should I teach DD how to 'handle' her father? (sorry, bit long)(10 Posts)
EXP is a total arse
but I've never said a bad word against him in front of the DCs but 11yo DD is starting to have problems with him
at the weekend he wanted to take them out for McDonalds, dd2 happy to go, dd1 not hungry and said no thank you (according to her, she may well have been whiney, I wasn't there, I don't know but this is the version according to her)
so he said -your bloody ungrateful, you get nothing
she said fine as she wasn't hungry -it was about 4pm, 2 hours before the usual meal time
he took DD2 out and left DD1 with her grandparents
then thought he would appease her by asking her sister what cake she liked, dd2 told him one that she liked but her DD1 doesn't
EXP took cake home, DD1 told him she didn't like them
I get a text asking me if she liked the cake, I said I'd never seen her eat one
I then got a text about an hour later saying she had decided to eat it (why he texts me when it's his contact weekend is beyond me)
dd has now told me that he ranted at her for saying no, calling her a spoilt ungrateful little girl so she ate it so he stopped having a go at her
he then barely spoke to her for the rest of the evening so she went and spent time with her grandparents
the way to handle him is to do everything he says without question -I did that for years, didn't do myself any favours
her not having contact with him is not an option and she generally looks forward to going to see him so I wouldn't want to stop contact on a one off argument anyway
she doesn't want me to talk to him as she feels he won't listen
what do I do?
the way to handle him is to do everything he says without question Is that really what you believe and what you want to teach your DD?
When someone is controlling, the last thing you want to do is obey meekly just to keep the peace. Your DD sounds like she knows her own mind. Please don't tell her she needs to do as her father says just to keep him happy. He must learn that she is an individual and has choices and he needs to respect that. She needs to be able tell him what she wants to do with confidence, not fear, and there's no way she should be bullied into doing something she's not happy with.
Are her grandparents always around when your DDs are with him? Can they back her up at all?
no I don't want to teach her that -which is why I said it didn't do me any favours
her grandparents are aroun about 50% of the time they are with him but they keep out of it and won't stand up to him
she's 11, she can whine (can't they all) they are very similar in that they both set up expectations and if something doesn't work out exactly as they imagine it then they get upset
I recognise this in dd and manage her expectations when she is with me and she's alot better
EXP recognises this trait in himself but not in her
he also doesn't see that she is growing up and what was a massive treat when she was 7 is really rather boring now
I think it's a difficult situation, and can only suggest that when I found myself in similar with DCs and ex that I had to take a step back and explain to them that I could not do anything about things that happened at Dad's house. There were various situations that cropped up (particularly with DS1) when they were 11 ish that they were unhappy about and all I could do was to say 'this is the way Dad/the situation is. You have to decide whether you are going to go stay there at a weekend and put up with it - or whether you would rather not go. I cannot make your father do anything.
BGCWAKKT - what you say makes perfect sense, but to a child that is frightened of her parent it will not make sense, to a child that doesn't know if she causes a fuss whether her father will end there relationship she will keep quite and do as he says.
TBH op i doubt your dd will continue to look forward to her weekends with her father - if he keeps acting in this way then she will seek solice with her grandparents and that is probably the best thing she can do.
I would also let her know that her fathers behaviour and stress it is his behaviour and not him you are critising - it is wrong to be controlling and it is not the way a person should behave. You can say this over and again without being nasty but matter of fact it is not the way to behave but for some unknown reason he does and it spoils things, which is after all the truth about his behaviour
No I should not think it was a good idea to teach her to just do things to appease him. You don't want her to grow up thinking this is ok in any relationship. tbh I think you need to stay out of their relationship, it will make or break on its own merits. Other than teaching her generic social behaviour, like saying it is ok to tell people how you feel and to put down boundaries.
No PLEASE don't teach her how to keep the peace - she's just forming her base for romantic relationships and if you tell her this it implies that (a) her dad's way of acting towards her is okay, "just the way he is", ie this is an acceptable way for some people to behave, (b) that people (men) like her dad can be "managed", and (c) that it's a valid choice to accept treatment like this in exchange for a nice relationship some of the time.
Come on - you really don't want her to learn this stuff when she's likely to start dating herself in the next few years, or next thing you know she'll find some "damaged" boy who she thinks she can "manage" and you'll be watching history repeat itself
I would actually be quite angry about it to her, sort of on-her-side anger, "I can't believe he did that, how thoughtless of him." and encouraging her to think about the way it makes her feel, "I bet that made you feel like he wasn't listening to you at all." It's tricky then because you don't want to go down the road of "Your dad is a nasty person" but you also don't want to paint his behaviour as okay. Steer clear of joking or commiserating about "men" in general too - again this is unhelpful because it just reinforces that view that all men are like [her dad]. Ivykaty has some good advice.
I don't know what sort of an arse your ex is, but I wanted to give you a word of caution.
My ex is also an arse, but he's an abusive one. My DD (also 11) had the same type of problems as yours with him. I adopted the approach that Bertie advocates above, and also let DD know that if she wanted to stop visiting her dad then she didn't have to, but she chose to carry on with the contact. He ended up assaulting her when she stood her ground and he felt she challenged him too much. She now has no contact with him.
With hindsight I wish I had put my foot down and stopped the contact when she first complained, before the assault happened. On the other hand I never thought he would do something like that. He had never been in any way violent towards her until then.
It's a very difficult situation to be in and I really feel for you. Good luck with it all.
he was EA with me but never violent
he is sulky with her and I knew this was going to happen at some point, I just didn't expect it to be yet
I used to excuse his behaviour on the basis that when he was nice I loved being with him
I don't want her to go the same way -walking on eggshells etc but then I also don't want to immeadiately say to her to give up the relationship with her father -the man she still calls daddy
My ex was EA too, but he was also violent with me. He had started being EA with DD about a year before the assault, when she started being more assertive with him.
Hopefully your ex will never be violent to your DD. I think letting her know that you don't agree with the way her father treats her is the right thing to do, as is letting her know that she doesn't have to have contact with him if things become unbearable. Has she got her own phone? If not I'd let her have one so that she can call you if necessary.
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