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I'm looking for some clarity and stumbled upon this forum. I have a daughter (5) my husband has 3 girls (9,9,12). At the beginning my relationship with his girls was good but over the last few years it has really deteriorated and has now reached the point that they barely look at me. They really dislike my little girl lately that has become more apparent over the last 6-12 months and will actively huddle together to alienate her. I've tried lots of different tactics with them but to little avail. I guess I'm adult enough to handle or perhaps try to understand why they might be rude towards me but when they are mean towards my daughter that hurts like hell. I should be the one protecting my girl yet I've introduced her into this situation.
My husband told me he wants us to go on holiday as he really wants to take his girls away. When I suggested that I didn't think it a good idea for us all to go away together as it'd be quite stressful and unlikely enjoyable given the atmosphere at the moment he seemed put out. I told him that he should absolutely take them away. He thinks it is a slippery slope to take separate holidays. He told me he'd feel upset if I went on holiday with my daughter without them.
The current situation with the girls is putting some strain on our relationship so my rationale for not going is one to protect our marriage instead of putting us in a vulnerable position that has potential to come between us.
The girls are quite tricky and I've been told this by friends and family. Quite sadly I wad told by brown owl last week that she considers 1 of them to be a real bully.
I'm not sure what I'm really looking for by posting here but if one of you could wave a magic wand that'd be awesome!!
Is he only put out that he would have all 3 on his own though??
Personally if its a long term family set up (which it sounds like as you said he's your husband) then I would keep holidays as a whole family thing.
While they might not get on all the time, there's no chance of that improving by them not having time together to bond.
To help with your relationship with you're DSDs are you making sure you have some 1 on 1 time with each of them? It doesn't have to be long but just 20 minutes with each of them alone to chat/do an activity they enjoy? Attention and feeling like the grown up cares and wants to spend time with them can go a long way, and I'm guessing its been hard have that time with 4 of them there plus only having contact time.
WRT you're DD hopefully it will improve with age. My DD (5) has cousins the same age as you're DSDs and they generally just find her annoying after a short amount of time as it's a bit too much of an age gap.
I perfectly understand your wish to protect both your daughter, and your marriage. But something's gotta give somewhere.
Have you actually explained to your DH about how you feel when his girls shun yours, does he understand? This must be having a dreadful affect on your DD, so basically it needs sorting, or she will cease to trust your ability to protect her. If I were in your position, my DD's welfare would be my very first concern, so unless things can be properly sorted, I wouldn't be subjecting my child to probable misery, by all going on hols together!
No I wouldn’t put my child in that position either OP. But I think you need some serious intervention in the family. It’s not ok to have anyone in the house bullying or excluding or ganging up. Does your DH recognise there is a serious problem with his children?
Thanks for replies and some opinions on both ends of the spectrum which is why I feel a bit torn as I understand both ends. My daughter is not my husband's we got together when she was 1. He's an amazing dad and takes care of all his girls needs. I do some cooking and most of the ironing and a couple of school runs but very little else for or with them as they don't want to. I offer to do things with them but am rejected (theatre, baking, board games etc).
I personally wouldn’t take my daughter and go on holiday with effectively 3 other kids that are bullying her. I just couldn’t put her in that position, they all have each other to run off with and your daughter will be left out.
Have you had a proper discussion with your husband about his 3 girls ? To be honest I think you have bigger problems then just a holiday, I wouldn’t be staying in a relationship with a man who’s kids are effectively bullying my own. Does he tell them off when there being rude and mean?
If it wasn’t sorted then I would leave. My daughters happiness would need to come first, I wouldn’t put her through 15 odd more years of being ignored and alienated in her own home.
Oh this is a terrible situation and your poor daughter, I completely understand you trying to protect her.
Your OH’s daughters are 9, 9 & 12. This is not acceptable behaviour on their part and your OH needs to deal with this (as it will only get worse). This needs to be dealt with before even thinking is going on holiday (and I personally wouldn’t go with my daughter until this is rectified - it’s goung to be no fun for your daughter or you).
You need to sit him down and tell him exactly how you are feeling and agree a plan of action.
We have spoken about it at length but are both at a bit of a loss of how to make things better. He speaks to the girls and explains that certain behaviours are not acceptable, they listen and agree and then nothing changes. It is also much worse when he isn't around.
My gut reaction reading some of the comments about the bullying is to defend the girls and I'm left feeling a bit annoyed. I am often left questioning whether I like them but I guess I care deep down!
I've tried to explain to my husband that I don't think it's kind for my little 1 to be alientated and he tries to explain that they are together all the time so are naturally closer (even if they do fight like hell!) So then find it difficult when there's another 1 to include. I guess when I was a kid we were told to make sure no-one was left out on their own and have these standards myself. At home it is less of an issue as they all have their own space and if they want to play together they can and if not then there's always something else to do.
However, days out and holidays are different and if the 3 of them leave her out then it makes her sad. Even trips to the shops result in 3 of them huddling around daddy doing best to ensure we can't break the circle.
Your daughter deserves a fun, relaxing holiday, otherwise what's the point of going. She hasn't chosen any of this. Her home should be a safe place where she can relax and it doesn't sound like it is her sanctuary.
So what action does he take when the girls don’t listen to him and nothing changes and they carry on being mean to your little girl ?
They have had a chat, they don’t listen, there still mean and it’s getting worse... so what’s he going to do about it?
Don't go on holiday all together. Your poor little girl is already dealing with this awful behaviour at home, having to put up with being excluded and bullied on a holiday - which is meant to be fun, exciting, relaxing, a break from the day to day - is too much.
It's good your husband can see the issues, often on here the issue is one parent just can't or won't see what the other can, so that's something. But he's not doing anything to fix it, so it's not enough.
How often are your SDs with you? How does your DD feel when she knows they're coming round? Are there any good things about them all spending time together? Any shared activities they all enjoy?
I agree there plenty more issues than the potential holiday. And also think the SDs may see time away with their Dad as a result and use it to keep hassling and bullying your DD. Tricky. But as her Mum, your job is to protect your daughter. She's 5, that's tiny, and she needs her home to be a sanctuary. If your DH can't make sure that's the case, the issues aren't going anywhere and you'll struggle to respect a man who doesn't care that your child is happy and feeling at peace in her own home.
For now though, no big shared holiday, it's not worth the hassle and expense and you won't look forward to it. You go and spend some quality time with your little girl, and he can do what he wants with his 3. Holidays are meant to be fun!
Think hard op, can you see things getting any better? Your home should not be a 'you' and 'them' camp.
You've hit the nail on the head as this is exactly what it has become. Part of me feels sorry for my husband as he must feel very torn and stuck in the middle. Part of me feels sorry for the girls as they never asked for us either. I mainly feel sorry for my daughter and if I'm honest feel a little bit sorry for myself as I feel like a failure. I'm not used to not being liked and it's a bit of kick that no matter what I do I'm rebuffed. They all enjoy the cinema and so we took them on a group outing for them to only be moody that me and my daughter where there also. I was taking my daughter to the theatre and offered for them to join us as I knew it was something they would have liked but they didn't want to go.
I just want everyone to be happy and tolerant. I understand the age gap means they will find her constant want to play irritating and could tolerate squabbling cos that's what kids do. The ignoring her and blatant alienation is something else though.
Hi @Stepmumsy - how long are you and dh married? And how often are his girls with you?
I'm in a very similar situation albeit with older kids - mine 12, 16 & 21 (away at uni) & dp's 12, 15 & 18 who are with us eow & holidays.
Things between dp and my kids (who also have a sm & 2 half siblings) are great. His kids however are a different matter. Initially they were happy dad had a gf, then got less so as the relationship got more serious. We got engaged around xmas & they told dp they were happy but made a point of not getting me or my kids even a small gift even though we got them all stuff.
Dp & I are getting married towards the end of this year but I've told him we're going to have to live separately the weekends he has his kids (he'll buy a small house in the town where his ex & kids live) as I honestly don't think our relationship would survive us all being under the one roof.
There's no bullying but they are sullen & moody & non communicative. Dp then overcompensates by bending to their wishes which basically involves letting them take over the living room to play Xbox & watch sport for the entire weekend.
Dp is aware this is not ideal but when he tries to draw them out they won't talk to him or just repeat stuff their dm has said to them about dp, me & my kids.
Dp agreed with me that for our sanity we need to keep things separate but like your dp he also thinks it's a slippery slope & is aware that in doing this the kids will see us living apart as a 'victory' for them.
This makes me very, very sad, but I HAVE to protect my own two still living at home who have been fantastic with dp & who have made huge efforts with his kids only to be rebuffed constantly. They also get quite upset at his kids attitude towards me & can't understand why I tolerate it.
Anyhow my point is both you & your dh have my utmost sympathy. I too would advocate separate holidays at the moment. Long term however you do need to operate as a family - our kids are too old for that, that ship has passed - but you still have a chance to come good as yours are younger.
The key to this is your dp not tolerating any bullying at all & enforcing consequences.
Him talking to his ex and requesting positive reinforcement from her (if their relationship is ok) will make a huge difference also.
I have always encouraged my kids to see their sm & little brothers in a positive light; have always explained that it's not their little brothers' fault that they get to live with their dad full time while they don't - that's just an unfortunate aspect of divorce & have always encouraged them to develop lives independent of me or their dad.
Dp's kids have none of this & it really does show in their inability to handle change - their dm is very bitter & they are very dependent on dp for all their entertainment.
Hi @magda72 sorry to hear things aren't rosy your end either. We got married last August and have the kids every wed night, every other fri/sat/ Sun and on the other weekend have them all day Sunday overnight. So this is most of the time we are not in work. We've had a few ups and downs over the years which have all surrounded the children. As a childless couple we are so so compatible. I think he's terrified of losing them so anytime things get a bit tough going he panics.
His ex and her mum are tricky individuals but you can't control what goes on elsewhere. I do feel sorry for them as I want them to grow up as well rounded individuals. I'm just at a loss of how to move forward. He thinks me and him should go for counselling but I think we are not the problem as we do talk lots about stuff but just don't seem to have the solution.
@Stepmumsy - I totally hear you. Dp and I are absolutely fantastic together & the only issues we ever have are around the kids (mainly his) which is really sad.
Like you we have discussed it to death & are totally stuck as to how to move forward. On my very worst days I get so frustrated feeling like my life is being steered by 3 silent dictators! (Unfair I know but I'm only human)
I have also suggested counseling to dp & think I will try & arrange something as maybe an outsider could give a fresh perspective & show us something we've missed.
It really is very hard isn't it?
I wouldn't put my 5 yo DD through a holiday where she'd be excluded like this. It's not fair on her.
I'd just stand my ground and let him go with his girls OR tell him that I'd go on this one holiday...however if my DD was excluded, that would be the last time we holiday together and he should not ask this of you again.
I have 2 sisters and one if them has younger DC than our kids. Mine and Dsis 1's kids would often stick together at family gatherings and leave the younger ones out...that's Dsis2's kids... so we spoke and told them yo be mindful...it wasn't nice and to include them.
The 12 year old should be old enough to have the required sensitivity.
He needs to wake up to the fact that the reality of his family life is not one where mummy and daddy are happy with the children they shared the birth of together and love just the same. Many men are so deluded when it comes to recomposed family. They see it that they fail the first time but can erase it and start again second time. The moment you have children from a previous relationship, it will never be the same than if you've raised your children with their mother.
There is nothing with going on holiday with your children alone and he should feel mightly lucky that you are encouraging it and wouldn't resent him for it. You'd be happier if you didn't go, his girls will be happier to go with him only, your girl will be happier, it's only him yet he expected everyone to pretend just to make him happy. He needs to stop being so self-centered.
She was still a baby when you got together, does she see her dad or does she refer to your dh as dad. If so that might be your problem there they are jealous that your child who isn’t related to their df is being referred as such.
Of course they know better but it’s up to your dh to address their behaviour towards your child.
@swingofthings I don't think he's being self centred and If anything it has always been him who has been the realist and me more the idealist.
@Dancingmonkey87 she sees her dad a lot and they have any amazing relationship so they know she isn't try to 'take' their dad. My husband has an ok relationship with my daughter but they aren't close.
What really stands out for me is that your DSDs think it’s OK to treat any other child this way, let alone one who is ‘alone’ and is half their age or more. That is surely something their father should be concerned about. Would they do it in any other scenario - at school or a club? Almost certainly not. And if they did, their parents would tackle it.
Plus, there are three of them against one.
I’d be ashamed if my 9 or 12 year old bullied a five year old.
Stand your ground on the holiday for several reasons - you and your DD won’t have much fun, your DH should have some alone time with his DDs and also because there is no way 12 and 9 yos will want to do the same things as a 5 yo.
The one time we tried a blended holiday, I was left looking after the babies while DH went off with DSD each day. It was pointless and I vowed never to repeat it.
I wouldn’t feel the need to be protective over the DSDs - I would feel fed up with DH for failing to tackle such a nasty ongoing problem in his own home and involving a little child.
Oh, and I’d never leave DD alone with any of them.
@Stepmumsy - do you mind me asking why your dh's relationship with your dd is only ok? Am just wondering if he's holding back from her through guilt? If he is there's a strong chance his girls will sense that thus confirming in their heads that your dh is feeling guilt for having done something 'wrong', ie he left them which in turn will lead them to push their dominance even more.
I only say this as my dp was told by a counselor to stop explaining himself to his kids; that every time he felt he had to justify himself to them it was like admitting a wrongdoing & affirming to them that he was doing something wrong be it having a relationship with me, taking the odd day off for himself, taking a weekend break with me etc. whereas in fact he's doing nothing wrong.
This is the nrp guilt again & kids sense it & (some) work it.
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