Struggling with DSD's (6) behaviour.(32 Posts)
We have DSD every weekend from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. She lives 60 miles away and is at school so apart from holidays, more access is not possible.
Her behaviour has always been challenging but seems to get better and then deteriorate and vice versa. She's pretty unpredictable at times.
This weekend has been very tough, I'm currently working FT and am 6 months pregnant with a 2 year old DD as well. I've always treated DSD as one of my own, I'm consistent with rules and consequences for both good behaviour and be behaviour.
She hates anybody being near her dad including DD. If myself and DP are sat together then she will sit in between us and kick an shove me until I move. If he puts his arm around me she will demand a cuddle and will cry and scream until she gets her way. He put his hand on my lap last night in the car on the way back from a bonfire and she had a meltdown. She is the same with DD.
DSD and DP get Saturday together by them selves, I work 9-5 and I pay for DD to go to a childminder so that they can have this time together as we've always thought it was important so he is getting 1 on 1 time with him.
Any way, I got back from work yesterday afternoon and our friends had turned up with their 11 month old baby daughter, we decided that we would all go to a local bonfire together, it didn't start until 7:30 so we had a little time to kill and watched on as the kids played in the front room. DP was talking to our friends and DSD was interrupting constantly, he told her not to speak over him and that it was rude to do so, she didn't listen and carried on until she got her own way. She then trapped DDs arm in the door and way pushing her weight on it so she couldn't get free, DD has a bruise on her arm from this. DP took DSD too me out, she eventually apologised to DD and went back to playing.
She was whizzing about on a ride on truck so I just said 'mind you don't run over people's toes and fingers' to which she drove straight over DDs toe, I had to physically pull her off the ride on toy to get her to stop, yet again, I have an inconsolable toddler after being in the house for just 30 minutes.
She then resorted to flinging toys about, after being told that she could hurt someone or break the toy she was flinging she said 'I don't care because I've got loads more toys at my mummy's house anyway. Keep your rubbish broken toys here.' Took the toy she was flinging away from her so had a tantrum about that. She calmed down and then resorted to turning the light switch on and off, after initially ignoring it I asked her politely to turn the light back on and to stop flicking the switch. She screamed and shouted at me to shut up so I took her into her room to have a word about her behaviour away from any distractions. She then hit me in the face. I left her to let her (and myself) calm down at this point.
She behaved similarly at the bonfire, cried for her dad to carry her everywhere and when he said no, sat down and refused to walk then managed to get a nettle sting whilst she was sat down so started screaming about that. After she realised that wasn't working she got up and ran towards the fire, in other words put her self in danger so that she could get her own way.
I bought her a sausage sandwich, she didn't eat it but then expected me to buy a cake afterwards. When I said no we had another meltdown screaming fit.
I can't deal with the disrespect anymore! I do everything I can to make sure we have a nice time when she's here, but she just ruins her self by carrying on like a spoiled brat! Any other strategies we could try?
She's attention seeking clearly. She obviously misses her dad and this is her way of making sure that she gets his attention when she is with him.
It sounds very challenging for you all to be honest. Personally I wouldn't be paying a childminder on Saturdays though. I think it's more important that your step daughter is part of your family as a whole. I think the message you're giving her when sending your toddler away is all wrong.
We've tried DP having them both together and it ended up with DD being pushed down the stairs because DSD can't cope with the jealousy. We do things together as a family so she can't not feel involved. Sunday is my day off and we always do something together (apart from today, she had to be back at her mums at 11 for a party)
What's your/your dh's relationship with her dm like?
I was also going to say I don't think you should be getting a childminder on Saturdays. You're sending her mixed messages by saying she is special in that she gets 1:1 all day and then expecting her to be like the rest of you. Her behaviour is communication. Is she or isn't she just part of the family?
She's not going to get over the jealousy by being treated differently. DH will just have to supervise closely like other parents do. Avoiding it is not helping.
Was it your insistence that DH does not have all his kids together when you're not around.
She kind of won when you sent your toddler to a childminder didn't she. She hurt her, and you responded by removing the victim. I agree, your dh needs to supervise better and ensure consequences are consistent for such behaviours.
I asked about her mum because if she's on side I'd use her to help reinforce your message- ie, breaking one of your dd's toys means losing one of her own.
I agree with the above. You have to teach her to be integrated into your life, that she is special but so is your DD and so are you. I also get from this post that a lot of the management of these issues is coming from you. Is your DP not stepping up? There's a book called The Stepparents Parachute you can get on Amazon that I think you and your DP might find hugely helpful. It is important that you sort out the violent behaviors sooner than later as you are about to add a newborn into the mix. Your DP needs to set very clear boundaries with DSD starting now otherwise you may find yourself overreacting due to maternal instinct. Is DSDs mum on ok terms with your DP. With my DSD most of her behaviors seemed to relate to periods of hostility from her mum towards us or separation anxiety after being told how much her mum desperately misses her when she is away poor thing was guilty and confused. Also worth noting is that six is just one of those ages where children are a bit horrible, they are very demanding and selfish and still quite immature. If not parented effectively most six year olds would be total nightmares
Yes, even fully related siblings can be AWFUL. Even my 9 and 12 year olds have dreadful moments where I have to physically intervene. Removing the potential is removing the opportunity to learn and change.
Thank you all, I completely see where you're coming from and it's certainly food for thought. DP doesn't tend to feel particularly confident having them both together. I will also add that whilst he has gotten better, he isn't quite as consistent as I am.
When I have both of the kids together on my own, they generally do as they're asked and behave reasonably well which shows me that DSD CAN behave when she wants to but she needs that consistency.
The relationship with her mum can be a bit iffy, on the whole though they do speak and communicate with each other.
The current set up says loudly that dsd is not part of the same family as your own dc. She is made to feel different and not in the inner circle. It's reinforced by the fact that dsd is only around your dc when you are present.
doesn't* tend to feel particularly confident*
Which is how all parents feel sometimes. He'll only get better at it the more he does it. Will he be open to having them both or very reluctant?
I was always told that it was important that she or one on one one with her dad. Everything seems to conflict and I'm really struggling here. I used to be able to cope better but I think my hormones are all over the place and I'm more sensitive to everything
here is that book I found it really made s huge difference for us. For me, it helped me realize what I was dealing with was "normal" for a stepmum and for DP it gave him a very clear idea of what he needed to do to help the situation. Though he would never admit it guilt clouded his judgement where DSD was concerned more often than not.
So when baby arrives DH will expect them to go with childminder to? And even when dsd isn't around he won't be expected to cope with two siblings at a time?
Ooooh, my goodness! This must be causing so much heartache, stress and downright despair in your home! But the thing is there are two stories here, 1) this child comes to her daddy's place for 2 /3 days a week, she is old enough to know that her half sister spends all her time with daddy, so she is just plain jealous, but doesn't know how to handle it so her only way of ensuring she gets the most out of her time with daddy, is to repel everyone else!
2) you and the rest of the family are having to deal with the trauma that her behaviour causes, and naturally you want to deter her from her tantrums!
Well, if I knew exactly how that works, I'd probably write a book and get very rich!! However, I do agree separating the DC is probably not a good idea, the DSD is with you every weekend, she's not a guest, she's a member of the family, and although I see you're trying o give her and her DF time together, it doesn't seem to be working! So, perhaps spending Saturday's together, out and about doing stuff which involves everyone...and hopefully wears her out, may be a better option! Good luck to you!
If myself and DP are sat together then she will sit in between us and kick an shove me until I move. If he puts his arm around me she will demand a cuddle and will cry and scream until she gets her way.
she didn't listen and carried on until she got her own way.
She's learnt that kicking, screaming etc lead to getting what she wants. You need to both be consistent, and not reward those sort of behaviours. (It sounds as if your DP in particular struggles with this?)
DP doesn't tend to feel particularly confident having them both together
Well diddums is just going to have to get over that, isn't he?
Unless you and the newborn will be expected to ship out every Saturday of your maternity leave.
And is the new baby going to be sent to a childminder too?
If he can't cope with more than one child at once, he shouldn't be having more.
Meanwhile you're pregnant and dealing with this shit, your baby is getting sent away every Saturday and he, the grown man, is "getting better"?
I have a feeling that you have posted about this before?
Thinking back your DP has blatantly refused to deal with your DSD's behaviour, your DD has been physically injured by her on an ongoing basis and now you're bring a baby into the mix. No wonder your DSD is feeling unhappy.
Your DP is the problem, but you know that.
She'll still benefit from 1 on 1 as much as the other dcs do. But all day every Saturday is not the way to go. Maybe he just reads a book at bedtime, or does the bathing, the sort of one to one times he has with his other child.
I agree with Copper. She's learnt that she can get her own way by kicking off.
You sound like as amazing SM. I cannot answer as to what would be better except to say like everything else with children there is never a one size fits all thing that works. I think I would try other versions of the set up and see how you get on. It is very sad that she is struggling to adapt but given that you are very child centric I think she has the best chance of coming around. Best of luck.
I don't think anyone is doing anything wrong here re handling her behaviour. It sounds like your DH needs to work on his consistency but at least he understands he can't just let her run riot. I partly agree with other posters re: the child minder but I can also see it's difficult for her and her dad to spend quality time together with a 2 year old. Will you send your new baby to the CM as well? That sounds expensive.
Do you think her mother would be willing to consider counselling for her?
I certainly don't think counselling is at all necessary. Even suggesting it to dsd mother will be seen as incendiary. This is fairly routine stuff. She needs consistent boundaries and to be seen as fully part of the whole. Your DH needs to roll his sleeves up. Would also second that the fact that you're open to the back story to this behaviour shows you are thoughtful which bodes well for your family unit. You need to sit down with DH and explain how the current set up is contributing to the difficulties.
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