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15 Apr 2014

Boyfriend and daughter at odds
My daughter & I recently moved from Pta to EC & we moved in with my boyfriend. My boyfriend has 1 daughter who is very sweet, shy & quite a quite child, does her own thing a typical little girl. He sees her every Wed when she comes & has dinner with us & every 2ndd weekend from Friday to Sunday. He has basically been a bachelor since his divorce 7 years ago. His kid is 9. My daughter is the complete opposite, she is outgoing vivacious, very active 12 year old. We have lived on our own since she was a baby. I suppose I have been very lax when it comes to setting strict boundaries about watching TV & what time she goes to bed over the weekend. My daughter has had to adjust to alot, she was in a co-ed Afr school & has now been put into an all-girl English school. Fortunately she has done very well academically & has adjusted beautifully to her new school. The problem is between my boyfriend & my daughter. When my boyfriend confronts her about something she gets defensive & challenges him & he can’t stand that. He also thinks that she is constantly pushing her boundaries & I keep on saying that is what every child does & he can’t stand that either. My boyfriend runs his own business & he is used to people doing what he says & I think he expects that from my daughter & to be this perfect child & to always be obedient & to listen once & to do what she has been told. He is in my opinion being unfair & is expecting too much from her. We have changed her TV watching times during the weekend as she watched too much TV She has gone along with this with a few sulks but ultimately she abides by it. We have changed her weekend bed times from going to bed very late to 21:00 again with a few sulks but she has does it. She has her moods & when corrected & especially when she feels she is being unfairly treated she challenges him & she does have the tendency to sulk and then to stomp around the house showing all of us how unhappy she is. I feel that he is being at times too harsh with her & is expecting perfection from her and he sees it as her challenging him and constantly over stepping her boundaries. Can you please shed some light on this situation? I feel I am caught up in the middle of this. if I think my boyfriend has a point I back him but I also tell him if I feel he is being unfair, but he doesn’t see it as being unfair. Is this behaviour normal for a child going into adolescence & can you please suggest how we can handle this situation.
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Expert
CyberShrink

16 Apr 2014

I hik you recognized the most important thing early in your message, where you say you have been lax about developing her self-discipline so she behaves well towards others, and maybe in ignoring selfish or other bad behaviour.  That should change anyway, so she doesnt grow into a nasty spoiled child nobody else will like.
If you are all living together,  you and he must discus this and have precisely the same rules and the same consequences for breaking the rules.  Dont have ebates about fairness in front of the child --- agree the rules ahead of time.  And have the rules deal with only the important things,  and the consequences would include loss of privilees like TV and comuter or cellphone access,  or indeed whatever she enjoys. .
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