Overprotective/overly affectionate dad..

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-06-2004
Overprotective/overly affectionate dad..
Tue, 07-06-2004 - 7:13pm
I need some advice. My fiancee loves his daughter a lot, as do I, but along with what I feel is somewhat "inappropiate" types of affection, he seems to coddle her and refuses to let her grow up. I feel that this is more for his benefit (he really wants to feel like a "good" dad) than for hers. Unfortunately, this is making her extremely "needy" and confused.

My SD is almost 10 and going in 5th grade, and I have been in her life since she was 6. To this day she will not sleep in a room by herself, and frequently demands that she sleep in bed with her dad. (It used to be cute, but isn't anymore.) Her father will not even let her use the microwave or fix herself a bologna sandwich. She constantly lays across him cradle-style and talks babytalk.

To make matters worse, he still thinks that she is not old enough to bathe herself and feels the need to either "help her" or "watch her" put on her pajamas each night and get dressed each morning. If she as much as stands up from the couch, he wants to know where she is going (usually to the bathroom) and has to hold her hand everywhere she walks. She is now becoming extremely accustomed to this behavior and seems to be generally unable to function without it.... and therefore, has become very jealous actung toward he if he holds my hand or sits next to me.

Although I KNOW that he is trying to be caring and affectionate because he had a poor relationship with his father, she is becoming more and more needy and helpless as a result. She is scared to do anything by herself and sometimes displays rather "inappropriate attention" toward members of the opposite sex (both her age and adults) which she sometimes tells me about. She has also gotten in trouble at school for being "overly affectionate" toward boys in her class.

I don't want my SD to be afraid of affection or have a negative body image, but I also want to teach her discretion. Her mother is a very promiscuous person (who has moved in with many, MANY different boyfriends since the birth of my SD) and I am afraid that a combintation of the biomom's example, and her father's leniency toward nudity and physical contact may be very confusing for her.

I try to encourage my SD to be independent and responsible regarding both her actions and decisions, but it is nearly impossible when her father feels that she is "just a little girl" and completely helpless. Everything I say, he tells me that I am just jealous of his daughter and I don't know what I am talking about.

I have tried to talk with him regarding the fact that she is quickly approaching puberty and needs new boundaries regarding "affection" and "nudity". She (my SD) has already had discussions with me about sex (usually stemming from "slumber-party" discussions), but he thinks that she is just a niave little girl and that I am blowing things out of proportion. My SD is also have a very difficult time differentiating between father/daughter affection and husband/wife affection - - which is creating a lot of jealousy issues toward me. What can I do? If something doesn't change soon, I am very afriad that she is going to end up being a 12 year old mom who can't make a bologna sandwich.


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 07-07-2004 - 10:12am
(First off, I hope someone can move this thread to the above section so more people can respond...)

My gut feeling would be to get with your SD's school counselor and maybe pediatrician (if counselor not available in the summer, but many are) ASAP, and set up an appointment to discuss it all (without SD or DH, at least for now). Lay it all out like you did here, expressing your (what I feel are valid) concerns, and see what they recommend. The counselor should have some ideas of what can or should be done.

Good luck - ITA with your perspective, but really don't have any concrete advice other than that. Sorry!