Engaged, A Step-Daughter & Our Baby....Advice?

Brenda - posted on 09/20/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )




I am engaged to a wonderful man. We have a 4 month old together and he has a 6 year old from a previous relationship ( I stay away from his baby mama drama, he keeps it to himself too). Everything is pretty good in our relationship, except when she comes to visit. As horrible as it sounds. Here is the deal, my fiancé has his daughter rotten spoiled! I'm talking he even allows his daughter to yell at his mother. She often gets rewarded even when she misbehaves, he even makes excuses for her behavior such as "she is sleepy" after she acts up. The thing is it seems that when it comes to her, it appears that our kid were his step-son at times (He is not). When he wants to have a "family" fun night he refers to it as "I want to take my daughter here" instead of " I want to take the kids here". When she cries it is "oh my baby, its ok (Hugs)" when our BABY Cries a lot its " It's okay, you're ok stop crying" and she sleeps in our room (she has her own room) when she stays but he wants to get our son in his own nursery room asap. He gets agitated when I ask Her to take her toys to her room, etc. , He wanted me to treat her as my own and I Initially did but now I try to ignore her at times and give my son more affection when she is around (Not good I Know). I just feel I need to show my son more affection for his dads behavior. I don't want him to grow up and see the differences. I give my son hints but don't want to tell him directly, he gets so offended so easily and lasts mad for days.HELP am I the one at wrong here? What should I do?


Chet - posted on 09/20/2014




A lot of kids do behave very poorly when they are tired. When a child is tired you can still remind them about appropriate behaviour, but don't belabour the point. Respect the child's limitations. If they're tired work on getting them some rest or some quiet time if that's what they need. And work with your fiancé to know what you can do to help your step daughter not get to the point of being overtired and cranky.

Try hard not to fall into a pattern of assuming the worst. Maybe your fiancé wants to get your son into the nursery because he's afraid of ending up with another six year old who won't sleep on their own! And a four month old and a six year old are so completely different you can't assume he's playing favourites by speaking to them differently, or by picking activities the six year old will enjoy. There aren't many activities a 4 month old can even do. He's also known his daughter for six years, and often dads take longer to bond with babies then moms do.

You really need to just talk honestly about your issues without assuming the worst or being accusatory. Just ask him why he's anxious to get the baby into his own room, or if he has concerns about the baby sleeping in your room, if his comments are bothering you. Don't accuse him of anything though. Just start a dialogue where you make it clear that you want to know what he thinks and how he feels. The same with the baby. Don't present it like he's doing a bad job of sharing his time between the kids, but encourage him to do specific things with the baby if you want him to spend more time with the baby.

Your step daughter and your son are nearly six years apart in age. Plus, they are individuals. You can't expect equal and identical treatment for them both. Different kids have different needs.

Also, try to understand that this child is only six. It's probably hard to have the other three people in the house sleeping together while you're expected to go off by yourself for the night. It's fair to for you to stay away from the baby mama drama, but if things are tense between your fiancé and his ex that's very likely to show up in your step daughter's behaviour. Not to mention, a new baby is a stressful thing for a lot of kids. She's got a lot to deal with.

There is an expression that the kids who are the most difficult to love usually need love the most. This little girl doesn't need you to be angry, or to keep score as to which kid is getting what from the dad. She needs to you to love her, and to be clear and consistent about what is expected of her.

You should talk with your fiancé and make a plan about how to handle specific issues with the 6 year old. Don't do it in the heat of the movement. If possible, do it when she's with her mom. Present problems and brainstorm solutions, don't turn it in to a conversation where you're just criticizing his parenting or his child.

It's fine to say that you feel overwhelmed by the toys in the house, and then maybe you agree that there will be no toys in the living room or your bedroom, or that all toys must be taken to the step daughter's bed room at the end of the day before bed, or right before supper.

I wonder though if the toys and sleeping arrangements aren't really the actual issues though. It's very possible that your fiance senses the tension your feeling around his daughter and he feels the needs to protect her similar to the way your feeling the need to ignore your step daughter and give the baby extra attention. It's an all around bad dynamic and you need to break it.

It may be the case that you just need to nicely say to your step daughter "can I help you take your toys back to your room before supper?" so it sounds more loving rather than just telling her to do it.

Ev - posted on 09/20/2014




Actually its not about who is wrong and who is right. Its about having talked this out long before getting engaged and deciding to get married. You two should have sat down and discussed everything from the children and the rules they would follow plus the consequences they would get to how they kids would be treated. You should have set up rules long ago about how his daughter would be made to follow the same rules as any children you two would have had together. He is playing favorites and it sounds like he does not see her very often and I am not sure how much that is because you did not say what he gets for visitation. Also, you got into this knowing how he treated his daughter in the first place and then had a child with him. You need family and pre-marital counseling. And he needs to get on board with his ex and have her work with him on the same rules for both homes to be enforced. If this can not be done, then he is going to have to do something in your home to make this child learn to behave and listen. Also, blended famiies take a lot of work like a marriage does and do not happen overnight. You might want to rethink your choices here and see if you really want to be married to this man seeing how he treats his child from the first relationship. If he keeps giving in to this child, she is going to run the both of you over, and your marriage will end in a divorce and your child with him, will go through similar things.


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