How do I handle this? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 05-22-2006, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all!
I lurk here quite a bit, but today I need some input. DH and I are expecting twins soon in addition to the kiddos we already have. I have 4 from my previous marriage and he has one from his. My youngest and his dd are 9 months apart (both girls). My kids have basically been abandoned by their bio father and are very close to DH. Especially my youngest (dd 3 yo). We have made a good amount of headway with the jealousy factor (his 4 yo dd loved to yell in my daughters face that he was her dad and NOT my dds dad). DH had a hard time at first with sharing himself equally between the two, but he has made a HUGE amount of progress. To the point it is basically a non issue now. I have made it a point to thank him and acknowledge his efforts - numerous times.
But there is a new problem. DH has no qualms about disciplining my children at any time. Which is fine with me, as I want us to have an equal relationship in that regards. But he is completely unable to discipline is daughter. We have her every weekend - which is sort of a sore pot with me, as I would like one weekend every once in a while to ourselves, but I guess besides the point here. She REFUSES to listen to me. About anything. Put your shoes away, don't scream at the top of your lungs in the restaurant for no reason, share (a HUGE prob as she is an only child at her moms and is NEVER told no or to share), etc. She will either ignore me like she can't hear me (being less than a foot from me) or look straight at me and openly defy me. When I then ask DH to step in, he will say something like "DD you need to listen to her" and then that's it. No follow up, no getting down on her level and making her comply. What I mean there is if one of my kids defies him to say put their coat away, I will explain the need to listen to DH to them and then have them follow through on what was asked of them - he does not have her follow through - the prob is just dropped.
I have made a point in saying that I understand she is not going to listen to me right now. Do I like it? No. Am I willing to work on it slowly? Yes. But in the meantime I want him to be the enforcer with her then. And he can't. He just can't. He has no ability to say no to her. If I push him into saying no, he will say it, but not follow through on it. So it has no meaning. I don't want to be unreasonable, but I do want his DD to follow the same basic rules as the other kids when she is here. As of late, that has not happened and now I am seeing a difference in how my kids ac when she is around. They notice she gets away with certain things and now they are trying to do the same. The worst part is, DH will correct my kiddos and still not correct his DD. I do love my DSD. I do, but I am 33 wks pregnant wit twins and I don't have the energy to keep fighting this battle right now. What do I do???
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#2 of 5 Old 05-22-2006, 05:49 PM
 
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You have a problem with your husband not your sd.

You need to help your husband see the problem.

The way to do that is to disengage from your sd. This doesn't mean you stop loving her or stop being loving towards her. It does mean that between your dh and you, you drop the rope on ANYTHING to do with her.

That means that if she doesn't pick up the coat you don't tell her to do it, you tell your dh that there is a coat he needs to attend to. If your sd escalates to do things to YOU or your kids that you can't allow to be ignored then you respond with things YOU can enforce such as logical consequenses when she comes to you to ask you for help. Say if you cook lunch and she comes to the table expecting to be fed you say "I am sorry but until you can listen to me when I ask you to stop hitting, I don't think I have the energy to cook for you. I spent all my energy comforting my kids after you hit them and I have to rest now" that kind of thing. The goal is to only say things when you can enforce them without him and when they are things that effect you.

It is hard to get clear on what effects you- her grades don't effect you, her table manners don't effect you but you may choose to not eat near her, her room doesn't effect you. Her touching your stuff effects you.

My skids totally listen to me when I do speak up becuase I don't often and because they know that they need things from me and they understand that ours is not a relationship where I "Have" to do things, it is one where I WANT to...if they do their part too. It is more like an adult relationship.

My dh on the other hand has learned that I do a LOT for him that he values and appreciates in regards to his kids and he has come to understand that it is in his best interest to back me with his kids. When he has to come home from work to run kids to a meeting because I won't do it, when he has to make lunches....

I will only watch his kids for so long as they are obeying me. If they stop I will call him and tell him he has to come home now. I simply can't be legally responsible for children who won't mind me. He enforces their behavior with me becuase he gets now that he NEEDS me to help and that I don't have to. They are not my kids. I am happy to help. But he has to ASK me to and he has to treat it as something I am doing for him as a favor not becasue I have to.

The key is when you stop doing things you have to talk to him very lovingly about it, tell him that you lvoe him and so you realize you have to give him a chance to parent his kid by himself. Refuse to answer when he asks your advice instead tell him you love him and have total confidance in his decisions....it is work to always have a smile in your voice but if you dont' do this it will become in his mind something about you vs his kid which it isn't. It sin't about his kid. It is about HIM!
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#3 of 5 Old 05-22-2006, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I absolutely know it is a problem with DH and not DsD. I love her, but I am worried if we don't fix this soon I may start to resent her, which is exactly what I DON'T want to happen.

As far as DH and what tact to take - I have done what you suggest, to a certain extent. I will say those are DsD shoes, she was asked to put them away they are in the middle of the floor, you need to deal with that. And he does. HE puts them away (or sometimes leaves them, probably to irk me when it has been a loooooooooong weekend). He does not enforce rules with her. Basically I have no problem defering all care of her to him, but then he really does not do anything about it. And I can't in good conscience tell a 4 yo no to lunch or something else like that. I do tell her to ask her dad when she asks me for stuff (toys, treats, etc). And another part of that I am basically on bed rest, so DH does just about everything around here atm.
I know that for DH there is a feeling of guilt. He never wants her to feel like it was her he divorced. And I know he wants to see her more often and the fact that he does not makes him want to do and give everything to/for her. I can understand this to a certain degree, but if we don't set the rules down now, it will only get worse, never better. I just feel SO frustrated.
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#4 of 5 Old 05-22-2006, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another thing I want to make clear is that I have talked to DH about this. It is always a calm talk, no finger pointing, no yelling, no bad feelings. He will agree that he "does not know what to do sometimes", but he will not acknowledge the fact that he does nothing. I mean really from my POV saying something one out of a hundred times means nothing as she is still not being detered from the negative behavior.
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#5 of 5 Old 05-22-2006, 07:54 PM
 
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You can give him this to read
http://www.steptogether.org/maleguilt.html

but the bottom line is that this kind of parenting will backfire.

But since it isn't your child and you really are powerless to do anything my advice to you is to do all you can to let go so that you don't resent HER for her father's behavior and continue to negotiate with your dh for what you will and won't accept in your home and your marriage.

children feel love and safety from consistent boundaries. To deny your kids that is to say to them "I don't love you enough to teach you" and that is sad. My dh finally realized this when his kids behavior kept getting worse and worse and their treatment of me got better and better.
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