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New and in need of a sanity check

(10 Posts)
AccidentalStepMum Sat 04-Feb-17 17:12:21

Hi, this is my first post and I am so completely confused by the acronyms so be patient with me...

I don't and haven't ever wanted children of my own. When I say this normally people look at me like I'm crazy and tend to preach that I'll change my mind some day.
My partner and I have been together for 2+ years and he has a 6 yo from a previous relationship.
My friends with kids say that 5-7 is a tough age and they're not lying.
Please tell me it gets easier?

His daughter is so possessive and rude. She will push between is at any opportunity, will sneak in and take a hand held out to me.
She regularly pushes me out of her way if she wants something and I'm between her and whatever shiny object she wants.
She ignores the simplest of instructions - stop making that noise, stop picking your nose, don't play with your food, eat with your mouth shut etc.(from both of us in fairness)

She comes into our bed for cuddles in the mornings when she stays over which makes me really uncomfortable. Our bedroom should be OUR space, it's my only sanctuary. I was brought up that children did not go into their parents room, if your parents were in their room, you knock and wait to be given permission to come in.
I just wake up and she's there. Normally I'm woken by a bony knee or elbow to the back as she jumps on her dad.

I feel like I can't say anything because he loves their morning cuddles and says it's what he misses most about not seeing her every day.

Is her behavior toward me normal or is she marking her territory?
I never imagined myself as a step parent and yet here I am...
Am I being too tough on her?

Troydonmama Sat 04-Feb-17 17:19:27

You seem to be projecting intentions on to her that she doesn't have. She is just a child. She is not another adult woman competing for your partner's attention. You knew that you were getting involved with someone who had a child. You can't now resent that, that child is in your life.

You are also taking her behaviour personally. Nothing that a 6 year old does is personal. She is innocent and probably trying to adjust to a new situation by being as close as she can to the person she knows (her dad.)

To me you sound like you don't know very much about children, or rather you think they should behave like "little adults." How do you think you would have felt if your parents had separated and you went to live with your father and his girlfriend?

Hidingtonothing Sat 04-Feb-17 17:53:14

In some ways possibly, wanting morning cuddles with her dad is normal and understandable when she doesn't get to see him every day, the fact that it wasn't the norm for you growing up shouldn't be a reason she (and her dad) can't have that. The getting between you and your partner is normal and understandable too, she may well feel insecure and threatened by your relationship and this should improve with time and patience.

The rest does sound like behaviour which needs to be corrected and that will require you and her dad agreeing on how to deal with it and being consistent with your reaction to it. Your partner should be taking the lead and your role should be low key reinforcement of his parenting methods. Have you talked to your partner about the things you're finding challenging?

There probably is an element of her 'marking her territory' and there may well also be a degree of 'Disney dad' parenting from your partner (trying to make up for not being with her all the time by being too lenient and letting her get away with murder in case she decides she doesn't want to see him) both of which will be making things more difficult. Communication with your partner is paramount, you and he need to get on the same page if you want to make things work.

It's also worth keeping the fact that she is a 6 year old child at the forefront of your mind, she's not equipped to deal with the fall out of her parents splitting up and having new relationships and it's up to the adults in her life to help her. I didn't want children either and getting together with my (now) husband, with 2 kids of 2 and 4 was a shock to the system! I could see from the outset how much they meant to him though and I realised early on that it was going to be all or nothing if I wanted to be with him. So I chucked myself into building a relationship with them, accepted that they would always come first (for me as well as their dad) and, actually, I've loved being their step mum. They're grown up now, 18 and 20 respectively, they still come for tea twice a week and we're close, I like to think they can see how much I put into being a good step mum to them.

It can work but you have to be prepared to commit to putting them first, ultimately she is a child and while neither you or her dad should put up with bad behaviour you do have to cut her some slack and help her feel secure of her place with you and her dad and the new family you're creating.

Lunar1 Sat 04-Feb-17 18:45:01

Are you living together, how often is his dd there? You sound like you are viewing her as a rival rather than as a child. What rules does he have about the things that bother you, if he wants his dd there for morning cuddles and you really feel uncomfortable then can he go to her room in the mornings?

I wouldn't trade my boys jumping into bed in the mornings for anything, they won't want to forever.

Evergreen777 Sun 05-Feb-17 08:06:36

With the morning cuddles, I'd suggest she gets into his side of the bed, so your DP is in the middle. But it's normal to want them at that age.

The rest of her behaviour sounds pretty normal too - yes she is marking her territory as she sees you as a threat to her time with her dad. That should get gradually better over time. But your DP needs to make sure she does do what she's told. You tell a child once, then tell them again strenly, then give them some consequence for still not doing as asked - eg go to their room, pay a small fine, lose computer/TV time, etc. Every time she's allowed to ignore an instruction, she's learning that his authority means nothing. I'd try to get your DP to start parenting a bit more effectively. Worth talking with your friends with kids (with DP too preferably) about how they deal with bad behaviour to get ideas.

And to be brutally honest with you, no, I haven't found age 5-6 particularly hard with any of my DC/DSC. She will grow out of climbing in your bed at some point but ignoring things she's been told isn't likely to go away on its own. Older kids can be very strong willed and just as possessive over a parent.

Mils45 Sun 05-Feb-17 08:48:31

You remind me of me grin. Especially the bedroom sanctuary part. It's really difficult when you have no plans on having your own either. How did I get in this situation???Just try and remind yourself she is a child, and doesn't know how to discuss her emotions, so acts out instead. Ask your partner to take lead more and do morning cuddle in her bed. Hang in there

swingofthings Sun 05-Feb-17 11:08:31

If you are not normally very maternal and/or don't care much about children overall, it is clearly not going to help.

She ignores the simplest of instructions - stop making that noise, stop picking your nose, don't play with your food, eat with your mouth shut etc.(from both of us in fairness)

From what you've written, could it be a case of her getting only negative vibes coming from you and no positive ones? That would explain her possessiveness towards her dad.

Why are you getting involved with the above? Kids at 6 do need telling all the time about these matters, and the more pleasant are these reminders, the more likely they are to respond positively to them. On this basis, if you haven't won her respect/love, then it is unlikely to be received too well from you and therefore better left to her dad's.

My view is that if deep inside, you are only tolerating her because you know you can't have her a relationship with her father without her there, then you are better taking as little involvement in her life as possible and leave it to your partner to parent her. Such relationship can work as long as both are clear what the boundaries are. You can't have it both ways though, expect to be able to have a say in her being disciplined yet not be prepared to accept her presence in your life as something that could enrich your life.

ChipmunkSundays Sun 05-Feb-17 21:43:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IneedmoreLemonPledge Tue 07-Feb-17 22:01:22

What a lovely post Chipmunk.

brew

Bluebell9 Wed 08-Feb-17 13:28:33

When my DP moved in with me, DSS found it hard I think. DSS wanted his Dad to live with him again at home (he didn't move from the family home to mine, he'd been living at this parents). DSD was fine with it and was happy spending time with me but I think DSS was feeling insecure about where he fitted in. I made sure that DP and his DSS had time together and I would entertain DSD.
Now both DSC are settled and happy. DSS realised that nothing would change, in fact he sees his Dad more now he lives with me (DP was living further away from DCs before moving in with me).
I had to take a step back at first but now DSC are settled they want to cuddle me as much as Daddy!
The kids do jump into bed in the morning if they have been told they can, but then one of the adults gets up soon after to give the other one a lie in in peace.

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