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How do I bring this up to her dad?

(22 Posts)
MrsUlrich Mon 03-Oct-11 17:19:19

My daughter (14) lives with her father and this arrangement has been great for the past 4 years. However he has recently moved in another woman. I say recently but more like a year ago (however it seems to have passed quick). At first DD said she liked this woman but had become more and more unhappy as time goes on. She says the woman makes it obvious she hates her living there and she is considering moving back with me. However I don't know if that is practical right now (school etc) and I'm not sure if she is just acting out because she's used to having her dad to herself. Examples she's given me is that for one thing, she has to be up in her room after 9pm and the OW moans if she comes downstairs for anything saying they never get any peace (but as far as I know she does the same with her own kids who also live there). DD has apparantly heard her telling her dad that it's "weird" for him to link arms with DD and if he keeps allowing DD to do that, she won't go out with them anymore. As a result of this, when DD tries to link arms with her dad he shrugs her off and tells her to grow up and says she's clinging which is obviously quite hurtful for her. Another thing she's not happy with is that she's used to her dad feeding her ALOT (I don't agree with this and have told him) and when he's at home, he still does this. However when the OW is cooking, she gives DD a smaller portion. DD see's this as a bad thing, should she go against her father in this way? I don't know because I have said before that he gives her too much on her plate. There are other things too like the OW talks her dad out of giving her lifts, money for phone top ups etc etc.

Should I even bring this up with her dad or is she just acting out? Things were fine up until a few months ago.

NatashaBee Mon 03-Oct-11 17:28:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsUlrich Mon 03-Oct-11 17:54:49

Yes the stepmum is into healthy eating and to be fair she does limit the other kids food intake to, just that DSD is not used to that.

To be honest I think the major thing that has toppled the boat so to speak is that they're going on holiday together and have had to book two rooms. The initial idea was that DD and her dad would share a room and the OW and her kids would share the other. The stepmum is in a huff about it saying it won't be a holiday if they're all separated and then she found out ex's room only had one double bed (DD and her dad planning on sharing) she went off saying it was all inappropriate and she wasn't going to be a part of it so now the holiday is in jeopardy (the other kids are blaming DD for this saying she's ruining their holiday and if they don't go it will all be her fault). By the sounds of it they argue a lot over the kids.

WaitingForMe Mon 03-Oct-11 17:57:18

Um a 14 yr old girl sharing a double bed with her father IS inappropriate!

MrsUlrich Mon 03-Oct-11 18:01:35

Apparently it was cheaper (I can well imagine her dad saying this, he is a notorious cheap skate). It's not as bad as it sounds really, they were going to use separate covers and be fully dressed etc. The stepmum is sharing a double with her son so did initially agree to the two room thing.

brdgrl Mon 03-Oct-11 18:50:13

It is of course difficult to be sure from this distance, but reading between the lines, I think it is just possible that the stepmum is actually being quite reasonable. And, possibly, is being very wise. And that possibly your DD is (understandably) protesting this.

Of course, I say this because it all sounds totally familiar to me. I was this stepmum! Sounds like she is trying to restore some healthy boundaries and maybe get DD back into a 'daughter' role. ('spousification' is very real!)

I would have done, and did, the same. We went on holiday - DSD wanted to share with DP - I wasn't having it (and I do think it is highly inappropriate at that age to share a bed). Not to mention the other horrors of holidays together - the illnesses faked to get DP's attention, the bossiness, the insistence that we did what DSD wanted, ate when DSD wanted, talked about what DSD wanted to talk about...I spent every holiday in misery, for a while.

I had to have the same conversations about 'linking arms' - because while that is the way your DD reports it, I can tell you that I was on the other end of a full-on clingy campaign with my DSD at that age! - if DP and I were holding hands, DSD would literally push in between us and break our hands apart, then latch onto DP...so I may be biased, but I suspect there is more going on here than the stepmum banning her from simple arm linking with her daddy. Likewise with the business of coming downstairs after bedtimes. My DSD was on a campaign to dominate and have DP's full attention, and that meant interrupting on any pretext any time we were alone in a room, ever. I can't overstate it - it was deliberate, and it was unhealthy, and it was damaging to not only my relationship with DP, but DP's relationship with his son, who was constantly sidelined as well.

We are a couple years on now, and things are much much better - and actually, DSD is a lot happier! But we did set and keep those limits and she fought against it. And you know, I'm so glad we did, it was absolutely the right thing to do.

brdgrl Mon 03-Oct-11 18:52:23

...and yes, my DSD would have blamed me for talking her dad out of giving her lifts, phone top-ups, etc - and it would be true - when I started dating him, he gave the kids anything they wanted. Now he doesn't. The kids can blame me for that, I guess!

NatashaBee Mon 03-Oct-11 19:05:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Purpleroses Mon 03-Oct-11 19:08:31

Intersting reading this - can't help identifying with the OW in your situation! I think a lot of Dads are fairly relaxed about food, driving around, etc and it's hard if you don't indulge your own to the same extent, OW's bound to feel a need to have some parity with her own DCs. Would it help your DD to chat to her about why the OW may have different rules (she has more than one kid so can't drive round so much, values their health, etc)? Bound to be difficult changes for her to get used to but doesn't sound like they're really imposing anything unreasonable. Is her Dad young-looking? Could be the OW is uncomfortable of them looking like a couple, arm in arm. Shouldn't be a problem if they're both happy about it, but guess your daughter maybe needs to adjust to the fact that she may be seen as a young woman, even if she just wants to be her Daddy's little girl sometimes. Not always easy at 14.

Went on holiday with my DP and his 4 DCs recently and spent some time trying to talk him out of sharing with DSs and me with my DCs - he did tell them in the end that the kids were sharing with each other (a bit easier as we had three rooms between us, so no mixed sex sharing required) and it all went really well - kids nattered into the night together smile Though guess if the OW's son is over 10 or so that would probably be an innapropriate option in this case. Could they take a mattress to put on the floor somehere? I can kind of see why the OW might feel that her DP sharing a bed (or even a bedroom) with his 14 year old DD is not her ideal set-up for a holiday though!

NatashaBee Mon 03-Oct-11 19:16:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

incognitofornow Mon 03-Oct-11 19:33:06

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Reality Mon 03-Oct-11 19:35:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

incognitofornow Mon 03-Oct-11 19:42:14

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dearheart Mon 03-Oct-11 20:05:41

I have done pretty much everything on your list. This is the SM setting her own boundaries as the adult in the home. Hard on the dd who is used to a different way, but actually doesn't sound unreasonable. I would stay out of it if I were you.

LeBOF Mon 03-Oct-11 21:30:20

There are always two sides to every story, eh? confused

incognitofornow Mon 03-Oct-11 21:57:22

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ChippingIn Mon 03-Oct-11 22:04:04

LeBof - but 6 to every cube smile <or box as we know it>

brdgrl Mon 03-Oct-11 22:18:10

I'm not sure - I think that teenage stepkids, of opposite genders, who did not grow up together, should not share a room together. My DSD and DSS share rooms on holiday (they are 16 and 14 now), but I think it is a bit different when the kids have not been raised as brother and sister.

I remember reading about this in one of the step-parenting books...it said that it was just safer and wiser for all the kids and parents to be a bit conservative in such things...not sharing rooms or beds, not letting the kids walk around in their underwear, that kind of thing.

brdgrl Mon 03-Oct-11 22:19:29

(sorry, if not clear, that was in reference to incognito's post, not the OP.)

incognitofornow Mon 03-Oct-11 22:23:02

Message withdrawn

brdgrl Mon 03-Oct-11 22:35:13

sorry, incognito - i didn't mean to sound judgy! i know it's a dilemma. I guess I probably would pay the supplements, or get a family room, but that is based on an abstract idea, IYSWIM, because i'm not in the same situation - obviously you know your kids and what works for you.

i think what the book was getting at is that you just don't want to leave any room for mis-steps. Including an angry kid who lashes out and makes claims that might not be true...or a kid who silently feels uncomfortable because her step-brother is less private than she is...and things do happen. but really - i wasn't meaning to sound critical of your choices, sorry.

incognitofornow Mon 03-Oct-11 22:42:07

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