Feeling apprehensive(4 Posts)
Hi guys long time lurker here.
I'm hoping someone can give me some constructive advice about a situation I have with DP and his inability to treat his 2 dc the same and it's making me feel apprehensive as dsd is due with us from Saturday.
Nearly 3 years ago DP's ex took their dd to live 400 miles away with less than 10 days notice. This turned my DP's world upside down and he was devastated. He went from 3 days per week to school holidays and he's struggled with anything remotely resembling discipline ever since as he doesn't want her to remember her visits as being unhappy.
This has been causing friction between us as he is on our ds's case constantly when dsd is with us yet allows her to, basically, do as she wishes. I am a firm believer in fairness and consistency and, if I tell my ds he isn't allowed to do something then dsd is also not allowed to do it (whatever 'it' may be). I feel this has started making me look like the evil step-mother as I'm the one that has to step in before things get out of control. He is also much more affectionate towards dsd than ds.
Things came to a head in October HT (with DP, not dsd). I had been saying for a number of months that it is very noticable how differently he treats his 2 dc and it will only be a matter of time that ds notices and feels his sister is given preferential treatment. He said that would never happen as it's not true and I must be 'harbouring resentment' towards dsd (this is something he likes to throw into any conversation we are having about his behaviour towards ds) I most certainly don't resent my dsd, she is 6 ffs and has no say on how her father behaves, but I do resent DP's behaviour. Sorry I digress!!
So, Oct HT, I was downstairs with dc giving them breakfast when DP walked in and said 'Good morning baby girl' to dsd. He then looked at ds and said 'Good morning'. Ds got upset and said 'you didn't say good morning daddy' DP said 'of course I did' DS....'No, you said good morning baby girl, you didn't say good morning baby boy' I didn't say anything but I had feared this would happen and it upset me greatly. We did talk about it, once the dc were in bed, and he said he would try and act the same towards them. This was the last day of dsd visit and she went home the next morning so he didn't have chance to try out his new and improved attitude!!
I'm almost dreading xmas. I hate feeling like the nasty one, and I feel like I have to over-compensate and be overtly affectionate to our ds as he seems to get over-looked (perfect example....ds climbs on DP, DP tells him to get down. Dsd climbs over him and he will just allow her to do it but if ds tries to join in he gets removed again and told to go away).
Any ideas on how I can get things running better?
I feel for you - it's the exact same here, though DP has admitted as much and is trying to change his ways. I understand it must be hard for him as we only get Dsd (5) two days a week, one of which is only after school until bedtime, and he wants us all just to have fun. But Dd1 (3) is taking the brunt of the tellings off for anything than happens and a lot of the time she's not to blame. DSD always points out when DD has done something she doesn't like but DD doesnt and he fails to notice when DSD is in the wrong. He also has a completely dofferent tone when telling her off, jokey and it takes a good 6/7 times saying the same thing before he gets serious. With DD however she gets snapped at instantly. He's very different with DD when DSD isn't here and like you it makes me unable to look forward to our days together. He admits himself he finds it very stressful if DD isn't wanting to play with DSD etc as he wants everyone happy but he needs to understand she is 3 and his stress is actually making the whole situation worse. Everyone ends up stressed.
What an awful situation for you - sound like you have been incredibly tolerant up until now! How dare your DP absolve himself of his parenting responsibilities to his DD just because his ex moved away and his time with his DD is limited? All the more reason for him to do a good job of parenting in the short time he does have the opportunity to do so.
The only thing I can suggest is to highlight what your DSD is currently missing out on due to your DPs unwillingness to parent the DCs in the same way.
Identify the positives of his relationship with your DS and explain how you're worried his DD won't have the same as she grows up, because she's missing out on him being a "dad" in the same way.
If your DS has noticed how your DP treats them differently, then it's guaranteed that your DSD will have noticed, too. It won't be long before she tries to play on it and "explores the envelope of acceptable behaviour". At some point, someone is going to have to parent her in your home, otherwise she'll become a nightmare!
If you make it clear to your DP that you won't be enforcing rules and boundaries, and make sure you follow through, then he may be more willing to step up and parent both his DCs equally.
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