Disastrous holiday with 15yr old teenage DD(64 Posts)
Hi, first time posting so please be gentle.
Quick background live with my partner of 6 years and my 2 DS from previous marriage (10 & 13). My partner has 2 girls (13 & 15) who live with their mum 40 miles away but they stay with us every other weekend and a couple of weeks during holidays. Kids all get along great, odd fall out but nothing major.
The 15 year old is really testing us though. She is desperate to be an adult and do all that it entails, drinking, smoking, sex. She's done them all. Now on the contraceptive implant (no serious boyfriend), drinks and has been smoking for a year. Stays out till 9.30pm during the week.
We've just come back from a 2 wk holiday to Turkey. She bought cigarettes from the shop in the hotel with money we had given her. Her dad found out (he gave up 2 months ago after being a smoker for 35 years) and he just lost it; he found them in her bag, she went mental, called him a 'fucking bastard', spat at him, he slapped her across the face and she tried to bite him and scratched him drawing blood. This was on the 1st day!
My DP apologised the next day for slapping her, she refused to have anything to do with him and ignored us both for 2 weeks. Neither girls got up until midday, didn't unpack, left clothes all over the floor. We sat around waiting whilst they got ready to go for our evening meal, even after having over 3 hours in which to do so. In the end we went into dinner with the boys and left the girls. They were inconsiderate, sullen and rude for 2 weeks.
I sat them down yesterday and said that they had spoilt our holiday, that their dad enjoys our 2 weeks together as its time he gets to spend with no interruptions. The 15 yr old didn't care, she didn't give a shit . They went without saying goodbye or thank you to me. They didn't say goodbye to their dad when he took them home. The 15 yr old is full of anger and has been for about 2 years now.
They don't want to come to our house anymore - which is fine as we don't want them here.
But of course my DP is devastated, he misses his kids everyday and the thought of not seeing them will be awful for him. His daughter has defriended him on facebook.
This has been brewing for a long time and is the tip of the iceberg; there has been lying and deception about money and piercings not to mention her having to take the morning after pill. Her mum also reported her to the police for hitting her just before Christmas.
Where do we go from here? Does he leave it and try and make the peace in a few weeks/months...never?
Not all teenage girls are awful, my DSD is great, but both my teen steps don't rise til midday, leave their clothes on the floor and are often on a different planet.
I don't expect us all to behave the same but I do expect a degree of respect and consideration and I get it - and by the way, I'm not married to their father either - I don't see how that 'bit of paper' conveys special 'step' powers..
I think your step girls have had extremely poor role models in their own parents as to how to behave, how to react to conflict and treat other people - they're essentially acting out what they have seen and experienced.
In your position I too would have spoken to them and said I was disappointed, but your DP is bang out of order to strike his daughter (whatever the provocation). My Dad occasionally hit me too - I lost all respect for him & his inability to control his temper. Never got it back either.
As for advice, I think you're taking a reasonable line, keeping the communication open and the invitation to come with you again and to keep visiting.
I havent read this very thoroughly, but do just want to add something from my viewpoint....I had/have stepchildren and we too have been through it with them. I do think you need to realise first that you have NO authority that matters to them...they need to know you know this.
Teenage girls can be AWFUL...even if they have not suffered a split with ther parents, they will push boundaries to distraction. They will play each parent off against the other. Secondly, I know others have said it, but I think no parent has a right to go throught their teenagers' things. That is a total invasion of privacy and until your husband (and you) recognise this, you are in for trouble. These girls are trying to individuate within a very tricky (for them) situation . You need to let them have some control over their personal lives. They have had that control taken away very early on with the decision their prents made. Let them have (and feel ) some privacy.
I do cut them slack! But it has to work both ways. I don't believe being a teenager is an excuse for being rude. They have it pretty good with me as a step-mum.
The step-parenting board is lovely. They have a better understanding of the dynamics of step-families and have given me some good advice (as have many on this board also, so many thanks).
We have had a bit more progress with contact, DSD15 took a GCSE early and got her result yesterday which was good, DP text her with "well done" and she replied with "thanks" - that is brilliant I think. If she didn't care she wouldn't have responded surely. DSD13 has not replied to any texts. DP is worried about that as he has no issues with her - think she is siding with her sister but doesn't realise she has responded to her dad's text.
DP has cards to write and send tomorrow. Apologising etc
My DS both are pretty appalled by DSD's behaviour on holiday and have told us the reason they dragged their heals to come for dinner was so that DSD15 could smoke! No secrets in this house! my 10 yr old is a real blabbermouth.
Next years holiday is booked. All the kids said "can we go somewhere different" so we are!
We will see what next week brings!
Both DDs need to respect you - that's non-negotiable. So is not clouting them.
Time for a fresh start. Yr DP needs to do the talking - he's the parent they'll listen to - and set boundaries, which will make them much happier.
You need to cut them a teeny bit of slack for being yukky teens.
For what it's worth, giving teens more say in the holiday planning does not necessarily get better results. Fact. Stroppy teens will be stroppy teens.
Lou - reading through these posts, you come across to me as someone whose patience is being sorely tested - and who is trying to cope and manage as best you can.
You've heard 100 times, and it's true, that your DP shouldn't ever resort to hitting his child - or any other, of course. But he did apologise - he must have been shocked by his own behaviour.
Agree with others about family counselling or support - to include, naturally, the mother. The girls need to see that the adults can work together, that things are consistent and as stable as they can be.
Are your DSs' OK? Perhaps family support, even if they are involved, can encourage your DP to relax and get to know them better.
I'd also say that DP's daughters are very lucky to have you in their lives (and hang on in there, somehow). After the early part of their lives, they can go to a home with more siblings and a step mother (irrespective of your legal ties to DP, that is what you are) who knows how to parent kindly. Give yourself some slack -
How are you getting on on the step parenting thread?
Whilst I really feel for you. My dd15 is pretty hideous, I feel you have very unrealistic expectations of teen behaviour and are just a bit behind the curve.
I think it's a shame that you don't include them when selecting their holiday. It is after all not their fault they can't pay, it just sounds very controlling, even if you select your two favourite hotels but let them make the final decision.
But, most of all as most mums of teens painfully learn, pick your battles. Let them lie in, eat when they want to, share a room. These are not issues. The violence is an issue worth dealing with. The rest is normal normal.
For the record, we are a family of 6 2dd's 15/17. 2 ds's 5/3. Oh, ds's dad, not Dd's. Our family dynamic is really really tricky as we simply cannot meet the differing needs easily. When we holidayed last year, we booked 2 family rooms, let the girls share one, requested adjoining and we slept this ds's.
I have broken my heart at some of my Dd's behaviour but am trying to drill into myself that it's me that needs to adapt and that I cannot MAKE them be the dream kids I want!! All I can hope is that by adapting, change will follow.
This is the 4th time we have been on holiday, they LOVE going on holiday. It's one of the things they look forward to. They took the holiday money for clothes quite gladly! They have no say in the holiday, we pay, we decide where to go. End of story. When they earn their own money they can go where ever they like.
They were free to do what ever they wanted after dinner until 11pm. there was entertainment and loads of other kids/teenagers who they made friends with. Tons of freedom. All we wanted was them to get up at a reasonable time 11am and have dinner with us and actually be pleasant. That was all!
Have you ever actually tried booking a holiday for 6??? kids under 16 are automatically put into a room with an adult - they are not allowed to be in a room on their own, nor would we want them to be. The youngest SDD is only 13 and has her own issues. Unless you fit into a typical 2 adult/2 children unit it is a nightmare.
Fwiw I think the texting is spot on, along with the card apologising (make sure he tells her he loves her in it too).
They're not ready to sort it out yet so a nice text every few weeks will just show he's not going to hold grudges and doesn't expect a text back.
please explain to me what WE did wrong. Took them on a £6k holiday, bought them holiday clothes, gave them a bit of spending money, got up every morning to save them a sunbed as they didn't get up till lunchtime, took them on trips, paid for things, TRIED to give them a nice time????
How much of that did they actually want? How much say did they have in the holiday?
They sound like typical teenagers to me. In a couple of years your boys will take up the vampire role.
What did you do after dinner? If there was no entertainment or they were not allowed out after dinner then they will delay it as long as possible.
And 'coming home at 9.30 during the week' - that's really not bad or late, that's quite reasonable.
Relax a bit and chill.
If they come on holiday again let them do what they want to a greater extent. If you, dh and ds want to go on a trip go, give the girls the option but if they want to stay by the pool then let them.
Let them go on a trip on their own.
I think they are too old to be sharing a room with dad, the 4-8 might be the only time they got to be together, doing make up, being silly, being teenagers.
I think you have tried your best, but don't expect teenagers to be grateful, especially if you have made decisions for them.
She wouldn't answer her phone if he rang. They live 40 miles away, she would refuse to see him if he just turned up. I think he needs a very gentle approach. She is one VERY angry mixed up teenager.
She has refused to see him before when he wouldn't give her money. Well no, she demanded money that time! He pays their mum a decent amount of maintenance.
Why not phone her or go and see her and sort this out.
different - exactly!!! Any child that comes into my house would get the same and I would expect it if MY children went to someone elses house.
My DP text his daughter last night "just a quick text, hope your ok" she replied with "bye".
I said at least she replied lol....his other daughter (whom he has few problems with) hasn't text him back at all!
He is going to keep sending a text every few days, just light hearted stuff and send them a card apologising to his DD15 about slapping her. He is very upset about of all of this but it's done now and he needs to learn from it and build bridges.
so has respect really that disappeared much that children don't have to listen to adults?
Oh & as a child I was expected to listen to, have respect for & be disciplined by BOTH my step parents. Admittedly this was over 20yrs ago, so has respect really that much that children don't have to listen to adults?
Also, when my mother remarried again & her dh was only 7yr older than me, I was expected to listen to him too. Because I was still a child.
They don't need to listen to you
What the fuck? YES they do. It is called RESPECT. Now I know that respect these days is as rare as hens teeth, but as children in her home, they should show the op some respect & that means listening to her & apologising for bad behaviour.
If you work on the fact that children don't have to listen to adult who aren't related to them, how do you expect them to listen to teachers, parents of their friends? I expect children who come into my house to listen to me about how things work in my house, if you think they don't need to listen to me, you are very WRONG!
I would find it very sad if my ex's partner was "nothing" to our daughter. I suppose it depends on the amount of time spent with Dad but it's much nicer if they become very close. There are lots of times I can't be there because its dads contact time but our dd really benefits from having that "stand-in" mum figure.
Snazzyenjoyingsummer makes a good point if your DP and his ex can provide a united front and he can support her in the problems she is obviously having with her girls, it will show the girls how much he values their well being (even if they protest at the time).
My DC have very ambivalent feelings towards my ex's new partner - to her credit she has understood this and has always allowed them plenty of space to do things on their own with their dad - maybe your DP should arrange some 1:1 time with each daughter.
My DD always says her dad's partner (of 5 years) "is nothing to me - I put up with her because dad loves her" - she is polite to her because his partner seems to understand the boundaries of their relationship. My DS seems to have a warmer relationship with her. I think the OP needs to understand that these girls make fluctuate between liking her and resenting her - she should back off and allow her DP the space and time to sort things out himself.
Lou they sound like typical teenage girls/ teenagers. At that age Id get up at midday and go to bed at 2-3am. Apparently the growth hormone surges kick in during sleeptimes just like in pregnancy.
It just seems such a shame to sleep half the day away, when you're in a lovely place with the sun shining; they may as well have stayed at home. Why not sleep by the pool?
Do teenagers really need 13-14 hours of sleep every night? That's what they were getting!
I can't remember sleeping that long at that age.
Mind you I did discover from my DS13 that they spent half an hour putting make up on before they came down, to then jump in the pool! made me smile!
I did smile sometimes on our holiday!
But why was their staying in bed an issue - they missed out and it didn't affect you surely. It's not as though you say you had trips planned etc that you then couldn't go on.
The rest isn't great but teenagers stay in bed; it's not worth worrying about that bit.
i am an ordinary person. Would not be surprised if me or DP ever loses our rag with outrageous behaviour & delivered a slap.
Teenagers on holiday is Hellish, I find. Rather but the way it tends to go. I wouldn't make an issue about lie-ins or clothes on floor. Otherwise I don't think you have any easy choices.
That good he's doing something positive Lou. Just be sure it doesn't become sucking up. Unfortunately with the slap he's given them a lot of power as he is now the one in the wrong, if you know what I mean.
In regards to the lying in on holiday. Could that potentially be one of the battles you could decide not to pick? Does it matter? I know teenagers do need a hell of a lot of sleep! There's a thread on here about things parents of older kids wish they'd done differently and I think a few people mention allowing them to sleep. And maybe if they've slept a lot they'll be more pleasant at dinner? Just a thought as an aside - thinking of this as a teen issue for a moment rather than a step issue?
teenagetantrums - thanks for your support.
We too always go All Inclusive, all 4 kids have lots of freedom on holiday our only rule is that we sit down and eat our evening meal together. In the past this has been adhered to but they really pushed it this year.
Last year we allowed them a lie in until 10am and we had a pleasant adult only hour by the pool. This year that backfired on us. The boys were up at 9.30/10am but the girls just refused to get up; even an annoying 10 yr old couldn't get them out of bed lol. One day they rolled up at 1.30pm!
We now know we should have set up a consequence and should have said, yes a lie in is fine but if your backsides aren't on these sunbeds by 11am the towels will be removed and someone else can have them!
I am going to encourage my DP to send them both a card through the post with an apology to DSD15 and just a light hearted message in it. We need to be the grownups here and open up the communication, even if we're ignored.
My DD at 15 was the child from hell, she kicked of all the time, slapped me more than once, was one drama after another, if its any consolation she is nearly 17 now and is mainly ok. Things like smoking i just let go, she cant smoke at home but i know she smokes and I cant stop her if that's how she choses to spend her money that's her look out when she cant afford to go somewhere she wants to go with her friends. She was referred to cahms and did not like the doctors but school got her an excellent connexions consoler who has been wonderful and still sees her she loves him. Please don't give up on her, teenagers are selfish, when mine were that age we always went all inclusive and i just left them to it, they could do what they wanted there was always food if they didn't want to come out with us. Your partner really needs to apologies lots. he is the adult and what is he teaching her by assaulting her when he loses his temper.
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