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Frustrated over DSD

(28 Posts)
RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 10:57:53

DP and I are on different pages when it comes to her doing naughty things and it's frustrating having to sit back and watch his parenting style. DSD is 8 and we have a 2 month old DS.

The background of it is that DP doesn't like to punish DSD when she's naughty. She never actually has to face consequences for her actions, ever. It's been like this since she was 4 (before that he spent two years in court trying to get access to her after her mother stopped him seeing her when she was 2). I pointed this out to him a few weeks ago when she told me she loves DS more than I do and she's going to take him back to her mums house because her mums a proper parent. I was experiencing the awful emotions after birth and this really hurt me but when I told DP he said he'd 'talk to her'. When he 'talks to her' about things she's done wrong he does it in a very roundabout way, not making it clear that she's in trouble or that she's actually done wrong at all! So she basically ignores the 'talk' and continues doing the naughty thing because she's not really been told that it's wrong. Anyway, her comment about the baby brought this to a head and I told him he needs to stop 'talking to her' about things and bloody well give her a real punishment for misbehaviour.

A classic example of how his talks with her go is this: She caught a glimpse of my post-baby belly and told me I was fat. I told her that was a really mean thing to say and she turned the telly up and ignored me. I told her again that was a really mean thing to say and she continued ignoring me so I sent her out the room and told her to sit on the stairs until she was told she could move. When I called her back in DP told her something along the lines of 'when people say horrible things it hurts other people's feeling and they don't want to be around that person anymore. Like when people say bad things about someone's parenting even though they're a new parent and upset them. If people say things like that to other people they won't want to be around you so you shouldn't do that'. He then asked her if she understood why she was sent out and obviously she said no. I then cut to the chase and said 'DSD, you called me fat, which was mean, and when I told you you had been mean you ignored me, which was rude, so you were sent out for being mean and rude, does that make sense?' And she said yes, then apologised. She was only sent out for it because I sent her. DP heard her make the comment, saw her ignoring me speaking to her and still did nothing.

After I pointed out that he never punishes her and his talks with her only confuse her he said he would address this and start giving her appropriate punishments rather than the talks. We then found out that she has been telling people at school we let her watch horror movies etc and has handed in a piece of work that says she's allowed to watch 15's and 18's at our house and she eats whatever she wants and stays up all night, etc. This isn't true so her punishment for telling lies is a screen ban. She's not allowed to watch TV, play on the Xbox or computer, use her Nintendo DS or even play on our phones. All screens are banned, which has been in place for two weeks.

Jumping to this weekend. She was supposed to be coming with us to visit DP's family next weekend (they live quite far away) but for some reason her mum told her it was this weekend and she is going away with her mum next weekend. We only have use of a car for one weekend and it was never this weekend. The dates have been booked for months. The result of it being, DSD will miss out on seeing her family. DP has therefore decided to lift the screen ban this weekend. I disagree with this because the disappointment about the family visit is NOT part of the punishment and the punishment should be seen through. She has already ignored it twice by trying to get away with watching things and is clearly not taking it seriously because he is not enforcing it properly. I am getting seriously frustrated with watching his parenting and have told him he better not be like this with DS.

Until now I have always stayed out of it but she is doing more and more mean/rude/naughty things and I really feel it's because she doesn't consider there to be any boundaries at our house. She has no reason to think otherwise. He is reinforcing this by cancelling the punishment. I know DS is only little but I don't want this to rub off on him as time goes on, and I do think DP is creating a hell of a rod for our backs for when she is a teenager.

I just don't know what to do. I am now sat upstairs because DP has dugs his heels in about lifting the ban for the weekend so I'm angry that she's watching TV and don't want my feelings to upset her.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks if you've read this far. I'm just hoping for some advice about what to do.

cailindana Sat 18-Jul-15 11:18:42

I know you have a very young baby and are likely strung out and tired but to begin with I have to speak up for the poor 8 year old who was used as a tug of war rope between her parents to begin with and now has to deal with a new sibling along with a dad and stepmum who are at loggerheads over her. She is still very very young. You and your DP need to sort this out asap. The poor child.

What are your feelings towards her?

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 18-Jul-15 11:26:18

How long is the ban for?

RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 11:32:16

Well there's not really any need to 'speak up for' the child, as I keep her feelings in mind with everything I do. That's such a condescending response. I spoke to DP about the issue in a separate room while she was watching TV and have stayed upstairs after taking a shower. 'The poor child' is entirely unaware that we are having a disagreement about her.

She and I have a brilliant relationship and I would never do anything that would hurt her or make her unhappy. We have been as supportive as humanely possible with regard to her having a new sibling and at every step I encourage her relationship with DS. She's besotted with him and we keep her involved in every aspect of his care so she doesn't feel pushed out or unimportant. And until now I have always stepped back and left it to DP to deal with her when she was naughty.

nequidnimis Sat 18-Jul-15 11:32:55

I think that I prefer your DP's parenting style to yours, sorry.

I prefer explaining to punishing, and think that a screen ban for two weeks is very harsh at that age.

She is very little, and going through some major upheavals, so why not be a little kinder and more forgiving?

I don't think I'd have even been cross about the fat tummy comment.

When your DS is 8 I think you'll look back and cringe at how hard you were on her.

RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 11:34:23

The ban was for 4 weeks but it's lifted this weekend and were away next week and I don't see any point in continuing it once we get back as it'll be too long since the original incident for it to have any effect - by that point it's just be us being mean tbh

RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 11:36:50

The problem with him explaining is he isn't clear enough. He's too wordy and she gets completely confused about what she's being spoken to for.

mrsmeerkat Sat 18-Jul-15 11:36:55

I totally get your hurt and annoyance but the fat belly thing.. well i had (as most do) a fat belly after birth - i would have just joked and said 'yep, thats the baby hotel' or something lighthearted.

Maybe try and have fun with her. Do talk to her father more though as I do agree on discipline and boundaries I really do.

Oswin Sat 18-Jul-15 11:38:54

4 weeks? Bloody hell that's harsh. No wonder he wants to lift it. Its to much. Kids tell lies to there friends to look big and clever. Does not deserve that punishment.

RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 11:41:40

It's 4 weeks because we only have her on the weekends.

forumdonkey Sat 18-Jul-15 11:42:10

Take a look at it from did POV , her DC has a new wife and a new baby and they all get to live with him full time. Poor girl is probably hurting and it looks like every time she sees him you tell her off. I think you're being over sensitive tbh and you need to pick your battles. Try ignoring her 'bad behaviour' and start praising her good, see how she responds to you then.

Remember you are the adult she is a very emotionally confused child and you probably don't know how she is being pulled by her DM about you and DS and her exh

Finola1step Sat 18-Jul-15 11:42:19

From your posts it would seem that he over explains but you can be a bit blunt.

Screen time ban is fine but shouldn't go on for weeks. It is not her fault that there was a confusion over the weekends.

Might be a really good idea to consider why she is making up such big lies.

You think your parenting style is right and your dp is wrong. You expect him to improve this wrt to the ds you share. But what if there are elements of his approach that you could use? Find a middle ground?

InNeedOfABreak Sat 18-Jul-15 11:43:30

I have to say I agree with the previous posters. I have two children one 7 and one 4. The fat comment, is a none issue really, kids say what they see no malice is meant and all that was required was a gentle 'yes my tummy is still a bit wobbly but that's because I've had a baby in there and it will take time to go down...we wouldn't normally tell people that they have a fat tummy though as that may make them sad'...two weeks ban on screen time is too harsh imo she was wrong for lying obviously but again I would have sat down and explained that 'telling lies could have gotten daddy and myself into trouble and that isn't nice and makes us sad' okay if you wanted to say no TV or screens because of that for tonight but carrying it on for more than one night is excessive.

RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 11:46:17

DP and her mum felt it was appropriate because she's only here weekends and it's not the first time she's caused problems with her school through lying

InNeedOfABreak Sat 18-Jul-15 11:50:21

But if she is telling lies there is a reason, rather than punishing it's more productive to get to the root of why she is making bad choices with her behaviour.

I completely get about your dp being too wordy when explaining what the issues are to her-my dp is exactly the same and our eldest has autism so it's even more crucial for her that our language is concise and to the point...but that's something you could support him with and help him learn to use less words. With my dp I normally just make a joke that even I don't get what point he is trying to make and then say what's what and he is getting a lot better at it.

velvetspoon Sat 18-Jul-15 11:51:32

I would have been really cross at the fat tummy comment.

My children would never have been allowed to make a comment like that (in fact it would never have entered their heads to speak to an adult in such a way) and it really annoys me when other people's children make rude comments like that to adults. I was once on the receiving end from a kid that was a friend of my DS who asked me why I was so fat (I was a sz 18). I was very tempted to tell him exactly what I thought of his rudeness, but as his mother was there and just laughed it off I felt I had to keep my mouth shut.

RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 12:01:43

I totally see why people think the fat comment is a non-issue as children do say things but with DSD its slightly different. Her mum is overweight and DSD has been in lots of trouble before for saying mean/inconsiderate things about it to her so she is aware it's a mean thing to say which is why I addressed it.

RedToTheBone Sat 18-Jul-15 12:04:10

I do not tell her off every time she sees her dad. Our relationship has never been like that. I've always encourages them to be close and to spend lots of daddy-daughter time together but I also make a point of taking her out to places and reading with her etc. We are close, she's not told off every time she's here

mintpoppet Sat 18-Jul-15 12:23:31

I think you need to try to enjoy her. She'll only be little for a short time. Yes, tell her off if she's rude and a quick consequence. Done. Move on. 4 weeks of a punishment, even if just weekends is ridiculous and far too long. Do you honestly think she'll remember why she is being punished. It's going to lead to a lifetime of resenting you.

OooMatron Sat 18-Jul-15 12:26:08

From an outsiders POV, both parties are hurting. The DH is in the middle and he is the one that should mediate between the two of you as someone needs to take charge. You need to let him do this though, it is his DD after all. Imagine if it was your son as the 8 year old and and another woman was ditating how he should be treated

Duckdeamon Sat 18-Jul-15 12:28:11

Think you're being too hard on her.

PoundingTheStreets Sat 18-Jul-15 12:32:05

I can see both POVs. I'd also recommend you and your DP read 'How to talk so kids will listen' (even better if your DP's X will read it, too).

The trouble is that punishments don't really work unless there is a learning point from them which can be applied by the 'wrongdoer' which achieves a better result for everyone, including them, the next time that situation arises. This is why it is usually better to try to explain and demonstrate, rather than punish - at least for the first couple of times.

At the same time, one you have made a threat/decided on a punishment, you have to see it through unless there are very good reasons for backtracking, and if there are, that decision has to be made by both parents presenting a united front.

I think in this case, the trouble is that you have a young child who is very confused and insecure. She's been pulled back and forth by her parents and now has a competitor for her father's attention in the form of your DS. Some of her behaviour will be a result of acting out those insecurities, and while you shouldn't be ignoring bad behaviour, any punishments you implement should be balanced by trying your utmost to demonstrate your love and acceptance of her in every other regard.

Lying at this age is normal to some extent. That's not to say you should let it pass, but don't think it means she is a particularly 'naughty' child. Every parent of a child of this age knows that situation where you ask your child about something and they say, "It wasn't me" even when you've just seen your child do it! This is the age where they learn about social norms and the value of conforming. They are also learning that their parents/authority figures aren't infallible, and that they may get away with stuff if they lie and don't get found out. This is where it is vital children learn that honesty is the right thing to do simply because it is the right thing to do. To that purpose, that's why it is essential they have the consequences of their actions explained to them, rather than just being punished (all punishment teaches them is that it's better not to get caught).

Also, children express a fantasy life through lies. She may feel that being allowed to stay up late and watch 15 or 18-rated films is really cool, so her schoolwork is saying this to try to present herself as the cool kid, rather than any desire to get you into trouble.

zipzap Sat 18-Jul-15 12:36:22

With regard to her mum taking her away when she was supposed to be coming with you - do you think that her mum has done this on purpose or was it a genuine mistake or did she see a holiday deal that was cheap that week and thought she'd go for it regardless of your arrangements?

Is there anywhere where you've got the dates written down (email, text etc) - just wondering why when you were supposed to be having her that time that her mum is taking precedence! particularly if her holiday was booked after your arrangements were made...

MatildaTheCat Sat 18-Jul-15 12:41:31

This all sounds over thought. I have a dn of 8 whom I see a lot of. She is very prone to making somewhat annoying remarks, butting in and being cheeky. I quickly correct her and we move on as friends. Long drawn out punishments are silly...what could it achieve other than resentments and further arguments?

Although you describe your relationship as brilliant and say she adores her new DSB she has been displaced in her fathers affections in her mind and will still be feeling insecure. I really urge you to not sweat the small stuff. Have a phrase and a look that means, 'That's far enough.' Children of eight are indeed still very young.nthey do say silly things, god knows I said some silly thigs at that age. You must be the adult and know what warrants action and when a warning look is enough.

But above all get on side with your DH. Parenting together is so important. Remember, he might even be right sometimes.

PushPineappleShakeTheTree Sat 18-Jul-15 13:19:54

Red I sympathise with your situation to some extent. IMO 8 years old is not "only little", my own DSD at that age knew exactly how to play her parents off against each other. Obviously she had nowhere near an adult's intent/comprehension regarding the concept of manipulation but this didn't mean that she had no level of understanding that what she was doing was wrong and causing conflict and hurt. The turning point was when she phoned DH to say her mum had just hit her (blatantly untrue) and mum, who had up until that point been taking DSD at face value, finally realised what was going on.

I have to agree that a four week punishment is excessive (although you do say that your DP and her mum were in agreement which is a good thing). I think there's been enough follow-through so that shortening it a bit won't undermine its effect so I wouldn't bother dwelling on iy any further.

However as is often the case in these situations your real problem is with your DP, not your DSD. What "consequences" do you give him for letting his daughter be rude to you?

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