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Disastrous holiday with 15yr old teenage DD

(64 Posts)
louby44 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:24:43

Hi, first time posting so please be gentle.

Quick background live with my partner of 6 years and my 2 DS from previous marriage (10 & 13). My partner has 2 girls (13 & 15) who live with their mum 40 miles away but they stay with us every other weekend and a couple of weeks during holidays. Kids all get along great, odd fall out but nothing major.

The 15 year old is really testing us though. She is desperate to be an adult and do all that it entails, drinking, smoking, sex. She's done them all. Now on the contraceptive implant (no serious boyfriend), drinks and has been smoking for a year. Stays out till 9.30pm during the week.

We've just come back from a 2 wk holiday to Turkey. She bought cigarettes from the shop in the hotel with money we had given her. Her dad found out (he gave up 2 months ago after being a smoker for 35 years) and he just lost it; he found them in her bag, she went mental, called him a 'fucking bastard', spat at him, he slapped her across the face and she tried to bite him and scratched him drawing blood. This was on the 1st day!

My DP apologised the next day for slapping her, she refused to have anything to do with him and ignored us both for 2 weeks. Neither girls got up until midday, didn't unpack, left clothes all over the floor. We sat around waiting whilst they got ready to go for our evening meal, even after having over 3 hours in which to do so. In the end we went into dinner with the boys and left the girls. They were inconsiderate, sullen and rude for 2 weeks.

I sat them down yesterday and said that they had spoilt our holiday, that their dad enjoys our 2 weeks together as its time he gets to spend with no interruptions. The 15 yr old didn't care, she didn't give a shit . They went without saying goodbye or thank you to me. They didn't say goodbye to their dad when he took them home. The 15 yr old is full of anger and has been for about 2 years now.

They don't want to come to our house anymore - which is fine as we don't want them here.

But of course my DP is devastated, he misses his kids everyday and the thought of not seeing them will be awful for him. His daughter has defriended him on facebook.

This has been brewing for a long time and is the tip of the iceberg; there has been lying and deception about money and piercings not to mention her having to take the morning after pill. Her mum also reported her to the police for hitting her just before Christmas.

Where do we go from here? Does he leave it and try and make the peace in a few weeks/months...never?


Guiltypleasures001 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:35:39

Hi Op

No he should never give up on his daughters, the younger one might just be emulating the older dd.

Sounds like she has a few issues going on, I work as a volunteer counsellor for the YMCA and they offer free counselling to teens across the country. Google YMCA counselling and quite a few counties come up, see if there is one in your area and see if she can have an assessment. Also the school might have a counsellor she can see in house, either way you need to take a step back and let your dh parent with their mum, and both of them need to be on the same page with sanctions etc.

louby44 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:49:30

Hi thanks for your reply. She has already had counselling at school as she refused to attend on numerous occasions.

Her mum split from her long term partner last October and DD behaviour has gone downhill since then. Her mum does try with sanctions, blocks her phone etc but we believe she lets her get away with stuff because it's just easier. Boundaries have been relaxed at home for an easy life. It's hard for us to impose sanctions as they are here for such a short amount of time and 50% of that is spent asleep.

The younger girl certainly copies her sisters behaviour.

I never normally get involved with the girls and discipline, we try and discipline our own kids but after 2 very stressful weeks I just wanted them to know how disappointed I was in their behaviour. I didn't shout, just spoke to them.


TheFallenNinja Mon 19-Aug-13 21:53:37

I'm struggling a bit with how he found them in her bag(why was he in there?) and slapped her face.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 08:56:29

He looked in her bag, why shouldn't he she's 15! She's a child. She also had suncream in there which we needed. She bought cigarettes illegally and told the other 3 children not to tell us!

He slapped her across her cheek AFTER she had spat in his face and called him names. She was physically aggressive towards him, what was he supposed to do just sit there whilst she clawed and bit him?? He regrets slapping her. He struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline/restrain his kids. He had a VERY strict upbringing with a father who believed in 100% respect, my DP then spent 23 years in the Army where again discipline was a fact of life everyday.

He is slowly coming to terms with the fact that he has very little control over his children.

livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 09:35:18

Firstly, he shouldn't have gone through her stuff.
Secondly, having found the illicit cigarettes, he shouldn't have lost his temper and slapped her, regardless of what she said/did to him. Restraining her is fine, but slapping a 15 year old CHILD around the face is not okay. You both know that, though.

You say you "don't want them here". By going off with your biological kids and leaving them out (despite them being difficult), you might be sending them the message that you would rather they're not around. Then, after a tough holiday, you tell them that they ruined it and now they don't want to be around you anymore (are you surprised?!)

I know that all sounds harsh, but you've got to think about it from their viewpoint. If I was on holiday and my dad and his new partner seemed to prefer her kids to me, I would be angry and I would probably lash out and try and ruin things (speaking from a teenage view). If I was then by my dad's partner (not my dad, someone I'm not even related to) that I'd ruined the entire holiday, I would be very reluctant to go back unless my dad apologised. I also would be reluctant to have anything to do with the partner for a while either.

TheFallenNinja Tue 20-Aug-13 09:37:06

Ok the bag thing has a plausible excuse.

A grown man slapping a 15 year old child as retaliation because he struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline a child is incomprehensible.

I also served many years in the British Army and have never once hit my children.

Still struggling

whyno Tue 20-Aug-13 09:48:50

The OP is asking for advice on where to go from here not what we think of what happened!

OP me and my sister were your DP's teenage daughters. Things often got very bad but I now have so much respect for my Dad for never giving up on us. He didn't force us to see him when we were refusing and hating him but he always kept up contact. We were always invited on holidays (which we often ruined), always got nice cards and presents on birthdays, Christmas, Easter (any excuse to get in contact without it being a big deal or needing to be reciprocated). The odd phone call, invitation, email etc even if its rejected.

I have no idea how my Dad and stepmum managed to not let the hurt we must have caused crucify them. Hopefully they got on with their lives and tried to make light of it. Either way we now couldn't be closer. All I can say is we had a lot going on ourselves and it took us a good few years (to our twenties) to work it out.

Waffling Tue 20-Aug-13 09:51:54

"He struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline/restrain his kids."


livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 09:55:06

The OP is asking for advice on where to go from here not what we think of what happened!

But our opinions on what happened are going to influence what we think should happen now.

I think both OP, DP and DD behaved badly, and I think that DD has every right to be angry after what was said to her and after how she was treated. If I thought OP and her DP were totally in the right, things would be different.

specialsubject Tue 20-Aug-13 09:57:45

might be a useful lesson for her that it is possible to push people too far. No, he should not have hit her but she is clearly very difficult to love at the moment. No doubt due to extreme unhappiness and inability to cope, but she is violent too.

I hope there is some help out there somewhere for all of you. Her attempts to be an adult with sex and drink are only going to make things worse.

TheFallenNinja Tue 20-Aug-13 09:59:10

Oh good. Another thread police person. It's a public forum so I'll post whatever I choose, thanks.

So nobody's concerned about the slap no? The child deserved it eh? He was in the army so it's understandable?

To form any view on how the op might want to proceed I think that understanding violence in a family (step or otherwise) needs to be examined. How else does this mans struggle manifest itself I wonder?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 20-Aug-13 10:00:15

Good post from whyno.

Are your DP and his ex on good terms? Could they talk to the girls together and take a united approach?

Slapping her was wrong - and he knows that. Re the scratching and biting, he could have defended himself without hitting back. So I think he really does need to apologise again for that (I appreciate that you said he apologised the next day) and to say to her that it will never happen again, no matter what. He does need to come to terms with the fact that physical control is not an option and won't work.

ithaka Tue 20-Aug-13 10:08:45

I am concerned that the slapping may not have been a one off, as this is a father who 'struggles to understand that he cannot physically discipline/restrain his kids'. Has he hit his daughters' before?

NoComet Tue 20-Aug-13 10:14:38

If I'd smoked at 15 my DDad would have physically disciplined me!

I'd have been locked in my room, no money and given the lecture from hell and, probably, a very sore arse.

(My chainsmoking DDad finally managed to give up well into his 60's when he thought he might have had cancer. He massively regretted starting smoking. DSIS and me would never have contemplated starting.)

I don't know if DH would hit our 15y if he was very cross with her, but he'd scare the living daylights out of her long before she behaved like your DD. I wouldn't be exactly nice either.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:15:42

Firstly, thank you everyone for your viewpoints and responses. Of course no one can understand our situation unless you are living it with us. There is much more to this than I can put into a post - isn't there always.

My DP knows he shouldn't have slapped her! he is deeply sorry that he did and apologised profusely about it. She however didn't apologise to him for hurting him!

My partner hasn't built a relationship with my children at all, after 6 years of being together. He recognises that if he had done that his own children would have felt rejected and sidelined. Subconciously he has stopped himself getting close to my boys and has pushed them away many times. He certainly doesn't prefer my kids to his own, believe me! His girls know that. That in itself has caused problems - but that is a whole other issue.

The girls both said they didn't want to come here before we even mentioned it. They haven't wanted to come and stay here for many weeks. As we live 40 miles away from them they have no friends near by. DD15 didn't come for about 3 weekends at one point during April/May but my DP kept up communication by text and phone (often with no response from her as she was busy, tired etc). We have allowed them to bring friends to stay some weekends but of course that isn't always convenient.

During our holiday (the 4th year we have been away altogether) very evening we told them that we were going for dinner at 7.30pm, they were NEVER ready at that time. Why should the 4 remaining people sit around waiting for them??? I'm sorry but they were controlling the situation 100% by doing that. They went up to get ready at 4pm. Rolling up at 8.10pm is just taking the piss.

I spoke to them all on the day we came back as both girls would have got up and walked out if my DP had spoken to them. He was so upset about it all he could barely speak. This holiday cost a lot of money, both my partner and I work hard to save for our family holiday and I think I am completley within my rights to speak to them about the holiday. They DID spoil it. Why should I sugar coat it. Why should WE apologise - please explain to me what WE did wrong. Took them on a £6k holiday, bought them holiday clothes, gave them a bit of spending money, got up every morning to save them a sunbed as they didn't get up till lunchtime, took them on trips, paid for things, TRIED to give them a nice time????

We have already booked next years holiday. The girls say they don't want to come, which is a shame as we are going away with some friends and their kids. I have told the girls that I won't cancel anything but will ask them again in a few months if they still want to come.


livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 10:26:21

I think you shouldn't have spoken to them because you are not their parent. You're not even their step-parent. You're their dad's girlfriend. Their dad needs to take control and responsibility for HIS children and THEIR behaviour. I would be highly pissed off if my dad's girlfriend decided to have a go at me and shout at me and tell me I'd ruined a holiday.

You have to understand how they see you - you are NOT their parent. They don't need to listen to you. Their dad might have been upset, but as a PARENT it is his job to take control of the situation and to speak to his children. Not yours. You're not related to them in any way. I am not saying they behaved well by any means, but it is not your place to step in and discipline them like that. It is upto their father to take control and be a parent.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:30:03

My DP and his ex are both very verbal/physical people. His ex wife screams at the girls so they scream back at her. That is how they argue. there is no sitting down talking.

DD15 physically abused her mother numerous times last Autumn causing many bruises and the police came to give her a warning. They still have a very volatile relationship. At that time DD15 was begging to come and live with us - she swings between the 2 parents.

My DP smacked his children when they were small, many families still do that, believe it or not. I have spoken at length with him about how you CANNOT smack a child/ teenager, he cannot physically restrain his children. He was smacked as a child. It's the classic 'it never did me any harm' scenario!

I have a good relationship with both my step daughters and we have had some great times together. I feel so sad.


theredhen Tue 20-Aug-13 10:30:35

You might find it helpful to post on the step parenting board. The situation you describe sounds similar to many step parents tales. hmm

Step kids do have it hard but they also learn to manipulate situations based on learning their parents insecurities and battles which "together" families don't have.

theredhen Tue 20-Aug-13 10:35:46

Livinginwonderland - they may not be her children, they may not even be her step children but if they behave like they did ON OP holiday and her children's holiday, I think she has every right to talk to them. If their behaviour had no impact on her or her children then fair enough but it very obviously did.

Whilst I agree the parents have created this situation by their apparent poor parenting, op has a right to not be treated badly or to allow her children to be treated badly.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:42:29

I didn't shout at them, I spoke to them. I spoke to all 4 kids about the holiday, not just the girls. I didn't single anyone out.

I'm not a girlfriend I'm more than that. I'm his wife in everything but that piece of paper - that means nothing anyway.

I wash their clothes, cook them meals, pick up after them, take them for weekends away, holidays, pay for things for them but I'm not allowed to speak to them and tell them how I feel about a situation they made worse.

I'm sorry but sometimes kids have got to take responsibility for their actions. Just because they're kids doesn't mean they don't need to hear the truth sometimes.

What does it matter who spoke to them, both me and their dad felt exactly the same way.


louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:44:05

theredhen - thank you

livinginwonderland Tue 20-Aug-13 10:48:01

It matters because you are not their parent! Can you not see that? You might be "his wife on everything but paper" but to them, you are his girlfriend. You're not engaged, you're not their step-parent and legally you have nothing to do with them. You are dealing with stroppy, hormonal teenagers. Anything that comes from you will be seen as you interfering (I am not saying you are, I'm saying that, to a teenager, that will be how it comes across).

I agree that their behaviour is appalling, but their dad needs to speak to them himself. It can't come from you. He needs to insist that they buck up their ideas and treat the entire family (you, your sons and him) a lot better. It needs to come from their biological parent because he is the one who is legally responsible for them, their welfare and what goes on until they are eighteen. They need to see that their dad has a voice, that he means business and that HE is the one to deal with their attitude, not that he's passing the buck to you.

EldritchCleavage Tue 20-Aug-13 10:56:49

Well I suggest a family meeting: DH, the girls, their mother. Start from there. DP and his ex to agree sanctions, boundaries together (e.g. no smoking at all in either house, a safe sex and healthy relationships discussion) and tell the girls how it will be, listen to them about what they think and feel, then see how it goes. DP and ex would need to be prepared to liaise on punishments and strategies.

Your DP also needs to apologise profusely for the slap and undertake never to hit the children again, and elicit a similar undertaking from his DDs.

Fairyliz Tue 20-Aug-13 10:58:06

I have been a stepchild (although better behaved than these two) and am now the motherof two teenagers.
My thoughts, I would have be incandesent with rage if my stepmother had ever told me off or my dad had hit me. They are children you are the adults.
Teenagers are selfish they don't care how much the holiday cost, their idea of fun is different to yours.
Teenage girls can never get up until lunchtime and they are always late getting ready its not just these two.
I can't offer any advice the kids were damaged the day mum and dad split up. My parents had a fairly amicable split but I would say it took me and my sister 20 years to get over it.

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