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Step children lying... Modern Family difficulties

(140 Posts)
Harrisd Sun 30-Dec-12 13:53:40

My fiancée and I had a devastating row ruining what would otherwise was a great Xmas. We live together with her daughter (my stepdaughter) full time. She is 7. My daughter lives with her mother (8yrs old) and is with us most weekends and half of all holidays. My relationship with my stepdaughter is great. Very proud that she feels she can call me daddy. its not always easy of course but my fiancee and i have done our best to understand things as we have gone along and work together to ensure a happy loving home. We still have the odd disagreement over rolls and responsibilities etc. and mistakes have been made. neither of us sure sometimes of the best way to act.

Back to my Fiancée, she has worked very hard over the Xmas holidays to ensure that neither of our daughters feels outdone by the other (a common balancing act). In fact she is always conscious that the two feel equally loved. She often feels that this love is not reciprocated by my daughter in the someway I am loved by hers. My daughter was given a mobile phone as a gift. My fiancée was horrified to find a string of text messages on it to her maternal mother that were essentially lies indicating that she was having a terrible time for one reason and the next. It instantly broke my Fiancées heart. It's not the first time we have encountered this and my Fiancée feels gutted by this following all of the efforts made to ensure a special Xmas period. We both work very hard in our careers and work very hard at maintaining our "modern day" family. Heart breaking. I strongly told my daughter off ending by telling her I was extremely disappointed with her and that lies are never acceptable etc. I left her to sleep crying without even saying good night (this now breaks my heart as I think that this was a terrible way for me to react). Not knowing what to do or say about the situation to get under the skin of it all. I let my emotions rule my head. Now I'm completely distraught as I feel my whole family slipping away...

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 14:33:08

A new sibling

Harrisd Sun 30-Dec-12 14:33:20

Yes izzy I lived with my daughters mother but left when she was about 1yr old (7 years ago now). I have been with my Fiancée aprox 5 yrs. we got engaged this year. The girls have grown up together and consider each other sisters.

dequoisagitil Sun 30-Dec-12 14:36:11

I think you're trying to force it. Your dd's aren't sisters, your ex-wife isn't a maternal mother, she is her mum. It's niceif your step-dd wants to call you daddy, but your dd needs to be allowed her own feelings and to find her own way.

dequoisagitil Sun 30-Dec-12 14:37:02


Booyhoo Sun 30-Dec-12 14:37:13

"she couldn't wait to go home,"

how do you know this is untrue? these are feelings. you cant know how she is feeling. as i said she may just be teh sort of person who isn't relaxed untless she is at home. as a child i spent many of my weekends with my aunt and cousin. i loved it there, we had so much freedom to play out and were always spoiled, i was never told off or anything but i was still glad to be at home on sunday evening and be back in my own bed. i'm sure if i'd told my aunt i couldn't wait to be home she would be heartbroken that she hadn't given me a good time at her house but it really was just me needing to be in my own space.

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 14:37:31

Your fiancé was completely out of order for going through her phone and reading her texts. How dare she?

How does this build up a relationship of trust?

Also the querying on the measure of love children should show? Does she feel there should be a chart then, that your dd should try and work towards acceptable levels?? My ds might seem quite cold compared to other children who seem to tell people they love them after 3 minutes. He's not touchy feely, but rather a more private boy.

If your dd is telling her mum that she doesn't want to come, then listen to her issues and sort it out with her mother first. Not your fiancé.

I hope she feels better today, poor little thing. All that pressure to perform. She probably just wants her bedroom and a cuddle with her mum.

If they are struggling financially, why don't you help your dd more?

Booyhoo Sun 30-Dec-12 14:37:51

just because you're her father, it doesn't make your house her home.

badinage Sun 30-Dec-12 14:41:04

Your ex sounds a remarkable woman in her restraint, because I'd have been hopping mad if anyone had bought my 8 year old a blackberry and then invaded her privacy........but I wonder was that partially the rationale for such an inappropriate present?

Given that your ex sounds eminently reasonable, it's unlikely your daughter feels she has to pretend she doesn't enjoy your new family's company, so I'd take her views seriously. Maybe she simply doesn't enjoy being with you all and would prefer to be at home? She's entitled to her feelings and with some of the stuff you've been saying and doing, I can't honestly say I blame her.

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 14:45:58

op don't pm me with answers to questions. Just answer them here.

you have written this thread in a way that sounds like you are forcing your do and her dd on your child.

You make a point of calling her mum the maternal mother, she has not other mother. Why are you referring to her as that?

You made a point of call your dsd her sister then clarifying you were talking about your dsd. It all smacks of trying to hard and forcing something.

Your dd is either unhappy or doesn't want to hurt her mother. Since her mother seems reasonsable I would say its the former.

if she is unhappy, you need to find out why and change it.

Harrisd Sun 30-Dec-12 14:58:59

One key thing she has said to me in private more than once is "when I'm with you daddy I want to be with my mummy and when I'm with my mummy I want to be with my daddy." Something she has completely come out with from the blue.

Definitely sounds torn...

As for some other previous comments I am sure that she loves how our new family has developed. We have a family holiday away each year which she talks about all year long in eager anticipation. She has grown up for the most part alongside her half sister and is genuinely happy to introduce her as her sister. Something they have worked out for themselves. With technology these days I think it vital to police what children do on their smartphones as well as in front of a computer.

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 15:02:58

It is important to police the phone. But your partner did not need to read the messages. She could see they were to her mum and did not need to go further.

You seem very unwilling to answer questions. Like why did you and your dp fall out?

Why did she feel it was her place to read the messages she sent to her mum? Do you think your dd will feel happier knowing there is not privacy and she can't contact her mother without your dp reading the message?

badinage Sun 30-Dec-12 15:03:07

She shouldn't have a smartphone at 8 years old!! If you intended to 'police' her then you should have told her that was the deal. Instead, you let her think her messages were private and your fiancee snooped on her.

Of course she's torn.

It's possible she doesn't like your fiancee as much as you think she does and wishes you and her mum could be together instead. Perfectly normal in those circumstances.

dequoisagitil Sun 30-Dec-12 15:04:26

Completely natural for her to feel torn.

I hope you have talked to her and made her feel better since last night. Don't make too much of it.

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Dec-12 15:05:24

She's 7. I don't want to be rude but you and fiancée need to get a grip pronto. You sound like a pair of drama queens. She is a CHILD! I would have laughed it off and said to you "what a drama llama, have a chat with her will you and make sure there's no truth in it, can't stand to think she's unhappy". I have a 6 year old dd and it would not occur to me to be hurt by her saying something like this.

badinage Sun 30-Dec-12 15:07:40

I think you sound a bit clueless about even basic child psychology and it amazes me that your fiancee who has a 7-year old ever sanctioned buying a child of a similar age a smart-phone.

Unless it was to snoop on her.

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Dec-12 15:07:53

NOT that I'd have been snooping in the first place. That's YOUR job Dad!

Xales Sun 30-Dec-12 15:08:25

Your step daughter sees you every day.

Your DD sees your fiancee two days out of seven at weekends and half of holidays. She hasn't spent anywhere near the same time with your fiancee that your step daughter has with you. Add to that your DD is a completely different person to your step daughter.

She is not going to necessarily ever feel the same way about your fiancee as your step daughter does about you.

Does your DD ever get any time alone with you or does she have to share all the time?

As for she asked for a Blackberry so she got one! At eight!?!?!

HappyNewSkyebluesapphire Sun 30-Dec-12 15:08:42

Why do you say half sister? I thought there was no blood relation between them?

izzyizin Sun 30-Dec-12 15:11:24

I'm with cab too.

The problem here would seem to be your 'Fiancee' who, by virtue of the fact that she is not as yet married to you, is not your child's 'stepmother' any more than you are her dd's father, despite the fact that the child calls you 'daddy'.

What mission was your Fiancee on when she went through your dd's mobile phone, and what kind of callous arse are you to leave your dd crying herself to sleep after taking her to task because your Fiancee didn't like what she read about herself?

At 8yo your dd is no longer engaged in magical thinking. She is beginning to have a wider understanding about the world around her and she may be questioning situations she has previously taken for granted.

Have you stopped to think how your dd may feel about hearing another child call you daddy? Or how she feels about having to play the role of dd 'most weekends' and 'half of the holidays' to a woman who is not her mother?

How often does your dd get to spend quality time alone with you?

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 15:12:50

It could be that perhaps if you moved out when she was such a young age, then you don't really have as much of an inclusive family life for her as your DSD.

She turns up and plays a part time part in your full time family life IYSWIM.

Her family life might very different and then she's out of her comfort zone.

I'd hate to think of a 7 yr old girl lying awake at night feeling devastated for having emotions that she wanted to express.

What are you doing today to make it up to her op?

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 15:13:08

I found my old blackberry in s draw earlier today. Dd (8) asked if she could have it. I said no.

She has a basic mobile. That she carries with her when playing out with her friends or in their houses (neighbours) houses.

Yes i check messages occasionally. I see that the only person she has text is my mum, which tallys with how much i have put on the phone, so i know she is not deleting anything.

But she knew i would be checking her phone occasionally when i gave she got it. Its mums old phone. This was part of the agreement. As time goes on i check less often to show i trust her.

Binfullofgibletsonthe26th Sun 30-Dec-12 15:13:27

8 year old dd, sorry.

lunar1 Sun 30-Dec-12 15:18:20

You poor dd, I have been in her situations. She is a child she should be thinking about parties and toys.

Instead because you and her MUM have split up her family and she now has to worry about adult issues and emotions that she is too young to deal with.

It is good that you and her mum are now happy on your relationships but try to understand the impact it has on your child. Maybe she was miserable and wanted her mum, maybe she was trying to keep her mum happy only your dd knows.

Try to be a parent to your dd and address her needs rather than expecting her to fit into your idea of a perfect family.

As for leaving her to sleep crying, words fail me, that was a truly nasty thing to do and believe me she will never forgive or forget.

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 15:18:44

Sorry my point was that she at 8 I don't see the need for a smartphone. But that your decision. Your decision was to give her it.

Its not her fault for asking.

Something about this thread doesn't sit right. You and your dp seem to understand very little about children and seem a bit wrapped up in how wonderful your new family is.

i am sorry you are finding this difficult but I can't get over what you did to your dd because your dp snooped then didn't like what she read.

I also feel you are blaming your dd for ruining Christmas. Which she didn't. It was on incident, which was actually cause and blown out of proportion by you and your dp. It didn't ruin all Christmas. Also you say your 'whole family is slipping away'.

Your 'family' isn't very Sta le if this could cause it to split.

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Sun 30-Dec-12 15:19:06

Its very, very common for children to lie to their mum / dad about having a good time with their other family.

They worry about whether it will upset their mum to know they're having a good time without her. They think they are reassuring them that the only way they could have a good time is if they were with them.

Children do it for the best intentions, but there are times when it can back-fire, such as their mum getting cross that their child isn't being treated properly and in extreme cases it goes back to family court where it all comes out that there's been no mistreatment at all.

The children aren't really to blame though. They want to remain loyal to both of their parents, but lack the maturity to know that both parents want them to be happy.

Cut your DD some slack as she's very young. Talk to her about why she sent the texts and whether she did have a bad time or just didn't want to make her mum feel bad.

If you have a good relationship with your ex, speak to her about it as having her Mum reassure her that she is allowed to enjoy her time with you and doesn't need to tell her that its awful, it can save a lot of stress and heartache later.

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