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#1 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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"Hi, I have two daugthers by two different fathers. My oldest is 11, my youngest is 7. What is unusual in my situation is that the seven year old tends to boss around and dominate my oldest. A little background information is important. My oldest takes after her father very very much. They were/are both very slender and delicate. Both have had health complications since a very young age (my ex, my oldest's father ctually passed away four years ago due to a genetic syndrome) My oldest daughter, like her father was, has a quieter, more passive personality type. She is very creative and imaginative and prefers quiet activites like reading and drawing. Because she is frailer than the rest of the family, she doesn't participate often in outdoor activities.
Now, my youngest daughter takes after her father very very much lol. I have been with her father for eight years now. My youngests father is very atheletic, very outgoing very blunt. And his daughter is his little double. She plays soccer and softball and since we are a very athletic family (myself included) we as a family go the gym very often as well as run on the local track and play tennis together. My youngest can be very loud and rambunctious. She has alot of energy and I don't think she realizes how rough she gets when she is wound up. So you can see how different my two daughters personalities really are.
Well here's the problem. My youngest, though she is four years younger and much shorter than her sister, terrorizes my oldest every day. i think my youngest realized at some point that she was physically stronger than her older sister and now takes advantage of it. She bosses her, bullies her, and at times will hit her or persuade her to do certain things with physical intimidation. I've heard my youngest tell my oldest to fetch this or that, not ask mind you, but tell, and my oldest will do it without any sort of arguement. I don't understand why my oldest acts so obedient to her little sister. I do punish my youngest when I see this happening but she is a very aggressive child and punishments usually don't work well in the long run. My husband isn't much help with the discipline because he has trouble understanding people with personalities like my oldest. He doesn't understand people who read books and are more sensitive and passive. He sees his stepdaughter as weak and isn't concerned with what his bio daughter does. The incident that has prompted me to finally take action was yesterday when my youngest had friends over and to entertain them, she forced my oldest into the bathroom and dunked her head in the toilet. My oldest came to me crying her eyes out. This is not the first time my youngest has purposely humiliated her sister for attention or approval from her friends. I know there is always rivalry between siblings, and i myself have two sisters so i remember well. But I was the oldest andthere was no way I would ever let myself be bossed by them like my oldest lets herself be bossed by her sister. I've never heard of an older sibling being so passive to a younger sibling. I know my youngest is probably stronger than my oldest, but my oldest never even tries to stick up for herself. Is there something wrong with my oldest? How do I encourage her to be more assertive?"
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#2 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 10:02 AM
 
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Okay, this may sound harsh, but please bear with me.

I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that your partner/SO/husband doesn't care that his daughter is bullying her sister.

I don't care if he does think your oldest is "weak". I don't care that he doesn't "understand" people like your daughter. On what planet was he raised that it is okay to bully other people? How would he respond if it were your child who was bullying his child? Your oldest has health issues, too. Why would he not care about her well-being? Does he have issues because she is not his?

Please tell me that he is not actually encouraging his child's bullying of her sister.

For the time being, I would revoke any and all privileges for the youngest child. Since your youngest not behaving decently, she should be supervised at all times, at least for now. She has to be within your sight at all times. You have to cook dinner? She is in the kitchen. You need to do laundry? She is in the laundry room. Sure, she won't like it. But, it is she who caused her misery. You have to protect your older child, just as you would your younger one, were the roles reversed.

If she manages to get the oldest alone, I would intervene every time the youngest acts aggressive toward her sister or tries to boss her sister around. Let her know that bullying is not acceptable, nor will it be toilerated at all. If she decides to act decently toward the oldest, then give her privileges back one by one.

I would also tell the oldest one that it is okay to defend herself. Also, that she does not have to fetch anything for her sister. (I am not saying she should beat the snot out of the youngest, but in my experience, people get tired of being bullied and will eventually retaliate.)
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#3 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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I'm really sad for your oldest daughter. It sounds very much like there's "us" and "her" in your household. You all engage as a family in the activities you enjoy, has anyone considered adding some of hers to the list?

I think at this point you just need to get involved EVERY time you find your younger bullying your older. As she can't behave with friends around then fine, no friends around. She needs to get things for herself and if they have seperate rooms, you need to make sure that your older daughter has her own "safe" space to get away from the younger.

You need to get your husband involved. He doens't have to understand or like that some people are not jocks, he needs to protect one child and reign in the other. I just feel so sad for your oldest daughter.

My parents tried to teach us that siblings are not enemies, siblings look out for each other. Try to appeal to your daughters' (yes, both of them) protective instincts. Maybe read Siblings without Rivalry for some ideas, and some things on bullying and implement these in your home. Your older daughter should not be humiliated in her own home and your younger daughter needs to learn some BOUNDARIES and impulse control. Shoving another child's head in a toilet is just over the top.
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#4 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marie H View Post
"Hi, I have two daugthers by two different fathers. My oldest is 11, my youngest is 7. What is unusual in my situation is that the seven year old tends to boss around and dominate my oldest. A little background information is important. My oldest takes after her father very very much. They were/are both very slender and delicate. Both have had health complications since a very young age (my ex, my oldest's father ctually passed away four years ago due to a genetic syndrome) My oldest daughter, like her father was, has a quieter, more passive personality type. She is very creative and imaginative and prefers quiet activites like reading and drawing. Because she is frailer than the rest of the family, she doesn't participate often in outdoor activities.
Now, my youngest daughter takes after her father very very much lol. I have been with her father for eight years now. My youngests father is very atheletic, very outgoing very blunt. And his daughter is his little double. She plays soccer and softball and since we are a very athletic family (myself included) we as a family go the gym very often as well as run on the local track and play tennis together. My youngest can be very loud and rambunctious. She has alot of energy and I don't think she realizes how rough she gets when she is wound up. So you can see how different my two daughters personalities really are.
Well here's the problem. My youngest, though she is four years younger and much shorter than her sister, terrorizes my oldest every day. i think my youngest realized at some point that she was physically stronger than her older sister and now takes advantage of it. She bosses her, bullies her, and at times will hit her or persuade her to do certain things with physical intimidation. I've heard my youngest tell my oldest to fetch this or that, not ask mind you, but tell, and my oldest will do it without any sort of arguement. I don't understand why my oldest acts so obedient to her little sister. I do punish my youngest when I see this happening but she is a very aggressive child and punishments usually don't work well in the long run. My husband isn't much help with the discipline because he has trouble understanding people with personalities like my oldest. He doesn't understand people who read books and are more sensitive and passive. He sees his stepdaughter as weak and isn't concerned with what his bio daughter does. The incident that has prompted me to finally take action was yesterday when my youngest had friends over and to entertain them, she forced my oldest into the bathroom and dunked her head in the toilet. My oldest came to me crying her eyes out. This is not the first time my youngest has purposely humiliated her sister for attention or approval from her friends. I know there is always rivalry between siblings, and i myself have two sisters so i remember well. But I was the oldest andthere was no way I would ever let myself be bossed by them like my oldest lets herself be bossed by her sister. I've never heard of an older sibling being so passive to a younger sibling. I know my youngest is probably stronger than my oldest, but my oldest never even tries to stick up for herself. Is there something wrong with my oldest? How do I encourage her to be more assertive?"
It's clear that your younger daughter knows that she can get away with bullying her sister - it took DUNKING HER HEAD IN THE TOILET to make you realise there is a problem. I think the whole family need counselling ASAP. I can't believe this has been allowed get to this point.
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#5 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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Wow, I actually gasped when I heard the toilet incident! I can imagine what a blow that was to your older daughter's self-esteem.

Could it be that your younger daughter is reacting to the attention that is being paid to your oldest's health concerns? Because your family treats each of the daughters so differently, there's bound to be some rivalry issues.

Have you read the book "Siblings Without Rivalry" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish? It deals with situations like you describe.

Mama to Emma (7) and Sarah (5)

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#6 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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Your younger daughter dunked your older daughter's head in the toilet. You ask what is wrong with your older daughter?!! Why are you not asking what is wrong with your younger daughter? She is the one who is behaving badly, not your older daughter? Why are you blaming the victim here?

This is unbelievable.
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#7 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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This must be so hard for you!

I am really glad that you have joined the mothering community, you will find that there are many wise women here that can give you some good advice. You may want to also post in the Gentle discipline and Parents as Partners sections.

I don't have any real advice, just a few questions..

Do you as a family engage in activities that your oldest would enjoy? I ask this because it seems like you, your younger dd and your dh spend a lot of time as a unit doing activities and your older dd is excluded ( I realize that it's not what she enjoys doing, but it's still exclusion).

Have you spoken to your younger dd about empathizing with her sister?

I worry about your oldest, what she is internalizing about herself.

Best of luck,
Melanie
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#8 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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There is nothing wrong with your older daughter. She is a victim of bullying. She needs help learning to defend herself and to stand up for herself. She needs the support of all of the adults who are responsible for her care. Until she learns to assert herself, you will have to protect her.

I would start with a family meeting and some consensus on appropriate behaviour for all family members. It shouldn't be difficult to identify some core values that you all agree with - that every person in the family is worthy of respect, and deserves to be treated with kindness. Lots of energy and enjoying rough play does NOT mean that you get to treat someone badly. Your younger daughter needs some immediate consequences when she starts bullying her sister.

If she treats her own sister this way, I wonder what has been happening with her playmates and neighbourhood kids.

Best wishes - this sounds like it is an entrenched family pattern and you will need some work to change attitudes. Nonetheless, the bullying behaviour has to end immediately.
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#9 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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1) Family counseling. Pronto. The family dynamics aren't healthy right now. It sounds like your younger dd is a bully, and your dh is abetting that, and you're a bystander, not intervening. NOT good.

2) One-on-one time with each child, but ESPECIALLY your older daughter. 30 minutes EVERY day where she gets to determine what you and she do.

3) New rules about politeness and asking people to do things. If your younger dd doesn't ask politely, YOU step in and ask her to rephrase and/or do it herself.

4) If she's taunting, arguing or otherwise being mean to your older dd, your younger dd gets to take a break until she can act politely. If younger daughter and friends gang up on older daughter, friends don't come over for a few days.

5) Separate space for each of them. Your older dd needs a 'refuge' and a place to be alone. If she's an introvert (and a creative introvert) she needs alone time to recharge.

6) Family activities include everyone. Maybe alternate weeks -- one week it's something active and your older dd participates as best she can. Other week it's something artistic or less active, and your younger dd participates as best she can.

7) Work with older dd saying 'no'. Practice. Role play. Support her when she says no and the younger child goes off in a tantrum or starts to whine/bully.

8) Read: The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander by Colorosso. You've got all 3 in your house!

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#10 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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My first thought while reading your post was to think that it was some kind of bad joke. I'd be livid if one of my children treated a pet that way, let alone another of my own children. That behaviour is so unacceptable. I'd be interested to know what 'punishments' you're using. You mention that your youngest has humiliated your oldest in front of her friends more than once. I don't understand why friends are still allowed over.

You ask if there's something wrong with your oldest, what about your youngest? She needs to be stopped immediately. So far, she has learned that she can do what she likes to her older sister with no repercussions. Your oldest probably does what she's told because she knows that nobody will intervene on her behalf and it's better to do it quickly than say no and be bullied even more. Try to imagine how little confidence she has, you can't stand up to someone if you're constantly beaten down.

I was going to suggest The Bully the Bullied and the Bystander as well. It gives good insight into bullying relationships. This situation really needs to be addressed immediately. Every day that it is allowed to go on, more and more damage is done to your older daughter's emotional (and physical) well being. It is also damaging your younger daughter too.

Gillian - Wife to an amazing DH, Mother to 5 wonderful kiddos.
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#11 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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What you describe is abuse and neglect.

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Originally Posted by choli View Post
Your younger daughter dunked your older daughter's head in the toilet. You ask what is wrong with your older daughter?!! Why are you not asking what is wrong with your younger daughter? She is the one who is behaving badly, not your older daughter? Why are you blaming the victim here?

This is unbelievable.

Yes, unbelievable.

YOU are the one allowing this to happen. YOU!!! Your older daughter is going to blame you for not protecting her (and likely already does). I have a 7 year old and a 10 1/2 year old and yes, they both have different personalities and it matters not.

Dunking your eldest daughter's head in the toilet is such a hugely serious infraction that if she did it to another child in school, not only would she be expelled (most likely) but the parents of the other child would incur legal charges against her. If an adult does this to another adult, it is assault and they would go to jail.

Your entire family needs family counseling and both of your daughters need individual counseling. There is nothing wrong with your eldest daughter except for her bad luck in being born to an abusive and neglectful family.
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#12 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate all of the feedback, yes even the harsh feedback. Though I disagree on some things that have been said about my parenting, my family and my husband, I understand that this is an open forum and people can say what they want. I am more than happy to address some of the questions that have been asked, or clarify on some things that I guess I didn't explain well enough in my original post.

First off, I admit that there is sort of an 'us' and 'her' mentality in this family when it comes to my oldest. Its not intentional and I do try very hard to include her in what we do, but it never turns out well. She doesn't handle physical exertion well, and its painful for her to get out of breath, as she has staples in her lungs from several surgeries to keep her lungs from collapsing, which has happened in the past several times before. Yet I don't think it is right to deny my youngest and my husband quality family time beacause my oldest can't participate. My husband and my youngest and myself are enthusiastic athelets, we enjoy competition and getting a good work out. I think this is a very positive family activity as it promotes good health and exercise. Would you rather I stick my youngest in front of the tv, because my oldest can't keep up? I feel stuck in the middle so much of the time, because I desperately do want all of the family to do things together, but there is such a wide, huge gap in personalities that I think it may be impossible to please everybody. If I were to give my oldest the choice of how the family time would be spent, she would probably just insist on someone else getting to choose, because she is so passive and afraid to upset people so whats the point in even bothering?

Second, I am not, nor have I ever been happy with how my husband treats my oldest, yet he has been her father for a good deal of her life, and this is the way it has always been. He isn't going to change, so what am I to do about it? He's the father of my other child, I ca'nt just tell him to take a hike. And I should say in his defense that he is'nt a parenting type of person in general. I wouldn't say he practices any sort of 'favortism' with his bio daughter. He really isn't that involved in either of their lives very much. He is by no means playing tea party or barbies with my youngest lol. Yes, he and his bio daughter have bonded in a way that my oldest and him have not, because he and his bio daughter can exercise together. He hardly pays any attention to his bio daughter unless they are kicking the ball around or running laps together. Please understand, my husband is a good person, he has just had the good fortune of being born into money and he has always been strong and athletic, its not that he doesn't WANT to understand my oldest, I really think he just CANT. He can't comprehend people who are physically frail and who are shy and quiet and introverted and creative. And because he can't comprehend them, I think that is why he has little sympathy for them. Its not that he doesn't care about my oldest, and that is why he doesn't do anythingabout my youngest bullying her, I think in his mind, since my oldest is weaker, then she deserves to be bullied. I know that sounds terrible, and I in no way agree. That is why I am finally seeking guidance and probably counseling.

Third, my youngest daughter is actually avery good kid. Yes, I kinda painted her as a heartless bully in my first post, but I left out all the good things about her. She has many many friends. Shes very popular. My oldest is really the only child I have known her to bully. She has never been in any trouble at school and her teachers have actually told me of several instances when she stood up or defended another child from older bullies. She is not a malicious child, EXCEPT when it comes to my oldest. I don't know why she acts that way towards my oldest. My one theory is that she inherited her fathers view of weaker people and so has little sympathy for her sister. Sometimes i wonder if my youngest is in some way resentful of the oldest beacuse my oldest has always recieved alot of attention from boys her age as she is considered very pretty, (this at least, she got from me and not her father! lol) yet she has always seemed indifferent to this kind of attention or at least seems very uninterested. On the other hand, my youngest has always been a very flirty child with all males of any age and I think part of why she likes playing sports so much is to impress boys at her school, or at least get their attention. Maybe she's resentful that her sister gets so easily, what she has to work so hard for? She certainly isn't competingwith her sister in getting theirparents attention, since I am careful to give both my girls all the attention i can.
My youngest and my oldest have nothing in common. I don't think its any use trying to get them to be pals, its probably never going to happen. I know most little sisters idolize or at least look up to their older sisters, but my youngest has no respect or the slightest interest in being like her older sister. I'm pretty sure that my oldest considers the less time her little sister spends around her, the better. I've resigned myself to this, and the best I am hoping for is a cease fire, so that at least everyone, if not happy, will be peaceful to one another.

Lastly, the toilet incident. Yes, it was extreme. No, nothing of that magnitude had ever happened before, which is why that exact incident finally inspired me to take drastic action. I took it very seriously, though my husband seemed to think it was more funny than alarming. It was my youngest obviously just showing off for her friends. I scolded her in front of her friends. My youngest is very dramatic so she burst into tears, there was a screaming match between her and I. She did her typical tantrum trip. I forbade her from playing in her soccer game (which was happening laterthat day) the other girls parents came and got them early. She got a time outand a talking to. Said she was sorry to my oldest, but didn't seem to mean it.....my oldest stayed in her room the rest of the day, I think she was afraid her sister would retaliate for having gotten in trouble because she told on her to me. I'm just at a loss with how to discipline my youngest.

I can't type any more forthe moment, but I am still reflecting on everything you nice wise mothers have told me. I will post again once I have thought some more about it, and I really really appreciate all of your advice.
Oh and I've written down all the titles of all the books that have been recommended. thanks again.
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#13 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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Do you ever have a game night with your girls? There are some excellent cooperative games on the market.

I realize that they may never be close friends, but just because they are so different doesn't mean that can't enjoy each others company.

Differences makes life interesting.

Again,
-Melanie
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#14 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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Please google "sibling abuse." Maybe making punishments that actually stick may be a start. I'm usually very much pro-GD, but I would not tolerate any of my kids bullying one another.

Your husband needs to get himself together and be on the same page as you. Honestly, if I was married to a guy who treated one of our children like this, it'd be a deal breaker for me. It sounds like your oldest has been through quite enough with losing her father.

Family therapy (for everyone) may not be a bad idea.

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#15 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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Sometimes i wonder if my youngest is in some way resentful of the oldest beacuse my oldest has always recieved alot of attention from boys her age as she is considered very pretty, (this at least, she got from me and not her father! lol) yet she has always seemed indifferent to this kind of attention or at least seems very uninterested. On the other hand, my youngest has always been a very flirty child with all males of any age and I think part of why she likes playing sports so much is to impress boys at her school, or at least get their attention. Maybe she's resentful that her sister gets so easily, what she has to work so hard for? She certainly isn't competingwith her sister in getting
This gave me an ickly feeling. Didn't you say your ydd is only 8 yo? She should not be competing with ANYBODY for boy's attention. She's 8 yo for goodness sakes, not 13!

You say your older dd would probably not pick an activity if given the choice. That is easily solvable. You know what she likes and can participate in. Make a list of activities and however often you choose to do something "fun" every other time you need to pick something from the list. So, on a Saturday morning, you need to announce (as an example), "We are going to a pottery painting place today". While you chose the activity, you at least know it's something that older dd will enjoy. What about horseback riding? It is a "sporty" activity that your older dd can probably handle w/out getting out of breath. Also, try a family game night. If your dh won't participate, so be it, but you and your dds can enjoy the time together.
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#16 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 09:52 PM
 
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If I were to give my oldest the choice of how the family time would be spent, she would probably just insist on someone else getting to choose, because she is so passive and afraid to upset people so whats the point in even bothering?
That is a problem. You need to talk to her pediatrician about a counselor who can work with both of you. Not because there is anything wrong with your daughter but because it sounds like this has gone on long enough to seriously damage her emotionally.

Quote:
...He can't comprehend people who are physically frail and who are shy and quiet and introverted and creative. And because he can't comprehend them, I think that is why he has little sympathy for them. Its not that he doesn't care about my oldest, and that is why he doesn't do anythingabout my youngest bullying her, I think in his mind, since my oldest is weaker, then she deserves to be bullied. I know that sounds terrible...
It doesn't sound terrible, it is terrible. Can your husband drive a car? Did he graduate from high school or get a GED? Then he is smart enough to comprehend people who are physically frail but it choosing not too.


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...He isn't going to change, so what am I to do about it? He's the father of my other child, I ca'nt just tell him to take a hike...He really isn't that involved in either of their lives very much...
So you are willing to sacrafice your oldest daughter's self-esteem so that your younger daughter can live with a father who is not really involved in her life.

You need to think about the choices you are making with clarity and honesty. Equally important is the price both daughters are paying for that choice.
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#17 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marie H View Post
I appreciate all of the feedback, yes even the harsh feedback. Though I disagree on some things that have been said about my parenting, my family and my husband, I understand that this is an open forum and people can say what they want. I am more than happy to address some of the questions that have been asked, or clarify on some things that I guess I didn't explain well enough in my original post.

First off, I admit that there is sort of an 'us' and 'her' mentality in this family when it comes to my oldest. Its not intentional and I do try very hard to include her in what we do, but it never turns out well. She doesn't handle physical exertion well, and its painful for her to get out of breath, as she has staples in her lungs from several surgeries to keep her lungs from collapsing, which has happened in the past several times before. Yet I don't think it is right to deny my youngest and my husband quality family time beacause my oldest can't participate. My husband and my youngest and myself are enthusiastic athelets, we enjoy competition and getting a good work out. I think this is a very positive family activity as it promotes good health and exercise. Would you rather I stick my youngest in front of the tv, because my oldest can't keep up? I feel stuck in the middle so much of the time, because I desperately do want all of the family to do things together, but there is such a wide, huge gap in personalities that I think it may be impossible to please everybody. If I were to give my oldest the choice of how the family time would be spent, she would probably just insist on someone else getting to choose, because she is so passive and afraid to upset people so whats the point in even bothering?
Why is she so afraid to upset people? I can see why she is afraid to upset your golden child, since it may well lead to an assault, but why is she afraid to "upset" you or your DH by choosing an activity? By the sound of it, you've never given her the chance to choose and have already discounted her input.
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Second, I am not, nor have I ever been happy with how my husband treats my oldest, yet he has been her father for a good deal of her life, and this is the way it has always been. He isn't going to change, so what am I to do about it?
You married this guy KNOWING how he treats your older daughter?! You weren't happy about it, but you married him anyway? Why?
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Please understand, my husband is a good person, he has just had the good fortune of being born into money and he has always been strong and athletic, its not that he doesn't WANT to understand my oldest, I really think he just CANT. He can't comprehend people who are physically frail and who are shy and quiet and introverted and creative. And because he can't comprehend them, I think that is why he has little sympathy for them. Its not that he doesn't care about my oldest, and that is why he doesn't do anythingabout my youngest bullying her, I think in his mind, since my oldest is weaker, then she deserves to be bullied. I know that sounds terrible, and I in no way agree. That is why I am finally seeking guidance and probably counseling.
I find it really hard to view someone who thinks weaker people deseve to be bullied as a good person.

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I don't know why she acts that way towards my oldest. My one theory is that she inherited her fathers view of weaker people and so has little sympathy for her sister.
She didn't "inherit" this in the blood, she was taught it by example.

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Sometimes i wonder if my youngest is in some way resentful of the oldest beacuse my oldest has always recieved alot of attention from boys her age as she is considered very pretty, (this at least, she got from me and not her father! lol) yet she has always seemed indifferent to this kind of attention or at least seems very uninterested. On the other hand, my youngest has always been a very flirty child with all males of any age and I think part of why she likes playing sports so much is to impress boys at her school, or at least get their attention. Maybe she's resentful that her sister gets so easily, what she has to work so hard for? She certainly isn't competingwith her sister in getting theirparents attention, since I am careful to give both my girls all the attention i can.
She's 7 years old. I kind of doubt that boys are her motivation.

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Lastly, the toilet incident. Yes, it was extreme. No, nothing of that magnitude had ever happened before, which is why that exact incident finally inspired me to take drastic action. I took it very seriously, though my husband seemed to think it was more funny than alarming. It was my youngest obviously just showing off for her friends.[/B] I scolded her in front of her friends. My youngest is very dramatic so she burst into tears, there was a screaming match between her and I. She did her typical tantrum trip. I forbade her from playing in her soccer game (which was happening laterthat day) the other girls parents came and got them early. She got a time outand a talking to. Said she was sorry to my oldest, but didn't seem to mean it.....my oldest stayed in her room the rest of the day, I think she was afraid her sister would retaliate for having gotten in trouble because she told on her to me. I'm just at a loss with how to discipline my youngest.
It's clear that your older daughter knows that she can't depend on you or your husband to protect her, so she has to hide out in her room to avoid another attack.

This is the most chilling thread I have ever encountered on MDC.
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#18 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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Warning: Long and Brutal....

When I first read your message last night, it tore my heart out. When I read your followup message, it appalled me on many levels.

Last night, you wanted to know why your older dd wouldn't stand up for herself. She is disabled. Her younger sister would beat her up and nobody would do anything about it. How difficult is that to understand?

You also stated that punishments don't work on your younger dd. When she did something that her older sister will be humiliated about for the rest of her life, you gave her a time out and a talking to and made her make a halfhearted apology. I'm sure that will solve the problem...NOT!!!! This will only escalate unless you do something radical. If my child did that, I would ground her for a week and take away ALL of her privilages, either keeping her in her bedroom or making her follow you around the house when you are doing housework. If she ever bullied her older sister or anyone else again, I would double the time for the grounding. Maybe if you actually gave a REAL punishment, it would work.

As someone else mentioned, family counseling would be a good idea. You have a very disfunctional family.

I would give your husband an ultimatum. Either go to counseling and be an active parent (even involving discipline) or divorce him. Your children come first. I don't care how rich, athletic, and good looking he is, your children come first. Frankly any adult who thinks that it is funny to see a disabled child have her head put in a toilet sounds like a sociopath. Yes, you can tell him to take a hike, and you should. I repeat, your children come first.

I don't mean to flame you, but you seem to have some serious issues as well. Your decision not to have the family do things that your older dd wants sounds like you really aren't trying. You also sound like you think that she is a burden because she cannot keep up. She is your child. Wake up and smell the coffee. Your joke about how she got her good looks from you is in poor taste at best, considering that her bio-dad had genetic defects. Frankly, you sound like a very vain and superficial woman who is completely out of touch as to what is going on.

You say that your younger dd is a sweet kid otherwise (Mrs Lincoln: other than that how did you like the play?) Maybe she bullies other kids and other adults do not know about. Maybe she will in the future if she can get away with doing this to her older sister.

I hope that you truly care. Otherwise, you would not have posted this message. You need to act immediately and decisively to make the bullying stops. Even if it means divorcing your husband and going to family counseling, and other issues. Otherwise, you will have truly failed as a mother.

I am sorry for sounding so harsh. I was teased a lot in Jr. High school and had some issues with my older brother. This seems over the top, and I really don't know if you truly get it. I hope so.
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#19 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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She doesn't handle physical exertion well, and its painful for her to get out of breath, as she has staples in her lungs from several surgeries to keep her lungs from collapsing, which has happened in the past several times before. Yet I don't think it is right to deny my youngest and my husband quality family time beacause my oldest can't participate. My husband and my youngest and myself are enthusiastic athelets, we enjoy competition and getting a good work out. I think this is a very positive family activity as it promotes good health and exercise. Would you rather I stick my youngest in front of the tv, because my oldest can't keep up?
ANSWER:No! No one is suggesting that you deny your family physical exercise. You're turning it around as tho your older dd is the kiljoy in your family because she has staples in her lungs. In your previous posts you mentioned that older dd is artistic. Can't you come up with a family activity that celebrates your older dd's creativity rather than asking everyone to "sit on the couch and watch tv like the older dd"? THat's a recipe for resentment.



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I feel stuck in the middle so much of the time, because I desperately do want all of the family to do things together, but there is such a wide, huge gap in personalities that I think it may be impossible to please everybody. If I were to give my oldest the choice of how the family time would be spent, she would probably just insist on someone else getting to choose, because she is so passive and afraid to upset people so whats the point in even bothering?
ANSWER: You need to be able to empower your older dd. BUT, it doesn't sound like you have a lot of power in your family if you've put up with your husband's indifference toward your older dd for the last 8 years...

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Second, I am not, nor have I ever been happy with how my husband treats my oldest, yet he has been her father for a good deal of her life, and this is the way it has always been. He isn't going to change, so what am I to do about it? He's the father of my other child, I ca'nt just tell him to take a hike. And I should say in his defense that he is'nt a parenting type of person in general. I wouldn't say he practices any sort of 'favortism' with his bio daughter. He really isn't that involved in either of their lives very much. He is by no means playing tea party or barbies with my youngest lol. Yes, he and his bio daughter have bonded in a way that my oldest and him have not, because he and his bio daughter can exercise together. He hardly pays any attention to his bio daughter unless they are kicking the ball around or running laps together. Please understand, my husband is a good person, he has just had the good fortune of being born into money and he has always been strong and athletic, its not that he doesn't WANT to understand my oldest, I really think he just CANT. He can't comprehend people who are physically frail and who are shy and quiet and introverted and creative. And because he can't comprehend them, I think that is why he has little sympathy for them.
ANSWER: Sorry, but that's not a "good person". That's a spoiled "my way or the highway" type person. Even John Wayne Gayce entertained kids as a clown. That didn't make him a good person. You just typed a long excuse for your husband who thought it was funny that your daughter with staples in her lungs got her head dunked in a toilet by a bullying 7 year old. Time to stop making excuses for the the bullies.



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Sometimes i wonder if my youngest is in some way resentful of the oldest beacuse my oldest has always recieved alot of attention from boys her age as she is considered very pretty, (this at least, she got from me and not her father! lol) yet she has always seemed indifferent to this kind of attention or at least seems very uninterested. On the other hand, my youngest has always been a very flirty child with all males of any age and I think part of why she likes playing sports so much is to impress boys at her school, or at least get their attention. Maybe she's resentful that her sister gets so easily, what she has to work so hard for?
ANSWER: What kind of boy attention is a 7 year old working "so hard for"????No mentally healthy 7 year old would try to compete with a 12 year old for teen age attention or even comprehend it. However, if she's not getting enough attention from dad, older boys may fit the bill for a substitute. Still, that would make your younger dd rather diabolical!



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Lastly, the toilet incident. Yes, it was extreme. No, nothing of that magnitude had ever happened before, which is why that exact incident finally inspired me to take drastic action. I took it very seriously, though my husband seemed to think it was more funny than alarming. It was my youngest obviously just showing off for her friends. I scolded her in front of her friends. My youngest is very dramatic so she burst into tears, there was a screaming match between her and I. She did her typical tantrum trip. I forbade her from playing in her soccer game (which was happening laterthat day) the other girls parents came and got them early. She got a time outand a talking to. Said she was sorry to my oldest, but didn't seem to mean it.....my oldest stayed in her room the rest of the day, I think she was afraid her sister would retaliate for having gotten in trouble because she told on her to me. I'm just at a loss with how to discipline my youngest.
ANSWER: Honestly, it seems like the youngest may be blackmailing the oldest; threatening to tell on the oldest for something that she knows the oldest may have done. I just can't imagine a 7 year old acting that cruelly and getting away with it. And, I'm sorry, but a "talking to" and taking her out of a soccer game is not adequate intervention here. She got away with it.

It doesn't sound like you have much support in the way of other mothers that you can talk to on a regular basis and confide in. If I told any of my friends about your toilet incident (as tho it happened to my kids), you can guarantee that they would have a mouthful! You can also bet that all the little 7 year old friends that you sent home early told their parents exactly what your dear daughter did to the older one. And those parents got right on the phone and talked all about it to each other.

Like my own mother, I am guessing that you live in deep, deep denial. I will look for the family expose book that your older daughter will inevitably write in 10-20 years. Something in the Augustus Burroughs vein...

Therapy pronto!

It takes a village!

Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...:
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#20 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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How does a 7 year old even come up with the concept of dunking someone's head in the toilet?
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#21 of 31 Old 09-24-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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How does a 7 year old even come up with the concept of dunking someone's head in the toilet?

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#22 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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This is the most chilling thread I have ever encountered on MDC.
Yup.


I have dozens of comments (but I just can't even type them all) and all of the blood has drained from my face. I can't believe what this older sister has to live with in terms of family.
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#23 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The more that I reflect on what has happened, and listen to what other mothers have to say, the more resolved I am to go to counseling. I guess sometimes it takes having to look at how ridiculous something is in writing, before one can become as embarrassed as I am becoming right now.

My husband will definitely need to participate or there won't be much point. After reading what some of you had to say about how unlikely it is that my youngest is resentful of my oldest for the attention she gets from boys, it suddenly dawned on me that the reason my youngest might be so malicious with her sister is that she is just seeking to get more attention from her father, to impress him or somemthing. Dunking somebody's head in a toilet sounds like just something my husband would have done in his school days. He talks about doing similar things in his childhood and I would bet he might have unknowningly given my youngest the idea at some point by telling her a story from his past. This is something I will address with my husband. He needs to know that stories he considers funny and harmless can be taken quite seriously by children his bio daughters age.

For the record, my oldest daughter's father was not physically deformed. He had a degenerative condition that was internal. I was only joking that she got her good looks from me. Actually she doesn'treally look like me at all.

I would love to arrange some kind of 'family night' in which we would do things my oldest likes, but there are several things which stop me from doing this. first of all, most of the things my oldest likes to do, are things that aren't done in groups, they are more solitary activities. She reads constantly. Draws, paints, she seems to write alot, the usual artistic kind of stuff. How are we supposed to read a book or draw a picture as a family? That idea seems kind of forced to me.
As for my part, I would love to do these activities one on one with my oldest, and do so occasionally, but I guess you'd have to know my husband and my youngest personally to understand how ridiculous a request it would be to put a paintbrush in their hands and ask them to use it. Or read a book for that matter. Its just not their thing. If I tried forcing my youngest to do it, all the fighting, complaining and tantrums alone, would outweigh any pleasure we might have gotten from it as a family activity. I think my oldest understands this, and that is why she defers to what my youngest wants to do and is not very vocal about what she wants to do when she gets asked.

Divoricing my husband is not an option, even if I wanted to, which I don't. I think some of you are being a bit melodramatic. Yes, there is definitely room for improvement in his treatment of my oldest, lots of room, but it could be alot worse. All i have had to do is peruse some of the threads in other forums to come across many examples of fathers/stepfathers far more abuse than my husband, whom I don't consider to be abusive at all. Aloof maybe. Immature at times, defintely, but not abusive. He hasn't ever verbally abused my oldest. He never remarks negatively about her, to her or me or her sister (though I know he is thinking it) and he definitely has never hurt her physically. His attitude about delicate people is something that cannot be changed, yet I am sure he loves his stepdaughter in his own way. He talks about her as his daughter, the same as he talks about his bio daughter. Our oldest daughters medical bills are not cheap, yet my husband has always footed the bill without ever complaining about it once, and without any sort of hesitation. I have never needed to convince him or fight with him to pay for whatever is needed for my oldest daughters health, and he has never said anything to her to make her feel guilty about it. If he were truly such an awful guy, I think he would have done, some if not all of those things. Though as a sidenote, I think if we were to get divoriced, he would cease to pay for these things, which would harm my oldest much more than any seperation would help her.

I am sorry if I haven't addressed all the issues which all of you have brought up. I'm still reflecting on so many things. Every time I come back to post, there seem to be ten more posts of well meaning mothers, all with something very valuable to say. I can't keep up! lol. I will post again as soon as I can. Already I feel like I am on the way to making a large improvement on our family life.
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#24 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 09:27 AM
 
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You've received a harsh welcome here but it hasn't scared you away, congratulations. It sounds like you are gaining some insight into your family's situation. Thankfully, you are resolved to improve things. I think you see that taking action will help everyone, not just your older daughter. I hope you find lots of support while you make some changes.

Like another pp, I am wondering how much power you have in this family. Have you/Are you being bullied yourself? It may explain how your family situation has come to this point. You have mentioned a few times your husband's wealth and your daughter's medical condition, and her medical bills. It sounds like there are power imbalances and some factors in your family that make it a very complicated situation. You may benefit from some individual therapy to help you sort out these things, in addition to the family therapy that others have suggested.


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The more that I reflect on what has happened, and listen to what other mothers have to say, the more resolved I am to go to counseling.

I would love to arrange some kind of 'family night' in which we would do things my oldest likes, but there are several things which stop me from doing this. first of all, most of the things my oldest likes to do, are things that aren't done in groups, they are more solitary activities. She reads constantly. Draws, paints, she seems to write alot, the usual artistic kind of stuff. How are we supposed to read a book or draw a picture as a family? That idea seems kind of forced to me.

As for my part, I would love to do these activities one on one with my oldest, and do so occasionally, but I guess you'd have to know my husband and my youngest personally to understand how ridiculous a request it would be to put a paintbrush in their hands and ask them to use it. Or read a book for that matter. Its just not their thing. If I tried forcing my youngest to do it, all the fighting, complaining and tantrums alone, would outweigh any pleasure we might have gotten from it as a family activity. I think my oldest understands this, and that is why she defers to what my youngest wants to do and is not very vocal about what she wants to do when she gets asked.
If your younger daughter was bullied at school by a much bigger child (say a 13 y.o. who was almost 6 ft. tall), would you tell her that there's not much that can be done, because the other child is a handful and doesn't understand that your daughter is smaller and weaker? Would you say she should just stand up for herself? You would expect the school and teachers to take action, right?

Improving the family dynamic is one place you can start. Believe it or not, there are some families that read books together and discuss them. We do it all the time. My dh and dd enjoy painting watercolours together. They set up beside each other and comment on each other's work as it progresses. I understand if some of your family member's don't want that experience, but there are other things that might work. What about a trip to the art gallery or science museum or craft market? There must be some activity that you can all enjoy.

Good luck with everything.
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#25 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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My husband will definitely need to participate or there won't be much point. After reading what some of you had to say about how unlikely it is that my youngest is resentful of my oldest for the attention she gets from boys, it suddenly dawned on me that the reason my youngest might be so malicious with her sister is that she is just seeking to get more attention from her father, to impress him or somemthing. Dunking somebody's head in a toilet sounds like just something my husband would have done in his school days. He talks about doing similar things in his childhood and I would bet he might have unknowningly given my youngest the idea at some point by telling her a story from his past. This is something I will address with my husband. He needs to know that stories he considers funny and harmless can be taken quite seriously by children his bio daughters age.
It doesn't bother you that he considers stories about when he bullied other children to be funny? That's not a red flag to you?
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He hasn't ever verbally abused my oldest. He never remarks negatively about her, to her or me or her sister (though I know he is thinking it) and he definitely has never hurt her physically.
Obviously both of your daughters know what he is thinking as well.
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I have never needed to convince him or fight with him to pay for whatever is needed for my oldest daughters health, and he has never said anything to her to make her feel guilty about it.
A prince among men. Does your daughter know what he is thinking about that as well, although he doesn't say it?

Your husband is teaching your younger daughter how to be a bully, and together they are making your older daughter's life hell. I hope the money is worth it.

Are your older DD's paternal grandparents involved in her life?
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#26 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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how heartbreaking for your oldest daughter to grow up that way. a younger sister who's allowed to bully her, a dad who thinks it's funny when it happens and a mom who's not interested in protecting her or helping her, but wants to blame her - "what's wrong with her?" you ask. my god, how heartless you all are towards her. i hope she's able to recover from all of this and is able to move on and have good life away from all of you.

you say you've read threads here about dads that are worse.... i suggest you also read up on the threads from women who've cut their moms out of their lives as adults so you can see how their childhood abuse affected them. perhaps then you'll get it on just how bad it is for your older daughter to be living the way she is.

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#27 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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Emotional abuse is still abuse. Your older daughter has been taught her entire life that her point-of-view is not valuable, and that she has no recourse in order to protect herself. She is a CHILD, if children don't have a safe haven, then they will comply in order to avoid making the situation worse. She has no recourse or way to avoid being bullied by your youngest because you and your husband have allowed this action to continue. What seems so simple to you, that she should just stand up for herself, is not an option to her because she is not as strong, because she has HEALTH PROBLEMS, and doesn't have anyone backing her up. You are her mother, you need to stand up for her. I agree with PP, that at this point her self-esteem is so low and she doesn't feel that she has any support, that it will take a lot of work with you to change her attitude. You need to build confidence in your children...both of them, because the younger lacks confidence in herself as well. I feel very, very bad for your older daughter that she feels so alone in life that she just complies with such treatment. It is frightening to me what will become of both your children as they move into their preteen and teenage years if they aren't validated for POSITIVE reasons. Currently, the situation is validating negative behavior in both of your children. Your older needs to know that she has someone to turn to, it is a very lonely life if even at home you have no one. Your younger daughter needs to be validated by both you and her father for positive reasons, and negative behavior should NOT be tolerated.

As far as money, emotional stability is more important than monetary stability. Your daughters need a strong emotional base in order to be healthy individuals. Money doesn't mean anything compared to love, support, and happiness: and if used to replace those things, only breeds resentment, anger, and a disregard for others, as is currently being manifested by both your husband and younger daughter.

Please, build up your daughter's confidence and trust in you. It will take a lot of work, and it is not an easy fix, it has been torn down for the last 8 or 9 years.

As for finding activities that you will all enjoy together: you're probably not trying hard enough, I am sure there are activities that you will all enjoy, and I think you might be surprised that your husband and youngest will find other things enjoyable. I thought the pottery painting idea was a good one. What about children's events at libraries? Even in your husband doesn't go, it would be a good activity for your daughters to attend. If you think your youngest is acting in a way to impress her father, then maybe her interests are aligned with her father's interests for the same reason...expose her to different activities.

Love your children for who they are. Get your husband to grow up, he is not a child anymore, and he is responsible for the well-being of both of his daughters, even if one is not his bio daughter. Counseling is definitely a good idea.

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#28 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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I am thinking about this thread a lot I am very glad you get some new insights from the responses, and that things will become better.

Most 7 year olds love to fingerpaint etc. Or maybe even footpaint. You could do that with both girls. Also a child show (magician, theater, music), might be nice for both girls.
Your husband seems very cold. To me it seems like he has enough money so he is not too bothered with the extra medical costs, but I wander how it would be if that was not the case. Also he seems to be the cause of your 7 year old not respecting you older daughter more. A 7 year old that tries to please her dad seems more likely than a 7 year old trying to please boys.

Maybe some more emphasis on family bonds (they are bio sisters!) could help a bit. My DD is only 4 but very (positive) sensitive to me saying that she needs to be there for her little brother.

In some families the healthwise weaker child gets too much attention, but in your family it is the complete opposite (too little attention), which is prob. even worse.

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#29 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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Most 7 year olds love to fingerpaint etc. Or maybe even footpaint. You could do that with both girls. Also a child show (magician, theater, music), might be nice for both girls.


Carma
I actually posted above, under my twin sister's name (Thursday Girl). I have created my own account now. There are also various online sources to find activities for kids by age level. Do a Google search and see what alternate activities you could come up that would be appreciated by both girls. It is important that you help to have the girls build a relationship with each other. I am really sure you will be surprised by what other activities your younger daughter might be open to.

Coming from a situation in which my family had money, but not a healthy emotional life, to going to no money, but a healthy emotional life, I preferred the latter.

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#30 of 31 Old 09-25-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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It is important that you help to have the girls build a relationship with each other.
I also think this is an important point. When they do things together they will build a relationship and become more bonded, think that will help some of the issues.

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