Step daughter’s behaviour need help?!(50 Posts)
Hi, I’m new to this (step)mothering thing and don’t know how to go about it, I don’t have children of my own (not until September at least! Haha) my partner’s daughter is lovely she’s embraced me so well and we love having her fortnightly there’s just a few things that really bug me and I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve found out I’m pregnant and it’s somehow changed my mind on her behaviour. I used to think it was cute and funny but I find myself getting worked up about it now.
She’s 9 and interrupts constantly, whether we are in the middle of a conversation, task or even in the middle of responding to her, besides this she non stop talks. Like I mean non stop, even when she’s not talking ‘to us’ she’s just talking it’s like a run by run of every single thing. She doesn’t seem capable of entertaining herself at all unless it’s YouTube, it’s so exhausting! It’s to a point we don’t get any space to ourselves or each other over the weekends when she’s here and I’m wondering how it’ll be when we have a demanding little baby plys a 9 year old that acts more like a toddler. My partner and I are affectionate towards each other but not over the top, anytime we kiss (even if it’s a peck goodbye) she then yells “HEY!” And demands that he kiss her however many times we did.
I don’t know what to say to her when she does these things, can anyone suggest anything? I don’t want to be horrid and I’m conscious of her feelings but it’s also driving me batty and I don’t believe it to be normal behaviour for a child of her age to display. X
As a mother of a 9 year old who has just stomped upstairs because I dare tell him he’s had enough time on the laptop I can tell you it’s completely normal behaviour.
I don’t know what it is about YouTube it seems to be a thing at the moment, he can be quite obnoxious at times but I think they are just learning social ques and we just need to guide them. As for the affection it could be because she’s a a daddy girls and likes kisses still my dd4 and very affectionate so I can’t comment on that basis.
She’s good and helpful mostly, I don’t know what to say when she does this stuff though? As an example her dad and I were moving furniture around and cleaning and struggling with the coffee table, clearly we were in the middle of (and struggling) with something, she was on the couch constantly talking and asking questions and asked us to look at something even though 1. It was obvious we were occupied and 2. We said ‘can you not see we’re a little busy, we’ll be done in a bit you’ll just have to wait a moment’ instantly she repeated the same thing. It’s like the ‘are we there yet?!’ But it’s all the time.
I hate the thought of too much tech and good on you for telling him lol but honestly it’s the only peace we get, she was even sitting outside the toilet door while I pooped talking to me! I had to ask her to go do something else cause she was giving me stage fright! It’s non stop and it sounds a little different to what you described about your son 😔. I’ve been around lots of kids and hers just seems more extreme and non stop attention seeking?! The affection thing is ONLY when he and I kiss, she’s completely free to give him/us cuddles and kisses whenever but she ‘demands’ it only when he and I show affection towards each other. It’s almost an attention seeking/jealousy/being left out thing.
My 7 YO DSD does this too, perhaps its their age? We do pull her up on the interrupting though as we find it very rude and at their age they should know better.
I get what you mean about YouTube, DSD is the same, DD is 4 and she will happily sit and play with her dolls house and her toys while I get on with something whereas DSD seems to demand my attention if she’s not had it for 10 minutes, I can see why that irritates you as it irritates me sometimes. These holidays she drove me mad on the iPad watching bloody kinder eggs opening videos on YouTube, I decided we’d go for a walk and try out her new camera and she had a massive strop because I was trying to take her away from her beloved YouTube haha. I’d try not to get too wound up about things. She’ll love the baby when he/she is here, I always wished I’d had a baby brother or sister around that age, just try and make sure she’s involved as much as is reasonable etc.
With the demanding affection thing DSD was like this with myself and OH too. She was also like it with her mum and OH when they were still together.
She’s a bit better now, I think that the attention seeking and jealousy thing is a bit of a ste child quirk. Again, try to let it wash over you. DSD always used to come and squeeze herself inbetween us when we were sat on the sofa, she did it once while I was pregnant with DD, I had a hot cup of tea in my hand and she knocked it and I burnt my bump and got told off by OH for it so she only does it now if we don’t have hot drinks etc.
This is all normal especially with a new baby in the mix as well. It's important to show affection when she doesn't demand it and it will settle when baby comes as long as she's assured of her place.
My 9 year old step son is the same. Constantly interrupting and feeling as though he's missing out if he doesn't hear every conversation. We'll be in the car and I will mention something about work to my husband and straight away he's shouting "What did you say!" His father just tells him it's rude to interrupt. He is a lot better than he used to be. It must be a phase they go through.
He doesn't have a tablet he can go on for the internet or YouTube. He is allowed a certain amount of tv time or Xbox time but he's not left on it as we find that makes his attitude a lot worse. He loves drawing though. Would your daughter be interested in that at all. My step son is completely obsessed with dogs. We bought him a book on how to draw dogs and he loves it and because he's getting better with more practise he's always going back to it. We buy paints, pastels, even clay. They all keep him occupied. With the clay he was trying to mould his favourite animals or Pokemon characters and we can just leave him to it as he likes to surprise us when he's finished
Thanks placeboo, she interrupts as we tell her not to interrupt lol. There’s just lots that she does that I find is more like 5 year old behaviour rather then that of a 9 year old but then you have a little that is 4 and able to entertain herself! My DSD can’t even bath/shower herself cause she needs an adult, which is her dad as I don’t feel comfortable doing that, it’s not that she’s incapable either.
It’s funny cause my partner and his ex never showed affection towards each other (partly why it ended) our relationship is different in that we do but I don’t think it’s a case of ‘not seeing it’ cause she watches us every time and before we’ve even parted from our little hug or kiss she’s yelling at her dad yet if we do it at his mum’s house in front of anyone else she watches but doesn’t say anything. I’m waiting for my partner to get sick of it and tell her off, though it’s a little less serious then burning! That must of been a chaotic and painful moment!
This YouTube thing is mental!!! That’s the kind of stuff she watches too. I hate it and plan on seriously limiting it with this peanut but I secretly love when she’s on it cause it means I can have a drink, conversation, eat or do the dishes without distraction.
Arnoldbee. She isn’t yet aware of the baby, hence my concern of what she will be like when another is thrown into the mix. We constantly show her affection that’s not the issue. She has a place but she still needs boundaries.
I'm seven years into the whole stepmother gig and the one thing you need to learn is that YOU don't need to say anything. Your DH does. He needs to parent her. You need to be like a loving auntie. Unless the behaviour is outrageous let it go. You only see her fortnightly and interrupting isn't the end of the world. It's annoying but your kid is going to annoying to because they all are.
Maybe since you only have her fortnightly you could spend less time slobbering over each other and more time paying attention to her.
HLH9 that’s so frustrating, I’m glad it’s gotten better! I hope it’s a phase I really do. Think maybe we just need t be more consistent with getting her to not interrupt?
Gosh!!!!! I’m an artist so I have ALL the arty paraphernalia and she can use it anytime, for Christmas I got her proper art pencils. Nup can’t do it unless someone does it with her! Even playing a game on our phones she has to describe everything! Youtube is the only thing that gives us a moment despite how I hate it it’s kind of a break from incessant chatter. I told her she can play by herself for 2 hours cause her dad and I needed a nap one weekend she sulked and it was this big drama cause she can’t do anything and we dont have WiFi set up unless it’s from our phones (hence no Youtube) so her dad stayed up while I napped. She has Lego, Clay, art stuff galore, books, Shopkins and other toys. We deliberately got her stuff like that so she could either entertain herself a little or do stuff together. Nup. She can’t do anything by herself yet she is a very smart capable young girl. Her mother is of the notion of jam packng her days to a point she’s the busiest child I’ve ever come across all because she can’t god forbid be bored.
Lol we don’t slobber over each other actually, pretty rude of you really judging like that. Btw we often have her more then just fortnightly. I’m not about to change my beliefs for a kid whether it be step or one that comes out of me. Part of my problem is that she acts a certain way that I wouldn’t let my kids get away with. I believe it’s important that appropriate affection should be displayed and there’s nothing wrong with that it bloody beats the relationship she witnessed with her parents! Never have I indicated that she doesn’t get attention. I’m not putting our life on hold just because she’s here I’d ather her and myself integrated properly into the house/family etc.
Thanks so much shiggle! I think I will chat to my OH I feel slightly uncomfortable with certain things as I think it’s more his place so it’s nice for the advice. I understand it’s not an end of the world thing but it does affect things and I just think it’s a little too full on and I worry that she’s already a certain age and it escalating. I know how annoying kids are, I don’t think for one minute mine will be any different, only difference is I’ll be pulling them up on it.
I agree with you OP that it's healthy for partners to show affection in front of children. Of course they go "ugh, gross" nd it's not surprising that a 9yo stepchild would experience some jealousy, but that doesn't mean you should have to have a three-foot rule in your own home - it's how you handle your dsd's feelings with sensitivity, firmness and patience that will help her adjust to the dynamic you want in your family.
Personally I think pregnancy hormones can drastically affect one's tolerance of older child behaviour - I found myself on a shorter fuse with ds1 when I was pregnant with ds2 and when he was a small baby, even though I adored ds1 and still do now he's 15.
I think having boundaries and standards around interrupting and rudeness is fine, every child needs that, it's just parenting. But you need to create positive experiences with her to counterbalance the discipline, and you need breaks for yourself while she is there as well. Even if it is only fortnightly, it's a whole weekend and if she's very full-on it will be draining. Long candle-lit baths or a quick coffee out could help you recharge your batteries so you're ready to be patient/kind/firm with her while you're all together.
You will have to be open to changing your beliefs for a kid i’m afraid. Decent parenting means putting children’s needs before your own and the needs of other adults, watching for their cues and responding to their signals. At 9 she’s doesn’t have the vocabulary or understanding to articulate her feelings, anxieties and worry. Sounds to me that she’s worried about her place in father’s life and is signaling she wants more attention and affection. If I were you i’d encourage your DP to spend more time alone with her, reassure her and make extra efforts to be attentive to her. I’d also anticipate some acting out when she learns about the baby.
The constant telling us a big problem, especially if she is interrupting. However, it really isn't your problem to deal with. You barely spend time with her, there really isn't much you can do about it. The other thing I am sure she will grow out of.
She sounds adorable! What a sweet and lovely thing wanting to be around you so much she follows you to the loo! Try to remember how slowly time moves for kids. It’s exciting for her to be with her dad, and you too. Of course she doesn’t want him to nap! Fortnightly is forever to a 9 year old! She wants as much quality time as she can get, and I bet she had ample time to do craft by herself at home. Staying with you is special and she probably imagines/hopes you feel the same way.
Please continue to make her feel welcome and reassure her with all the kisses and cuddles she asks for. If you’re worried it’s going to escalate then do the ground work now. If she feels pushed out and rejected as a teenager you’ll really have your work cut out for you.
You sound very nice but possibly tired with pregnancy stuff. Put it down to the hormones, and for the next two years put it down to lack of sleep. You go out and give her time with her dad when you need a break.
I did have a slight chuckle over I’m not about to change my beliefs for a kid whether it be step or one that comes out of me. Please comeback in 4 years and let us know how that went.
Do I detect a hint of her dad not standing up and parenting here?
If mine interrupt they're told hang on a sec DC, X was speaking first, let her finish. Then when X has finish we make a point of coming back to the DC who was trying to get in and giving their question our full attention. You shouldn't have to accept her interrupting you telling her not to interrupt, but stopping that is going to be a lot easier coming from her dad I think.
I don't think we generally do gestures of affection while the kids are around that they're not welcome to join in with. But the blatant watching and counting is silly. Sometimes being three times as silly back can help josh them out of things, could that help? Give her 23 kisses when she demands two. Demand the extra ones back. Play at hiding so she can't count. Make her laugh, but you're also taking back control.
Re baths, DS who's nearly 9 likes to have an adult for company in the bathroom. We've made sure he has the ability to wash his own hair etc so that when he wants privacy he can have it. Sounds like DSD can too? Having someone to talk to when you're in the bath is a little luxury. Perhaps she does appreciate the of 1:1 time. I don't think that's a bad thing.
Whatever you do, keep being lovely, keep making her laugh, and be firm about your own limits. I think baby might actually help things settle down, as long as you make sure you give her a big important big sister role so that the four of you are family rather than you and DP looking after baby and her as visitor getting in the way.
I'm a bit puzzled as to what your DSD does with her time all weekend. Does she not have toys or hobbies or books or homework or anything? She's in the same room as you both talking at you all weekend? Even with you she must be doing something some of the time surely?
Catkins. Thank you so much for your helpful advice and strategies! I LOVE the affection idea! That’s such a great way to try and shift it a little! I don’t want her feeling left out but it’s just a bit silly as you said! I’m going to try and work it in. Because of how she reacts I have begun to feel like I can’t be myself in our relationship and I don’t want that.
Yeah her dad could definitely pull her up a bit more in regards to the interrupting. It could be tiredness from preggo hormones but the past few times I have found myself starting to give up trying to have meaningful engaged convos with her because of it.
The bath thing, what you describes sounds completely normal for a kid that age company in the tub is fine makes it go quickly, from what I can gather though she can’t run the water herself, wash her hair herself, rinse, dry or apply powder herself? She requires assistance with it all and it’s so much drama (she likes a bath but everything from the water temperature, shampoo, towels everything!) I guess as an example -brushing her hair she makes these exaggerated squeals to let us know her hair is knotty and then proceeds to say “did you hear me squeal? It’s because I was brushing my hair” her dad does her hair every time and beautifully too so it’s not like she’s left to do it herself.
Lol! Ohhhhh I’m puzzled too. Some insight would be amazing cause I have no idea. Yes she has hobbies and interests, toys, games, art, books, Lego that is still unboxed ready to be built etc etc etc we purposely bought her things like that, things that could be enjoyed soley or together. She’s a great story teller so got her a pencil case, pens and notebook so she could jot stories down. None of it and I literally mean none of it is possible to do unless either myself or her dad are doing it with her or we are right there to stop and drop whatever it is and be talked to. It’s why I’m struggling. When I say we don’t get a break I mean it. The only time she goes off and does kid things by herself is when it’s 6am and we’re still in bed and she’s waiting for us to wake. It’s exhausting and I don’t even have a fresh baby yet, it’s why I need some advice so it’s not as bad as this by the time bub arrives I do not want to snap or my god start resenting this little girl or for her to resent me!
Justabouttosay - thank you, she is all of that and more, I do adore her. There are genuine things her and I’m not sure on how to address them and it’s why I’ve sought guidance from people that may be able to give an encouraging hand and advice. Like you said groundwork, I’d rather it happen now then leaving it and ending in me resenting her or her resenting me. I’m very aware of trying to make sure this little girl is as well adjusted as can be, it’s a big thing being a step parent but it’s also a big thing being a step child I can imagine. I don't want to say or do the wrong thing too badly that it could hurt our budding little friendship but there are some things that do cause me some concern. I’m definitely tired from pregnancy but I think it’s also bought this worry and has made me notice things that before I’d brushed off. Oh by the beliefs thing lol I’m in no way under any illusions having kids is all unicorns, gluten free and Mary poppins! Just that I have certain core beliefs like affection in family should be displayed, everyone contributes to the house, bedtime aimed at a certain time, respect each other, etc etc those beliefs won’t change.
Hellofreckles, don't fall into that trap that now you are contemplating what it will be like to have a perfect baby of your own, you start looking at all the faults in your SD.
Children, like adults are not machines. They come in all shape and forms with their own personalities and all, like us, will have some things about us that are great, and some annoying, it make us who you are.
So your SD is a very talkative child. She sounds exactly like my DD. My DD NEVER played on her own, even when she was a toddler, she needed and wanted interaction and was always asking a zillion questions and then talking for the sake of talking. Wherever we went, she had to be ahead of us, and then commenting on everything she saw before we ourselves even got there. Yes, it was annoying, yes she was a mentally demanding child.
However, these aspects of her personality has been very beneficial to her as she is about to go to study Medicine (grades permitting) and that is exactly the personality that they are looking for. She is full of mental energy, loves to be around people, curious about everything, and always has to keep herself occupied.
I also have a DS who I love just as much as her, but is completely different. He 'lives' in his room, always been quiet, won't say anything unless prompted, and well, very easy to forget about, except that as a parent, I am much more worried about him than my DD.
Your own child will have their own personality and you can be assured that some way along the line of their education, one teacher will find them annoying one way or the other.
Sorry for the essay, but it's been written so many times that once a SM is about/has just become a mum, she starts seeing their SC in a totally different way, focusing on the negative and forgetting about the positive. It's your perception that has changed, not the child and they don't have to change who they are to suit you. If you struggle with her at times and she annoys you, don't feel bad about it, just leave it to her dad to deal with her. Don't be fixed on the 'we'. You are a new unit, but in her mind, she seats between two and her own unit is her mum and dad.
From my experience as a step child and as a knackered parent, I think Shiggle and, in part, Greensleeves have it right. Don’t cause resentment by overstepping as far as “discipline” is concerned and take yourself to another room for a break, if necessary.
But above all, make sure she has no reason to fear you’ve replaced her in as far as her father’s affections, and make sure she gets enough time with him without you there. They have a connection which you can’t share and shouldn’t try to.
Honestly it sounds perfectly normal to me. Both my dc talk non-stop, interrupt and are only quiet when they have their headphones in watching YouTube.
As for playing alone, never. Occasionally my 10 year old will draw or colour at the table while watching YouTube. I bought her Lego for Xmas thinking she was old enough to do it on her own. No chance.
... as far as her father’s affections are concerned, doh!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.