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#1 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I have been married for almost 2 years. For most of this time, my SD (8) has generally been disdainful towards me. She lies to me, she lies about me to my DH to get him against me, she doesn't show me basic respect/manners, she ignores me when I talk to her, she doesn't listen to me when I am the only adult home, etc.

DH and I have talked about this numerous times and about 2 months ago, I told him that if it continues, I do not want to be responsible for SD or have my EOW turned into a misery b/c of her behavior. Now, since it is still happening, I told him that I don't want to be responsible for SD on the Tuesday afternoons after school before he comes home from work and Wednesday mornings after he already went to work and that I want him to see her without involving me and my DS. Currently he has SD EOW and EOTuesday overnight.

Am I being unreasonable? DH asked me to get some opinions on this.
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#2 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 11:13 PM
 
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DH and I have talked about this numerous times and about 2 months ago, I told him that if it continues, I do not want to be responsible for SD or have my EOW turned into a misery b/c of her behavior. Now, since it is still happening, I told him that I don't want to be responsible for SD on the Tuesday afternoons after school before he comes home from work and Wednesday mornings after he already went to work and that I want him to see her without involving me and my DS. Currently he has SD EOW and EOTuesday overnight.

Am I being unreasonable? DH asked me to get some opinions on this.
Ok opinions you asked, opinion you shall receive.
First of all, what do you hope to gain by avoiding your SD? This is hardly going to help change the situation, is it?
Secondly, you have to remember you are the adult in this scenerio, however your attitude comes across quite childish.."your"EOW ruined? Its not YOUR EOW, its your husbands. Ok, youre there but still...you get what I mean.
Really, IMO, you need to change your attitude towards your SD.You don't have to discipline her, etc, leave that to your DH, but instead try to do friendly things...girls nights in, movie nights, craft time, something bonding you two together, and leave the bad stuff for her dad to deal with. Come on, your DH is an adult, if an 8 year old "lies" on you, is it really that big of a deal? This is normal child behaviour....not a big threat to you really, in the grand scheme of life, is it.? I think you have deeper issues revolving around your SD and you are over analyzing her behaviour toward you.
Step back, take a breather, and be a friend to her. If she is rude to you, just tell her I am sorry you feel you have to be rude me, lets talk to your dad together about these feelings. Maybe she even needs counselling to help get her through these issues.
It should totally always be about HER, and not about you. She is the child.

JMHO.

Me and my wonderful husband serve God. Blessed with twin girls 2/11/11. <3

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#3 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok opinions you asked, opinion you shall receive.
First of all, what do you hope to gain by avoiding your SD? This is hardly going to help change the situation, is it?
Secondly, you have to remember you are the adult in this scenerio, however your attitude comes across quite childish.."your"EOW ruined? Its not YOUR EOW, its your husbands. Ok, youre there but still...you get what I mean.
Really, IMO, you need to change your attitude towards your SD.You don't have to discipline her, etc, leave that to your DH, but instead try to do friendly things...girls nights in, movie nights, craft time, something bonding you two together, and leave the bad stuff for her dad to deal with. Come on, your DH is an adult, if an 8 year old "lies" on you, is it really that big of a deal? This is normal child behaviour....not a big threat to you really, in the grand scheme of life, is it.? I think you have deeper issues revolving around your SD and you are over analyzing her behaviour toward you.
Step back, take a breather, and be a friend to her. If she is rude to you, just tell her I am sorry you feel you have to be rude me, lets talk to your dad together about these feelings. Maybe she even needs counselling to help get her through these issues.
It should totally always be about HER, and not about you. She is the child.

JMHO.
I know it is my DH's EOW, but I am married to him and I exist on those weekends also. When SD treats me badly and lies to DH about me and has him manipulated all weekend, it makes 1/2 of the weekends of my life suck. Weekends are when I have real time with DH and I don't think I should have to expect that 1/2 of those weekends are going to be miserable with no time spent together.

My DH doesn't discipline his DD. When she lies, he just tells her she shouldn't lie and pretends it never happened. He doesn't "see" when she is doing these things.

I have tried being a friend to her, doing arts and crafts things with her, making her special desserts when she is with us, etc. I have gotten figurative slaps in the face in return.

In addition, the main thing here is I don't want to be the sole adult responsible for my SD when DH is not home. Is that unreasonable?
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#4 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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I'm with Transitions here. I don't doubt that she's a handful and that you're unhappy about the situation, it's just that you're the adult in this situation and she's not. Your DH has a limited amount of time with his daughter, and since you live together, it's not practical for him to just arrange for that time to not involve you. If you are going to continue to be involved with her father, you need to find some way to come to terms with her - avoiding her is an utter impossibility in the long term.
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#5 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 11:24 PM
 
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I know it is my DH's EOW, but I am married to him and I exist on those weekends also. When SD treats me badly and lies to DH about me and has him manipulated all weekend, it makes 1/2 of the weekends of my life suck. Weekends are when I have real time with DH and I don't think I should have to expect that 1/2 of those weekends are going to be miserable with no time spent together.

My DH doesn't discipline his DD. When she lies, he just tells her she shouldn't lie and pretends it never happened. He doesn't "see" when she is doing these things.

I have tried being a friend to her, doing arts and crafts things with her, making her special desserts when she is with us, etc. I have gotten figurative slaps in the face in return.

In addition, the main thing here is I don't want to be the sole adult responsible for my SD when DH is not home. Is that unreasonable?
Im sorry, but your attitude still stinks!!! You married a man, who you knew had a child, knew would spend time with him on EOWs, so there is nothing you can do about it, she is going to be there!! Perhaps she senses your feelings towards her and that is why she is acting out!!!
Ok, to your question, no, its not unreasonable to tell your DH you don't want to be the sole responsible adult if he is not there. Just tell him you dont want her there when he isnt there. Lets see how good this goes over on your marriage.

This is a little girl, going through things. I am sorry you feel like your DH doesnt discipline her enough, but it is his call on how to discipline his daughter.
The daughter is there for the long haul, shes not going anywhere.
You are going to have to work through this if you want to stay married to your DH...


Sorry to sound so harsh, but I tell it like I see it.
I do hope you can think long and hard about how this is affecting the family, and choose your actions wisely!

Me and my wonderful husband serve God. Blessed with twin girls 2/11/11. <3

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#6 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by almostmommy View Post
I know it is my DH's EOW, but I am married to him and I exist on those weekends also. When SD treats me badly and lies to DH about me and has him manipulated all weekend, it makes 1/2 of the weekends of my life suck. Weekends are when I have real time with DH and I don't think I should have to expect that 1/2 of those weekends are going to be miserable with no time spent together.

My DH doesn't discipline his DD. When she lies, he just tells her she shouldn't lie and pretends it never happened. He doesn't "see" when she is doing these things.
This is not an issue you have with your stepdaughter. This is an issue you have with your husband. It needs to be addressed with him, by working with him.

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In addition, the main thing here is I don't want to be the sole adult responsible for my SD when DH is not home. Is that unreasonable?
Who should the other involved adult be?
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#7 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 11:40 PM
 
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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.

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#8 of 38 Old 12-10-2008, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
Thank you for the concrete suggestions. I really appreciate them.

Do you have a suggestion for what I should do when I am the only adult home? Like on Wednesday mornings, should I just let her miss the bus when she won't listen to me about getting off the computer and getting her shoes and coat on? And then, what happens when she misses the bus?
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#9 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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I agree with most of what has been suggested. Especially the part that you signed on for this so you need to be the adult and make it work if the marriage is important to you. And yes, I have been there myself.

I do think that your dh needs to change his schedule, at least for a while, so that he covers the Wednesday mornings. Also, although you should not be responsible for disciplining her, you and dh should sit down and hammer out a few house rules and consequences that are equal for both your kids and that the bio parent is expected to enforce. Then you enforce them with your ds and table any discussion about his dd for at least three months no matter her behavior or his follow through.

As far as the weekends go you need to remember that while you feel "your" EOWs suck she feels it even more. After all, she was there first so she is the one sharing him with you even though she really didn't have control of that. Plus a big difference is that at the end of the time when she feels she has had a crappy two days she has to leave knowing that you get to stay. That has got to hurt bad.

Those weekends should be planned so that your dh takes his dd on an outing, or even stays in and you go out or just stay in a different part of the house, for at least most of one of the days. Take your ds and spend one-on-one time with him, it can only benefit you both. As the pp pointed out, these are her EOWs, put in place to ensure the continued relationship between her and her father. The fact that you and he decided to make a new family out of it is not her responsibility. Plus, your dh reconnecting with his daughter fully on a regular basis like this may take away some of the guilt and fear of losing her that may be what is preventing him from disciplining her.

Good Luck!
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#10 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Those weekends should be planned so that your dh takes his dd on an outing, or even stays in and you go out or just stay in a different part of the house, for at least most of one of the days. Take your ds and spend one-on-one time with him, it can only benefit you both. As the pp pointed out, these are her EOWs, put in place to ensure the continued relationship between her and her father. The fact that you and he decided to make a new family out of it is not her responsibility. Plus, your dh reconnecting with his daughter fully on a regular basis like this may take away some of the guilt and fear of losing her that may be what is preventing him from disciplining her.

Good Luck!
I agree with this, although DH always wants us to do things all together as a family. Or, DH will suggest that he take SD to the park or something else that is not expensive, but she only wants to go to an indoor amusement park that we cannot afford on a regular basis.

So, when we all go do something together, like the children's museum or something, I'm just a third wheel with our 8 month old DS while SD does stuff with DH. She will even cut me off so that I have to walk behind her and DH, instead of together with them. It's very uncomfortable/embarrassing when these things happen out in public. I wish sometimes he would just do something with her alone, but then I also feel lonely at home because I don't get to spend time with DH. But I think I'll just have to make other plans and have DH do something one-on-one with SD on the Sundays we have her.
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#11 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just read an essay on disengaging. DH is asleep now, but I emailed it to him and asked him to read it and give me his opinion. I think that is what I'd like to try. I will be physically present and do things if my DH needs me to, but leave the main responsibility to him.

Opinions?
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#12 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 01:44 AM
 
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Parenting should be left up to the parent, period.

About the late for the bus thing:

You can say: "your dad asked me to remind you to catch the bus in 'X' minutes". If she doesn't respond and misses the bus . . . let her father know and I'm sure he'll find a way so she will take your kind reminders seriously.

If you are left alone all you can say is: "your dad said or asked me to etc" . . . if that doesn't work something has to be worked out with your dh so all the parenting isn't left up to you.

I have had to leave my home on some weekends because of the difficulties in our home with my dh's children. I have gotten good at being busy every other weekend so dhs' kids can have their dad to themselves. Yes,It has gotten better over time. But that's another story.

Good luck and many hugs mama.
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#13 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 01:56 AM
 
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I think you need to deal with your dh and his inability to parent, but by walking away, you are telling a child they are 1. not worth fighting for and 2. the winner in this battle of the wills.

You said in your first post you wanted to keep her away from your DS, that is probably one of the worst things you could do. She needs to know she is still a part of the family, but she probably resents that her father is raising this new child, and not her. She VISITS her dad, but doesn't sound like she is a part of HIS family. That must hurt any child. I wouldn't care how much she lies, call her on it. "look SD, I know it must hurt you very badly to not see your daddy all the time, it would hurt me too if I had to only see him on certain days, but you aren't getting anywhere with making up stories, now if you NEED anything or want to discuss what we can do to make YOU feel better, I am more then happy to do what ever I can to help you, but I will not allow you to lie and if you continue, your father and I have decided the consequences are x,y and z". But you and your dh need to figure out what the consequences are.

As for the question about the ocmputer, remove the power cord. Let her know she has many choices in her life and she can choose what she wants to wear and what she wants for breakfast etc. but she can't choose if she goes to school or not. Set her up for success, not giving her the opportunity to fight you anymore.

It was a little different with my SS, we have him full time, but he tested me quite a bit a year or so ago (8 years old) and honestly, I lost it on him. I got in his face and told him he could behave as terribly as he wanted, but NOTHING he did was going to get rid of me. I was NOT going anywhere and I was never going to leave him, EVER. That I loved him very much and I was going to fight to get him to see that. He started crying and got a huge smile and gave me a huge hug. It was a turning point for us.

Do you want to have a battle with a child for the rest of your life? Or do you want to FIX this, only you can make that decision, she is just a little girl. Sounds like a sad little girl.
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#14 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 02:17 AM
 
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You should not be the only parent at home with her on his weekends. Period.

While you are trying to establish your relationship and she is obviously fighting it, it's extremely unfair for your dh to put you in that position. BTDT. You're being put into the position of having to discipline if necessary because you're the only adult there, but you don't really have any authority. Unfair.

Your dh needs to revamp his schedule, or find a way to take her with him. You've been put into a no-win situation.

Later, when the relationship is stronger, you can have one on one time, but right now, no wonder things are rough. My dh did the same thing to me and it nearly cost us our marriage before we got it sorted out.

You can't just drop someone into a blended family situation and expect a child to accept them as an authority figure and like them at the same time. It just doesn't work. Why would it? It doesn't make sense.

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#15 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 10:31 AM
 
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I agree with Oriole's suggestions in particular, so I won't repeat them. She's so sassy.

I know that some of the replies here to your original post must have stung a bit. I see people saying that you should suck it up and be the grown-up. We all have to do that, right? Personally, I don't think you're not acting like a grown-up. I think you're hurting and confused and feeling unsupported in your own home. Also, let me validate that it is extremely difficult to live with someone you know doesn't want you there - whether it's a child or not.

That said, as long as you choose to remain with your DH - and I don't hear you saying that leaving is an option - you're going to have to figure out a way to live with your SD. Chances are she's hurting and confused and feeling unsupported too!

The best advice I can give you is to be kind, kind, kind - ALL THE TIME. In my experience, children respond extremely well to genuine kindness. If you're feeling frustrated or grumpy, you need to remove yourself from your SD's presence. Not only is it the best thing for SD, it's really the best thing for you. Take a few minutes to breathe, recharge and pull yourself together. The really good thing about NOT being the parent in this situation is that you don't have to discipline her and you can be kind all the time without having to get into "parent-mode."

And your DH should look into changing his schedule while SD is still so needy.

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#16 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 12:14 PM
 
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DH and I have been married for almost 2 years. For most of this time, my SD (8) has generally been disdainful towards me. She lies to me, she lies about me to my DH to get him against me, she doesn't show me basic respect/manners, she ignores me when I talk to her, she doesn't listen to me when I am the only adult home, etc.

DH and I have talked about this numerous times and about 2 months ago, I told him that if it continues, I do not want to be responsible for SD or have my EOW turned into a misery b/c of her behavior. Now, since it is still happening, I told him that I don't want to be responsible for SD on the Tuesday afternoons after school before he comes home from work and Wednesday mornings after he already went to work and that I want him to see her without involving me and my DS. Currently he has SD EOW and EOTuesday overnight.

Am I being unreasonable? DH asked me to get some opinions on this.
I think it depends.

Are you a SAHM who takes care of other kids during this time? If so, I think you should be able to handle your SD on those afternoons.

If you aren't...then I think it's reasonable for you to say "no, I'm not taking care of this kid." You shouldn't be forced to do this just because you're the wife. I think a lot of men fall into the trap of wanting to be taken care of, and offloading childcare onto whichever women are in their lives.

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#17 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it depends.

Are you a SAHM who takes care of other kids during this time? If so, I think you should be able to handle your SD on those afternoons.

If you aren't...then I think it's reasonable for you to say "no, I'm not taking care of this kid." You shouldn't be forced to do this just because you're the wife. I think a lot of men fall into the trap of wanting to be taken care of, and offloading childcare onto whichever women are in their lives.
I am a WAHM with an 8 month old DS that I have with DH. At the moment, I arrange my schedule of errands etc to be home when her bus arrives on Tuesday and wake up early and invariably wake my DS in the process b/c he sleeps with me to get her off to school on Wednesday morning.
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#18 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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I was going to stay out of this one, but some of the comments seem overly harsh and in reality not helpful, so I'll put my two cents in as someone who has been there (or close to it).

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I think it depends.

Are you a SAHM who takes care of other kids during this time? If so, I think you should be able to handle your SD on those afternoons.

If you aren't...then I think it's reasonable for you to say "no, I'm not taking care of this kid." You shouldn't be forced to do this just because you're the wife. I think a lot of men fall into the trap of wanting to be taken care of, and offloading childcare onto whichever women are in their lives.
I think that it depends on more than that. I think that there needs to be a level of comfort and understanding between the stepparent and the stepchild. One of the PPs mentioned that it is hard to step into the role of authority figure before you and the child are comfortable with each other. I really believe that this is true. If the child refuses to listen to the stepparent and the child's parent will not do anything to fix the problem, then it is unfair (and possibly dangerous/detrimental to the child's well-being) of the parent to put the child in the stepparent's care. The incident cited by the OP of her dsd refusing to get ready for school is an example of this.

OP, I had been in my stepdaughter's life for two years before I was responsible for getting her ready for school by myself. It took a long time before either of us was ready for me to be in that kind of role, and I am really glad that we went slowly with it. My dsd was quite a bit younger than the yours. With an older child, I would go even more slowly.

As far as the issues with weekends go and feeling like your dsd is competing with you for your dh's attention, I would say that these are very common and normal feelings in blended families. I once read a book about stepparenting that talked about how young girls often "try out" their sexuality on their fathers (a common, healthy occurrence regardless of family arrangement). In a nuclear family, the child's mother can easily look at the behavior as cute and precocious. In a blended family, the new spouse can see the same innocent behavior as threatening.

It is easy to feel like a third wheel at first. I did often in the beginning. It wasn't until DS became old enough to really interact with the rest of the family that I felt like I belonged. Before then, I just felt like I was crashing their party.

DH and I did some counseling early on in the blending process, and I felt like it was really helpful. Being on neutral territory helped us listen to each other better than we could at home.

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#19 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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I was going to stay out of this one, but some of the comments seem overly harsh and in reality not helpful, so I'll put my two cents in as someone who has been there (or close to it).



I think that it depends on more than that. I think that there needs to be a level of comfort and understanding between the stepparent and the stepchild. One of the PPs mentioned that it is hard to step into the role of authority figure before you and the child are comfortable with each other. I really believe that this is true. If the child refuses to listen to the stepparent and the child's parent will not do anything to fix the problem, then it is unfair (and possibly dangerous/detrimental to the child's well-being) of the parent to put the child in the stepparent's care. The incident cited by the OP of her dsd refusing to get ready for school is an example of this.

OP, I had been in my stepdaughter's life for two years before I was responsible for getting her ready for school by myself. It took a long time before either of us was ready for me to be in that kind of role, and I am really glad that we went slowly with it. My dsd was quite a bit younger than the yours. With an older child, I would go even more slowly.

As far as the issues with weekends go and feeling like your dsd is competing with you for your dh's attention, I would say that these are very common and normal feelings in blended families.
Exactly! In my dsd's eyes, I was the reason she wasn't spending time with her dad, but in reality, he was shoving his responsibilities off on me. She had no way of knowing that. It was easier for him to have me take over childcare, but to her, it felt like I was keeping her dad from her. I'm sure it seems that way to the OP's dsd as well.

Dads can't just drop a new stepmom in as a babysitter and expect everything to be hunky-dory no matter how much they want it to be. When I mentioned this to our therapist she laughed and said You'd be surprised how many men do this and expect everything to be fine.

I don't think they're dumb, they're just very hopeful and caught up in their new relationships, and they're not picking up on what's going on with their kids. But when their wives start telling them about it and their kids are obviously crying out for attention, they need to stop and listen, yk?

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#20 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 02:42 PM
 
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the things you are focusing on re: waking your 8 month old early and walking behind dsd and dh when out do not paint you in the best light, bc it makes it sound like a) you are selfish and b) you are jealous. i'm sure this isn't entirely true, isn't the whole story, and also, that a whole lot of bad decisions on your h's part have contributed to things devolving to this place, but, this isn't a place you should try to stay for very long cause it sounds toxic.

i would try to disengage from your own resentment and anger at dsd before trying to disengage from dsd. my suggestion would be to figure out how to see her in a more positive light so you can begin interacting more joyfully with her.
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#21 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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the things you are focusing on re: waking your 8 month old early and walking behind dsd and dh when out do not paint you in the best light, bc it makes it sound like a) you are selfish and b) you are jealous. i'm sure this isn't entirely true, isn't the whole story, and also, that a whole lot of bad decisions on your h's part have contributed to things devolving to this place, but, this isn't a place you should try to stay for very long cause it sounds toxic.

i would try to disengage from your own resentment and anger at dsd before trying to disengage from dsd. my suggestion would be to figure out how to see her in a more positive light so you can begin interacting more joyfully with her.
I can totally relate to those, because when dh and I got together, dsd would literally push me out of the way so she could walk next to her dad and lean on him like she was the fiancee and I was the child. She would also do this thing where she would muscle in where I was standing and loudly say excuse me expecting me to move out of her way all the time instead of waiting her turn. If I opened the refrigerator, or a cabinet, or whatever, suddenly she had to be there and I was in her way. She'd do the excuse me thing like it was polite to just muscle in as long as you said excuse me. It isn't. Dh finally told her both she and ds were to walk behind us or in front of us, but the children would be together and the adults would be together.

It's very much a power play because she resents her stepmother and she isn't getting enough time with dad, but she doesn't dare show her anger at dad so she directs it all at her stepmother.

Counseling, counseling counseling! And dad needs to step up to the plate.

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#22 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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You've gotten lots of good advice here. But I'll go ahead and add my 2 cents. I think your dh needs to step up. If she is treating you disrespectfully then there need to be agreed upon consequences for that behavior. And your dh needs to be the one making sure his dd understands those expectations and consequences. Sounds like she is dealing with anger/resentment/and possibly jealousy issues. Is there someone she can talk to, like a counsellor?

I know that taking your own emotions out of it can be hard. I've gone through phases like that myself where I know in my head that my negative reactions are only perpetuating the problem and once I've been able to be objective and calm my interactions with my dc have improved. But it's hard. It takes practice. Hang in there.
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#23 of 38 Old 12-13-2008, 09:16 AM
 
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I'm with Transitions here. I don't doubt that she's a handful and that you're unhappy about the situation, it's just that you're the adult in this situation and she's not. Your DH has a limited amount of time with his daughter, and since you live together, it's not practical for him to just arrange for that time to not involve you. If you are going to continue to be involved with her father, you need to find some way to come to terms with her - avoiding her is an utter impossibility in the long term.
I agree. You never know when things will change for the better. 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. She didn't ask to be born and didn't ask to have her parents split up (been there/done that myself as a little girl).

I have a stepmom as well and I was pretty hard on her when I was young. Of course my own mother didn't help any since she basically talked badly about my dad and stepmom when I was with her so by the time I visited my dad and stepmom I was totally dreading it and hated to be around them. Nowadays, over 25 years later I'm closest to my dad and stepmom, go figure!

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#24 of 38 Old 12-13-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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I'm with Transitions here. I don't doubt that she's a handful and that you're unhappy about the situation, it's just that you're the adult in this situation and she's not. Your DH has a limited amount of time with his daughter, and since you live together, it's not practical for him to just arrange for that time to not involve you. If you are going to continue to be involved with her father, you need to find some way to come to terms with her - avoiding her is an utter impossibility in the long term.

But if he didn't have a new wife or gf, what would he do during his visitation weekend, dump her off with a sitter? He needs to rearrange his schedule, or take her with him instead of expecting the OP to be responsible for her full time when there is a problem getting along. You cannot force the relationship and it will only continue to breed resentment.

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#25 of 38 Old 12-13-2008, 06:07 PM
 
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Have you tried sitting down as a family and discussing some of this with her?

I think a couple things are important here: that she not feel like she is losing her father, to you or to anyone else; that she not feel her father is replacing her with the son who gets to live with him all the time; and finally, that you make it very clear that you are not trying to replace her mother in her life. These were and still are sometimes (replacement by our new baby) concerns that have come up over the years with my dsd, who was 6 when we got together 10 years ago.

I think that this is where perhaps you and your dh can present a united front about the Wednesday thing and general expectations for her behavior in your house, while still emphasizing that she is part of a loving family, not just a visitor.

FWIW, I think your feelings are valid, but you're going to have to put them away somewhere so that you can deal with this girl in a firm, loving way that will eventually bear fruit. Think of it as a necessary investment in your relationship with her.

Good luck!

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#26 of 38 Old 12-14-2008, 01:12 AM
 
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Thank you for the concrete suggestions. I really appreciate them.

Do you have a suggestion for what I should do when I am the only adult home? Like on Wednesday mornings, should I just let her miss the bus when she won't listen to me about getting off the computer and getting her shoes and coat on? And then, what happens when she misses the bus?
If this were my child, I would make the computer inaccessible in the morning when there's school. Dad can/should remove the relevant cables from the computer the night before - and tell her he's doing it (as well as why).

If she were to continue to miss the bus? Dad needs to rearrange his schedule so that HE is available to get her on the bus - not play with her beforehand or anything like that. But get her on the bus.
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#27 of 38 Old 12-14-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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Oh, this is tricky! I can tell you my experiences as a kid with a step-mom. First, remember that she is a child, dealing with her emotions in a child-like way. I remember often thinking that if my step-mom wasn't there, maybe, just maybe, my mom would be there, we would be a family again, and on and on. Totally a kid fantasy, my mom and dad would never be back together regardless of my step-mom being there or not. But, the end result is that a sad, grieving kid projects a lot of anger onto the step-mom, and being a kid, acts negatively towards the step-mom.

The other side of that is that the dad needs to be the primary parent, not you. He needs to be the one taking care of her, disciplining her and spending good chunks of father/daughter alone time with her on the weekends she is with you guys. She needs to really connect with her dad. It worked out really well in our family that my step-mom did very, very little care for us by herself. I really don't think she wanted to do it, and we made it clear (by acting really bratty if put in that situation) that we didn't want her to. Really, I was coming to visit my dad, not her, and my loyalties were with my dad. I know that probably sounds really awful, but it was how I felt as a kid and to try and push the relationship would have ruined it. So, how it looked practically was that we almost never stayed alone with my step-mom, she never did the disciplining and we did do a lot of activities with just my dad, brother and I. I would even say that half of the trips/vacations we took as kids with our dad was just the three of us.

So, with your before and after school care example, I would say you should not be the one to get her to school - at least at this point. You guys are having a hard time as is, and it sounds like getting her off the computer and out the door is causing even more friction. I wouldn't get into that position. Is there a way your husband could rearrange his work schedule so he is the one to get her off to school that day of the week - like go in a little later and then work a little later? Or a grandma nearby who could take her? Or a before and after school care program at her school so he could drop her on his way to work? Once you guys are more connected, it would totally make sense for you to be the one getting her ready, but while the relationship is fragile - no!

My step-mom has been in my life since I was 5 - almost 30 years now! I really appreciate that during my childhood she never tried to fill the role of mom, and left the parenting to my dad. As an adult, I really appreciate her, her opinions and being around her. I am so thankful she is DS's grandma. We have grown quite close, but it was a long, slow path that can not be forced.
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#28 of 38 Old 12-15-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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Oh, this is tricky! I can tell you my experiences as a kid with a step-mom. First, remember that she is a child, dealing with her emotions in a child-like way. I remember often thinking that if my step-mom wasn't there, maybe, just maybe, my mom would be there, we would be a family again, and on and on. Totally a kid fantasy, my mom and dad would never be back together regardless of my step-mom being there or not. But, the end result is that a sad, grieving kid projects a lot of anger onto the step-mom, and being a kid, acts negatively towards the step-mom.

The other side of that is that the dad needs to be the primary parent, not you. He needs to be the one taking care of her, disciplining her and spending good chunks of father/daughter alone time with her on the weekends she is with you guys. She needs to really connect with her dad. It worked out really well in our family that my step-mom did very, very little care for us by herself. I really don't think she wanted to do it, and we made it clear (by acting really bratty if put in that situation) that we didn't want her to. Really, I was coming to visit my dad, not her, and my loyalties were with my dad. I know that probably sounds really awful, but it was how I felt as a kid and to try and push the relationship would have ruined it. So, how it looked practically was that we almost never stayed alone with my step-mom, she never did the disciplining and we did do a lot of activities with just my dad, brother and I. I would even say that half of the trips/vacations we took as kids with our dad was just the three of us.

So, with your before and after school care example, I would say you should not be the one to get her to school - at least at this point. You guys are having a hard time as is, and it sounds like getting her off the computer and out the door is causing even more friction. I wouldn't get into that position. Is there a way your husband could rearrange his work schedule so he is the one to get her off to school that day of the week - like go in a little later and then work a little later? Or a grandma nearby who could take her? Or a before and after school care program at her school so he could drop her on his way to work? Once you guys are more connected, it would totally make sense for you to be the one getting her ready, but while the relationship is fragile - no!

My step-mom has been in my life since I was 5 - almost 30 years now! I really appreciate that during my childhood she never tried to fill the role of mom, and left the parenting to my dad. As an adult, I really appreciate her, her opinions and being around her. I am so thankful she is DS's grandma. We have grown quite close, but it was a long, slow path that can not be forced.
this is quite close to how I grew up with a stepmother. My stepmother never left and she remained constant in our life and is still here over 25 years later.

I agree that this young girl could be hoping that if the new stepmom wasn't in the picture that her mother would be there instead. 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. I'm sure it's very hard for her in a lot of ways. Plus, she is just a young girl and didn't ask to go through all of this adult stuff at her age.

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. It would upset me too if I had to deal with it. You don't need that.

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#29 of 38 Old 12-22-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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this is quite close to how I grew up with a stepmother. My stepmother never left and she remained constant in our life and is still here over 25 years later.

I agree that this young girl could be hoping that if the new stepmom wasn't in the picture that her mother would be there instead. 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. I'm sure it's very hard for her in a lot of ways. Plus, she is just a young girl and didn't ask to go through all of this adult stuff at her age.

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. It would upset me too if I had to deal with it. You don't need that.
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. Reasoning that another parent may leave seems like a mature reasoning process. If she can deduce that, I think she is more mature than we think. Does that make any sense? To me it does? Maybe I am wrong though (i'm still new to this step parent thing).

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...

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#30 of 38 Old 12-22-2008, 01:49 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.

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.
I think you're completely right. That was a huge issue for us, him leaving me in charge of a child who thought I was the interloper, and who did everything in her power to make me leave because she had been told I was the cause of her mom's death. Between the natural assumptions of a child from a broken home and the lies her relatives fed her, I didn't have a chance. There was no way I should have been left alone with her.

Our case was extreme and very twisted, but I think on any scale the new stepmom should not be left in charge alone until there is a bond formed.
The dad should be treating the situation like he would if he didn't have a new SO in his life until they've had a chance to bond.

In our case, yanking her away from care providers she trusted so she could spend time with me only added to her feelings of betrayal and loss. Completely changing the routine just because dad has someone new in his life can't help but upset the child, even though dad sees it as being practical.

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