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DD being difficult with partner.

(20 Posts)
Straightjacketneeded Tue 15-Sep-15 14:11:54

I have a beautiful nearly 5 year old girl and a very loving and caring fiance of a year. We are living together and have been for the past 6 months, also we're expecting a little boy in December. My daughter has been recently being very nasty to my partner saying things like " I don't like you" she will say this after he tells her she can't have something or tells her to tidy something up. My partner has been very understanding and patient with her but I just feel that things will get worse when our son is born. We all had a chat this afternoon after the most recent battle of wills and my partner said he doesn't know what to do any more and he hates it when she says that she doesn't like him. I can totally understand because I would feel the same if it was me, so I asked my daughter if she was behaving this way because she feels that when her brother comes along he's going to have his dad living with us and hers isn't. She said yes and she feels that my partner wont be like a dad to her anymore. We obviously told her that nothing will change when her brother comes and that she cant be nasty anymore. I explained that my partner does a lot for her like takes her to school, buys her school shoes the sort of thing a dad should do. I also said that my partner chose to be with us and that he didn't have to. I suppose I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience of this and if it got easier over a bit more time?

SouthAmericanCuisine Tue 15-Sep-15 14:35:26

I think your DD is being perfectly normal for her age - many 4 years olds say these sort of things to their own parents when they don't get their own way.

I think you might be putting ideas in her head by asking her if it's because she feels jealous of her (as yet unborn) baby brother having his daddy all the time - that's way to advanced for a 4 year old!

Perhaps your DP can do some reading up about "normal" 4 year old behaviour (maybe on the MN parenting threads?) and hopefully he'll realise thst it's not personal, or even to do with his step-status and that he needs to grow a thicker skin as both your DD and your new baby will both same much more hurtful things to you both over the years!

Straightjacketneeded Tue 15-Sep-15 15:20:28

So should I not worry about it escalating when baby is here? Obviously I want her to know that saying things like that isn't nice.

Chillyegg Tue 15-Sep-15 15:23:48

How long have you been together ?
It's unclear in your op
If it's a year then your engaged then dp moves and then your pregnant well that's a lot of life changes for a 4 year old.

HerRoyalNotness Tue 15-Sep-15 15:25:26

My own DC absolutely day this to me and often when i ask them to do a chore or homework etc...

So I say back to them I like you/love you and then say ok let's do xyz. It took awhile but they realised eventually I wasn't going to say I didn't like them back and they have stopped doing it for the most part. It's testing of the boundaries.

HerRoyalNotness Tue 15-Sep-15 15:26:45

... I've also said , you don't have to like me, but let's get on with homework now...

christinarossetti Tue 15-Sep-15 15:31:34

I agree with chillyegg. A new baby is a big adjustment for all children, even more so if your dd has already experienced her parents separating, a new father figure moving in etc.

I'm guessing that she's just started school too?

Help her to talk about her feelings - maybe say 'you sound angry' when she is 'nasty', and cut her lots and lots of slack. She's little and adapting to a lot.

christinarossetti Tue 15-Sep-15 15:33:00

P.S. Don't say that nothing will change when the baby is here. It will, very dramatically as you know from when your first baby arrived.

Talk with her what the changes will be and how you will all adapt.

Straightjacketneeded Tue 15-Sep-15 15:35:40

I do feel frustrated because I want her to tell me how she feels but I understand shes only little. I just don't want my partner to think I'm telling him to cut her some slack just because shes my daughter. We both have different parenting styles as well so that doesn't help. We've been together for a year.

Bellebella Tue 15-Sep-15 15:39:13

Maybe it's all too much too soon for her and she is finding it difficult. He has only been living with you for 6 months and already you are giving her a sibling. It's all very big changes for a little girl especially if she also witnessed you and her dad break up.

I would just keep reassuring her and talking to her, does she have her dad in her life at all?

perhaps she and your oh can think of an activity to do every week together that can continue when baby is here.

willconcern Tue 15-Sep-15 15:41:04

Has your DP tried replying (when she says she doesn't like him), "that's such a shame, because I love you very much". He needs to keep acting like he always has done, and she'll see nothing is changing.

Saying "I don't like you" in response to being told off/asked to do something she doesn't want to do is normal 4 year old behaviour. A 4 year old can't articulate further than that. I remember my 5 year old saying to his friends, "if you don't do x, I won't be your friend" - kind of similar. It's a childish way of taking a stand, before they've learnt any real negotiation skills.

I also think you are putting ideas in her head, asking her if she's jealous. You're putting adult perceptions onto a 4 year old, who probably hadn't considered the new baby as anything other than a bump at the moment. Concentrate on involving her - getting her to listen to the bump, feel the bump, encourage her to love the baby, not fear it.

My own DCs have been known to tell me they hate me if I make them do a chore. They don't mean it. When I say what a shame that is, as I love them very much, they look a bit taken aback.

AGree with christinarossetti too - start to articulate with her, "you sound very sad", "you sound very angry" - sometimes just having your feelings acknowledged is enough. If you just tell her not to be "nasty", that's telling her that SHE is bad, and she'll probably feel even more angry or sad, because she'll think YOU don't like HER!

Straightjacketneeded Tue 15-Sep-15 15:48:32

Well she was only 2 when we split up so I'm not sure if she remembers it, she sees her dad twice a week. She has asked if she can see him more and once she starts full time school next week then something will be put in place as he sees her before he starts work at 2 in the afternoon obviously when she finishes school at 3 this wont be possible. I know she really does love my partner because of the way she is with him. I just suppose I'm feeling a little bit worried that me and her dad being separated has started to affect her.

Stompylongnose Tue 15-Sep-15 15:53:54

Agree with the replies that you've had.
You are putting ideas in your dad's head that she may not be aware of. She will know that things have changed and is feeling insecure. She probably won't know it's because of bump but she is lashing out at your partner because she's secure enough in her relationship with him that she can.
She's behaving totally normally for a 4 year old. Don't be surprised if her behaviour regresses more after bump arrives. A new sibling is as stressful as your partner bringing home a second wife. That advice really helped me when my older children were being clingy or whiny- they were after reassurance that they were loved.

Straightjacketneeded Tue 15-Sep-15 15:59:43

Thank you for all your replies ladies,
Stompy I never really thought about it like that before, her feeling secure enough to be like that with him. Think I'll have a chat with OH tonight when he gets home from work, just tell him not to take it personally and that she's just testing the boundaries.

christinarossetti Tue 15-Sep-15 16:05:16

How do you think that you and her dad being separated is affecting her?

As you say, she was only two and if, as it sounds, you have a congenial enough relationship and can sort out problems/access etc, she'll cope just fine with this.

Starting school is also a huge step for children.

If you and your dp have different parenting approaches, I'd suggest that you have plenty of discussions about how to approach things now and when the baby arrives well in advance. The stress of a new baby is huge (as you know) and any current slight different approaches to things will become huge chasms.

I don't know how helpful it is to point about what your dp does for her - shouldn't children be able to take support from the adults around them for granted?

swingofthings Tue 15-Sep-15 16:14:27

I think you are dispersing your own concerns over hers when so far, she is only acting like any 5yo who doesn't like to be disciplined. If you start to ask her if she is behaving like that because of this or that, she is bound to tell you yes as she will be trying to get your sympathy as not happy to be disciplined.

We both have different parenting styles as well so that doesn't help
I think that most likely IS the reason for her behaviour. I expect he is more strict than you are and she is has picked up on it and expressing her disapproval!

Ideally, you should really have similar parenting style and therefore come up with a compromise. How will you handle this with the new baby? Also, it is not uncommon for step-parents to expect more of their elder step-child then their younger own child, so you need to keep an eye on this.

Kids, although rebelling against discipline, do like clear direction and limits, so despite her words, she might actually be building respect for your OH.

Straightjacketneeded Tue 15-Sep-15 16:21:02

I definitely need to be more strict with DD its been said before by my GP's who obviously grew up in a different era but the consequences were the same if children misbehaved they didn't get treats which is exactly how my OH is with DD and will be with DS, he's already told me this. OH has quite a strict but fair approach to discipline where as me I just give in for an easy life. (Wrong I know) so maybe a lot of the problem lies with me and I need to work on being on the same page as OH when it comes to co-parenting as like PP have said about stress of bringing up a new baby together with different ideas this will make things easier.

Wdigin2this Tue 15-Sep-15 22:40:21

Oh Straight you're OH is right, giving in for an easy life is so wrong on so many fronts! My DC are grown now, but I always maintained that....if you threaten it you carry it through, if you promise it you deliver! Very hard I know, but if you don't stick to this how will your DC know they can trust in what you say? Best advice I can offer is, pick your battles!

Straightjacketneeded Wed 16-Sep-15 10:51:57

Thank you, I'm definitely going to try to do this from now on.

Bigfeet21 Wed 16-Sep-15 15:01:43

It will get worse - my 4 yr old when sib arrived told me

"I really is not liking you much right now, you is making my life so hard"

Response : that's Ok, because I love you enough for both of us!

It is now a family favourite expression, when I ask them to pick up, wash, not pick their nose!
But your OH is right -
in our house there are the danger rules that have big consequences, eg, playing with the cooker, road safety etc - they are non negotiable ever. then there are the rules of the house - which do get broken and you will get told to do it again, eg eating, clearing away, cleaning teeth etc
and then there are the bendy rules - these are the favourite ones and may change from day to day but are normal expectations of good behaviour

Pick your battles = other wise your DD will spend her life on the naughty step!

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