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Overly affectionate 10 year old girl
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Overly affectionate 10 year old girl

My boyfriend's daughters have given me cause for concern.  While both girls are bright and friendly child, both can be overly affectionate with me and with total strangers which worries me.  Oddly enough I don't notice my boyfriend being overly affectionate with either of his daughters, but both girls can be clingy to him at times.  Of course, as part of his divorce, his attorney and the court appointed family counselor both told him to use caution with his affection because it is often something that the other parent will use against the other (i.e. cry wolf with abuse, etc.) .

I've tried to be understanding and thought that once I had been around the girls for awhile it would calm down some, but they are constantly hugging and pawing at people.  The very first time they met my parents the oldest (who is 11) gave my mother this big hug and treated her as if she were her own grandmother.  Both my mom and I found this odd and somewhat disturbing.

Another incident was when this man and I first started dating and we were at a friend's picnic.  The oldest walked up to us, while we were talking to some other adults at the party, and simply announced how much she liked me and that she was pretty sure her dad was going to marry me and she was ok with me being her stepmom.  My boyfriend and I were mortified (of course at this time we'd only been dating a few months).  I had to tell the oldest daughter that getting married is a big decision and that people don't usually enter into a marriage until they've carefully considered everything.  She just shrugged and walked away leaving my boyfriend and I scratching our heads as to what had brought that on.

The younger daughter likes to play "married and divorced" with a neighbor's son.  She will say "ok, now we are married.  ok, now we are divorced".  Not only that but she'll tug him around in a headlock, which is disturbing.

On my last visit to their home the oldest daughter was content to be off playing with friends, but the youngest followed my boyfriend and I around and would attempt to draw his attention in various ways.  He was trying to fix something in the backyard and while doing so she was yelling at him to pay attention to her and come play with her.  From most children I wouldn't take this to heart, but her overly aggressive nature for her father's attention is a bit disturbing.  While she isn't openly jealous I have noticed that if my boyfriend tries to interact with my children she tries to find a way to draw him away from them or will crawl into his lap and hang on him.

Finally, I notice with both girls that they seem to be emotionally immature, which may be something they've picked up from their mother.  I don't know enough about the mother to make too many assumptions, but here is what I briefly know of her:

Very degrading and demeaning towards the girls' father.  She often would tell the girls "daddy is nothing more than a paycheck" or "it's my way or the highway and your daddy can leave whenever he wants."  She also punishes the girls for being honest in their therapy sessions, to the point that neither girl wants to open up about anything because they are fearful she will retaliate and ground them for things that bother them at home.  What may have given the girls some of their confusion is that when their mother left their father she moved in with the man she'd been cheating on him with and moved the girls into this other man's home with her.  For a period of about 2 weeks she hid the girls from their father until he obtained a court order.  The mother is also physically violent towards the father and verbally abusive, all of which has been in front of the children.  So maybe some of this explains why the girls are the way they are?

In addition, one of the reason my boyfriend told me he finally agreed to the divorce was because his daughters were starting to talk to and treat him the way his ex-wife did and still does treat him.

I guess I'm just looking for answers on how best to cope with his daughters.  Again, they can be sweet girls and they seem to geniunely like me, but the overly affection nature of both of them has me concerned, not just because of how it makes me feel but what their future relationships, both platonic and romantic, may be like.

I've tried to address this with my boyfriend as best I can without being too harsh, but again, I'm worried.  Mostly I worry that if we do live together and/or eventually get married how I can cope with the girls behavior and also keep my children from thinking it's acceptable behavior.




This discussion is related to Clingy Older Children.
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8 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
Betty- The children seem totally normal to me.  You seem to be the current problem.  You are driving a wedge btw their recently divorced parents.  Children do not heal overnight from their parents' split.  In fact they take it very hard both emotionally and intellectually (maybe even for the rest of their lives...ie "Was it my fault?  Could I saved my mom & dad's marriage?") Affection is different in every family, but I think these girls are seeking attention & love from their father, and other "safe" female figures like your mom.  (PS She could be their grandma one day, and they can vibe that.)
Now to the issue of them embarrassing you at the party, kids get confused about adult emotions, and marriage & divorce.  Sounds like they are just trying to find out if you will be around very long, and if it is "safe" for them to love you & your mom.
In addition to this, don't believe everything your boyfriend is telling you about his ex.  It sounds like he's lying or at least exagerating.  During an ugly divorce, the men that say bad things about their former spouses are generally not the nice ones.  He will be talking this way about you behind your back after he breaks up with you, too.
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535822_tn?1389452880
I agree with mkd62 the children seem like very affectionate children and indeed it takes a long time for children to heal from divorce and loss of usally the dad on a regular basis.,it is possible that some counselling to help you may be a good thingand  will help you accept them .if not let the BF move on with his life to find someone who will accept his kids for who they are .......
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Avatar_n_tn
So you are able to diagnose this woman's boyfriend as a liar and an exaggerator simply because he said negative things about his ex? Oh I forgot, women are perfect and men are dogs. It's impossible that a man who is talking about his ex negatively is telling the truth? I can't believe you said, "He'll be talking that way about you after he leaves you too"?No you're not a woman scorned, at all. Stop bashing all men on blogs and come to terms with what ever happened to you to make you feel this way. There are just as many crazy, hyper emotional,  lunatic, irrational women out there as there are no good, dishonest, deadbeat, scoundrel men. You need to get a grip.

As far as the children go, divorce and disfunction will lead a child to become more affectionate than normal. Sometimes it is as simple as affection being withheld from one of the parents. Talk to the kids about it, but be careful not to hurt their self esteem or make them feel rejected. Put up boundaries when the hugging gets to be excessive without being cold. Make sure to compliment the children's achievements and give proper amounts of affection so as to establish some healthy self esteem. Good Luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
My parents are divorced also and I know how it feels thy will be okay just probaly rerun everything through their minds so it is all clear don't tell us this tell them. Explain carefully and tell them to be careful, and even though her mother was cruel but it was stil there mommy and they probaly don't want to have any more people taken away especially about the ones she cares for so much. otherwise she will be just fine!
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Avatar_m_tn
I've never commented on this board before, but your story caught my attention, mainly bc this is just typical behavior of a child and it is you seeing it as atypical that could create problems for them if you end up being their step-mother.

The kids sound very normal, especially considering the divorce.  The behavior of the ex-wife is disturbing but I think it is misguided to connect that to what you perceive as the kids' "overly affectionate" natures.  The only thing concerning about what you've relayed about the kids is that they feel inhibited to talk in therapy, that should be documented and addressed by the father.  

So back to this "over-affection".  Just because the daughter's directness with you at a picnic made you uncomfortable and probably embarrassed, does not mean there is anything the slightest bit wrong with the daughter.  It sounds as if you don't have kids, because if you did you would realize that such directness is just natural to kids.  They don't have the same inhibitions as adults and it is wrong to assume they would.  

I frankly find it alarming, but telling, that your mother was uncomfortable when they gave her a hug upon meeting her.  She clearly is uncomfortable around affection and has raised you to be that way as well.  Please do not assume it is the children at fault here, this lack of comfort with affection is your own issue.  I suggest some counseling for you and I would guess this desire to distance yourself from affection touches on deeper control issues.  If you cannot teach yourself to find the frankness and affection of pre-teen girls charming, then you need to exit this relationship now - and not do these girls any more damage.  

A family and parenting is not a business relationship.  It is built on love and respect and affection and complete frankness and emotional open-ness.  I suggest you read the book The Five Love Languages for a great glimpse of how important affection is for some people.  It will help you to understand that what is your style of love may not be the style of others, and that that is perfectly OK.

Good luck!  And please, if you can't bring yourself to accept these children, just walk away from this relationship so that their father can have an opportunity to find a step-mother that adores their affectionate natures.  
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