Help- how to deal with this?(29 Posts)
My dsd 11 and dss 9 were over last night.
Came over without coats or jumpers knowing full well that they would be going out to take the dog a walk. DP asked dsd to put on a jumper and she refused on the grounds that I had bought it an I'm not her mum. She shouted at dp that he is her dad and he should be buying her clothes.
I wasn't there ( I was shopping) so dp was dealing with this outburst. He told me about it later but I'm just not sure what to do.
DP has said to not talk to dsd. I don't think this is the answer. I think this has come from her mum and she is just repeating it.
We have had real struggles this past year with dsd and I have been trying really hard to be more understanding about everything.
But now it's quite clear dsd doesn't like me. But I get annoyed because I'm her friend when she wants something. I feel like I'm being taken for a mug.
I know it's prob normal behaviour but its causing such an atmosphere and I know dp is really disappointed in his dd for the outburst.
He can't speak to their mum as she is quite unreasonable and often she tells dp the kids are not'always' and I shouldn't be so involved etc.
I don't know what to do. The next few hers are going to be a nightmare if I'm not to talk to dsd. We have them 50/50!
Your DH is going to have to have a conversation with his DD as this can only get worse if left unchecked. Not speaking to her is not an option, that's just daft.
Well exactly. I asked dp last night if he had spoken to her about where this is coming from and why does she feel like this. but he hasn't and I think he needs to. But I'm not sure what it will achieve. She is always going to go back to her mum and tell her we did this or that or said this or that. It's just not a nice house to live in when it's like that. I don't blame dsd for her behaviour but I think she is getting to an age where she has to become accountable for her actions and how she treats people.
I never got a hello or a good night from her. I instigated it. She was on her phone for at least 3 hours solid last night. Despite dp asking her to get off. X
That's the sort of thing that drives me mad about some parents. Tell DCs to do something then do nothing if they ignore. I can imagine you steaming gently while this continues.
You shouldn't be walking on eggshells in your own home. Tell him that's not going to happen and he needs to sort it out, with your support.
According to mum I'm not supposed to talk to dsd or dss about anything. So when dp gave her a row about her rabbit I tried to intervene and make better. A more gentle approach - mum went nuts. It was nothing to do with me why was I hmgetting involved etc. So this is what we're dealing with. And then this latest outburst to add. I just can't win. I don't need for his kids to like me. But it helps if they do. Makes everything easier. And I really have been trying. I bought them both some new summer clothes and stuff for the rabbit and just generally taking interest in them and what they like doing. The last 2 weeks were relatively ok in comparison to previous ones.
DP def needs to have word with his dd though because this can't go on.
Should I ever be In your shoes:
I would not grow a strong attachment to these children.
I would be pleasant, interested and that is it.
I would not buy them clothes or anything else for that matter. Leave that to their father.
I would remain neutral at all times.
I do have dc of my own though. I just couldn't be bothered with the aggro you describe.
Don't over invest emotionally in these children. At the end of the day they are somebody else's.
If the mother gets a kick from them not liking you then so be it. It's her dc that she's encouraging to be like this. It's harmful if anything.
Don't try to interfere in rows. Let your dh deal with them. You just sit back or leave the room. If the row was started as a way to get at you it will fail.
How long have your dp and his ex been split up and when did you come on the scene?
What age is she?
Look at this from another angle. Children are difficult. They push and stretch boundaries and lash out using what they can. The fact you're a step parent is just one more weapon in the armoury. My kids would say some really hurtful things to me growing up. I'm sure they did to their step mum too. If my 13 yr old daughter couldn't be arsed to take the dog out, she'd have a million excuses why it would be impossible.
Don't ascribe meaning to this that might not be there. It's quite possible it will have nothing to do with their DM, and more than likely nothing to do wit h you as step mum. You're an adult and all adults exist for is to boss kids around and make unreasonable requests.
Once you start thinking this child doesn't like you and her behaviour is fuelled by a malignant mother, you'll lose the capacity to take any of this at face value.
Focus completely on the behaviour - not any possible explanations for it. Set what's acceptable in your house and get your DH to back you on that.
God I know how you feel op.
I have similar issues.
Firstly when your DH is there he needs to be he primary parent, having the arguments etc. He needs to stand up to his kids. But if he is ever not around you have to be able to parent them for there own safety. He needs to sort this and firmly tell your dsc and their mother that in the best interest of the kids you have to be able to engage with them and give instructions. He needs to step up here. Ignoring them is not an option for any kind if family life. It's just not.
DP and his ex split about 6 years ago. I came about 3 and half years ago.
The rabbit thing well- this is an ongoing issue and I had bought nice stuff for it and said to dp I wanted to speak to dsd about it and show her the stuff so she would maybe start trying to look after it more- after all it is hers and would give her a wee bit responsibility. But for whatever reason when dsd arrived dp had a go at her for not looking after it and she got upset. So I tried to fix it. (Cant help myself sometimes) but from now on I'm just going to step back.
DP just doesnt want to have the conversation with mum as it will fall on deaf ears and will achieve nothing.
I think taking 'quite likely's advice will be best for the time being.
I really feel for the kids. I genuinely feel this is not coming from them.
And no point discussing with the mother. No point at all.
She's the one setting the scene for what's occurring at your house. Let her carry on with it.
Most of all if a row is brewing. Leave the room don't get involved.
I'd leave the DM out of things as much as you possibly can. I wouldn't get your DP to speak to her DM, as I suspect your DP is right that it wouldn't achieve much. I think I'd focus on the practical issues instead
Re the jumper - can your DP say to DSD - "which would you rather - that you bring clothes with you between your houses, and only your DM buys you things? Or that we get you some too to have in each house?" If she wants some in each house, then she needs to agree how these are going to be bought - ie is she old enough to be given some money to choose for herself? Or do you or DP need to go with her? Or could her DM supply some clothing to be kept at yours?
I have had really similar issues with my DSS who comes without a coat, refuses absolutely to wear anything I offer to lend him and just goes around shivering and saying he's not cold... I think sometimes if they're not actually in danger of hypothermia then that's the way to go in a practical sense.
I would do as Daisy's suggests regarding the clothes. As for arguments do not get involved leave it between dp and his dcs.
Leave the room and do not pass an opinion to the dscs.
My DSD 14 and DS 15 NEVER wear coats and DSS who is 11 is going the same route - honestly they are a bit weird, doesn't matter how cold or wet. I used to stress over it but when I forced DS he would take it off as soon as he left the house.
That said clearly there are issues of blatant disrespect and your DH needs to sit his DS down and let her know that that type of behavior is not acceptable. You may not be her mom but you are an adult and common decency is required.
I would simply stop buying her things, I may get flamed for this but I would continue to buy for DSS if he does not show the same rudeness and I bet she soon will want to backtrack.
All that said though has she always been like this or is it getting worse? In part it may be just that she is reaching puberty and testing boundaries - both my DSD and DS have a habit of adding kisses to messages when they want something or I am doing something for them but the rest of the time don't, I think that is normal teenage self absorbed behaviour - always love you when they are getting something out of it lol.
I do agree with posters who have said when arguments flair up make a sharp exit.
Please don't jump to the conclusion that because your dsd has issues with you that it comes from her mum. At 11, she will be more than able to have feelings of her own rather than just repeating what her mum says to her. As a matter of fact, at this age, she is much more likely to defend the parent/step-parent who is given a bad name.
Most likely, she is going through the start of puberty, making her emotional and needy. Her outburst was most likely a misplaced way of telling her dad that she wants him to show her more attention, ie. thinking of her and buying her stuff rather than you.
I don't think that she has an issue with you getting involved, but an issue that when you get involved, it means that her dad isn't, and that's what she wants more of. Typical teenage attitude, she'll grow out of it.
I think your dp needs to speak to his dd and lay some rules for your house, she is there 50% if the time and should at least be civil enough to say hello etc. He should not allow her to be rude to you etc. In regards to arguments and buying clothes etc leave it all to dp. I do think that when the dm kicks off about something that happens in your home then dp should say to her that you are part if their lives they live with you 50% of the time and it's totally reasonable that in your home you have a say
Whenever he speaks to his dd it's met with hostility and just rudeness.
He has tried explaining about me being there.
The only reason I'm blaming g mum is because I've heard her say to dp similar things so Im just guessing that's what's happening.
I'm certainly going to keep out of arguenents way.
Part of me wants to up and leave.
Please listen to what Olly and Swing said.
This approach is laid out in more detail in the book "Get out of my life but first take me and Alex in to town" by Suzanne Franks.
When me and DP were having similar trouble with my DS15, we both read this book and took the advice on board (it was recommended by other MN posters) . I had previously never looked at a parenting book in my life, but was desperate.
The lad still leaves mugs and plates in his room and has to be nagged to do his chores etc. but the atmosphere at home has improved and he is lovely to be around again. The best result has been that he is much less cheeky and argumentative, and speaks to us respectfully.
This is a DP problem.
He shouldn't be allowing her to behave like this. He should tell her how disappointed he is with her outburst and put her straight.
Why should you be the one to avoid her and not speak for fear of receiving a gobful of abuse. It's your home too isn't it?
I agree with PP who said just detach. Don't bother buying her clothes or doing anything for her. Like she said you're not her Mum, therefore she's not your responsibility. Next time she asks for a favour say no for exactly that reason.
If I were you I'd find something nice to do for yourself next time they visit and let them get on with it.
It's just a ridiculous drama now. I'm really sick of it. DP had a huge blowout with the ex about everything. So everything is worse instead of better.
I have told dp that until he resolves whatever issues he is having with his dd and ex then I will not be involved in family outings. Nor will I contribute financially to anything regarding the children. (Our finances are primarily joint but we do have our own stashes. He has to use this personal stash to fund anything.
And where I used to cook for everyone I'm no longer doing this. He and the kids can sort out tidying and cleaning their room. ( kids have to today I usually go in with Hoover and duster)
They will all soon realise exactly how much I contribute and maybe then dp will do somethjng about it all.
Its absolutley childish on my part but seeing that dp and his ex are acting like kids then I'll justjumpkn that bandwagon for my own sanity. I see a few trips out myself on the cards too.
It's not childish.
Maybe it will make them all appreciate how much you do for them!
Even if it doesn't- at least you will get a a break!
I agree with other posters, detach as much as you can! My DSC were all grown when DH and I got together, and in the early years I used to try to involve myself with them. I soon learned that though they were respectful and pleasant to me, it's their father they want to see/spend time with, so I take a back seat unless specifically asked to do otherwise!
I think if we only had the kids once every other week it would be easy but we have them 7 nights outta 14 so it's going to be hard to detach.
Its killing me that all this is happening.
Dp is still standing by that I should just ignore dsd. He said he won't get annoyed at me if I just go into different rooms etc. Will see how long this all lasts.
Thank you for not roasting me but for trying to help.
They will all soon realise exactly how much I contribute and maybe then dp will do somethjng about it all.
Good luck with this one! I think the outcome of this approach is much likely that you will be seen as sulking and being difficult and to be fair, it is very putting yourself at the same level than what you would expect of a teenager.
Take a step back emotionally, not physically. Teenagers ARE difficult. I have times when I struggle to like my teenager boy, the difference is that because I'm his mum, even when I feel that I don't like him at all, I still love him and know that it won't last. As a step-parent, you don't get this to fall back on, so it is even harder. However, as a step-parent, you don't have the responsibility and worry of having to decide how to cope with it.
The worse you can do is to attribute normal teenage behaviour and reach the conclusion that they are a bad person. Yes, some teenagers are delightful (my DD is), but it doesn't mean that those who are not are less worthy of attention and care. Outbursts are unpleasant, and yes, they need to be dealt with, but they are also a very normal hormonal reaction. I've seen that behaviour amongst friends' teenager DD, and at 16, they have all grown out of it naturally.
Ultimately, YOU are the adult and YOU have to act like one. So take an emotional break and then when you are more able to, try to focus on the positive and slowly establish a connection with your sd. She is not solely defined by her behaviour and somewhere there, there must be something worth appreciating. How about you take the best of her and leave the worse for her dad to deal with?
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