Hi guys, I apologise in advance if this is the wrong place to post this as this is my first post. I have read afew similar threads but not quite the same as my own current situation. So to start with yes im male (im aware this site is called mothering but its shocking how few quality sites there are for men around!) Basically i have been with my fiance for over a year now and her daughter is 3 and a half, in the beginning of our relationship I understood that her daughter was used to having all of my fiances attention and was understandably quite jealous of me, especially when we were close or kissed infront of her, But gradually as time went on she became OK with this, and i developed a very good relationship with her. Naturally, when we were alone after an extended period she would ask for her mommy, but i understand that they will always have this connection that biological father or not a mother and daughter will have. Now things have changed completely, she is rude to me, doesn't want to talk to or play with me at all. she is very clever about this however and doesn't do it when her mum is around, sometimes her mum witnesses this though and is shocked at her behaviour, for example. I was leaving the house for work just yesterday and she told me she wanted to kiss me goodbye, which I was shocked at anyway, as I returned to the door and bent down to kiss her she laughed and slammed the door in my face! My fiance' is also struggling for ideas, and says to give her time but she accepted me and now seems to have changed her mind, I know that when I am away she asks for me constantly, then when I get home she acts like she hates me, Its really upsetting because I see her as my own daughter and love her so much, it hurts that she throws it back in my face. I am very much involved in how she is raised and can be slightly more strict than her mum but I have been like that since the beginning and myself and her mother are very much a team when it comes to parenting. However this is causing friction between us. I really don't know what to do! HELP!!! Thankyou.
My Fiance's daughter and her mixed signals!?!?
Welcome to MDC! Hopefully you will get some good advice here :) I haven't really dealt with this situation but it sounds like the child is conflicted, that she does care about you but also feels jealous. Before you came along, was it just her and her mom? Has she ever had a male figure in her life? Are there any adults in her life that may be saying negative things about you or making her feel guilty for caring about you?
Yes before i came along it was just her and her mom. As her dad left when she was quite abit younger, however she still has some contact with her dad, but he lives in different countires so maybe just skype once every two weeks or so..I know that there is definately nobody saying negative things to her about me, as we are together the majority of the time apart from when she goes to kindergarten, I can understand that children get jealous, but she obviously cares about me, but is supressing it and refuses to admit or show it, and then in some instances acting completely against it for afew days at a time.
Thanks in advance!!
She's at the age where things get really tough for a while, so I wouldn't necessarily take it personally if I were you. A lot of kids this age choose one parent to love and one to "hate". It's most likely something to wait out. However, the two of you should take a firm stand against deliberate rudeness, cruelty, and hurtful behavior. A strong "No-one is allowed to do mean things like that to me!" is a good way to respond. You model standing up for yourself without attacking, and you offer her appropriate boundaries for treating people respectfully.
Sometimes it can help to have a talk later the same day. "Remember when you asked me to kiss you, then shut the door in my face? That really hurt my feelings, and made me worry that you might trick me again. I love you so much, and want us to be happy together, but I need to be sure you won't try to hurt me on purpose". Something like that. Things seem to sink in better once the big reaction is past. Also, it's good to introduce her to big relationship themes, and her part in maintaining good relationships. Things like trust and consideration for others are important to start learning early, but hard to get across.
I'm sorry, that is really tough :( It sounds like she is a little conflicted about how she is feeling (though obviously probably not aware of it at 3-1/2 and acting out because of it). It is somewhat normal behavior to choose a favorite parent at that age-my ds is 2-1/2 but will sometimes ask for daddy all day (his bio dad) and then refuse to have anything to do with him when he gets home, or at least needs time to warm up to the idea, whereas other times he is a total daddy's boy. Dd has always had me as her favorite, though, which has been tough for dad at times!
I would continue being affectionate with her in the bounds that he lets you-i.e. keep saying I love you, keep giving cuddles etc. when she wants to, keep offering to play with her. At that age, you can definitely tell her it hurts your feels when she slams the door in your face or other rude/inappropriate behavior, but I wouldn't "guilt" her about not wanting to be affectionate or play with you because I don't think she can really process that yet.
Have you tried the usual advice of spending one-on-one "special" time together (like a daddy-daughter date, not just the usual hanging out) or conversely making sure she is getting one-on-one time with her mom in case she is feeling left out?
I hope she comes around soon, she is lucky to have a dad in her life who cares so much :)
Thankyou all very much for your advice, it just so happened that i have had this week off work and have been able to pick up the little one from kindergarten early instead of her mum, so it made it alot easier to spend one-on-one time together and i have to admit she has been great, she seems to accept me completely when mommy isn't around and has been a total angel in terms of her behaviour in general and towards me. BUT it is because of this that i have realised that this behaviour does generally seem to occur when her mom IS around, leaning me more towards the idea that this is some sort of attention thing or maybe she feels that it is me and her when we are alone, and HER and MOM and then me seperately when we are all together because like i said before that is what she has always known, Afew examples are she asked her mom where my home was, she couldn't grasp that we live as a family in one home. Also when she was away visiting her biological dad we decorated her room and i bought a picture frame and put in a picture of just her and her mum, when i asked her if she would like me to be in the picture she said "no just me and mummy" in hindsight i realise that was a bad idea. Generally i just want her to understand that i am not going anywhere and for her to easily come to terms that we are all together and she can put some trust in me to be there for her in the long term, how do i go about this?
Honestly I think it will just take time. Especially for her to learn you are staying for the long haul. 3.5 is a tough age, my son is 3.5 and everyday is a struggle with him. However, regardless of age, she doesn't get to treat you meanly or disrespectfully. She shouldn't be treating anyone that way. So she does still need consequences for, say, slamming the door in your face. Perhaps she is just pushing your buttons to see how much you will take. Let her know right away, up front, that you and her mom are on the same page with how she treats you and be consistent.
I just wanted to say that a friend of mine's daughter went through his exact same thing around age 3-4 except the behavior was towards her biological father. Previously she had been a total daddy's girl! I think it lasted about a year or so. I think some kids just do this:) Lately my 2.5 year old has been preferring his dad over me and if I try to help him with something he will occasionally SCREAM "NO, I want daddy to do it!" I just remind him that he needs to speak to me in a kind voice because the yelling hurts my ears. So I guess if I were in your situation I would try to not focus on her preferring her mom over you but focus on reminding her what behaviors are appropriate (no hitting you etc), and remind her that you're all a family and families do things together.