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Bratty SD, Unbearable BM

SewingMom's picture

Hi! I’m new to this site and I’m so happy I found it! I feel like I was about to lose my mind! Now I know how bad that subject title looks, but these aren’t my words. They are my SO’s. Let me start with some quick history. 

My SO and I met two years ago. I knew he had a daughter then and I had met her. He married his ex because she got pregnant and he felt like he had to. After three months of marriage, he found out she had been cheating on him for about two years, long before she was pregnant. So he left, found out his daughter is indeed his, and now has full legal and physical custody. His daughter is now three, almost four, and we’ve been together officially for a little over four months and we have been living together. His daughter loves me and so does he. Everything seems so perfect right?

Wrong. So wrong.

The BM is horrible. She acknowledges that she did something wrong, but she thinks that she and my SO are still friends. He keeps telling me how much he hates her and that he used to yell at her and tell her how much he hates her, but she is so stupid that it doesn’t affect her at all and it doesn’t make her think that maybe she should stop being so friendly. She only sees their daughter for between 1-4 hours once a week and that’s it. Period. He has had to force her to see her kid. And if she can get out of seeing her, she tries. He said all he wants is for her to stop faking her feelings for their kid and just go away. She doesn’t care about her kid, she only cares about how people think of her and how she looks on Instagram. She is trashy and doesn’t take care of herself at all. According to SO, she doesn’t even brush her teeth everyday and showers at most once a week. To compare the two of us, she is “dollar tree body spray, cheap leggings, my SO’s old T-shirt’s (you read that right), greasy hair, yellow teeth”, and I am “vintage dresses, flannel shirts, baggy sweaters, B&BW spray and lotion, perfect winged eyeliner”. I like to keep my home tidy and nice and we live in a nice area and she is such an eyesore when she comes around. The neighbors look at her like she’s a rodent. That’s just me ranting though. That’s not the worst of it.

She calls him. Okay, she’s the BM, so of course they’re going to talk on the phone sometimes. No. She calls him several times a day. Not about their daughter. She asks him what he’s doing, what he’s up to, how he’s feeling, if he’s okay, blah blah blah. AND IT GETS WORSE! She had the audacity to ask us where we were going on a date! She wanted to know where he and I would be going and what we would be doing on our date!!!! And this isn’t the first time! She doesn’t care about her child and just starts crying when he tells her to either step up and be a real parent or to eff off.

Now onto the child. SD can be a good kid sometimes, but I’ve noticed that lately, as our relationship has progressed, she has become so needy. Now I know kids are needy. That’s normal. No. She claims she doesn’t know how to put on shoes, clean her room, turn in her tv, drink water (yes for real), you name it. One day she doesn’t know how to do it, and the next she’ll do it herself. She likes to yell at him to get his attention and repeats herself over and over again. He’s told her multiple times to stop, that she doesn’t have to do that to get his attention, but she doesn’t listen. She’s emotionally attached to her tv. She tells him he’s no fun. We can’t sit alone together without her trying to climb between us and climb on his lap. I’ve accepted that we won’t have a lot of alone time with a child in the picture. But we can’t even sit together. And if we kiss she starts either yelling to get his attention, starts crying, or tries to pry herself between us. My SO is at his wits end with her. She disrespects him and tells him no. He told her to go to bed and that couldn’t watch tv, so after he left, she turned it on herself. Boy was she in trouble. Not only that, she won’t eat. She claims she doesn’t like meat and won’t eat it. She won’t eat anything we cook unless it’s junk food. He’s quit giving her snacks and junk and told her if she doesn’t eat what is made, she goes to bed hungry. She’ll put it in her mouth and then start crying and walk up to us at the table and hold her mouth open and show it to us and cry and it’s so gross. She smacks when she eats no matter how hard we try to teach her not to. She does a lot of things to spite us. She had started acting so bratty. And she is spoiled. So freaking spoiled. I have no doubts she could be a good kid, but she’s not used to having to share dads attention and she’s not good at accepting that. And she is not used to being told no because her BM and BMGM spoil the crap out of her. 

Now I can’t blame SD entirely. My SO thinks he’s a great parent. But he’s not consistent with punishments. And he’s not strict enough. He thinks he is, but he lets her get away with murder. And he does this thing where he uses jokes to punish her. “(SD’s name, do you want to catch these hands?)” He says stuff like that as a joke, but also when he gets onto her. Now I run a military household. If she was my child, she would not get away with half the crap she does. I made a comment about if she colored on my walls I’d make her scrub it off with a toothbrush like I had to as a kid and he got all weird. He doesn’t like hearing me talk about discipline. Because I have a much stricter version of discipline than him. And I told him I didn’t want to punish our children differently than we punish his child because they will wonder by she is special and can get away with more. I don’t know how to talk to him about this. He gets so defensive about his parenting and discipline style and his kid. He is a blindly proud parent. She one jumped over a piece of rope in the floor and he thought it was the cutest thing he had ever seen. I don’t know how to talk to him about negative things because talking negatively about his kid or his parenting style is a sensitive topic for him. I’m about to lose my mind! I need help! Please!

hereiam's picture

Four months in (officially) and already so many issues. What do you think you should do?

Living together really shows you who's who and what's what, doesn't it?

Aniki's picture

Only 4 months?? 

Ish. I think this is too much; too soon and that you should take a biiiiig step back. Live separately, if you stay together.

CLove's picture

You are so new to the stepworld and plus its not too late to move out and just "date" for a while.

Kiddo will get worse with time not better because he is not parenting her in appropriate ways, nor is he being consistent.

You think things bug you now, they will bug you 500x more with the passing of time. Plus she sounds like she has low impulse control. Is she developmentally delayed or just like her mother (I have and SD20 who is just like mother, and mother is not very smart)

Lizzylemon's picture

You have 2 very separate issues here. 1. Your Permissive parenting SO and 2. Your SO allowing bm into his life. My dh sounds exactly like your SO in the faulty parenting department. I recently married dh who has sd9 most of the time. I immediately implemented what I call “house rules” that apply to dh behavior and skid behavior as well as times when things are done (like showers, dinner, homework, bedtime, etc). If my house rules are not followed to the T I start one by one not doing something important for dh like refusing to take sd9 to school or not making dh favorite breakfast pastries etc. if he says something mean to me I start my threatening. I do not yell or argue with him. I simply tell him “it seems like I am doing too much since you are currently unappreciative so until I am appreciated I am unwilling to do x, then y etc.” though I feel like the enforcer with him it keeps him and sd9 in line without me having to parent her. It’s simply the rules that must be followed. 

With the bm issue, I devised a 3rd party drop off location for the skid at dh parents home so there is zero interaction with toxic bm. 

I suggest you start laying down the house rules so you can get your sanity back. You will need it. Disney dad syndrome does not go away, but can be contained with your sternness. Do it in a gentle way though. Good luck. 

GrabitAndGo's picture

This kid is just about to turn 4! Children that age WANT their mom's or dad's attention, and to sit on laps.  They do stupid things like draw on walls.  If she's attached to the TV, turn it off and hand her a storybook.  Her dad can read it to her.  Yeah, they're needy at FOUR YEARS OLD.  You need to have reasonable expectations for a child that young.  I'm not saying let her be feral, but geez....

As for your military household ... daughter of a 30 year military man here.  He was just and fair with us and gave age appropriate disciplne.  My dad would have read your post and asked what your problem was.

holyschnikes's picture

Hit the panic button and run for the hills. Only 4 months in? It's not going to get any better 

fourbrats's picture

and for the most part she is acting like a normal three year old. Kids that age color on walls, they fight meal times, they say "no" a lot because they are fostering their independence. Oh and meal times should not be used as a punishment. She may dislike meat so don't feed her meat. Make healthy and nutritious sides. This is also a key time for "food jags." I had one who wanted nothing but pancakes for about two months. All we heard was "I want pancake." Age appropriate punishments (for that age one minute of time out per year) and no punishments over meal time or refusing to allow her to eat. A sandwich is a reasonable alternative. 

You are also dealing with a child who has been basically abandoned by her mother. And dad has moved a brand new person in. Has dad considered some play therapy for her? 

GrabitAndGo's picture

I'm almost 50 and I'm on a pancake binge.  Age does not matter when it comes to pancake batter.

1wonder woman's picture

By the sounds of things these two are newly divorced I take it? Yes he tells you he hates his ex-wife...but he might be just telling you what you want to hear to hear.  No matter how much someone hurts you does not mean you stop loving them. The truth is they use to love one another they were married they do have a kid that is only 3 years old. Most newly divorced couples grieve the loss of that relationship... just like a death. They both might have a hard time disconnecting from the roles they use to play in each other lives. This is normal in the beginning they will talk on the phone like they are friends because they miss one another. I personally think it is too soon for your SO to be dating anyone honestly and too soon.

 As for the kid she is only 3 years old and what you have described is how most 3 year year olds act she is really still a baby at that age. Just maybe she is clingy because she is missing her mommy..No matter how bad her mom is she is the only person she has known as her Mom. My sister was about her age when my parents were divorced and my little sister became very clingy too and my Dad had full custody of us girls.  Yes she will need to disciplined and in time there should be some house rules set into place and he needs to find some form of punishment for her. At this age normally just putting her in time out should teach her right from wrong. Put yourself in her shoes she might even be feeling separation anxiety like many kids go through coming from a newly divorced family. This can cause her not to want to eat too she will refuse to eat because she really is feel anxious and she might feel sick to her stomach.  My sister and I both felt this way because we were missing our mom and then we'd feel the same way when we'd leave our Dad... Trust me it is not easy be a child with two divorced parents... I know first hand plus the feelings that make a child feel uncomfortable when your parents brings a new girlfriend or boyfriend into their lives and that takes time to adjust to as well. You on the other hand have only been living together with this man for four months so honestly your SO calls the shots when it comes to his kid right now you are just his girlfriend..sure you may make suggestions and hope he will listen to you.. Trust me it is so rough dating a newly divorced man that has custody of his 3 year old. I remember my Dad remarried one year after my parents were divorced and the my my step mom right away took over she set the house rules for us girls to follow and she disciplined us not really our dad he was gone all day. But the job of being a step is what you are applying for here not just his girlfriend or future wife. What you are about to take on takes guts... you have to learn to share this man with his kid plus put up with the connection he will always have with his ex-wife.  Plus by the sounds of things you two will not be getting much alone time with him since his ex-wife has not been taking the kid away for the weakened she should be spending time with her mom like she should be with her Dad. Plus making her mom play a part in her daughters life will give you guys time alone together. That bond needs to be kept between her mom and her just like the bond between her dad and her. Her mom needs to either be in her life or just exit all together. You better think really hard about your future with this man because the fun is just beginning... you are about to go on one hell of a emotional roller coaster ride. Not fun trust me! You might wanna run as fast as you can..

Steppedonnomore's picture

Your problem is neither SD nor BM; it is SO.  He tells you he just wants BM to go away but then he "forces" her to see the child.  BM sees the child a maximum of 4 hours per week yet you blame her and her mother for her behaviour.  BM can call your SO 1,000 times a day but it means nothing unless HE takes the call.  It's all on him.  I think you may need to rethink whether or not this is the relationship you want.

marsaidstep's picture

How people manage to raise kids and expect them to turn out ok without giving them consequences for poor behavior is beyond me.

Siemprematahari's picture

She calls him. Okay, she’s the BM, so of course they’re going to talk on the phone sometimes. No. She calls him several times a day. Not about their daughter. She asks him what he’s doing, what he’s up to, how he’s feeling, if he’s okay, blah blah blah.

It seems like your BF has an issue with not only dishing out appropriate consequences to his daughter but he also can't seem to shut down BM's calls that have nothing to do with their daughter. He needs to be firm and consistent in his words and actions. If it's not about their daughter he says goodbye and hangs up. Sitting there entertaining her only gives her ammo.

Both BM and SD see this and will use it to their advantage to continue manipulating him. He needs to get it together NOW or it will only become worse the older SD's gets.