to send dd to after school club she hates in order to make my point?(81 Posts)
My dd is in her first year at Junior school and just turned 8. She went to after school club briefly last year when my hours changed and hated it. I have been with my dh since dd was a baby, her dad left when I discovered I was pregnant. We've since had two more children age 4 and 2 and dh also has two children from his previous marriage, age 8 and 9. Dd sees her dad once per month only - his choice though he's only twenty minutes away.
ExH hates that dh acts as a father to dd. Dd naturally started calling dh daddy because she heard his children calling him it. She was corrected but now she's older we figure it's her choice what she calls people. ExH has always reiterated to dd that dh loves his own children and not her, that he's not her father in anyway, that only blood family matters and so on.
Combining this with dds age, she's started taking on board what her dad has said and 'testing' dh. Particularly after she's seen her dad or before she is due to she's horrible to dh, ignores him, calls him by his name and encourages the other children to do so too, won't show him any affection or anything. She keeps saying she doesn't have his name, he didn't help make her, he's not her parent and has no rights over her. I know this all comes from her dad (he openly says it to/in front of me) but it's extremely hurtful.
Usually dd adores dh. She asks to visit him at work to take him cakes and pictures or letters at work at weekends, she asks him to attend school and extra-curricular events but doesn't even think to ask her dad as he's never attended, she plays with and is affectionate to him, asks when she can have another sibling and so on.
Talking to her has made no difference. Her dad's nastiness towards dh penetrates all goodness. Aibu if I respond to dd by, when she says: 'dh is nothing to do with me/not a parent/has no rights etc' by saying that fine, he'll act accordingly. Therefore, when I'm working he won't collect her from school like he usually does and take her to the park/tea rooms/soft play, she'll go to the after school club she dislikes. When she's been rude or hurtful, she can expect no help from dh when she then asks and so on.
I'm at the end of my tether because its getting worse as time goes on and I want it nipped in the bud so it doesn't make the teen years even harder.
YABU I think.
I can absolutely see why you want to nip this in the bud but I don't think pushing her further away from your dh is the way to do this.
What about an immediate sanction when she says hurtful things to dh, ignoring what you can and some 1:1 time with him, plus lots of reassurance that you both love her?
She sounds unhappy and pressured and your ex sounds like a prick.
What a very, very difficult situation for you.
However, I think that punishing her and having her stepdad send her to Coventry is not going to help at that age. It must be extremely hurtful for him, but she is a child with conflicting loyalties who is being manipulated. There is a danger that his reactions will reinforce what her bio dad is telling her.
This not a situation you can "nip in the bud". Your DD is not in control of it.
I would. Maybe say for the next week dh will not treat you like a daughter so she will have to go to after school club, and include things like not making her breakfast, reading stories etc etc then tell her at the end of the week it's her choice wether dh carries on as a non parent or wether she wants it back to normal and dh is her step father again.
It would be completely the wrong thing to do. You'd be showing her that your ex is right.
Also you'd be punishing her for having what are obviously already disturbing feelings and emotions, which would be cruel.
Why would you want to drive a wedge between them?
Don't be manipulated to do what your ex actually wants!
It would be emotional abuse. I would send your partner and your DD out for some time by themselves eg cinema etc to reinforce the bond.
Barbarian I don't really want to punish her for speaking her mind (though it's actually her dad's mind), but do do so for speaking in a hurtful way. I thought emphasising how much dh does do for/with her, by him not doing it if she insists he's nothing to do with her, might be effective in making her more appreciative.
I also don't think this is a good idea- what strikes me from your post is that she is desperately seeking the approval of both men in her life- baking cakes, seeking your DH out is just as extreme as her hating him- what you are really after is her feeling relaxed and secure in his company which she clearly isn't at the moment.
I would deal with any rudeness the same way you deal with any rudeness and not get caught up with the message (it's not her fault her dad's a prick and puts words in her mouth)- she's getting to the age she would be testing the boundaries on this anyway, if not over this (my 8 year old is cheeky too).
So- do what you usually do to cheekiness, or upsetting another person.
But don't retaliate by sending her to after-school club unless it is what you would have done anyway, because she desperately doesn't need to be rejected by a second man, especially as you are having lots of children together and her place must be very threatened.
I have been going on about the 'How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk' and this may really help you. If you jump in every time she says something negative about your DH, it may make it worse. If you listen to her, even saying hard to hear things, this may be over very quickly. If she's being downright cheeky or rude to him in front of others, nip that in the bud, but if she's alone with you and says negative things- who else can she say them to? You might find getting her to talk more, not less is the answer.
Can you not sit her down and write a list of what your DH does with her, and a list of what her Dad does with her?
It might just be enough.
Surely it will confuse her, to have him blow hot and cold like she's doing, and only reinforce what her arse of a dad is saying? It's a very difficult situation, but I think he would be better off being consistently loving, and both of you sitting her down and saying that, blood relative or not, he does care about her and she is important to him and her dad isn't correct to say otherwise.
I would focus on talking her through this. It must be very confusing for her, realising he is a parent on a 'different level' to her brothers and sisters. He should just be a real parent to her, waiting till she calms down then reassuring her he loves her. Don't get involved in tit for tat behaviour.
It is a really tough one, but I think she is too young to understand the nuances of what you are trying to tell her.
Maybe a better message is that your DH carries on being a parent, because parents have unconditional love for their children, even when they say hurtful things. Where as her dad might share her blood, but he isn't a Daddy and doesn't do the things Daddy does.
Letting your DH step back just underlines what your ex is telling her...
I agree - not the right approach. You need to keep reminding your daughter of all the good things that your DH does for her, and what fun they have together etc.
You need to acknowledge that alot of the factual stuff is true, but point out that this hasn't stopped your DH from loving her, caring for her, providing for her in exactly the same way as he does the other DCs.
Is she too young to try and apprecaite that your ExH is trying to manipulate the situation, and is saying doing stuff to hurt you and your DH? Difficult with a 9yo I know, but it might be worth considering?
Also- how powerful would she feel (and how awful would that be) if she says 'I hate you and you are not my dad' and then he refuses to have anything to do with her. As a parent, sometimes my children turn around and say 'I hate you mummy, I wish you weren't my mummy'- not very often, but when tired, stressed or in a moment of weakness. It is not my role to reject them further, but contain this negative emotion and continue to show them love and constancy in the face of this.
I don't think you should be a pushover, if she's rude, send her out of the room, but a week of rejecting a child with mixed and hurtful emotions? No.
Dd and dh do spend time alone, too, they have a shared hobby. Her continuing to behave like this is driving a wedge between dh and her plus dh and the other children.
And what Almost suggested - don't show her by taking his affection and support away, help her write a list of everything he does for her.
I'm not a step parent but I do know about 8 year old girls. She is testing you, and him. She needs to feel secure- if you send her to the afterschool club this will prove, in her mind, that she was right all along and he doesn't love her.
I think all you can do is continue to reassure her- respond to comments of you're not my daddy with 'well I love you like a daddy' and just keep reiterating that he loves her, and demonstrating it with the usual cuddles, stories, activities etc. She will eventually come round.
And- read the 'How to talk' book. I was always jumping in and telling my dd why things weren't so bad, why she should be grateful, why she was not right in what she was saying, she used to get so frustrated and upset.
Perhaps have a new rule- no rudeness or cheekiness about DH, BUT- perhaps it is normal for her to have misgivings about your new family set up, where can she express these? She must be allowed to speak, just not in a rude way and listening a couple of times might take the heat out of the situation and she will come back to seeing what a great dad your DH is in time.
Please don't do this. It's exactly what your XP wants, for one thing.
You can pull her up on the rudeness, and have your normal consequences for that, but they shouldn't be anything to do with DP withdrawing his time or affection.
I know other MNers have had success with lovebombing, is that something P and DD could try? How to talk will also help you manage this in an appropriate way, ie consequences for hurtful language, but not reacting to the goading. She is really, really pushing the boundaries because she wants them to stand firm. Poor kid.
<cold comfort warning> At least she's doing this at 8. If she was doing it at 15 there could be all sorts of risky behaviour going on - this is only cheek and button pushing. I know it's tough though.
Another thought, I think it's important to recognise and talk through with her that it is difficult having two daddies and reassure her that they both love her- she doesn't have to choose one.
She is obviously a seething mass of inner conflict, poor thing. No matter how rude she is being, she is only 8 years old and is being manipulated by her father. What a jerk.
I think DH has to continue to be the bigger man here. It must be very difficult but you/he really must try to deal with the rudeness as a discipline issue and ignore the rest as much as he can.
I would take a guess that ur dd is feeling extremely insecure. Your dp is like a father to her and she feels safe and happy around him - then ur ex starts telling her that she means nothing to him.... And then the backlash begins. She is as horrid as she can be to ur dp to see if ur ex is right. Give her all the love u can and security in knowing dp isn't going to hate her. After school club that she hates will only reinforce the message from ur ex
It's really difficult to discuss it with her without being drawn into badmouthing her dad, though. For example, this morning we had:
Dd: he's only the other childrens dad, not mine. I have (surname) blood in my veins
Me: thats true, but the blood in your veins or your surname doesn't tell you how to behave towards people. He treats you the same as the other children and loves you
Dd: is he picking me up from school today?
Dd: why? I hate him collecting me, he's not my parent he shouldn't be collecting me from school
At which point I want to say: perhaps if your other 'blood parent' ever chose to pick you up from school, dh wouldn't need to.
Then by next week the conversation will go:
Dd: is daddy (dh) picking me up today?
Dd: ooh yay! Will you send him a message asking if we can go to the park please? Send him a picture of me blowing him a kiss! Etc.
Please do not do this. It would be cruel. She is being manipulated by her father and by doing that, you would be punishing her for his faults.
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