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help - struggling with DSD (11)

(11 Posts)
mistressmiggins Wed 01-Oct-08 15:15:25

My DP has recently moved in with his DSD(11)

I am really struggling. I have 2 younger DCs so am used to having to help them get ready & remind them about hygiene etc but I didnt expect to have to remind an 11 yr. I am probably being naive.

She doesnt brush her teeth, change her school uniform daily and worst of all, I dont think she changes her underwear unless we watch her & tell her.
She wont share her things - fair enough I suppose but she expects my DD (4) to share her dolls house - which she does willingly. I find it so frustrating this lack of sharing especially as last week she told us some of her things were too babyish.

Would it help to have some kind of rota/chores written down (I would expect my DS (6) to do some too)

Worst of all is I feel I cant tell her off as she will be off telling her mum. Its complicated - she says she is happy with us but also wants to live with her mum which isnt really practical.

I feel awful for saying this but I am beginning to wish they hadnt moved in - I love my DP and am over the moon that he is here but DSD is making it hard. I worry he will choose me over her which I certainly dont want but feel the atmosphere/battling is affecting my 2 DCS who arent used to arguments.

Any advice greatfully received and please read this as a cry for help - if I am being naive about what to expect from an 11yr old girl, please be constructive...


Anna8888 Wed 01-Oct-08 15:19:31

You have my sympathies.

I have an 11 year old DSS, as well as a 13 year old DSS.

DSS2 is terrible on the personal hygiene/organisation front and has to have constant reminders about everything. DSS1 was better than DSS2 at the same age and DD (not quite 4) is in some ways better than DSS2.


It is very tiresome. But I think you have to think that your role is to help your DSD grow up and become independent, and you need to encourage and nurture good habits. Try to put your frustration to one side and do everything to make her want to take better care of herself.

I buy my DSSs lots of lovely shower gels, deodorants, exciting new toothbrushes etc, take them to a good hairdresser, buy them fashionable clothes, have sorted their wardrobes and help them generally with their look. It does all help.

mistressmiggins Wed 01-Oct-08 15:23:14

I have bought her lots of toiletries; not allowed to get her hair cut (although we have to nag via txt to get her mother to do it) and we have bought her lots of clothes.
I have sorted her wardrobe today in the hope it will help.

The sharing is a tough one - we had issues when they only stayed once a fortnight but it doesnt seem to be getting any better.

Anna8888 Wed 01-Oct-08 15:29:03

Why isn't your DP "allowed" to get his daughter's hair cut?

mistressmiggins Wed 01-Oct-08 15:32:53

his ex says its her job sad
sod the fact that its up to me to take her to dentist and look after her daily
I had to nag DP to tell his ex to discuss periods with DSD too.
I didnt want to do it first incase she had a go - same with the hair.

god its tough being a full time step parent especially as most of DP's family think he shouldnt have moved in but concentrated on his DD until she was older.

Anna8888 Wed 01-Oct-08 15:36:15

Yes, it's very hard working out initially what it is acceptable (both to your own DP and to his ex) for you to do for the child(ren), and it is never acceptable for the stepmother to be left with the drudgery while the parents take all the fun stuff smile - which can be wished upon you <voice of experience>.

Surfermum Wed 01-Oct-08 20:05:25

It all sounds perfectly normal to me - honestly. Welcome to the world of being a step-mum grin. I can identify with everything you have posted about. But it's Ok to find it difficult. It's hard enough being a parent to your own child - being a parent (and you're a parent with care) to a step-child is harder as there are so many other things in the mix. I

The hygiene thing sounds completely normal to me. Dsd (nearly 13) was like this - she'd turn up from her mums not having bathed for a fortnight, and then we'd have big arguments about her having to have a shower. We tried the hard line, I tried chatting to her one to one. But thankfully she's through that phase now and has gone to the other extreme of spending hours in the shower, then doing her hair etc etc. And I can't believe the amount of washing that I get to do now that she actually changes her clothes!

Does she get pocket money? We find that dangling the carrot of no pocket money or extra credit for her phone works for dsd. But what you also need is your dp's back-up. You all need to agree what is acceptable and what isn't, what the sanctions are etc etc (if that's the way you do things).

Have you read any books? I found the Relate Guide to Stepfamilies really helpful.

mistressmiggins Thu 02-Oct-08 20:07:25

Had a good talk with DP tonight & feel better for being honest. DSD's mum has let her down again tonight angry but I persuaded DP to take her to our local fair tonight & she seemed really pleased.
I didnt realise that step parenting would involve helping my DP to be a good dad. Dont mean that in a smug way but I do think that men are different to women & dont find it as easy to nurture.

DSD was chatty & friendly tonight so maybe she has been feeling under the weather and maybe she realises deep down that I really do care about her....

She was pleased I had tidied & reorganised her clothes for her so that was positive.

DP is a dream - he has been off work today unexpectedly and has painted all the outside & inside window ledges, ironed & been food shopping shock
am just not used to such a hands on man!

its great grin

SmugColditz Thu 02-Oct-08 20:16:27

If you are her full time step mother, you should consider yourself her parent, IMHO.

YOu don't have to go through her absent parent to talk about periods, get her hair cut or insist she bathes. An absent parent is absent, for whatever reason, and cannot insist on the same level of involvement as a non absent parent.

FYI, it's normal to have to remind an 11 year old not to be a dirty skutter, and may stay normal until she starts wanting to grope boys - years away. Do insist that she is hygenic, don't let her become inured to being dirty.

bratty behavior is also normal, especially from an only child who suddenly finds herself expected, not only to share her dad, her personal space, the attention from those around her and her toys, but also to be a good big sister, adopt habits she hasn't lived with before, and to get used to being the one who takes the back seat to a smaller child's needs - which as an only, she won't have done before (unless she has unmentioned younger siblings?)

I feel for you, 11 year old girls are hard work and you haven't had the lovely baby bit to hold the memories of while you do this!

MrsTucky Wed 08-Oct-08 02:01:48

my husband's 2 daughters have lived with us for 2 years now.

It's been soooooooo many ups and downs between us regarding disiplining of each other children.
The eldest SD went through a very lazy phase also when she came to live with us, but that was due to serious neglect from the natural mother...(drug addict). I felt soo awful for 'being on her case' constantly about showering and personal hygiene etc, but I'm sorry to say, my hubby, her father was a bit crap in these area's, so for her sake, I had to tell/teach her.
I've had lots of 'mother daughter' talks with her, reassured her that I'm just a step mother who loves her and htat her natural mother still loves her too, even though she couldn't be a 'mother to her', and that I'm wanting to help her. I found lots of constant gentle nagging, got us there. Hey, I nag my own sons, so I'm gonna treat my SD's the same as my sons.
It's been MEGA difficult, and I've worried many times that me and huby can't take the stress of it all...but we have/we do.
With my lot I do lots of little nagging (for want of a better word), but its gets us there without any great big fights. I don't ask much, but what I do ask,I expect to happen.
I'm very proud of this family now for what everyone has been through and how we all treat each other. it has been an uphill struggle but we're getting there.

MrsTucky Wed 08-Oct-08 02:21:14

forgot to state that my SD that I'm referring to is now 12....she was 10 she she came to live with us with NO idea on hygiene..literally no idea. Her younger sister who is now 10, is hearing about cleanliness on the way, so she's very good at keeping clean.
Before they lived with us, they constantly came for visits, with nits!! I got really peed off with having to treat us all for having caught their nits, so warned the SD's mother that, once more with nits, and I'm cutting their hair-and I did have their long hair cut short.
If I'm treating them constantly on their visits and she's not, them I'm cutting that hair.
Since they've lived here, I've eradicated the nits, the girls have longish hair again, and we're all happy.
I won't lash out threats I can't/won't be prepared to keep.

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