AIBU and overreacting - feel like partner and DSS have disrespected me(54 Posts)
We have my partner's DSD and DSS every other weekend. We have been together 3 years but I was only able to meet them a year ago. Simply put their mum despises me - but it's a long story to go into. Partner and I now have an 8 week old DD together.
DSS is 8 and refuses to eat any vegetables, he is also a very fussy eater! A few months ago, partner, DSS and I agreed to try something we has seen on tv and during a Sunday dinner cooked about 9 different vegetables for him to try with the plan of him selecting a few that he liked so he could have a little of them in the future. On the day in question he caused quite a fuss. We talked rationally but explained that if he wouldn't even try, then he wouldn't get dessert. He doesn't ever eat much of his food, but always wants dessert - and I know that's just part of being a kid. He made up his mind that he already didn't like any of them and that of course they were poison. Upshot being he got no dessert. Partner drove the kids home and took some mini doughnuts with him for himself. It crossed my mind that he might give DSS some, but I hoped not.
Today DSS very smugly revealed that he had been given a doughnut and therefore got dessert that day. He also said that I had stopped him having dessert on multiple occasions. This isn't true, as it was only the once but he insisted that I, not We, had done this. There have been other comments over the past few weeks too.
AIBU that I feel betrayed and disrespected by my partner. Before we got together I had major trust issues and now I feel really let down by him. We had agreed how to parent his children in our house but now I feel undermined. DSS questions most things I ask him to do, such as not using his iPod whilst having dinner. This just felt like a smug secret they had that was dropped on me. I'm worried I'm blowing it out of proportion but it's a big deal to me. Especially when their mummy has made me out to be the wicked witch and said mean things to them about our DD's name.
I wouldn't punish or reward with food... you were in a hiding to nothing with this from the start
I think your DSS has had enough change since meeting you. You sound controlling with food, if your partner wants to give his child a desert you need to keep out of it. You are not his parent.
I say this very gently but I think you might be over reacting a little. It does sound very frustrating but I would guess that to your partner it just wasn’t such a big deal and unfortunately the non resident parent, often the dad can have a bit of a guilt complex about being away from the children and do things like that due to feeling guilty. I’m wondering if he was taking his son home and just wanted to make him happy before he went and leave it on a good note. He should have come home and told you though so that your DSS saying it now would get no reaction.
His not a dog you don't reward him with food.
If he don't like veg then he don't like veg.
I didn't eat any veg untill I was around 18.
Thank you for your points of view - most appreciated. I think what I'm taking from this is that I shouldn't try to help or co-parent. I thought I was doing the right thing but obviously not. We weren't treating him like a dog but I can see how you might think that. It wasn't me being controlling, my partner wanted to do it that way. My concern was that by giving the dessert in the car, it made it seem that I denied the dessert rather than it being a joint thing. However, I can see how my partner wanted to make it a nice experience before he left. I understand that some posters seem rather upset with me and that wasn't the intent of the post. Thanks for the feedback though.
Let his dad worry about what he'll eat and it will save you a lot of stress.
Lots of kids don't like vegetables...they survive quite okay.
It does sound like you have a specific style of parenting and it's not the same as you OHs.
TBH is be a bit annoyed if my DCs SM was doing all this stuff with their meals. I'm sure you have their health at heart...but let him worry about his kids. You have enough on.your plate with a new born DD....
Let dad get on with it, Dss has after all only known you a year. Do you need to co-parent all the time. It's not worth the hassle for you, pick your battles. Does it really matter to you that a boy you have known for just a year is not great at eating veg? I 100% believe that step parents should be able to help set house rules and to discipline when needed but things like changes to diet I would leave to the parents, especially as it's clear your dh disagreed and gave him desert anyway.
Next time let his parents get on with it and save yourself the annoyance.
9 different vegetables to try would have totally freaked me out as a kid. No way would I have tried them and I would have had a major meltdown about no pudding.
I didn’t eat anything like a normal diet until I left home, now as an adult I will eat pretty much anything and I have a healthier more varied diet than just about everyone I know.
Don’t make food a reward punishment type thing - it honestly doesn’t work and only damages relationships you are trying to build. There are better ways of encouraging good eating habits.
I do appreciate what you're saying. Trying all those vegetables was something we had seen on a tv programme, that was where the idea came from. It wasn't meant to be a punishment, it was meant to be so they take ownership and choose what they want. At least that was the theory of the programme.
I feel these comments are all a tad harch.
I also do not like to use food as punishment or reward, but completely see the point OP is making. If the children are coming to her home where she parent's her child, then she has every right to treat them how she would treat her own.
it is not like they are visiting guests. She is just as much a responsible adult as her partner is when they are in their joint home.
I would be furious if my child was being disrespectful to her step-mother.
ps. try rewarding, if they eat new things. I find it works much better than taking something away. That way, if they do not try the food- no reward but no loss-No harm done
I think you were trying to do a helpful thing. Your DP went along with it, and you then found out that he only 'went along with it' temporarily.
I'd detach a bit.
Sorry about the baby's name comments. That's low. Your DP sounds a bit weak tbh.
thank you user258, I really appreciate what youve said as I'm sitting here feeling quite upset and like I'm the worst person ever. It wasn't just my idea but I do see that we shouldn't have denied the dessert. I was looking for views on whether I was overreacting about being made out to be the only person that stoped him having dessert when i wasnt, rather than opinions on trying to get him to try different veg.
I think there are a few issues here . It seems Dp does not agree with no I pad at table or no pudding . Because he is not following same plan as you .
It sounds like your Dp does need to take the lead .
Does he eat fruit ? I would put fruit with the cake , put a tiny portion of veg on the plate , hidden veg is sauces etc . In 2 days a fortnight you will not make major changes
Trying to help when what you are going to suggest is going to make the child very upset is never going to be a winner. At best, he could have thank you in 20 years time when he is facing the same with his own children.
Your DP agreed to give it a go, but ultimately was probably not half has invested in the whole thing as you were and felt sorry for his boy. Some kids respond well to being 'forced' to try things, others very badly. It sounds like your SS falls unto the latter category.
The outcome is that he is now associated this upsetting episode with how he feels about you. That's why it's never a good idea as a SP to try these kind of educational learning. In the end, why do you care whether he eats vegetables or not? My DD refused to eat fish, or anything that has been in contact with anything fishy from the time she was a toddler. I did try to encourage her a couple of times and she went in complete meltdown, worse than if I'd thrown away her comforter! It wasn't worth the battle. She is now 18 and still won't even pass the fish counter in the supermarket! She is however very healthy and about to get into Medicine.
I expect your DP feels that he is a bit sitting on the fence in terms of ticking the boxes of the educational rights and wrongs, so on one hand, probably got swayed that eating vegetables was important for him, but in the other hand, not making a big deal at of it worth his child being so upset about it.
Step away from educating your SC. If you want them to respect you, you'll need to get them to like you and for that, you need to let their own parents educate them.
I think you need to step back on the food thing. You are never going to get anywhere especially as you have difficult relationship with kids and their mum and only see them fir a limited amount of time. I would let your dp make the rules and enforce them. Dont fall ihto the trap of being the wicked step mom whilst letting your dp be disney dad. If he wants his son to eat veg let him crack on with it. If he isnt arsed let it go.
I think what I'm taking from this is that I shouldn't try to help or co-parent
This is a terrible overreaction to those couple of posts. Totally over the top. So I'd think about why your reactions are so extreme and if it's like this at home.
Your partner clearly doesn't agree with your choices. It's that simple. He's telling you one thing and doing another. As such, uou need to let him take the lead in parenting decisions. He not only has to be the one to call it, he has to be the one to be seen to be doing it. You can support him on his decisions, but you cannot be seen to be the instigator and implementer.
I also agree with thr others, punishing him with no dessert for not eating vegetables was a terrible idea. I don't believe for a moment you saw that on tv. And if you did, it was a shit show.
Sorry, I'd also add, if a parenting decision is not popular with this child, your partner is letting you take the blame. And he is doing it secretly, so he is lying to you, instead of doing it in front of you.
I'd give this some thought. He took the donuts knowing he would give him one. That was his plan from thr moment he picked them up. And I think uou knew it. The question is why did he lie to you? Why didn't he tell you he was going to? Was it because he knew you'd react badly and he wanted to avoid the argument, or was it because he was embarrassed he was about to back down and did not want to tell you, or was it because he wanted you to take the blame and he wanted to be seen as the good guy?
Either way he is lying to you. He wants you to be seen as the bad guy. And he's doing his best to make you look it, secretively. The son is having to tell you because your partner is lying to you and hiding from you he is doing this to you. It would have been normal for him to come back and say "I caved and gave him a donut". He didn't. He lied. Either directly or by omission, but he deliberately lied to you.
The son is under the impression you are doing these things to him. Because that's what his father is deliberately making him believe. The sonis innocent here, he is a child who believes what his father tells him, by both his words and actions.
Even with all the issues, your partner is chucking you under the bus and perpetuating the thought you are the wicked witch. Knowing he is doing this should help you determine how you behave. It should also tell you you don't just come second to the child, which you should, but it's a very distant second, he will as said, throw you under the bus without hesitation to avoid himself looking like the bad guy in any way in front of his kid. He then withholds the info from you and lies to you about it.
So I'd think about it, is it because you actually are the bad guy and he goes along with it. Or is it because he doesn't care about uou enough to take responsibility for his own decisions and sees you as nothing more than a convenient scape goat that he can use.
I'm baffled by people saying OP is treating her SD like a dog by witholding pudding!! Lots of children don't get pudding if they won't eat their dinner. Given that the meal was planned with SD included I don't see the problem at all in no pudding unless you at least give it a shot.
Personally i think you need a word with your DP. He is agreeing on one thing with you then totally going against it, turning you into the bad guy. I'd go mad if DD's dad snuck her sweets because it's basically him saying 'don't worry, what she says doesn't mean jack shit'. You both need to agree on a route; either you agree something & both stick to it, or you take a step back & he does it all. Is he usually good at disciplining when it's needed or is he a bit of a Disney dad?
I can see that you are trying to help and wanted to improve the boy's diet, but I think you would do that better by backing right off. If he sees that you are upset by him not eating then he has a stick to beat you with. Just serve his meals and leave it to him what he eats. He may well eat more vegetables when he realises that it isn't a big deal either way. I've had fussy eaters and learnt the hard way not to make an issue out of food. I like to fix things and find solutions to problems, but this one is really best ignored or treated as a phase.
Your partner sounds weak, and he should back you up when you have agreed on something. The blaming you for unpopular decisions concerns me and I do think that you need to talk about that. He doesn't sound honest and I'd find it difficult to trust someone like that.
It’s all very well for people to say leave parenting to the Dad - the op is presumably cooking dinner more as she isn’t working. I think leave any pushing of things to the dad for now if there is a risk it will turn into your fault and explain that’s what the donut did and how dss used it.
As a parent of a child with a food phobia, the idea of 9 different veg wasn’t a good one. The no pudding wasn’t a good one either.
However, if you and your dp have agreed to it, he was wrong to undermine you. There is nothing wrong with you both, having thought it about saying to his son that you had both decided it wasn’t the best idea.
Oh and your dss hasn’t disrespected you, your partner has.
Whose idea was it to overwhelm this kid at dinner with all those foods he didn't like then punish him? To turn a meal into this sort of battle? Because there is no such thing as a joint idea, someone is always the first to suggest it.
If it was you, and I suspect it was or you'd have said it was his idea in the first place and wouldn't feel undermined, I'd also back off of parenting decisions, because you lack any form of empathy,,,for example you were unable to think in terms of how someone would feel Having this happening to them at dinner time and you like the power of punishment.
You also lack the ability to understand this child will go home and explain to his mother what happened to him.
Why though is your partner to scared to tell you you're making shitty parenting decisions and then secretly trying to make up for your horrid behaviour ?
If it was you, I think there is maybe good reason rhe mother still despises you. To be fair I would too.
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