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SD needs to be the center of attention constantly

Jcksjj's picture

My SD drives me absolutely insane. She needs to be the center of attention CONSTANTLY. And by constantly I mean literally all day every day in every situation. For example she cant just play a video game and enjoy it, she needs to narrate every step of it and looks around to make sure other people are watching her and expects to be told how amazing she is at it the whole time. I can't even talk to my other kids without her interrupting and redirecting the attention back to her. The most frustrating part is that as soon as we put the kibosh on a specific behavior there is a new attention seeking strategy she's come up with. Yesterday she spent 2 hours crying about how her tooth hurt, but it magically kept getting better and then hurting again. After spending all that time focused on just her, trying to figure out if she was telling the truth, helping her try to feel better, even having to talk to the BM about setting up a dentist appt, she comes up to me smiling and says I guess it was fine the whole time. Its constantly changing from acting out to sucking up to fake crying on and on. It's so emotionally exhausting that I'm at the point where I just dont have the energy to deal with it. My 5 month old baby is literally a third of the amount of work that she is and she is in second grade.

Comments

Siemprematahari's picture

So stop giving her any attention and let your H deal with her. Whenever she acts this way tend to your baby and keep yourself busy with other things so you don't have to lose your mind.

Jcksjj's picture

I am a stay at home mom so and I'm the only adult here at times so alot of things I do have to respond to at least initially. Luckily hubby has agreed to put her in an after school program so it will be rare that I have to be dealing with her alone. Now I just have to grit my teeth through family events where she REALLY turns it on, especially when it's an event for one of the other kids which naturally she cant just let it be about them for a day. And of course grandparents etc assume she's just so neglected that she needs extra attention and give it to her. Even though I think its pretty obvious that's not the case.

Siemprematahari's picture

Thank goodness for after school care but even when she's home and your H is around let him deal with her and when she starts with her needy ways I'd get up and go to the kitchen or occupy myself with something else. Leave it to him to deal with I'm sure he'll get tired of it and hopefully nip it in the bud.

sunshinex's picture

My SD is 6 and does the same thing. We tell her to cut it out lol sometimes kids need to be told they're being annoying. Say it gently, of course, but tell her you'd like some quiet time and if she can't play/do XYZ independently without pulling you in/trying to get you involved, she can go play/do XYZ in her own room. 

Simpleton21's picture

I feel for you.  My SD is the same!  I met her at age 6 and it has not changed.  She is now 11!  It is exhausting.  Everyone sees through the crap except her mommy and daddy.  I have had several talks with SO about this and how it needs to stop.  Nipping it in the bud at 6 would have been much easier.  She definitely drums it up at times when there is a bigger audience.  I can almost predict her "injuries" at this point. We are coming up on Thanksgiving so she will likely get hurt around then to have crutches or whatever to "show off" at the family events and talk about herself.  My SD is so bad that even my 11 year old son is onto her antics.  

I agree.  Do not give her the attention she is craving.  Let your SO handle it and once he has had enough he might do something about it.  Disengage!  It will only get worse.  My SD is more needy than my 4 year old and can't self entertain but my 4 year old can.  

Jcksjj's picture

I didnt even know disengagement was a thing until I found this site and THANK GOD I did. I've been attempting to disengage as much as possible. I feel like I'm getting alot of judgment on that though from family members who feel sorry for her/have no experience with being in a stepfamily. 

Simpleton21's picture

You can't worry about what the other people think!  They aren't going through it!  You are!  You need your peace of mind.  Disengagement isn't cruel.  It is allowing the child's parents to handle the behavior!  That is their responsibility.  

Mrs Fireball's picture

Don't discuss your disengagement with anyone except us. It's like Fight Club. We don't talk about it. 

They won't understand, so don't feel like you have to justify or explain why you're having DH deal with the brat more. 

Jcksjj's picture

My favorite response I've gotten on here so far...thank you! Looking at some of the other responses I was starting to wonder if I'd misread the "where stepparents come to vent" tagline of the site. 

Simpleton21's picture

I think your best bet is disengagement.  I think some women here are just trying to give you the viewpoint from a BM standpoint.  I get it.  I am a BM and SM also.  However, my SD is still annoying and I choose to selectively disengage.  Basically, if it is something I would say to a kid visiting my home I will also say it to SD.  If not I let her dad handle it.  She is there to spend time with her dad...not me.  

I don't feel sorry for your SD like some of these other SMs b/c I have a similar SD and like you I tried to spend more one on one time or have her dad spend more one on one time.  She isn't neglected at all.  She is also an only child at her moms and I do believe that is part of the problem but they need to learn in your home that aren't the only child and center of the universe.  I don't see anything wrong with that.  

Jcksjj's picture

She isn't neglected at all, she was actually incredibly spoiled but not as much by my DH anymore because he sees it wasn't normal. I was a stepchild myself and I dont understand some of the oh poor stepchild responses to certain things because I would not have cared at all when I was in that position.

Simpleton21's picture

Sounds very familiar!  My SD is also spoiled rotten and gets plenty of attention so I am not adding onto that.  It isn't normal.  This kid centric society is an issue for me! LOL!  I was also a step child and I never got treated like I was the victim and coddled for it.  I think when you treat them like a victim of divorce/seperated families that makes it worse.  They can adapt.  I adapted to my parents being divorced and did not behave the way SD behaves.  I'm glad your DH seems to be on board with you.

Jcksjj's picture

The amount of entitlement being with the kid centric society is unbearable to me. My oldest son's dad has completely abandoned him and while I am sensitive about it on the rare occasion he brings the topic up, I've made sure not to treat him any different based on that. The people I've seen grow up that way were still helpless as adults and still make themselves out to be a victim instead of taking responsibility for their lives. I do think it's sad and it will definitely have an impact on him in some ways, but he has a great life still and is better off than the majority of kids on this planet. SD on the other hand has been taught to play the poor me card and every time she does something wrong its oh well she's probably having a hard time because her parents aren't together. She cant even remember them being together and even if that was the cause it doesnt mean we can enable her behavior. 

Simpleton21's picture

I feel like we have very similar circumstances.  My oldest son's dad just was just recently released from a correctional institute (he was gone for 2 years and used to be a part of my son's life).  He has been out for 14 days and has made an effort to see my son 2 times.  I am also sensitive to the situation but I don't overly compensate for it and I don't treat my son like a victim (even though IMO he is far more a victim than SD).  I don't want him growing up with that mentality and not being able to handle real life!  SD in my life has been taught to be the victim and play it up as well.  SO and BM split when she was like 2...so the chances of her actually remembering them being together are slim but whatever.  I get so aggrivated when BM says, "SD shouldn't be punished for us being divorced...I'm trying to make her life as normal as possible so she doesn't feel like a COD"....Ummmmm....if you didn't want her to be a COD you should have stayed married.  Pretending she isn't a COD and trying to force shared holidays and other weird stuff only confuses her more rather than accepting that she IS a COD and no matter what little fantasy world you live in that is the case!

Jcksjj's picture

When people say "the kids didnt choose to have stepparents." Um did they choose their bio parents? Does anyone? Or do we all just play the hand we are dealt in that area? Ugh shared holidays. BM wants that and luckily DH was no way on that before he even met me. I remember my parents trying to force that stuff sometimes and it was so awkward, I preferred it being separate. I think alot of the "we do it for the kids" stuff like that is actually more for the parents either because they aren't over the split or it makes them feel less guilty to act like a "normal" family.

Simpleton21's picture

Um, yeah, that is extra annoying also...or "you knew what you were getting into"....yes just like our SOs did too and just like the BMs did when they divorced.  You don't just pretend you are still a normal family after divorce.  You divorce so you don't have to spend time with that person anymore.  If you wanted to continue spending time with them like a "normal family" then you should have stayed married!!!!  The "shared holidays" is really not doing SD any favors.  It is all about how BM feels and then projects it onto SD.  There are only 2 that she has in the CO like that.  4th of July and Halloween.  I played along the first few years and then I was like EFF that!  I have children also and I'm not twisting my schedule with them to accomodate BMs bizarre concept of how COD should be treated.  SO and I have a mutual child as well.  I basically told him if he wanted to go do Halloween with BM and his 10 year old instead of our toddler have at it but don't expect me too.  He has those obligations and signed that crap agreement...not me and my children!  

Jcksjj's picture

to have them spend those 2 holidays altogether? Bizarre. And Ive gotten the you knew what you were getting into also. To an extent yes, but I didnt know how it would all end up playing out over time. I assumed it would get better with time spent with her.

SMto2's picture

Sorry, I don't see any blogs to reference for the back story. Do you have primary custody of your SD?  Does she have another household where people make her feel important? I know there's a tendency of SMs to make kids more "mature" at an earlier age (having been both a BM (17 years)  and a SM  (19 years) myself) but 2nd grade is SO young! What is she, 7? Sounds like she's literally CRYING out for attention. I'm wondering if she feels threatened by the baby since you have a 5 month old. I imagine she's just wanting validation and security that she's still important and has not been replaced. These are feelings adults also have in certain situations. Again, I don't see the rest of your story, so maybe she's Satan incarnate and needs chained in the basement 24/7 (ha ha ha), but the BM in me has compassion for the young 2nd grader who wants attention and love.  You have the luxury of being a SAHM mom, so pehaps you can focus some time on just her to let her know you love her and do think she's important--you do feel that way, right? Also, I'm confused about your comment that she needs to be the center of attention "literally all day every day." Is she not in school?  Are you using hyperbole?  (I love it when people do that using the word "literally" for extra emphasis when it doesn't apply! ha ha ha!) I'm assuming since you said she's in Second grade, she's in school and not with you "literally all day every day," except in the Summer and on school breaks. Have her teachers reported that is a problem? If you want to find out more about her behavior, I"m sure your DH/SO can talk with her teachers.

Jcksjj's picture

That this is a problem in school also in a few different ways. Talking over other kids so they cant answer questions, wanting to stay in the classroom and get attention from the teacher after school when the teacher needed to get the kids to ride bus outside, refusing to leave a little boy alone that didnt want to be her boyfriend to the point that the teacher had email about it because he was so uncomfortable he wasn't wanting to go to school. Her teacher had to discuss all of those with her repeatedly and ended up emailing home about it because it wasn't improving. Its across all areas of her life, not just at home or with certain people so I dont think it's due specifically to the home situation. She did go through a brief period of being specifically jealous of the baby (which seemed normal to me), but that's over with and the behaviors from before still remain. As far as giving her extra attention and one on one, that was the first approach we tried. We were advised to do "special time" by a therapist and do it with both kids, but that hasn't lessened the attention seeking at all. We would do hers first and then she would throw a fit when her turn was done and it was DS turn. I really think the issue is more that she needs to learn she isn't above other people than that she needs even more attention. Shes the only child and center of the universe at her moms house and incredibly spoiled/favored by both grandmas. The rest of her family treats her in a normal loving manner.