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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...

Harrisd Sun 30-Dec-12 15:19:34

We fell out because my DP fell out with my mother some time ago following some lies my dd had told their. My mother then called my dd mother leaving my partner feeling like everyone was against her. This was the last time we encountered the lying. My Fiancée was very distressed by it all then ( think it was early part of this year). We were both astounded to see a repeat. I reacted badly which put me in a really bad state of mind. My fiancée was very upset. Instead of leaving it alone I essentially launched an offensive about why she was ignoring me ( she was simply trying to chill) and didn't let it go. That then sparked off conversation about the previous episode etc and "everything/anything else" in our lives that isn't up to scratch. Snowball effect!

I guess after the impact of the last time she felt the need to check the phone just in case as well as making sure we know who she is texting with (she keeps an eye on her dd phone as well).

Yes, I think she finds it stressful having separated parents. I do strongly believe she is happy with her other life with me. She is happy that she has a much larger family that it brings e.g. Many more cousins, another grandma and grandad ( who she loves to visit) etc.

By the way, I do pay my way with regard to maintenance. In excess of the standard rate ( someone kindly mentioned that somewhere here). Not why I had posted this discussion though...

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Dec-12 15:20:50

I think it sounds like your dd isn't toeing The Perfect Blended Family line that you and fiancée are striving for. I tell you now if you left MY dd crying herself to sleep over something as petty as this, Father or not I would have some pretty strong words on the matter. I am quite sad at this thread actually.

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Sun 30-Dec-12 15:22:15

As for some of the posts on here - step-mums really can't win can they?

If they do their best to treat a step-child like their own then they are getting above themselves and trying to take over their mum's role. If they don't do their best to treat a step child as their own, they are rejecting their step child and behaving badly against them.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I am eternally grateful that my DSD is now an adult, so I don't have to deal with these blatant double standards any more. They help no one.

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Dec-12 15:23:12

In light of your most recent post I stand by my opinion of you two being a pair of Drama Queens.

I also think your fiancée sounds quite manipulative actually.

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 15:25:30

guess after the impact of the last time she felt the need to check the phone just in case as well as making sure we know who she is texting with

So your intention when giving her the phone was to able to see if she was lying? You set her up?

Your dd did not cause the argument with your mother. You, your dp and mother could have all acted like adults.

there is so much drama here its unreal. Without bring rude, your dp needs to get a grip.

Also ignoring someone isn't chilling out. Saying 'pleadse can we leave the situation for now and discuss it later, so I can chill out.' is chilling out.

The overall impression your thread gives is that your dps emotions rule the house and you react to her, giving her priority. That's not how it should be

It was me. You mentioned that her mother struggles financially, and I asked if there was anything more you could do to support her.

I wasn't asking for financial details of your parental payments.

But perhaps it makes her feel even more imbalanced between families to see another girl not even related to you, calling you daddy and living in relative comfort comparatively.

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 15:28:24

keema I don't believe the SM is doing everything she can.

I believe the op thinks she is. But his posts reveal something different. IMO

CalamityKate Sun 30-Dec-12 15:30:26

I'm getting the impression that the OP's fiancée is very clever; far cleverer than the OP.

That poor little girl.

badinage Sun 30-Dec-12 15:31:07

The 7 year old has got a phone as well? shock

I don't think anyone is having a go at step-mums. Just those who are bonkers enough to give 7 and 8 year-olds phones, invade their privacy without prior warning, demand motherly love and create two unnecessary dramas in the space of a year about absolutely normal childlike behaviour.....

badinage Sun 30-Dec-12 15:32:33

Just as I suspected in my first post, the phone was bought to spy.....

houseelfdobby Sun 30-Dec-12 15:32:34

THis thread is making me so sad. Your DD is 7 or 8 and in the midst of an complicated family situation. Please don't expect too much from her: it's great that you and your DP are doing your best to be good parents to your DD, but that does not ENTITLE you to a perfect child in return. Children are a blessing and a responsibility, they are not a right. Keep trying - it sounds like you have done pretty well - but don't start blaming your DD for mistakes. I agree that you should not be snooping on her communications with her own mother. That would be a breach of anyone's rights but even more so a young child whose main carer is their mother and with whom they should be able to discuss anything. It's great that you and your exW still have a good open line of communication and that is where this sort of problem should be sorted out - not at the level of leaving a little girl to cry herself to sleep over CHristmas. I am afraid that you and your fiancee indeed have to be the adults here and "suck it up" a little. Sorry.

akaemma I am one of the most outspoken posters on here and I am a stepmum of 3 teens from a hellish situation. I don't think anyone is taking the generalised anti stepmum line here really.

Firstly, she isn't a step mum. Secondly, everything seems very forced here.

If my dh caught the kids lying, it would be up to him to sort it, with his ex wife. I would only get involved if first wife needed to talk to me, get feedback establish ground rules etc

Why was she falling out with people who aren't even family yet?

If everything then snowballed into a massive argument she is obviously storing up unhappiness and applying a thick layer of happy family varnish over the top.

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Dec-12 15:35:24

<<sigh>> OP do you not think it a bit strange that your fiancée is managing to have rows, be hurt by and generally fall out with all the important females in your life? Sounds to me like there's only room for her and her dd in your life.

Sorry that was meant to be addressed to keema not akaemma

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Dec-12 15:39:43

I didn't call her a stepmum binful confused.

Think you might have the wrong poster.

akaemmafrost Sun 30-Dec-12 15:39:57

Cross post smile

Too many keemas!

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 15:41:23

Also op your dp may read her dds messages. That does not the right to read, in full, the messages between your dd and her mum.

If anyone should be checking the phone, it should be you and even then there is no need to read the messages.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 30-Dec-12 16:37:42

I hate the forced nature in all this. The DD of the fiancée calling the OP Daddy, when he is NOT. The calling of children Stepchildren and sisters and worse half-sisters, when they are none of these things. I'll ignore maternal mother as a term, because enough has been said already. Suffice to say OP, you make my blood bubble.

Your 8/7 yos ask for things and just get them?
My 7 yo would have a list of stuff a mile long, I'm not dumb enough to actually get it for him! I have every confidence in my abilities as a parent, and am not as depserate to look the good guy all the time as you pair seem to be. I'm hos mother, the only useful parent he has, it's not my job to make him like me, it's my job to raise him to understand life, and what it costs, what things when, and how to grow, develop and learn. I don't have much, but I'm not stupid enough to give my boy a phone. That's idiotic!

You and your fiancée sound about the most desperate people there are. Your girlfriend's DD too, as she is calling you daddy. You shouldn't have encouraged that, not when you have a DD of your own.

She, YOUR DAUGHTER, the ONLY one YOU have is being edged out, watching another child call you Daddy, and her life/contact with you interrupted by your cuckoo fiancée and her insecure DD.

Your fiancée is causing ructions with every female in your life, and you are blindly falling for the lot of it.

If you have to police phones at such a ridiculous age, then it's too young for them to have them. Remove the phones from the pair of them until they are at secondary school like most normal parents do.

Speak to your DD's mother, did she agree to this phone? If she wasn't consulted and isn't in favour then you ALL need to explain to your DC that a mistake was made, that all phones will be sold, the money given to them for an appropriate toy of their choice, and that is that. It's not about messages, lies, trust or anything, it's about appropriate gifts.

Who would be financing that phone btw? The mother that's struggling already? That's grossly unfair. If you have cash to finance that phone fully, then give it to your DD's mother, or put it in an ISA for her future. No child under 11 needs a phone.

izzyizin Sun 30-Dec-12 16:45:39

Applauds Hissy.

I'm not sorry to say that you and your precious 'Fiancee' make my blood boil too.

You can have, and maybe will have, multiple 'Fiancees' in the course of your life but, at the present time, you only have one daughter that you seem to be doing your level best to alienate.

Mintberry Sun 30-Dec-12 17:03:18

Hissle, I agree with the first half of your post, but your attack on OP's DSD as one of the 'most desperate people out there' and 'insecure' is totally unnecessary. She is just 7, even younger than the DD, ffs!
There's nothing wrong with her having a good relationship with her step dad (this is a pretty rare blessing, IME), as long as OP's DD doesn't feel left out, and it sounds like that is what he needs to work on.

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 17:04:55

I still don't get what 'maternal mother' means.

People say 'maternal grandparents' to show they are the grandparents from the mothers side. But the dd only has one mum, her mum.

Is the op implying his do is also his dds mum and is trying to distinguish between them.

If so op when/ if you get married your do would be her stepmother and her mum is her mum. calling her 'maternal mother', to me, implies you feel your do is as much your dds mother as her actual mum.

Where is your partners dds dad?

yohohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 17:06:36

where its says do please read dp.

Damn autocorrect. angry

Writehand Sun 30-Dec-12 17:10:50

Harrisd, I feel you're getting more slightly hostile messages than you deserve. You did two silly things - giving a small child a Blackberry and spying on her texts. If you read things you didn't like you have only yourself to blame. Apart from that it's clear that both you and your DF are doing everything you can to make your DD feel at home and loved at your house.

How lucky you are to have your DD for Christmas! My husband only got his DD over Christmas once, which ironically is the one that stands out in my DSD's mind as her best Christmas ever, largely because no one at our house got drunk & there weren't any rows.

Your SD is calling you Daddy. That's a huge thing for both children, however hard you try to make things OK. Children can be very scared of abandonment, that you might prefer another child. There's almost certain to be jealousy and insecurity.

It seems only too understandable that your DD would txt her mum saying she wasn't enjoying herself. Think of the pressure the poor child must be under! It's horrible.

If she tells her mum she's having a great time, how would that be received? She must know her mum's missing her, wants to be reassured she'd rather be at home with her. How would your ex have reacted to hearing your DD was having her best ever Christmas? Exactly.

Your fiancee's feelings are pretty irrelevant, just as mine were when my DSD was young. We adults have to suck it up. Doesn't matter how much effort she put in, your DD is certain to have very mixed feelings about the situation. Jealousy, insecurity, pressure from you two, pressure from her mum, and the unknown quantity which is her relationship with your DSD. Them being the same age doesn't help, I'd guess.

As a long time happy SM, all I can say is apologise, keep cuddling, and grit your teeth. Establishing a good stepfamily takes time & loyalty above all other things. As the years pass children - and adults - learn to trust, if the new family is trustworthy. It's not easy, but it's immensely worthwhile.

YellowTulips Sun 30-Dec-12 17:12:28

I don't think your daughter is the problem here. You and your DF seem to be idolising an idea of a "perfect" blended family and in doing so are trying to emulate an ideal that doesn't even exist in families without the complex dynamics and relationships you are asking 7/8 year old girls to navigate.

You don't mention DSD's father, but it sounds like he is not in the picture as it were.

It's good you have a positive relationship with DSD but you and DF can't have ANY expection that your DD will (or should) be expected to feel the same way about DF when her own mother is a very important part of her life and with whom she spends the majority of the time.

It seems you and your DF are striving so hard for equality in your family you are failing to appreciate that what is key to making a blended family work is understanding the differences between these often complex relationships.

My guess is that your DD may well be unhappy. She has a sister, who isn't her sister, who calls her father "Dad", her fathers partner (not yet even officially her step mum) trying to be her mother in the midst of a family who are desperately trying to "play" at normalising the perfect 2 adults, 2 kids set up - topped up with inappropriate gifts and quite frankly a total breech of privacy wrt texts to her mother.

She must be exhausted in your company I would imagine, like acting in the perfect family play. Her texts are telling. Why would she say these things? I think she is quite simply reacting the way you have taught her - to lie about the nature of relationships in your home.

So, I think you and DF need to back off. You should treat her communication with her mother as private. Get over this silly notion that all relationships in your family are on an equal emotional footing and stop buying bloody stupid "guilt" presents that are totally age inappropriate.

I know (as a step mum) its hard and for what it's worth I think you are motivated to do the right thing, but you need to think about how to achieve this in a far more constructive way than you are doing now.

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