This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Partner’s DD being unkind(21 Posts)
I’m not sure how to approach this - my DP’s DD is just very mean to other kids. When we first got together it was directed towards my DD so I gave her a huge amount of leeway assuming she was just struggling with the adjustment to us being in her life, but over the last 2.5yrs it’s becoming apparent that she’s just a bully.
I don’t ever get involved in anything or try to discipline as it’s not my place but if any child was being mean to another child in front of me and I’m the only adult there then I would intervene. With DP’s DD I initially stop whatever’s happening then go and speak to DP so he can deal with it.
She’ll do something out of order but then she denies it to whichever adult has reprimanded her even if they’ve witnessed it happening.
The most recent example happened on Sunday... we were at DP’s DSis’s house and SD was being really vile to her younger cousin and it turned physical so I asked her to stop and what the matter was, she stopped briefly. Then DP walks in to see her aggressively grabbing something from the cousin’s hands so he shouts and tells her off. She then flatly denied it had happened. DP says “DD I just saw you do it” and she says “No I didn’t”.
And it goes round in circles.
DP obviously insisted he saw it and took her for a time out.
DP has a wide circle of friends with children of similar ages to his own and so often he is told that DD has upset so-and-so and I can see that some of the other kids are scared of her.
She isn’t bothered when an adult tells her off which I find an odd reaction for an 8yr old. She’ll physically push past adults and can be very rude in the way she speaks to people e.g. I could say to someone “I went there and it was nice” and she’ll interrupt and say “No you didn’t”.
I’m finding her quite hard to be around at the moment.
DP doesn’t know where to go from here and I’m not sure on what to advise? I don’t know what the best course of action for him would be? He seems to think it’s just her personality but I think there’s an underlying issue here whether it’s boundary pushing or wanting to feel in charge?
Any advice welcome
How is she getting on in school op? Has she had any developmental issues?
No major concerns, she’s not top of the class but not bottom either. She’s not academic but she is clever iyswim
Also there haven’t been any indication (unless DP hasn’t been made aware) that she’s behaving like a bully at school which makes it all the more confusing?
Is she embarrassed when she's pulled up on her behaviour and pretending not to care or does it seem like utter indifference?
More of an F*ck you type reaction tbh but she doesn’t seem phased by it or even bothered that she knows people won’t like it. It’s hard to describe... just utter defiance like the adult has no right to be pulling her up on her behaviour
Does she every outwardly display empathy? Can you think of times she was upset about something/someone being upset?
Yes she’s very capable of empathy and can be lovely at times. There’s no SN, she’s just a bully. That’s why it’s so hard to understand why she’s doing it. She’s outwardly happy - which again is odd because usually bullies are deeply unhappy kids.
She’s loved and cared for, given everything she wants. I am honestly at a loss
She is insecure about something - my eldest did similar, not as bad but the attitude was "fuck you - whatever".
It finally came to a head and at 8 - Dad left OW and was a mess. Very distracted in some ways and OTT trying to make up the shit dad he had been for the past 4 yrs.
Lot of talking and reassurance and the need to be heard, butt in, not tell the truth has settled - taken 18 months. He knows Dad is not going back to old behaviour, loves him, OW is never coming back but her does need to interact occasionally because of his other sibling. Behaviour starts to worsen at Xmas and siblings b day - but we can predict it now.
She sounds angry about something. She may be outwardly happy and confident, but often deep-seated unresolved anger in children isn't something they actually experience on a day to day basis, it's below the surface and they aren't aware of it. It comes out in behaviours like bullying, lying, domineering.
I know you say she's loved and given everything she needs, and I'm sure that's true, but something has upset her. How was the split, from her perspective? What's life like in her other home?
So you see her do something, she denies it and then it goes around in circles.
This is your first mistake. Don’t argue with a child. You caught her in the act so she should get punished immediately.
Children like this are most parents worst nightmare! Especially when they don’t get punished but instead get a mere telling off!
That doesn’t work. Remove iPad time/tv time/pocket money/bed earlier etc
@Greensleeves Her parents split when she was only a few months old (so over 8 years ago) so she has no knowledge of them ever being together or of the split.
Her mum has a new bf who moved in after just a few months around September time but her behaviour long precedes that. There mum is quite wrapped up in her love life from what I’ve gathered but other than that she’s a nice woman and a good mother.
@QuiteLikely5 DP and I have been together 2.5yrs but don’t live together as we don’t want to rush things, so I can’t personally restrict anything or enforce rules - and I wouldn’t particularly want to as it isn’t my place to. But I totally agree with what you’re saying and will talk to DP about this... it is exactly how I would tackle it with my own DCs.
@lifeandtheuniverse thank you for sharing your experience. She is given lots of love and reassurance by her dad but I’m obviously not sure if she needs/is getting it in her other home because I’m not there. With SD it seems like a control thing... she wants to be in charge and thinks she is on par with the adults, there seems to be no respect for anyone but she herself thinks she’s the little queen who can do whatever she likes
I don't know where you go from here either, but it does sound as though she has anger issues, maybe over the fact that she doesn't live with her DF full time. Or perhaps, there are some MH problems, which need to be investigated. I do think her DF & DM should make an appointment to see her teacher/head, just to clarify how she normally behaves in school. I also agree, if she's actually caught doing something she knows is wrong, appropriate punishment should be administered immediately....you just DON'T argue the toss with an 8 year old!
She’s so argumentative at times and unnecessarily, she will literally call anyone a liar over trivial things or argue black was white.
Maybe she is missing her dad but the alternative would mean her missing her mum so I’m not sure it can be resolved?
DP needs to be involved in what is going on at school, I’ve said that to him before. Ex goes to all the parents evenings and DP doesn’t even know they’ve happened or what’s been said - he needs to get the school to send him copies of all correspondence imo.
My Ex doesn’t come to our DS’s school things but we communicate very well so he’s kept in the loop. I get the impression DP is only privilege to whatever Ex wants him to know... so maybe there are issues at school we don’t know about?
Everything else aside, of course he needs to get his own relationship with her school. DH goes to every parents evening, as many assemblies and plays as he can. He’s on the school email and text lists, they know he won’t get fliers in their bags 4 days a week and ex never communicates anything helpful, so they send him extra info by email and he doesn’t miss anything, they also do him a copy of school reports and he gets us their school photos.
Dads are equal parents. They should be included in everything that concerns their children, the fun bits and the crappy boring admin bits.
It’s his responsibility to get this in order. He can’t complain about not being in the loop if he hasn’t tried to be.
@AnneLovesGilbert I absolutely agree with you. He is lax in that respect but I think the Ex has kept him at a deliberate distance at times and it’s become the norm to him, but it doesn’t have to continue. I’ll get him to email them tomorrow and just ask to be added to the mailing list.
Good job. I’ve heard people say it’s difficult to get schools to communicate with two separated parents but the hasn’t been DH’s experience at all.
Ex moved the DC schools without telling him, while moving miles away which she’d promised not to do and also didn’t tell him. It was too late to do anything about it when the DC told us so he arranged to meet with them and visit ASAP and the school have been incredibly supportive from day one. They value his involvement, the homework we do, the parents evenings she doesn’t go to, the general him being a good parent stuff. He appreciates their communications, both general and individual, and it’s a very positive relationship.
My point is, despite an obstructive other parent, it’s possible and desirable to make your own connections and make sure you’re in the loop. Kick his arse if need be. His daughter will benefit hugely from him being properly involved.
I will do, he needs to know what’s going on
This is a really hard one... my dsd showed behaviour like you detailed above and she used to really really bully her dad. It was awful to see. I know a lot of it was due to her troubled childhood and growing up with a disabled sibling and having to fight for attention. But coming into a family where you had to jump to attention and all the meals and activities were being dictated by an incredibly rude little girl was so hard. She used to have these horrendous tantrums at 10/11 with fake crying and screaming and throwing things.
So what I did as a sp was I tackled dad quietly without her knowledge to put boundaries and consequences in place and I only directly confronted her if she was rude to me. Then I let it be known that was not an acceptable way to speak to anyone. Because i couldn't parent her directly it was a very long process as dad had to step up and stop allowing himself to be bullied by his daughter.
I then worked hard to get to the root issues of the behaviour and addressed the personal hygiene issues and helped her with her social life. She's a different child now but it's been over 2 years of lots and lots of effort.
Wish you all the best Winosaurus, you always offer lovely advice on here and I'm sorry you're having a tough time!
I don’t ever get involved in anything or try to discipline as it’s not my place. I’d disagree, it’s any adults place if they are around when she bullies anyone. Including you as SM.
I know it’s the go to advice, to back off, but I don’t think it works. I think it’s good to back off at the start, as a new GF, however the successful SMs posting here I’ve noticed gradually become more parental.
It’s good that you are encouraging your DP to open his eyes and get stuck in with the School. If he leads it will be so much easier. It will just get much uglier otherwise at teenagehood, and won’t stop at adulthood as I’ve learned!
Join the discussion
Please login first.