3yr old mood swings(13 Posts)
My first post on mumsnet! Hi everybody and thanks in advance for your thoughts on my situation.
Ive been with my boyfriend for 2.5 years since his daughter was around 11 months. So she doesn't remember life before me.
I get on really well with his daughter. I love her to bits and we have many (mostly!) great times together. Not having children myself it has all been a bit of a learning curve and I have no experience to benchmark to.
So - where do I need advice?
Sometimes she is mean to me. This morning she climbed into our bed as usual. She persuaded her dad to make a bottle and when he left she said meanly to me 'not beside you' and moved as far away from me in the bed as possible.
Then after the bottle i had my arm under her dad's neck and she was also lying on my arm (on the other side of him) playing with my hand when then she realised that it was my hand and was mean again. She had a little sulk at the bottom of the bed.
I know these are tiny moments. Normally I can absorb the dramatic mood swings. After all she is only 3, but when it's in bed when I am waking up, it's so hard to be objective.
Sadly her mum fills her head with stuff about me (we know as, being 3, she repeats everything innocently to us) so I don't know whether sometimes the behaviour is related to that or it is normal. Given that she doesn't remember a time when I was not around, why would she have jealous feelings?
How do I handle this better?
Just ignore it. It’s not her fault if her mum is telling her not to like you, she will feel very torn and confused.
I guess I would love to know if any one in my position (knowing boyfriend's child from under age of 1) has to deal with similar stuff and how they do it. It's hard to know what is just regular child feelings stuff and what is particular to our situation.
Maybe tell her in your house she can chose her own friends and it's much better to be friends and have fun together. Make a fun schedule for the times you have her.
And ditch the bottle - she is 3!!
When I had a dsd her dm was awful about her being with us - we had the 'my dm says I don't have to' etc crap. I told her in our house it's our rules and it's OK to have fun here!!
Here we go again, the mother has to be mentioned when mentioning unappreciated behaviour from a step-child.
Not directed at you personally OP, it's your first post but it does get frustrating to constantly have it implied that the mother is somehow to blame for any behavioural issues.
In your case, it's totally normal. Most kids go through phases around that age when they reject one parent or the other, even when they are not separated. My colleague went through her phase when her youngest boy didn't want her anywhere near her for quite some months, the minute she did something for him or gave him affection, he asked for his dad. It passed after some months and is now a typical mummy's boy.
Don't take things personally, she is not interested in winning one's affection in conflict with someone else. She is expressing that she wants more contact with her dad at the moment. It will pass and you might find the exact opposite in a few years.
Perhaps the reason that mums get mentioned is because, frankly, sometimes the mum causes problems. I don't say that lightly. Please don't bother responding on this topic further. I do not wish to articulate the hell this little girl is put through psychologically by her very manipulating mother. I live with that. My partner and I deal with it continually and I am in supporting him as best I can in helping his daughter have a balanced upbringing.
I was just curious if some of her behaviour is just regular kid dramatics or if there is a deep dark undercurrent to everything she does that is picture-postcard perfect! Thanks for your other comments on that - they are appreciated.
Thanks, we have a lot of fun and there is often a lot of affection. I think I am just having a bad morning. Being woken up by a child being mean (or anyone being mean) is a tough start to the day.
The bottle. What can I say? We had her converted to a cup in the summer holidays, by tactically forgetting the bottle, and after a few days she was really super-proud to sit at the table and drink her big mug of hot milk/choc without spilling it. Then her mum went quite literally nuts that we had deprived her of her bottle.
It's not just a simple matter of ditching the bottle sometimes.
At three it’s probably just the normal preferring one adult over the other for however long. It would be older than this if she was rejecting you purely for being a step parent, once she is old enough to understand family roles better. Even if that happens when she is older it would more than likely just be a phase.
My dc do this and we live with dh who is their dad. I think to a degree it is normal. My ds Will push his dad away and say he doesn't like him and demand to have me and my attention over the smallest thing. Dd does the same but to me. As parents we respond by telling them that we love them, we are a family team and they are allowed to feel how they feel but they will never change how we feel about them. We also have many great times where ds spends time with his father and Dd and me have time together.
If you have good times together then focus on those. Don't make a big deal and try not to react When it's not so Good, she might be testing you to see if you will be there for her and how far she can push you.
Same here, my DC do this to DH sometimes and he is their dad. Sometimes they can be quite "mean" to him. I don't think it's particularly unusual behaviour.
She's only 3. So not really likely to be saying 'I don't want this woman in my life' or anything as sophisticated as that. I would ignore and make sure you and dP show a happy and united front. And remind yourself she is a little toot.
Everyone - thank you so much. It's been really helpful to hear other experiences. And yes, @Melony6, she is just a little toot and such a lovely one at that (mostly!).
I spoke to a friend this morning who has a girlfriend with three kids under 5 and he said that, yes, he too sometimes is ambushed by how they can be mean at times, when so loving mostly.
I think I have realised this weekend, watching her play with other kids, that she may have some pent-up anger at her lot in life. Even though she doesn't remember a time when her parents were together she knows that the perfect scenario has a mum and dad together in it. Even just this morning she said 'dad, I want to do pony with you today. And mum. Together.' And she wants to play act mummy, daddy, baby lion/monkey/rabbit etc...' all the time.
We are working with a psychologist (just started) who will facilitate her being able to understand her situation and will help us to do our best with all of the difficult mum says this, mum says that stuff.
At the end of the day I want her to be an everyday little girl with no weight on her shoulders and if we struggle, that our struggles are boring regular ones - vegetables, screen time and so on. And i'd like to wake up on a saturday morning peacefully, occasionally too!
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