Shona offeres advice on two common problems
GIRL GONE WILD
My 12-year-old daughter and I have recently moved in with my partner of five years and we plan to marry. They had a good relationship but my partner and I tended not to live together during the week. My daughter also spends regular time with her dad and these arrangements have continued.
My problem is that since moving my daughter has become moody, disobedient and almost resentful of my fiancée. She says she hates the new house and spends an increasing amount of time in her room. I am wondering if the move was a mistake.
It sounds like your daughter may be struggling to find her place in what is effectively a new family dynamic. While she has enjoyed a positive relationship with your fiancée he has mostly been a visitor, whereas now the set-up is different.
Might she be worried your fiancée will try to be her dad and discipline her? Has she moved schools, a major transition for any child, not least one on the brink of adolescence? Also, she may be worried you will have children and she will be less important.
Try talking to her and let her know you have thought about things from her perspective and wonder if these things may be worrying her.
A step too far
I married a wonderful man after three years together. We are both in our early 40s and until recently both working full-time in well-paid jobs. I have no kids but my husband has three daughters aged 13, ten and seven. They used to stay a couple of times a month, but their mother has become mentally unwell and we now have them almost full time. I feel upset the focus of our lives has completely changed and how I thought married life would be has not transpired. I am struggling with my new role as step-mum and resenting that we have less income and potential for doing things together. I feel so selfish and respect the way he has taken on his responsibilities, but can’t help feeling disappointment. Please help me feel less resentful.
There is obviously a lot of change around for everyone at the moment, and change, particularly when unexpected, can be challenging. Becoming a step-parent is not easy. Have you thought about speaking to your husband about how you adapt together to the new situation, about money and how to maintain a healthy couple relationship. You may find the following websites useful for further advice:
• Shona Manson is a mediator with Family Mediation Shetland
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