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DP’s DD is a bully

(113 Posts)
IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 09:57:49

I’ve thought long and hard about posting on here for advice, I’m genuinely at a loss what to do and this is breaking all of our hearts.

She is not a bad kid, she can be really lovely, funny and charming but at other times she takes pleasure in making other people upset and bullies them, especially other children. I’d say currently her behaviour is a 50/50 split, it’s like she’s two different people.

I’ve been with DP for 4 years and her behaviour has been like this the whole time I’ve known him so it’s not a sudden recent change, and from what I’ve gathered she was like this since very young.

As far as I’m aware she’s had no trauma in her life, her parents split when she was a young baby so she doesn’t know any different so I don’t think it stems from that. But obviously there is something going on for her to behave this way.

There’s no rhyme or reason as to who she decides to pick on either. Children at school, strangers, members of her own family, her “friends” even.

Her behaviour is so mean and unpleasant sometimes that it’s resulted in my own DD not wanting to spend time with her on her own and some of our friends have stopped seeing us with their children because they don’t want to be around her.

She’s a very dominant, strong willed person but I think if it was channeled correctly they wouldn’t necessarily be bad personality traits. But she’s using manipulation, cruel remarks and insults to “dominate” her peers.

My DP pulls her up when she’s being unkind or unpleasant but if I’m honest I do think she’s over indulged by both of her parents who tend to brush it off as “she’s only little”. She’s not little, she’s nearly 11 and very aware of how she’s making other people feel because I’ve seen her many times laughing and smirking when she’s got the reaction she wants.

She’s been picking on her cousins (DP’s nieces - from two different sisters) and both of my SIL’s have contacted us separately this week to say she’s upset her cousins or has done something horrible to them.

Yesterday we were at a family gathering and she had my cousins eldest daughter in tears because of her behaviour. This child is several years older, physically bigger and extremely intelligent but SD managed to reduce her to a puddle of tears. It was awful and we ended up having to remove her from the party.

I’m not sure really what to do about this. DP has tried talking to her about her feelings, appealing to her empathy, even punishments as consequences such as no tv.

Nothing seems to be working. Her mum is quite hostile whenever DP tries to talk to her about it and she pretends it doesn’t happen when she’s with her so it must be something to do with DP. This is not the case at all, it happens at school and DP’s eldest daughter (15) said she is like this all the time and her mum’s friends are also now trying to avoid play dates or social events with her.

My concern is that she must be deeply troubled. I don’t think happy children behave like this. I’ve suggested DP take her for some counselling to see if they’re able to get her to open up about what’s going on but her mum is completely against this and accused us of creating a problem that isn’t there. She’s burying her head in the sand about it.

She goes to secondary school next year and I want her to be happy and enjoy her time there. I’m worried she’ll be labelled a bully and end up lonely as no one will want to socialise with her.

My other concern is the affect this is having on my own DD who won’t be in a room alone with her anymore. I obviously don’t make her and it’s making me reconsider the relationship because I don’t want my own children distressed by her behaviour.

What do you suggest? Has anyone else experienced this with their children or stepchildren? How did you help them?

Hithere12 Sun 18-Aug-19 10:01:55

She sounds awful. She needs much stricter parenting or this will carry on into adulthood.

Chamomileteaplease Sun 18-Aug-19 10:02:38

What an awful situation! If I were you I would look into the law regarding getting counselling/psychotherapy when her mother doesn't allow it but her father does.

And I would have a very firm chat with your partner about the situation as you are rethinking the relationship as you have to protect your daughter and neither of this girl's parents are doing anything about her unhappiness at all shock.

Mypetsnails Sun 18-Aug-19 10:05:12

What is it she's actually doing/saying? What does she say when she is challenged?

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:05:15

@Hithere12 I agree. I’m worried maybe this is just who she is and what if it never gets any better.

Yesterday, for example, we didn’t let her leave our sight but she still managed to make other children cry. We were all sat in the garden and the children (about 10 of them) were playing on the grass so they were no more than 12 ft away from us.
She said things to my cousin’s DD very slyly so we weren’t aware any drama was about to ensue.
Other than not taking her anywhere, I’m not sure how I can prevent her upsetting other kids. It’s so hard

MatildaTheCat Sun 18-Aug-19 10:05:56

How awful. She does sound very troubled. What have school actually done?

Is family therapy an option?

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:08:14

@Mypetsnails it can be anything from giving people dirty looks or ignoring them when they talk to her, right up to physical assaults. She pushed my DD’s friend down the stairs once.
When challenged she lies. She’ll say the other child is lying, it didn’t happen, the other child started it, she’s the victim etc.

It’s frustrating because a lot of the time it happens right in front of us so we’ve seen what she’s done but she’ll look you straight in the eye and lie.

OpheliaTodd Sun 18-Aug-19 10:08:44

Does she get punished?

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:11:59

@MatildaTheCat the school are a bit useless to be honest. Her mum is constantly on the phone to them accusing them of not protecting her and implying she’s a victim of bullying not the perpetrator.
The school rang DP just before the summer holidays because his DD had her mum convinced she was being bullied and her mum kept going in the complain. DP was told in no uncertain terms that it was in fact his DD that was the bully.

They’ve kept her in for break times and put her on their “thought bench” where the kids go to sit and reflect about their behaviour. That’s about it.

MollyButton Sun 18-Aug-19 10:12:38

I think she needs some kind of expert intervention. It does sound as though both your DP and his wife agree there is an issue? If so it makes things easier.
Family therapy could be a starting place, or even talking to the GP.
What did her old school say?

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:13:10

@OpheliaTodd yes. But it doesn’t seem to phase her. If anything she gets more angry as she perceives it as a sleight and the way she looks at DP with such anger when he does reign her in is quite terrifying.

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 18-Aug-19 10:14:47

Given the negative affect on your daughter, who should be your priority, and your DP’s inability to get her mum on side to tackle her behaviour properly (tricky) I’d stop them spending any time together. How old is your DD? Do you all live together? If you want to continue the relationship you can do so and just date so the DC aren’t involved. Sounds tough for your DP too but it’s getting to the point where you can’t socialise with other people who have DC because you know she can’t be trusted not to bully other people so drastic measures have to be taken.

OpheliaTodd Sun 18-Aug-19 10:15:32

She sounds horrible. If your DP is being really drippy about it I’d be telling him you’re rethinking the relationship.

lunar1 Sun 18-Aug-19 10:15:35

There is no way on earth my children would be living with someone who they were scared to be in a room with. The girl needs help, but sometimes you have to put your own first, they only get one childhood. For me it would be a case of Not my circus...

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:15:38

It does sound as though both your DP and his wife agree there is an issue

No DP’s Ex (not his wife) does not agree there’s an issue. Or at least if she does she hides it from us. If DP tries to talk to her mum about it she shouts and shuts the conversation down, or she’ll deflect and say “Well DD said it happened this way” even when she’s told DP witnessed it.

Can we take her to therapy in our time? I can’t see his Ex agreeing to it but can she stop it if DP takes her.

HalfDeadHousePlant Sun 18-Aug-19 10:15:46

Is she popular at school?

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:16:17

@lunar1 we don’t live together because of her behaviour. I wouldn’t do that to my children.

Mypetsnails Sun 18-Aug-19 10:17:14

I really feel for you. That sounds incredibly difficult. It sounds as though she's discovered at a very early age that she can more or less do what she wants, and there's only so much adults can or will do to correct her behaviour.

Have there been any traumas in her life - bereavements, that sort of thing?

It may be that when she goes to secondary school, she will learn to moderate her behaviour as she'll no longer be the big fish in the small pond. DH should be on the ball with the school regarding getting the school counseller to see her

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:18:02

@HalfDeadHousePlant no that’s the weird thing. Even with our friend’s children they’ll play with her and follow her around but then later on we’re told by the parents that she’s done this or said that and distressed their child.

If I’m honest I don’t think she’s well liked but the kids are scared of her because of how volatile she is. She’s very dominating and has a powerful personality. It’s hard to describe

Hithere12 Sun 18-Aug-19 10:18:36

Is she popular at school?

The bullies at my school were the “popular kids” so if she is that doesn’t change anything

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:18:51

Have there been any traumas in her life - bereavements, that sort of thing?
Her Nan died at Christmas time last year, but her behaviour far predates this

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 18-Aug-19 10:18:56

It’s good you don’t live together. You have to protect your own child OP. I wouldn’t have anyone in my home who I couldn’t trust to be around my children safely.

TrendyNorthLondonTeen Sun 18-Aug-19 10:19:10

"Is she popular at school?"

Just what I was thinking 🙄

IfYouWannaComeBack Sun 18-Aug-19 10:19:37

Has anyone seen Mean Girls? I honestly believe she’ll be like Regina George as a teenager

Nanny0gg Sun 18-Aug-19 10:20:01


The parents aren't on the same page. That's the problem!

OP, did this start after her parents split? Get your DP to look into his rights regarding getting her seen. School is in a difficult place with this.

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