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Fiance's 10 yr old DD just moved in - difficult

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hello,

My friend and her fiance live together and have for awhile. He has a 10 year old dd that has been living in another state with his parents for the last 2 years. The girls mother had a lot of problems including drug use, and it sounds as if when push came to shove, she let the girls father have custody without too much of a fight. Due to a job with very erratic hours, the father had his dd live with his parents from age 8-10. Previously she had lived with her mother. Below are quotes from my friend. I will direct her to this website. She has never been here before, has no children of her own yet, and does not come from an API family FYI, so please be gentle in your responses, thanks so much!

Hopefully things will improve with dsd. Hope to have her talking with a school counselor by next week. Just seems like she focuses too much on the negative and expects more than what meets the realm of reality when it comes to what we can do for her. I'm guessing she wishes she could come home and play with daddy everyday and not have me in the picture and instead we get home from work do her homework and dp either makes dinner and goes to bed or goes straight to bed right when he gets home and sometimes I play with her and I'm cleaning and doing laundry. She seems to keep a running list of anything remotely negative and then at any unexpected moment something sets her off and she cries and goes through the whole list. Last night we went to my mom and dads and she was totally fine and then she started in. She started crying and my mom went to talk to her and she was saying all she things about me (complaining) and then when we were all talking she said "It just seems like you only care about my dad and not me". So I'm thinking of all the things I do for her and with her and trying to understand how we each see things totally different. I just spent the day with her Sat. shopping for more school clothes for her which I spent some of my own money on, took her to the apple orchard and climbed trees with her to pick apples, took her out to lunch at the place of her choice etc. It is just hard when we do so much and she seems to feel like we do nothing. Then other times she is all sweet to me and seems to admire me and actually appreciate things I do. I try to be patient but this every other day stuff is wearing me out. She does not want me and dp to have kids and she thinks he will love her less and so on. I tried to explain to her all the reasons that is not true and said we are going to have to work through this and she was like "I'm not going to change how I feel about it ever". Just hard to know how to respond a lot of the time when the normal sympathetic responses don't work.

dp does have a tough schedule and it can make things a bit tougher for all of us. Mainly when he gets off his 12 hour day plus the hour drive home, he often times tries to help with household stuff and do homework with dsd and cuts out on the sleep he typically needs. I'd say he averages 4-5 hours of sleep on a much too regular basis.

You know it is tough and then there are those days when you would never know there are any problems because she is in a great mood. Basically it seems like everything is pretty good until she gets asked to do something she does not want to do, or can't do something she does want to do or when she is jealous of the fact that dp and I are a couple and any attention we give each other and so typically daily she is upset about something and weekly it seems like she is crying over something. I did know she would be jealous of attention from me to him or him to me but I think I did not expect it to be this intense. dp and I talked last night about how she was invited to a friends house for a birthday party and it was her closest friend from daycare and when she first got the phone invite, she sounded excited and now she is saying she does not really want to go. dp and I are both wondering if it is because then she knows that dp and I will be alone together while she is away and she does not want that. She actually tries to keep track of how many hours she or I each have with daddy alone. I kind of felt bad going away for a couple of days but I feel we need to take care of us too and our relationship. I feel it is healthy and I feel dsd needs to understand that is normal and to be expected at times. We also make sure she has daddy/daughter days here and there. The frustration stems from feeling like there is no progress. Like when she says I only care about dad. I try to do all this stuff to be sure she does not feel like that. I give her hugs, help with homework, talk to her about school, take her shopping, play house etc. but it is like it all never happened when she gets in those moods. People that I talk to often say she is testing us and the limits. We have been sure to exercise discipline with her when she is out of line and has an attitude. We try to pick our battles to some degree because if she was grounded every time she was out of line, she would be grounded everyday. A couple of weeks ago she lost TV for a week because she had had a lot of attitude for a week, ending with a defiant attitude one Sat. morning where she stood in the hallway and ignored me when I asked her questions about cleaning her room. ANYWAY, between being spoiled by Grandma for the last two years and in a unstable somewhat neglectful situation with her mom for 8ish years and having 4ish or so years of seeing dad every couple of months, there is bound to be some issues. What I hope it that dsd can gradually accept that she is now living in the most healthy and "normal" situation she has had thus far. Living with Grandma was in many ways very healthy and I appreciate all Grandma did for her but it also was not normal. Grandma dropped everything for dsd. Grandpa was often gone out of town and dsd and Grandma were buds. With two parents working full time plus, the world can not stop for dsd and in my opinion it is unhealthy to have a child expect the world to stop for them as later in life, it is unrealistic. I realize she is 10 and 10 year olds typically can not see much outside their own world so I have some understanding there and work really hard to give extra but no matter how many hugs dp gives her, she will say he does not hug her, if we play with her three times a week, and the next week we don't have time, she will say we never play with her.

If family counseling was suggested by the school counselor, I would hop right on that.
post #2 of 2
Didn't want this to go unnoticed. It's tough, it really is, but it sounds like the normal first stages of a blended family to me- particularly forgetting about the happy memories stored in the "memory bank" when something goes wrong. The same with the testing- birth parents get it too, but step-parents get a lifetimes worth of attitude handed out in one lump, and it can be overwhelming.
Personally, I'd suggest your friend just hangs in there and keeps doing everything she's already doing, but loses all of the judgements- the stuff about her being spoilt, or this being the most normal family set-up she's had recently- and concentrates on being the best possible person she can be.
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