Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
OH struggles with DSD - I don't know what to do?(49 Posts)
OH and I have been together for over 4 years and we have a DS (newborn). We have lived together for 3 years and I have a DD (8) from a previous relationship.
I split up with her Dad when she was very young so for a long time it was just me and her and I'm not ashamed to say she is everything to me so I am aware my view might be skewed.
Anyway, on the whole she is very well behaved. Outstanding at School, very caring, funny and loving. However she is very 'adult' like. The way she talks, how she thinks she should behave. And that is solely because for a long time she didn't have a lot of interaction with other children. Coupled with general 8 year old attitude and not listening... my OH finds her very difficult to deal with.
He thinks I am not strict enough and undermines him when he disciplines her.
I think he is too strict and I'll be honest I find it difficult when anyone tells her off.
He's said at times he dislikes her when she's rude. Which I can completely understand as I don't particularly love it either when she behaves like that but it breaks my heart.
We've had a terrible Mother's Day ending up with a huge row. All because she said something that he took the wrong way. I told him he was being over sensitive and reacting like a child. He said I wasn't understanding to how it made him feel.
So we've all gone to bed crying.
I feel like we're at a crossroads and I don't know how to get over it. We have a son together and I really don't want to split up our family. However I can't see how we are going to work through this. And I'll be honest how can I stay with someone who, at times, actively dislikes my daughter?
It's so hard because he treats her like his own, supports us financially etc. And I think that's the thing. He sees her as his own so thinks it's completley normal that he can at times, not 'like' her, lose his temper etc.
At times I don't like her ! But I love her with every ounce of my being and the thought of him not liking her breaks my heart.
Am I being over sensitive? Does anyone with blended families offer any support/advice?
No,blended family but you're going to have to let him be a father if your daughter is going to grow up secure and understanding boundaries. I find it quite interesting you describe her as 'your everything' when you have another child and husband. The partnership and dominant relationship should be between the adults who share responsibility as parents for the children.
It does sound like you are overly protective and undermining of your daughter's relationship with her stepfather- which is a real pity as it will create misery in longer term.
She's 8 yrs old and he's taking something she says the wrong way and is expecting his feelings to be over-riding?
What did she say?
I'm struggling to understand what she could possibly say to get this reaction. Kids say stupid tactless things, it's not something to take so personally. At 8?
He's the adult.
OP I am just starting to blend in with my OH and my dd who is almost 8.
Single mum here too since she was a baby.
He should be able to discipline her but in the style she is used to. Yours.
I'm sorry but he needs to be taking his cue from you on this in my opinion.
If my OH came down on her like a tonne of bricks or shouted at her etc I would finish it as much a I love him, she comes first.
Now that said, is she pushing back on him just because she feels your relationship with her is under threat? Xxx
She sounds like a not very likeable girl and you're not doing her any favours in being so blinkered. "Adult like in how she thinks she should behave" is just spoilt little madam that doesn't do as she is told. You made her your world and treated her like your equal when she wasn't. Adult up now and let her be a child. Your OP is right.
I think you need to listen to what your gut is telling you. You're not being over sensitive. It is a crossroads, and how you react in terms of protecting your daughter could have a massive impact on her future and her happiness. She is going to pick up on the way he feels about her if he keeps up this hostility towards her. This is only going to get worse as she becomes a teen. Sorry.
What did she say?
Without that as context it is impossible to tell where on the spectrum this falls between she's a spoilt brat and your DH is an abusive twunt.
Without any examples it's difficult to really assess who's being over sensitive. Is he being too strict or are you too lax? Is this a recent development? If not, why wasn't the co-parent dynamic addressed before bringing another child into the mix. Do you think that being a biological parent will change the parenting dynamics?
Reading between the lines (I could be wrong) but it may be that the gap between parenting styles is too wide and his parenting style is not the only one that may need adjusting.
If any other child said what she said to him, to their own father, how would you interpret it?
It really depends on what she said. You say 'I find it difficult when anyone tells her off'... what methods of discipline do you use? I think you both need to be on the same page regarding acceptable behavior and appropriate punishments.
I come from a blended family so have experience from a child's point of view... I could be rather precocious towards my DSDad when I was younger. It's not nice and if your daughter doesn't respect him then that's incredibly hurtful. My DM always had DSDads back when he disciplined me, and that was a hard pill to swallow! But now I'm an adult with my own family, I'm really glad this was how I was raised. I may have resented having my relationship with DM overridden at times, but it's important for everyone to understand their role within a family. Your DD isn't an adult. You and DP are in charge!
Parenting is about (hopefully) raising a child in partnership with someone else. Hard to say without knowing more details but sounds like your partner treats your daughter as his own which is lovely. Is there a parenting course you can do together to help manage your expectations of each others' parenting styles? Might help to have an impartial 3rd party to give real advice to you both.
If you wouldnt mind him speaking to your son the way he does your daughter then i think you need to be more supportive of him. Sounds like your daughter dictates things. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.
That's a bit harsh Isadora. "Adult like in how she thinks she should behave" could just mean she expects to be able to have her own point of view. And "spoilt little madam" and "a not very likeable girl" are pretty disgusting things to say about a child, especially on just a little background info.
OP, At the end of the day, he's the adult, she's the child. You can expect a better standard of behaviour, ability to express opinions/emotions without things getting heated from him.
You rarely hear of a stepdad who thinks his partner's parenting style is too strict with his stepchild, do you?
I'm sorry, I know you love your daughter but allowing her to be rude to ANYONE is unacceptable. There should be very serious consequences for that kind of behaviour.
Thank you all so much. Sorry I fell asleep! Just up with baby feeding now.
The baby was crying and I took him to try and console him and my daughter said, whilst laughing 'mummy's taking the baby so name can rest'
He took it that she meant he couldn't and didn't want to console his son and was being lazy. I think he's was being sensitive and took it the wrong way I n what was a bit of a stressful situation.
Reading the replies I am agreeing with all views. Which makes it so hard.
Yes I am too soft. And his view is exactly the same as the poster who says (sorry one handed feeding baby and replying so hard to quote atm) that it's not going to bode well for her future if I don't address my discipline style (or lack of). He says he has her best interests at heart as he doesn't want her to grow up in to a rude person (he works with children so sees an array of different children)
I did make her my equal
I agree the parents should be the dominating relationship.
When I say she is my everything I think because I was on my own with her I relied on her as much as she relies on me. And I know this is wrong. But it was just me and her and a hard time. She got me through that. I can see how this is now caused problems.
Regardless he should be able to act more adult about it.
I've had a Google for parent courses and come across a research centre called Happy Stepa which is for blended families so will take a look at that.
Thank you all for replying sorry I haven't managed to be more direct with my replies but as I said on phone, one handed and feeding baby! Will come back to the thread tomorrow with two hands, hopefully! X
Don't forget that it can be very hard for an 8 year old to have a newborn sibling. I bet it is harder if the sibling is a half-sibling. Your daughter needs a lot of love and understanding right now, and I would be expecting her to be a bit obnoxious every now and then because of feeling threatened by the cute new baby.
In general, I would think that step-parents need to be less strict than bio-parents, and the step parent needs to talk sensitively to the bio-parent if he/she feels the bio-parent is to lax in some way.
How does your daughter feel about the situation? Can you give some examples of things she does which irritate your husband? It's hard to know if you are being too easy-going, or he is being to strict.
Really unpleasant comments from Isadora, by the way, in my opinion-
Would just like to add he is fantastic with her on other ways.
Takes her out, is thoughtful to her interests, attends all parents evenings/events, is caring and loving. So not all bad!
Also to add I react the same when her own Dad disciplines her. If she comes home and says 'Dadsy told me off for X, Y, Z'. It makes me tearful inside. I don't want her to ever feel sad or hurt.
God what is wrong with me.
Wow, X-post. What your daughter said was in no way rude or offensive. Your husband is childishly overreacting.
I would be furious with him if he was mean to her after a comment like that. If he were her father, the most I would expect him to say is something like: "dd that's not very nice to say to me... I already feel useless because I can't feed the baby...don't make me feel bad" or something like that.
I believe it to be general 8 year old attitude.
Not listening or doing as asked first time.
Stomping/sulking if doesn't get own way
No different to other children I know of the same age.
Can be rude to me and treats me a bit like her slave. Totally my fault as I did way too much for her.
I have addressed this now, with a firm no, and I do not give in despite her protests.
I'm talking things like would she would pass me her rubbish to put in the bin. I would just like to clarify this was complete my doing as I enabled it from the transition of toddler to young child.
What your DD said was in no way rude - to escalate his reaction to a level where everyone is crying is WAY over sensitive! There's no way he should be taking a child's throwaway comment so personally- he's an adult!
It sounds as if your DP is hypersensitive to her and her behaviour and you need to address the underlying causes for this. You need to parent as a united front - yes that does mean that sometimes you'll have to let him discipline her when appropriate and you need to be on board with that. But he also needs to be consistent and reasonable so that she - and you - aren't walking on eggshells around him.
Exactly my viewpoint. I think he took it sensitively because he felt bad he couldn't console baby (didn't help baby stopped crying as soon as I took him!) so interpreted what she said in completely the wrong way.
I think she was just making an observation which was quite literal. But she does this a lot and I do agree that sometimes she shouldn't say anything/make a comment.
I think, this time, this is all on your DH and his over-sensitivities, and he has completely overreacted.
Are you marrie?ld? If not, suggest that you don't rely on your P financially supporting you.
He was very U in this particular instance, and ruined mothers' day with could be interpreted as emotionally abusive behaviour towards both of you.
I don't like the phrase "thinks of her as his own": step parenting is different IMO and if this line is used to justify unreasonable behaviour, eg telling her off for things unfairly, then it's the opposite of caring parental behaviour.
I find it interesting that when a mum posts about how her H deals with the DSC he is in the wrong but when the stepmum posts about her DSC he is generally also in the wrong, as are the children, etc.
On here I've seen dads who have a strong bond with their children referred to as disney dads, creepy, etc, and yet a woman posts that her daughter is her everything, her equal, that she did everything for her, can't bear to ever see her hurt and upset and never tells her off, the daughter behaves in what as an adult would be seen as sarcastically towards another adult and still. the man is in the wrong? How does that work then?
OP, eight year olds can display attitude, of course they can. But the reality here is that if you've never addressed it before and you don't address it now you are going to end up with an out of control teenager.
And your other child is his child and therefore you are potentially running the risk of ending up with two children who are being brought up entirely differently, and this is likely also to end up in resentful behaviour on the part of your DS when he grows up as he will see that his sister is blatantly favoured by you.
If you want to successfully blend a family then you need to be in agreement on discipline, and there does need to be some discipline from both sides as otherwise you are setting up your daughter to play you off against each other.
Your daughter was rude. Even if it was just from an eight year old there is no way I would stand for that kind of attitude from a child. I suspect your H was annoyed because you just let it go. She should have been told that it's not acceptable to make those kinds of comments towards anyone, because they can easily be misconstrued. She may not have meant the comment the way it was taken but this is the problem when you bring a child up to be allowed to behave as an adult. They have the adult language but not the adult maturity to know when their comments are rude or insensitive.
My OH and I know a couple in a very, very similar situation to yours, OP.
The 8 year old's father and grandparents also have a different parenting style, and the whole thing is at crisis point, with an 8 year old caught in the middle of all this adult angst.
OH and I babysat the children one day recently to give the parents a break, and a chance to talk. It was very noticeable that the 8 year old, if one of us asked them to do something (like, please eat your sandwich before asking for pudding) immediately looked to the other adult and said 'Do I have to?' We guessed it was learned behaviour that had some sort of pay-off for the child.
We had a consistent joint response - 'Please do as you are asked' - and stuck to it. We bored ourselves with it. But it worked - well, it got us through the day. You may need to add in an extra one -'Please don't say things that are rude or hurtful' - and use it calmly, repetitively, boringly. And have some separate talks about what 'rude' and 'hurtful' mean, using examples that an 8 year old can understand.
Do I think this couple, this family, will stay together? I'm very doubtful. But you seem much more open to the idea of change than they do - is your DP also open to the idea of change / counselling / a parenting course?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.