Step parenting problems!(25 Posts)
I am prepared to be shot down in flames about this but I am very upset. My DSD is nearly 7 and overall we have a great relationship - I was not OW and I have known her for 2 1/2 years. My DS lives with us fulltime and is 7; they get on well Recently she has has been having tantrums, sulking very clingy to DH - not surprising in some regard as DH and I married this year and moved in together. I have struggled with her fighting with me for DH's attention and she can't bear it if she is told off - massive sulk and tantrum etc. This weekend has been a nightmare; she has been sulking and having tantrums above everything. DH kept her away from a party yesterday as her behaviour was so bad; except that when she stopped crying he took her there; she refused to leave his side and join in and he ended up carrying her the whole time. At bedtime, we all lie on the big bed and read a bedtime story together. Last night she told DH that she wanted him to sleep on my side (nearer the door, even though she never wakes in the night but DS does); he readily agreed so she lay down on that side of the bed; then DH, then DS and then me. However, not enough room for me so I asked her to shift along a bit. DH then shouted at me that I had enough room and that she was on the edge of the bed (not true!) and if I didn't like it, I could leave. I was so upset that I did. We haven't spoken since. I am so upset that he spoke to me like that in front of the children and seemingly took her "side". Even though I don't see a battle for affection is needed. She obviously does. What am I going to do?! I don't want her to feel that there is a need to fight for her father's love. DH's disciplines to a point and then gives in to her as he doesn't want to be the bad dad as he doesn't see her all the time and I think she is becoming spoilt. He doesnt hold back on my DS though. Any advice please?
I think what is happening is completely normal - she is sharing her father in a way she never used to (you moving in and getting married). I know its very hard OP.
Does she have time alone with her father? Maybe every weekend he could organise to do something with her, for example dinner or lunch or a trip to the park/cinema with just her dad. (You could also spend this alone time with your DS which I'm sure he will like).
Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
Thank you sparechange - yes this is something they do sometimes but perhaps it needs to be more regular - I will suggest to DH (when he starts talking to me again!). I am sure DS will appreciate it too
Yeah, I think if it becomes and a weekly thing and she has ''her time'' with her dad each weekend she is there it will go a long way in helping her get used to the new dynamic. In her mind you get to be with her father all of the time and she only gets EOW (I'm assuming from your OP that is the set up?) whereas before you were there she got him all to herself when she visited.
I was your daughter years ago, I hated my step mother because I felt she was taking my dad away (she was the OW though) but I think even if she wasn't I still didn't like her. I never really thought of her as splitting my parents up, more of taking my father's attention away from me. As I got older I realised how silly that was and now when I visit my father (I'm an adult now so not as often) I actually spend more time with my stepmum and we laugh about my behaviour and she completely understands my behaviour, mostly at age 7-9 and then again around 12-14.
Thank you sparechange - "normal behaviour" and responses sounds fine and yes we will set this in motion. I have spoken to DH. So pleased that you came through the other side having been my DS... she is a lovely girl and it makes me sad to see her like this. Hopefully, we can give her the confidence to realise that there is enough love to go around. (oh good - the teen years!!)
It's a tricky one isn't it OP.
I do sympathise.
She's still a child though and can't articulate how she feels yet so it sounds like she's tantrumming to get attention and time with her father, even if that's bad attention.
It's so important for children to have time with their parent one on one when there is a step parent. Only today I demanded my DP and his 10 year old DD to do some daddy/daughter time.
Step parents who don't do this make a rod for their own back and that's when resentment can build.
Can you sit down with her and build in some of this time just them two?
The book reading is a lovely thing to do but it might be nice if she has it just her and her dad at times, and then just her and you some nights as well.
DH and I discussed this last night after he had dropped DSD back to her mother's and agreed that we would make sure it happened each time she is with us. Washing - the book reading thing has been all of us together (inc DS) which I now feel excluded from. Anyway, all got out of hand last night as DH and I had an almighty row and he now thinks that I am jealous of his relationship with DSD - I had said that I felt she was vying for attention and that she thought sides needed to be taken... now a nightmare situation which I cannot see a way back from as he is furious with me. I cannot seem to explain that I don't see that it is a "taking sides" issue just that it is important that he and I show a united front. Anyway, Happy Monday!
My DSS was very clingy to DP when DP moved in with me. DSD was fine and quite happy.
I'd known DSC for a year by this time but I think DP moving in with me made DSS feel insecure. DSS was 6 at the time.
He would ignore me, where he had previously loved spending time with me, he physically clung to his Dad, wanting cuddles all the time, even whilst eating tea etc, he was naughty and sulky too. He also started lying for attention, about being bullied at school and that he was unhappy all the time.
I felt like you did, but I took a step back as DSS is only little and is still figuring out his emotions. Plus, I live with DP whereas DSS only gets to see him 2-3 nights a week. DP made sure he spent time with DSS on his own and DP always does bedtime, its their special time to have a chat and read stories. It slowly got better. Now, a year on, we all get on great, both DSC love me and I love them.
We had DSC over the weekend, I was going out for a few hours on my own and DSS clung to me saying 'but I'll miss you!' which is lovely and completely different to this time last year.
Hi OP - really sounds like your dh is suffering from the typical guilt a NPR feels when finally living FT with a 'new' family & only seeing dc part of the time. It's understandable but ultimately very unproductive. He's most likely guilty for living with you & your ds
& not his own dd, can't see the wood for the trees & is lashing out at the easiest target - you.
I'm sorry I've no real advice - as this is all his s**t & he has to learn to deal with it - maybe back off for a few days & he may come round to seeing what you were actually saying not what he thinks you were saying?
Your DH needs to realise that for you to leave your own bed isn't on. DSD needs to and him with her.
Thank you for your support and messages. I went in to see him before I went to work and we have agreed that we will work it through together. Yes text book natural reactions to a situation that none of us has ever been in. Even adults get taken by surprise by overwhelming emotions that come out of nowhere; at least we can (if we are willing to be honest) see them for what they are and face them. DSD will have no idea why she is feeling like she is.
DH then shouted at me that I had enough room and that she was on the edge of the bed (not true!) and if I didn't like it, I could leave. I was so upset that I did
Unacceptable. I would not put up with it.
Yes Fluffypink - but it upset me too but it is very unlike him. I think that her worsening behaviour has meant that he was doing everything he could to make her happy and as an up-poster put it; he lashed out at me. He is normally a very kind and helpful man...
DPs children are quite clingy to him at our house, and I think part of it is not that I am trying to take their dad's attention, but we are very affectionate in a day to day way, which they were not used to seeing with him and their mum, not when they were together, and obviously when they split up until I came along, not at all. When his children are with us, I try and keep my distance as much as possible, and spend time with my DC's, I have him the majority of the time, and it really doesn't matter if he just focuses on them when they are with us. I wouldn't be happy about the shouting though, although you say it is out of character. I agree with a pp about stepping back. It does sound like you are a little bit resentful of her attention seeking, which is understandable, but as adults we can manage it better.
SusieQ - I am not resentful of her attention seeking at all - rather a harsh comment and not the helpful advice I posted for that others have given.
Sorry I’m not sure why you were all on the bed while she was being read a story? Isn’t that just for her and her Dad?
I think the issue is that ultimately, you are in a situation of fighting for your OH attention, and I would assume that from your OH perspective, as the adult, you're the one who should have to accept to step back a bit if his daughter is going through a stage of needing him more.
I do understand though that as a newly wed couple, you are still at that stage of the relationship when you need more time with your OH to feel contented. I've just thought of how I was when I first moved in with OH and I certainly had stronger emotional and physical needs from him. I used to really miss him when he had to go away for work, nowadays, I don't mind at all, yet I do love him just as much as then.
I think you all know the way forward, it's just a case of applying it, ie. he needs to have more intimate time with his DD, only the two of them. I do agree that bedtime read is one of those particularly special moments, and even with kids living with both their parents, it is rarely a joint parent activity so this is why this particular event was the catalyst of the conflict.
Totally agree that he certainly shouldn't speak to you like he did then especially in front of the children. That he really needs to work on so it doesn't happen again.
Crickey I would not be impressed at all.
i think DSD will become worst now, with DH defending her and speaking to you like that in front of her.
I feel for you. Maybe one day a week when DSD is at the house, you take your own child out for dinner so you have time with your own and DHand DSD can do what they like.
I think it will probably pass. My youngest DSD is 8 and she is just coming out of the clingy phase. She does still demand quite a lot of attention, but that's because her dad and I have a DD who's 10 months, so DSD quite understandably gets jealous.
I don't think your DH should've spoken to you like that though, that's what I'd be most pissed off about.
@EndofSummer They all read the bedtime story together, including the OP's DS who is a similar age. What's confusing about that??
Thank you again for helpful advice. swing it is because both our children have the same bedtime story together (when we are all here) and are close in age so go to bed at the same time. They requested this about a year ago and still want to do it. We are going to incorporate other 1:1 time during weekends for both of us and our respective children!
I am not however fighting for DH's attention (this is not something as an adult, I need to fight for!). DSD is but these feelings are probably completely unknown to her and happening naturally and without thought or malice. Also, as she is getting older, she is realising that this is now going to be the situation going forward, and it must be incredibly hard to know that my DS lives with her daddy all the time and not her - even though she is obviously very happy living with her mum.
This is no doubt unsettling for DSD and also for DS but we are now working together to help them settle into new arrangements and make sure they both feel they are having enough time with their respective parents.
sorry - cross posted a bit!
Not every kid feel like getting the big room is price winning nor do they care about more space.
My DS has never cared that his sister always had the bigger, nicer room. What he does care about greatly is that he has his own space to retreat to. Unfortunately, this is not something he's ever had at his dad, not even sharing with his sister and this has contributed to not wanting to go to his father any longer. They have a young sibling and it wouldn't have cross his mind that he should have the big room them and she the smaller one, but he would have been very happy just to have a cupboard room if it could have fitted a bed and had a door to close to get get his peace.
swing I have no idea what you are on about?! They each have a separate room and their own space. We like to have a bedtime story in DH's and my room on our bed so there is room for us all to be together then they go to their separate rooms and we say goodnight. Think I'll leave this now.
swing I have no idea what you are on about?!
Ha ha, I don't blame you, I was responding to another thread! That last post of mine is definitely to be ignored
swing that's hilarious!! I only popped back out of -nosiness- curiosity!
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