Worried I've just set DP up for big row with mid-GCSE DSD and powerless to help(15 Posts)
DSD (15, nearly 16) has been staying out a lot lately - pretty much every Saturday she waltzes out the house saying she'll be back the next day and is staying over with a friend. Various things suggest she has been lying about at least some of this. Talked lots to DP about it and persuaded him that he should at least call the friend's parents to check they were OK with her staying round so much, and also just to check she was there. But DSD has been ducking and diving out of giving him their phone number - culminating in late last night (when she was supposedly at the friend's) ignoring texts and calls, then texting back claiming the friend didn't have a landline because they'd just moved house . Even DP could see this wasn't true.
Anyway she'd said she'd be back for Sunday lunch, but she turned up briefly and said she wasn't staying for lunch as she was going back out again "into town" and would be back for supper. I'm pissed off that he just said yes, as I'd counted her in for lunch so food is now wasted, and told him so. But more importantly I think he's failing her as a parent by not having the foggiest idea where she is most of the time. He's now agreed to have a proper talk with her later when she gets back. But last time he had a proper talk to her about her behaviour she was lippy, he lost his rag with her and told her she could go back to her mum's if that was how she felt, and she stormed out. DP then felt guilty as he hadn't meant to imply that her presence in this household is conditional on her behaviour, so he ended up apologising to her.....
Feel really helpless to change the situation, and worried that DP is losing what little authority he has over her. But worried it'll all blow up and he'll feel dreadful for having caused a row in the middle of her GCSEs, and it'll be my fault for persuading DP to initiate the row Have I done the right thing here?
Why are you so worried purple? Do you have younger kids in the house and feel she's setting a bad example?
If her own parents are ok with this going on, detach before you get a bleeding ulcer.
I realize I'm probably sounding as if I'm on drugs here, but this nonchalance on my part has come from a terrible lack of influence over my own dsd, same age, same carry one. Mother actually encourages her to be sociable and popular, dad seems worried but equally proud of his cool daughter! Detach for your own sake and sanity, xx
Detach, detach, detach!
Let's be honest, if her parents don't care what she's up to, then it's totally futile for you to feel any concern.
Just be prepared to pick up the pieces and resist the temptation to say 'I told you so' .
Why am I so worried?
I am worried about her welfare but accept that that is ultimately DP's resposibility, not mine.
I am concerned that it's setting a bad precedent for younger kids in the house - including my own two.
But by far the biggest issue from my point of view is that she's blatantly lying to him, and he's pretending to believe her. If he had actually decided it was OK for her to be out clubbing til 5 in the morning, hanging out in the park smoking drugs, or sleeping with a 35 year old boyfriend, or whatever she's actually up to, then I could at least accept that that was his decision to make. But how can you respect someone who's being taken for a fool and doesn't seem to care? And I have to either pretend I'm fooled too or at least bite my tongue, which I don't find easy.
purple Have you told him how his attitude erodes your respect for him?
There's a relationship model described by Harley that defines Most Important Emotional Needs; one of which is 'family commitment'. If this is one of your emotional needs, then your DP is 'debiting' his account with you in terms of love and respect every time he neglects (in your eyes) his DDs welfare. Somehow, he needs to re-credit his account with you in order to maintain a healthy rwlationship.
That's interesting NADM. I'm not sure I'd have defined family comittment as one of my neefd at the start. But it was one of the things that I'vr alwayd found attractive in DP. And he's now undermining that. I might try refocussing my discussions with him around what his actions do to the way I see him rather than how I think he should parent his DD.
Anyway - DSD is back now and looks like I didn't need to worry about big row. DP has spoken to her but I was busy distracting younger DSS out the way so didn't hear the conversation. Tried to ask DP how it went but he said he'll tell me later (once he's taken DSC back). Fear the delay is because he's let it lie. He was prentending to believe the rubbish about the friend's house move when she first got in.
She's 15 and she's sleeping with a 35 year old ?
No, probably not. But the point is DP doesn't know where she is so she could be up to anything. He doesn't know.
I always think its quite amazing how the bio parents can't or won't interpret the misguided(?) behaviour of their older dc.
To me it has always been obvious what dsd got up to, and I would point out to dh that allowing her a boyfriend at 12 (maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I don't want to hear a 12 year old in high heels bragging how numb her tongue is from French kissing) would probably not be sending out the right parental signals. At 15 she was actually chasing a dumbfounded 30 year old. Why not, peers must seem boring by now. At 16 she's seen it all, but mum and dad are her bffs and in awe of her charisma! Or just plain scared of her. Don't know what's worse. I will look into,that relationship model myself, nadm, thanks for tip.
Sorry cant actually offer advise, only to share in frustration (also younger kids in house). Xx
Thanks celticat. Yes it is frustrating.
DP has now told me what he got out of DSD yesterday. She's owned up to the previous "sleepover" last weekend (when we were away and she was supposed to be at her mum's) she was in fact round here with friends. She's still clinging on to the cock and bull story about this Saturday. But DP has now laid down that she is not staying over at friends in the future unless he's spoken to the parents first. Which is what I've been pushing for for weeks.
We're away again at the start of June and still debating how to prevent further parties in our absense. I favour taking her key off her for the weekend whereas DP is hoping he can get her mum to make sure she stays there (but without telling her what's happened previously...)
Feel actually quite relieved that it hasn't all blown up into a huge row but also that DP cannot go on sticking his head in the sand and saying he trusts
her and making me feel like some paranoid distrustful stepmum.
OP - I would worry about going away in June, even if her mum keeps her at home in the evening Dsd will probably still let herself in to your house during the daytime. If she only has a front door key, I suggest bolting the door from the inside or dropping the catch and leaving via your back door. That way you don't need to have a row about the key and you can relax and enjoy the weekend.
Don't worry about being paranoid, children and stepchildren alike need boundaries and they will take advantage if they think you are a soft touch. You are doing all the right things.
Not sure whether our front door does bolt from the inside. Will have to have a look. Did discuss getting a mortice lock for it too - which would be a good idea generally if we're away. Trouble is DSD is usually allowed to let herself in for an hour or so after school on a Friday before heading off to a club that's near ours - whether or not we're about. We'd have to stop her doing this too if we lock her out. I think we should do that on this ocassion in recognition that she's shown herself not to be trustworthy, but DP is reluctant. Wants her to feel this is her home.
If dsd didn't have two homes, I suspect her parents would be sending her to grandparents or to adult friends on that Friday night or simply telling her she has to forego her club that night. It is still her home but she's not been trustworthy and as such, I don't see why she should be allowed back to yours.
As responsible adults you have a duty to put obstacles in her way, Your Dsd is not trustworthy at present and you all have a duty to protect her from herself.
Thanks - yes she could simply hang out with a friend or go to a cafe for an hour or two after school on a Friday if needs be. It's just that her letting herself in for an hour or two is not actually a problem in itself (we trust her OK to lock up the house, etc - she's done it before) but in a few weeks time when we're away for the whole weekend if we wish to physically prevent her having a party here on the Saturday we'd have to also stop her coming round on the Friday. Unless we can do something very sneaky with getting a neighbour to double lock the front door after she's been and gone on the Friday...
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