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Dd adjustment issues - I think(15 Posts)
This isn't exactly a step parent issue but I could use some help from step mums with young kids of their own
So... Dp has 2 kids dsd 12 & dss 14, we also have dd who is 4.5. The issue is dd, recently her behaviour has become unbearable, she is rude, argumentative, misbehaving, ignoring requests, which I am supposing is all age appropriate behaviour. However it seems to escalate massively whenever her brother and sister arrive or have to go back to their mother's house.
The routine has been the same for as long as she would remember but as she has got older and started school her behaviour has been appalling and I can't help notice the correlation. I am by no means blaming the older 2, they have always been amazing with her and dss absolutely worships her and she him.
However, my beautiful little girl is becoming an absolute nightmare and I am running out of ideas to help her cope with it and help her manage her emotions. It has boiled over tonight with their arrival and she has been awful. To the point I have had to take away toys, cancel playdates with her friends because however much I understand I cannot allow her behaviour to continue. Especially when she is lashing out at people.
So she can't be the only one to struggle with having to cope with people she loves disappearing out of their lives for days at a time! Any tips? Their mum won't allow phone contact on her days so I can't get them to video call her etc although I am not sure that would help either.
Sorry there were paragraphs but the app had deleted them
Could you help dd keep a little diary to show her siblings when they return?
Make a photo album of things they all do together, doesn't have to be anything fancy, sharing some cakes, watching a film together, that's sort of thing. It must be a long gap in her eyes before the are back!!. Can't believe dss hasn't got a phone he could make a quick call though!!
Done! Doesn't help! We have photos everywhere of them but it seems to make it worse, tears and crying that she misses them.
Both dss and dsd have phones but their dm/her bf (not sure which it is tbh) refuses to let them answer if we try to call/text. If they do she confiscates it which isn't fair on them. So we have stopped trying. But we have never had phone contact so it's not a new thing if that makes sense, she has never known us to have that.
They say behaviour is for a purpose, getting attention, avoiding demands or issues or a pain or sensory thing.
Which do you think DDs is?
You say the behaviour is normal for her age but I don’t think it is. It would be good to take a step back and notice exactly what is happening- sometimes we are too close to it.
How does it start? Is she anxious? Clingy? Angry? What changes when they come? What helps? What makes it worse? Spend a month really looking at it and then start trying out some new ways of dealing with it. Talk to the school, any issues?
Read the explosive child too.
P.s. it’s also possible your DD is generally quite anxious at the moment and is hanging her fears on something. Get to the bottom of it.
So sad...but their mum is horrible.
I'm surprised she can control the phone of the 14 year old though.
Have you maybe spoken to her siblings about his she misses them and could they call her whev thet aren't there...just to say hi to her.
I have a DD15 and would never dream of controlling her calls.
You say she just started school. That can have a major impact on dc too. The tiredness and having to be on best behaviour all day. How has she got on there? Is this behaviour only with her siblings leaving? Its lovely they get on so well.. Maybe don't punish her for lashing out as its obviously her being overwhelmed with emotion as she sees them off. So maybe just hold her and keep saying l know sweetheart you are really sad..but they will be back on Friday. Just keep saying it and leave the punishments. Does she revert to good behaviour in a short while.? My heart goes out to her.
Definitely normal behaviour at that age, usually linked with an overdose of new mental and social stimulation from school, activities etc... It probably get worse when your SCs are there because she is then even more stimulated, with adrenalin kicking in, more going one, noisier, and just the excitement of them being there. When they go, adrenalin drops, exhaustion kicks in, and the grumpiness that comes with it.
It usually gets worse towards the end of each terms, as will teachers confirm too. The best you can do is set a routine and make sure she gets enough quiet and sleep time.
I do think it is mostly school and e draining nature if being well behaves for 6 hours.
She has never been a great sleeper but we had been doing so well. She doesn't do well with change, the kids were with us for about 90% of the Christmas holidays, my parents have moved house, I had taken on a new job which I have had to quit because the hours were awful and it was having a huge impact on dd and her stability (home help hours really are as shit as everyone says). She gets used to them being here and is then devastated when they leave. I guess she sees it as rejection.
The only open anxiety she shows is over going to bed. Although since starting school she has lost the ability to play alone and constantly wants attention.
Dp is adamant that it is attention seeking ad we should ignore it. But what he conveniently forgets is that he works nights and he is rarely here. Ignoring her is pointless, that kid can scream for hours, she will force herself sick and make herself really ill.
As for calls from my dscs, I wish. Unfortunately their dm and her bf are unhinged! He won't let them have a daily shower, they aren't allowed downstairs until everyone is up, not allowed to help themselves to drinks or snacks etc.
Their house their rules I guess.
If she reacts very emotionally when they leave I’d see it as being overwhelmed by emotions that just need time to regulate. I wouldn’t ignore her, I’d give her a hug, but I would try and not up the drama of it either, not saying you do. This is her normal - only seeing her half siblings some of the time. Sometimes a kid can pick up on that people are not happy e.g. if her siblings don’t want to go back.
Even if it is attention seeking - sometimes it’s ok to give attention to let her know you are there, but maybe store up in your brain to give her some extra attention the next day when she is calm - to show her attention happens not just when she is upset.
Maybe yoyr dh should look into have his dc more as their home life sounds awful.
Is your little one happy in school?
I would be a bit concerned about crying for hours coupled with not liking change. Could you talk to your GP about her.
Is she happy all the time they are visited or does she have those crying fits while they are there?
It’s hard when you’re in the middle of it & stressed by it, to see the woods for the trees. But from the outside it’s easy to see a very small child who is dealing with starting school, Mummy changing jobs twice, Grandparents moving, siblings coming and going and finding it quite easy to see why she’s emotional and tantrumming or crying. Just hug her. She needs love, not punishment (and tryst me, I am NO soft touch, I’m a child of the ‘70’s! 😖🤣). I KNOW it’s fecking frustrating, but try to take a step back from it and see the upset little 4 year old. They seem ‘bigger’ when they’re yours, and smaller when they’re someone elses!
If I was your DP I’d be going to court to try to get the kids more, if that’s what they want. It sounds awful at their Mums house.
Gp and hv have been consulted, the sleep thing and screaming for hours because she doesn't want to be in bed is nothing new, it has just got a lot worse lately. Both say nothing wrong it's just a phase.
Court - is an option if we self represent but at the moment no one legal seems to think there is a strong enough case for a judge to rule on our favour and shev us very manipulative so although the kids will say yes they want to be here more she would pressure them into the opposite if we dragged her to court.
Eg I have posted lots on here about them having lice and her absolute refusal to do a thing about them. The kids wanted to stay here for a few weeks and just visit her on her weekends, they told us, told her, went to get their stuff and all of a sudden they have changed their minds despite dsd crying her eyes out here and begging to live with us.
Christmas - we have had 2 very upset kids who have stated on numerous occasions that they do not like splitting Christmas day. They do jot want to spend it ferried back and forth so wherever they wake up they want to stay. Funnily she is happy to accommodate this in 2017 when she woukd have them as her year for dinner. When dsd said "great that means next year we get the whole time with sad" she has flipped and said she refuses to allow it because she will not spend Christmas day without seeing them.
It is tearing the kids apart and her attitude is it is us being shitty but even when the kids say it is them who want it and "why is it only dad and wheres who care what we want" she still ignores them.
At 12 & 14 with no massive neglect or abuse issues I can't see a judge getting involved. I would like to try mediation again as she was massively unreasonable at it during their divorce and the mediator was bloody amazing at putting her straight and sewing that dp was trying to do what was best for the kids rather than being ffs selfish
Sorry I am writing paragraphs but the bloody app keeps deleting them