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Relationship deteriorating with SD

(9 Posts)
MagnoliaMum Tue 22-Jan-13 10:34:26

Whilst looking for advice/help with my situation, coming to this point is proving quite therapeutic and unburdening ..... I will keep it brief:

My DH and I have had a wonderful relationship for the past four years, we have two children each who have readily accepted our relationship and our 'new' family blossomed. My SD's visited regularly and eighteen months ago the youngest SD (now 18) decided that she wanted to come and live with us, having spent every holiday and every other weekend with us this was like the next step.

Up to this point we had had a great relationship, however, the last eighteen months has been so difficult. We had much drama about A levels, choices, studies, wanting to be a different - fun (her words) person. All of which are understandable from any teenager (my DS and DD are 16 and 15). The children all came on honeymoon and we had a fantastic time but on the last night SD was in tears and DH spent the evening trying to find out what was wrong.

We found out on NYE when SD had a couple of glasses of wine, SD had a huge crush on my DS and had been pursuing him for the past two years (we had previously known and she had promised that she wouldn't pursue him anymore). She had tried to discuss it with him on the last night of honeymoon but he said it was silly!. SD said that she had moved in with us to be nearer to him. I supported her through dealing with this, I spoke to DH as I felt a bit 'used' and we continued on. Another approach was made and the whole thing blew up again but again we dealt with it and carried on. SD was angry with me for telling DH but we have no secrets and as parents we had to deal with this together.

SD's mantra has always been that 'she has never been told off' and she cannot deal with being reprimanded so the above did not go down well and she was a bit off for a few weeks.

In the summer she met a boyfriend (her first), we had a night away and as she had only known him a week or two we said that we didn't want him to come over when she was on her own as we wanted to get to know him first (SD is quite immature). However, before we went to dinner that evening, we phoned home and heard him in the background, DH was worried all evening and phoned home a couple of times to make sure she was ok.

We returned home and spoke with her about this act of defiance (lack of respect) and she ignored us both for four days, then had to speak with DH about something so thawed a bit toward him but continued to deliver the 'silent treatment' to me for seven weeks. I found this really hard and tried to speak with her but she just ignored me. She is now churlish towards me, speaks to me when she wants something but on the whole gives me the cold shoulder.

Over Christmas I found this harder and harder to deal with and said to DH that something had to be done as the situation was depressing me. We tried to talk to her but her sanctimonious excuse was that she had been worried about her exams and is just quiet, although when DH comes home she skips down the stairs to talk to him.

I would not expect this behaviour from my children and would be able to confront them about it but not SD, she has fallen out with many friends as, if they say something she doesn't agree with she just stops speaking to them (five friends that I have known of in the past two years!)

She doesn't say thank you for her lunches - just says 'is this mine' and this morning just walked out the door without saying goodbye (which is becoming more commonplace and just plain rude). I feel like ceasing doing chores like making her school lunches, sorting through and doing her washing etc but I know this is pathetic but it would make me feel better!!

Is there anything I can do or do I soldier on and just manage the situation (she is going to stay at home for Uni as she doesnt want to leave her boyfriend). Her mother told us she was difficult to live with ...

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Jan-13 10:43:13

She's an adult but as you say, immature. You're going to have to start treating her like one which means boyfriends stay over occasionally etc. But, at the same time, the responsibilities of adulthood should be part of the bargain. Things like paying rent & utilitiy billsfor example, preparing her own food and doing her own laundry.... all quite normal things that uni students would expect to do if they live away from home, after all. Prepare the ground, tell her she is now an adult but then hand her the awful truth of what that actually means in practise smile You may find that halls of residence suddenly look a lot more attractive.

DIYapprentice Tue 22-Jan-13 10:46:45

No I don't think it would be pathetic to stop making her school lunches etc. You deserve an apology, and until you get one from her you should stop making her life so damn easy. Your DH should also be having stern words with her. This is your home too, and she should not be getting away with treating you with such little respect.

She needs very firm boundaries, and when she steps out of line very clear consequences. Until she apologises to you and starts talking to you in a civil manner, she shouldn't get the benefits of a loving and kind step mother. She's 18, not 8, and isn't it about time she started facing the consequences of acting like a child??!!

dequoisagitil Tue 22-Jan-13 10:51:37

I think it's more than reasonable to stop making her packed lunches etc. In fact you should stop for your other dc as well: they're all old enough to be doing their own packed lunches & washing. Stop doing it for everyone and no-one can claim favouritism grin.

You should be able to expect a basic level of courtesy, but she is an adult and you need to give her responsibility for herself, (while being there to pick up the pieces). It's going to be rough sometimes.

MagnoliaMum Tue 22-Jan-13 10:55:07

Thank you for responding, it is such a relief to be talking about this. DH is going to speak with her tonight as he says that she is not acting how he has brought her up, but I am not looking forward to the potential fallout.

With regard to adult responsibilities, we have provided her with a car but she pays for the petrol but I do think giving her adult responsibilities is sensible (my Mum did it to me and it was great practice for my own home). She will see it as being victimised against but I need to be strong and hold in there.

I am sometimes my own worse enemy as I love a harmonious household (we had a rough ride with ex), the children love DH and we are a great team, but they are now seeing the behaviour displayed toward me and DS is becoming quite annoyed with the rudeness of SD.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 22-Jan-13 11:12:19

Adult responsibilities ... provided you are consistent with the subsequent children... are important. Work is another area you can push. Even A-level students can do some weekend or evening work to pay for car insurance etc. There's a whole summer coming up before uni so prepare the ground that you'll be expecting rent starting June/July... no lollygagging around the house doing nothing for madam. You can make this as tough or as generous as you like but I think it's a good thing to set the expectations now, let her stamp about the 'victimisation' for a bit, and get used to the idea. smile

I've already told DS (12yo) that when he turns 18 I shall be expecting a contribution to the household. <evil mother emoticon>

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 22-Jan-13 12:06:48

Had you not told us your SD is 18 I would have thought she was behaving more like someone at least 3 or 4 years' younger - more, since girls are generally quicker to mature than boys.

Your children are younger so she can't grumble about them being shown 'favoured child(ren)' status. Gradual easing into adult responsibilities is no bad thing. She's clever enough to know there are consequences for actions. She has tried to wield what power she has by bestowing smiles on Daddy and sulks on you. Whilst it's not mandatory to have a sunny disposition 24/7, I think courtesy and good manners are the least one can expect.

Things teens take for granted like mobile phones, car insurance and MOT, ready access to food and drink and gallons of hot water, let alone a free ride to wherever the family holiday destination might be, start to stack up. Without making her feel unwelcome I think a reality check might be in order. Before she starts uni, there'll have to be a discussion about budget. I'm not saying you can buy her love or that to have goodies she has to earn them. Whatever the upset over her crush on DS, that time has gone, she's flexing her muscles now. Time for you and Dad to push back. She'll have finished her exams and be facing a long summer break. Any talk of a summer job? Voluntary work?

..she is going to stay at home for Uni as she doesnt want to leave her boyfriend). Her mother told us she was difficult to live with ...
There is staying at home and there is living in her home town. Does she have to remain under your roof?

MagnoliaMum Tue 22-Jan-13 12:22:35

SD started a part time job just after her 18th when we reminded her that the allowance was due to cease, a rule which we are applying to them all.

We have said to them all that if they go to Uni but stay at home they will have to pay housekeeping and would be expected to keep their part-time jobs as they will not have the food buying/cooking/etc time that their eldest has being away at Univ. SD was a bit shocked.

SD's mother lives 150 miles away and she has not been back since last May and probably will now not due to exams, work and the BF.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 22-Jan-13 12:41:11

Sorry OP I meant, going to 'local' uni needn't mean living with you; it would cost more but it might be worth thinking about renting somewhere in town with other students, as opposed to staying with her mum.

It must be tough but take my hat off to you, it sounds as though you and DH have tried to keep things on an even keel. It doesn't help when younger (step) siblings see an older one testing the boundaries.

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