Disastrous holiday with 15yr old teenage DD

(64 Posts)
louby44 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:24:43

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?

Lou

Guiltypleasures001 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:35:39

Hi Op

No he should never give up on his daughters, the younger one might just be emulating the older dd.

Sounds like she has a few issues going on, I work as a volunteer counsellor for the YMCA and they offer free counselling to teens across the country. Google YMCA counselling and quite a few counties come up, see if there is one in your area and see if she can have an assessment. Also the school might have a counsellor she can see in house, either way you need to take a step back and let your dh parent with their mum, and both of them need to be on the same page with sanctions etc.

louby44 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:49:30

Hi thanks for your reply. She has already had counselling at school as she refused to attend on numerous occasions.

Her mum split from her long term partner last October and DD behaviour has gone downhill since then. Her mum does try with sanctions, blocks her phone etc but we believe she lets her get away with stuff because it's just easier. Boundaries have been relaxed at home for an easy life. It's hard for us to impose sanctions as they are here for such a short amount of time and 50% of that is spent asleep.

The younger girl certainly copies her sisters behaviour.

I never normally get involved with the girls and discipline, we try and discipline our own kids but after 2 very stressful weeks I just wanted them to know how disappointed I was in their behaviour. I didn't shout, just spoke to them.

Lou

TheFallenNinja Mon 19-Aug-13 21:53:37

I'm struggling a bit with how he found them in her bag(why was he in there?) and slapped her face.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 08:56:29

He looked in her bag, why shouldn't he she's 15! She's a child. She also had suncream in there which we needed. She bought cigarettes illegally and told the other 3 children not to tell us!

He slapped her across her cheek AFTER she had spat in his face and called him names. She was physically aggressive towards him, what was he supposed to do just sit there whilst she clawed and bit him?? He regrets slapping her. He struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline/restrain his kids. He had a VERY strict upbringing with a father who believed in 100% respect, my DP then spent 23 years in the Army where again discipline was a fact of life everyday.

He is slowly coming to terms with the fact that he has very little control over his children.

livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 09:35:18

Firstly, he shouldn't have gone through her stuff.
Secondly, having found the illicit cigarettes, he shouldn't have lost his temper and slapped her, regardless of what she said/did to him. Restraining her is fine, but slapping a 15 year old CHILD around the face is not okay. You both know that, though.

You say you "don't want them here". By going off with your biological kids and leaving them out (despite them being difficult), you might be sending them the message that you would rather they're not around. Then, after a tough holiday, you tell them that they ruined it and now they don't want to be around you anymore (are you surprised?!)

I know that all sounds harsh, but you've got to think about it from their viewpoint. If I was on holiday and my dad and his new partner seemed to prefer her kids to me, I would be angry and I would probably lash out and try and ruin things (speaking from a teenage view). If I was then by my dad's partner (not my dad, someone I'm not even related to) that I'd ruined the entire holiday, I would be very reluctant to go back unless my dad apologised. I also would be reluctant to have anything to do with the partner for a while either.

TheFallenNinja Tue 20-Aug-13 09:37:06

Ok the bag thing has a plausible excuse.

A grown man slapping a 15 year old child as retaliation because he struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline a child is incomprehensible.

I also served many years in the British Army and have never once hit my children.

Still struggling

whyno Tue 20-Aug-13 09:48:50

The OP is asking for advice on where to go from here not what we think of what happened!

OP me and my sister were your DP's teenage daughters. Things often got very bad but I now have so much respect for my Dad for never giving up on us. He didn't force us to see him when we were refusing and hating him but he always kept up contact. We were always invited on holidays (which we often ruined), always got nice cards and presents on birthdays, Christmas, Easter (any excuse to get in contact without it being a big deal or needing to be reciprocated). The odd phone call, invitation, email etc even if its rejected.

I have no idea how my Dad and stepmum managed to not let the hurt we must have caused crucify them. Hopefully they got on with their lives and tried to make light of it. Either way we now couldn't be closer. All I can say is we had a lot going on ourselves and it took us a good few years (to our twenties) to work it out.

Waffling Tue 20-Aug-13 09:51:54

"He struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline/restrain his kids."

Nutter.

livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 09:55:06

The OP is asking for advice on where to go from here not what we think of what happened!

But our opinions on what happened are going to influence what we think should happen now.

I think both OP, DP and DD behaved badly, and I think that DD has every right to be angry after what was said to her and after how she was treated. If I thought OP and her DP were totally in the right, things would be different.

specialsubject Tue 20-Aug-13 09:57:45

might be a useful lesson for her that it is possible to push people too far. No, he should not have hit her but she is clearly very difficult to love at the moment. No doubt due to extreme unhappiness and inability to cope, but she is violent too.

I hope there is some help out there somewhere for all of you. Her attempts to be an adult with sex and drink are only going to make things worse.

TheFallenNinja Tue 20-Aug-13 09:59:10

Oh good. Another thread police person. It's a public forum so I'll post whatever I choose, thanks.

So nobody's concerned about the slap no? The child deserved it eh? He was in the army so it's understandable?

To form any view on how the op might want to proceed I think that understanding violence in a family (step or otherwise) needs to be examined. How else does this mans struggle manifest itself I wonder?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 20-Aug-13 10:00:15

Good post from whyno.

Are your DP and his ex on good terms? Could they talk to the girls together and take a united approach?

Slapping her was wrong - and he knows that. Re the scratching and biting, he could have defended himself without hitting back. So I think he really does need to apologise again for that (I appreciate that you said he apologised the next day) and to say to her that it will never happen again, no matter what. He does need to come to terms with the fact that physical control is not an option and won't work.

ithaka Tue 20-Aug-13 10:08:45

I am concerned that the slapping may not have been a one off, as this is a father who 'struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline/restrain his kids'. Has he hit his daughters' before?

NoComet Tue 20-Aug-13 10:14:38

If I'd smoked at 15 my DDad would have physically disciplined me!

I'd have been locked in my room, no money and given the lecture from hell and, probably, a very sore arse.

(My chainsmoking DDad finally managed to give up well into his 60's when he thought he might have had cancer. He massively regretted starting smoking. DSIS and me would never have contemplated starting.)

I don't know if DH would hit our 15y if he was very cross with her, but he'd scare the living daylights out of her long before she behaved like your DD. I wouldn't be exactly nice either.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:15:42

Firstly, thank you everyone for your viewpoints and responses. Of course no one can understand our situation unless you are living it with us. There is much more to this than I can put into a post - isn't there always.

My DP knows he shouldn't have slapped her! he is deeply sorry that he did and apologised profusely about it. She however didn't apologise to him for hurting him!

My partner hasn't built a relationship with my children at all, after 6 years of being together. He recognises that if he had done that his own children would have felt rejected and sidelined. Subconciously he has stopped himself getting close to my boys and has pushed them away many times. He certainly doesn't prefer my kids to his own, believe me! His girls know that. That in itself has caused problems - but that is a whole other issue.

The girls both said they didn't want to come here before we even mentioned it. They haven't wanted to come and stay here for many weeks. As we live 40 miles away from them they have no friends near by. DD15 didn't come for about 3 weekends at one point during April/May but my DP kept up communication by text and phone (often with no response from her as she was busy, tired etc). We have allowed them to bring friends to stay some weekends but of course that isn't always convenient.

During our holiday (the 4th year we have been away altogether) very evening we told them that we were going for dinner at 7.30pm, they were NEVER ready at that time. Why should the 4 remaining people sit around waiting for them??? I'm sorry but they were controlling the situation 100% by doing that. They went up to get ready at 4pm. Rolling up at 8.10pm is just taking the piss.

I spoke to them all on the day we came back as both girls would have got up and walked out if my DP had spoken to them. He was so upset about it all he could barely speak. This holiday cost a lot of money, both my partner and I work hard to save for our family holiday and I think I am completley within my rights to speak to them about the holiday. They DID spoil it. Why should I sugar coat it. Why should WE apologise - 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????

We have already booked next years holiday. The girls say they don't want to come, which is a shame as we are going away with some friends and their kids. I have told the girls that I won't cancel anything but will ask them again in a few months if they still want to come.

Lou

livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 10:26:21

I think you shouldn't have spoken to them because you are not their parent. You're not even their step-parent. You're their dad's girlfriend. Their dad needs to take control and responsibility for HIS children and THEIR behaviour. I would be highly pissed off if my dad's girlfriend decided to have a go at me and shout at me and tell me I'd ruined a holiday.

You have to understand how they see you - you are NOT their parent. They don't need to listen to you. Their dad might have been upset, but as a PARENT it is his job to take control of the situation and to speak to his children. Not yours. You're not related to them in any way. I am not saying they behaved well by any means, but it is not your place to step in and discipline them like that. It is upto their father to take control and be a parent.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:30:03

My DP and his ex are both very verbal/physical people. His ex wife screams at the girls so they scream back at her. That is how they argue. there is no sitting down talking.

DD15 physically abused her mother numerous times last Autumn causing many bruises and the police came to give her a warning. They still have a very volatile relationship. At that time DD15 was begging to come and live with us - she swings between the 2 parents.

My DP smacked his children when they were small, many families still do that, believe it or not. I have spoken at length with him about how you CANNOT smack a child/ teenager, he cannot physically restrain his children. He was smacked as a child. It's the classic 'it never did me any harm' scenario!

I have a good relationship with both my step daughters and we have had some great times together. I feel so sad.

Lou

theredhen Tue 20-Aug-13 10:30:35

You might find it helpful to post on the step parenting board. The situation you describe sounds similar to many step parents tales. hmm

Step kids do have it hard but they also learn to manipulate situations based on learning their parents insecurities and battles which "together" families don't have.

theredhen Tue 20-Aug-13 10:35:46

Livinginwonderland - they may not be her children, they may not even be her step children but if they behave like they did ON OP holiday and her children's holiday, I think she has every right to talk to them. If their behaviour had no impact on her or her children then fair enough but it very obviously did.

Whilst I agree the parents have created this situation by their apparent poor parenting, op has a right to not be treated badly or to allow her children to be treated badly.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:42:29

I didn't shout at them, I spoke to them. I spoke to all 4 kids about the holiday, not just the girls. I didn't single anyone out.

I'm not a girlfriend I'm more than that. I'm his wife in everything but that piece of paper - that means nothing anyway.

I wash their clothes, cook them meals, pick up after them, take them for weekends away, holidays, pay for things for them but I'm not allowed to speak to them and tell them how I feel about a situation they made worse.

I'm sorry but sometimes kids have got to take responsibility for their actions. Just because they're kids doesn't mean they don't need to hear the truth sometimes.

What does it matter who spoke to them, both me and their dad felt exactly the same way.

Lou

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:44:05

theredhen - thank you

livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 10:48:01

It matters because you are not their parent! Can you not see that? You might be "his wife on everything but paper" but to them, you are his girlfriend. You're not engaged, you're not their step-parent and legally you have nothing to do with them. You are dealing with stroppy, hormonal teenagers. Anything that comes from you will be seen as you interfering (I am not saying you are, I'm saying that, to a teenager, that will be how it comes across).

I agree that their behaviour is appalling, but their dad needs to speak to them himself. It can't come from you. He needs to insist that they buck up their ideas and treat the entire family (you, your sons and him) a lot better. It needs to come from their biological parent because he is the one who is legally responsible for them, their welfare and what goes on until they are eighteen. They need to see that their dad has a voice, that he means business and that HE is the one to deal with their attitude, not that he's passing the buck to you.

EldritchCleavage Tue 20-Aug-13 10:56:49

Well I suggest a family meeting: DH, the girls, their mother. Start from there. DP and his ex to agree sanctions, boundaries together (e.g. no smoking at all in either house, a safe sex and healthy relationships discussion) and tell the girls how it will be, listen to them about what they think and feel, then see how it goes. DP and ex would need to be prepared to liaise on punishments and strategies.

Your DP also needs to apologise profusely for the slap and undertake never to hit the children again, and elicit a similar undertaking from his DDs.

Fairyliz Tue 20-Aug-13 10:58:06

I have been a stepchild (although better behaved than these two) and am now the motherof two teenagers.
My thoughts, I would have be incandesent with rage if my stepmother had ever told me off or my dad had hit me. They are children you are the adults.
Teenagers are selfish they don't care how much the holiday cost, their idea of fun is different to yours.
Teenage girls can never get up until lunchtime and they are always late getting ready its not just these two.
I can't offer any advice the kids were damaged the day mum and dad split up. My parents had a fairly amicable split but I would say it took me and my sister 20 years to get over it.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:03:47

I know I am not their mother. But they are happy for me to take on a mother role when THEY want it.

They are happy for me to provide for them, support them, care for them - but I'm NOT allowed to speak to them when something upsets me??

Is that how it works? God they've got it good haven't they!

I`m a Step Parent and see no problem with you saying something really.

But,, and the big but here is that it seems as though your DP and his Ex have raised their children with a degree of aggression and now its beginning to bite them a bit. Its all very well demanding respect, but teenagers naturally push boundaries and a slap wont sort that out, just raise the tension. You say that your DP and his ex are both very verbal/physical people. His ex wife screams at the girls so they scream back at her. That is how they argue. there is no sitting down talking.

It seems as though they, your DP, EX and DDs could benefit from some family counselling, I would be looking at some form of therapy (Cahms maybe?) for the DD. It sounds like the tough parenting has gone wrong. Could they work together to sort their DD out?

On an aside, you say your DP pushes your DC away? how has that impacted on them? I would be worried how they feel about being stuck in the middle of all of this. Seeing him slap his dd and her being as aggressive must have been a little bit scary for them.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:23:38

OneStepCloser - many thanks for your post. I think you've hit the nail on the head. All 4 of them are very aggressive and verbal, that's how they deal with arguments. Me, I'm much calmer and try and talk about things. I've also learnt to walk away now when my kids argue back. I lock myself in the bathroom.

Luckily we were in 2 separate rooms on holiday (me with my kids, DP with his) so my boys didn't see what happened, just the aftermath.

I too feel like I'm 'piggy in the middle' sometimes, constantly trying to keep the peace with everyone.

Think I may post over on the step-parenting board.

Lou

Aw louby, I feel for you. Being stuck in the middle of this must be difficult. Unfortunately, it has to be them (SDs parents who need to sort this, you cant, with the best will in the world) and on that I cant say I would know what to do apart from gently tell your DP that his and her parenting needs some outside help as do his DDsm but I can imagine that falling on deaf ears a bit.

Best of luck.

LittleBearPad Tue 20-Aug-13 11:33:09

But teenagers won't see the care, support etc. They will expect it. But they will be angry at any perceived tellings off etc. it's not fair but its how it is.

This is for DP to sort out with their mother.

Sorry to say this but if their mothers relationship broke down why shouldn't they be concerned that yours will. Their stability would completely go then. I'm not saying that's what they expect but they may subconsciously expect you to leave too.

LtEveDallas Tue 20-Aug-13 11:34:35

I'm a step parent and have never had any issue with telling DSD off, in the same way that I would tell off any child that was behaving badly in my presence.

It's a crappy age Lou. Raging hormones and teen anxieties. DSD is 18 this year and has been lovely for about 2 years, but between 14-16 she was horrible. Or at least that's how I saw her. She was never happy, always complaining, using me and her dad as a bank, pitting mum against dad and so on.

I had to detach. I was perfectly pleasant to her, polite and smiley even if I was raging inside and left all the 'nastiness' to DH. If he wanted her to do something and she wouldn't, I let him get on with it. I let him pick up after her, I let him give her cash, I let him 'parent'. I still did all the day to day stuff, and never treated her badly, but refused to get involved in the 'he said, she said, I hate you, I hate everything' that was going on at the same time.

I don't think that the girls not wanting to visit is that unusual either. We went from every other weekend, to once a month, to once every few months. Kids grow, they have their mates and their creature comforts that they don't want to leave behind. DH was upset at first but kept in touch with FB/Phone. They still have a relationship - OK not as close as I would want with DD, but good enough for them. DSD has the same relationship with her mum though, she sees her once a month or so, so maybe DSD is just very independant.

Chin up Lou, it won't necessarily last and if it does - you've done your best and that's all you need to focus on.

eurochick Tue 20-Aug-13 11:44:05

A 15 year old was sharing with her dad? No wonder she was feeling the rage. I'd also have been livid at that age if someone had gone down my bag (particularly if I had been found out doing something I shouldn't have!). And I think we've established the slap was completely unacceptable. She might have acted like a little madam, but I think she was provoked! And she has learned how to react to conflict from her parents and it sounds like the lesson included Eastenders style screaming matches and slaps.

brdgrl Tue 20-Aug-13 11:44:38

you're not engaged, you're not their step-parent and legally you have nothing to do with them.
She is their step-parent, as she is in a civil partnership with the father. Marriage is not required. She does not have parental responsibility for the children, but she is not 'nothing to do with them', either.
The state does recognise both rights and responsibilities of unmarried stepparents, so you are wrong about this. (For instance, her income is included in any calculation of benefits or student grants. For another instance, she would be entitled to act in loco parentis when it comes to discipline of children.)

The stepmother in a family holiday situation as described, is clearly an adult authority figure, and has been granted that authority by the children's father.

OP, post on step-parenting board. And read some of the old threads there, you might find it helpful.

How is your relationship at the moment?

I don't think your DP was the slightest bit wrong to look through his child's bag. I do think he was wrong to hit her. Would he consider individual parenting classes or family counseling? To be blunt, I think you and he are both going to have a much harder time getting to grips with the issue as long as there is physical force involved. If for no other reason, it does make it tougher for others to understand.

As for the rest of it - I have been on a nightmare holiday with a 15 year-old stepdaughter - different sort of thing, no violence etc, but awful in its own way. It was the low point - 14 and 15 were the toughest years with her.

I always say this, but I don't think children and teens should have the option to refuse to visit a parent (short of court-ordered measures where there is a ruling that a parent is unfit, obviously). It makes it impossible for problems to be resolved and creates an artificial situation - in a 'together' family, there is no such opportunity, and teens just have to 'sulk through'. Like myself at that age, my DSCs have nowhere else to go, thank god - we couldn't have them stomping off if they didn't like how things were going.

brdgrl Tue 20-Aug-13 11:47:50

And yes, louby - I think you're doing the best you can, frankly. Your DP needs to learn some other parenting strategies - you can support and encourage him in that, perhaps - but you should not have to put up with either his aggression or the kids' (and nor should your kids).

LittleBearPad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:04:40

Brdgrl Lou's not in a civil partnership with the step daughters father. There's no such concept for a heterosexual relationship. Suggesting this title implies a degree of legal formality that doesn't exist.

PearlyWhites Tue 20-Aug-13 12:13:06

There is no excuse for slapping a child even though she was wrong to assault her dad by spitting. Your dp is treading on very thin ice.
I have a dd who will be 15 next month she is a good kid but has her monuments like any teenager. I would never ever assault her.
I can guarantee op that if your dd was not your stepchild you would not have worded the op like you did.

brdgrl Tue 20-Aug-13 12:22:15

littlebear, You're right - I shouldn't have used that term. But the point about the legal rights and responsibilities of unmarried partners living in the same household is the same.

specialsubject Tue 20-Aug-13 13:42:19

it is now clear that these girls have been brought up in a house where there is regular screaming and occasional violence. They simply don't know any better. Teen girls can be quite horrible anyway but these two do seem to have an excuse.

if this is to be resolved and not go to a new generation (and the new generation won't be far away given how the girl is behaving) then all concerned need some training and counselling in how normal people behave.

good luck, OP. You'll need it.

bellabom Tue 20-Aug-13 18:51:04

It's a shame that some good advice has been all muddled up with a load of old toss as usual when the word "step" is mentioned. As a general rule of thumb if you have an issue with a stepchildren situation it's best to either post on the stepparent board, or (if it doesn't make telling the story impossible) just omit that you're talking about a step child. In this case it is obviously relevant so you couldn't have but I have posted in "teens" about curfews/ sleepovers/ punishments etc. in the past because I wanted sensible answers from other parents of teens rather than a load of judgemental, irrelevant wank. "Not legally her step children" - for crying out loud! What difference would it make if they were married? Does a woman gain some kind of mystical power on her wedding day that means she suddenly has a say in how her husbands children are raised? They wouldn't respect her anymore than they do if they got married, why would/should they?

Moving on... I agree with the poster who suggests some family counselling for Mum, Dad and children. These girls have never dealt with the breakdown of their parents marriage. You could say (like a poster above) that all children of separated parents are damaged and wont recover until well in to their twenties. But IMO that is defeatist and robs two young girls of a happy teenage life that they deserve and are capable of having. You had the right to state that you were disappointed with their behaviour on holiday as it was unacceptable. Just as a grandparent or aunt etc. would have had the right to do. But as for the whole massive issue of their anger and appalling behaviour in general, that will need to come from Mum and Dad. The girls are craving attention and to be heard which you (as seemingly the only adult in their lives who can be arsed to take a stance) have given them. But I'd imagine is that all that would have done is highlight that they're not getting it from where they want it i.e. mum and dad.

But you can't really control that, certainly you can't control what mum does.
So, you need to be very honest about your expectations on boundaries and consequences in regards to the time your stepchildren are with you (on holiday with you, in the family home, whilst out and about in restaurants and such) and basically find a way to enjoy your life while all of this is sorted out. I think you know it isn't how you want your life to be, and that it isn't something you want your children witnessing. But sadly we fall in love with these guys with no idea of what is in store for us so I'm guessing that you have made the decision to stick around?

So, what are the conditions (for want of a better word!) that will make it okay for you in your relationship? Maybe that he pursues family counselling? Maybe that he keeps in contact even when they push him away but doesn't offer rewards or incentives if they do visit?

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.

louby44 Wed 21-Aug-13 17:00:32

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.

bellabom Wed 21-Aug-13 17:43:45

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?

lljkk Wed 21-Aug-13 17:49:59

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 sad 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.

LittleBearPad Wed 21-Aug-13 18:15:50

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.

louby44 Wed 21-Aug-13 18:37:29

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!

Mumzy Wed 21-Aug-13 20:28:27

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.

Mitzi50 Wed 21-Aug-13 21:35:05

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.

bellabom Wed 21-Aug-13 22:53:57

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.

differentnameforthis Thu 22-Aug-13 02:15:34

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!

differentnameforthis Thu 22-Aug-13 02:18:42

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.

differentnameforthis Thu 22-Aug-13 02:33:27

so has respect really that disappeared much that children don't have to listen to adults?

louby44 Thu 22-Aug-13 08:41:29

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.

LittleBearPad Thu 22-Aug-13 08:56:19

Why text?

Why not phone her or go and see her and sort this out.

louby44 Thu 22-Aug-13 09:14:53

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.

sashh Thu 22-Aug-13 14:02:39

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.

whyno Thu 22-Aug-13 14:12:16

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.

louby44 Thu 22-Aug-13 17:20:51

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.

Clabbage Fri 23-Aug-13 21:28:39

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.

Fiona24 Fri 23-Aug-13 21:31:05

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?

brdgrl Fri 23-Aug-13 21:48:57

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.

Shyer Fri 23-Aug-13 21:59:27

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.

louby44 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:33:27

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!

apricotdelight Sat 24-Aug-13 19:37:31

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.

Beamur Sat 24-Aug-13 20:00:00

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.

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