Moving In...could do with some advice please.(17 Posts)
I'll set the background first...I am moving in with my boyfriend of 3 years and his dd who is 9. Dd spends around 3 nights a week with him and the remainder with her Mum. He has discussed the move with her and she was ok with the decision albeit she is very demanding of her Dad..clings to him, crys if she is not being involved in the conversation ALL the time, mimics my actions like face stroking, holding his face and kissing and playing with his chest hair! He does reprimand her occasionally for some things..however lets alot of it go as says it is just her age and feels guilty for splitting up with her mum. Ok.
I too have a dd who is 16 and after months of talking / tears and tantrums...will be moving with me.
As I am moving in at end of the month I've started to pack up items and take them over piecemeal so that there is just the big items to shift at the end. I arrived with a box last weekend which we unpacked and put a few pictures in places where they would go. DP's dd came later in the day to see him and when she saw my things she went straight to her room crying and wouldn't come out.
The upshot of this has resulted in DP telling her that she can have a say in where my stuff will go (pictures, ornaments etc) and I am not to bring anymore things until I have packed away what I have bought so far..as not to upset dd more.
What should I do? I am conscious of how both our girls are feeling though and don't want anyone to be unhappy. I have always got on well with his dd though feel that I should be able to move in without feeling like the big bad ogre and put my things exactly where DP and I decide they go and not his dd.
As for the clinging on, face stroking, kissing etc I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable...I can't quite explain it...nothing untoward of course...just hmmmm.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Been there, got the proverbial t-shirt...
Seriously though, dh needs to tell his dd (nicely) that she is not the woman of the house, you are.
He has to stop pandering to this illusion that she is his mini wife immediately or you may as well not move in, ever.
This kind of behaviour was allowed in our new house when we all moved in together 4 yrs ago (dsc there eow) when dsd was 12, and in all honesty, despite nearly a year of couple counseling, dh is barely getting the hang of it!
I however won't be played for a fool any longer, any tiny thing I'm unhappy about is addressed (no more silent fuming) and lo, the counseler backs me up every time.
These dads feel they are doing their dd a service by treating them like royalty and themselves (and us by proxy) as their servants and skivvies.
Far from it, they gain nothing but a false sense of reality and an inability to form healthy relationships in the future (that argument did finally turn dh from Disney parenting so blatantly...)
Good luck and stand your ground, xx
If you read your post back what would you advise someone else to do in this situation?
You know both girls do you think when you are all moved in they will relax and get in with things or do you thing it will be like a pressure cooker and be worse?
What he is saying about his dd saying where you can put things is really worrying. Your partner is making it clear that you are a guest in their home and it is not equally yours.
How will your dd feel with needing permission to do things n what will be her home?
I completely agree with lunar. Your DH letting his DD choose where your stuff goes should be ringing massive alarm bells. Mini wife seems to capture it unfortunately, and from what I've read from others who've experienced similar, this habit may never be broken, particularly when your DP is enabling it
Sorry for the horrible typos in my post, I forgot to read it back. Hope it makes sense.
Thanks for the replies and advice. I totally agree with everything said. My DPs argument is that she is only 9 and doesn't want to upset her any more than he has to!! I appreciate that but there are 4 people to consider in all of this not just his princess.
He feels as though it is a personal attack and goes straight on the defensive if I mention anything...
I too think he is pandering to her. You are the adult SHE is the child. You shouldn't be told where you can put things in what will be very soon, your own home! She doesn't even live there fulltime!
Luckily my DP isn't a Disney dad at all. We've been together nearly 6 years now and his 2DD visit every other weekend. I have 2 DS. They are all similar ages (15, 14, 14 & 10) but we (try to) treat them all the same.
How does he cope when you discipline his daughter? I know I've always found this aspect of the step-parent dynamic difficult. I've had to back him up when he's spoken to my sons and sometimes I don't always agree with him. I've had to speak to him about it later and discuss it with him.
Good luck with your move, don't let it put a dampener on it!
I've never had to discipline her as such Louby..I leave that down to him though did have to tell her not be rude when she kept interrupting an adult conversation. DP did back me up and agreed with me. You are absolutely right with pandering...he has to sit where she says...watch a film with her and god help him if he takes his eyes off the screen for a second...Grrrrr. I often wonder if his ex has to put up with anything similar, tho think not. I do actually like his dd an awful lot and want to try to be a good role model...just not at the expense of my sanity and my dd ( who can also be a brat I might add).
I don't see how you can make it work really unless you and DP are the adults of the house, and the DCs are the children. Your DP needs to be fully on board with turning the situation round so that that's how it is. You really can't parent a child if you're afraid of upsetting them.
I moved in with my DP a year or so ago - like you we were very sensitive to trying not to upset anyone, but the kids were clearly in charge only of where things went in their own rooms. That is their territory. The rest of the house is for the adults to decide what goes where. By living together you will inevitably upset your DP's DD many times - that's just life - but if he tries to place the need to placate her above all else I can't see how you can make it work as a partnership really And having a 9 year old demand not just where she sits but where the adults sit too...
Do you have the option to move somewhere new then you are all making a new start together?
I've got a different experience and approach. Mine is based both on being a step-child and being step mum to my ex DP's children. (He is not ex because of the kids, by the way - I still see them all.)
My view is that his DD is a child and even an adult you really like moving into your home is going to be tricky. It's a massive sign that your mum and dad are never going to get back together. You may feel grief about this. Even if you know in reality that your parents will never be together again, it can still come as a shock.
She probably feels that you moving in is unsettling (even if she likes you). And her home changing without her knowing it was going to is also unsettling. Her behaviour with her dad suggests she feels very insecure and hopes by mimicking your actions that he will keep loving her.
My approach would be for you and your DP to say to your DSD: "Look, X has brought some lovely new things - we are going to be living here as a family so let's all have a look and see where these new things should go."
You are not letting your DSD control where to put things. It is being presented to her as something that is happening. But by involving her, things are moving at an easier pace. She won't come to her dads to discover it all looks different and feel unsettled. And she will feel pleased to be consulted.
I feel for you. It's really hard trying to bring two families together. I always found a lighter touch approach worked for me. Anytime my ex and I tried a more hard line approach, everyone got stressed and more set in difficult ways. But obviously we are not you, so apologies if my advice is useless.
Yes you are right Purple..I really don't think a child should have the last word on where things should go in the house...in their own room yes.
Ideally we would move somewhere new but thought this would a good start.
Oh dear, this does not bode well. Allowances made because "she's only" 9, 10, 11 could mean that you end up in my position. We (DH and I) made allowances for dh's youngest daughter, for years. Now, she's 20 and frankly, allowances have turned in to a litany of excuses for what is a now young adult behaving like a 5 year old, throwing a tantrum when dad doesn't basically do as he's told (by his daughter).
Be careful here.
Oh dear. This sounds familiar.
My advice is to assert yourself now and nip this in the bud.
Your DP needs to make the boundaries clear. You and he are the ADULTS of the house and DSD is the child. If he can't
won't do this then you are going to have a lot of problems.
We had this situation and DSD adapted quite well once we had laid the law down. I think in a way it was a relief for her to know where she stood at last.
As for the over affectionate clinginess - this is just insecurity and should ease off as she grows up / feels confident of her position In the family. She just needs to know that her dad will still love her even though you are now in his life. It isn't healthy for a child to feel they have to compete for their place in their parents life. Your DP should reassure her that he will always be her daddy and will always love her and that is totally separate to his relationship with you.
I wish you luck!!
I managed to have a chat with DP last night to put my points across about how I felt. He tried to go down the 'she is only 9!!' excuse which I was able to repel somewhat.
Ruby, I did use your wording (if that's ok) to try and explain how we could talk to his dd regarding unpacking my things and finding them a home, to which he agreed. Thank you for your advice there. I also said that we were the adults and should try to discuss things openly as there would be issues to come that we would need to sort. He has to start listening to me instead of jumping to the conclusion that I am criticising his dd and shooting me down!!
Eliza..your experience is exactly what worries me and need to nip in the bud if I can.
I'll update you all once I get my foot through the door!!
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