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I know I am being unreasonable. But how unreasonable?

(63 Posts)
MarmiteMania Sat 03-May-14 16:44:44

Dsd 15 lives quite a distance away but comes whenever she feels like it in holidays. Love having her, but visits always accompanied by a drama of some sorts. Last time (recently) she found some hidden vodka, downed a huge amount, vomited at 3am and woke my dd to clear it up which she spent most of the night doing as there was so much. Problem was dd was meant to be revising for Gcse's and wasn't able to the next day as she was exhausted from lack of sleep. To cap it all, dsd blamed my cooking (only later that we found out about alcohol).

She has now said she wants to come the days just before my dd's actual Gcse's. I KNOW this is her home and she's entitled to be here as much as my dd is. Despite the dramas I usually look forward to her visits. But it's just going to be such an incredibly stressful week (dd suffers severe exam nerves) that I don't want to be policing dsd or even worrying about dh watching her (useless anyway as tends to turn blind eye). Ok, I still know I'm being unreasonable but just wish she could wait till after exams. Rant over and ready to be flamed!

alita7 Mon 05-May-14 20:41:42

I don't think he's horrible, he wants to see his dd and he can't see her faults as she's his little princess. Unfortunately, his dsd, who he can see and give time and effort to whenever he wants, will never be his dd and he will never truly prioritise her over his dd. It's a normal reaction BUT it is unfair to prevent you from prioritising your dd and to not let you discipline dsd in your own home.

MarmiteMania Mon 05-May-14 20:20:00

Sorry posted twice don't know what happened!

MarmiteMania Mon 05-May-14 20:19:19

NewName, he genuinely thinks she will behave, be it with a little 'encouragement'. Weak with his children yes, but horrible? As I was typing this he has just come in to tell me he has sorted kid's dinner, run me a bath and wants me to chose somewhere in Europe for a long weekend just the 2 of us. Horrible is really the last word I would use to describe him.

MarmiteMania Mon 05-May-14 20:10:19

NewName, he genuinely thinks she will behave, be it with a little 'encouragement'. Weak with his children yes, but horrible? As I was typing this he has just come in to tell me he has sorted kid's dinner, run me a bath and wants me to chose somewhere in Europe for a long weekend just the 2 of us. Horrible is really the last word I would use to describe him.

NewNameForSpring Mon 05-May-14 19:16:47

Still doesn't address the fact that your dd will have the worry of knowing that dsd is coming that week.

Also, taking her somewhere else would surely impact on her revision. Revising in a different environment is unsettling.

Your dh sounds horrible. Sorry.

croquet Mon 05-May-14 15:53:56

Hiya - haven't read all the comments.

I think of course you should be able to stave off her visit til after GCSEs, but if you can't, on the basis that your DH argues it's her home too, then you have to take the line of then as it's her home (i.e. she's not a guest) you are free to discipline her in it. You need to discipline her as you would your own DD. Tell her off about vodka, grass her up to her mum (if that seems appropriate, or maybe just threaten to), and say all her privileges are removed for the time being as punishment. That means early nights etc. more chores.


Ask the DSD yourself if she can postpone because you want your child to have a good shot at her GCSEs. She might agree.

Tsk, it does drive me mad. You'd never get this in a together family as if one kid was being a nuisance and naughty they would readily be removed for the other's exams or frightened into staying v quiet with grounding, disapproval etc.

At the end of the day it's your bloody home too, and you're the adult.

MarmiteMania Mon 05-May-14 13:41:14

Thanks Thumb, and she has a big room so no excuse there! Wishing luck to all over exam season. Roll on the summer!

slithytove Mon 05-May-14 13:27:26

Do you have a spare room or dining room you can designate as study hall not to be disturbed? I had the dining room to myself 9-5 for my a levels, and also had tutors visiting. My siblings coped just fine.

Thumbwitch Mon 05-May-14 13:02:34

I hope that he pulls his act together, Marmite, and deals with it himself, or in fact tells his DD that it would be better if she came a couple of weeks later.

Good luck to your DD in her revision and exams. smile

matildasquared Mon 05-May-14 12:59:53

That seems fair enough!

MarmiteMania Mon 05-May-14 09:16:26

Would be sorely tempted Thumbwitch but unfortunately dd has tutors coming to the house that week. I have informed dh that any disruption that week from dsd and I will NOT be relying on him to deal with it, I will be dealing with it myself. He can deal with the fallout where dsd refuses to come again because horrid Marmite dared pull her up.

Petal02 Mon 05-May-14 08:58:57

Excellent post Thumbwitch.

Thumbwitch Mon 05-May-14 02:32:56

You know what, if your DH won't take his DD to Eurodisney for the half term week to get her out of the house, then I'd take your DD away for the week to a B&B somewhere so she can work unhindered. Maybe not straight away; give the DSD a chance to show she can have some consideration fat chance but at the first sign of interference/disruption, I'd take your DD away somewhere else.

I know you shouldn't have to - but neither should your DD have to put up with potentially having her chances ruined by the utterly selfish wanky behaviour of her stepsister and ineffectual Disney stepDad.

brdgrl Mon 05-May-14 02:08:31

Not because she is a step child - but because she is allowed to rule the roost unchecked while she is there.

Yes, that's it.
If one isn't able to impose consequences on a disruptive or misbehaving child, then it isn't reasonable to say that that child is a full member of the household, able to come and go as she pleases.

DrinkMoreWater Mon 05-May-14 00:34:31

Matilda - no one said she was out of control. The details of one incident are there, but if you read the op or my post you would see that she has said there is 'always' a drama when DSD comes to stay - are you ignoring that or calling Marmite a liar?

Marmite isn't 'borrowing trouble - it's predictable.

matildasquared Sun 04-May-14 22:07:35

Again, I'm seeing one incident with the vodka and a slammed door. This isn't an out-of-control teen. You're borrowing trouble.

Ohbyethen Sun 04-May-14 21:05:13

Not because she is a step child - but because she is allowed to rule the roost unchecked while she is there.

^^ This absolutely.
Not buckling down to revision in the face of distraction, bluntly yes this is dds problem & not dsd's.
But with my children what I say goes, I can discipline them as the need arises or make requests like being respectful of a studying sibling. If they don't I can sort it out.
Op isn't allowed to do that but she also can't rely on her DH to do so either.
Dsd's general behaviour and dsd herself are not the issue here. Marmite's Disney dad DH is.
There is no situation with my biological children where I wouldn't be prevented from balancing the needs of them all - and they are all as equally important.
DH has put Marmite in a position where she has had to support her dd because he doesn't. It's not a one off incident and he won't step up and parent her.
A long pattern of behaviour from him has pushed Marmite to feel this is her only option. Instead of looking at himself and why after being chief cook and bottle washer for his dd Marmite might feel like this, he has turned it on her because it's easier to target her.
This isn't the guide for revising step siblings, it's one specific situation.
Matilda - you may well have had a house full of siblings but one would assume your parents didn't let them get in your way.
If the op could or her DH would then this wouldn't even be an issue. It's him, not dsd.

DrinkMoreWater Sun 04-May-14 20:32:12

It's not just 'one incident' though. Marmite has said that there is always a drama when she's there, she lies - she blamed the Marmite's cooking for her being sick, and as far as she's aware that's what her Dad still thinks.

Marmite 'isn't allowed' to tell her off/give her 'rules' - let alone 'a roasting' for the vodka incident.

She does treat it like a hotel, she doesn't even clear her plate from the table hmm (not being allowed to stay in a hotel is irrelevant to how she treats this home).

She is unable to be quiet.

Her Disney Dad wont tell her off or make her behave...

Yet, despite all of that the Marmite's DD still likes her so you have to add in the 'I'd rather be hanging out with her than studying' element with DSD wanting to hang out with her DD too and it's a recipe for disaster.

Not because she is a step child - but because she is allowed to rule the roost unchecked while she is there

matildasquared Sun 04-May-14 20:13:39

She doesn't "treat it like a hotel" because 15-year-olds can't stay in hotels. She's a kid who only sees her Dad on visits in someone else's home. You love your husband because he's a decent person--a decent person doesn't tell his teenaged daughter, "Sorry, no visit this time because it's inconvenient for us." As far as I can see the dsd had exactly one stupid incident with the vodka and she deserves a roasting for that, I hope you'll both give it to her.

I revised for my exams with a whole house full of siblings and did just fine. You are really making this into more of an issue than it ought to be.

MarianneSolong Sun 04-May-14 19:59:12

Re the accusation stepmothers sometimes face re trying to keep children away from 'their own home'.

It's one particular week when this one particular stepchild's visit might be especially problematic. And the previous visit had been a disruptive one

Stepchildren may - consciously or otherwise - want to have it both ways. Yes, the non-resident's parents house is, on one level, a home. However if the NRP isn't good re boundaries, it may be a place which stepchildren can treat a bit more like a hotel. For example a stepchild may not help out or do any chores. 'Why should I do any chores? I'm hardly ever here. I just wanted to see my Dad....'

There are children whose parents live together who have a similar sense of entitlement, but it's more common in that situation for there to be ground rules, and for poor behaviour to be checked in some way. Meanwhile stepchilden may treat their step parents either with minimal politeness or rather rudely - despite the fact they are cooking meals, doing laundry, tidying up after the child in question.

I think there are stepfamilies that work very much better than this. But in such cases the Non Resident Parent and the Step parent will have spent time talking about their needs and expectations, and what will work out for everybody - and then jointly giving out a consistent message to the children involved.

alita7 Sun 04-May-14 18:48:06

in a sense I think it's worse if they get on really well because it will be a bit like having a friend round and if they normally spend a lot of time together and dsd isn't revising then she will want to spend time with dd and dd may struggle to not hang out with her. unless you can convince them to spend most of the time with dsd helping dd revise then dsd will probably get bored if her 'playmate' is trying to revise.

MarmiteMania Sun 04-May-14 18:15:04

Sorry should read (her fault)

MarmiteMania Sun 04-May-14 18:12:47

Thanks again ohbyethen, I have laid my cards on the table with regards to our lives being dictated to generally by dh's inability to say No to his dcs and his terror of 'losing' them if he does. I have told dh I want us to attend counselling because I can see this wrecking our marriage in the future- his dcs already demand presents/money for no apparent reason, what will they be demanding in the future and what if dh is not able to deliver?

Despite all the above, I would say that is probably his only failing- he is unusually kind, the type to top up a random car meter if about to expire, tireless for charity and (dopy as it sounds) enriches the lives of those he comes into contact with. But yes this is a deal breaker for me hence the counselling. Thank you for the Rescue Remedy advice, I think it contains tiny amounts of alcohol so prob not just a placebo. Glad it worked for you!

Peggy dsd knows it's exam week but would in no way want to disturb dd on purpose, she likes dd.

Drinkmore I will most certainly be telling dsd that any disruption and she will have to go home for the week. Mathilda dd had 3 hours sleep the night of the vodka incident, would you be able to revise the following day? Having said that, you are saying what everyone in RL, even my dm is saying- that dh should be able to have his daughter in his home WHENEVER he likes. I posted here to get step parent's' perspectives as I know none in RL.

Purple, dd usually loves her step sister coming but is dreading it as she knows how easily distracted she is (her fault? And how distractive dsd is!

Thanks all again.

purpleroses Sun 04-May-14 17:34:22

Presumably DSD is Y10? Doesn't she have mocks at the same time as your DD has GCSEs? I would suggest she stays at her mum's so that she can revise in peace, and try and make some fun plans for the summer with her. But if she insists on coming, then make it a really strict house where everyone revises quietly and goes to bed early.

I don't think it's really unreasonably of her to want to come to see her dad and stepsister for the half term week. Your DSD won't actually have exams during half term will she? What does your DD think? If she's the kind of child you puts pressure on herself, having another teenager around a bit to chill out with at times in between revising might actually be quite good for her.

I wouldn't try to keep my DSC away just because one of mine had exams. GCSEs go on for several weeks. But I would expect them to be respectful of the need to give the one revising peace and quiet.

matildasquared Sun 04-May-14 17:17:37

I can't imagine telling my child she couldn't stay with me--because it would be inconvenient for my new family. That's really awful.

You describe one incident in which DSD was sick in the night. Yes, annoying and dumb, and inconsiderate that your daughter had to clean. But being woken up at night meant that your daughter couldn't revise AT ALL the next day? Come on.

Seriously, this child's mere presence in the house for a few days is enough to cause your daughter to fail her GSCEs? There's some scapegoating going on here.

Have a serious talk with her, ringfence your daughter's studying time, tell her she'll be seriously punished if any vodka nonsense happens again. But I'm not surprised your husband is shocked at your suggestion.

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