Relationships

Any suggestions on how to deal with...(kinda long)

Hello,

     My boyfriend and I are living together and in making that decision, we blended our families. He has 3 children (2 boys that are 16 and a girl that is 11), and I have 5 children (2 boys ages 13 and 11, and 3 girls ages 11, 6, and 3). We talked about this and we knew what to expect and we had a relatively uneventful blending of households. We were pleasantly surprised and extremely thankful.

     That being said, his daughter is getting more and more disrespectful towards me, especially when my boyfriend is not around. I'm not sure what happened, and she swears I've done nothing wrong, yet she admits to treating me like garbage.

     She started out disrespecting every meal I made-saying it was disgusting, not eating it, carrying on, etc. Then, she started in on the cleanliness of our house. She told me that the house is never clean when she comes over and that it's disgusting. I'll admit that the house was a little cluttered and disorganized during the move in, but my house has NEVER been filthy. (I am the ONLY one who has cleaned this house on my hands and knees since my boyfriend and his ex-wife originally bought the house. My bf's mother told me that his ex never cleaned the house and SHE had to come clean it because it smelled so bad and there was so much crap on the ground that his dad, who is blind, couldn't make his way safely around their house.) She tells me no or flat out ignores me when I ask her to do something.

     She runs home and tells her mom that I am a b**** (yes, she is allowed to use that language at home), and that I make her clean the house all weekend when she's here. His son has defended me to their mom, and HE gets into trouble for telling them that she's lying. 

     In the beginning, we had, what I thought, was a good relationship. I later found out that everything she had told me was a complete lie, and this came from multiple conversations I had with my bf. It has gotten so bad I had to tell him she is no longer allowed to go with me alone anywhere because I feel I need a witness so she can't spread even more lies about me. 

     He has disciplined her in the past for her behavior and forced her to apologize, but that has had no effect on her behavior toward me. She keeps getting worse and the last conversation we had about this, I told him I was at my breaking point. He got defensive because he only sees them 4 days a month and he wants them to enjoy being here. I completely understand where he's coming from and I want that, too, but not at the expense of allowing her to treat me like crap.

     The last weekend they were here, she didn't listen to a word I said, and it took his sister (when everyone came over for a cookout) to get her to do anything she was told. I just bit my tongue and tried to avoid being around her as much as possible, and trust me, I know that sounds terrible, but I've tried everything I can think of to build a good relationship with her.

     When my bf has talked to her alone, she said she wasn't doing it and I was lying until he called her out on behavior that was witnessed by others and she was forced to admit she was doing wrong. She started crying when she knew she couldn't deny it and manipulated him into feeling sorry for her. She pulled the same crap when we talked to her together, and she got NO punishment for treating me terribly.

     I love my bf and, aside from the issues we have with her, we have a solid relationship where we can talk about anything and everything. The only time we've ever "fought" is over the way she treats me because he wants to immediately jump to her defense and I won't back down from being treated this way, and yet, he gets mad because he doesn't want me to be treated badly either. 

     I truly feel he feels like he's stuck between a rock and a hard place. When he takes a stand with her, she refuses to come for the weekend, which I feel he should make her come anyway. She doesn't have the choice according to the courts, but he allows her to. Now, he seems to be caving to her because he knows she'll refuse to come. It's gotten so bad I don't want to be around her at all because the only thing that comes out of her mouth to me are lies, and she treats me terribly.

     It's very frustrating because the behavior he allows from her, he does NOT tolerate from any of the other kids, including his sons. His parents are appalled at her behavior and know it's been an issue, even years before he got divorced, because his ex taught her to be this way, and he never stopped it, just went right along with it. She has always been able to get away with everything, that comes straight from my bf's mouth, because she was the youngest and the only girl. "She'd walk over and punch one of the boys and we never did anything about it," my bf told me one time while discussing the situation, "and we never allowed the boys to retaliate because she was younger than them."

     Her behavior is even causing a rift between my bf and his sons, and between my bf and my kids. They all feel she is favored and can do no wrong. I've had many, many talks with his one son over this because he feels the same way at his mom's house. He is the one who has to do her chores and clean her room, because their mom won't make her do anything she doesn't want to do.

     I've tried doing things with her, making special time for the two of us, making an extra effort to include her in things I'm doing with my kids, etc., and nothing has helped. 

     I understand she might be jealous of my relationship with her dad, that she might be jealous of my girls' relationship with her dad, that she may still have a notion that her parents will get back together even though they've been apart for years, that she was taught that this behavior was ok and sees her mother do this to other people to get what she wants, etc. I just don't feel it is acceptable regardless of the reason for it. I want her to feel welcome in our home, to feel a part of our large family, to feel wanted, etc., but I've had my fill of the way she treats me. 

     I'm open to constructive suggestions and ideas on how to deal with this situation. I'd love to hear from anyone else who has had to deal with this problem and how they handled it. Thanks for taking the time to read this and make any suggestions you might have.

      

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Re: Any suggestions on how to deal with...(kinda long)

  • An 11 year old should not be allowed to dictate how a home is managed. Your DH needs to go to family counseling and learn how to deal with his manipulative daughter. Unfortunately, she is being taught how to behave poorly from her mother, and that's a shame. However, she should not be allowed to get away with disrespect just because she throws the best temper tantrums. If it means your BF misses out on a few weekends, so be it.

    Despite the fact that no one WANTS her to behave the way that she is, no one is stopping it. Aside froma few talking-to's, she's faced NO discipline for her behavior. She knows if she's a brat for long enough, everyone around her will cave. The adults in the house need to learn how to deal with these issues from a professional in order to combat the poor life skills she's learning from her mother.

    Best of luck!

    Break cycle BFP on 11/6/12 after 17 cycles and a failed IUI - TTC/BFP details in bio
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  • I agree that family counseling is a good idea for this.  She's always been taught that she can do what she wants and nothing will happen to her, and it's always been true- so the only thing that's going to stop her from doing whatever she wants is if it starts leading to consequences.  As in, she has to come to her dad's house 4 days a month because the court says so, and if she pouts or whines or is rude, then she'll be doing extra chores and writing apology letters while she's at it.  

    The reason I think family counseling is especially important here is because your bf seems hung up on wanting his daughter to enjoy spending these four days a month with him- because I promise you, a child that gets to do what she wants at her mom's house and gets punished for talking back at her dad's house is not going to "enjoy" going to dad's.  This is about the long view- this is bigger than whether she pouts or talks back or lies today, this is about what kind of life skills she'll have as an adult if she's used to pouting and lying and talking back to get her way.  He's her dad- she needs her parents to teach her how to grow up to be a successful adult, and if one parent won't, the other parent especially needs to step up.

  • A lot of this is rebellion and adolescent stuff but nope, she sholdn't be rude to you or give you any backtalk or lip.

    Your boyfriend needs tos peak up and tell her to cut it out -- she is to treat you politely, pleasantly and civilly.

    If he won't speak up, you have a rough ride ahead of you. I strongly suggest you rethink a guy who cannot discipline his kids and that you rethink a guy who doesn't care what his daughter says or does.

    Your bf is a doormat, not a dad. He has rules and if not, he needs to make some and make sure that they stick. This goes for all the kids.
  • Thank you! I agree and even his parents have told him about family counseling, as well as friends, because her behavior is not just directed toward me, it is directed toward everyone who doesn't give in to her. Him and his ex absolutely refuse counseling for her, but I am going to push it from an US point of view to make our relationship stronger.  

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  • Thanks! I agree 100%. I've even brought this up to him regarding his two boys as well. They are all allowed to do as they please, when they please, and act as they please. We've had the talk about how they aren't going to be ready to go out on their own because, although his oldest has played Mr. Mom to his younger 4 siblings (not my bf's), he has no clue about making responsible choices and decisions and mommy is always there to bail him out when he's in trouble. We've already had the 'What's going to happen when one of them (including the daughter) comes to us and is pregnant/gotten a girl pregnant?' talk because his ex-wife not only allowed their son, when he JUST turned 14, to have sex in her house, but encouraged it so their sons girlfriends father could come over and she was sleeping with him at the same time!

    I'm definitely going to push for the family counseling and see what happens.  

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  • Thanks! I agree, and that's what I've been wrestling with. He is stern with her at times, but because this is an on-going issue and she gripes to his ex, he gets it from both his daughter and his ex how terrible I am. He does defend me, but in the end, she gets to do whatever she wants because, as you nailed it perfectly, he's a doormat. I want to spend my life with him, and I feel we are truly meant to be. That being said, I know nothing is perfect and I believe this is one of the hurdles we must face and surpass. 

    I am grateful for all the responses. I wasn't sure whether to post or not, but I knew how I felt and I knew it wasn't right, and I knew I was not going to back down. She isn't allowed to go with me anywhere and after our last "fight/talk" he says he'll take her with him if he has to go to work (he works on-call) and such. I feel avoiding the problem isn't fixing it, but maybe, when he gets tired of hearing her bs when he takes her everywhere, it will strengthen his reserve and he'll put her in her place.

    I appreciate the suggestions and will attempt to follow through with the family counseling. I feel this will better serve our entire family as well as strengthen our relationship along with it. I feel better knowing that others agree I did the right thing not allowing her to treat me this way and that I am justified in taking a stand. I know his parents and family are on my side, but they didn't like his ex and I wanted an unbiased opinion.  

     Thanks ladies, you're awesome! 

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  • Counciling. ASAP! If your BF refuses, I would be out of there. There is no way to expect this many children to fall into domestic bliss without some help. This type of behavior from an 11year old girl is not unusual, but it must be dealt with. I really liked the PP idea of writing apology letters, especially if this behavior is not just toward you. It makes her accountable, hopefully embarassed, and does not single out just you. You do not want to be the only focus.

    Please remember she is just trying to get under your skin by criticizing you, and she's getting what she wants. She is a sad, scared little girl who probably feels like she is losing her daddy to someone elses 5 kids and a girlfriend who get him most of the month. She gets such a small part of his life. Her behavior is inexcusable, but don't lose sight of where it is coming from. You mentioned teenage pregnancy in the future is a concern. If she is not looking for male attention because she has a great relationship with her father and feels she is worth waiting for, she is so much less likely to make a risky choice regardless of her mothers influence.

    Also your BF needs to have a talk with his parents. It's time to stop blaming her mother for her behavior. The mother has no say over what happens in your house and you have no say about what happens in hers. I don't care if her mother is letting her behave this way, encouraging her, or flat out telling her to, she is the one raising them 26 days out of the month and having anyone talking about her like she is trash is unfair. It may be completely true, but her kids do not need to EVER hear it. Not from him, you, or his parents. You would be surprised what they hear, even if you think they are not within earshot. Even if you talk about her when they are not there, your kids will most likely tell them what they hear at some point. The best thing you can do is be an example of a better way to live and better choices. Kids are smart, they will see the difference.

    When my parents divorced neither of them ever said a bad word about the other, even if I was complaining about them, they would not agree. The response was always "You will not talk about your father/ mother disrespectfuly. They are your mother/ father and they love you". When my sister divorced her pot smoking loser husband years later, we adopted the same response to her children. Unless he was doing something illegal, then we would say he made a bad choice (learn from it) but he is your father and he loves you. I cannot stress enough how this helped. My sister's ex would bad mouth us all the time. The kids didn't argue with him, but it did not earn their respect at all. They are grown now and see what their dad is. It is sad to have to come to terms with the fact that your parent isn't what you hoped for. We did not need to pour salt in that wound, and I'm really glad we didn't.

     A HUGE good luck to you, your children, and his. 

  • Thanks! 

    I do want to make it perfectly clear, though, that we do not talk about the other parents (my ex included) when ANY of the kids are around and it is behind closed doors. They don't trash his exwife, but have shed some insight into why the kids act the way they do (living like slobs-way beyond that of a typical child, being allowed to look up porn in the internet freely, etc.) We don't allow the kids to talk badly of the other parent either because this is exactly the behavior his daughter displays at her house that hurts so much because it's all lies. Plus, if your kids aren't mad at you at least once a week, you're doing it wrong. lol 

    Yes, she raises them most of the month, which is why my bf feels we can't control the situation or change their behavior, and he is correct, but at the same time, we don't have to allow that behavior in our house and I will not tolerate it anymore. We have explained this to all of the kids-what rules are or are not at the other parents house do not apply here because we have our own set of rules. Some rules may be the same, but some may be different and in some cases, we may have more rules, but that for our family to function well, we need to have these rules.

     

    We did have a huge talk last night and I laid it all out for him. He hasn't turned down the idea of counseling, so I will be getting more information on this and see how it all works with the insurance we have, etc. I explained that I am done moving forward with my relationship with his daughter. He got mad until I made him let me explain what I meant by that first. I told him that I have gone way more than halfway, and although I am not retreating, I'm not moving any further toward it until she starts meeting me halfway. I will not force a relationship with her as that would be a terrible one to start with and it would not grow and develop well. Plus, if it's forced, it's not worth it. I explained that I have put everything I have out there on the table and when she decides that it's ok to work on a relationship with me, I will be more than willing to walk down that road WITH her. He then calmed down and understood what I was saying and agreed. He said I should pull her aside and have a chat with her about how her behavior makes me feel. We tried this last time with him there with us and it didn't get us anywhere apparently, but he feels that trying it just between her and me might have a little more sway. I told him I wasn't comfortable with that because of the lies she runs home and tells her mother and everyone else that will listen. The decision has yet to be made on how I will deal with that one. We decided that the behavior will not be allowed to continue in our home and if need be, I will dish out a punishment as I see fit, the same as I do with the other children, when she blatantly disobeys or treats me badly. 

    I am committed to making this work as long as he's willing to back me up and we are working for the greater good in all of this. The moment he isn't willing to back me up, which he always has backed me up-he's just not been the best at taking charge of the situation and making a punishment stick until I get upset and make him make it stick, I am gone. 

    Thanks for letting me vent ladies and giving me some good advice. I was truly in a bad place not knowing what I should do. I was trying to look at it from every side and made excuses for this or that, and I just needed some unbiased opinions from an outside source. Yes, I was a little...or a lot...angry when I made my post so I'm sure it was more dramatic than it needed to be, but I didn't know what else to do and I wanted some outside opinions. I am grateful that you were all polite and weren't rude or disrespectful when replying. That wouldn't have helped at all, but your input has helped tremendously. Thanks again!!

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  • It sounds like you are really doing the best you can in this very difficult situation. 

    It may help if BF puts his foot down with daughter talking trash about you to him immediately. As in children do not dictate what parents do or who they date. If he refuses to listen to nasty untrue things about you, she will get the picture eventually. She will still run to mom and talk about you as long as mom is agreeing, but there's nothing you can do about that. The same goes for the ex. He has no business listening to her opinion on you as long as you are not abusing her children (which it clearly does NOT sound like you are). Sounds like he's got some work to do sticking up for himself, and you! One step at a time though! At least he is listening and working with you. I wouldn't try talking to her alone either. He really needs to take the lead on all this until you and she have some sort of functioning relationship. 

    I might also have a family meeting with him and all the kids explaining unacceptable behaviors and the specific consequences. Then when you have to dole out those consequences she can't tell her dad you're being unfair to her since it was all spelled out in advance.

    Again, good luck! 

  • I meant with both of you leading the  family meeting showing a united front. Not sure if that came through. I reread it and it didn't sound quite right :) 
  • I agree.

    She doesn't trash talk me to him, she tells him she loves me, yadda yadda. She treats me like garbage behind his back and then lies about it. She bad mouths me to her mother and anyone else who will listen, that doesn't know me (usually her mothers family, etc). She tried lying to him about things I had done and said to her, and he knew it was a lie because I would not do or say those things and he let her have it. 

    She's definitely playing the field and upsetting the apple cart on purpose, and I really like your suggestion of a family meeting to discuss acceptable and unacceptable behavior. We've done this once, with a bit of success (with every child but her), but it's waning and probably time for a refresher. 

     


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