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Hi all, new to group :)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hello parents,

My partner and I have been together for a few years now. He has an 8 year old daughter from a previous relationship and I have a 3 year old daughter from my previous marriage. His daughter doesn't live with us, but visits frequently and my daughter lives with us.

His daughter is actually a pretty good kid, quiet, likes to read, smart, creative and a pretty funny kid.

However, she does get an attitude sometimes (as most girls do/will) and I put her in check and let her know she is the child and I am the parent and she will follow the rules of our house when she is here. It seems I have to remind her a lot about certain rules and I hate to come off as the naggy, mean step-mom so I am wondering if there is a different approach I can go about to get her to follow the rules?

Also, is there a way to get the girls closer? There is a five year age gap and I'd like it if they played more together. I know their interests are different right now, but they've got to have something in common, right?

 

Thanks guys!

 

-Hannah

post #2 of 5

Welcome!  I have a dsd who is 6 years older than dd and 9 years older than ds, so I know how it goes trying to keep a wide age range playing happily :)

 

We are lucky that dsd still enjoys playing pretend and imaginary games-maybe not quite hte same way the younger ones do, but it stills omething they can all do together happily.  Otherwise, try to find activities that they can all do, like arts and crafts or listening to a story, etc., even if they do not all do it the same way, and hopefully that will make them realize they do have a little in common!

 

I dont' know how often your dd sees your dsd, but I know it took dsd much longer to get used to having a younger sibling than it would have if she saw her every day.  I think that older kids tend to take a while to see the littles ones as actual people too, if you know what I mean- 3 is just about the age where they can actually play a game or follow directions without "messing up" the older one's play, so hopefully as your dd gets older, your dsd will come to enjoy spending time with her and see her as a sibling/playmate instead of "a baby."  I don't know how long you have been living together, but this can be a big adjustment to make!

 

As far as listening...I hear lots of people say to leave all the discipline to the dad, that you have no place in that, etc., but that has not been practical for us.  I am the stay at home/work at home parent, so it naturally falls to me to discipline when necsesary if we are alone together.  No way am I going to be the parent saying, you just wait till your dad gets home!  If there is a big issue, I do ask dp deal with it for exactly the reason you said-I don't want to be the nagging stepparent/bad guy all the time (even though I still often feel that I am).  Otherwise, if she is an overall good kid like you say, try not to sweat the small stuff.  Realize that stuff she does probably annoys you more than it might if it were your dd doing it, that you both have little time to get used to each other before you are apart again, and try to enjoy it.  Easy to say, hard to do, but I hope that helps! 

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it :-)
She stays with us probably every other month for weeks on end. We live a few hours from her, so when she comes to stay, it's for a while.
You're right about the small stuff, I am knowingly a control freak and to let go os pretty hard, but I need to practice :-)
post #4 of 5

We are pretty up front about the potential differences between the two houses. "I'm not sure what the rules are at your moms, and they might be different. But remember that at bedtime here your choices are to read in bed or go to sleep. Playing with toys isn't a choice." We make an extra effort to make the expectations clear up front to everyone (for example, when the first child asks to be excused from the table we might give a general reminder to everyone that they are responsible for clearing their place). Like yours, my step-daughter spends long stretches at each house, so we tend to spend a lot of time establishing the routine at the beginning of her time here so that we don't feel like we have to nag the whole time she's with us. 

 

I grew up living between two houses with some very different rules, and my dad says that he felt it was unfair to expect us to just figure out the differences. He felt like being up front about the fact that there WERE differences, and what those were, was helpful and respectful. It is never in a tone of "I don't know what kind of nonsense you get away with at mom's, but at dad's we are good and decent people...", it is just an informational, "I'm not sure if the rules are different or if this is something you aren't used to or don't know how to do... how can I help make this easier so we are all on the same page?"

 

If you feel like there are things you are nagging about, see if there is information or a skill that is missing-- maybe the expectation is that she hang up her towel after a shower, but she can't reach the hook enough to make it stay up... Maybe you are nagging about picking up the bedroom and she doesn't know how to put books on the bookshelf. Both of these are real-life examples of things that were driving me nuts with my own kids (including my step-daughter) and it turned out that they just didn't know HOW to do what I was asking them to do). Make sure she has all the information and the skills she needs to do whatever you are asking.

 

You can also ask if there is something you can offer as a reminder besides you telling her over and over... A note on the door reminding everyone to take their shoes off, a Saturday chore list, a picture reminder of things that need to be done to get ready for bed. We tend to do them for everyone so we aren't singling any one person out... it never hurts for everyone to have a reminder. 

post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhindley87 View Post

Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it :-)
She stays with us probably every other month for weeks on end. We live a few hours from her, so when she comes to stay, it's for a while.
You're right about the small stuff, I am knowingly a control freak and to let go os pretty hard, but I need to practice :-)

 

Just curious how this works wrt school?

 

I really liked some of aricha's suggestions, especially making sure that she knows not only what is expected, but how to do it.

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