How do I help them (DD and DH)? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 11-23-2009, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Sigh, I am noticing more and more conflict between DD #1 and DH and I don't know how to help. She is not his biologically, although he is the only father she has ever known and has called him dad forever, and fully accepts his role in her life.

That said, he has never ever seen a girl grow up, not within his extended family even. So he just flat out does not get the hormones that are wreaking havic on her right now, or the attitude that is coming along.

I do understand his points. She has a lot of freedom. She walks to and from school with friends (but this also helps US because we don't have to drive her and change schedules), she has her own bedroom with a private full bath (just worked out that way, it was the tiny bedroom, the other kids share a larger room and our room is small but not as tiny. She gets sleepovers, play dates, etc. Goes to movies occasionally when we can afford it, etc.

She has been mouthing off a lot, either that or plain old not responding when we talk to her, especially him. She just gives us/him this vacant blank stare when he asks her to do something, and will just stand there, AFTER she has heard him. This absolutely infuriates him.

So I agree, we need to work on respect issues, I just also know that there is a LOT more of this to come, especially if she is even remotely like me. However, he is also the softy when it comes to letting her do things that she shouldn't be doing. Like staying up until 10:30 on a school night simply to watch a movie with him that we already own. So the next morning when she has to be up at 6:30, she is completely exhausted, or allowing her to go places with him when her homework is not finished.

How on earth do I navigate this and help him understand what is going on with her and how best to address it and help structure things for her?!

Proud mama to DD#1 (11) DS (4) and DD#2 ( 2 )
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#2 of 4 Old 11-23-2009, 08:59 PM
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This may not help but I have found that the more I "help" with the relationships between my husband and each individual kid, the less I actually help the situation. When I get out of the way, and let them work it out, there are bumps (as in every relationship) but it becomes theirs. KWIM?
That said, sometimes there are family dynamics that need to be worked on or parenting issues that need to be discussed between parents... i.e. staying up late on school nights, standards for when homework is done.
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#3 of 4 Old 11-23-2009, 10:22 PM
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Clear boundaries and expectations help most teens (and, parents), I think.

While I understand that traversing teen years is a tug-of-war that, if done right, parents are supposed to lose at the exact moment a teen is able to claim responsibility, it needs to be scripted. A parent can't say it's OK to do "A" on Monday and have a 'cow' about it when the teen does "A" on Tuesday. As you recognized, your DH letting DD forego homework and not get enough sleep on a school night is a good example of setting fuzzy boundaries and expectations. Frankly, that kind-of stuff would be confusing and frustrating for anyone - add to that a hormonal teen and ... wow! It doesn't seem like something that would be a hard concept to get across to DH. Maybe it's time to have that discussion?

You want to avoid battles over the same "stuff" with DD. So, think about what you want from her on a day-to-day basis - chores, schedule, reporting, etc.. Make sure you and DH are on the same page. Then, sit down and discuss expectations with DD. Be brief (clear) and don't make it a negative talk. Allow for some discussion, listen and be prepared to make reasonable compromises. When you're done - write down the expectations on both sides - i.e., schoolnight bedtime is 9:30; no voices raised in anger; dirty laundry is to be placed in the hamper immediately; allowance is $ weekly and will be paid on Fridays.

When chores became a particularly "ugly" topic here, we moved it out of discussion. (The sound of my own voice repeating was annoying me and I remembered how, when I was a kid, I would deliberately NOT do something my father told me to do more than twice !) We got an erasable board where we wrote things like - "remember maritial arts class is at 6, so get homework done before dinner today" or "run the dishwasher and empty it when its done, please". That board saved our collective sanity. DD agreed to check the board every day and cross things off as they were done, and I agreed not to remind about anything on the board. We both made it work.

DH set aside time, every week, to do something fun with DD. For awhile, it was getting breakfast together on Friday mornings and, then, taking DD to school. Then, it was Sunday morning nature excursions. The point was 1-on-1 positive time, doing things they both enjoyed. They, of course, would talk during this time too and it helped create a stronger bond. DD is at college now, but she still looks forward to that 1-on-1 time wtih DH when she's home on breaks. She, affectionately, calls it "daddy-daughter time".

I would make the same effort to set-aside time to do positive, low-key things with DD. She often set the agenda. Sometimes it was shopping for "whatever" or "nothing". Sometimes it going for a walk. The point, again, was positive time.

Hope my experience has some application to your situation and that, in any event, you find peace.
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#4 of 4 Old 11-24-2009, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much ladies:

I really love the idea of having a board to write things down for her and having her cross them off as they are completed.

Proud mama to DD#1 (11) DS (4) and DD#2 ( 2 )
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