SD issues - what to do(44 Posts)
I'm at a loss as to what to do, the tension in my household is unbearable. I have a 9 year old step daughter, a 2 year old son and I'm currently 5 months pregnant
The issue today was me asking SD to tidy up her things by her bed, I came into the room with the washing to put it away and she had not tidied up, I had a basket of clothes in my hand so kicked her storage box under her bed so I could get past, this caused one of her other storage boxes to fall, my son promptly said "mummy look what you did" I said sorry but if SD had put her things away like she had been asked it would not have happened" SD then picked up the box and went downstairs. 20 mins later I was in the shower and my partner comes storming in shouting saying what have I done to SD, I responded I don't know what your talking about can you not wait till I get out of the shower - he then starts shouting that she is crying and I've kicked her things - I was annoyed by this point and shouted at him to leave me alone until I was out of the shower. When I got out of the shower the argument started. He was screaming at me saying I've made her cry - my response was well why is she crying, did I hurt her, did I shout at her, did I break any of her things? To which he cannot answer he is just saying I need to apologise to her. I bluntly refused to apologise as I don't feel I've done anything to her to warrant an apology, I will admit I kicked a canvas storage box in bare feet so it would go under her bed and I could get past - but I don't see how this can warrant a 9 year old girl crying - furthermore it was a good 20 mins down the line that she is now crying to her dad so my immediate suspicion is attention seeking. My partner then takes her - not our son - out with him for a couple of hours - so she gets the attention she was after when I ask him why he has taken her and not our son too he says so I cannot bully her - this is a ludicrous accusation which I totally refute furthermore I do everything for her - all her nice presents for Christmas I chose, bought and wrapped. I collect her from school, take her to after school activities and generally do all the running around for her whilst he dad is at work - I also work part time 3 days per week.
I am now at the point where I no longer want to do anything for her - I resent the fact I spend all my time running around after her and all she does is act up to her dad for attention and all he does is accuse me of mis treating her. So I am now planning on telling my partner that I am no longer going to do all the running around for her - he will need to do it or make other arrangements - we currently have her every Thursday from after school and drop back to school on Friday, with alternate weeks being a long weekend from Thursday after school to dropping her off to school on Monday morning. And then 50/50 during school holidays. I have always refrained from stepping back from this as I feel it will divide our family - which I don't want - however I feel I no longer have a choice. Any advice welcome.
If your DS had responded similarly, would you then not want to do anything for him? Do you resent the time your DS spends with your DP too? If the answer to these questions is no, it isn't really surprising that your SD gets so upset by trivial things, it isn't the incident itself it's her picking up on your underlying feelings towards her.
On the plus side, you DP sounds like a great dad.
My answer to both these questions is no - but also I do not resent the time my SD spends with her father. This is today's example of something that happens often, she brings on the water works for her dads attention for no reason and he gives her what she wants which is resulting in the issue getting worse. The resentment I have is being the one that does everything for her yet being made out to be the 'wicked' stepmother which is why I feel maybe it's time to take a step back and let him look after his daughter rather than expect me to do it all the time.
On the plus side, you DP sounds like a great dad.
Actually I disagree
A great dad would have disciplined his dd for not tidying up her stuff and backed up the OP and not favoring one child over the other.
I'd be furious at him for accusing her of bullying and taking one child out and basically rewarding her bad behaviour.
OP you are right to withdraw your services. Let your DP do the running around now.
It's all ones perspective isn't op you thought she was being lazy and ignoring you and kicked her stuff and she thought you were picking on her and having ago. The crying could be that she senses something from you and feels replaced by your DS and new baby on away and is therefore more clingy towards her DF.
How long have you been in this girls life? Has these issues been present? If not what triggered the behaviour, new DC?
More information is needed so people can best advise you on how to deal with challenging behaviour and also from different perspectives.
I have been in her life for 5 years since she was 4 years old, there have been minor issues in the past however things do seem to be getting worse. To be honest I feel things started to deteriorate when my son came along (2.5 years). Neither of us wanted SD to feel as though she was being replaced, he was born just as a bitter court battle for access to her was being finalised (as her mother tried to block / control access when she found out we were expecting). We went out of our way to include her in everything and make her feel involved and it all seems to have gone down hill from there. She was an only child before this (and still is at her mums) so she is used to being the centre of attention.
Maybe see it from a child's perspective - you kicked something that belonged to her, causing something else that belonged to her to fall. How,do you think you would feel if someone had kicked something of yours out of the way? And then something else had fallen as a result? It's pretty disrespectful of her belongings and sends an unpleasant message. Even if she had been badly behaved and she was accepting of that, it's still a pretty mean thing to have done.
He needs to back you up.
The OP didn't go into the DSD room with a stick and beat her with it, she asked her to move her things and pushed a box with her foot.
I doubt your husband would act this way if she was your daughter together. All children need to be treated the same, with regards to discipline and love. Disney parenting doesn't help anybody, all children need boundaries.
She was an only child before this (and still is at her mums) so she is used to being the centre of attention
Your lack of empathy is horrible. None of this has anything at all to do with being an only child (some of the time) and everything to do with how she perceived your treatment of her stuff - and her by extension. She is allowed to want her dad's attention. It is not unreasonable he gives her some attention, at least some of the time she is with you. It is not her fault her sibling gets him everyday and she doesn't.
and pushed a box with her foot
The OP herself used the word kicked. Why minimise that?
Of course the child is allowed to want her dads attetion. But crying (doesn't sound like it is the first time) and making the OP out to be nasty to get her dad to take her out and reward her bad behaviour isn't the way to do it, and it shouldn't be encouraged by the OP husband.
It will cause no end of issues when she is a little bit older and in her teenage years.
Having read a lot of step parenting threads the kids and step parents who get on best are where the step children are treated the same as everyone else, boundaries are in place and they know what they are. This kind of behaviour will cause the OP to feel scared to say anything in her own, the father to Disney parent and the child controlling everything,
There is nothing wrong with the daughter and father having alone time, but she needs to be a part of the family when she is there and treated the same (age appropriate) as the other children. IMO
I said pushed as I have many a time with a handful of washing pushed things out the way with my foot, I doubt she kicked it like a football iyswim.
making the OP out to be nasty
I wholeheartedly agree dad dealt with the whole thing badly. But personally I find deliberately kicking a child's stuff pretty nasty behaviour. Of course, it does depend on how hard and what the intention was behind it but I am not sure you can presume a 9 year old would understand the subtleties.
The problem though isn't your stepdaughter, it's your partner. Shouting at you and talking to you like that is unacceptable. He did not even wait to hear what happened,
just went in all guns blazing. I would be concentrating on problems with your partner if I was you not your stepdaughter.
Honestly, you need to take one giant step back. This isn't going anywhere good. Stop running around after her. She has two parents. Let them sort it. Don't discipline. Just focus on the fun stuff. Your DH is the problem but given his huge overreaction he's not going to come around. Just say you no longer feel it's appropriate for you to collect her etc as you don't feel you have a heathy dynamic with him as another parent. He's got a nerve.
Totally agree Penguins. I met DP when his children were quite young and have always treated them the same as our DS when they are with me and never shied away from telling them off. They are grown up now and we have a great relationship.
If you kicked something out of the way to get past and something else fell, then you should have apologised and picked it up. That is just good manners, just because it is a child doesn't make it any different. I think you were rude, I would have felt disrespected by your behaviour too and this is maybe the reason she was crying.
It does sound as though you have a bit of an issue with her having one on one time with her dad though. She feels she has to act out like this in order to get that alone time. Her dad sees your DS every day, why shouldn't she get one on one time the way I'm sure your DS does? I think if you refuse to do anything for her you will make her feel even more pushed out and rejected than she already does
I don't think it does sound like she has an issue with them spending one on one time, in fact I'm pretty sure she said she didn't:
What she does have an issue with, is tantrums with her being out to be nasty being rewarded by one on one treat time. If you wouldn't do that to a child who lives with you then why would you do it with a child who doesn't live with you.
Being a step-parent is hard, I admire women who take on this role with a NRP. I'm a step but with the RP DC have always been with dad, I can't imagine how it must feel that your on tender hooks in your home it just shouldn't be like that, it is not good for the child or parents and it certainly isn't good for any residential children as they will also then start to push boundaries and feel they are being treated differently too.
ffs! Has nobody ever kicked something out of their way when carrying a box/basket?
Op did not do it maliciously!
OP, i think you're directing the frustration at the wrong person. SD is a kid and behaving like kids do - ignoring you, trying to play you off against the other adult etc.
Managed properly this can be a very useful learning phase for her.
It's you husband you should be directing all your frustration at.
He didn't even wait to ASK you what happened!
Is this a pattern with him - automatically taking SD side and doing whatever to 'make her feel better', being verbally abusive to you?
I think you're doing the right thing by stepping back.
Your husband doesn't appreciate what you do to enable him to have this contact with his daughter, he doesn't appreciate all the parent things you do for her, he doesn't value your input enough to even show you the basic respect that you deserve.
So yes, i would tell him that from now on HE takes over and does the parent things for her.
If that affects the contact arrangements so be it - it is NOT your problem to sort out.
If he has to shell out for breakfast/after school clubs to manage it - so be it.
If they think your SM label means that you have no authority to treat SD like you do your own child, then don't waste your energy on it.
Thank you all for taking time to respond, I appreciate all the comments and am grateful for the advice.
Wow I think a lot of you are giving the OP a really hard time!
The kicking or not kicking or whatever, of an untidy child's room - that is blatantly not the issue. We as parents or step parents are often in position of being in the middle of clearing up or saying things to kids, sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don't.
But OPs other half barging into the shower and then screaming at her?!
Is that acceptable or normal in a relationship, imagine if the OP was the Mum - I bet no one would be picking up on the kicking of the box, but all picking up on the aggressive behaviour of the Dad towards the OP.
It's got out of control in your DP OP, I don't know how it's got to that stage. But it doesn't matter, if he really thinks it's OK to scream at you and barge in on you, then he either thinks you are so awful to his child that he really shouldn't be living with you, or he is totally biased and undermining you. Either way you are not going to be able to parent in any normal way with this response from him.
If this happened in my house my reaction would have been "sorry dss" and id have picked up whatever i caused to fall and remind him to tidy his room. Not blame the fact that his stuff had fallen, on him, when it was my fault. Just because dsd is a child doesnt mean you get to kick her stuff around and not apologise.
Some of the posts on this thread are insane.
The OP used her foot to move something out of the way as her hands were full - of her DSD's clean washing!
Personally OP I would have dumped the washing on the floor at the door and told her as you were unable to get into her room for the mess, she could put her own washing away. And if my DH had taken exception to that, I would have told him to do it. That's what I'd do with my DSD, my DS, my DD......all of them.
It's your DP that's the problem here though. He is validating his child's misguided behaviour and causing massive resentment from you in the process none of which is going to result in a happy home.
I agree with the PP who has said take a step back, refuse to do anything for your DSD. Let your DP do her laundry, put it away, take responsibility for the state of her room. Actually if you can avoid going in there at all, I would.
Perhaps it was your snide remark to your son that set her off. The word "but" doesn't come after "sorry". You weren't sorry at all. I think you could have handled it better. Yes, you were in a mood because she hadn't cleaned which then set her in a mood. When you're in a mood you kick things, when she's upset she cries. This is both your fault, hers for not cleaning and yours for not acting like a grown up and kicking her things.
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