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What's a normal fatherly relationship to teen dc?

(10 Posts)
Prettyplease21 Thu 28-Mar-13 15:58:11

Sanity, thanks for taking the time and offering so much detail.
It does sound a lot like our house, but I still need to put in some more effort regarding dh...
Dh and I are communicating a lot, thanks mostly to counseling, its just that sometimes he'll throw things at me, figuratively of course, that I feel we've already successfully dealt with, like setting boundaries.
All our kids profit from "house rules" which are set up every year to take their ages into consideration (got some great ideas off mn, btw). Ds and dss are 'manning up' and enjoying the praise they get for chores they do, but because dsd was used to being the mini spouse, she likes to ignore these or gets dh to do her laundry, for instance. Her mum is her BFF so there is no parenting to be expected there either.
Now, instead of appreciating that dsd and I get along better with even a modicum of order in place, he tells me how difficult it is for him to talk to her without feeling self conscious, I.e. forced into the parent child mode instead of the casual flirting that used to be the hallmark of their exchanges. It's downright selfish on his part.
Dss and I have a great relationship, hugs and kisses all round, and dh knows what a strain it was on me to have dsd so hostile towards me. But it's like why could I not just butt out and leave them to it? Is it not enough to have respect of one dsc?
That's why I've been asking about prime resident dad behaviour towards teens, hoping for a simple mantra that could act as guideline, without me constantly muttering having to point out discrepancies.
Again, thanks to all replies. Much appreciated.

sanityseeker75 Thu 28-Mar-13 14:39:01

Prettyplease21 Bit of background - I have DSC and DS - my DH gets on well with DS pretty much most of the time, he has lived with us since DS was 4 and DS just accepts him as an additional Dad and all the benefits that brings (DS now 14).

DSD is 13 and is very much aware of how her dad likes to Disney parent her and how she can use this situation to manipulate him into pretty much everything that she wants I have to admit sometimes I am in awe of her capacity to understand this! That said we have a fantastic relationship for the most part but if she needs telling it always falls on me to do the telling - but in her favour when I do she accepts she has pushed it to far and therefore I just accept that that is the dynamic of the relationship between her and her dad and the older she gets the harder he is going to find it because she will fall off the pedestal he has put her on and he only has himself to blame.

DSS was 1 when I first met him (now 9) and has great relationship with his Dad and me but will always come to me as first port of call and Dad if I am not there (even to the point that if I am having a shower or wee he will come and seek me out rather than just ask Dad who is sat downstairs!).

Whilst DH does Disney parent the lads almost (but not quite as much as DSD) I still get frustrated and annoyed at him sometimes. Because DS lives with us sometimes DH will moan to me about him or tell me things he should be doing or not doing and this often leaves me feeling like piggy in the middle. I then think well you let DSD get away with that if I don't say something. In fairness though (and when I am not taking it personally) I get that it is just because DS lives with us and fits into normally daily life whilst DSC come EW and therefore the time we get with them is limited even if it is away from the stresses of the working week and therfore it is DH's natural inclination to over compensate.

That said I am the main disciplinarian in the house and ALL the kids know and accept this and after MANY discussions with DH about it he does back up what I say and now if any of the kids try to use him as nice guy to get what they want he says we (me and him) will discuss it and let them know. If DH does something that I think is wrong then I never ever query his logic in front of the kids and will wait until we are on our own and then talk it through - sometimes we agree and sometimes we have to agree to disagree. It is far from perfect but at least we have got better at communicating and it helps to stop me feeling bitter and twisted and him to feel like I am just nagging.

I would certainly warn your DH about the dangers of victory or point scoring against ExW because in our experience it only gets you so far as they (the kids) learn that if they say the one parent is buying them something or doing something the disney parent will buy something bigger and better - and if you don't then you are the bad parent and can't possibly love them as much! How can anyone live up to that sort of pressure? It also makes for spoilt entitled kids that drive you mad and will come back and bite you on the bum.

Prettyplease21 Thu 28-Mar-13 10:25:13

Sorry, catinboots, you've got it wrong. It's dh behaviour that has me asking for advice.
Dsc have always responded well to boundaries, its dh who feels put out by them!
Dss is now moving in with us because we offer a secure environment, that btw was established due to my constant nagging/parenting/etc.
I'm simply anxious that dh will backslide to Disney parenting especially regarding his dd to win her over too, I.e. score some victory over exw, and therefore upset all I've worked for for ALL of us.

catinboots Thu 28-Mar-13 07:08:30


So this is a stealth-dig at DSCs.


Prettyplease21 Thu 28-Mar-13 06:55:23

Thanx Cory, thats pretty much what I expect, I.e. there are times when our kids love/hate us and we should be there for them emotionally, with perhaps a little treat such as a meal out for all of us now and again to celebrate family closeness.
It creeps me out a bit when a dsc is singled out for special treatment so that their 'love' is guaranteed. Besides setting double standards, I must constantly remind my ds that dh is basically worried about his relationship to his dc and that his actions are questionable.
This makes me feel dh and I are actually undermining each other as we are then not a united front (except when dh points out my ds shortcomings, then there is a surprising amount of mature parenting from dh).

cory Wed 27-Mar-13 19:01:29

One 16, one near-13yo here.

I wouldn't say either sets a price tag on affection, but there have been periods when the youngest has "gone off" either parent: first we went through a period when he saw me as a domestic tyrant keeping his poor dad subdued; then he changed and decided his dad couldn't do anything right but that I was reasonably ok. We have tried not to pay too much attention, but to be as loving as we would have been anyway, spend about what we intended to spend, neither more nor less, and just letting him see that we are united. He has become a lot more affectionate lately, and I suspect a lot of it was his (understandable) frustration with the world in general, nothing personal directed at either of us.

Dd is different as she suffers from an anxiety disorder, so if anything tends to be a little too clinging and affectionate (though has got a lot better lately).

Prettyplease21 Wed 27-Mar-13 09:39:04

Thanx for reply Medusa, its great to hear that you two pull together as a couple, and I suppose that's what gives your kids a sense of security.
My dh is also a loving, hugging kind of guy, dss similar, also to me.
Dsd unfortunately seems to feel a hug for dad should cost him. I find it hard to believe that kids living with bio parents put a price tag on returning love and affection.
Of course they can all be scheming little devils at times, have teen ds myself, but it should not be their default mode surely?
Dh is pretty much at a loss how to parent her as her not so subtle demands are increasing with age.
How do pr dads set clear but loving boundaries? Xx

dabdab Tue 26-Mar-13 23:39:04

Nice post, and helpful, Medusa.

MedusaIsHavingABadHairDay Tue 26-Mar-13 23:25:28

Depends on the age of the teen..and sex of teen to some extent!
I have four aged 15-21, two of each, and their relationship with Dad has varied according to temperament and age.
DD1..always stroppy but loving.. ignored DH in her early teens and now is definitely daddy's girlsmile She's at uni and he texts her every day with random stuffsmile
Dd2.. my girl.. loves her dad but isn't as close, but again loves his random texts (she's also at Uni). Dh has no problem being physically affectionate with them both.. big hugs, and they will both (aged 18 and 21!) crawl in between us on a sunday morning for a chat if they are home!

DS1 was a very difficult teen for years.. wall smashing, lying stealing sort and his relationship with his dad was two deer locking horns for a good few years. BUT at 17 he finally became human again and now he and his dad have a loving relationship.. again they like to prove who is boss and have annoying wrestling matches and do stupid stuff to outwit each other!! They recently went on a quad biking day together which they both loved and it was great to see them together .
DS2 is 15 and autistic and tends to live in his own world but dh gives him lots of hugs whether he wants them or notsmile

We have always been very THERE parents.. we travel miles, pick them up at all hours and hug them a lot..even during the worst years (13-16 generally!) We also have ridiculous conversations round the sunday dinner table..the only day we always (if they are not away) try to eat together and it has kept the bond strong.
Dh works long hours and is away a lot but the kids know he is always there for them if he needs them..whether it's a call, a pick up or a daft conversation..and it has really helped through the tricky timessmile

Teens sometimes LOOK like they don't want us or need us, but really that's when being relaxed but there for them helps the most I reckon!

Prettyplease21 Tue 26-Mar-13 15:52:05

I usually read the step-parenting threads and have posted there recently, but I feel that most npr dads have lost the ability to parent according to common sense, preferring the Disney dad or best buddy role instead.
Is there a mum or dad out there who could add a comment on what they see as typical for a healthy relationship between dad and son/daughter of early to mid teen age?
I have the feeling that my dh and dsc could benefit from some sensible advice, thanx xx

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