Dad's giving up...(12 Posts)
My partner has a 5YO daughter from a previous relationship. He'll go days without eating so that he can afford to travel the 200 miles and take her out for the day.
I've had him on the verge of tears recently though regarding her behaviour. It would appear that her Mum is having trouble in her new relationship which could explain things, but I'm at a loss as to how to deal with this.
He's having major problems with her attitude at the minute and despite having worked intensively in mental health and adult wellbeing, he's struggling to deal with her at the minute. He's constantly describing her as spoilt, rude, argumentative... And he'll turn to me and say 'I just don't know what the point is' or 'I'm constantly telling her off so we don't enjoy our time together'. It's taking everything he has to maintain a relationship with his daughter but I need some advice on how to talk to him.
How do I respond to 'she's nothing like the child I would have raised'??
I could tell my son off constantly. He can be very difficult. I'm confident it's not the way I've raised him. There have been phases where we have to ignore a lot of low level unwanted behaviour and work at finding behaviour to praise. It can be done. Sometimes the more you tell off the worse it gets. And my son has not been through his parents separati ng. His daughter will have no concept at all of the sacrifices he is making for her.
Honestly it would put me off a man. He sounds weak and selfish. You say he goes without eating to see her but that's nothing if he's not supportive and patient and understanding.
What kind of trouble is the poor little thing having with her mum's new partner?
What kind of problems is mum having? Could these be troubling his dd.
He sounds resentful when surely he should be concerned.
If he has to travel so far could he not move closer? Who actually moved the mom or him?
Does be really go 'days without eating' do you live together?
Does he really not eat?
He's dealing with a 5 year old.
5 year olds cannot be compared to adults so the fact he works in mental health etc is irrelevant.
A 5 year old who not yet developed emotionally is dealing with seeing her father infrequently.
5 year olds are no angels. I suspect he, and you, may have unrealistic expectations as to how 5 year olds behave. They display their stresses and emotions in clumsy and usually pretty quite openly. He may have visions of wonderful weekends and expects his daughter to be a little angel and appreciate his efforts to travel etc. That's too much to expect I'm afraid.
I have a 4.5 and 6.5 year old. Yes sometimes I have to tell them off but a lot of the time they misbehave because they're tired/hungry/uncertain etc. They like to test the boundaries.
Parenting is hard work. You get good times and hard times.
What everyone else said. I was typing on a tablet before. It sounds like he expects his DD to be more grateful and appreciative of the sacrifices he is making. He needs to try and see the world from her point of view. She will absolutely not be grateful and appreciative of the fact her parents have split up (no matter how appropriate that decision was), she will not appreciate the new partner in her mum's life, the new partner in her dad's life, the changed relationship with her Dad where she sees him only occasionally. It is quite likely she blames herself for everything that has happened and desperately needs reassurance, but she will not understand this need or be able to explain it, so it will be communicated in her behavior. Her little world and everything she knows has changed beyond all recognition. She is depending on the adults in her life to help her get through this with compassion, endless patience and some insight into how she feels. Parenting can be relentless when it's going well! He needs to stop blaming his ex for his DD's behavior, however convenient that is, unless there is a lot more to this that we don't know. There is nothing in post that explains why it is the mother's fault.
He did realise that when he impregnated his ex he was signing up for parenting any child that might be the result of that conception- even if it turned out to be a child with severe behavioural difficulties, a severely disabled child or a child who simply had nothing in common with him?
'I just don't know what the point is' - the point is that he is to parent his child and help her as best he can
'I'm constantly telling her off so we don't enjoy our time together'- then he needs to find a way of making that time enjoyable, working around her bad behaviour and helping her to be the best she can because he is the parent. It's what parents do.
It sounds to me, as to all other posters, that he thinks the 5yo is responsible for making him enjoy their time together. She is 5. As others have said, she is reacting to the huge upheavals in her life. Besides, even if they were living together, there is no guarantee that she would not react to minor changes by behaving badly: that is what some young children do and that is why they need wise and selfless parents to deal with them patiently and calmly.
What KingLooie says is very wise. If your child is going through a difficult patch, for whatever reason, you need to manage things as an adult so that they are not being constantly told off, because once they start thinking of themselves as always bad, that is how they will behave.
She is only 5, and he is struggling that much with her behaviour? That is worrying. He needs to understand how young she is and that the behaviour is hardly her fault.
He sounds a bit of a drama llama TBH. Parenting is hard and he's only doing it very part time but he's making a big deal of it .
How long have you been seeing him and how is he otherwise ?
I'm guessing you don't live together ? do you both work ? I don't see how he can have a good job yet have to not eat for days to pay for a bus fare . That sounds very odd.
I know you mean well , but If I were you I woudl stay out of his ( very part time ) parenting issues and work out if he's the right man for you .
"How do I respond to 'she's nothing like the child I would have raised'??"
Errr.... run for the hills?
A man who disses his ex is a well known red flag. This is a man who disses his 5yo daughter instead.
If he genuinely goes for days without eating before his visits (I feel some inexplicable doubts creeping up here), then he is being a martyr, not the steady sensible father his little daughter needs.
She would be fine taken out to the local park as long as she doesn't have to go with a whining look-what-I-have-sacrificed-for-you-now-you-have-to-make-it-worthwhile wimp. If he martyrs himself over these visits it is because he chooses to do so. He wants people to feel sorry for him. And that might tell you something about your own future relationship.
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