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DD not letting DSD take responsibility

(2 Posts)
cappy123 Sun 07-Aug-16 17:40:14

Sorry long post - usually I post upbeat comments, but I'm a little frustrated today. Bear with...

At 16.5 years old I would hope that my DSD would clean up her own bedroom or live with the consequences of the mess. Clothes are everywhere, plates and mugs abound. She's been away with a friend's family this week and I've enjoyed no cereal crumbs over the house or lounge left in a state when she's been in it. DH has been tidying, laundering, hoovering, cleaning - sometimes there are cut flowers in a vase - yes lovely, I know - it's his way of welcoming her home. I have pointed out that if she kept on top of it he wouldn't have to do so. We had a family get together last week and someone used her bathroom and commented (to her and to me) how shocked they were of the state of her room.

The thing is she's a lovely girl and and quite obedient and we get on well. But between her mum buying her oodles of clothes practically every week and DH being lax about her tidying up and doing it for her instead, she doesn't get much of a chance to take responsibility - she's inundated with stuff. She has no chores around the house, he picks up after her and I end up picking up after all of us. DH won't set boundaries and let her live with the consequences (e.g. not going out unless she's taken up her laundry, brought down plates etc). He'll think nothing of donning rubber gloves and deep cleaning her toilet bowl, but doesn't clean the family bathroom we use unless I ask. DSD doesn't eat with us anymore either, so there's little family time - she eats what she wants whenever she wants, according to a separate shopping list.

Last year I came home to find her mother taking about 6 bin bags of clothes away to the charity shop and I was gutted because I was sure a handful of my clothes were in there. When I told DH he went and brought 2/3 of my things back before the bags went. My issue is that DH makes excuses for DSD ("other kids don't have to do x") or acts for her (e.g. she could have returned my clothes to me, not him). A little responsibility might be painful at first, but pain isn't harm. Preventing responsibility can be harmful though.

When DSD was 13 she told me that now we were married and I lived in the house I could make decisions now. When she was 15 she told me she wished her dad was a bit firmer with her. Now approaching 17 we've both said we've noticed how there's still some awkwardness and even paranoia between us sometimes and that when we're older we'll go for a drink and laugh about it all. So we do talk directly about issues, but even then I'm not convinced DH does anything. To be fair he says I'm not privy to discussions he has with her about tidiness.

I'm certainly not asking to discipline her at 16 years old. But I think what would go some way to strengthening our family would be if DH said "we've agreed (he and I) x about house rules", so that if things slip, I can speak up knowing he's got my back. Instead on the very rare occasion she's been verbally rude to me, he's said "I didn't hear" or asked me (when a specialist called me regarding a concern about her, which I'd also noticed and raised with DH) "did you tell them you weren't her mum!?" I expect DSD to say you're not my mum, not DH.

After 5 years together, DH and I are increasingly in a good place and are able to talk through stuff, so I want to take the opportunity to tackle these issues. We're preparing to have kids and I don't want a 2 tier home where our kids ask how come DSD doesn't have to do x but we do. We're on holiday soon as a family and with a couple of DSD's friends and I'm thinking of raising this privately with him then, especially as we're about to move into our first owned house together when we get back.

We do have good times, but I just don't want to be taken for a mug cleaning up after everyone and being ignored or undermined.

Would be interested to know how others have dealt with similar issues.

ElspethFlashman Sun 07-Aug-16 17:46:44

So she's gone for a week and he's turned into Cinderella deep cleaning her room and bathroom ready for her glorious return?

More fool him.

I'd simply not go in there. He can do it till he's blue in the face, but if I were you I wouldn't bother my arse. If she wants to live in a tip, let her. If he wants to be her servant, let him.

Cos I think your chances of making him step up and actually discipline her are zero to none.

As for a two tier family - how many more years will she be living there full time? If she's going off to college realistically she won't be there to compare. By the time your first kid is 5, she'll be living in a house share (hopefully). So the contrast may not be as obvious.

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