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    Old 01-26-2004, 07:18 AM   #1
    ana_24
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    Boyfriend's 8 year old daughter...

    Hello,
    I need advice on a couple of issues regarding my boyfriend's daughter. To give you some background, we've been dating for 6 months, I'm the first serious girlfriend he's had since the mother of his child. We're both 26. Their relationship was a highschool one, not love, 2 years of being together including the time she was pregnant. They separated when their daughter was 1, never married.
    We started dating in August, I met his daughter in September. We didn't mean to move so quickly but I met her accidently and we've been spending lots of time together ever since. Her mother has custody but he has her every other weekend. Her mother is a very "loose" woman who currently has two boyfriends but tells my boyfriend not to bring women in and out of her daughter's life. I am the only woman he has ever introduced to his daughter. She is very materialistic, very jealous and not liked by anyone in his family or any of his friends.
    Him and I have a very strong relationship, we're very serious about each other and have talked about getting married down the road. I really feel we are going to be together.
    I've dated one other man that had a child. I was in this child life for 3 out of his 4 years and loved him as my own. I can't see how I could love a child any more than I love him, even one of my own. Unfortunately, my ex and I decided that it was too traumatizing for the little boy to have me in and out of his life so I just don't see him anymore. I want to have a good relationship with my boyfriend's daughter.. let's call her Brenda.. but so far things are not going great.
    Issue #1 - Brenda's mother is jealous of having another woman in her daughter's life. Brenda goes home excited about the things we do together and talks about me to her mother. Her mother has started telling her daughter that her dad should be focusing his time on her on the weekends he has her and that I shouldn't be around. She also told this to my boyfriend. He basically told her that Brenda and I get along great and that I am a very important part of his life and I am not going anywhere so she has to get used to me being around her daughter. The latest is that she told her daughter she is jealous of the fact that another woman is in her life and that she's worried her dad might marry me and I will become her stepmommy and she will love me more than her. Can you believe that???? This is not an appropriate statement to make to a child that has just turned 8. I feel that it will place a burden on her little shoulders and will cause her a lot of guilt over liking me. It was actually Brenda who told me this weekend that her mother said this. It was at her birthday party with many people around so we didn't get a chance to talk about it.

    Issue #2 - Brenda can be a difficult child or an angel from one minute to the next. She can be very unpleasant, doesn't share her toys, doesn't say thank you unless someone prompts her to, whines A LOT and is generally very spoiled. At the same time, she can be very sweet, I just feel she needs a lot of attention. If she doesn't get her way, she becomes very unpleasant and whiny. We were playing a game on the weekend and because she didn't know the answer to the first question on her turn, she said she didn't want to "play this stupid game anymore." I don't know why she is like this. Her father is very good with her and dishes out an equal amount of discipline and love. He is a great father.. however I cannot speak for her mother. Her behaviour makes it very difficult for me to love her. I try VERY hard but it's just not happening. Sometimes when we're cuddling or playing I feel close to her but I don't LOVE her, not the way I used to unconditionally love my ex's son. Is it because of her personality, is it too soon? I find myself not looking forward to the weekends when he has her because I don't know what to expect. At the beginning she was VERY excited about her dad having a girlfriend and was very eager to be nice to me and play with me. Now, I think because of the guilt trips her mother is putting on her, I find she holds back. She'll cuddle with me one minute and the next pull away and say "I don't like you." But I know she does! I have been NOTHING but nice to her.. and in a genuine way, not a fake way. I really do want to build a relationship with her because if she is going to be in my life, I want us to be friends and to be close.

    Does anyone know how I should approach these two issues? What do I say to her when she tells me the stuff her mother says? I know her dad had several talks to her and her mother about this but when she talks to ME about it, what do I say?

    Also, how can I build a stronger relationship with her? I've taken her to my office xmas party, I've taken her to see the Nutcracker ballet before Christams. I take her for icecream, to the park, I read to her, play games with her, give her my attention as much as possible. However, when I also give attention to her dad or him to me, in the form of a hug, she'll come and get in between us. I understand she is adjusting to having to share her dad.

    I just feel like sometimes she is a parrot for her mother. She will repeat things that her mother says like: "Ana, my mom doesn't think you should be around when dad has me. I don't want dad to have a girlfriend anymore." To this, we both asked her, does she like me? Yes. Does she like having me around? Yes. Does she want me to sleep over? Yes. At the same time, she repeats her mother's words. I just don't know how to handle this. It's out of my area of expertise. I know there are a lot of mothers and stepmothers on this board and I hope you all can help me.

    Thanks for reading this ridiculously long post!

     
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    Old 01-27-2004, 07:02 AM   #2
    maak823
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    Re: Boyfriend's 8 year old daughter...

    Dear Ana-
    This is always a tough situation. My ex used to tell our children things about my boyfriend to interfere with our relationship, and actually told them that my b/f would "hurt" them and that they had to "be careful" around him. At that time the kids were 10 & 7- well its been 3 years and amazingly- no "harm" has ever been inflicted on them and they have learned for themselves that thier Dad was putting things into their heads- and not only about my b/f but about me as well- it was a long road, but time and patience perservered. I have talked to several others in this same type of situation- and they all said the same thing- give it time and they will come to realize it on their own. Her mother is meddling in your affairs, yes- but unfortunately, the more you protest her involvement with your relationship with her daughter, the more she will interfere. My suggestion is to leave it alone for a while, she will eventually see that there is nothing she can do about it and she will stop. If she doesn't- eventually "Brenda" will see it for herself- don't underestimate children- they catch on very quickly to this tactic, she will start to see it for herself that you are not a threat to her or her relationship with her father.

    Good luck to you with this- don't expect it to go away anytime soon- but eventually it will either stop- OR Brenda will realize that her mother is not the person she thought and will end up turning to her father and you for support.

    Take Care,
    -M

     
    Old 01-27-2004, 06:42 PM   #3
    MoonGoddess672
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    Re: Boyfriend's 8 year old daughter...

    Personally I think you are doing the right thing, you aren't pushing the child away nor are you trying to take her mother's place. You are showing that child the " adult approach" unlike her mother who sounds very jealous and probably is upset to see her ex in a happy relationship compared to her flings!!!
    #1 - Talk to you boyfriend about how you feel and perhaps you and him can form a game plan to talk to his daughter about her feelings and her thoughts.
    #2- Whenever she brings up things her mother says you should calmly stray away from the subject and focus her mind on more fun things. ( I come from her situation, my father was and still is cursing and complaining about my mother's life and she does the same and believe me it takes a toll on a child's outlook in life). The best thing you can do is to not play her mother's game of jealously and anger.


    This is really the mother's problem but believe me it could affect your realtionship with both your boyfriend and his child. And make sure you explain to your boyfriend how you feel about his daughter and how far he actually wishes for you to form a relaitonship with her. Tell him your feelings about what happened with your ex's son and allow him to understand that if there ever comes a chance that you two don't make it that you don't want to break up that other realtionship with his child.
    I wish you the best of luck and keep up the good work!!!

     
    Old 01-28-2004, 05:22 AM   #4
    ana_24
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    Re: Boyfriend's 8 year old daughter...

    Thanks to you both for taking the time to answer.
    I've already spoken to my boyfriend about the issue of his ex on a couple of occasions. I've even met the ex once and she was very nice to me. It was my understanding that her and my boyfriend get along well and I will not have any problems with her. That didn't turn out to be the case. He talked to her a couple of times and she has admitted that she is jealous. Then she proceeded to ask my boyfriend if the two of us could come over for dinner so that she can get to know me better.

    Is this a good idea? He doesn't want to and I'm inclined to trust him given that he has known her for a long time. He feels that this is inappropriate and will not accomplish anything. She will be nice to me at the time but will only start to cause problems again later. She only wants to "check me out" for her own curiosity not because of any benefit it might have for her daughter. She is apparently very selfish and very fake. I must admit that I am also not comfortable with the idea of being social with her. There is really no need for me to know her or her to know me. She has to trust my boyfriend that he would not expose his daughter to someone that would harm her in any way. He doesn't tell her who she can and can't have around his daughter so why should he give her that consideration? I just feel like he doesn't want to give in to any of her demands or drama... He thinks it'll just fuel the fire.

     
    Old 01-29-2004, 07:20 AM   #5
    HeyThere
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    Re: Boyfriend's 8 year old daughter...

    Hi, He probably knows her better so take his advice it will save your relationship in the long run.

    This issue is putting the little girl under stress and could ruin her outlook on life; her mother is teaching her how to munipulate; she does not get bonding time alone with the dad. So it is a lose lose lose situation for the little girl. If you want the best for her you will have to take a step back to take a step forward in her eyes.

    He can sign a parental agreement with the mother stating no one of questionable background can be around the girl including family members, if he is concerned with her safety. The girl is overwhelmed and frustrated so be the bigger person and give her space so she can remember how much fun she was having with you.

    Put yourself in the mother's shoes, then the girl's, then the father's then think about it all.

    Well good luck.

    Last edited by HeyThere; 01-29-2004 at 07:25 AM.

     
    Old 01-29-2004, 07:43 AM   #6
    ana_24
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    Re: Boyfriend's 8 year old daughter...

    I give them time alone. It's always Brenda who asks for me and wants me to come over and sleep over. She doesn't feel that I intrude. Her mother does. We've asked her point blank if she wants more time alone with her dad and she said no, she likes having me over. She's very independent so she wouldn't be shy to tell me to get lost if that's what she wanted.

    As far as signing papers go... There's really no need to take things that far plus, saying that she shouldn't be around people of questionable backgrounds is really such a vague statement because it's all subjective. Plus, he's not in any way concerned with her safety. I'm not sure where you got that from.

     
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