Some kids you like, some kids you don't(21 Posts)
My son is nearly ten and has a large group of friends, most of which have been invited to our house over the last couple of years to play or sleepovers etc. From these experiences, I've come to learn which ones are 'the easy kids', 'the polite kids', 'the funny kids' and 'the painful kids'. Most of his close friends still come around fairly often but I know which ones are easy and which ones are hard work, I've even avoided inviting some round and there is one that I banned from coming back as he was a nightmare!
My problem is that my nearly 8 year old step daughter falls into the 'painful' category and I obviously have no say in the fact that she spends half of every weekend with us. She is spoilt, entitled, cocky and dramatic. I know that none of these behaviours are her fault as she has a nutter for a mother and a Disney character for a dad but that doesn't stop the fact that for at least 24 hours every week, I've got a member of the family in my house who I really can't see any good in and really resent her presence and her influence on my other two kids - probably just the younger one to be honest who copies her - arghh!!
I feel v guilty feeling this way, has anyone felt similar, been in a similar position?? Any help, advice, sage wisdom would be appreciated.
I completely agree that there are some children that for whatever you just don't like. An old friend of mine has three children, and due to the behaviour of one of them and the way she handles that behaviour we no longer see each other.
It isn't really his fault, it's the way she reacts to his aggression that's the problem. This little girl doesn't have any choice over the way she is parented, and things won't get better by adding in an extra adult who doesn't like her.
You need to either find a way to embrace her into your family or consider separating. You have a choice, she doesn't. What if she came to live with her dad 50:50 or full time?
Thanks for the response Lunar, if she came to live with us full time, I'd definitely leave - it's my DH's dream that one day this will happen but it's secretly my worst nightmare.
I am in a similar situation. DPs ex has made things difficult from day 1, despite her leaving him for someone else and I think that has impacted a lot for us.
DPs eldest is mostly ok; however is manipulative and lies which I struggle with but generally ok to talk to. I guess kids do this to their own parents, but she does say nasty things to me about my appearance and that she's told her mum about it with a really smug look on her face. I'm told I'm pathetic if I bring it up with DP because I'm an adult and it shouldn't bother me apparently.
DPs youngest is seriously hard to like. I'm told he hates me and he never wants to come to my house etc. He throws things, he won't listen to ANYTHING I say as I'm not allowed to tell him what to do. I've spoken to DP, he said it was me and that he's a 'lovely' boy. I think when his school reports started coming through, he might have realised his 'lovely' boy might be challenging for other people too. He idolises his Dad so is a lot better with him. Everything results in an argument between me and DP and it took me to dissect his school report and explain it all to DP just how bad his behaviour is. He's completely blind to it.
5 years on every visit is still asking why he doesn't live with them, why does he have to be with 'her?' Mummy needs you and still loves you etc.
Their mother is....interesting and there's always a drama in her life and their Dad Disney parents them and from start to finish during contact they ask to be bought everything in sight and want to be taken to expensive activities constantly even though we're struggling on one income while I'm on maternity. I do struggle as I have to be careful with money but it's no expenses spared for them. I know rationally it's not the kids fault, but I can't tell you how much I've struggled with it all and how many issues and stresses we've had. I have my own kids to worry about and regardless of this, we've had a lot of very difficult situations to deal with in the last 3.5 years made much much worse by all of this.
I'm also worried about the influence of DPs youngest on our children. I don't want our DS especially thinking that behaviour is normal as he looks up to him.
For now, for my mental health and to help his DC, DP is having contact with them on his own. I think it will do them good to have their Dad to themselves and I don't have to put up with the crap and negativity.
I have felt guilty for years and sometimes I still do, but this is why I've cut myself off from it all. Guilt isn't going to achieve anything.
There's no way I could live with his DC. I feel like an outsider in my own home when they're here and my stress levels are through the roof.
Good luck OP. It's so hard!!!
That sounds really hard mumoftwo, have you a longer term solution in mind, you can't keep staying away from home when his children come round indefinitely.
Lunar this is quite a recent development (last 6 weeks). We've got a baby and a toddler so DP is the one that leaves for contact.
In terms of longer term solutions I honestly don't know. The feelings are mutual and I understand DP is stuck in the middle of it all, but I can't see that two parties being forced to be around each other with no love or even like, will ever have a good outcome. The whole thing has been managed so badly. Clearly they are not 'allowed' to like me so I gave up wasting my time after 3.5 years. I was losing my ability to keep my annoyances to myself as I just feel exhausted and so desperately unhappy with it all and I have my own children to focus on. If we didn't have children together we wouldn't be together, but we do. We both love each other but it's been so stressful and upsetting and I resent that time with my children as babies has been ruined by this total childish crap.
Hi Mum of - that sounds tough, I wouldn't put up with being treated like that by anyone - adult or child!! I'm similar in the fact that if I didn't have DD with DH, I would have left by now, his crazy ex and his spoilt daughter have had such an impact on the last six years of our life that I never imagined could happen. I regret getting pregnant so quickly as these things would have come to light eventually and I would have run a mile - hindsight is a wonderful thing!! Obviously I don't regret DD, she has provided me with such joy as I had a tough time with my DS, I realised with DD how much I'd missed out from the first time round and I am amazingly proud of both of them. My relationship with DH is not ideal but the constant pressure of all his ex / DD drama is exhausting and frankly not really worth it.
I have tried really hard to like my DSS but I don't. It's like having Lurch here every other weekend. Confess I have got really childish about it and as he never speaks to me I don't speak to him. The DSD isn't so bad at least she has some personality about her. Although she can be a drama queen and goes running to her mum telling tells. My DH can be a Disney dad, which can be annoying to say the least!
Some of those situations sound really hard. Having now passed through that part and out the other side I think that sometimes the best option is to move on. My experience was comparatively easy, though I spent many years biting my tongue over many issues, but the key thing that made it possible was that the 4 adults (parents and step-parents) generally had the same expectations about DSD treating all adults with respect. So even when we disagreed about various aspects of parenting there was that underlying tone set. All the big parenting decisions were negotiated between the actual parents; step parents had input in them via our other halves only. Also we waited until DSD was in her late teens before having our shared DCs. If I'm honest even despite all that it was still bloody hard and I'm glad I don't have to tolerate contact with 'the other house' more than once every year or two now DSD is an independent adult, but without those ground rules I know I wouldn't still be anywhere near.
It must be hard. I'm not a stepmum, I lurk a bit on here as my daughters have step-parents.
Your own children even when they are being a pain in the arse you have to love unconditionally.
Objectively DD is 3 and she is a pain in the arse sometimes. Behavioural problems not shitty parenting honest
So it must be harder for teenagers. I've always drummed into mine they respect there dad's partners house rules. I would never slag off the partners in front of DD's or put them against them. I've seen on here some parents do.
It's horrible not in the children's best interests at all.
I had similar, although I could see a lot of good in my DSD, it's just that I was undermined completely in her life, she was full time and I was 'allowed' to wash her clothes, cook, but she would not let me ask anything of her back at all.
So it did deteriorate as if you have no say, or even small influence on a child's behaviour, when you have other children living under the same roof, then it becomes impossible to manage. Like you say it does affect the other children.
She must have good qualities, but your inability to see that is possibly because you are not being able to have a relationship with her in the house, which includes some authority. If not, the girl is just going to be in a mad place where her behaviour goes unchecked and grows wings. It's not good for her. It's not good for you. You will start to resent her and that is not good at all for her either.
I think that this is a serious situation. Whatever her nature, you should be able, as a parent and adult, step or not, to moderate behaviour that is mean.
Is this long term going to get any better? Can you and your DP, with his DD, work as a team to tackle some key parts of her behaviour so that you can start to be positive about her again? If not, I really would consider moving out.
I totally agree with you, some kids, like some adults, you just don't like and are unlikely to ever do. The question is whether this alone should be enough not to take a relationship further.
My OH used to go out with a woman with two children. He got along great with the eldest but couldn't stand the youngest. From his perspective, she was a spoiled madam and felt he couldn't relate to her in any way. They dated for a while, but she wanted to take things further and move in together after 18 months. From his perspective, there was no way he was going to do so because of the child. It wasn't the only reason, but it certainly contributed to it.
When we met, he made it clear that he wanted to meet my children earlier on as it was important for him to be sure that he liked them before taking things further. I totally agreed with him because from my perspective, I wouldn't have wanted to take the relationship further if he didn't like them. As it was, they liked each other from the start so things progressed.
Still, it is never perfect. DS entered teenage-hood and with that, becoming much less likable. My OH struggles with it and doesn't like him much at all at the moment. He feels guilty about it too. The way the matter is being dealt with is that they both tend to ignore each other and it seems to work somehow. I am however quite confident that once that stage is over, they will rekindle their relationship.
If you don't like your SD, you have two choices. Either try very very hard to focus on the positives, ie. the reason why your OH thinks she is wonderful, and try to establish some sort of relationship that ignores the things you really don't like. If that is beyond what you can do, then take a step back and let your OH parent her. For that, you have to be prepared to let him do what he wants. What you can't do is take a step back, but then put pressure on your OH to change the way he parents her as that is very likely to lead to the road of resentment.
The difficult question is whether you could be honest with your OH without feeling so hurt that it will impact on your relationship.
Thanks Swing - I am basically totally disengaged with my DSD now, I read Stepmonster and a variety of other books, websites and advice on dealing with a difficult step parenting relationship and decided about a year and a half ago to completely step back. My DH does all the parenting and I avoid interaction as much as possible however when I need to interact e.g. Meals around the table, I ensure that I ask her questions about school etc and focus on speaking to her exactly how I would my other two kids but then when inevitably she says something cheeky or refuses food or starts messing around, I'm not allowed to call her on any of it as that's DH's job. More often than not a mealtimes, DSD will end up doing something silly/rude 4 yr old DD with copy her and I'll tell DD off as I don't want my kids behaving like that. My DS kind of gets the dynamic but I feel sorry for little DD as her Mum and Dad both treat her and DSD completely differently, DH has different rules for DSD than the other two and I feel he's over strict on the 4 yr old but lets DSD nearly 8 get away with murder. I honestly believe that the 4 yr old is better behaved and has better manners than the 7 yr old - this has proved to be the case at a number of family get together.
OP it seems the problem is your DP, not your DSD (who is only 7) Her poor behaviour is hardly surprising with a "nutter" DM and disney dad. You really need to pull your DP up on this, I feel very sorry for all of the children in this equation as they will be the ones suffering. You are an adult and can disengage, but this inequality of treatment for them will have lasting damage.
Yes Fran, I think I'm realising more and more that this relationship isn't the way forward. I am absolutely gutted as my previous marriage didn't work out and this one seems to be going the same way. On top of what I've discussed here, I've also had problems with him being financially controlling and lying about finances which came to a head about 4 months ago when I realised he'd totally screwed up financially. Problem is now that I am still reeling from the financial situation he has placed me and kids in so don't think I have the strength to split up with him at the moment, also I couldn't afford to live separately from him. It's one big mess, am seeing my counsellor about hit (history of depression) and working through my feelings but I can only see this going one way - meanwhile he's totally oblivious!!
It really does seem like you would be better off out. I hope that you can find a way to get the finances/logistics sorted
disengagement from a child who lives within your environment is emotional abuse.
This has happened to my DCS from their SM, now their DF has left her, they are talking and having counselling. They feelings of self worth and how likeable they are have been fundamentally damaged.
Wow that's a bit strong Satin, my DSD is with us for 24 hours every week, her Dad also sees her at her Grandma's mid week. When my DSD is in our house, she walks through the door, asks for my DD to be removed from the Playroom so she can play computer games and spends most of her time playing computer games with my DS or DH or on her own, she doesn't engage in any other kind of activity unless her Dad takes her out to the cinema / friend's party. The only time she acknowledges my existence/ we interact are at mealtimes where I purposefully make sure I ask her about her week, ask her opinion on things we are discussing and do not raise any judgement on behaviour / food issues as that is her Dad's job - I am bending over backwards - abuse doesn't come close. Her Mum on the other hand...
Well that's certainly true! Have to say, other than close family children, I don't really like being in kids company at all! They all seem so entitled and expectant these days, most seem to think the world revolves around them!
Parents fault entirely though!
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