Couch/TV hogging

(17 Posts)
Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 09:38:30

Hi, I'm posting in Teenagers, as opposed to Step-parenting, as I'd prefer to see this from a different angle, if possible.
My dsd, 16, has been hogging the couch and TV for all the 4 years I've known her. When I asked her dad to have words with her about sharing, he said she'd done the same at their place when they were all together too. So therefore its her prerogative?
We have a small house, each child has own room with gadgets, family nights are encouraged all round and sometimes even the odd board game is taken out. Dh and I love family dinners and shared activities.
Both dh and I work ft and are in our late 40s. I admit we need "downtime" before bed, much more so than our kids (13, 15, 16), and def go to bed before them... She doesn't even watch tv properly, texts nonstop, which she could do in her room, but won't budge an inch when dh and I want some alone time to unwind (an hours, fgs, with a glass of wine etc) and acts mortally wounded when asked for any consideration of others whatsoever...
I admit dsd comes across as v strong willed (a lot like her mum) and I do believe that dh is actually too scared to speak to her firmly. She is the only one who "visits" eow and one overnight a week. Her db lives here 50:50 since spring and is an amiable fellow who fits right in.
Dsd was always a "queen bee", stupidly encouraged by both parents in this, but at 16 I'd have thought she'd be over such silliness. When dh and I met I was aware of the possibility of his dc moving in with us and dss has now opted of half/half and I didn't even blink when asked!
However, dsd's rudeness when challenged in any way by dh (doesn't even pull her up when she's abusive to her brother) does not bode well.
Has anybody here an idea of how dh could be firmer with her in general? Sh only obeys him (storms off in huff) when he loses his cool and speaks sternly with her, but then he feels bad, she knows it and its all back to square one.
I just feel the couch could be symbolic here, if he got her to be reasonable about this it could set a precedent!?

Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 09:42:00

Ps
If the other dc want to watch something or play xbox they ask us when we're done and it's all pleasant and polite (and seriously, we are talking about an hour, tops, to ourselves!)...

specialsubject Wed 23-Oct-13 11:26:18

she's been taught to be selfish so doesn't know any better. Why should she 'get over it' with no consequences? At this rate it won't stop until she moves out, when her housemates will make her life hell, so she's being done no favours.

Can't see any way round this beyond plain speaking: 'we've not taught you how to behave properly, that's our fault, but it has to change now so here is how basic manners work'

that said, not sure you can actually tell her to leave the living room. She lives in the house too. But she has to share the seating and the TV.

Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 11:51:07

Thanks for your reply.
Unfortunately only I seem to see a connection between her being spoiled and problems with future housemates.
She spent a school term abroad with her grandparents recently and they don't want her back... Similar issues, although her entitled behaviour, no consideration for others, rudeness when challenged were toned down, it became clear her gps were disappointed.
I suppose I'll have to detach and let her parents deal with all subsequent fall out. Have own ds to focus on, not to mention dss.
Just hope her mum continues to be more lenient than dh and there are no future plans to move in...
It's just sooo irritating. Have never been a petty person (people tend to tell me to stop being so tolerant in any given situation), and there are any number of ways to "retreat" with or without dh, I just don't think its healthy to bow to teen selfishness when, instead, it could be turned into a "learning" moment, I.e. family is a team, regardless of its (step) set up.

Palika Wed 23-Oct-13 12:36:20

why should you back down? It's your house, too, you know. Just tackle the issue on your own if you DH does not speak up.

Palika Wed 23-Oct-13 12:37:23

p.s. it also seems to be that a big part of your problem is actually your DH who is rather bad at parenting and being a caring husband. Have it out with him, too!

Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 13:46:26

Palika, I agree wholeheartedly with you that it is dh I'm most angry with.

The backstory: dsd used to be extremely hostile towards me (wasn't ow, btw) and, after a lot of internet surfing, it turns out dh used her as mini wife, i.e. spousification, before, during and after divorce. We talked at length at couple counseling and the answer was easy, stop giving dsd special attention/privileges, treat her as daughter. She responded positively immediately, especially to me, but the spoiled, tantrummy (?) girl remains.
While first guilt-spoiling her, especially materially, after their divorce, it seems to me that he is now feeling guilty for stopping the mini wife thing! I.e. Taking away her role as his "partner", classing her above dss (probably why he is so easy to have living here, he was never on a pedestal).

Dh also pissed off that I brought anything up In the first place and counseler telling him off for rubbish parenting. Saving our marriage still doesn't seem a number one priority...

I don't like dh speaking too sharply for whatever reason to his or my kid, unless there is some kind of danger... He simply hasn't an inkling of how to parent if he's not either pandering (to dsd) or overdoing the " good grades or else" talk (dss).

Will have to dredge this all up again at our next counseling session I fear.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 23-Oct-13 13:53:45

Does she have a tv in her room?

bigTillyMint Wed 23-Oct-13 14:07:57

DS tries to hog the TV at home - we don't stand for it! We allow him a reasonable amount of time and then tell him it's our turn and he can either stay and watch what we are watching or find something else to do. It sounds like your DH needs to instigate similar (as you obviously already know!)

Perhaps the next counselling session is the time, or after it to set new rules about TV watching?
He will have to be prepared for the fall-out, though!

Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 14:56:58

Thanks, Tilly.
Its good to hear from other mums that it's ok to have rules! I always thought the most important rule to impart to kids is to be polite and considerate, and thankfully ds has managed to understand this from an early age (lots of friends, lots of positive feedback from their parents, and now (sob) a girlfriend).
Its soul crushing living with kids who feel so entitled and treat others with disdain, and worse knowing your dh was part of the problem.
It's like dh and ex decided that their kids are exempt from basic manners (hence ill feeling of gps) and now don't know how to deal with them...

Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 15:25:13

LEMis, she has a tv/DVD player, like both boys, in her own room, access to TV proper only in living room, plus laptop (we have absolute cartloads of DVDs, box sets etc).
Her mum has never allowed them tv (something about not liking commercials) so I do realize the temptation to "come and see dad", I.e. Veg out on our couch all day, often until 3 am...
She doesn't really watch programmes, as such, just flicks through the channels. When she does want to see something in particular she tells us, sometimes a day ahead, just to be sure, and we respect that of course, same as with the boys.
My gut instincts tell me though that taking charge of couch and viewing is her way of asserting the last of her "authority", now that dad has a real partner, and dss is turning to a more kindly older sibling (ds).
I have tried and sometimes lately succeeded in chatting to her and getting her to feel part of the family. It seems "being a part" is just not enough. She has to be at the top...

bigTillyMint Wed 23-Oct-13 15:39:57

Ahhh! Not allowed TV at mums! Therein lies part of the problem - she is not getting to do what most kids get to do!

IComeFromALandDownUnder Wed 23-Oct-13 15:51:56

I don't have stepchildren but I wouldn't stand for this in my own home. It would be;

Dsd 'Dh and I are watching Homeland at 9'

At 9 I would go, say 'move up' and sit on the sofa - she will move her legs. Change the channel and watch the programme.

Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 16:02:22

Icomefrom, haha!
Yes, we do this, but dh needs to apologize to dsd first for our audacity, sometimes will even ask her permission if its all right?!?!?
I just watch and wonder at his mental health... That he thinks its somehow empowering dsd in a good way, pretending she's his... What exactly? Boss, mother, exwife-clone? The mind boggles.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 23-Oct-13 16:06:02

You sound like a lovely step parent, she is lucky that you are so patient!! I wouldn't have tolerated that from my own DD1, although i was the opposite and rather wished she would have spent more time downstairs! (she has left home now 23!) I am not sure its about her stamping her authoritiy on things, but she is probably trying to make her presence felt!

I think the key should be that she has to follow the same rules as the rest of the family. So she has to respect that there will be programs you want to watch, if she wants to watch a dvd or something else she can go to her bedroom and do it!

My DD2 is 8 now and does rather rule the airwaves in this house so i am a fine one to talk but unless there is something i specifically want to watch (which is rare) then she can watch what she wants (usually horrid bastard henry) until 9 then its bedtime, even if she is staying up later though, 9 o clock is grown up tv time.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 23-Oct-13 16:14:28

Your DH is not empowering her at all, he is pandering to her insecurities! She wants to feel that she is more important to him than you are, which in a way, she is, but we love our children differently to how we love our partners so it shouldn't be a competition. This is the crux of the matter i think. He is not helping her by not setting boundaries and treating her as a child, yes, she is a young person now but still a child and NOT his partner. To be honest though, i think grin and bear it for a while, she'll soon be wanting to be off out with her mates all the time and off to uni/work and wont be around quite so much. I can understand how you feel though.

Loveineveryspoonful Wed 23-Oct-13 18:35:44

Thanks for all your kind words and understanding.

Fortunately dsd does have a great social life and is out a lot, but in a way she also manipulates that in order to be in charge. She has hardly any female friends, deeming them too attention seeking shock but will dress overly sexily and hang out with boys only.
I suppose you have to admire her focused thinking...

But you are also all right that she will be moving on in a few years.
Thanks again for letting me vent (there was a bit of an incident which triggered my ire, but Im over it now).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now