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Should I just take a deep breath and let it go....

(32 Posts)
Sistermoondance Mon 25-Apr-11 19:33:57

I have a 13 yr old dsd, we get on well and she stays with us a couple of times a week.

The long and short of it is that I think her dad (my dh) spoils her rotten and it annoys me! I think she is a lovely girl but that she is not independent enough and takes too much for granted. Now I know this is just my opinion really and I don't know whether to take a deep breath and let it go because that is what my dh wants or whether to try and change things.

Examples of her being spoilt are: never having to do any chores at our house, not bothering to put rubbish in the bin, she leaves sweet wrappers and cans wherever she has been (and dh picks them up if I say he should ask her to pick them up), asking her dad to get up and get her a can from the fridge cos she is tired... (and mostly he does), leaving her shoes / bag in the middle of the room, getting a new phone for her birthday and an iPod touch for Christmas, getting my mac book to use at home to do her homework (otherwise my dh would have bought her a new one! Which we can't afford)...

I think she should have to do some clearing up- she is 13! Some washing up and putting stuff in the bin- at least if it isn't in her room. I also think it does young people good to want stuff and not get the best of everything particularly if they don't look after things they already have. She has already broken the screen of the iPod touch and thankfully she had to give one months pocket money towards fixing it, but still another £60 between my dh and her mum!

Am I just being a moany old bag? Or am I right in thinking that it won't help her respect nice things and be respectful?

Bit of perspective please...

glasscompletelybroken Mon 25-Apr-11 20:43:33

I have the same issues and I'm sorry but I don't have the answer! I regularly (when my DSD's are not here) decide that I will say nothing about anything - it's not my problem etc etc. But that lasts 5 minutes when they arrive as they are exactly as you describe your DSD and it drives me mad.

They are younger - 10 & 8, but I can't see it getting any better. Last week the youngest was sitting next to her dad on the sofa eating a packet of crisps and when she had finished she just passes him the empty packet - and he took it from her! I said "when did you become the rubbish bin?!"

He really doesn't expect them to do anything around the house and is genuinly happy to clear up after them but it's not right. It really wouldn't hurt for them to tidy their things up, wash up, put their clothes in the washing basket - would it?

tvoffnowplease Mon 25-Apr-11 21:03:39

Similar situation here, my advice is let go, detach, move on... it'll only change if your dp wants it to and if she's 13 I doubt this will happen, it's obviously been going on ages. The poor kid, she'll get a rude awakening when she realises life isn't like that.

allnewtaketwo Mon 25-Apr-11 21:06:58

Similar experiences here. DSSs (15 and 12) for example leave dirty bowls at the table and walk away. When DH asks them to clear the table the most they will do is take their own plates to the sink, and leave them there, with uneaten food debris there for someone else to clear. After all these years of being told to make their beds, they still don't.

DSS1 actually got out of the car the other day and didn't bother to close his own door behind him.......
Not sure if he wipes his own arse - wouldn't be surprised if not

glasscompletelybroken Tue 26-Apr-11 08:10:28

lol at allnew!

justnotcricket Tue 26-Apr-11 11:29:18

I think you’re spot on. I don’t have much experience to share but am struggling through a similar situation. I have a full time DSD (18) who moved in with us last August when her mum died.

DH definitely falls into the category of ‘disney dad’ with the rationale that his daughter is not spoiled, because she never asks for anything. I don’t think she has had to save up money for anything in her life.

Ditto with broken screen on ipod touch - but she was given a new one, with no pocket money consequence!

The only ‘chores’ she does are to do her own laundry (occasional dishes) and keep her room tidy – and although her room looks like a complete tip to me I’m told it’s tidier than all her friends rooms. She also has her own bathroom – which I’ve made a conscious decision never to go in now for fear of what I will find there….. (our poor cleaner has to deal with it). That’s my version of ‘detach, move on’ and it works to some extent.

I’ve talked with DH about the state of her room and he would like it to be tidier too, but he’s not consistent at all with this so she knows she can get away with it.

I think the thing that upsets me most is the careless way she discards presents. Birthday and Christmas gifts from my sister and mother lie on the floor behind the furniture, and a beautiful (expensive) cardigan I bought her for her birthday has lain in a ball at the bottom of her wardrobe for several months. I find this really disrespectful and am at a loss for how to handle it.

I am not sure if not saying anything is the way to go – I’ve been trying this myself but for me, keeping it bottled up is really straining my relationship with both DH and DSD. I don’t have kids of my own so I’m not sure if 13 is too old to change things, but I would think it’s reasonable for you to agree with DP a set of ‘rules’ for when she is at your home, and try sticking consistently to them. I think I have limited scope now, but just hope that when she goes off to uni that she’ll figure things out for herself.

theredhen Tue 26-Apr-11 12:08:01

As someone with a 13 yr old DS, yes your DSD should be doing wiping up or washing up and at very least keeping her mess out of communal areas.

Personally I think it makes a child feel "part of the family" by doing some chores and I have never been one for financially rewarding kids for doing what they should.

Apparently its OK for DS and DSD both aged 13 to put their own clothes away but as DSS is 12, DP puts them away for him as he seems incapable of even picking a towel up from the floor - somethign DS has been doing since he was 3! And yes, I am often very shocked at the blatant disrespect for items they own in our house. I've seen a brand new computer game just chucked on the floor within an hour, before now. :-(

Petal02 Tue 26-Apr-11 12:37:01

I have a 16 yr old stepson, who has very few life/social skills, even fewer practical skills, and can just about dress/wash himself. There is no way he could ever do any chores or clearing up, as he is totally inept. He is also clingy and very dependent on DH. However in true Disney style, DH would not dream of tackling any of this, just in case SS gets upset. There have been countless rows about this, and I realise this is never going to change. So on access weekends, it works best if I ignore all this. It's not in my nature to ignore the elephant in the room, but I have learnt to pick my battles, and save my energy for the ones I stand a chance of winning.

glasscompletelybroken Tue 26-Apr-11 17:29:16

How do you do it though Petal? I have such good intentions but can't seem to manage it in the face of my DSD's behaviour! I end up avoiding doing things with them which I know upsets my DH but I can't see an alternative. If I'm there I know I will say something (lots of things probably!) about their behaviour - they will ignore me, DH will ignore that they're ignoring me and I'll just feel worse!

Petal02 Tue 26-Apr-11 17:41:30

GCB, there are plenty of occasions when I haven't managed to bite my tongue! But I try to get myself in the right frame of mind for access weekends; I tell myself it's only a few days out of my life, and that it will soon be over. I used that technique to try and stay calm when I had a minor operation a few years ago. I also find that reverse pyschology works with DH - if get het up about SS, it just makes DH even more defensive. But if I'm relatively laid back he seems to relax too, and is more likely to do some parenting. I've learnt that if I criticise his precious son, the response is either (a) he's my son, get over it OR (b) he's not doing any harm. The frustration this has caused over the years is indescribable, but DH is so terrified of losing contact with his son, that he gives him far too much power in a bid to stay in favour. I call it Desperation Parenting.

I have had some recent success regarding the access rota, I will start my own thread about that.

glasscompletelybroken Tue 26-Apr-11 18:11:23

I have also found that if I say positive things about my DSD's then DH is more able to say some negatives - lees defensive as you say. My DSD's are here half the time so it's hard to be that regularly psyched up for it!

Glad to hear you have had success with your acces rota - looking forward to your thread!

Sistermoondance Tue 26-Apr-11 18:27:09

Hmmm seems so common! I think you have hit the nail on the head petal.... Desperation parenting. He is worried she'll decide not to come if she doesn't get her own way or if he upsets her, now that she has more control over whether she comes or not. I just don't think he is really preparing her for real life and of course I am fed up of cleaning up after her...

Maybe I just need to bite my Tongue for a while sighs

FortyandNaughty Tue 26-Apr-11 18:55:33

DSD and her friend stayed with us over the Easter holiday. They are both 18 and didn't lift a finger; bedroom was a complete mess, dirty underwear and wet towels discarded over the floor and to add insult to injury the pair of them practically ignored me for the length of their stay!

Tootingbec Tue 26-Apr-11 20:10:44

Ahhhh, Sistermoondance - welcome to my world too! My 10 year old DSD sounds identical to your DSD. My DH spends his time fetching and carrying for her and she literally drops her stuff wherever and if I didn't move it, it would remain there until she needed it again. Her room is a complete tip and my DH is very untidy too so he never goes beyond the odd "DD, your room is a tip......."

What makes me more cross is when she decides she wants to do some baking and then leaves all the washing up for someone else to do! I have no hesitiation in hauling her from in front of the TV to clear up, even though she is yelling "but Daddy said he would clear up for me" shock

What is my solution? Basically a couple of times a day I get all the crap she has left lying around into a pile and tell her to take it to her room. Or I gather it up , open the door, fling it into her bedroom and shut the door again! She can never find anything, her favourite clothes never get washed because they are god knows where in her room and she has broken her laptop (christ almighty the stuff kids get these days!!!) by standing on it because it was buried in a pile of crap in her room.

There is absolutely no way my DC's (the ones I have with DH) will be allowed to be so bloody useless in terms of chores, getting their own snacks, hanging towels up on the towel rail etc etc.

Think I am ranting now.......!

NanaNina Tue 26-Apr-11 22:26:27

Huge sympathies for all you step-mums. I am one too but thank god they have grown up and have families of their own. I went through all of the things you are talking about - love the term Disney Dad - and yes my DP was most certainly one of those, especially with his daughter. She was a PITA and she spoiled so many of our holidays with our own kids. Mealtimes were a nightmare - one day she liked fish and the next day she hated it, and used to sit with her arms folded at the table and her dad would try to encourage her to eat .........aaargh. They only spent school holidays with us as gthey lived some miles away. Can still remember it 40 years on. I was quite young with young kids and money was tight, and I didn't really understand my step kids. Oh and yes the girl used to unwrap her presents and just put them aside without a thank you or showing any interest in them. I suspected she knew they had been chosen by me and that was the reason for her rejection. It caused huge rows between me and DP.

I honestly don't know what to advise you - the real problem is that we don't feel for the step kids like we do our own. This is just being human and then there is the added business of disney dads - that is a huge problem. Of course it has its roots in guilt in the dad for leaving her/him and scared that if he disciplines them they won't like him/ won't want to see him again.

I think there are a lot of books on step parenting now (try looking on Amazon) there was nothing when I was going through it, except for a wonderful close friend who listened to all my moans, don't know what I'd have done without her.

Don't be hard on yourself - after all step parenting isn't natural. Animals don't do it and the lion will kill the young of the lioness if her has not fathered them!

glasscompletelybroken Wed 27-Apr-11 09:03:03

NanaNina my DH does that encouraging them to eat thing! I end up feeling like I should be grateful she is eating what I have cooked. FFS surely they should all be grateful I have cooked it!

tokenwoman Wed 27-Apr-11 09:05:01

fortyandnaughty your post fills me with dread 18 and still having access visits with friends to stay over!! I was rather hoping that sort of thing would diminish by the time she reached that age (mine is 14 and we had a sucession of friends for overnight stays this easter ) I get ignored, house is a complete tip and tootingbec why do they always want to bake they never remember that theyve put anything in the oven do they?
Ive spent most of easter outside in the sunshine doing my own thing pottering around while DP has paced around waiting for little princess to announce what she'd like to do - these days I let them get on with it and hold my breath and bite my tongue - loads

FortyandNaughty Wed 27-Apr-11 10:44:45

Tokenwoman we can live in hope that it will get better! To be fair DSD only stays with us during holiday time as she moved away a couple of years ago with her Mum. As far as I'm concerned this is her home too and she can stay whenever she likes. I don't mind her bringing a friend to stay either but having my home turned upside down and being treated as if I didn't exist by both of them began to wear a bit thin very quickly. DH also picked up on how they were treating me and was none too impressed but to keep the peace said nothing. I was practically chewing my tongue off by the end of the week!

Sistermoondance Wed 27-Apr-11 21:37:26

Well, I am lucky, in many ways as at least my dsd likes me and tends to be more respectful to me than her own dad. If she is in a bad mood if she speak to either of us, it will usually be me!

Dreading sleepovers though!!!

aLegonEachCorner Thu 28-Apr-11 09:53:15

I have a simple approach...... "bugger this!"

SD is 17. I change her bed and then shut the door on a room that, despite having a bin and a linen basket, is strewn with dirty tissues/wrappers/receipts/clothes/ knickers (has she no sense of decorum? ....I mean DIRTY knickers) in short, she has no idea how to clear up after herself. Or she can't be bothered.

She would not dream of loading the dishwasher after a meal or making a drink. Her p.j's go unwashed because I got tired of picking them up off the floor NEXT TO HER LINEN BASKET. I'm NOT "Room Service". Anything in the linen basket washed, anything thrown on the floor, gets left where it landed. Full stop.

My son is 8. He takes his clothes off and they go into the linen basket in his room. He doesn't leave empty cups/wrappers about. I don't have to tell him, he just does it. IT IS NOT A TEENAGER THING. It is how she has been allowed to grow up...... parents doing it all for her. Have to say, her siblings are NOT like that, when they come.

Don't let this drive a wedge between your partner and yourself......get some basic rules sorted and stick to them.

tokenwoman Thu 28-Apr-11 13:57:16

ive stopped changing the sheets and washing her towels tidying her room even hoovering it, I'll do it if asked by either her or DP he knows better than to ask though and she never has asked, the last time i did it I left the clean sheets on the bed so she could at least make it herself with the result that DP made the bed (god forbid princess does any chores) but the slidy out one for her sleepover guests the sheets were all screwed up and stuffed behind the radiator, no more I shut the door when she has gone and if DP wants her room to look nice he has to do it
if i catch myself doing something that I shouldn't i get a reality check akin to "bugger this" too and go and sit down with wine until ive recovered

slimbo Thu 28-Apr-11 16:17:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sistermoondance Thu 28-Apr-11 18:15:06

I do wonder how all these dsd and dss's behave at there other 'main' home. I do know that my dsd's mum is fairly messy herself but also sure she wouldn't pick up after dsd!

I would dearly love to just leave dsd's room, but we use it as a guest room when she is not there as our house is v small! She has the big room with double bed, and my baby dd has the tiny room so no fitting a guest bed in there! I think however, when guests are due and I know in advance, I will ask her to tidy and anything not tidied can go in a plastic bag! She can then sort out when/if she can be bothered!

Tootingbec Thu 28-Apr-11 20:18:24

Slimbo - your reply made me laugh my knotted tights off!! Loving the plastic plate thing too. I'm with you re: just bunging stuff in her room and let her sit in her own mess. I only tidy up when we have guests coming to stay as, like you Moondance, we use her room as a spare room when not in use....

FortyandNaughty Thu 16-Jun-11 09:58:45

The summer holiday is fast approaching and I feel that I've only just recovered from the disastrous Easter holiday I had to endure with DSD and her friend. Coping strategies would be very much appreciated! Anybody else feeling the dread?

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