What do you expect from your partner as a stepparent

(8 Posts)
SusieQwhereareyou Wed 23-Oct-19 19:27:00

We’re not married so not technically a stepparent. My daughter is 14 and going though an incredibly difficult phase - she’s been suspended from school twice, been caught drinking on one occasion, I suspect she smokes. Dp finds her behaviour almost unbearable and doesn’t like to be around her. She is rude and disrespectful, not particularly to him personally but he takes her behaviour personally. He says she has a dad and it’s not his place to get involved and they are basically strangers. He has a daughter aged 11 who is very well behaved so he can’t relate from personal experience. I’m incredibly stressed from dealing with my daughter and I feel like I’m not getting any support, I discipline her but I am really focussing on managing her behaviour rather than being angry and reacting to it. Everything I’ve read suggests things would be better if he was involved but it won’t happen. Am I expecting too much? Is it reasonable from him to remain detached?

OP’s posts: |
sassbott Wed 23-Oct-19 20:23:31

Do you live together? How long have you been together?

Personally? My partner does not get involved with discipline and parenting with my DC. That’s the pure jurisdiction of me and my exh. And I have absolutely zero intent on getting involved with discipline for my partners DC as he and his EXW are in charge of this for their children. I would give advice and support to my partner but no more than that. But. I don’t live with my partner. And nor am I married to him. His children have a mother and they as parents need to resolve this.

Equally, my children have a father and he is the person I would be working on (along with the school and supporting counsellors) to manage this.

If we lived together/ were married then I would view this differently. Because at that point we would have made a commitment to be a team and support the wider family which would include all the children. And I would take the lead from my partner and indeed the child as to what support was needed. And what role (if any ) I had to play in it.

Sometimes the children do not want another ‘non parent’ to come in over the top. And it can massively worsen a situation.

What exactly are you expecting your partner to do?

LemonSqueezy0 Wed 23-Oct-19 20:33:18

I think you need to identify whether you actually think he could help, or whether you aren't coping and know you need help and he happens to be closest?

At that age she wasn't necessarily going to find him as a father figure, and especially if he isn't meeting her half way. And he doesn't have a massive obligation to,not really. You can't force it and if he suddenly started telling her off etc it could make the situation a 100 times worse...

Maybe look at how he could support you more, so you are better positioned to deal with her.

aSofaNearYou Wed 23-Oct-19 20:59:54

The way you have described her behaviour doesn't exactly make it hard to see why he wouldn't want to get involved. He is dealing with a teenager who's behaviour towards him is very rude but his partner (for however good a reason) doesn't want to call her on it. I think you do need to cut him some slack for putting up with that, assuming he holds his temper. How could he get involved with helping if you two are not on the same page about how to react to the behaviour? The only appropriate response to that scenario for him would be to stay out of it.

I understand you could do with some emotional support but do you meet him half way? Are you supportive to him about how her behaviour affects him? If he feels you aren't understanding of that he may be resentful which might explain why he isn't supporting you. He's probably very fed up with the situation but feels he cannot say that to you.

I would look towards both of you sharing your grievances, rather than one accusing the other.

Pinkybutterfly Thu 24-Oct-19 06:12:55

I'm sorry but your daughter's behaviour I presume was bad before you met Ur dp. He is right she has a father and u should coparent with him. I think you need to find why this behaviour, the drinking etc... How is Ur relationship with your daughter? Maybe u need more time alone with Ur daughter...

LatentPhase Thu 24-Oct-19 06:32:52

At 14 my eldest was a nightmare. At that stage (still figuring out who she is with separated parents and testing boundaries) the last thing she needed was for me to try & get a new adult in her life to influence her. Fortunately DP and I didn’t (still don’t) live together. So they barely interacted, and that was the right thing for that stage. They now (that stage is over - it does end!) get on just fine and he has got to know her quite naturally. He couldn’t have done it then nor could I have expected him to.

However your DP lives with you so it’s different, you need to feel like a team. But, that’s not the same as him disciplining her. How long has she known him?

I suspect there is a huge divide between you as he has a compliant 11-year old and (wrongly) somewhere feels you’ve gone wrong. To him she (and your situation) probably feels utterly alien. And that’s ok!

What saved me and DP was understanding and empathy. DP was a brilliant support to me because he had tons of empathy even though his situation with his teens was completely opposite to mine.

Your dd will come out the other side so just hang on and nurture your relationship with DP is probably your best bet rather than to get him to parent her - that generally doesn’t work. Especially not with teens.

finn1020 Thu 24-Oct-19 08:05:29

As part of a blended family with 5 teenagers, it’s really not appropriate for your DP to discipline your 14 year old (which is what I assume you mean by “get involved”). If she’s being difficult or disrespectful with you, what makes you think she’d be any better with him? She’d probably be worse, he’s not her dad.

I see his role as a support to you, but not as someone who has to manage her behaviour which is up to you and her dad.

Unfortunately teens and general blended family dynamics can be difficult, do you think you and your DP would find things easier if you lived separately for a few years if he’s finding her difficult to be around?


tisonlymeagain Thu 24-Oct-19 13:28:14

I don't discipline my step-children, I don't expect my partner to discipline my children. I think that way everyone stays happy and we avoid the 'you're not my mum\dad' arguments. We support each other with our decisions and talk about the kids and what's best behind closed doors, but parenting is left to the actual parent.

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