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How do I rebuild our relationship? I royally fucked up!(16 Posts)
So lately things haven't been going well between DSD and I. About 18 months ago things were great between us. We got on really well (as much as one can with a 4 year old), we had fun and I enjoyed spending time with her. But our relationship has been gradually going downhill and I think we've hit rock bottom. She's 5 and has the worst temper tantrums I've ever seen and I don't handle it too well. I have depression and anxiety and find it really hard to deal with. A few months ago my mental health hit rock bottom, DSD who's now almost 6 was having lots of temper tantrums and I snapped and shouted at her. Over the next few weeks then, she would have a temper tantrum, I would end up shouting and the whole situation got worse. I feel awful! I'm meant to be the adult and I know I royally fucked up (lots). I think she's scared of me and that's awful. Every time I ask her to do anything ( like really simple things) she has a meltdown and starts shouting. I don't know how to rebuild the relationship where do we even go from here?
What's the father doing in all this? Why isn't he handling the tantrums?
He does - but that doesn't mean I don't want to try and improve our relationship...
Well, I can certainly understand how you wanted to shout at her, but you really know that you shouldn't have! Her DF needs step in a bit sharpish here, it's down to him to deal, with temper tantrums, and all other matters relating to her behaviour.
I would back off a bit, be pleasant to her, smile a lot and give her time, 6 is still very young......but don't react to tantrums, do something else whilst her DF deals with it, just don't get involved.
What do I do on the odd occasion I get up in the morning with her and DP stays in bed for a bit? Or do I just not get up with her on my own any more until we have a better relationship?
Leave your partner to get up with her. Try to do some fun stuff with her, praise good behaviour and try and ignore the bad behaviour, I know it's not always easy to do this, but it's a start. If she has any specific interests then engage with her in these.
I think the way you describe your relationship is as if it isn't an adult child one, that you got on with her great 'for a 4 year old' and then it went downhill because of your mental health partly. It's like you haven't drawn the line between you as adult and her as basically a dependent and not in control of her situation. If she is scared of you and only 6 that's pretty bad.
I know parenting and step parenting is tough, and youv'e done the right thing by acknowledging it. Trust has gone if her world is a scary place and if she won't do anything you ask, then basically, don't ask her. Get her Dad to parent first and foremost. Go to parenting classes - some of them are OK (not all). Talk with other parents. Talk to your GP about how to manage your mental health and parenting and see if they suggest anything.
Bring her to something she likes doing for a while, where there are other people around. It is a good way to check yourself by being in the company of strangers with her for a while, it can make you count to ten and hold back.
Tell her that you've done wrong. Tell her it's been really wrong to shout, you are sorry. And tell her that you know it will take a long time for her to believe it but you will not shout at her again. And mean it.
And yes if your relationship has deteriorated then I would say being alone with her in the morning without her father is not a good idea. Get her Dad to get up with her. If he doesn't, what is going on, does he not want to parent? If it's gone far off course it needs a lot of time and trust built up to get back.
When I said good for a 4 year old I meant in the sense that we're not friends, she's a child and I'm an adult and so it is a different relationship. I didn't know how else to describe it here.
Re getting up in the morning. DP works really hard in his job all week, we both do. Sometimes it's nice for him to have a break, catch up on a tiny bit of sleep. I've never understood this MN idea that if a SM does any level of parenting (or even something we may do for nieces / nephews etc) then the Dad is useless and not parenting. But if it's a stepdad living with a RP mum, he's expected to step up and help out and parent.
I'm not going to criticise you for getting up with her, it's nice you give him a break. I get it. I nearly always get up with mine (6&4) but if I am really shattered or ill or something then DP would do it without hesitating, it's a sign of a supportive relationship
However, her behaviour may be a way of saying she wants her dad
In the mornings?
Re the tantrums. You have all my sympathy, I have PTSD/depression and find tantrums really triggering,
They set me on edge. However, it is our job to somehow be the calm one. I tend to just ignore while the tantrum is at its peak (well I make sure they safe) then as they start to calm down I can swoop in and comfort them /distract them
I really struggle with my step kids' tantrums. I love them to bits and we all get on well but it definitely seems best to hand over to their dad if tantrums begin. His way of dealing with them is familiar for them, and I think that's what they need once they are really worked up.
I agree her dad needs to take over the main parenting role including getting up early and let you do the nice easy bits. You get to be a bit of a Disney dad. It's in his interest for you and dsd to have a good relationship. You have not been well with your mental health and you just need to take it easy so you can be the fun, smiley one. Don't get into a cycle where this upset makes you feel worse and more anxious.
AJPTaylor no. She's here every other weekend Friday afternoon to Sunday evening.
Never do you just walk off at their peak to enable you to calm down? If either of us walks off she starts shouting "no don't go"...
I think I'm already in that cycle Ilikeahappy which is why I desperately need to break it!
Things are getting worse I try and ignore it, I don't respond at all now, but she can go on and on for so long. The new record was 2 hours of DSD shouting on Saturday night
Even DP is at a loss as to what to do. She shouts / has a temper tantrum at bedtime, getting in the car to come over, getting in the car after being out for the day and lots of other times too. What on earth is he meant to do? If he ignores her at her peak she goes on for at least 30 mins, often over one hour. If he tries talking calmly with her she just gets louder.
What's she like if you're not there? Are you able to go away for the weekend to a friend's house?
She's the same if I'm not there tbh.
I don't want to just avoid her, I want to work on rebuilding the relationship.