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DSD - where would you go from here?

(83 Posts)
Dollyparton3 Wed 28-Dec-16 12:36:04

I'll try and keep this as brief as possible with all the relevant background.

DSD has a history of witholding contact with her dad whenever she doesn't get her own way. She won't have a conversation when she is wrong about anything and she refuses to accept any boundaries. She will never apologise for any bad behaviour, she'll just sulk for 6 months and not see us. OH is excellent at taking up the mantle and keeping me out of it.

A couple of weeks ago OH had a big ding dong with her about her social media account (she keeps uploading provocative photos and making her profile public) rather than agreeing that she was wrong, she refused to speak with OH for a couple of weeks and carried on. We had a deal with her months ago that if she did it again, she wouldnt get her allowance for that month. This was all very clear and understood.

At christmas she was horrible to everyone on xmas day. OH had begged her to come to see us, right at the last minute she said she would, once again leaving him treading on eggshells until she arrived at a moment's notice.

On xmas day once she'd arrived, she was rude to everyone. Telling us all she didn't have to be there, she'd only come for the presents and then disappearing to her room as soon as she'd opened them. OH caught her drinking from a bottle of vodka in the kitchen around 10, then when he went upstairs to tell her off she laid into him massively. (She's 16 btw) we've had to buy bottle locks for the house after a few instances of this before and stupidly we'd left this one bottle on the top in the other room.

She was telling him she didn't want to be there, that she felt left out (we'd done everything we could to welcome her and rise above the previous few weeks), that his life was tragic and he was an embarrassment to her, she shouted at him asking him what he was going to selfishly spend her allowance on the next month because he wasn't giving it to her.

The following day we had grandma in tears as she did the same routine. coming down from her room at 2pm to open her gifts then straight back upstairs.

We've tried several tactics this year, rewards for good behaviour, we redecorated her bedroom at great expense to make it feel more welcoming at ours, she's also had a very generous allowance to give her a bit more independence as she told us was frustrated at feeling beholden to us for money when she was with us. She has burnt through this allowance every month ever since and when OH told her she wasn't going to get any allowance in December she told him she wasn't getting any presents for anyone, and she didn't. She didn't even so much as get a card for her Grannie who does so much for her its unreal. She topped this off by saying to her "I can't get you anything because Dad has been a knob". DSS by the way saved his allowance for christmas gifts and really enjoyed shopping for presents for all of us.

A month ago she had an Iphone 7 for her birthday, she asked everyone to combine xmas and birthday money and give it to her. She didn't thank anyone on the day when she opened it, not even by text. Our contribution was £250 to that. I wrapped a couple of very small stocking fillers and then stupidly felt bad and bought her some relatively expensive body lotion and spray. 5 minutes after she opened it and disappeared she tweeted saying how awful her day was and how stupid the conversations were downstairs. I'm really kicking myself for buying her something.

If she was my child I would have removed all the presents from her room, returned them to the shops for a refund and switched the WIFI off. OH went into her room and sat while she screamed in his face for an hour or so.

I guess my question is, what would you do in my shoes? I ended xmas day with an upset DSS, an OH nearly in tears and I didn't sleep on xmas night at all. In my view she is a total bully to OH and he takes it because he just wants to see his daughter. But nobody should be able to treat other people like that, teenager or not. DSS tells us she behaves exactly the same way to her mum at home, and on occasion her mum takes herself into her room to cry as she can't cope with her either. DSS told me on xmas day that DSD was being horrible about me a couple of weeks ago in front of his mum saying that I'm an unfit step-mother, DSS then confronted her and asked her why and she said "she just is". DSS has no problem with me at all I should add and I've never had a falling out with her.

Her mother also won't speak with OH on any level. So a team effort to turn this around is unlikely.

I'm of the view that all I can do is support OH but I really had to bite my tongue whilst seeing all my lovely family around me upset on xmas day. I can't get involved, I can't speak with her as it's not my place but at some point, I'm going to blow my top! Ultimately we've been round this loop for a few years now with ever increasing severity and upset for my OH so is there a way forward that will support him and stop her being such a bully to him?

PS - I came along years after the divorce and there was no third party involved then so he's not the bad guy in her eyes.

LineyReborn Wed 28-Dec-16 12:44:44

She sounds very, very unhappy.

Why won't her mother speak to your DP on any level? That's really odd.

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 12:53:11

Alot of this sounds horribly familiar Dolly.How long has she been taking this going NC with her Dad for?
I take it that there's no communication between both parents?

Dollyparton3 Wed 28-Dec-16 12:54:57

She just won't. I suspect her mother suffers from mild anxiety, but she point blank refuses to do any sort of discussion with him. She communicates through the children. My mother in law says that she's always been extremely bad at handling anything that she's not comfortable with and she knew her quite well.

Ergo, she's not comfortable speaking with my ex or with picking up the mantle on hard parenting. As a result, at home DSD has had years of not having to hand her phone in at night, not having to eat with her mouth closed, not having to apologise if she's rude, not having to do any jobs etc. She literally does NOTHING when she comes to us. It's a very tricky dynamic to negotiate around

FrostyWind Wed 28-Dec-16 12:55:54

It's your home and there is no need for you to collude with her manipulative behaviour. She's being a total cow. Your DH needs to grow a pair.

Dollyparton3 Wed 28-Dec-16 12:59:10

@fallenempires -it's been going on for a couple of years. There was a 6 month hiatus last year which I spoke about on here.

I do believe it's totally manipulative frosty, but I'm expecting a hammering on here if I openly say that!

esiotrot2015 Wed 28-Dec-16 13:00:57

She sounds unbelievabley spoilt

I think you should get a say in her parenting
Turning off the wifi etc is a great idea and Your husband should listen to you

Devilishpyjamas Wed 28-Dec-16 13:02:12

You can set your own rules for your house, then calmly stick to them. I wouldn't be heavy handed with the rules & I'd cut some slack so you don't force a confrontation. If she strops off then that's her look out.

I think you need to work on your dh - supporting him to understand he does get no favours by treating her with kid gloves & that he can insist that she treats him & the rest of the family with respect.

Make sure she knows the new boundaries, stick to them & leave get to it.

It sounds very difficult for you.

esiotrot2015 Wed 28-Dec-16 13:02:13

I'd sit him down & tell him the situation can't continue , he has to coparent with you if she's to continue coming to your house

CalmItKermitt Wed 28-Dec-16 13:02:33

Agree with Frosty.

The girl may be desperately unhappy.

On the other hand she might just be a bitch who is revelling in the power she has over everyone. She's probably sweetness and light to her friends, having vented all her bile on family.

Dollyparton3 Wed 28-Dec-16 13:05:15

Her Grannie referred to her as an entitled spoilt, horrible brat the other day. So I. An voice my agreement to her when she said that.

He should, I want him to come round to the view that if she strips out after we've pulled her into line then that's her call. But he's really struggling after she's not come to us for months before.

DSS is different by the way, we've told him off on occasion and he's fine and apologises straight away. If we do it to her then things get broken and the screaming starts.

Dollyparton3 Wed 28-Dec-16 13:06:09

"So I can"
Sorry, fat thumbs!

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 13:14:06

Have you experienced violence?

LineyReborn Wed 28-Dec-16 13:19:57

So her mother doesn't set boundaries, she's acting out being controlling and attention-seeking, is taking what might be thought of as risks on social media, and pushing all of you away?

I'm no expert but I think this child needs some boundaries fairly urgently. I think your DP needs to insist on a discussion of the ongoing problems with his Ex fairly urgently.

Like Devilish says, set rules, stay calm - and if and when she strops off let her know that your door is always open when she too feels a bit calmer. She needs an incentive to be calm, rather than chaotic. She also probably knows she's being awful and needs to know she is still, always, loved.

It sounds incredibly stressful. flowers

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 13:21:45

Calmit good to see that you've pointed that out,alot of people automatically side with the child on here when things aren't as actually so clean cut.

MycatsaPirate Wed 28-Dec-16 13:34:16

God, teenage girls can be hell.

I have a teenage girl who is now 18 and can be utterly lovely but also a snappy cow at times. I also have a DSD who is 21 and is lovely but at 16 she was very hard work and used to kick off at her dad a lot. However he was very firm with her and after a brief period where she refused to talk to him (about 3 months), she came round and we all have a brilliant relationship now.

His younger dd is 13 and (I have a thread running about her) hasn't really spoken to her dad in a year. A lot of this is issues about her mum and her mum's attitude to her dad rubbing off on her. Prior to her teens they had a good relationship but dp would never tell her off or tell her that her behaviour was out of order, even when it was. I think that the last time she was here and she kicked off over a sleepover request being refused was a wake up to call to dp over his lack of discipline with her over the years and also a shock to her that her dad wasn't a walkover.

I honestly don't know what to suggest. It must be an awful atmosphere in your house and I feel sorry for your DSS who has to live with his sister wherever he is. In your position I'd leave it as invitation open if she wants to visit but not go out of my way to keep her happy in terms of gifts etc.

An iphone 7 is a very extravagant gift!

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 13:43:53

Mycats what discipline has been effective if we're throwing in possibly violent rages into the mix?

Dollyparton3 Wed 28-Dec-16 14:08:49

Fallen - when she explodes she's literally raging and shaking. Then things get thrown. Not at us yet but she really can't control herself at that point. She has hit her brother once quite severely and my OH had to pin her down to stop her doing any more damage. Her brother is small but hard as nails, he did the classic bro thing and laughed which wound her up even more.

@liney - the social media stuff is very risky, OH has now had to give up on that, we can't do anymore. It's been a bone of contention for over a year. She's got 1500 followers that she's collected using a scraping app. Last week she had likes from a 45 year old man in Saudi, a 50 year old man in São Paulo and a 35 year old Frenchman. We can see it all going on. It we just can't carry on with the battle. He's spoken to her mother about that and her reply was "I don't understand all that, you'll have to manage it" she's posting videos and photos.

An iPhone 7 is totally OTT and I wasn't happy about it. She doesn't need one, she just wants to be top dog amongst all her friends with the flashy phone. She is obsessed with social media and selfies though so there is one big attention seeking story here.

I don't know what the answer is. OH and I have agreed that her allowance stops as of now and probably for good as she's just become so material with it. I used to surprise her every now and then with a nice shampoo or a nice top or something and she was so lovely and grateful. Now she refers to it as "my money" and asked my OH if he was going to buy more "sh*t furniture for his sh*t house with HER money from now on". The last furniture we bought was for her bedroom!

I suggested to OH that she's adamant that at 16 she's now an adult and can now make her own decisions on where she goes, what she does on social media etc, I'm minded to roll into that a cut off of any gifts and/or money. If she wants to spend time with us it should be because she wants to, now because she thinks she'll get something out of it.

NewNNfor2017 Wed 28-Dec-16 14:22:42

My DHs DD was like this (as was DHs relationship with his ex as there was/is no communication or joint parenting). DD engaged in risky social media behaviour (resulting in death threats and police involvement), alcohol abuse (resulting in blue light paramedic attendance) and more. Threats of not seeing DH if she didn't get her way, lack of gratitude and abuse, theft from us, the works.

One day, when I was at the end of my tether after going round and round in circles talking about it with him, and him explaining that he was scared that he'd never see her again, I asked him why that bothered him? It wasn't as if he was doing his primary job of parenting her, because he was avoiding doing anything to upset her, and she wasn't a pleasant person to be around, so why did it bother him so much that he might not see her? What were his reasons for wanting to spend time with her?

Once he'd processed that and thought it through, he realised it was because of what other people would think if she refused, not anything to do with her, or him. So he stopped pandering to her, started parenting and put boundaries in place that he believed were reasonable and necessary for everyone in the family, and we got on with our lives. Inevitably, she was pissed off, things got worse for a short period as she tried to get him back on side, and then - facilitated by her Mum - she went completely no-contact.

I'd love to tell you that she got over it and they now have a positive relationship, but sadly, they don't. They have very minimal, virtual-only contact. However, we know that she is living an apparently happy and successful life, and our lives are a lot less dramatic and chaotic. DHs relationship with his DS is more positive too.

You might need to encourage your DP to consider what his motivations are and encourage him to consider the impact of his current reactions to her behaviour on everyone involved.

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 14:23:05

What if any involvement does your DP have with school?Could he arrange an appointment with her HOY? There could well be problems going on with her so called peers,you know how vicious some of these teenage girls are.
Has her Mum moved on as such ie has a new partner?

LineyReborn Wed 28-Dec-16 14:32:55

Yes, the school may agree to help. When my DD was 16 we had a difficult time, and her sixth-form college was extremely sympathetic and helpful.

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 14:37:15

New that's interesting the way you approached things with your DH.How exactly did he tackle things afterwards?
Was her Mum also at the receiving end of this behaviour?

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 14:41:08

Liney yes I was thinking along the lines of mentoring/counselling.There's also the possibility of CAMHS involvement.

fallenempires Wed 28-Dec-16 14:41:56


NewNNfor2017 Wed 28-Dec-16 14:48:51

fallen He started putting boundaries in place - expecting age appropriate behaviour, implementing consequences etc; what I'd call just basic parenting really, but he'd avoided it because something like withholding her allowance as a consequence for stealing would result in his DD storming back to her mums and not returning for weeks, as an example.

Her Mum was on the receiving end of differing, but no less challenging, behaviour - but her way of dealing with it was physically; hitting her DD, dragging her etc. She also used to destroy DDs belongings as punishment. Soc Serv were involved as a result but DDs age meant very little was done.

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