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Please! Help with my SD pre-teen temper tantrums

Posted by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM
  • 21 Replies

My DH and I have been married for almost two years.  At first my relationship with his son and daughter was actually pretty good.  Then after we were married it was like everything fell apart. My SD (age 10) and I butted heads really bad until the last 6 months.  In the past she had temper tantrums like a 3 year old.  When she wouldn't get her way on something or if someone tried to correct her she screamed as loud as she could, stomp her feet, cry uncontrollably, and this fit would continue for about an hour and then it was like nothing had happened.  For the last 6 months she has calmed down a lot and we have become close again.  I was actually starting to enjoy being around her again.  Now she is 12 and Saturday we had another melt down.  She was talking about her best friend (they have been friends since they were 3) and then it turned into her making fun of this girl.  I asked her why she was talking about her like that and all SD said was because I don't like her anymore.  She then continued talking to her brother about her and making fun of her and I told her I hoped she wasn't the type of girl that would be friends to your face and then talk bad about them behind their back. I told her I was disappointed and that was a terrible way to be a friend.  She started laughing and said all the kids at school say this stuff about her friend. Until this point no one was yelling but I broke out the mom voice when  I told her if she didn't want to be her friend that was fine but she had better stop talking bad about her and being a bully to her.  At this point she flipped out on me and reverted back to her temper tantrums.  She started screaming leave me alone and ran into her dad. He came into the kitchen upset and asked why I was starting fights!  I told him what was going on and he said I should have just dropped it.  I was really mad at this point and told him I didn't want her to grow up to be a "mean girl" and I will not tolerate her being a bully.  He said she was acting just like her mother and excused away her behavior.  She received no punishment for her behavior towards her friend or me. 

Please someone tell me how they would have handled the situation.  What kind of punishment do you give a  12 year old girl who is only at your house on the weekends.  Does anyone else have a pre-teen that has this type of reaction when you try to correct them? 

by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Tigress22304
by Ruby Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

You dont. You let dad handle it. That was my sd11 not too long ago. And  the only thing I told her was the truth "I'm glad I'm not your friend, because if you treated me like this, I'd have nothing to do with you. And if you continue to treat people like this, eventually you'll have nobody left"

You don't do anything. Let dad deal with it-if he's ok with his daughter being a "mean girl" then that's on him. Because eventually it'll come down to-she'll get her ass kicked by someone who's had enough of the backstabbing OR she'll realize she's doing wrong and get over it.


Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 10:59 AM
1 mom liked this

Personally, I think you did the right thing.  Letting her know it's not funny or cute to talk like that was fine.

The issue here is that she threw a fit and Dad got mad at you which just encourages the outbursts.  Like so many things for so many others, this is an issue between you and Dad.  

There's no punishment you can really impose.  I would think that most parents would not appreciate that kind of talk but it sounds like your husband just wants to enjoy his weekends with his daughter and isn't that interested in teaching any kind of meaningful lessons.

And yes...we went through this quite a bit as far as the group of girlfriends ganging up on one or another.  They sort it out.  But I do think it's right to point out that it's not a nice way to behave.  


Pero2
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM
2 moms liked this

I have a 12-year old DD ... and she is exactly the same (minus the tantrums) ... they are backstabbing little cows at that age, all of them. There is only one way they'll learn, and that's not the way you are trying to teach her. The only way that works is when their friends find out about it and then ignore them for a while.

Derdriu
by Gold Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:09 AM

There is no punishment you can give to a 12yo girl who's only there on weekends.  Her father can discipline her, but he obviously didn't see a problem.  There's also no way to converse with a kid who is intent on screaming, but as long as she's engaging in the conversation, there's no harm in sharing your opinion.  Maybe she'll ponder it later.

Why did you threaten?  "You better stop talking bad and being a bully..."  Or what?  You can't threaten and expect to continue a reasonable conversation.  Keep it neutral next time. 

sandeeyo
by Le Bonjour Chat on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I think your DH was wrong for not backing you up in this instance.  If you don't have his support, let him deal with her himself.

12 year-old girls do tantrum.  I'm finding that out.  I have almost 12 year-old twin SDs.  SD#1 still tantrums, although it's not as frequent as it used to be.  She still will lay on the floor and cry and yell and talk back.  The new thing now is for her to just stand and stare at you or something and not say anything.  My DH has my back with the girls most of the time, so discipline is almost always a united front when they misbehave.  If you don't get that with your DH as far as his DD is concerned, I'd just ignore her and let him deal with the fall-out.  If he's not going to help you, you should not help him.

stepmom_blues36
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Thank you so much for the replies!  This is my first time posting and I am shocked at how much reading everyone's thoughts has helped.  So one more question...  How are you supposed to react when your SD is misbehaving?   My husband works on most Saturdays so when the kids are there it's just the three of us.  Do I wait until he is home to tell him what happened or do I react to the situation when it happens?  On this occasion it was after he was home from work so he was there (not that he helped me out any) but most of the time he isn't there until later.  One lady was right when she posted he just wants to enjoy the weekend with the kids and not parent.  That is very true!

It's so hard to just throw in the towel and tell him those are your kids deal with them because I am thinking of their future.  I would like to show her there is a better path to take so she can avoid the mean teen drama.  I would like her to see how her friend feels and I would love for her to be the one to take her side.  I am so upset because I thought we were past this behavior (temper tantrums and mean spirited stuff) and now I feel like we are back to square one.  Is this the cycle I have to look forward to for the next several years?

sandeeyo
by Le Bonjour Chat on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM

You should tell DH that if he doesn't get behind you when the kids misbehave, they will end up not listening to you when he's not around.  This could be a dangerous situation, not just for you, but for them.  What if SD12 decided she wanted to go out with a friend?  "No you can't."  But she does anyway.  What if you tell her no and she does something anyway and gets hurt?  Guess who's going to get blamed?  You should have a talk with him and say  that you refuse to be around the kids when he's not around to supervise.  Tell him that he either backs you up or they stay with mom during his visit times if he can't be around to deal with them himself.


Quoting stepmom_blues36:

Thank you so much for the replies!  This is my first time posting and I am shocked at how much reading everyone's thoughts has helped.  So one more question...  How are you supposed to react when your SD is misbehaving?   My husband works on most Saturdays so when the kids are there it's just the three of us.  Do I wait until he is home to tell him what happened or do I react to the situation when it happens?  On this occasion it was after he was home from work so he was there (not that he helped me out any) but most of the time he isn't there until later.  One lady was right when she posted he just wants to enjoy the weekend with the kids and not parent.  That is very true!

It's so hard to just throw in the towel and tell him those are your kids deal with them because I am thinking of their future.  I would like to show her there is a better path to take so she can avoid the mean teen drama.  I would like her to see how her friend feels and I would love for her to be the one to take her side.  I am so upset because I thought we were past this behavior (temper tantrums and mean spirited stuff) and now I feel like we are back to square one.  Is this the cycle I have to look forward to for the next several years?


 

stepmom_blues36
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM
1 mom liked this

That is a great point and one that I have not thought of before.  If they don't listen to me now on little things why would they when it comes to bigger things were they could possibly get hurt.  I think that is a great idea for the kids to stay at BM house until he can be at home with them.  Thanks for the idea!

AlyssaN
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM
Oh my gosh, my sd 14 does both those things yours does. Drives me nuts cause she'll do it in a high traffic area so its hard to go about my business when I'm ignoring her. I actually told her it was creepy the way she stares like that. She stomped all the way to her room lol.


Quoting sandeeyo:

I think your DH was wrong for not backing you up in this instance.  If you don't have his support, let him deal with her himself.


12 year-old girls do tantrum.  I'm finding that out.  I have almost 12 year-old twin SDs.  SD#1 still tantrums, although it's not as frequent as it used to be.  She still will lay on the floor and cry and yell and talk back.  The new thing now is for her to just stand and stare at you or something and not say anything.  My DH has my back with the girls most of the time, so discipline is almost always a united front when they misbehave.  If you don't get that with your DH as far as his DD is concerned, I'd just ignore her and let him deal with the fall-out.  If he's not going to help you, you should not help him.

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Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:11 PM



Quoting stepmom_blues36:

<snip>  So one more question...  How are you supposed to react when your SD is misbehaving?   My husband works on most Saturdays so when the kids are there it's just the three of us.  Do I wait until he is home to tell him what happened or do I react to the situation when it happens?  <snip>

It's so hard to just throw in the towel and tell him those are your kids deal with them because I am thinking of their future.  <snip>

Is this the cycle I have to look forward to for the next several years?


The bold is mine for emphasis.  

How do you act when SD is misbehaving?  Well, that really depends on what your DH and you agree upon.  You guys have to sit down and decide what the plan is.  What are the rules?  What are consequences for not following the rules?  How does he want you to handle it?

If you have to operate within a vacuum, then I'd say that you react to things based on safety first.  If it's not affecting safety, then let it go.

"because I am thinking of their future"...I had a really interesting convo about that with my DH at one point.  I grew up working for the things I had, being pretty self sufficient etc.  I brought up the "I'm thinking of their future" argument and his response was "My kids aren't YOU! You HAD to work hard and take care of yourself.  They don't know how."  To which I replied "boy, you're really selling them short."  

My point being...maybe his idea of their future and yours are different. Find out what HIS idea is.

Lastly.."is this a cycle I have to look forward to for the next several years?"  Probably.  You guys have to get on the same page first and foremost.  But then you also have to realize that these are teenagers and no one gets a handbook for navigating all of it.  

If you guys only see your SD EOWE, Dad may not be willing to get too tough on her for fear she'll stop seeing him.  It's a very real (and realistic!) concern for an NCP as kids get older.  If it's not fun enough, if it's not supported, they start choosing not to go.

Have a good sit down with your DH when there's not a major issue occurring and figure out how he wants things handled.  If he is not going to back you up on the the things you find important, then you have the choice NOT to be the person left alone with the kids. Don't forget that.  He can't rely on you to babysit and then leave you with no tools.  

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