Step daughter just moved in

(33 Posts)
Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 07:45:23

And I am feeling quite anxious and I am not sure why! She is a lovely girl when she is with us but a typical teenager with attitude at her mums house, always in trouble at school and hangs around with the wrong people.
This is mainly why she is moving in with us as we live in a different district with much much better schooling and we will offer her structure and stability here which she doesn't get at home but she was due to move in with us in a few weeks time but things came to a head last night which meant my dp had no choice but to bring her here.
We have a ds2.5 already and due a c section in a week and I was hoping to get some recovery time before she came but due to circumstances this isn't going to happen, my mum is coming to stay for a week and I am worried about space as we don't really have the room for everyone it I know I will need my mums help.

We are trying to sort a new school for dsd and will sort child benefit, is there anything else we need to be doing?

Does anyone have any advice on how to get a good routine going with so many people??

Not sure what else I want to ask really just needed to write it down somewhere I guess.

It obviously goes without saying I am happy for her to be here and I know she will do much better but I am scared

Thanks

Peach1886 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:10:08

What a nightmare for you, we had similar except DS was a month old...from the word go you and DP need to be united re behaviour and boundaries, because she WILL push...she won't be able to help it. That was/is our biggest problem, DH not being able to stand up to his daughter, so if you and DP can get that cracked, you will be off to a good start. Re space if you can I'd give her a room of her own, even if it's absolutely tiny - then you can all have a break from each other when you need one...

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:16:44

Thanks Peach, we are united on rules and boundaries and he has explicitly told her what he expects of her going forward and under our roof which is no different for our son. I think she understands that he won't be pushed in this as he is definitely stricter than her mum which is one of the issues she has at home - being able to get away with murder!!
Space wise, sadly we only have 2 rooms so she is currently sleeping in the floor (on a pull out bed) and will have to sleep there until further notice, we are planning an annex for her in the garden so it is short term ish (still a good 6+ months away) luckily the bedroom is a good size so all three can fit in there but baby will be in with us for a while initially.
Her space situation at home was worse so I hope that it's by too much of an issue for her!
How long has your dsd lived with you? Is she better behaved with you?

Peach1886 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:31:34

She has been here a year, and when she was just visiting she was really pleasant and nice to spend time with, but unfortunately since she moved in we have had all the bad behaviour that was the reason she left her mum's...and poor DH just hasn't been able to cope with it, which has not been great for the rest of us...one option re her having her own space at least some of the time in the short term (and I'm the last person who wants to pamper a teenager who is with you because of bad behaviour elsewhere, so this isn't about spoiling her, it's to give you some space in the house and her somewhere to call her own) would be to get her a shed that she can do up internally as she likes - my cousin did this for his teenage DSD and it worked really well, cheap shed from b and q, some crazy paint, a few bits of furniture and hey presto - crash pad...v relieved to hear your DP is strict, I thought DH would be but he just can't do it, I think that will make all the difference and although she might kick off a bit, she may also feel safer if someone else is making the rules.

GeorgeTheThird Mon 01-Aug-16 08:40:49

Yes, she needs some space of her own, however you find it. Teenagers just can't cope without it and you are setting move this up to fail if you don't provide it. Is the bedroom she shares her space during the day?

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:44:14

Can you see any light at the end of the tunnel with her behaviour?

If I am honest I worry that her behaviour here is pleasant only because she was "visiting" dad hasn't really had to tell her off etc
He took her phone off her at the last visit and has told her in no uncertain terms it's not going back to her until she can be trusted, she went back to her mums and she was allowed a phone but she is now here and he won't allow her to have one so he will stick to his guns, it's just whether she starts reacting to it!? God it's so scary!!
I worry that we won't be able to manage her attitude if it's starts 😕

Do you actively get involved with her punishments/telling off or does your dp have full control?

The added stress of the new baby and section is worrying me, how did you cope with a one month old? Was she good to start with?

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:51:27

If she wanted to use the bedroom during the day she could do but this last week of her staying we have been out and about doing things, her dad has been out working so often it's just her and me when ds at childminders and she just watches tv on sofa, I potter around the house or watch catch up on the IPad so she gets alone time, going forward this is going to be harder though! We have discussed with her the future arrangement for her bedroom which she is happy about and we have taken her to look around some places where she can see what type of annex it will be (it will be a liveable garden room type unit with toilet and sink etc at end of the garden) she knows she has to wait as we don't have £££££ sitting in bank to do it.
We plan on getting her into a local sport which she is interested in a few nights a week, she went to a class in Sat and loved it so that will help I think as it will give her something to focus on which is something she doesn't currently have

Zxzx Mon 01-Aug-16 09:08:19

Oh dear, it all sounds very negative and though you consider its chore and a problem to have her there. She must be feeling as put out as you are.

I'd suggest trying to find things you have in common or ways you can bond rather than worrying about discipline quite so much. I'm not saying you don't 'do' discipline more that it should be part of a bigger picture. 'Disciplining' teens is completely different from telling off little kids. You will have a happier house and much more control and influence over her if you are close with her rather than trying to rule her.

It sounds like she is being sensible about the fact that she has to share with her little brother. How will it work with her homework. If she is doing GCSEs or Alevels/Btech then she will need her own space. ASAP

Good luck with the CSection

navylily Mon 01-Aug-16 09:32:37

Any chance of buying an old caravan to stick in the garden for her to sleep in for the short term?

Otherwise try to partition the bedroom or get her a high sleeper to give her a bit of her own space.

It'll be really tough on everyone having her share with your toddler with no space of her own.

Going from being the weekend fun parent to doing the disciplining is a massive change. And teenagers need very different kinds of rules from little ones. They leave mess everywhere, help themselves to food you'd planned for a meal, randomly don't turn up when they're supposed to, bring friends round unexpectedly, spend all night messaging friends online then won't get up in the morning, and can ALSO have tantrums to rival any 2 year oldgrin

You'll need a while host of new rules that'll work for her. A WiFi router with a timer on it, and some limit on her mobile data is a good start. Agreements about when she has to be home by unless she asks to be late, clear rules on what food she is allowed to help herself to, and expectations in terms of housework (putting clothes in laundry etc) will also help.

navylily Mon 01-Aug-16 09:36:23

Taking a phone off a teenager is effective but also massive punishment. It cuts off their entire life. I only ever take over away for a number of hours (usually to enforce room tidying) I think you'll have a lot of conflict with her if you remove it long term.

Peach1886 Mon 01-Aug-16 09:38:12

Her behaviour gets better occasionally - usually when she wants something! She can be an absolutely lovely girl, and we did used to bond over all sorts of activities, but she hasn't really wanted to be like that since she moved in, and obviously we have been encouraging her to get out and make new friends, so she has (naturally) wanted to spend less time with us than she did when it was just weekends. Getting your DSD involved in a sport sounds really good, sitting about at home for days on end does no one any good. I'm sorry if I sound negative Zxzx but that has been the reality of our situation - it went from looking forward to seeing her most weekends to a very different relationship once she was living with us, and the discipline side of things has been the most challenging. I would love to have kept things how they were, with us being friends and sharing cooking and going out doing stuff together, but she hasn't been even slightly interested in any of that since she became a full-time part of the family.

Updates I haven't got involved in managing her behaviour until very recently, when I couldn't take any more. I think now that possibly I should have got more involved earlier, but that didn't feel right, but when DH couldn't cope with it that caused problems between the two of us, and he felt "pig in the middle"...not great. The most important thing is for you and DP to be absolutely together on everything, teenagers are great at "divide and rule", but once they see that isn't going to work, it does ease up a bit!

I think I also had unrealistic expectations about how she would help with the baby and the house - as she had done when she was just a visitor - but it's very easy to be wise after the event; having lower expectations now mean I get disappointed less often, and our relationship is better as a result.

One thing we have found useful is to give her very fixed tasks to do that she can easily manage by herself - stacking the dishwasher etc - and keep to that so it becomes part of her routine; apparently it takes three weeks for something to become a habit, and that's just how it has worked. DSD also does her own laundry, partly because she needs to start to learn to look after herself (she is nearly 18) and partly because she expected me to do it but without her doing the rest of the family's in return...

Your plans for her annexe sound great, depending on how old she is possibly see if she can get a job so she can start buying bits and pieces to go in it.

Re the new baby and DSD, she wasn't very interested at first - after all he just slept and screamed - but now he is bigger and more fun she loves him to bits. Maybe see if your DSD will cook dinner one night a week whilst you put the kids to bed, and also help with the two little ones - especially fun things like bath time - as that will make her feel more part of the family as well, particularly as tiny kids return the love in buckets smile

Wdigin2this Mon 01-Aug-16 09:40:36

I don't think Youhave is being negative, I think she is very wisely looking for help and advice from others in the same situation! This young girl is moving in with her father, because her mother apparently can't cope with her 'attitude'! Therefore, the problem areas need to be considered firstly, in a proactive manner....rather than a reactive knee jerk response to the situation!

rollonthesummer Mon 01-Aug-16 09:40:45

Blimey-how long have you taken her phone away for? I agree with a previous poster-I would only do that for an extremely short period (mother of 3 here).

GeorgeTheThird Mon 01-Aug-16 12:10:25

Mine are 15 and 17. Removing their phones would be seen as the nuclear option. Mind you, I think they would just use their laptops to chat online instead.

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 12:48:24

Sorry am out currently so reply will be short but thank you all for your responses I will read them more thoroughly later but initially there is more reason behind taking her phone than just punishment, sorry perhaps I should have explained but I didn't want to go into much detail but she was using social media in a way which wasn't safe and it was a big issue so this is why it's been taken away. It's for her safety currently more than punishment.
I don't mean to sound negative because I am not but this is new to me and I was looking for advice on other similar situations. She is very welcome in our home as we want the best for her which she isn't getting at home.

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 12:49:58

Also she told us she is happier without her mobile and the difference in her is obvious, she is 13 so maybe younger than you initially thought.

WannaBe Mon 01-Aug-16 13:06:13

I think all too often that the NRP doesn't see the majority of bad behaviour because being at the NRP's house is more like a break from routine than being a part of another routine - iyswim, so I would be looking out for her behaviour soon resembling that which her mum was unable to cope with.

She is at an age where she is still learning social boundaries, and part of that is testing them. I have a thirteen year old DS and I was saying to DP only yesterday that it seems that kids generally have to forge their way between childhood and adulthood through conflict and testing boundaries to find, and be guided the right way. Hard for them, excruciating for their parents. wink.

TBH there is no way I would be building an annex in the garden for a thirteen year old who has already questionable judgement re e.g. Online safety. That level of independence, I.e. A flat in the garden where presumably she could leave or invite whoever back in the middle of the night just wouldn't be a risk I would be prepared to take. Instead I would look to move to a bigger house where all the kids can be accommodated, perhaps with baby and toddler sharing for now

timelytess Mon 01-Aug-16 13:20:37

If this is true, and I haven't misunderstood, its a bad plan! A thirteen year old sharing a bedroom with a toddler and a baby? Your mum is coming for a week? Really? Where are you going to put her? I've just had one night in a luxury 5 bed house with the three people I love most in the world and was itching to get back to my own space.

Long term, putting the teenager in the garden is a bad idea. How to make someone feel cast out from 'the family' in one easy lesson. Make the indoor space into bedrooms, have the sitting/living area in the extra space.

Good luck, anyway flowers. Sounds like a logistical nightmare. Book your mum a few nights in a B+B.

titchy Mon 01-Aug-16 13:28:26

Agree the annexe is NOT a good idea sorry. You need to keep an eye on her, and she needs to feel part of the family not an add-on. Long term you either extend properly, or you and dh have a sofabed and she gets her own bedroom with the littlies sharing the other bedroom.

Your mum either sleeps on the sofa or in a b&b. (The annexe might be useful for guests in the future though.)

Lunar1 Mon 01-Aug-16 14:37:14

Where will your mum sleep?

I think I'd start with telling her how glad you are she is there sooner than planned. Something along the lines of you are relieved to know she is there before her new sibling has arrived and you are really looking forward to some help and a 'grown up' to talk to with two little ones.

Just to make he feel really wanted.

I wouldn't be building an annex, even for a sensible 13 year old.

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 15:14:06

The annex is purely as a bedroom for over night and not where she will spend her eves, the baby will be in with us for a good while but yes that is the short term plan for her to be in there, whilst I agree with you that it's not ideal we have no other choice.
My mum will stay on the sofa and is happy to do so as its short term.
The annex wasn't to outcast her but to give her her own space, she is aware that the two little ones wouldn't be able to sleep out there and seems very happy to have it as her room. One of her friends has the same arrangement and they all think it's fab.
Moving house isn't really on the agenda currently as just started mat leave although of course eventually that will be the plan.
It is a logistical nightmare your right but we have no choice, this option is better than what she currently has at home and she gets more of what she needs at ours and that is most important!
I have no doubt that she is on her best behaviour when visiting us which is why I posted asking for advice on that....whether anyone has been in a similar position.
Whilst the space is an issue we have to work around that for her to be with us, I am just anxious how things will work going forward with a teenage addition smile

rollonthesummer Mon 01-Aug-16 15:33:00

You won't be able to have it just as her bedroom for sleeping in though, will you? Will you actually stop her going in it after school? In the evenings? Lounging in there her pyjamas on the weekends/holidays. That's what teenagers do in their own rooms. How on earth will you cut off when it's OK to use it?!!

There is no way I'd want my teens away in an annexe-I really think you should reconsider.

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 15:47:44

Going forward we will move so the annex won't be an issue as she gets older its a short ish term thing. I'm not sure I see the difference in her locking herself away in her bedroom in the eves or sitting in the room in the garden, our front room looks over the garden and so we will be able to see her from where we are sitting. Currently on Mat leave so unable to move which is why we will look at this option.

Youhaveupdates1 Mon 01-Aug-16 17:34:21

peach thanks so much for your response, it's good to hear from someone going through it!
I think I worry about the same things you are going through/have been through with your dsd. I am hopeful we can be on the same page when it comes to rules etc I can completely see how frustrating it must be for you when your dh doesn't find it easy to discipline her but I think maybe from his point of view he may not wish to upset her!?? I worry about that although her behaviour at home was at a point where something had to be done and so I don't believe he will go easy on her.
I do intend on asking her to do things around the house, I'm sure she will react well to start with but as she gets older may change!?
I will take your advice regarding lowering my expectations so not to be disappointed, I think that's a very realised way to look at things!

ChicRock Mon 01-Aug-16 17:41:37

An annex in the garden (especially for a 13 year old who has been using social media in a way that isn't safe) is a terrible idea.

Yes, sure, you can see it from the lounge when you're up and awake, but you won't be watching it in the night and you won't be able to hear her or anyone else coming and going when you're asleep in the house and she's in a building at the bottom of the garden confused.

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