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Discipline

(27 Posts)
PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 14:26:49

I'm at a total odds as to what to do in this situation.

Blended family. Me with DD7, DS6. Him with DD7. And our shared baby.

I find DSD to be a very difficult child. She is loud, overbearing, nosy, bossy, manipulative, and at times, downright mean. I know I sound like a cow describing her this way, but it's true and I am not the only one who has noticed. Teachers and friends of the family comment on her disruptive and competitive behaviour.

My mental health is not ideal and I have autism, so I spend most of the time while she is here in a state of confusion and distress. She will often sit on me when I am breastfeeding the baby (despite me asking politely that she does not), she chews food in my ear and then announces with a grin "I love chewing in people's ears", she shouts at my children, she lies (saying I have shouted at her when I have not), last year she tried to persuade my partner to buy her mother a valentines card, she comments on my postnatal body and compares it to her mum's (skinny) body, she is mean spirited towards me during games (we play xbox, etc).

I'm so tired and stressed and (dare I say) scared by her - because she is unpredictable. We could be having lovely one-to-one time together bonding over a shared activity and then BAM - she is mean, totally unprovoked. I've tried hiding in the bedroom but DP says I am nasty and "abusing her" by hiding. I've just found out we have her for mothers day and I admit I have cried.

All the advice online says stepparents should not discipline stepkids. Also last year during court custody battle she lied to the Cafcass officer and said I shouted at her; consequently the Cafcass recommendations stated that I "should not challenge her behaviour".

DP does attempt to discipline her, however a lot of the time she is only mean to me when he is out of earshot.

I'm so tired. If I complain about her I sound like a bitch and a nasty person.

OP’s posts: |
Aprilmightmemynewname Mon 05-Mar-18 14:30:07

Next time she says something awful repeat it out loud so her df can hear - call her out on her behaviour - no way can she be seen to be the only one not towing the line when you have other dc.

PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 14:35:07

I'll try to do that, I just always come across as the bad guy sad

I feel choked when she is here, like everything I do will be wrong. And if I let my guard down and be nice to her she "rewards" me with a rude spiteful slap in the face.

OP’s posts: |
Winosaurus Mon 05-Mar-18 14:38:51

People may disagree but I’d set up a hidden camera in the main room and record her interactions with you and your children for a few weeks. Speak to your DP again in the meantime and tell him how you’re feeling. Then eventually show him the recordings so he can’t accuse you of being over sensitive or embellishing it.

PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 14:50:07

Speak to your DP again in the meantime and tell him how you’re feeling.

I speak to him a lot. He just says, and I quote:

"it seems you have no conception of a family unit where everyone stands together"

"you're very negative"

"there's an awful lot of anger and resentment living in you and it poisons your life"

"you need to realize your attitude is deeply offensive"

"she's a member of the family and she's not going to disappear"

"you are disgusting, cruel monster"

"birthday, xmas, etc, you just want her to disappear"

"if I treated your kids like that you would calling police and everything"

"oh fuck off, you show absolute contempt for her and me"

- all because I showed disappointment that she would be here for Mother's Day rather than with her own mum.

OP’s posts: |
Aprilmightmemynewname Mon 05-Mar-18 15:25:01

Well there's a case of the apple falling not far from the tree - he sounds fucking delightful. I would be rethinking your long term plans op.

PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 15:27:25

April Oh Im am. But in the process of being with him I've lost all my friends, hobbies and acquired a baby and my career has gone part-time. My prospects for the future have taken a nosedive.

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DullAndOld Mon 05-Mar-18 15:30:28

well really he sounds as lovely as she is...
do you really want to be with these people for the rest of your life?
If not, I would re-consider as a matter of urgency.
HOnestly if someone acted like around me I would hard pushed not to slap them.
You are doing really well...

He sounds like an arsehole though.

PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 15:32:48

Wow, I was expecting you guys to say:

"But she's only a poor widdle 7 year old CHILD, a BABY. She's been through divorce and clearly a very upset little girl; Show more compassion you monster".

OP’s posts: |
TempusEejit Mon 05-Mar-18 16:00:13

Both your DP's and DSD's behaviour sounds horrible but you're focussing your anger and frustration on her not him because it's much easier to blame the person who you wouldn't otherwise have chosen to be in your life. A bit like a cheated-on wife blaming the OW rather than her husband. Leaving aside the fact your DSD is a child (and children can be bloody nasty!) she's not supposed to love and support you - your DP is. I know it's difficult but you really need to get yourself and your children out of this situation because with your DP being the way he is it'll only get worse as she grown older.

PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 16:10:01

with your DP being the way he is it'll only get worse as she grown older

Can you elaborate?

OP’s posts: |
TempusEejit Mon 05-Mar-18 16:29:34

Many kids get more difficult when they hit the teenage years with all those hormones racing around them. I used to get on really well with my DSD but all hell broke loose when she was aged between 12-14 for no reason at all other than her growing up. It had a massive toll on my mental health and that was with my DH being super supportive of me. Things have settled down again now but DSD and I are nothing like as close as we were. If your DH won't put in any boundaries now whilst she's at an age where it's relatively easy to try out various disciplinary tactics then you're probably in for a very bumpy ride ahead.

PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 16:30:52

What boundaries would you suggest? She's careful to concentrate most of her bad behaviour when he is out of earshot.

OP’s posts: |
Handsfull13 Mon 05-Mar-18 16:35:59

I'm sorry to say but you don't just have a step child problem you have a partner problem.
When she says something nasty don't react massively but just state 'did you realise calling me xyz is nasty?' 'Using those words are mean you shouldn't say them to people'
When she tries to sit on you or chew in your ear just move. Not out of the room just stand up so she can't reach you tell her you've asked her not to do those things please stop.
She's probably enjoying the rise she gets from you and if you dont give it to her she get bored.
I believe that if a child is under my roof then I'm responsible for them so I can discipline them as I see fit. I realised when my step son is with us I can tell him off and I can use punishments as when his dad is a work I needed him to respect me or we could end up in dangerous situations.
But the big thing you need to do is decide whether you are staying in this relationship. Your partner sounds like an arse and he won't be trying to make your life easier.
Even being a single parent to three kids sounds like a better situation then being bullied by a child and told off for mentioning to your partner.

Dancingmonkey87 Mon 05-Mar-18 16:38:27

Sounds like she thinks by giving negative behaviour she can get attention her POV she’s competing with a child the same age one a year older and baby all who get her daddy all the time. Does your dp take out on a one to one basis?

Dancingmonkey87 Mon 05-Mar-18 16:40:36

One a year younger”

TempusEejit Mon 05-Mar-18 17:03:32

What boundaries would you suggest? She's careful to concentrate most of her bad behaviour when he is out of earshot.

The advice about step parents not getting involved in discipline usually relates to who decides what's acceptable or not regarding relatively inconsequential things such as tidiness levels, table manners, bed times etc. You should absolutely have the right to discipline your DSD if she behaves badly towards you or your DCs out of your DP's earshot. If he really rather you didn't then he needs to step up and discipline her himself - you're the adult so he should be taking your word for it when you tell him what's happened (and if he wouldn't believe you then why on earth is he still with you if he thinks you'd be malicious enough to make up lies about his DD?)

TempusEejit Mon 05-Mar-18 17:06:41

Pressed post too soon...

The boundaries your DP needs to put in is that everyone in the household treats everyone else nicely and kindly, with consistent consequences based on whatever works best e.g. taking away screen time or whatever.

springtimeforall Mon 05-Mar-18 17:10:12

I agree with hands the key issue here is with your DP not dsd. Most dc even ones with the calmest of backgrounds will play one parental figure off against another if they can get away with it. It sounds as though that is going to be very easy for dsd to do.

You acknowledge that coming into your house will be hard for dsd and it will be. You can take steps to minimize the impact her behavior has but until you and DP are parenting together it's unlikely to work.

lunar1 Mon 05-Mar-18 17:13:54

Your partner is going to raise his child with you in the same way he has with his first. Run for the bloody hills!

PeppersTheCat Mon 05-Mar-18 17:17:43

She's probably enjoying the rise she gets from you

She doesn't get a rise, I assure you. I keep my cool and bite my tongue.

you're the adult so he should be taking your word for it when you tell him what's happened (and if he wouldn't believe you then why on earth is he still with you if he thinks you'd be malicious enough to make up lies about his DD?)

That's a very good point.

He does however say he believes me. Because she has been mean to other adults.

OP’s posts: |
TempusEejit Mon 05-Mar-18 17:22:38

Then he needs to tackle it! He might say he believes you but what you quoted earlier on in the thread shows that in his heart he doesn't.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Mon 05-Mar-18 17:38:11

I’m struggling a bit here.

The cafcass report saying you should not challenge her, and your DPs comments all seem to suggest that you are overstepping, that you dislike her a lot, and that you shout at her.

Do you shout at her? Do you really resent her?

Your account is that she is constantly in your face and challenges you a lot and you don’t provoke this.

Perhaps the truth is somewhere in Between?

I don’t know, if it really is the case you do nothing to make the child feel unwelcome, then your DPs comments show that he will never see it, no matter what you do. The 7 year is still young enough not really to understand her behaviour - particularly if her parents don’t guide her at all - so she’s not going to change. I don’t see a way out except to restrict your contact with her.

SandyY2K Mon 05-Mar-18 18:12:41

I'd be very tempted to let her know that being mean can lead to being lonely...because nobody likes mean friends.

...and I don't care what your DP says...I'd stay away from her.

swingofthings Mon 05-Mar-18 19:10:46

She sounds like a typical kid who has low self-esteem and is therefore craving any attention in the hope to get positive feedback to make her feel emotionally stable.

Some kids are more difficult, do demand more attention than others. They are more hard work and yes, it is harder to like them, but the more negative feelings they receive back, the worse they react, so it's a vicious circle. It sounds to me like she is craving for your approval but deep inside feels that you don't like her so she does something, anything to get a reaction.

Difficult to give such a child some positive attention, when doing so won't yield an immediate positive response and indeed, might get worse before it gets better, when you already have two children, one being a baby to look after and come first.

Maybe counselling would help?

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