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AIBU?

Step daughters behaviour - AIBU or is my partner?

424 replies

LoopyHarry · 10/02/2024 21:14

I will preface by saying that 90% of the time, my step daughters are lovely. We have a great relationship and I love them very much. However, they are now late teens and at an age where there is some attitude, back chat, rudeness etc. I don’t want this thread to start lambasting them, my issue is with my partner.

I will start by I am quite sensitive and a non-confrontational person. I do get upset quite easily, especially at the moment as I have a young baby and I am very sleep deprived. I do accept that I could have perhaps handled these situations better, perhaps been more assertive or authoritarian. I am quite a fair bit younger compared to their dad (20s) and I came into the relationship when they were already older (12+). My relationship with them has always been that of an aunt / sister, as anything else felt inappropriate.

A few months ago, I took both my step daughters out for a day at a spa. It was expensive but I wanted to do something fun and treat them. Within half an hour of getting to the spa, both of them began to bicker and argue with one another. I tried to diffuse the situation as best I could and distract them, however, it resulted in one of them hitting the other in the middle of the spa. At that point I told the one who had hit the other off. For the rest of the day, the one who had been told off didn’t speak, answering with one word, being short and rude in her responses, and there was an awful atmosphere. Not only was it awful in the spa itself, but the hour long car ride home was spent sat in silence.

I told my partner who spoke to them and assured me it wouldn’t happen again.

Fast forward to a few months later, today I had arranged to meet some close family friends in town. We were to leave early in the morning so it tied in with the baby’s feed and nap, and my step daughters were also keen to go shopping before we met the family friends. I already felt a little anxious organising all of this because of what had happened last time. My partner has a hobby on a Saturday, and before he left this morning, he spoke to both of them about what had happened last time and reminded them of behaviour expectations. About ten minutes after he left, an argument started over a jacket that they both wanted to wear. It got progressively louder and worse, and we were at the point of needing to go. They then asked me what I thought, and I said that the one who was already wearing the jacket should wear it and we could always have a look for a similar one in town for the other girl. At that point, my step daughter who I hadn’t sided with, began to rant about how unfair it was, that she had nothing to wear, we’d ruined her outfit, and finished off by saying that her sister and I were both ‘thick’.

At this point I rang my partner and told him he needs to come back from his hobby and accompany his children. I would have just cancelled the day altogether but the family friend had already spent money on her travel arrangements. My partner went mad at me on the phone, saying he should be able to leave them alone with me and I need to be better at disciplining them. He also accused me of taking away his down time and reminding him of an ex who also used to phone him about family drama, and that he felt embarrassed in front of his friends as he had to cancel his hobby that day. I told him that it’s not my job to discipline them, and had I tried that in the past, and it resulted in a ruined day out and atmosphere. I am only trying to do something nice by organising these days out. I wasn’t prepared to do that again. He carried on having a go at me, and I’ll be honest by the end of the call I ended up very upset. He did come back from his hobby, but he has been in a foul mood all day. We haven’t really spoken at all.

My step daughter has apologised to me and we have sorted it out.

I am very upset with my partner, but he insists I just need to change my relationship with them and be bolder in confronting and disciplining their behaviour. I don’t feel that it’s my job to do so, I shouldn’t have to navigate these situations alone and I’ve come in when the children are already older and have established parents, rules, discipline etc.

Who is being unreasonable here?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

2672 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
10%
You are NOT being unreasonable
90%
Purplewarrior · 10/02/2024 21:20

I don’t understand without more background.

Do they live with you full time?

If these things are happening during DH contact time with his DC, then why the fuck is he swanning off doing his own thing and leaving you to parent his children? Fair enough the Spa break (please tell me he was looking after your/his baby at the time) but the rest of it sounds like a piss take.

He should be available to the DC for the entirety of his contact time. It’s not your responsibility.

FruitBat53 · 10/02/2024 21:20

Your mistake is caring for HIS children so he can do a hobby. Stop. They are his responsibility not yours. If he's not available, they should be with their Mum.

And he has absolutely no right to speak to you like that.

LoopyHarry · 10/02/2024 21:21

@Purplewarrior They are with us 50% of the time.

OP posts:
Footyfandango · 10/02/2024 21:21

You say they are late teens, exactly what age are they?

Purplewarrior · 10/02/2024 21:22

Oh I see. So he pays no maintenance?

And you look after the children…

He saw you coming mate.

10ThousandSpoons · 10/02/2024 21:22

he is

Greentangerines · 10/02/2024 21:22

How old are you? How old is your partner? How old are your step daughters?

LoopyHarry · 10/02/2024 21:23

@Footyfandango I‘m scared of outing myself by being too specific. I would say it’s the ages that most people find challenging!

OP posts:
LoopyHarry · 10/02/2024 21:24

@Greentangerines My partner is in his 40s, I’m in my 20s, the girls are both teenagers and we also have a baby.

OP posts:
LolaSmiles · 10/02/2024 21:24

Unless they live with you full time, why is he disappearing off for his hobby for large chunks of time leaving you to look after his children?

The red flag to me is that he went for the "my ex was awful and rang me about family things when I was with my friends" line and has been moody after. It sounds like he's hoping that you'll be so desperate not to be like his ex and want to avoid his bad moods that next time you'll leave him to his precious hobby.

Beezknees · 10/02/2024 21:25

Difficult to say without knowing the ages. In theory yes, he should be able to leave them if they're teens, however it sounds like he can't from the behaviour. He needs to be disciplining them himself.

LoopyHarry · 10/02/2024 21:25

@Purplewarrior He doesn’t pay maintenance but he pays half of everything. For example, my step daughters mum will ask for half the school uniform money, and he will send it straight away. He’s never had issues paying half for his children and my step daughters mum has never complained.

OP posts:
Dacadactyl · 10/02/2024 21:25

He is being the most unreasonable, but your SD are both unreasonable too.

I think he sounds awful tbh.

I'll never understand why young 20 year olds saddle themselves with much older men who have kids already. Blows my mind.

shoofly · 10/02/2024 21:25

If they are late teens they can be left at home. I would leave with baby and do your own thing

tenterden · 10/02/2024 21:26

Tell him you are no longer available to be unpaid nanny to his DC during his contact time.

He is absolutely taking the piss.

Mum2jenny · 10/02/2024 21:26

I’d be getting out of there. He is being a Disney dad and letting you do all the hard work.

Beezknees · 10/02/2024 21:26

LolaSmiles · 10/02/2024 21:24

Unless they live with you full time, why is he disappearing off for his hobby for large chunks of time leaving you to look after his children?

The red flag to me is that he went for the "my ex was awful and rang me about family things when I was with my friends" line and has been moody after. It sounds like he's hoping that you'll be so desperate not to be like his ex and want to avoid his bad moods that next time you'll leave him to his precious hobby.

If they're teens, they shouldn't need looking after. My DS is a teen and I leave him to go to the gym a couple of times a week. Most parents leave their teens at home alone from time to time.

Globetrote · 10/02/2024 21:27

Are they not old enough to be left at home by themselves? You say late teens so they should be and I would not be taking them anywhere with me if they are carrying on like a couple of squabbling children and hitting each other. Their DF can deal with that crap.

Wise up and leave the pare torn of his teens to him and don’t babysit them.

Globetrote · 10/02/2024 21:27
  • parenting not pare torn
Gazelda · 10/02/2024 21:28

I think their ages are relevant here.

If they're late teens, why didn't you just leave without them?

If they are under 16, then I'm surprised they were allowed entry to the spa.

LoopyHarry · 10/02/2024 21:29

I would have cancelled the day / gone alone with baby, but there was already arrangements with a family friend who was bringing her own teenagers (they are all friends), she’d also spent time and energy on paying for travelling and booking a large table for lunch. In the moment it didn’t seem right to cancel on her or let her down regarding the plans.

OP posts:
JemimaTiggywinkles · 10/02/2024 21:29

It isn't your job to disciple them. Your partner sounds like an arse. I'd just not plan any days out unless he's coming with you. If you want to go out on a day your step children are around and he isn't, just leave them behind.

Projectme · 10/02/2024 21:30

tenterden · 10/02/2024 21:26

Tell him you are no longer available to be unpaid nanny to his DC during his contact time.

He is absolutely taking the piss.

Sorry OP, I agree with this.

You have a young baby with him. You have both his step daughters whilst he swans off every Saturday for his 'hobby'? Nah...if its his turn to have HIS kids then he needs to be around.

LoopyHarry · 10/02/2024 21:30

@Gazelda The spa allows children over 13 to attend on certain days of the year. They aren’t allowed treatments or to enter certain areas, but most of the spa facilities are accessible like the pool.

OP posts:
GrazingSheep · 10/02/2024 21:31

You’ve unfortunately hooked up with a dickhead.
Are you financially independent?

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