I have a 12 year old daughter who is a straight A student, not into boys yet, sweet, loving, introverted and a good listener. My fiancé moved in 2 years ago and he's been increasingly "getting on" my daughter verbally. He is constantantly giving her chores, assignments and things to do if he sees her sitting watching TV or reading a book. He will also criticize how she feels about things and tells her constantly that her feelings are wrong and that she's not allowed opinions. His tone is immediately aggrivated and aggressive on his first request. It takes my breath away. And the shock and hurt on my daughter's face is getting too much to bare. On top of the constant order giving, he never engages her in any other way (loving, fun or otherwise). I've spoken to him numerous times in private to 1) balance the commentary/orders/requests with loving, kind conversation or activities. And 2) ask nicely... Not ask her to do things as if it's his 3rd time he's asked and she's completely ignored him each time. After we talk, He'll change for a day, and then the aggression & intolerance comes back. He has 2 grownstep children from a previous marriage and they now uncomfortably "joke"with him how hard he was on them. His ex wife divorced him the moment both children were off to college. Her biggest complaint was he was controlling. But I'm feeling something deeper and wondering if he's possibly an adult sized bully. He refuses to go to counseling. Please lend any advise. Thank you
I'm sorry you are experiencing this. Your message contains several different issues. I will try to tackle all of them.
As far as him going to counseling- I would recommend couple's blended family counseling for both of you- together. It's possible he doesn't feel supported in his parenting, or is uncomfortable in parenting your daughter.
I don't know if I'd call it bullying or abusive, but help from a local professional can definitely make a difference in your relationship with your husband and his relationship with his step daughter.
It also sounds like he is uncomfortable interacting with her. This is also something that can easily be covered in couple's counseling.
I hope that helps.
I wish you the very best.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Founder and Executive Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
If you haven't figured it out, this isn't going to change and it will effect your daughter. He shouldn't be living with you if you are not married or life partners and it is a bad example to your child. He is not her father but you are her mother. Shape up and leave and move on before your daughter starts to show adverse behavior patterns.
At best, seek family counseling.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
You are very concerned that your boyfriend's communication with your daughter is not positive and may be harmful to her. From what you say in this short description, you would like to see him parent your daughter in a more positive way, "loving, fun, or otherwise."
He has been living as a member of the family for two years and your assessment is that he is a bully. Your perspective is that his behavior hurts your daughter who is very vulnerable at age 12. You have the responsibility to protect her as a child from his negative behaviors. You are describe him as: critical, demanding, disagreeable, giving orders, intolerant, controlling, aggravated, aggressive, "getting on" your daughter. You have not said anything about how he treats you, but he responds to your requests for a short time before reverting back to his negativity.
The need to seek counseling is urgent. He may be avoiding counseling with the idea that he will be blamed for the family discourse. Building a new family (or marriage) means building trust and working together. It means learning new ways to communicate that are loving and supportive. By not agreeing to participate, you are faced with making a tough decision. If he wants to be a part of the family, he needs to make a commitment to making things better. If he does not fully commit to seeking help...what are your choices?