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At the end of my tether with DD - considering asking exH if he wants her

(14 Posts)
FishFace99 Mon 31-Aug-15 23:11:15

DD was 8 last week, exH and I have been separated since she was 1. Contact has been regularly EOW since then. Relations between exH and I haven't always been great but DD has been kept out of it. Without fail, DD has been upset before and after contact every single time. She is regularly hysterical and shouts and screams the house down throughout the night. She complains about her dad to me and I'm guessing about me to him. She cries there saying she misses me and sometimes wants to come home, recently she's been demanding he come to see her when it isn't possible then blaming me.

She is mostly really nasty to her younger siblings. She is grumpy and rude and only happy and chatty if she's getting 1:1 attention or her way with something.last year there was a period of 5 months where she didn't see him and she waa a completely different happy child.

I spend my time running around for her to go to school and activities, dragging her siblings along, and all we get is bad attitude. For her birthday we went away for a few days, had a special day out just the two of us, I arranged a surprise tea with her friends on the actual day and a party at the weekend and still she's miserable.

She came back on Sunday from her dad's and was screaming at me within minutes, being rude to her sisters and quite frankly scaring them. She rang him and asked him to come round, I sent him a text and said he could come back and take her if he wanted. He did while telling her all this wasn't on.

She called tonight to apologise but I could tell it was forced and I'm dreading her returning on Wednesday to be honest. The other children are all so much happier without her. They break my heart asking if DD will like them or hurt them when she comes back and I feel like asking if he wants her.

I have paid for counselling for her, spend time with her on our own, her dad and I have spent time with her together. I don't know what else I can do to make her happy besides opting out and letting her live a happy life in one home rather than an unhappy life in two homes.

swingofthings Tue 01-Sep-15 10:48:18

Why are you spoiling her when she is showing so little respect? She sounds like she needs serious disciplining especially if she is using you and dad against each other.

Stop running your life and worse that of your other children for her she needs to learn life doesn't revolve around her.

Kampeki Tue 01-Sep-15 10:53:04

She sounds very unhappy, poor little thing. I think you need to get to the bottom of what's causing her unhappiness. I realise that she is being a nightmare to have around, but she is only 8. Did the counselling help at all?

Branleuse Tue 01-Sep-15 10:54:38

it sounds like she is really hurting about something.

She will still exist even if you give up on her, you will still be your responsibility. You dont get to just give up on your child when they are difficult. Some people do but its incredibly shitty.

fastdaytears Tue 01-Sep-15 10:55:49

Have you posted something similar recently? If not, someone else has and there might be helpful advice on there...I'll have a look for you.
How old are the younger DC? How is her relationship with them generally?

APlaceOnTheCouch Tue 01-Sep-15 11:10:55

I think you're tying too many different things together.

YY your DD sounds unhappy but there's an undercurrent that you think she should be 'fixed' by now because you 'paid for counselling' for her. DCs go through phases of being difficult and unhappy and throwing tantrums. They can also be perfectly happy for months and then hit another development phase or run into an issue at school and lo! it's all difficult again.

Siblings also have issues and I wonder how you would be thinking of dealing with it if your two younger DCs weren't getting on with each other. You wouldn't have an option of sending one away to live somewhere else so however you would support them to learn to live together/tolerate each other is the same way you should be approaching their relationship with your DD. My older DSIS was often mean to me. I'd usurped her place in the family. It's a natural family dynamic. No-one considered sending one of us away hmm

Have you had family counselling? Your DD may have lots of guilt about enjoying spending time apart from you and then vice versa away from her DF. I don't think sending her away to live with her DF is the answer . . .and tbh the fact that is the solution that you are considering suggests all is not well in your relationship with her and that is obviously going to have an impact on how she behaves.

Fugghetaboutit Tue 01-Sep-15 11:16:26

Have you sat her down when both calm and happy and asked her why she gets upset and doesn't want to do to her dads? I would be really worried about sending her tbh

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 01-Sep-15 12:54:14

I would not be giving up on her or sending her to her Dad's if I were you. She's only 8 and to have the power to influence decisions like that is really scary for her and will lead to more problems.

I think you need to do two things: Do not tolerate any of her bad behaviour, particularly to younger siblings. Think to yourself, are you really being consistent? She can scream all she likes but you need to be really, really clear about what is expected of her. If she does anything good then really praise her. Get one of those parenting books and spend a few months getting things back on track. Kids know your weak spots but really they do want structure and safety - it's not ultimately secure for them to know that they can manipulate a situation. I would never, ever call her Dad back no matter what, or let her come back to you when she's supposed to be at her Dad's.

Only when you've got her behaviour back on track can you really find out more about what's troubling her. But I suspect it's a mixture of things that are all part of the painful part of growing up and having to cope with separated parents - you need to help her learn how to cope. If you send her to her Dads it will resolve nothing - and your relationship with her may not recover. You have a chance now.

Atenco Tue 01-Sep-15 14:21:18

Are you certain she is well and safe with her dad?

FishFace99 Tue 01-Sep-15 22:10:28

Yes Atenco. It's different but safe enough.

The counselling hasn't helped; its made her more emotional if anything. I just don't know what I can do when she just screams and wails and won't talk or calm down. I'm not trying to shirk my responsibilities, I just hate seeing her this unhappy and don't know how to improve things for her.

Devora Tue 01-Sep-15 22:27:14

Counselling does tend to make you more emotional, you kind of get worse before you get better. How long did she have the counselling and what feedback did the counsellor give you?

I'm really sympathetic (and understanding) of what it's like when you have one child behaving like this. But I very much doubt that sending her away is the answer. I agree that family therapy may be valuable.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 02-Sep-15 12:15:07

OP I'd let her scream and wail in her own room until she does calm down. She will eventually. Of course it's horrible to hear but we all have to learn how to get a handle on ourselves. Do you want her to be like that in her teens? It could get a lot worse if she doesn't learn now. Get on with looking after your other kids while she is screaming and reassure them that it is just your child learning about her strong emotions. Personally I'd be sceptical of counselling and bringing up more emotions - unless there is a clear specific problem she can work through.

The problem here seems to be her strong emotions and not being able to have time to learn to control them. Would you agree OP? It's like she's learnt that she gets a lot of attention through it. If nothing you do helps then she needs to be able to have her own space to do it.

My son used to have massive tantrums - I would make sure he was safe -check on him and just say 'When you have calmed down I'll give you a hug - but would also reiterate to him when he was calm that it is normal to feel upset but that rules would remain the same.

FishFace99 Wed 02-Sep-15 22:34:34

She's had seven sessions but there hasn't been any feedback, her counsellor is very big on how confidential it is.

She won't stay away from me when she's screaming and wailing, she follows me everywhere getting louder if I walk away.

cappy123 Fri 04-Sep-15 14:43:23

Confidential counselling for an 8 year old? How are you supposed to know the bigger picture or underlying causes as a parent? Anyway, I agree with whoever said family therapy is an option and also with the person who probed as to what's going on at dad's home.

Unless I've skim-read too quickly and missed this, but there is an elephant in the room, here. Did you mean to post this in the stepfamily section? Are her siblings (presumably your DCs?) new step siblings from a new relationship on your part, or other siblings you had with your exH? Are there new partners, step siblings on your exH part? If so how has that been handled with her?

You refer to your exH; are you divorced then or still separated all these years later? Because given you separated when she was just 1 (so she could barely remember you as a couple) this could be an unusually protracted and strong response to your breaking up. Or something unresolved in her mind that thinks you'll be getting back together. Has she been given that impression?

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