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My 14 year old SD refuses to visit us anymore and ignores my husbands calls and texts. She told me I’ve “ruined her relationship with her Dad, she hates me and I’m a childish horrible person” Help!(32 Posts)
Hi, I’ve been married six years. My stepdaughter used to come over every other weekend. My husband moved into my flat and I made my SD really welcome with her own bedroom we decorated together etc etc
Everything was fine up until our son was born and there needed to be boundaries eg that she couldn’t carry him around the house when he was a few weeks old etc, that she couldn’t play alone with him when he was tiny etc etc. When I told her these things (nicely I have to add) she would go home and tell her mum her version of events so that my husband got a call basically saying that I was victimising my SD and that I quote “my SD is a free spirit and should be able to do what she wants”- genuine comment. She was nine almost ten years old.
Anyway this caused a lot of tension in our house as every time she would come over my husband would allow her to do what she wanted whereas I’d say if there was any ignoring of me or anything I thought wasn’t kind etc
So gradually over time it escalated until a few months ago my husband has said it’s his fault and that he should have given her boundaries... it is nothing I’ve done.
She cane over last week for the first time in months to tell me she hates me and I’ve ruined her relationship with her Dad. My husband calls her twice a week, invites her to do nice things but she hangs up or doesn’t respond to texts etc.
My husband feels miserable all the time and I can’t help but feel that my SD refusing to communicate with her Dad and come and spend time with us must be my fault. I think his family think that too.
Any advice? Thank you xx
Edit: my husband told my SD that it was
In fact his fault and that he should have given her boundaries so everyone felt safe
No advice really but she’s at a ‘funny’ age. It’s a shame your husband as only just started singing from the same sheet as you as this could’ve been avoided somewhat.
Then again, her mother could be encouraging this sort of behaviour too, I’ve seen it happen all too often I’m afraid. It turns nice kid’s into spoiled brats.
My advice would be to keep inviting her, keep ringing her. Hopefully she will mature enough to see that no one is stopping her from having a relationship with her dad.
Your husband is right. It's his fault.
Would SD engage in family therapy?
Also at 14 some girls become the most dramatic and victim like. Everything bad in their lifes is usually their parents or better yet stepparents fault.
Not much you can do if she is not living with you and allowed not to visit.
Keep the communication flowing so she knows she had options but don't chase after her and engage in her drama. She might eventually come around-my SD used to when she needed something..at 18 she is a different person.
14 is a difficult age for teenagers whether in a step family or otherwise. Can your DH still meet his DD, take her out shopping or for lunch or just do something ‘for the two of them’. I can understand that she might not want to play ‘happy families’ with her father’s new wife & the new baby but your DH needs to work hard to keep in contact with her.
What Ragwort said.
Also, your step daughter is not just missing out on seeing your husband, but it's important (isn't it?) that she is able to bond with your little son. It would benefit him too, if he was able to have a good relationship with his big sister, wouldn't it? If you can help build up that relationship, so that it becomes beneficial to both your little boy and his sister, you would be giving them both something precious for the rest of their lives.
Imo, your husband should keep trying to maintain contact with her. Can he go to hers, and take her out, as Ragwort suggests? And once their relationship is back on track and she starts coming to your house again, maybe you could involve her more in the care of her little brother? Show her how you expect her to behave around him (more effective than just telling her), and leave her alone in the room with him for short periods of time, so that she doesn't feel watched. Maybe ask your husband to monitor things, while you get on with something else?
This state of affairs probably won't last forever. Good luck.
and leave her alone in the room with him for short periods of time, so that she doesn't feel watched. Maybe ask your husband to monitor things, while you get on with something else?
Don't do that..you really shouldn't have to so that a 14year old "doesn't feel watched". It's your baby for Gods sake.
White Cat, of course it's the OP's baby. I don't understand how helping a child build a relationship with another child makes it any less her baby?
Obviously, if the step daughter presents a threat to the baby's safety, then don't leave them alone! But if not, what's the harm? Might even give the OP a minute or two to herself.
The baby is now 4 or 5 years old
Everything was fine up until our son was born
She probably felt really pushed out. You see this so often on MN, a poster complaining that they got on fine until they had a baby themselves. It's not hard to understand that the child not living with their parent 100 per cent of the time will feel less comfortable! SD must have been very young when her dad left, around the age your baby is now?
I don't see why a ten year old couldn't play with a baby. I assume the baby is now four and the SD 14, hard to get activities that both would want to do at that age due to the gap.
Does your DH see her on his own?
My own ds snubbed me at 14 for a year as I dared to question his weed habit when his df was fine with it!!
Your dh is feeding her control by begging imo!! I sent ds bare minimum texts, Christmas /new year light messages and then left it.
He lives full time with me now and nc with exh.. All of his own doing.
Ime, kids usually suffer when parents break up, no matter what we tell ourselves (I am both a child of a 'broken' family, and one of the parents involved on both sides). That is not to say that they continue to suffer all their lives, or that the new situation, with two new families, isn't far better than the old one. But it can be hard for them at the time.
And when a new half-sibling arrives, it's often even more difficult for the older child, and any challenging behaviour can reflect that. This doesn't necessarily apply to you, OP, but I think parents in these situations need to remember that they are the adults, and one way or another, they have created the problem! The children are in this situation as a direct result of decisions the parents have taken. Difficult as it is, they should try not to feel threatened by the relationship their partner has with a previous child. Easy to say, I know ...
It's your husband's fault but being with you has triggered the new version of him which is why they are blaming you.
The bit about not allowing a 9/10 year old alone with the baby sounds extreme although I'm suspecting a back story as to why she can't be trusted. Most siblings with that age gap are allowed to play with the baby alone and pick up the baby (not walk around the house though).
If I was your husband, I'd do stuff with my dd alone. During this time its important to be the Dad-with-boundaries so she knows that this is him and not the version of him who's keeping you happy.
I think it very much depends on the child with how much supervision they need with younger children. I've had to intervene with children struggling to safely hold babies and too vigorously rocking them. Some children seem to have no awareness of when a baby/toddler/pet is not happy with their treatment.
My SD was really good up til her teens, then I became evil personified and she would stalk out of the room if i entered. She had been fine when her sister (my DD) arrived a few years before. Her behaviour was entertained and not discouraged by both of her parents (Disney Dad and Drama Mum) but she grew out of it at about 18/19. We get on fine ever since and she gets on with her siblings (my DC) despite the fact that they only met her a handful of times growing up. My eldest is now a teenager and treats her father like SD did me.
It's the age and you, unfortunately, are an easy target. Just remember to be the grown up -i always spoke to and included SD in invitations even if they fell on stoney ears. She had been a lovely child and is a lovely adult (if still a bit fond of a drama at times), the in between bit is bumpy. Oh, and I always talked her up to her siblings so that they had little experience of our tricky times but knew about her and what she was doing. Some of DH's family blamed me for those tricky times too, luckily their opinions were not ones I valued so they were welcome to them.
When my son was really small she once picked him up and whilst bending her knees she was swinging him from side to side. At a friends house she picked him out of his car seat as he was sleeping and carried him around my friends house... tights on a slippy floor. My husband was present at both events and just stood there looking anxious but saying nothing. He was happy for me to say “no don’t do that”. It wasn’t until about years later he suddenly saw the light and actually supported me.
NoMalone... yep my husbands mother whispers about the stressful situation behind my back with him and suggests it’s all my fault. Even plays favourites with my SD... taking her out and splashing the cash then telling my husband with a smug look on her face... when she knows he’s upset!
Do you think my husband telling her it’s his fault will have affected her view of me? I’m sure her mum slags me off at home which is terrible really
Londonsally, is it possible your husband's mother is not being malicious? Is she trying to help, by getting your husband to play his part, and taking your SD out because she knows she's having a hard time?
It strikes me that you are feeling quite embattled, defensive and insecure, and there could be another way of looking at things.
Maybe Solopower. I genuinely don’t feel insecure it just gets difficult especially as my husband hasn’t really supported me until recently
Yes, Londonsally, you need to present a united front on this. At least he is fully on board now.
I just hope it isn’t too late. Can’t help feel angry my husband didn’t think he needed to be unified with me in the beginning. Maybe he’s guilty as she’s with her mum most of the time?
There could be all sorts of things going on with him - head, sand, ostrich occur to me!
It's hard for everyone, but as others have said, it will get better. It's definitely worth trying to make it better, anyway, imo.
Your son must be almost school age now. Why is there still focus on what she did as an overexcited 9 year old with a new baby sibling? What has the relationship been like in the years since- I assume you haven't still been saying she can't be alone in a room with him?