Please help me get a healthy perspective on this: My 13yr old daughter is irritated a lot by my partner. She says she likes him, but he winds her up no end. (He is a wind-up merchant and he does it to everyone.) She's highly strung and sensitive anyway, and as I said, he's a clumsy wind up merchant. There is warmth between them, and he genuinely cares deeply about her & looks out for her in many ways. We've been together 3 yrs and have a baby together. I just feel stressed a lot of the time that he rubs her up the wrong way & then she's irritable (well she's irritable anyway). In my relationship with him I'm very happy, and he's a kind, loving man. Do I just have to accept that this is how it is? I've talked to him until I'm blue in the face, and he says he'll try & change, but he can't see he's doing it half the time. To be honest I think at the moment it's more her being stroppy, but the effect on me is the same. I have moments when I feel like I'm a bad parent for being with someone that she doesn't get on perfectly with. Do I just have to ride it out? Btw she sees her Dad, but isn't particularly close to him since he remarried.
Why don't you ask her to write him a letter, explaining how his jokes/wind ups make her feel - this may have more of an effect on him than you mentioning it. Hearing from her might make him sit up and think about how his behavious is upsetting her - and I'm sure he wouldn't want that.
or they can agree to have a "signal" that when she starts to feel wound up by him she can say a particular word or signal (hand up or something) that says "you're crossing the line now". If he doesnt realise when he's going too far that may be a way of him learning when enough's enough. although we too have a sensitive teenager in the house at the moment and the slightest thing can set him off if it's the right moment! So there needs to be some balance about what's reasonable.
I agree about a reasonable balance lady: there's nothing more dull than someone who can't take a joke. I don't think he does it because she annoys him; he thinks highly of her and if she's out of line he deals with it directly. I don't think he deliberately winds her up, and he has taken on what I've asked of him to a great extent, it's just that it's a bit of a stubborn dynamic, because now she's primed to get pissed off easily. I do absolutely think it's 'just his way' - and I reckon I'll just have to keep banging the same drum and reminding him to be careful with her. Ho hum. Thanks ladies.