MamaTo2 - posted on 10/17/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )
My boyfriend and I have a 12m old son, and my bf has a 23m old daughter from a previous relationship. (His ex left him right after getting pregnant and we started dating soon after.) I'm at my wits end with this child! She's spoiled and a little bully to my son. She's always swiping whatever he has in his hands, running to beat him and even spreading out her arms to block him from anything he tries to get to, pushing him off stuff to climb on it herself (last week she actually flipped him over the side rail of a bouncey horse onto his head!), smacking his head/face, pushing him down, kicking him, and constantly shaking her finger in his face saying "Stop baby" or "no baby" when he's not even doing anything wrong. One day she even got right in his face and HISSED at him...all he'd done was walk up to her and smile. THAT creeped me out!! I'm not saying my son never steals a toy or swats his hand at her, but it's rare and I always tell him no (and the swatting is normal motor development for his age, but I still try to teach him not to). Sometimes she'll just stand across the room glaring angrily at my son or me, or even the dog. At first I thought this was all just normal sibling jealousy issues, but I don't think so anymore because it's not just "here and there" like most kids--it's constant ALL day long when she's here, every time I turn around (and also because of the constant glaring)! Plus my bf's sister in law told me she sees the same behavior when his daughter is around her daughter. And she behaved the same toward a couple other kids visiting here one day. She also has a sister, so she's not an only child and just used to having all the attention. And until this past May she hadn't seen my bf since she was about 8mos old (because of the ex) and my son was born by then so I'm sure she doesn't have any memory of having my bf all to herself. I've also taken videos with my phone and showed it to other people with kids to see if I'm overreacting, because let's face it, I'm still pretty new to the mom thing and my son isn't at that stage yet, but every one of them was appalled by her behavior and telling me she NEEDS to be corrected.
My bf doesn't see as much of her behaviors because he doesn't pay as much attention as me, and she's very quiet and sneaky about it. Usually when she hits or pushes my son I'll see her watching my bf to make sure he isn't looking. And when I tell him, he doesn't believe me. But there ARE many times when I know he saw and just pretends not to because he feels bad punishing her. (He put her in time out for a couple minutes ONE time and she screamed like she was dying the whole time and continued for about 10 minutes after, and he hasn't punished her since.) Occassionally he'll gently tell her to play nice, but that's it. And I've come to the point of saying "be nice" or "give it back" more sternly if he's out of the room. My bf has told me if I have a problem with her, tell him so he can do something about it, but it happens so frequently that he started getting annoyed with ME for telling him. So he told me to quit telling him and instead just punish her myself, which I clearly told him I don't feel comfortable doing. It's too soon since she started coming back, we don't even have a parent/child relationship established yet. Plus, his ex already attacks me for any little thing HE does that she doesn't like. And she's accused me of mistreating their daughter...all because my bf saw them in a store and didn't walk over and say hi, because he hates his ex and didnt want to have to talk to HER. She said she was up all night worrying that her child is being mistreated because he's just a "zombie who follows me doing whatever I dictate" and supposedly I "wouldn't let" him say hi (Blamed me, yet, I wasn't even with him when he dodged her, and didn't know about it til afterward!) But if she's already making up reasons to accuse me of mistreatment I'm sure as hell not going to be the one here administering punishment. The few times I have scolded her in front of my bf (and I don't even raise my voice, I'm just very firm), he always gets really defensive and says I'm being too mean to her! He says kids just do those things and there's nothing he can do about it, but he has no problem yelling at our 12mo old for every little thing, normal things babies do. He says he can't yell at his daughter like that "because she's a girl." He also says there's no point in punishing her since our son is so good natured that he just walks away like nothing happened. But isn't her behavior still wrong whether it bothers my son or not? And it WILL bother him soon, so I feel she needs to be taught before it gets to the point of him defending himself and clocking her in the face or something. And as his mommy, I'm not going to just sit by and let him get pushed around like that! He's just a baby! I've started taking him to play in a different room when it gets really bad, but now because of that my bf has accused me of creating a separation in our family. I've explained why and he just insists she's not doing stuff as often as I say...but it's not like I'm making it up, every time I tell him what she does, I'm referring to a specific instance, not just saying "sometimes" she does this or that, so it IS as often as I say. It doesn't help that he AND his whole family have shown favortism toward her all along, in many other obvious ways, so I'm already kind of resentful about that, and now she's being allowed to bully my baby on top of that??
I really don't believe he's TRYING to be unfair, he's just been brainwashed by his ex. He's shown me texts from her very literally telling him he better put his daughter above of our son, that she needs to always come first, and that she wants to make sure her daughter is being "treated like the perfect angel she is because she deserves no less." And whenever his ex bashes me she tries to make it sound like it's about their daughter, telling him she's not really bad-mouthing me she's just concerned for her daughters well-being...I've never done anything to hurt her child or anyone else's or even give the impression that I would! Besides that, she doesn't even know me so she has NO basis for thinking I'd mistreat anyone, so really she's just USING her kid as an excuse to bitch about me for stuff that has nothing to do with me. And when she wants my bf to do ridiculous stuff for HER she always makes it sound like that's for his daughter too, and guilts him by saying things like "your poor daughter needs this" or "you need to do this for your poor daughter." His daughter doesn't really need any of the stuff she demands. (His ex is fully supported by her dad and is very well off, on top of her two child support checks. We've seen very clearly that his daughter is lacking for nothing, and he IS fulfilling his responsibility!) When she doesn't get her way she makes comments that he's not there for his daughter, that his daughter would be better off without him in her life, and spreads rumors that he's a deadbeat, alcoholic, druggie and does nothing for her (none of which is truth). So I really think he's just trying to go SO far the other way to prove he's a good dad, and he doesn't seem to get that he can never do enough to make it stop because it's not really about HIM, it's about manipulation and control. And I'm afraid once my son is old enough to see the difference in treatment he's going to resent his dad and hate his sister. Bio mom can be as big a bitch as she wants, neither my bf or I can stand her so she's got nothing to lose, but his daughter is going to have to be a part of THIS family too and she's still young enough to be taught right. But I feel it needs to start now, before the tension and resentment builds. I've tried talking to my bf about all of this and he just denies that any of it is going on, and now whenever I call him out on specific instances of favoring her or letting her get away with being naughty, he gets pissed off and says he's not getting into it and changes the subject. I really don't know what to do because it's already gotten progressively worse in just a few months time and now I'm preg with another boy (another huge surprise) so I have a feeling he's going to treat his daughter even more special and let her get away with more being the ONLY girl, and I cannot deal with this for the next 16 years of visitations...before she was born I always envisioned us all being a happy family. We are pretty new to this whole blended family thing, and it's much more complicated than we anticipated, but how can things get better when he refuses to admit there's a problem or even acknowledge my concerns, even when I try to approach it as gently and diplomatically as possible. I've even tried explaining to him why socially it's in HER best interest to learn to behave appropriately. He's agreed with that much...but nothing changes. I'd really appreciate any advice or feedback.