeing one incident with the vodka and a slammed door. This isn't an out-of-control teen. You're borrowing trouble.

DrinkMoreWater Mon 05-May-14 00:34:31

Matilda - no one said she was out of control. The details of one incident are there, but if you read the op or my post you would see that she has said there is 'always' a drama when DSD comes to stay - are you ignoring that or calling Marmite a liar?

Marmite isn't 'borrowing trouble - it's predictable.

brdgrl Mon 05-May-14 02:08:31

Not because she is a step child - but because she is allowed to rule the roost unchecked while she is there.

Yes, that's it.
If one isn't able to impose consequences on a disruptive or misbehaving child, then it isn't reasonable to say that that child is a full member of the household, able to come and go as she pleases.

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