MamaTo3 - posted on 08/17/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )
A little long but I'd really like some honest feedback on our family situation. I think it's mostly jealousy based, but not real sure how to handle it effectively. My fiancé and I have two little boys, six months and almost two yrs, and he has a daughter who's almost three. My fiancé works two jobs, six days a week. He's off to work before the boys wake up, is home with us about 15-30 min in the afternoon, then back to work until after the boys are sleeping. His daughter comes to our home one day a week (his day off) just for the day. So none of the kids get a whole lot of time with him throughout the week. Our two yr old loves his sister! He gets so excited to go pick her up each week, tries to play with her, tries to give hugs, etc. SD however doesn't seem to like anything about coming here. She whines constantly (little grunts/moans while scowling at everyone and hanging on daddy) but will refuse to say in words what she's whining for (her speech and language skills seem fine when she does talk). When my fiancé has to scold her for any reason she will sit stone-cold-still glaring at ME with a death stare for literally five or ten minutes straight. I try to ignore his scolding her as well as her reaction to me in an attempt to not add to her humiliation or whatever. She hardly ever wants to do much other than supervise our son. When we take them to the park she refuses to play AT ALL. When we're here at home she plays halfheartedly as if she's bored with everything. Until DS goes for something, then she runs to it as if it's the most exciting toy on earth. If DS tries to play with daddy she rushes to climb in his lap first. The other day my fiancé was sitting on the couch, she was laying at the other end and paying him no attention at all. Our six mo old crawled over and tried pulling himself up to daddy's knees. When she saw this she jumped over in a panic onto my fiance's lap, looking down at the baby and whining "Mmh! Mmh!" When my fiancé plays with her, teases her, tickles, or anything, she gets this little half smile and that's all. When DS tries to hug her she tenses up, leans away and scowls at him. If he tries to play with her she'll just let him have whatever she's playing with then come tattle that he took it away. And I mean EVERY time, with EVERY thing! It's unreal. She tried tattling on the six mo old the other day, saying he took a toy from her! He's six months! And she's twice his size! We have a little three foot plastic slide and when it's her turn she will be up on the top ready to slide, DS will run up behind, not pushing or pulling on her, just waiting patiently. Instead of just sliding down, she will climb back down the ladder, back away, so DS climbs up of course, and she'll go to daddy saying "He's on there all the time! It was my turn!" DS tries to hand her something of hers like a cup, a toy or her hat, and either she refuses to take it and runs to tell daddy "he has my...(whatever)!" or she will snatch it angrily from him and say "that's MY...(whatever)! Don't touch it!" Never just "thank you." If he's minding his own business she will just tattle about WHATEVER he's doing. He was crawling on the floor with a truck one time and she went whining to daddy saying "Mmph! Mmph! He's on the floooor!" Or my favorite: She came to daddy doing the "mmph, mmph" whine over and over, pointing at DS who was just playing fine by himself. My fiancé kept asking what was wrong until finally after about ten minutes of this grunting she said in the whiney tattle-tale tone "He's got that shirt on! I don't like it!" Luckily, at this point DS is oblivious and just loves her. I have yet to ever hear her use "please" or "thank you" in any situation. When my fiancé tries to prompt her to say it she usually ignores him. She actually told him "no" the other day when DS handed her a cup and my fiancé asked her (four times) to say thank you. He just sighed and called her a brat. I told him if it was my child I'd take the cup away until she's willing to respond politely. He then sighed dramatically at ME, said "FINE!" snatched her cup angrily and slammed it on the counter, but didn't explain to HER why he took it away. Later he was eating a snack with both kids whining for a bite. I got annoyed enough to finally say firmly "Stop whining, now, and say PLEASE!" DS immediately cried out "please!!" smiling, but SD just stood there scowling at him. My fiancé asked her if she could say please too, and her response was a silent glare, and he sighed and gave her a bite anyway. I have told him over and over that this needs to change, that he's reinforcing her spoiled behavior. He just gets ridiculously pissed off at me and goes into helpless excuses that there's nothing he can do about it because he believes she's allowed to act like that at home the other six days a week so that's just who she is and we can't teach her any better in one day a week visits. He does tell her over and over (and over...and over) to stop tattling, stop worrying about DS, just go play, etc, and explains to her that DS isn't doing anything bad.
I'd love to hear how others would handle these things-- the whining, the tattling, the refusal to be polite. Do we address it consistently? Do we ignore it completely and give her no attention unless she's acting nice? Do we address some of it and ignore some?? I'd like to add that he leaves her with me for a little while so he can run to the store. He'll ask if she wants to go, just him and her, and she says she wants to stay with me. And she behaves much better in these times. Still doesn't play much, still a lot of scowling at everyone, but very little whining and absolutely no tattling when he's gone.
Also, as I said, she's nearly three, and has been potty training for at least six months that we know of (BM doesn't communicate with my fiancé at all, so I'm just going by when she started coming here in pull-ups) and she still refuses to use the potty. She doesn't tell us when she needs to go or when she has gone. When asked, she says she "can't" go on our potty. My fiancé has made her sit on it a few times and he said she cried and still wouldn't go. What to make of this?? I know with potty training it takes some kids longer to get it but how do we help an almost three year old who refuses to even try?? Then when our son wants to use the potty she tells him "No, that's a big girl potty!" but won't use it herself. I know this is long and I brought up several issues but I'd love any outside unbiased feedback.