Disastrous holiday with 15 step daughter

(16 Posts)
louby44 Wed 21-Aug-13 18:27:40

I've looked up Relate and there is a local one near to where his exW and DD live (they live 40 miles away). He works near to them too so he could certainly arrange a session after work with all 4 of them.

I don't know if they would be willing to do this. He needs to broach it with his ex initially...not something he will look forward to!

newlifeforme Wed 21-Aug-13 17:25:47

PS. I know how tough this is..sometimes I just want to walk away from the issues. I'm drained after a weekend with DSD when we have had high drama and I've spent hours listening and being supportive, sometimes to the detriment of my own children.

I'm not the parent so can't take responsibility but the impact of my DSD's behaviour impacts the whole family. I have arranged counselling for DSD as at times the issues feel overwhelming. Sometimes it's fine but then something will happen at home and she will appear at our house angry and sullen. I no longer take it personally and recognise that she is having an issue at home. It often takes weeks before she is able to talk about it.

newlifeforme Wed 21-Aug-13 17:21:16

I was once told by a counsellor that depression in teens is often expressed as rebellion. She certainly seems to be in self destruct mode and this is ahead of a difficult school year.

What could be the issues for her? She seems to have unresolved anger and isnt able to express her emotions in a healthy way (her dad hitting her however was a very poor example so he's not acting as a good role model).

I would ask your H to contact her and tell her he loves her - despite the behaviour. He needs to get her into counselling.

My DSD is the same age - she has had a difficult time as her mum remarried multiple times, all in quick succession. From the age of 12 her anger was apparent but she has felt able (after some difficulties) to talk to me.

Her anger was deeply felt and it didn't take much to get it too the surface - an example, school gave a career session and one profession was mediation. DSD talked to me about how angry she felt through the session and thought the lady was lying because she knew her mum and step dad had tried mediation and it had failed as they were no longer together and still angry with each other.

Basically dsd feels disillusioned and resentful and as it teen this turns to anger/rebellion.

Would your DH agree to counselling for her? Is there someone that she will talk to, an aunt or family friend..sometimes an outsider can help. Would her younger sister be able to help with communication?

louby44 Wed 21-Aug-13 16:20:48

I think her wanting to come and live with us was just a knee jerk reaction. She has many friends whom she spends all of her time with, too much time probably. She would have to change schools and she really wouldn't want to do that. She's just about to enter Y11/ GCSE year.

I sent her a text on Monday telling her I was disappointed that she hadn't said goodbye to me before she went home. She replied by telling me she wasn't interested in anything I had to say and would I please not text her again. I haven't.

It's now up to DH like you say. He needs to move this on.

Tuckshop Wed 21-Aug-13 15:41:33

That's a good idea. We kept up communication, and kept inviting her if we were going places. I think she got herself into a corner she wouldn't back out of. In the end I think she missed out on doing something with us that she would have enjoyed. We just kept the door open to her and kept communicating going. What I always felt was that she was pushing to see whether we would just give up on her, so despite her behaviour that was the last thing we did.

You said that she had begged to come and live with you. Is that an option? Dsd also asked to come to us. She'd send sudden texts as she'd fallen out with her mum and we thought it was just that - she hid so much of what was going on at home. I only know the full details now. She wasn't able to verbalise it at the time, but she now says she would have given anything to come. I do wonder whether your dsd's know more about their mum than they are letting on?

If there's been a change in the past 10 months then I think getting to the bottom of what's going on for them is important. But it really is down to your dh to drive that. What always helped me was to sit and let any anger die down, and then look at the bigger picture. It made some of the stuff less personal and easier to deal with.

louby44 Wed 21-Aug-13 15:30:56

Tuckshop thank you so much for your support. I'm finding it very useful reading about everyone's different situations. You sound like a wonderful person to become your DSD guardian.

My DP has always had very firm boundaries and rules with all 4 of the kids (his and mine), so much so that sometimes he is a bit too over the top. He's ex army so believes in complete discipline and has a bit of a 'stand by your beds' attitude. He's helped me see that I was a bit of a soft touch with my 2 DS when I first met him, I was a struggling single mum with a full time teaching job and I often didn't follow through with sanctions.

That has all changed now and with his support TV's get switched off, X boxes get removed and ipods/phones get confiscated. I'm much firmer with my boys and we have certain rules, no food/drink upstairs, no shoes in the house, plates are cleared after meals etc. I also hope that he has learnt from me too that sometimes you have to choose your battles and kids think differently to adults, they don't care about mess!

His girls have accepted these rules too when they are here; it is only the past 10 months or so that things have gone a bit pear shaped with them. Things happening at home seem to spill over to our home when they visit. I'm convinced DSD15 has gone off the rails because of her mum's breakup with her long term partner(her mum actually attempted suicide during xmas and new year - neither of the girls knew about this to the best of our knowledge, she was hospitalized and we told them she had had an allergic reaction to her anti-depressants).

The bloody awful holiday was a culmination of a ton of stuff that has built up over the past 6 months.

I'm going to encourage my DP to send them both a card in the post with a short, light hearted message in it, no reference to the holiday. I know texts/calls will be ignored. He needs to try and keep up the communication even if he is ignored.

Tuckshop Wed 21-Aug-13 15:12:09

I've been in this situation with dsd, with her kicking off on various holidays and with two parents who had no boundaries and didn't enforce any. And there was a time when she refused to come to our house because of me when I finally spoke out.

I too think you were absolutely right to talk to her. Her behaviour was directly affecting your holiday.

What I did was detach from being able to resolve things. Her Dad (now xh) just wouldn't deal with her or do anything differently, and was repeatedly setting me up to be the bad guy. Once I recognised that I stepped back. I knew that what she desperately needed was for her parents to actually set her some boundaries and she constantly pushed to see how far she could go.

In the bad times I just used to hold onto the fact that she was, underneath it, a young girl who was doing the best she could with the hand she'd been dealt, and the hurt she had been on the receiving end of from her mum and dad. It was a complex situation because me just being me at times made it worse for her. She has told me recently how hard it was for her seeing me be the mum I am to dd as it highlighted exactly what her mum wasn't doing for her either practically or emotionally. And that resulted in her being angry at me.

I don't have an answer for you, but just wanted to post in support. You sound lovely. I ended up leaving her Dad. Not because of dsd at all, there were many other factors. I stayed in contact with dsd and our relationship became much easier, I continued to take her on holiday with dd and I and she has actually ended up living with me and I am now her guardian. But I do remember those dark days when she was a angry teen, they were really not easy. It was like she instinctively knew what buttons to press and I remember it as a time when I felt really disempowered.

Good luck and I hope you stick around for some support.

louby44 Wed 21-Aug-13 08:52:19

Yes I did use Relate with my ex husband. Is it cheaper than using a private counsellor?

Have you used couple counselling? How did you find it?

theredhen Wed 21-Aug-13 08:48:03

Relate do couples and family counselling.

louby44 Wed 21-Aug-13 08:17:24

He gets on with his ex ok now. She is often on the phone moaning about the girls. She struggles to cope with them but on the other hand doesn't really set a very good example e.g. going out with her new boyfriend on a school night, coming home at 11.30pm to a houseful of DD15 friends. DD15 then refused to go to school the next day as she was tired. Not good.

My DP doesn't know if the girls would be responsive to family counselling, but like I said to him, you don't know unless you try.

I wonder whether we could go for couple counselling - not that we have bad relationship but maybe it could help us in dealing with the kids (all 4 of them) and my DP can learn different ways of coping/parenting strategies etc. the children are the only things we argue about.

I realise that this needs to come from him - he needs to instigate counselling in whatever form. He knows the benefit of counselling as he had some last year when he witnessed a death at work that really shook him up.

We will see what happens

Lou

Kaluki Tue 20-Aug-13 22:01:22

Of course you were right to talk to his DDs. I have had a similar conversation with DSS a few years ago when he spoilt a holiday with his whining and sulking - I told him if his attitude didn't improve he wouldn't be going away with us again. Luckiky he was only 9 at the time and I think I shocked him - I just couldn't take any more and let rip!!!
I agree with others that now you should step back and your DP should speak to a professional about her behaviour! She is risking her health big time and somebody needs to do something. She sounds like she is crying out for attention but going the eating way about it.
How does your DP get on with his ex. Could they show a united front and deal with it together or is that not an option?

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 13:37:05

UC - thank you for your comments and brdgrl over on the other board.

It's so good to hear from people that understand the step parent angle.

DSD15 has always been unruly, ever since I've known her she has pushed the boundaries and the rules. She has begged to come and live with us many times when things have not been good for her at home. Her mums fiancé also struggled with her and her behaviour - I believe it was part of the reason of why he ended the engagement and left last October.

My DP doesn't handle his girls very well sometimes. He believes in total respect and discipline. When he doesn't get it - from any of the kids - he can't cope.

It is a big learning curve for him in learning how to manage this. I have friends with teenage kids, plus I work as a primary school teacher so being around kids all day makes you realise that kids don't do as they are told first time and need constant reminding about rules and appropriate behaviour.

I so wish he hadn't slapped her, I wish he had just let the cigarette thing go. He has been a smoker for 35 years and recently gave up (4th attempt since I met him) he is so upset that his daughter is smoking and now obviously addicted.

I don't know whether his DD would consider counselling; I just feel at such a loss as to what to suggest to him.

Thank you again
Lou

brdgrl Tue 20-Aug-13 11:52:03

I just posted over on the other thread - but yes, 100% agree with UC's excellent post.

UC Tue 20-Aug-13 11:45:23

Louby, I saw your other thread, and thought you got a hard time.

I agree you were within your rights to speak to the girls too.

You know your DP was wrong to slap his DD - and from your post it sounds as though he knows too. It also sounds as though you and he have been severely pushed.

The girls' behaviour on holiday was appalling. You were absolutely right to go to dinner without them when they refused to be ready on time. I think I would actually be telling them that their behaviour this time means that I wouldn't be booking to take them on holiday next time.

However, I think your 15 yr old DSD sounds like she has serious issues that need to be dealt with. However, you are not the person to do this - her parents need to do something. Your DP sounds worried, I would speak to someone professional about this if I were him - educational psychologist, GP? I'm not sure who? Family counselling? It sounds as though she is very angry inside, and that she isn't getting appropriate guidance and support from her parents. All of the things you describe, sex, smoking, unruly behaviour, sound as though she is deeply unhappy, and lacks self esteem. She doesn't sound as though she loves herself very much. I would guess that there have been very few boundaries as she's been growing up? Did something happen 2 years ago for her to become so angry? Has anyone asked her why she feels so angry inside?

It does unfortunately also sound as though both her mum and dad have also taught her that the way to deal with confrontation is to shout and scream, and hit out.

This is no example to your sons, or your other DSD. I think this is the real issue that desperately needs addressing.

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:30:02

I've been criticised over on the teenagers board for speaking to the girls, but I felt within my rights to do so!

Lou

louby44 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:29:00

I've posted this on the teenager board but thought I would post on here as it's really a step parent issue.

Quick background live with my partner of 6 years and my 2 DS from previous marriage (10 & 13). My partner has 2 girls (13 & 15) who live with their mum 40 miles away but they stay with us every other weekend and a couple of weeks during holidays. Kids all get along great, odd fall out but nothing major.

The 15 year old is really testing us though. She is desperate to be an adult and do all that it entails, drinking, smoking, sex. She's done them all. Now on the contraceptive implant (no serious boyfriend), drinks and has been smoking for a year. Stays out till 9.30pm during the week.

We've just come back from a 2 wk holiday to Turkey. She bought cigarettes from the shop in the hotel with money we had given her. Her dad found out (he gave up 2 months ago after being a smoker for 35 years) and he just lost it; he found them in her bag, she went mental, called him a 'fucking bastard', spat at him, he slapped her across the face and she tried to bite him and scratched him drawing blood. This was on the 1st day!

My DP apologised the next day for slapping her, she refused to have anything to do with him and ignored us both for 2 weeks. Neither girls got up until midday, didn't unpack, left clothes all over the floor. We sat around waiting whilst they got ready to go for our evening meal, even after having over 3 hours in which to do so. In the end we went into dinner with the boys and left the girls. They were inconsiderate, sullen and rude for 2 weeks.

I sat them down yesterday and said that they had spoilt our holiday, that their dad enjoys our 2 weeks together as its time he gets to spend with no interruptions. The 15 yr old didn't care, she didn't give a shit . They went without saying goodbye or thank you to me. They didn't say goodbye to their dad when he took them home. The 15 yr old is full of anger and has been for about 2 years now.

They don't want to come to our house anymore - which is fine as we don't want them here.

But of course my DP is devastated, he misses his kids everyday and the thought of not seeing them will be awful for him. His daughter has defriended him on facebook.

This has been brewing for a long time and is the tip of the iceberg; there has been lying and deception about money and piercings not to mention her having to take the morning after pill. Her mum also reported her to the police for hitting her just before Christmas.

Where do we go from here?

Lou

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