Handling step daughters????

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
Handling step daughters????
32
Fri, 06-01-2007 - 7:33pm

DH has two daughters, 18 & 12. They visit and spend the night about 2, maybe 3 times per week. Because DH works long hours the two girls are use to staying by themselves and coming and going as they please. This drives me nuts! I never know when someone is going to just walk in the house, go to their room, get something, turn around and leave as the girls go back and forth from our house to their mother's house. I told DH that this is unusual to me as I have been single for the past 7 years and when my son comes to visit he STAYS and for longer than a 24 hour period.

There are times that the girls are very irresponsible, like leaving a burning candle in their room or forgetting their books, etc for school. I've told DH that we need to make sure the girls are being more responsible because their actions effect everyone from him to my son!

Besides the coming and going, and the irresponsiblity, there are times that DH's daughters talk so ugly to him. They have a tone in their voice as if dad is to blame for everything. They are only nice to him when they want him to buy them something. I've told DH that I don't like the way they talk to him and he says he doesn't either but he does nothing about it. He's afraid they won't come around if he makes them unhappy.

Anyway, I'm asking if anyone has had or is in a similar situation and how do you handle it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Wed, 06-06-2007 - 11:24am

You and your DH have a bigger problem than the girls. You need to have agreed upon how these children are to behave, what their responsible for, and what the consequences are if they do not do as they are suppose to. It should first be disucssed and agreed upon by both you and your DH, and then discussed and agreed upon between the adults and the children. The kids need to know ahead of time, what the consequences are, so that there is not spur of the moment punishment out of anger. You both have to follow through, and neither you nor he should undermind the other.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 06-06-2007 - 1:01pm
I think you really need to have a talk w/ your DH. It really isn't fair at all for your DS to be helping out around the house and for the girls to be so lazy and doing nothing. Maybe since they don't live there all the time, they shouldn't have as many chores, but they should at least be cleaning their room. You should ask your DH how you can tell your DS that he has to clean up after himself and clean his room and at the same time allow the girls to keep their room totally messy--how could that possibly be fair? They are probably ignoring your requests to help out because their father doesn't back you up, so you & he have to get on the same page and then he can tell them how the rules are going to be the same for everyone in the house. They may not live there full time, but it's not a hotel and you aren't the chambermaid!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Wed, 06-06-2007 - 4:06pm

"They just won't eat until someone makes them something."

Well, one easy thing, is that that "someone" neednt be YOU...

If dad wants to wait on them, that's his call...

As far as their bedroom goes, you shut the door 24/7 and dont go inside it. They're dad's kids, and dad can deal with it.

You and your DH DO need to discuss how things will be and be consistent....since his kids are more "guests" I can see how maybe they dont have "chores" like mow the lawn, but picking up towels, etc, are common courtesy for everyone, and IMHO should be the rule across the board.

I guess I"m fortunate in that I started our relationship completely "hands off" of the parenting of his kids, and leave snack preparation, laundry , etc of his kids up too him.

TRY THIS:

When its time for SD's to go home, and they've left towels out by the pool, or dirty dishes by the sink, etc, (and youre sure they arent your DS's)...say to them, in front of dad, "there are dirty towels out by the pool", "there are dirty dishes by the sink".

They can clean up their mess, dad can tell them to clean up their mess, or dad can clean up their mess.

Just make the observation that the stuff is there, and leave it up to him to handle.

If the towels are still there and they leave and DH comes back home and remarks about it, say,'well, I guess they can pick them up next time they're here" and walk away.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-06-2007 - 5:46pm

"there are times that DH's daughters talk so ugly to him. They have a tone in their voice as if dad is to blame for everything. They are only nice to him when they want him to buy them something. I've told DH that I don't like the way they talk to him and he says he doesn't either but he does nothing about it."

Even if you don't feel that you have enough pull in these girls' lives to tell them how to act in your home, even if your husband chooses to do nothing about how they treat him -

We are coming up on Father's Day. I think that if there is any time at all when you might feel empowered to sit down with these girls (maybe one on one) and have a pleasant talk about Dads and respect and what they are going to do to show their dad appreciation on June 17, then I think that time is NOW. Let this be your excuse for "butting in," if you feel you need one. Even if you have a hubby who wants you to let it slide, he cannot fault you for helping to teach them how to "do" Father's Day properly. Someone has got to do it, and I doubt that his Ex will.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-07-2007 - 1:59pm

"It was the first time that he scolded my son...at least in front of me. My son is 12 years and had left some things in the livingroom. DH told him that his things did not need to be in the livingroom at all."

If you agree that this should be a house rule, then perhaps you and your husband should post the rule someplace, and see to it that it is uniformly enforced. Like you, I would have been on the edge having to listen to a speech that borders on the hypocritical, coming from such a permissive Dad. Sometimes marriage can be a trial, eh?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2007
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 3:03pm

Oh my God I felt like I was reading my own thoughts when I read your post!

I have two of my own children and D has two of his own. My two are only with us on occasion and have been taught since day one to clean up after themselves and be responsible for their belongings. WHen they stay with us they help with the daily chores in addition to their normal activities and school.

Now when D's two kids (ages 10 and 13) stay with us forget it. The oldest will have a pile of 7 towels in his walk-in closet by the end of the week, food all over his room, junk just everywhere. If you ask him to do anything (other than talk on the phone he give an attitude). He's just plain lazy. If I say anything to the kid or to D I'm accused of picking on him.

I was raised in a generation that taught if you live in the house you help out...no discussion. I've tried numerous time to assign D's kids chores to do when I'm at work. Most of the time they don't do them and I have no recourse because D thinks that "they're kids".

My biggest problems with the whole thing is that I am not going to wait on his kids. I'm tired of his kids trashing the house. And I think his kid is going to grow up and get into all sorts of trouble because he's not being taught responsibilty or accountability.

What absolutely blew my mind was about a week ago D hollered at my oldest son for putting away something in the kitchen in the wrong cabinet. Well needless to say I blew becuase at LEAST my kid knows to clean up after eating. If his kids knew where the garbage can was that would be a miracle!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 3:39pm
I replied to your message below, but one thing that might change DH's tune is that if his kids leave their room a mess and he doesn't think they should do any chores, then when they leave, you can point out the mess and tell him to clean it up cause you are not going to clean up after his kids. I bet they stop leaving a mess then!
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2007
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 4:03pm

Oh trust me tried doing that. Unfortunately the way our house is setup the master is downstairs and the kids are upstairs so he avoids going up at all costs. And I have pointed it out to him and he says "next week when they're back I'll make them take care of it"....problem being by then you know he's forgotten.

Other downside is his oldest and my oldest share a room. And my oldest is a nitty picky neat nick who has to share with an absolute slob. That being the case MY son hates coming over there becuase its always a mess whether D's kid is there or not. Can't say I blame my son but I'm not going to have my kid hate coming over to my house becuase of a sloppy kid who's not even mine.

I guess its kind of got to the point where I told D that if he doesn't start enforcing some rules and chores for all (mine included...even though they already do chores) the kids and have some sort of structure I'm going to move out. We're not married, been together for what seems like forever, but I just am not going to keep pulling my hair out of my head for this stuff. And I also am not going to have my kids not want to be around me becuase of his kids.

I love him but I have to do what's best for me and my kids. Wish there were easy answers out there......

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2007
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 9:22pm

I'm not married yet, but my fiance also has two daughters, ages 20 and 17.

Like yours, they come and go as they please, they're not as tidy as I'd prefer, and they order their dad around. They'll walk in and demand that he cook them a meal, and then complain that they didn't like the food! They ask for money and get it. And they have that mean, manipulative streak and sullen attitude that girls seems to have at this age.

I just let it go. They are his daughters. They have their own relationship and, because I'm not part of it, I'll never understand all of the nuances. On the other hand, they love him to bits and he loves them just as completely. It shows all the time.

I also have children -- three sons. And I've learned that the relationship between daughters and fathers is really different than the relationship between mothers and sons. My sons are a bit tidier (just a bit), they don't demand and don't complain, but they have their quirks: they yell and fight loudly with each other, and sometimes with me. They have endless, loud debates about everything. I'm sure that, if he let it, it would drive my sweetie crazy.

He lets it go. They are my sons. We have our own relationship and, because he's not part of it, he'll never understand all of the nuances. He knows that they love me and how very deeply and completely I love them.

Because they're not small children, and because they all have (at least) two parents, they don't need another set. I am Dad's girlfriend, not their stepmother, because they don't need one.

Habits aside, I have a great relationship with his daughters, and he has an even better relationship with my sons (they ADORE him!).

Anyway, this is how I handle stepdaughters. But I know it's not for everyone.

Hope it helps,
~~ jennie

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Thu, 06-21-2007 - 9:02am

Jennie,

B and I went through some difficult periods with his DD as well. B finally admitted that it was his vision that his daughter should love me, because he loved me. He didn't understand that the relationships were completely different. With different relationships, love is different. I do not love my husband in the same way I love my children. I do not love my friends the same way I love my family. I love them all, but it's different, because each individual is different.

I may never get to the point where I love his DD as intensely as I love my own children, because she is grown, married and I really don't know her very well. B's therapist told him to leave me alone. LOL!!! That he needed to trust me and his DD to form whatever relationship worked best for the two of us, not what would work for him. So, he had to step back. I, in turn, stepped back from his relationship with his DD. The only time I come into it, is if it has a direct affect on me, or the boys.

So I think your advice of letting it go, using that skill of "detached" love, is really good advice.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.