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Disney Dad. a result of Guilt ~~ how this affects our home and lives ~~ venting~~

JJO's picture

My DH divorced his ex wife 3 years ago when he found out she was having an affair. Their daughter was 2years old back then (now 5).
He fell in love with her the moment she was born. He was very involved in taking care of her as an infant -changing diapers,feeding etc- he was showing her off all time and she was his pride and joy.

During the divorce there was a lot of arguing in their house and the child was witnessing everything. He got 50% custody and has the child every other week.

He was feeling so guilty for "all the things she has been through" that decided to dedicate his life into making his little girl happy. And he told her.

He bought her toys all the time,disney movies and watched them with her, eat whatever she wanted to have,play all day with her after work. He was adoring her. And he told her.

He told her she was more beautiful than any other girl. She was smarter. She was more talented.(even than professional artists!) That she was the one - the No1 of all. And she believed it. Which child wouldnt? Cant blame her.

When I met her she asked me : JJO, will you do whatever I tell you ?
I broke her heart that day. I broke her heart when I told her that she is not dancing better than the ice skaters on TV.

In his effort to boost up her confidence, he created a self centered ,arrogant little girl.

By the time she turned 5 she felt she was the head of the house. She orders us to do things for her and with her. She demands toys, attention, she interrupts adults when they talk, she throws fits when she doesn't get what she wants. And he gives in.

He doesnt want to hurt her feelings."Because she has been through a lot ".

Her bossy behavior doesnt stop inside the house. She is like that to her grandparents too. Her cousins too. And when she feels she is not in control , she cries till she gets what she wants.
She yells at her father "I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THIS AGAIN..." "STOP IT" ... "NO DADDY , I SAID NO".

So, how is this lack of discipline, manners and respect for others is affecting our home?
How is this going to affect her in the long run?

First of all she is not fun to be around. Regardless of her age nobody wants a boss in the house.
Personally I have told her that I am not her servant, that I do not allow anyone to yell at me and that I demand to treat me the way I treat her. To my surprise , it worked. And she still loves me and kisses me and wants me to do things with her. My DH on the other hand doesnt see it. He says that I treat her "Like the gum that i have stepped on" because i want her to behave. Because I want her to act like a princess rather than think that she is one.

(A small parenthesis here: We went to her Pre-K graduation ( DH, Gparents and BM ) we were sitting all together and when she saw us she yelled : JJO I LOVE YOU!! and sent me a kiss! TO ME!
NOBODY ELSE! JUST ME Biggrin Biggrin )

So in his effort to "protect" her from me, he accepts all the shit she is giving him. Acting like its no big deal. So we start arguing , DH saying I am jealous of her , me saying he is blind not to see what kind of person he is bringing up.

And I disengaged. And he is hurt. That i don't love her.Although I do. And I care and I want to be proud of her.. But I also need to keep my sanity. I need it .I am still very young to lose it Biggrin

How can a couple live with these feelings tho? For how long? I resent him for accusing me he resents me for judging him.

And what about SD?
She doesnt have any balance in her life. She thinks that she is all the things she is not. How much is she going to hurt when she realizes that there are smarter people than her, more beautiful and more capable? I am afraid she will quit trying (I've seen it already..)
With all the selfishness she has how is anyone going to love her? Who is going to put up with her? She will be alone in life?

Why is it so hard for my DH to give her things of a different level.Not the things that she wants but the things that she needs ,even tho she doesnt know it. Like values and morals generosity and politeness. The things that will actually help her in her life AD (after DAD).

16 and pregnant is not far I think..


DaizyDuke's picture

Your hubby, with the best of intentions in trying to make up for guilt he feels in regards to his divorce has set your SD up for major feelings of failure. Don't get me wrong children need and deserve praise, but when placed high in the sky on a pedestal like that, there is only once place to go when reality hits and that is DOWN.

I think your hubby has put himself in that dangerous category as her "friend" instead of her parent and she will never respect him as such.

I guess the good news is, she is young and if your hubby changes directions now, there might be a light at the end of this tunnel, but i agree with Steperg... if this continues, you will have a monster that unfortunately he created.

JJO's picture

Yes he has.

And I sat down and talked to her about the fact that her dad is not her friend. That he works all day and that she is very lucky to have a dad that cares and wants to play with her,but she should not demand more than what he is willing to give and blah blah blah.. She seemed to understand and we were having a nice conversation until he got in the middle,interrupted us and started showing her videos on you tube..

He was feeling uncomfortable I guess.

cacklesacademy's picture

Wow!!-JJO,your post could have been written by 'me!'-My 3 step children are adults,and i can tell you that the consequences can become quite troublesome if your husband doesn't address the way he relates to his children.
I actually feel sorry for my step children,my husband has inflicted a distorted and unreal version of the world on all of them.My step daughter,like yours,has been told how beautiful she is,how smarter than everyone else she is,how brilliant she is, get the picture?For her,for all of them,this is normal,it is all they have ever known,for me,for others,it's perhaps a little distasteful,and little over the top,let me tell you that i have watched people more or less 'run' from my step daughter when she has confidently 'told' them how beautiful and smart she is,....i have seen the looks,i have heard the comments/whispering,and i have then witnessed her hostility towards anyone else who just doesn't want to hear it,it can have a profound effect on future relationships and social development.
The impact on my marriage has been great.With all 3 step children being so used to being built up,and so used to my husband being a 'yes' dad,they saw me coming and decided there and then that i was a threat of somekind,i tried so hard to be nice,i tried 'everything',but the seeds of jealousy were there in the making when their father decided to pitt them against everyone else,which is essentially what he did.
My adult step children have reduced my husband to tears when he has attempted to 'talk' to them about thier behaviour,they have then gone on to bragg about the fact that they are able to 'put him back in his box',should he want to discuss anything with them they do not want to hear,and as a result,my husband is scared of confronting his own children over anything at all.I have had to witness all three of them hold him to ransom with cancelled visits if he doesn't give in to his demands,and i have seen how upset this makes him.As much as i feel bad for him,and sad that his children act this way as a result of his parenting,i believe that had he addressed the problem long ago,he would not have to go through the heartache now.
I hope someday his children are able to accept me and allow thier father to have some happiness,i also hope that someday,they are able to see me as a friend,rather than a rival,sadly,that day is yet to arrive.

ybarra357's picture

"He doesnt want to hurt her feelings."Because she has been through a lot"

You think this sounds bad for a child of 5? Try hearing this said about an adult of 22!!

rottierunner's picture

This is EXACTLY the problem we have in my household.
SD doesn't love me so much because I will NOT be "bossed" my a 10 year old.
This kid rules with an iron fist, is condescending and argumentative to her own Father.

What are the immediate consequences of a kid thinking they run the show ?

SD is already in therapy. SD has some fears (storms, strangers coming to the door, etc, etc, etc)

How can a child feel safe if they are constantly making decisions that should be made by adults ?

My DH says "it is so hard because I feel guilty..." and "SD told (BM) that she doesn't think I love her." More of her manipulation, however the kid is crying out for someone to BE the BOSS.

I told DH to shut Disneyland down for repairs, time for a little bootcamp Dad.
Not because it will make him feel good at the present time, but that he will be saving her some heartache down the road.

I care about my SD so I don't wanna see her on mega doses of anti depressants, and pain killers because she can't deal with reality.

So for now I am reality .....and I bite }:)

JJO's picture

I have talked to my MIL as well and she says she agrees with me and that she is willing to talk to my DH about it. She hasn't talked to him yet though. I guess she will do it in the near future.. lol..

JJO's picture

Ok ! Ok! a tiny bit of victory!! :

Last night we found in her book bag her homework from school. - Kindergarten hw but still hw.
So hubby decided to step up. We all sat down and learned new words - spelling - did some coloring etc. He seemed he was not willing to take any crap from her and for the 1st time ,last night I saw him acting like a FATHER not a BUDDY!
She finished her hw,-with a little bit of complain - took a shower and was in bed almost on time! No tv, no dvd. and she went to sleep right away Biggrin Biggrin Biggrin ...

I am so proud of both of them Biggrin

Moments like this , I wish we had her full time so that we can focus on her without these 7day- pauses.. But I know. I have to be thankful for what I have for now.