Distancing myself from my SD - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 38 Old 12-30-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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I am a step dad going through the same problems listed below. I will try to implement some of the new ideals you have mentioned. It is really challenging when you feel that someone you live with really does not like you very much. But, as mentioned she has been with her mother long before I came onto the scene. Adults are really just large children. We all still have our own fears and unresolved issues that tend to be exposed in times of stress. I hope that I will be able to remain patient enough to see the beauty inside of the beast.
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#32 of 38 Old 12-30-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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Really it will get better, and ignoring it won't make it better, it will just get worse.

With distancing yourself from dsd your just giving up, and later she will feel that like a tun of bricks.

Your dh needs to get on board here, if you are going to co-parent and YES step parents have to parent. He needs to be in it with you, not them against you and thats what it sounds like to me.

He needs to talk to her, and let her know that your not going anywhere, and that you have feelings too, and if he fell in love with you, it was for a reason.

Good Luck to you!

Loving Dh, Mama x 4, Surrogate mother to 5. A born 2003, M and R girl/girl twins 2006, S and C boy/girl twins born 2010. Processing/healing.
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#33 of 38 Old 12-30-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NaturalMindedMomma View Post
Not attacking you, but I want your take on this...

In your previous post you stated:

"She is very young and most likely doesn't understand all that is going on and is dealing with it the best she can at her young age."

But in this post you state:

"But I also feel that she may be thinking (maybe) that her mother and father didn't make it together so what if she gets close to her stepmom and then they also don't make it and they split up. "

To me, if a child can reason about getting close in that way, they are a lot more mature than you think.
Definitely, children are smarter than we think they are, but at the same time they really don't know how to handle feelings they have and can go about things in the wrong manner. She's still a child, regardless of the situation or her age.

And fwiw, when I first met my stepmother when I was almost a teenager I wouldn't have liked it if she had to correct me or "mother" me either because at that time in my life I was difficult anyway and toss in the fact that my dad remarried at a crucial age for me and life was very hard for me. That doesn't make it right if I behaved badly but that type of behavior should probably be expected when a kid is going through the divorce and a new step parent entering the picture (the kids go through it all as well).

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#34 of 38 Old 01-02-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I do think you are being unreasonable. And believe me when I tell you, dsd and I had some ROUGH patches when she was growing up, especially around 10-11 y.o. landmark.

The bad news.
You are in it together - you and your partner. She is his daughter, and you can't pose ultimatums to father regarding his child. I just can't imagine telling DP "I'm done, you are on your own". We stop being a family at that point. (at least that's how I see it)

The good news.
You are in it together - you and your partner. Yes, she has a father, and yes, she can be an unreasonable, maybe even selfish kid, but she is now YOUR unreasonable selfish kid, kwim?

Your husband has to recognize that your role is a lot harder than his. If you tell him "this hurts me, we struggle with this, and this needs to be resolved," then you AND your husband need to come up with a solution that will help you to raise a child you committed to. He has to be committed to it as much as you are. It won't work otherwise.

Here is what I would continue doing.

*picking up when needed
*making lunches, dinners, snacks and favorite cookies, etc.
*offering without expectations: "Do you want to pick up a movie from the library?", "Do you want to make cookies with me?", "Do you want to play with us?"
*ask a quick "How are you doing?", ask "are you okay?" if I suspect she is hurt, or doesn't feel well.

Here I would stop doing.

* any form of discipline. Transfer this responsibility to your husband for now. This means everything - you don't tell her to clean her toys, or to make her bed, you don't tell her to eat her snack. You take care of her, but you don't discipline, you don't send her to her room when she is rude. This is where your husband has to do his part.

* expecting instant change. It took us years(!) to find balance and harmony in this family. It started with a fact that I realized that dsd's opinion of me is changing as time goes by, and I can choose to act differently - she will respond differently.

* I would also stop trying to involve her into things too hard. You offer once, and go about your business. She will want to participate in fun things, and if you don't make it a requirement, she will think twice "huh! that looks like fun!" Once she is the one asking to join you, she accepts the fact that fun stops when she doesn't behave nicely.

* don't insist on long conversations with her. Kids naturally want to tell things, BUT when you try to get "tell me about your day, how is school" from a kid that is having trouble accepting you, they get annoyed. Instead, try to say as little as possible. Let her set the pace of how often she wants to tell you things, and how much she wants to talk.

* Don't feel defensive. I guarantee your dsd is worried that you are taking her father away. She is jealous of all the time you get with him and she doesn't. This means two things - she needs to spend more time one-on-one with her dad (and that's up to him to realize and work it out), even an ice-cream place once a week woudl be great for just the two of them.

You and your husband need to recommit to this together. I think you should distance yourself, but in a different way than you are describing. You should take a step back and allow her to approach YOU as often as possible, vs. you trying to make it work.

I do speak from experience. We had a nightmare of a situation at some point over here. Then about 2 years ago I did exactly what I am suggesting for you to do.
This is what I did. Some of it worked, some of it didn't which may be the same for you....

I still feel defensive though. She is here 5 days and at her mom's 5 days. It's always been like that. She is allowed though to change the schedule as she chooses to suit herself and bc they never did anything proper through the courts visitation wise, her mother allows it. It's very disruptive to everyone to not know when she is coming day to day.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by NaturalMindedMomma View Post
Not attacking you, but I want your take on this...

She is 8 and should be held accountable for her actions (to a certain point). She understands that her manipulation is working, because if not she wouldn't continue it. It's working because of a seemingly unsupportive husband.

Some of you say she needs to be the grown up but she isn't being allowed to be the adult. I would be nervous to be at home alone with a child who obviously thought THEY were the boss and did not listen to me. I would refuse to be left alone with this child. What if she lashes out physically at you or your DS??? Then what would you do? Children with anger can do pretty crazy things.

I DO agree DH is more the issue than DSD. I would not be allowing him to leave me alone with a child that does not listen to me. This is YOUR home and you have a right to be respected in it. My children have friends over and THEY listen and respect me. DSD would be no different.

With that said, I think family counseling may be a great idea. How is the situation with DSD's mom? Maybe you could involve her for suggestions of things DSD may like.

Now I want to say, I am new to this step parenting thing again, but this is what my gut tells me. Maybe I am wrong and I hope I didn't offend anyone.

BIG HUGS HUNNY...

Good luck
SPOT ON mama!!! Spot on!

I think this is very sound advice. In MY situation....

Dp here does not hold dsd accountable for ANY of her actions....lying, hitting, disrespect etc...and he never has. It was always a well, you know you shouldn't do that and talking to her like she was years older than she was....in one ear and out the other....Now, with OUR child together, she is held accountable for EVERY LITTLE THING she does wrong and she's 4 years old. So that's another issue I am having to deal with. No step up with the 9 year old but too much step up with the 4 year old.

I have been in dsd's life since she was 20 months old. This isn't a new relationship......she is not getting used to me. I've always been there. Dsd has lashed out in anger.....her sister's fingers have been slammed in doors, she's been pushed, ignored to the point of tears and nothing is done about it bc HE wasn't home to see it so she gets away with it. So I have in the very recent past, kept them apart. I have also told him in no uncertain terms that he needs to figure out his schedule (it's somewhat flexible) bc she is here to see HIM on the weekends, not spend time with JUST me and her sister.....

YOUR dsd needs to be held accountable for her disrespect and all that goes with it. Her father needs to recognize that this is happening. I don't discipline dsd anymore. It was futile. I gave time outs. Was never harsh, never yelled and it became a game of he said, she said and I always lost that game. As she would sit and look at me with a snide smile. It was awful. He didn't see it. He saw a bit more lately but it's almost too much too late. She was like this in our house bc of me apparently. But I did nothing but be kind to her, try to involve, etc to no avail the past 3 years.

So me? I'm done for now. For awhile....for my sanity. It is MY house too. It is not ruled by a 9 year old who gets to make up her own visitation schedule and change it on a whim. It is not ruled by a 9 year old who can come and basically do as she pleases. If she wants to do that, then her father needs to be here and not have her here with just me.

Your dh needs to step up and parent with you and not against you with dsd so it becomes him and dsd v. you.

Counseling wasn't an option for us bc a) it's not covered on insurance and it's expensive and b) he refused to go....bc then he'd have to admit his part in it. Counseling isn't always the be all end all some ppl make it out to be. JMO.

For those reading, please don't flame me. I just shared my situation and how I am handled it. It's working right now...in a month, who knows but right now, there is mostly calm.



If you want to talk mama, you can email me through my profile.

Many hugs and blessings.
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#35 of 38 Old 01-02-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunshine's mama View Post



Dp here does not hold dsd accountable for ANY of her actions....lying, hitting, disrespect etc...and he never has. It was always a well, you know you shouldn't do that and talking to her like she was years older than she was....in one ear and out the other....Now, with OUR child together, she is held accountable for EVERY LITTLE THING she does wrong and she's 4 years old. So that's another issue I am having to deal with. No step up with the 9 year old but too much step up with the 4 year old.

I have been in dsd's life since she was 20 months old. This isn't a new relationship......she is not getting used to me. I've always been there. Dsd has lashed out in anger.....her sister's fingers have been slammed in doors, she's been pushed, ignored to the point of tears and nothing is done about it bc HE wasn't home to see it so she gets away with it. So I have in the very recent past, kept them apart. I have also told him in no uncertain terms that he needs to figure out his schedule (it's somewhat flexible) bc she is here to see HIM on the weekends, not spend time with JUST me and her sister.....

YOUR dsd needs to be held accountable for her disrespect and all that goes with it. Her father needs to recognize that this is happening. I don't discipline dsd anymore. It was futile. I gave time outs. Was never harsh, never yelled and it became a game of he said, she said and I always lost that game. As she would sit and look at me with a snide smile. It was awful. He didn't see it. He saw a bit more lately but it's almost too much too late. She was like this in our house bc of me apparently. But I did nothing but be kind to her, try to involve, etc to no avail the past 3 years.

So me? I'm done for now. For awhile....for my sanity. It is MY house too. It is not ruled by a 9 year old who gets to make up her own visitation schedule and change it on a whim. It is not ruled by a 9 year old who can come and basically do as she pleases. If she wants to do that, then her father needs to be here and not have her here with just me.

Your dh needs to step up and parent with you and not against you with dsd so it becomes him and dsd v. you.

Counseling wasn't an option for us bc a) it's not covered on insurance and it's expensive and b) he refused to go....bc then he'd have to admit his part in it. Counseling isn't always the be all end all some ppl make it out to be. JMO.

For those reading, please don't flame me. I just shared my situation and how I am handled it. It's working right now...in a month, who knows but right now, there is mostly calm.
This is very similar to what was going on in our house, except we had dsd and ds living in our home full time, and dh expected ds to be perfect while dsd got away with murder. I finally blew up and told him he had to take her to work with him (or make time some other way) or I was going to file for divorce and leave, since he didn't back me up and treated her like she was 3 and could do no wrong while I was supposed to just smile and put up with whatever she did 24/7. He was working 70 and 80 hour weeks and I never got any breaks, so it was pretty much nothing but him patting her on the head and undermining me while she stole, lied, sneered and did whatever she pleased. : Anything I did to discipline was considered too harsh by dh. But then he'd turn around and tell me I needed to spend time with her...yeah, right. The reality was, he didn't want to parent his own child.

We did therapy, but it didn't do any good because she lied to the therapists and thought it was a big joke that we had to drive for 4 hours back and forth to give her all this attention every 2 weeks while she continued to jerk everyone around and get out of school early, too. We also got to eat out twice a month, another bonus because of the timing and distance involved. She was being rewarded for bad behavior.

It is crucial that both parents work together. And therapy only works when you have the right therapist. It makes me sick to think about all the time and money we wasted on the wrong ones.

You have to distance yourself to save your sanity. When the biological parent completely shoves their responsibility off on the stepparent, there is no way it's going to work. It isn't fair, it isn't right, and it's a recipe for disaster. If it continues, it guarantees the child is not going to have any positive attention in that household because the bioparent is absent and the stepparent is going to leave or become so stressed and angry they check out. The only solution is to make the bioparent be a parent, and a partner.

If nothing else, it's insulting to both the child and the stepparent to think any adult is interchangable and can just be dropped into a parenting role seamlessly. Or because you have a little girl she automatically will like a stepmother, or a little boy will automatically like a stepdad.

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#36 of 38 Old 01-03-2009, 12:14 AM
 
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As far as the computer deal on Wednesday mornings. This is what I would do and I'm sure it's not the ideal thing to do but oh well. If your DH isn't helping you in this situation then I'd let her remain on the computer and if she misses the bus then she doesn't go to school. Let her stay home. If she continue to miss school then I'm thinking your DH will start to take interest in the whole situation at that point. That type of situation isn't your problem, it's her mother and father's problem if she needs to get to school each day on time.
I agree with this suggestion. It prevents you being put in the middle. I'm sure part of why she's refusing to leave is because she thinks you can't tell her what to do, and by saying, okay, then if you miss the bus, you don't go to school, it's as though you're saying, you're right, I'm not your mom, I can't tell you what to do. This is for your father to deal with. And that very well may be what she wants to hear. Then once she hears that message (maybe verbally, or through your actions) she may no longer create conflict to communicate this desire.

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#37 of 38 Old 01-03-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NaturalMindedMomma View Post
What if she lashes out physically at you or your DS??? Then what would you do? Children with anger can do pretty crazy things.
This is a very valid concern. The whole thread I couldn't stop thinking, if she is so angry at stepmom, when is she going to hurt the baby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaturalMindedMomma View Post
I DO agree DH is more the issue than DSD. I would not be allowing him to leave me alone with a child that does not listen to me. This is YOUR home and you have a right to be respected in it. My children have friends over and THEY listen and respect me. DSD would be no different.
I also agree that the father needs to be more involved here. It sounds as though he's not doing all that he can to make this adjustment go well for everyone.

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#38 of 38 Old 01-03-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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"I DO agree DH is more the issue than DSD. I would not be allowing him to leave me alone with a child that does not listen to me. This is YOUR home and you have a right to be respected in it. My children have friends over and THEY listen and respect me. DSD would be no different."

Bingo. Nobody (not a child, not my DH, not some other adult) treats me disrepectfully in my own home.

Are you and your DH sure that your SD even wants to be in your home once night per week and EOW? What is her living situation like with her mom? What are her mom's feelings on the issue? I think that people tend to assume that joint physical custody is the best way to arrange a young child's life post-divorce, when that may not always be true.

Maybe you should try that tack with DH. Ask to explain to SD that by treating his wife disrespectfully, she is showing that she does not want to be part of his family - she may want to be keep up the father-daughter relationship, she may love him very much, but her actions show that she does not want to be a member of his household. That may be true - she might rather see him at the amusement park when he can afford it, have him attend her school events, etc., but not sleep under his roof with his new wife and baby. Your DH should also talk with SD's mother, in a non-angry way even if he thinks it's somehow her fault, and get her opinion on whether SD would be happier to live in her mom's household full-time. Maybe that's not the case. Maybe when all the adults in her life explain to her that the only way she lives in her father's house is if she shows appropriate respect to her father's wife, she will choose to change her behavior.

Draw the line. Right now, you are teaching your SD that a grown woman should accept being treated badly by her family members. That is not a lesson that any little girl has ever benefitted from.
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