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fight at the dinner table in front of MIL....

(57 Posts)
Nickinha Mon 06-Jun-05 11:16:31

How do I handle what happened yesterday? We are sitting at the table with in-laws having lunch. I ask my skid (13) to please pass the xxx, she grabs one with her hand and offers it to me. I look at her with total disgust and ask her what she thinks she is doing... her answer "whats your problem, my hands are clean!!!!!!!"

Her father did not notice this happening, so I tell him... next minute he is shouting at the girl, the MIL is in tears cause no one must speak to the poor girl like that cause the poor thing has no mother blah blah blah, the skid is in tears... one hell of a situation.

Anyway, afterwards, the MIL is pissed off with me for "causing" the scene and my husband feels so bad at yelling at her he cant do enough to suck up to her. SHE on the other hand is walking around with this evil grin as if to say, ha ha you lost this fight!!!!! I tried just ignoring her the rest of the day, but she keeps coming to me to talk or ask questions (does not get the hint) and my husband tells me to be nice to her!!!!!!!! arrrgghhh, so frustrated. This is not just something i cope with for the weekend, she lives with us cause her mother's social life cant handle raising a child! What do I do???? I am going to end up hating this girl.

jampots Mon 06-Jun-05 11:19:51

I think the "look at her with total disgust" speaks volumes to me Im afraid, as does " tried just ignoring her the rest of the day, but she keeps coming to me to talk or ask questions (does not get the hint)"

Yes she has to learn/know that picking food up for others with your hands isnt good manners but maybe you could have asked her to keep that one and use cutlery to pass yours.

Is there usually tension between you? And if you dont mind me asking, how old are you?

handlemecarefully Mon 06-Jun-05 11:22:18

Yes it is frustrating, but please do not let yourself 'hate the girl' - she is a teenager and so very very trying. Her behaviour is probably not a personal vendetta against you - just being an awkward adolescent type!

colditz Mon 06-Jun-05 11:36:57

For gods sake, she's 13 not 30! What the hell are you playing at giving a 13 year old a "look of disgust"? She is a child!

Would you have been happy to be punished in this way by an unrelated adult woman when you were a child?

By the way, she lives with you because she is your partners daughter, I'm sure she hasn't arranged her parentage to get at you.

I feel really sorry for this girl.

colditz Mon 06-Jun-05 11:42:35

If you cannot control your behavior, how do you expect her to? If I was her father, I'd have yelled at you, not her.

handlemecarefully Mon 06-Jun-05 11:54:58

Steady on colditz!

Tortington Mon 06-Jun-05 12:12:25

thing about teenagers is...they are on the whole 'orrible. have you got any other children? i ask this as i am trying to ascertain your parenting experience.

i frequently have ally mcbeal moments where a big big cartoon hammer appears in my hand and i concertina them bugs bunny stylee. however i love them with every fiber in my being - you on the other hand are being asked to love someone by virtue of them existing in someone you do loves life. now that must be very hard. you cant just turn up one day and play happy families all mary poppins and "lets bake cakes" parenting is learnt and most of us by the time our kids get to 13 have had 13 years of experience.

teenagers are toddlers only bigger, they have no reaoning skills past their own wants and needs ( my 15yo son tried resoning his smoking pot...actually tried arguing a rational....bizarro!)

now if my child had ofered me say a had full of mash or something in themidleof a meal with my parents in law - i would quickly ascertain this....
oh so you want to push me in front of granny to see how far you can get away with huh?
you want me to look stupid huh
your trying your luck huh

then just as a toddler might pass me a nice pile of poo out of his nappy knowing its naughty i would reply to daughter...." thank you darling, i didn't realise it was so much trouble, never mind i will get it myself."

whats a little worrying is your seeing this as a competition.
hunny let me tell you...your going to lose.....your husband can get a fuckpiece anywhere - his childrena re unique
some kids you have to make an effort to like - i mean i llove all mine ...by virtue of them being mine - that "automatic" love is absent with you. however i had to work to like my daughter. i have to make myself do things i dont want to do like drawing or painting or hair styling or shopping - i hate shopping...but she loves personal time.

thats the key you see.....all kids love personal individual time.

if you spend a lot of time with her - then when shes an out an out twat - you dont have to screama ndyell becuase you can withdraw something which will mean more to her than anything material - and thats individual time with you - but you have to have to put the time in first to take it away.

its what mums of toddlers do - they start banging their head on he floor - the wrong thing to do is rush over and scream and shout - the right thing to do is walk intot he kitchen and make a cup of coffee - as once there is no attention for that behaviour - it rather renders doing that behaviour useless.

Windermere Mon 06-Jun-05 12:38:06

What was the thing she passed you?

Windermere Mon 06-Jun-05 12:38:07

What was the thing she passed you?

tiredemma Mon 06-Jun-05 12:41:57

what an excellent post custardo!

Alannah Mon 06-Jun-05 12:46:08

I think a lot of the comments have been a little unfair to Nickinha, not that I think that they are not all correct and valuable comments. The very fact that Nickinha is on this site looking for advice means that she cares but the fact that she is treating a 13 year old in the same way as an adult indicates to me that she doesn't have much experience of teens.

My advice to you Nickinha would be to take some time out for yourself away from your dh and dsd. And then, for the sake of your relationship, do what your husband says and try to be nice to her. It sounds to me like she has probably suffered a bit of rejection from her mum already, it could be a perfect opportunity for you to give a young girl a bit of support and a positive role model.
How do you get on with your MIL? I find mine to be a great ally, how would it work if you rang her and asked her for some advice on how to deal with dsd?
Good luck!

squirrel3 Mon 06-Jun-05 12:56:54

Well said Alannah and Custardo, why is everyone having a go at Nickinha? It is obvious that she cares deeply for her dsd, she asked for advice, not to be shot down in flames.

Nickinha, I'm sure you wont hate her, I know that being a stepmum is really hard and it might feel like that at times but the fact that you are on here shows that you care.

KBear Mon 06-Jun-05 13:13:08

I don't know about step-parenting but I have two nieces of 13 and 14 so I know that age group very well. I think you need to have a frank chat - just you two - before this explodes. Not a "I'm the s/mum so here are my rules" but a "this is how I would like you to behave and I will try to behave better towards you in future, it's a shame we can't get on" kind of thing.

Ask her if she would do you a favour and ask her opinion on something important. Ask her to go shopping with you next time you need advice on shoes or a skirt you have your eye one. Make her feel that you like her and value her opinion and enjoy her company (even if it is a struggle). Then the first buds of a friendship might blossom and everyone will benefit from that.

Good luck. HTH

colditz Mon 06-Jun-05 13:13:52

I reacted strongly because I feel strongly about people who use a childs emotional immaturity against them. So the girl made an etiquette boob at the table. Big deal, she is a child, that's what they do. Treating a child with "total disgust" is a contemptable way to behave.

And in answer to your question of how to handle it, my advice to you would be to moderate your behavior towards a child who already knows her mother doesn't want her.

KBear Mon 06-Jun-05 13:14:11

And the toddler analogy is so right too - she is being demanding of you as a toddler would. time to set the boundaries!

jojo38 Mon 06-Jun-05 14:27:08

What ever happened to respect?

colditz Mon 06-Jun-05 14:32:06

There are better ways to get respect than to treat someone with disgust.

tarantula Mon 06-Jun-05 15:45:55

Have to say I think Nickinha is being unfairly treated here too. If dss picked up something with his hands at the dinner table to pass to me hen hed get a Medusa glare from me too (mind you I know the state of his hands at the best times ) amd if he spoke to me in such a fashion after that then his dad would hit the roof and I think Id be the one calming his dad down. thankfully dss hasnt reached that stage just yet tho Im kinda expecting it any day soon.

I do think tho that you and your dh need to sit down and discuss the situation in a calm fashion and decide how you wish to deal with your stepdaughter. I think you need to look at your own feelings too as its not easy accepting someone new moving into the family home and it has obviuosly caused stress for all of you. I do think Jampots question is quite relevant tho How old are you compared to your sd as it may be that she doesnt see you as being old enough to be her stepmum. Just a thougth mind.
Also how about having some quality time with sd just you and her, doing something nice together. I find this a great bonding technique with dss.
Jsut remember tho taht she is a teenager and you ahve many more years of this to come so best try to fins stratagies to deal with it all now. HTH a little

handlemecarefully Mon 06-Jun-05 22:43:31

Custardo's advice is great - as long as you can get past the bit where she says your dh can find a fuckpiece anywhere (lol)

I agree with you Colditz that I am more worried about the child in this scenario; since she is quite vulnerable (given the situation with her real mum etc)....however, I still empathise a bit with Nickinha who did get some provocation, and then had to tolerate the rest of the day being painted as the villain of the piece.

Nickinha Tue 07-Jun-05 12:15:24

Thank you Custardo. To answer some of the questions here. I am 30 years old and have a dd (2) with my dh. I also have another sd who I get along wonderfully with. She sadly cannot get along with her sister either. They are always fighting because the 13yr cant get away from the mirror and speaks to her elder sister like she is a piece of $#"&. It just sometimes feels as if i will never be able to get along with this girl. When i am nice to her, she abuses the situation by getting totally out of hand (starts acting like she is the best and she can do whatever she wants)... dunno - this is all very hard to explain with a VERY long history of her behaviour problems. May I also add here that this same girl stole all the money from my dd's piggy bank, and last week I had the shop security call me out because she was caught stealing from the shop................................

Thomcat Tue 07-Jun-05 12:30:07

When we started living with my stepfather my sister was 13, such a tender, vulverable age. She found it so hard. She beambe a middle child, I was 16 and rebellious and out all the time, she was quiet and shy and scared and having to share her mum for the first time. She started to get bad mental health problems. It was so hard on her.

I know you're not in an easy situation yourself but i can feel how you feel about your step-daughter, or as you sadly call her 'the girl, 'this girl' and SHE in your posts, and if I can feel it God knows what she is feeling. She's 13, such a difficult scary age to be.

Please, please, please try harder fpor all your sakes and don't allow yourself to hate this girl. She doesn't deserve that mo matter what she does, she's angry, hurt, defensive, feels abandoned, is using her anger as defence.
So she used her hand to pass you something, a look of toital disgust tells her you think she SHe is dusgusting, she's useless, you hate her. She's bound to bite back - I would.

She's been left by her mother man, please, don't push her away. Bite your tounge, act the adult, be kind, be generous with your nature and your time, put it on wahtever it takes to get out of this rut.

I feel so sorry for this poor, messed up, lonely hurt, confused, little girl, I really, really do,

tarantula Tue 07-Jun-05 12:31:25

Sounds like you have got a lot on your plate Nickinha. I think that its possible that your sd is doing a lot of rebelling because of the way shes been rejected by her mother and with all her teenage hormone running riot on top of that well what can I say. The shop lifting is also a rebellion/teenage thing too. Not very good at offering advise in situations like this sorry except to say grit your teeth and be nice where possible but firm with it. Being nice doesnt necessarily mean giving in to their demands it means ignoring the crass behaviour nd rewarding the nice stuff. Its sooo easy to say isnt it.

Is it possible for you and dh to work out a routine so that you have sometimes to yourself etc.?

How does your dsd get on with her little sister? If they get on well maybe givig her some responsibility with minding her fro short periods might be good while you are busy or having a bath or something (with a cash reward/incentive). Just a thought?

Thomcat Tue 07-Jun-05 12:32:37

She'll do a lot worse than stealif she continue to feel so alone and unloved by her fa,mily.
Stealing is a cry for attention, don't let it go any further. IMO - you have to take some responsibility for this child. if anything happened to you and anpther woman stepped in to raise your child how would you expect your own child to be cared for. Do as you would be done by.

Nickinha Tue 07-Jun-05 12:47:39

Thomcat, your last post really shook me, if my dd had to live with someone they dont get along with I would turn in my grave.

I do feel sorry for sd, and I do not always shun her. A couple of years ago I used to go fetch her from school, help her with homework, a while ago someone was bullying her at school and I was the one who went there and told the other mother that no one messes with sd, I do have a very busy schedule at home and work, but she know that if she wants to talk to me, the best time is while I am preparing the dinner cause then I can listen without distraction. It just seems as if she couldn't be bothered what the consequences of her actions are and does not think before she does things. Who is going to teach her that no one wants to be around an ill mannered, bad mouthed, self centered person? Be it a girl or woman - she must learn that society does not allow her to do what she wants and expect everyone to like and get along with her in return. She is not a baby anymore, she knows right from wrong and yet she does not seem to care if she offends others - just does what she wants. Is ignoring her not the way to show her that - "if you want to be like that, do it somewhere else, not here by me", is that being cruel? What should I do?

Thomcat Tue 07-Jun-05 13:02:25

Listen babes, you are in a really hard situation, I don't envy you and I respoect you posting about it, it shows you care. But she's npot being a naughty little girl she';s being a rebellious, scared, lonely, angry, 13 year old. Jesus, I remember me at that age. i hated the world. It owed me. I was hard, tough, could do what i wanted, how dare you step in my way and so on.

Babes I know this can't be easy but please, please, try. it's just going to get worse.

Look - when she's nasty and rude and behaving like a typical angry 13 yr old, talk to her, tell her that when she acts this way you find her difficult to be around. you are going to go into the kitchen and make some tea and if she wants to come and be grown up and act ina calm way then you'd likje her company, if not would she go to her room and play soem music until she is in a beter mood.

Spend soem tiem with her in between, paint her nails, take her shopping, go to the pictures, whatever, just let her see you don't hate her. make her believe she's worth being around and she'll want to please you, she'll want to be a better person. Make her want you to be proud of her. it'll be so rewarding. you'll be hap[pier and calmer and your relationship with your DP/DH will improve and grow. It won't be easy but slowly ands surely she'll mature, she'll like you, respect you, love you and want to make you proud of her and she'll trun into a beautiful young woman.

At the moment when she's basty that is just her being angry, she doesn't liek herslef very much, she feels worthless. She'sbeen left by her mother man, jesus... she's been bullied at school and she knows you don't like her, she knows she's the black sheep, the pain in everyones ares, so she's doing what is expected of her. She's miserable and lonely as
nd she's crying out to be loved. As the woman of the house that falls to you I'm afraid mate, so please try and get yoursleves out of the rut and make it better for you all.

A little bit of effort and the reqrds will be wonderful.

Good luck, you will need it, but I'm confident it will be okay in the end.

Happy to talk to you as much as you want about this if it will help a little bit.

TC xxxxxxx

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