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Dp constantly squabbling with dd, I don't know what to do

(36 Posts)
Paintinmyhair Thu 07-Jul-11 12:11:20

It has been getting worse and worse since dp and I met 2.5 years ago. Dp now lives with us, and does love dd, but is constantly squabbling and nit picking at her. Dd is 7, and is starting to dislike him. He is fine as long as I'm stressed and feeling shouty (so that he can then be good parent), but the rest of the time she can't do anything fast enough, well enough etc. He admits that it is because he forgets that she is only 7, but it is getting all of us down. If dd yells back at him he gets very immature, and regresses to a teen in his argument/"authority". We are due to get married soon, and don't know what to do to help him. He is a nice man, but is causing such friction.

ImperialBlether Thu 07-Jul-11 12:15:48

You can't possibly think of marrying him. You and he should live separately.

Your daughter deserves to live in a loving home where she's listened to and cared for. She is clearly unhappy with this man - who wouldn't be?

Please put her first.

Paintinmyhair Thu 07-Jul-11 12:19:58

There is no way we can't get married, that is not an option. Dd is happy, and they get on fine as long as he isn't having to get her to do something. I just need ways to stop him turning on her when he gets stressed. He doesn't have children, and hasn't been with us from the start, he just needs to learn that this is not how you parent (but won't listen to me, as i'm taking her side!!)

PurpleRayne Thu 07-Jul-11 12:24:12

Why would you marry a man who won't step up to the post and be willing to listen and learn about parenting your child in a positive way? You're not even half-way through raising your child, how will he cope with a teenager?

GypsyMoth Thu 07-Jul-11 12:28:14

So you would be happy to go out and leave her with him then? Yes? Or no?

Could he cope without shouting? What about as she gets older and starts pushing his boundaries further?

Paintinmyhair Thu 07-Jul-11 12:35:13

He doesn't shout at her when they are together alone. She comes back happy and relaxed. I'm not sure if he sees it as a power struggle between him and me, or if he feels that he has to be the strict one. He can relax with her and have fun, it is just if he feels that I think she should be getting dressed/eating something/not doing something. I ask her, then he asks her another 5 times, with more force each time, but not giving her time to act on it, and then has a go at me for not raising her properly. Then when I point out that my way works better the majority of the time he flips back out of it and calms down again.

Basically we need our parenting styles to meet somewhere, but don't know who to see or where to go to achieve this. I don't feel that leaving him for something that could possibly be altered is the way forwards. Admittedly, if we get help and he stubbornly refuses to change that is a different issue, but his father died when he was very young, and mine left when I was a baby, so neither of us know what a father is supposed to do!

CrapolaDeVille Thu 07-Jul-11 12:36:42

You should tell your DP to clear out. She's your daughter and you're letting an adult bully her in her own home, ffs.

GypsyMoth Thu 07-Jul-11 12:37:47

I would re think marriage plans tbh!!

CrapolaDeVille Thu 07-Jul-11 12:38:02

SHE is not his daughter, it's a no brainer surely. You have a daughter your partner picks on her and criticises your parenting skills....tell him to fuck off.

Of course you can not get married FFS. You need to be very firm with this man and put him in his place: he is not the boss/owner of the household and everyone in it, and if he can't treat your DD with courtesy and respect he should fuck off out of your lives.

ThursdayNext Thu 07-Jul-11 12:40:45

Paintinmyhair, does he know many other children? Does he have unreasonable expectations of normal behaviour for this age do you think?

campingshop Thu 07-Jul-11 12:44:03

If he behaves as you have described then he doesnt love her, however much you would like to believe he does.

How awful for your dd to have to live with this man. He's not a 'nice man' he sounds like a bully and I don't believe that the situation would get better if you were to get married, if anything he will get worse and your dd can't even escape from him to the safety of her own home. FWIW I don't think you should marry him. You need to put you dd first rather than doing what you would like.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 07-Jul-11 12:49:12

Paint,

You will perhaps fracture your mother/daughter relationship beyond repair if you marry this man. You run the risk of putting him before her.

Your parenting styles are diametrically opposed; how will marrying this man change anything?. He will never meet you anywhere near half way on this because he does not want to. Its his way or no way as far as he is concerned.

What do you mean too by this comment:-
"There is no way we can't get married, that is not an option"

Paintinmyhair Thu 07-Jul-11 12:57:14

I cannot financially or emotionally manage another break up at this point in my life, and I do not believe that dd could either. It would be of greater detriment to dd if I left him now than if I didn't, and she needs a stable mother!

Of course you are all going to think he is some vile ogre, because I am posting about the problems we are having. However, the majority of the time he is with her he is calm, attentive and loving towards her, and has brought her on in leaps and bounds with regards to trusting men.

I think it could be possible to get some form of counselling or parenting classes to help dp in this situation, and was wondering how I would go about looking for them. I don't feel that leaving him will solve anything, and the cycle wil continue. Definitely in his life and probably in mine. If I can look into options to help us as a family then we can re-assess once we have tried them, and see if this is a deep-running problem, or a matter of him not knowing how to assert his parental authority.

First, tell him you are looking into parenting classes for the whole family as the current set up is not working. If he resists or blames you, dump him as this will show that he is not a decent man who struggles to parent well, but a selfish bully who thinks women are objects to be owned and controlled.

buzzsore Thu 07-Jul-11 13:06:39

OK, phone Parentline Plus on 0808 800 2222 to enquire about parenting classes.

Consider postponing marriage until this issue is sorted out, as you said in your OP that your dd is starting to dislike him. That will not improve if this is not sorted.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 07-Jul-11 13:07:32

"I think it could be possible to get some form of counselling or parenting classes to help dp in this situation, and was wondering how I would go about looking for them. I don't feel that leaving him will solve anything, and the cycle wil continue".

Yes but does he see this as a problem anyway?. Purely from what you have written he does not. I don't think you will ever have any coming together on this issue.

You are right in one respect; this issue is at heart about power and control.

Also why have you assumed the full mantle of responsibility for this; what is he exactly doing?.

You could go through another break up; problem is as well now you do not want to.

You have a choice re this man; your daughter does not.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 07-Jul-11 13:09:02

I would also agree with parenting classes; my guess is that he'll baulk at the very idea of attending such sessions.

Why has he not suggested this before?.

niceguy2 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:17:28

Jeez, another one where the MN massiv wade in with "dump the bastard!" It's a miracle there's anyone who is married and I have this theory that those posters have Moodle's as husbands.

Look, at the end of the day, being a stepparent is a god awful job for which you get all the responsibility yet virtually no power. In your case it's probably even worse because I'm guessing that your DP doesn't have kids of his own so in which case he's absolutely no reference point.

Does your DD see her bio-dad at all?

Would perhaps asking your DP not to discipline for a little while and to defer to you may help? What I mean is, right now it's more important in my mind to ensure there's a good bond between them. If shouting at her for things like getting dressed, not eating dinner etc is putting that bond at risk then frankly you have bigger fish to fry.

Ask him if he thinks he'd benefit from parenting classes? There are a couple of books on Amazon which might help him understand his role as a stepparent.

HerHissyness Thu 07-Jul-11 13:19:31

WTF do you mean by this?

"There is no way we can't get married, that is not an option!

Don't be so idiotic! You seem to think you have no options at all in life. Your P is picking on your DD, why on earth do you think she's lacking in stability?

Perhaps because YOU are putting your life and your flaming P above her!

Grow some nuts and stand up to your P, tell him he's on a warning and that the Wedding WILL be called off if he can't treat EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE with some respect.

Stop making excuses and get responsible, for yourself, for your DD. Your P is responsible for himself. ONLY IF P sorts himself out THEN you marry him.

He's defective as it stands at the moment, he's not cut out for parenthood and you have lumped him into your poor DD's life.

pickgo Thu 07-Jul-11 13:24:54

I just need ways to stop him turning on her when he gets stressed.

I'm struggling to understand your attitude here Paint.

Why is this something YOU need to do? You can't change his behaviour only he can do that.

If someone were turning on my daughter I would not allow them to be near her, let alone plan to marry them. Your first duty is to protect your DD not put your own feelings first.

And, am I being dense? You say you cannot manage another break up but think how much worse it will be if you marry when you already know there are fundamental problems and then break up.

You sound like you are making a series of excuses for this man. But his being the 'good' parent to your shouty one really worries me. A true friend would be concerned you were stressed not take the opportunity to use you to make himself look the good parent.

loubie1967 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:27:34

I think how to bring up children is one of the biggest areas of disagreement in many relationships. Will your DP discuss it calmly when there's been no recent disagreements? To be fair to your DP he came on the scene relatively recently and the whole process of learning to be a parent has been foisted on him, it must be hard to adapt.

In many long standing marriages how to raise children can be a huge source of friction - you're not alone.

Paintinmyhair Thu 07-Jul-11 13:29:31

I have caught him secretly googling "Supernanny", and "please help step-parenting" so he is struggling, and he really does care about this, but is struggling to not revert to his previous behaviour, as he doesn't know what to do instead.

I've sent him a few links to some parenting classes starting in September, and he has chosen one! Yippee!

I think the problem started in that he didn't discipline at all until he moved in with us in January. It was all my role, I preferred to see the two of them bonding together like Jam and butter, with me being the toast underneath catching all the drips. However, once the reality of living with an only child, who has been rather over-lavished with love and attention from me to make up for the guilt surrounding her bio-dad walking out, the reality hit home, and he felt that she was too spoilt.

He has come from a very different home from mine, in which his mum worked all hours, his father was very ill, and he made the meals for the family from the age of 11. He was very well cared for and very loved, but the reality was different. So yes, he gets v frustrated that she doesn't lay the table without being asked, and doesn't yet know how to tie her shoelaces (but can tie his together when he tells her how to do it!) and that she freaks out when trying to ride her bike without stabilizers instead of just getting on with it, but that is more my fault than hers, as I haven't brought her up to lay the table for each meal. It is me, not her.

So yes, in a nutshell I think it is more that he needs to see that there are other lives outside the one he grew up in, and parenting classes can help uproot whatever deep-set feelings are there from his childhood that are making his act this way. His mum was not overly strict, in fact my parents were much worse, and he knows it isn't the way forward, but doesn't know what to do.

pickgo Thu 07-Jul-11 13:30:55

Loubie
If he or OP think this step-parenting has been foisted on him, rather than chosen, ie if they think the DD a nuisance and not ideal that she is there, then the whole thing is doomed anyway.

It will only work if the P feels he is privileged to be invloved and willing to -work at being a step dad.

oldwomaninashoe Thu 07-Jul-11 13:32:49

I feel a bit sorry for him tbh, my eldest DS had similar problems when he was with a lady who had two children. My advice to him was back-off do not have anything to say/discipline them when she is there, if she has left you in charge that is a different matter.
It is a huge period of adjustment for the OP her DP and her daughter. I think that they need to play this by ear and for the time being leave all the disciplining down to Mum, unless he has sole charge. If (as according to the OP) there are no other problems apart from this in the relationship I don't see the need for them to "split" ,but I do think that the OP needs to insist that she does the disciplining alone for the time being.

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