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i really think i may have reached the end of the road with sd

(80 Posts)
jammi Thu 29-May-08 14:55:23

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Anna8888 Thu 29-May-08 14:59:17

Don't know what to say sad.

I'm a stepmother too but (fingers crossed) have never had to deal with problems of the sort you describe.

Do you (in your heart of hearts) think her mother brings your DSD up badly?

terrier141 Thu 29-May-08 15:14:05

Actually - I have the opposite problem - my dsd and dss dont want to return to their mother after they stay with us and I find them VERY difficult - me and dh have lots of rows over them. They also push all the boundaries and blackmail us - they have been very spoilt for lots of reasons and I refuse to play their demanding games. I sometimes feel like my marriage cannot survive them.

edam Thu 29-May-08 15:14:32

I'm so sorry, jammi. Must be heart-breaking for you. But, having been a stepdaughter, perhaps I could try to explain things from something like your step-dd's POV?

Your step-dd is caught between two parents and playing them off against each other is something kids do in that situation. They are thrust into a very painful situation they didn't choose, they have absolutely no power at all - manipulating the parents is an attempt to get back some power over their own lives and/or to keep both sides happy.

The 'make me get the bus and I won't come' could well be a way of making dh prove that he loves her. As could the temper tantrums (plus she's heading towards adolescence so maybe at the age for being stroppy anyway). Or even to push dh to the point where he rejects her - so she can go 'see, you never loved me anyway'. VERY muddled up but then children whose parents have divorced and are engaged in access battles often are.

'Treating ds like a doll' - could well be normal 12yo behaviour, they aren't mature adults who put other people before themselves.

I do sympathise, this must be incredibly hard, but couldn't see your post without attempting to explain what it's like from the other side.

edam Thu 29-May-08 15:15:49

Btw, I wasn't like this at all, honest! But I can see how it might happen.

nkf Thu 29-May-08 15:17:32

It sounds like she's playing parents off againt each other. Sorry, that is a bit obvious but there must be a way through it. Good luck. Hope it gets better.

terrier141 Thu 29-May-08 15:18:26

I have tried to see things from my dsc's points of view - but when in the middle of their tantrums this gets forgotten very easily im afraid. (sorry not hijacking your thread - but no-ones replied to mine and im in a mood - hiding in the bedroom and letting kids just carry on!)

jammi Thu 29-May-08 15:42:18

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2point4kids Thu 29-May-08 15:43:12

Sorry if I am speaking out of turn here, but do you think she could be playing up because of the new baby? If your ds is only 10 weeks and all this behaviour is only showing up in the last 6 weeks or so then perhaps she deep down worries that she will be replaced in your dp's affections? I know its not true, but she is only a child and could be thinking that way... (or perhaps her Mum may have even planted that idea in her head?) hence that she is 'testing' you and dp about the bus etc..

jammi Thu 29-May-08 15:46:33

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jammi Thu 29-May-08 15:46:41

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jammi Thu 29-May-08 15:48:05

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Anna8888 Thu 29-May-08 16:31:39

jammi - hmm

On the adult-like activities I don't have a strong opinion (my own daughter, 3.6, is proudly parading her Chanel Madness-varnished toenails blush, and she loves ethnic restaurants...).

However, our children (stepsons and my daughter) all have, nonetheless, very childlike lives, with lots of parental involvement, playing, regular meals, bedtime, supervised homework, story reading etc. I do think, sadly, that "all girl" households can quickly degenerate into make-up, clothes etc and nothing more without a man around to counterbalance the girly stuff and create some necessary tension.

We also have to put pressure on my partner's ex re stuff like bedtimes, breakfast etc. I also think that being a single parent is immensely difficult and it must take huge strength of mind to maintain adult standards for children to aspire to in a home where there is only one adult.

None of which is of much concrete help to you with your DSD. What is her relationship like with her father? That is basically the crux of the matter. My stepsons behave well here because they have an excellent relationship with their father - not because of anything I do.

edam Thu 29-May-08 16:37:36

She's probably afraid to tell her mother she's OK at your house. Either because she's been saying what she thinks her mother wanted to hear, or because she told the original lie and now can't get out of it without a huge row.

I know you are at the end of your tether, but worth thinking about how you can help her out of this impasse.

hercules1 Thu 29-May-08 16:43:44

sorry quick hijack - anna - can you explain the chanel crazy toe varnish - is is a type done by chanel?

hercules1 Thu 29-May-08 16:44:07

sorry - madness not crazy!

Anna8888 Thu 29-May-08 16:46:13

Madness is just a colour (a dark reddish brown) of varnish by Chanel.

Not intended for a 3.6 year old, but she was very determined to have her toenails painted with it (and sweetly patient while it dried smile).

Lazycow Thu 29-May-08 17:05:49

Well the key here is that the child is not being put first by her parents. It seems that your dh and his ex don't communicate in any way with regard to their child. In that atmosphere I'm at a loss as to what you can do about it. She is obviously playing one parent off the other, it is what a lot of children do at this age if they feel very insecure and if they can get away with it.

I'm sorry you are having such a hard time, but tbh the only way her behaviour is going to improve is if her parents can reach some sort of consensus about her. That seems unlikely to happen.

She needs some unconditional love really, which would involve her parents being able to purt aside differences and work together just because they love their child. As her step parent you aren't really in the best position to offer that however hard you try.

Her parents need to give that and that is outside your control.

What you can do is set some clear boundaries about behaviour while at your house which your dh would need to back. You have already made a start which stopped her smashing things.

At the same time you need to decide what is really important. Would it be so bad if she didn't have to get the bus. Maybe she is asking for proof of your dh's love. Picking her up is not a great deal to ask and maybe shouldn't be such a big deal.

Anna8888 Thu 29-May-08 17:12:30

On Lazycow's last point - I was recently reading some stuff that my partner's divorce lawyer wrote on child access. Her opinion, FWIW, is that separated/divorced parents should not make children bear the burden of the additional logistics in their lives of living in two homes.

We already have that in place - the boys are always picked up if at all possible, otherwise their nanny brings them, and they never have to carry a suitcase of clothes, do laundry etc.

I know it's not a major point, but just thought I'd mention it.

Anna8888 Thu 29-May-08 17:15:22

Another point: what does your DH do alone with his daughter?^ How much time do they spend one-on-one?

My partner takes the boys out alone (from school) once a fortnight each (ie alternate weeks) for lunch. The boys love this special time with their father and he learns a lot about what's on their mind. So he can help them.

jammi Thu 29-May-08 17:15:25

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Anna8888 Thu 29-May-08 17:18:56

She's 12 and she's doing a 30 mile round trip on Saturday to go the cinema with her friends on her weekend at her father's??? Crikey.

I have the opposite problem wink - my DSS1 recently spent a week's holiday with us plus a five-day long weekend and didn't want to see a friend the whole of that time (despite us offering to have a friend for a sleepover etc). I was quite relieved when he went back to school - it's lovely to be so loved but also nice to have a break grin.

Could your DH not take her out on a Saturday just the two of them?

jammi Thu 29-May-08 17:19:15

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hercules1 Thu 29-May-08 17:19:56

Thankyou - dd is 4 and loves nail varnish at the moment. I though it might be a fun multi coloured one!

jammi Thu 29-May-08 17:22:46

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