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AIBU or is he? Stepkids - could be very long - sorry

(102 Posts)
argghhhkids Tue 25-Sep-12 17:21:53

I am a long term lurker here but not a poster.

DP and I live together with my DD (16) and his DD (18). We have been together almost two years. Currently we are living in the house he shared with his ex wife. This is not ideal and none of us would have chose this but it is necessary for financial reasons. We are buying the house off of the ex. It needs a load of work. We will then sell this house and buy a family home together.

My DD got out of control last year. I will make this clear as it is very relevant, she was truly horrible. She would scream, shout, get violent, got kicked out of school in all but name because she wouldn?t go and when she did she would argue with the staff. Fair enough she had alot of changes in her life at the time but she reacted to the extreme, to the point where she was arrested for blocking me in a room for two hours (im only little and she is bigger and stronger than me). DD however has improved massively this year. Her manner towards me however is often rude. She can be stroppy and demanding. DP hates this (although he never gets involved). DP?s daughter is far from perfect but she is polite to her Dad and on the whole does as she is told.

Anyway last night we were talking to the girls, DP asked them to help out with the cooking. DP and I both work some distance away from the house and work long hours. We leave the house before 7am and are back around 7pm. This has been hampering the renovations on the house as we just do not have time during the week. The idea was that the girls help by cooking once or twice a week each to allow us to get on with the house. Halfway through the conversation DD got all humpy and stormed out.

When I spoke to her about it she says she feels like a second class citizen in the house. DSD has a room that has flooring, is decorated and has heating. DD?s room has floor boards at the moment, I painted it for her when she moved in but it needs redoing and the plumbing done for the radiator. DSD has more ?stuff? than DD, stereo, big TV, GHDs etc. This is because DSD had more spent on her at Christmas?s and birthdays before I got together with DP whereas DD had less in presents but did get a holiday abroad most years, something that DSD never did with her parents.

DP has a computer that he has his personal bits on. He is fine about DSD using this but doesn?t like DD to use it when he is not in the room in case she snoops through stuff (which she may do, knowing her). However the wireless isn?t working so it essentially means that DD has no internet. DDs TV is not digital so she cant get telly. DP has set it up so she can pick up our tv downstairs (which we rarely watch) but it means her running up and down the stairs to change the channel. DSD has digital. Last week DD asked to borrow Dps dongle but it is a bit of a hassle finding it and to be honest we forgot she asked to use it but DSD spends most of the evening downstairs with us facebooking.

I explained to DP that DD she was feeling left out. She said that if DSD?s TV was not working it wouldn?t have taken 9 months for this to be sorted. I believe this is true. DSD can bug her Dad to do stuff for her, DD doesn?t feel comfortable doing the same. Little things like part of the coving hanging down in her bedroom upsets her, it has been like that for a couple of months but hasn?t got fixed. She says she feels like she has nowhere nice she can escape to. DSD can close her door and have a room that more or less looks finished with a working TV, music etc.

DP says that basically if she was nicer she would get stuff done quicker, you give bigger hugs you get bigger kisses etc. However 9 months is a long time, I really cannot see DSD waiting that long. I made the point that DSD upsets me. I am a light sleeper and have been disturbed more times that I can mention. She played music in her room until 11.30 ? 12am whilst getting ready to go clubbing on a Tuesday night when my alarm goes off at 5.00am. Nothing was really done about this, he would tell her to turn it down, not off, and she would do the same next week. She doesn?t wake up for her alarm so again this weekend my only lie in for two weeks was ruined because I had to get up at 7.15am because her alarm had been going for 15 mins and I couldn?t put up with it anymore. I however don?t refuse to cook dinner for her or tidy up after her. It is just expected that I would still do that sort of stuff.

So who is being unreasonable, me or DP. Because DD has been a cow in the past and still talks to me badly is it reasonable that she isn?t prioritised in DPs time to fix things? Is it reasonable that DD feels hard done by in the circumstances?

3littlefrogs Tue 25-Sep-12 17:30:55

I fel very sorry for your DD.

She is being made to feel very unwelcome, and that must be very hurtful for her.

You are not even sticking up for her; you are allowing your "D"P to treat her like a second class citizen.

She is 16. A difficult age. Her life was disrupted at the age of 14, and she has been treated like this for 2 years. No wonder her behaviour has been difficult.

I have a 14 year old daughter. I love my dd unconditionally and she knows that.

I get the feeling your dd thinks nobody cares much about her.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 25-Sep-12 17:35:58

i dont think its reasonable to continue to punish her for historical behaviour. her room should be at an equal stage to dsd's or at the very least done straight after.if you compleate one childs bedroom then its very unfair to make the others wait.

the only circumstances i can see that it would be reasonable is if her behaviour included things like punching holes in walls smashing up furniture in the room stuff that you would actually need to make sure she wouldnt do again before you put the effort in iuswim?

its kinda like a cycle she behaves badly so you refuse to do stuff she feels left out ect so behaves badly. one of you has to break the cycle and you are the grown up here.

i do think yavur to have let this happen to such a large extent as it does sound like there is a rather large devide between how the two are expected to live.

I think that you need to be DDs advocate here. If she doesnt feel comfortable asking for things to get sorted in her room (who would?) then its up to you to ensure it gets done.

Its quite possible that DDs behaviour last year was a result of the difference in treatment of her and DSD. Therefore I dont think the blame can entirely fall on her.

You and DP are the adults. You have decided to live together. IMO you have a responsibility to both girls to make sure they are happy and settled. A nice room is necessary for a teenager when they just need space. I think a carpet is a necessity and shouldnt be put off for 9 months.

Guiltypleasures001 Tue 25-Sep-12 17:36:49

i think there is unfaireness on all parties to be honest.

I would call a family meeting so that everyone can air their thoughts and grievences without censure and without it being held against them.

The stuff dd needs done is basics to be honest, and should be done like heating and re decoration, it basicly isnt fair, the other stuff can be used as a bargaining tool for her to treat you with some respect.

To be honest all this needs to be sorted before contracts are signed
good luck

Pandemoniaa Tue 25-Sep-12 17:37:40

Between us, DP and I have 5 children. They are all of very similar age although their ages now range from 33 to 29. So I've had experience of dealing with the issues of equality and potential unfairnesss.

I'd start by saying there are some things you cannot change and that there may well be an imbalance so far as presents/possessions that have already been given and cannot reasonably be taken away in order to redress the balance.

However, if you are all living under the same roof, it is unfair when one dc in the family has so much more than the other in terms of living conditions. I'm not surprised that your dd feels like a second class citizen if she sees her stepsister enjoying a comfortable room with access to the internet. It isn't a question of being 'nicer' either because, apart from the basic unreasonability of this, there is little incentive for your dd to behave well all the time that the evidence (to her) clearly suggests she is unworthy of things her stepsister has.

So yes, your DP is being unreasonable so far as not prioritising the work on her bedroom. I'm not at all comfortable with this 'give bigger hugs, get bigger kisses' thing either. I'm not saying that bad behaviour should be tolerated, incidentally, but if things were fairer all round, your dd will feel more secure and almost certainly this will have a significant effect on her behaviour.

WorraLiberty Tue 25-Sep-12 17:37:42

Assuming you're all able bodied people, why does the fixing up of the room etc fall to your DP?

I do feel sorry for your DD though, it can't be easy for her.

Hullygully Tue 25-Sep-12 17:37:59

oh dear

you must both treat them like equals

ThreeWheelsGood Tue 25-Sep-12 17:38:01

How can you talk about your daughter like that? "She's been a cow in the past" - yes, when she was a child, dealing with a lot of disruption!

Do you ever make time for her, make her feel special? Maybe offer to make her room nicer?

3littlefrogs Tue 25-Sep-12 17:39:26

The bigger hugs bigger kisses thing is just nasty.

BarbarianMum Tue 25-Sep-12 17:40:39

I think you need to sit down w. your dp and agree when the stuff to your dd's room can be done. Rooms are important to teenagers.

Then I think you need to sit your dd down and quietly point out the relationship b/w treating someone well and them wanting to do things for you. Because there is one. Ask her what she thinks you can all do to improve things.

And yes she should help cook.

WilsonFrickett Tue 25-Sep-12 17:41:14

I think if you come back to this thread in a few days and read it with fresh eyes it will be very clear to you who is BU. and it isnt your dd. You have two girls in your family and they need to be treated the same way, with the same access to 'stuff'. At the moment you have a favoured princess and a Cinderella. Poor girl.

That said, I do think they both should help out with the cooking so you can get on with the renovations. And the first place you should renovate is DD's room.

Abbicob Tue 25-Sep-12 17:46:43

I would sort out her bedroom myself if DP will not and if that involves getting someone in to do it so be it.

You cannot keep punishing her for past behaviour when you have admitted that she has and is changing

diddl Tue 25-Sep-12 17:48:38

"The idea was that the girls help by cooking once or twice a week each to allow us to get on with the house. Halfway through the conversation DD got all humpy and stormed out. "

The problem I have with this is that DD expects help with her room (and rightly so)-but isn´t prepared to facilitate that.

But I agree that you need to speak up for her OP if it´s things that you need your partner to sort out & she doesn´t feel that she can ask.

cakebar Tue 25-Sep-12 17:49:21

You could fix it all for her very swiftly: 1 weekend choosing stuff, including carpet, 1 weekend to prepare for painting (like fixing the coving), 1 weekend to paint, she should help btw. Doing it together would be a nice bonding exercise. You should buy her a cheap new tv too. You would have to pay for someone to plumb the radiator in and put an ariel point in. You could probably do it all for £500 if your thrifty, is that an option?

cakebar Tue 25-Sep-12 17:49:43

And yes, she should be doing some cooking.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Tue 25-Sep-12 17:50:56

There is no way your dds behaviour is going to improve while she is still being treated as second best.

It is not relevant that she behaved badly in the past. You aren't loading it against her, because most parents wouldn't, so your dp needs to let go of it too.

You should be looking to a happy future, not dwelling on the problems of the past. Your dds room needs to be sorted ASAP.

OldGreyWiffleTest Tue 25-Sep-12 17:50:58

I agree with most of the other posters - your DD is definitely the Cinderella.

If you get her room sorted, get her internet access and a tv that works, you may see vast changes!

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Tue 25-Sep-12 17:51:33

Holding it against her I mean, not loading. Stupid autocorrect.

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Tue 25-Sep-12 17:51:53

My heart breaks for your DD.

Imagine your stepsister having all of the luxuries (nice room, tv which she can turn over, internet) while she has a room which by the sound of it is falling apart?

You need to treat them equally.

Fix her sodding coving, sort her out a tv and wi-fi and ask her to chose paint and soft furnishings for her room.

You shouldn't favour your step-daughter or at least not make it so obvious . It's really unfair.

honeytea Tue 25-Sep-12 17:53:26

Your dd can decorate her own room and get a job and buy herself expensive things if she wants it.

My mum moved in with my stepfather when me and my brother were teenagers, we were all given about 200 pounds to do up our rooms and no one had TV's.

I'm sure it has been no fun for dsd having you and your dd move in, it sounds like she mostly isn't a nightmare due to her recent family breakup.

margerykemp Tue 25-Sep-12 17:54:40

Why have you put a man before your DD? Is he that good in bed?

Narked Tue 25-Sep-12 17:55:12

The bigger hugs bigger kisses comment made me feel sick.

She's 16, living in the house of someone she didn't know from Adam 2 years ago with his daughter. She needs a space that's hers.

Please get her room sorted for her and a working tv and internet access.

Narked Tue 25-Sep-12 17:56:32

Does she have working heating in her room?

diddl Tue 25-Sep-12 17:59:44

"The bigger hugs bigger kisses comment made me feel sick."

That as well.

I don´t see why she should have a crappy room just because she behaves badly.

My teenage daughter would be on bare floorboards with no heating!!

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