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Avatar universal

What can I do about my BF'S 8 &1/2 year old?

Does my BF's daughter have something similar to electra complex?
I've been searching for a way to define or label my situation because im fed up and dont know what do. I happened upon threads citing electra complex, and althiugh i dont think its quite that, it definitely bares some similarities. I read a great thread on it earlier and feel the need to have a long explanation so bear with me! My Bf (we're both 36, each one child) and I have been together going on 2 years,living together over 1 year, with his daughter who is now 8 and a half and my son who is 7 and a half. Things would be blissful if not for her constant need and desire for Daddys attention and affection. Please understandI adore how amazing he is with her, however I think he's in denial or blinded to some things she does and how manipulative she can be. Her and I get along swimmingly but she's expressed how she wishes her parents were still together (her mom cheated on my BF several times, several partners and he and his daughter were both blind sided, in other words her mom did not flaunt this behavior in front of anyone) to which I honestly responded th at it was normal for her to feel this way..however I think still he wants it back that way because she spent all her time with her dad, and he was at a job that allowed him to spend tons of time with her. I don't blame her at all, but things have escalated to a ridiculous level and I don't think he's open to seeing it.

She coaxes him into sleeping upstairs in her bed at least 2 or 3 nights a week. He'll come back to our bed in the middle  of the night, so we never have a proper chance to talk about it. Yes I'll admit I'm very jealous of it, because he spends all his time with her when she's here. She is here every day except one. Her mom lives close and sees her for admit couple hours daily then overnight on Saturdays. My son goes to school by his dad, so during the school year (only 1 or 2 more years for this, we'd like to love and have him go to school choose by me) he stays with his dad during the week for the most part. Something that's really upsetting is the fact that he sleeps up there when my son isn't here, making me feel more alone than ever. We've had discussions about it and some fights, but it's gotten more frequent and her attachment to him seems very over the top.

Just over the last few weeks I've really taken notice (don't think I was ready to see it before) of how she behaves with him, climbing all over him ,sitting on him when there's available seats, crowding him (he never gets annoyed by it, but I feel I slightly annoy him if I am seeking some affection or attention) insisting he sleep upstairs  (and when she does this in front of me, he acts as if it is preposterous but still does it...) asks him to carry her upstairs, and now she's starting to ensure he spends every waking (and sleeping moment) with her. She is deliberately coaxing him into being alone with her (to watch a TV show or movie together, luring him up to her room so he'll sleep) so as to take him from me. I'm not being paranoid, it's true. Just yesterday every time he'd come anywhere near me she'd pout. Then try to get him upstairs. And anytime I'd say something about he and I being together to watch TV that night or whatever she'd try to preemptively make plans as to why he needed to be with her not me.

As a parent myself I know I'd probably give into my son's whims but he receives a lot of love and attention from his dad and I so he's a happy loving stable little kid.  He is content shether im with him or we are all together as a family, or just by himself. I know every kid is different, but this behavior is escalating and makingme resent her.. after all I don't see my son for up to 4 days sometimes and he's spending more time with his daughter than me, even though despite this one thing (which I think he thinks I just accept now since I don't want to fight about it anymore) our relationship is golden.

Let me also say there is without a doubt nothing at all questionable going on, she just has him wrapped around every finger very tightly.

She is a very intelligent little girl, very mature, and I know she knows what she's doing. She'll talk in the baby voice, pucker out her lower lip anything to coax daddy. Again, he is an amazing and stern father (amazing with my son too) so it seems totally uncharacteristic for him to give into her all the time.

I'd love some feedback because at this point I'm concerned for her future. At this rate, NO man will be able to satisfy her when she's older. I was waiting it out to see if she'd outgrow it, but it's getting worse and now that she's deliberately cutting into her dad's and my extremely limited time together, it's opening my eyes to a potentially   harmful scenerio for her future relationships.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
"Does my BF's daughter have something similar to electra complex?"...........Hon, no one here can give this child a diagnosis, however, I will give you advice about what you should do and that is leave.  This is not the relationship for you especially if you are getting to the point of resenting his child.  You really haven't invested that much time into the relationship.

Not sure why you are resenting the child when it is apparent the problem is your bf's parenting style.  You should be resenting the bf, not the child.  He is the one parenting her.  Your parenting styles clash and he has pretty much made it clear he won't be changing his.  They, the child and bf, aren't going to change for you which is pretty much an indication you should exit the relationship.

What the child's mother did in the past doesn't have any bearing on your dilemma.  Doesn't matter what she did in the eyes of this child; she wants her mommy and daddy back together and probably see you as an obstacle to her wish.

Don't take your frustration out on the child; take it out on the bf.  

1029273 tn?1472231494
^ well put words of advice by Londres.


Here's something you may want to consider; you have no power to make changes to their relationship, but you can make suggestions to your BF about how he may want to spend effective time w/ his daughter and set a few boundaries at the same time.  I'm not saying this to be rude or to offend you, but you are GF and not the parent who has raised the 8 y.o.; for changes to happen it must be the parent who initiates it...

The co-sleeping issue only works if both adults agree to the sleeping arrangement; otherwise you end up with one of the adults becoming frustrated w/ the situation ~ the most common scenario, is that a couple allows their child to sleep w/ them.  It's more difficult to be the person who moves into a home where this has already been an established routine between a parent & child.  My only suggestion here, would be for you to be patient w/ this arrangement and possibly ask your BF to schedule certain days ( 2 days a week maybe) for 'sleepover nights' w/his daughter ~ it's a way to set a boundary for bedtime.

His daughter might be trying to manipulate his free time because she may legitimately need extra attention. In other words, she could be acting clingy or attention starved because she may not be getting 'effective attention' from her parents.  Effective attention is given by a parent when they spend one-on-one time with their child alone (you may already be aware of this), for an hour each day. Your BF's daughter may need this type of attention, if she isn't getting it from him. This is where boundaries can be set also.  Your BF and you can reserve an hour a day, on a calendar, placed in a common area for everyone to read.  He can explain to her that this time is cut out especially for her to spend time w/ her dad; once the hour is up, then it is time for dad to get back to his own routine.  This is up to your BF to establish and carry through with.  Scheduled alone time with a child who acts needy can really make a big, positive difference in their behavior.  I'm suggesting this because I went through a very similar problem w/ my middle child who acted very manipulative and attention starved before I created some boundaries.
Once again, you can talk w/your BF about possible changes, but you must know that it is up to him to do the parenting.

Good Luck

Avatar universal
I agree with Londres70 - You should leave this relationship

The relationship is Theirs, established before You entered the picture.  Under NO circumstances should You try to 'change' it.

Suppose Your BoyFriend didn't 'approve' of Your Parenting.  Suppose He felt Your Son should not be living with His Dad during the week instead of with His Mother.  You think Your Son is 'fine' with this arrangement but others would question that.  Would You change Your Parenting to suit Your BoyFriends opinion?

You really should leave this alone - it's not Your place to seek change for them.  She is not the 'intruder' - as far as They are concerned, You are the intruder.  If this is not tolerable for You, You should seek a relationship that would suit You

and FYI - Most Children wish Their Parents were still together.

Avatar universal
"Suppose Your BoyFriend didn't 'approve' of Your Parenting.  Suppose He felt Your Son should not be living with His Dad during the week instead of with His Mother.  You think Your Son is 'fine' with this arrangement but others would question that.  Would You change Your Parenting to suit Your BoyFriends opinion?".................TTinKKerBBell

This actually happened to me.  An ex boyfriend was trying to tell me how to parent my child and didn't approve of my parenting skills nor my ex husband's parenting skills or the living arrangements in regards to my child. He thought he and his child were the best thing ever.  He had a knack for pointing out every flaw that my son and I had.  I viewed this as nagging and trying to change me to suit his needs and wants and I LEFT him.  The point I am trying to make is that you shouldn't go into a relationship OR feel once you are in the relationship that it is your right to change what your partner is comfortable with or what works for him/her UNLESS he/she states he/she wants change.  Nagging, constant disapproval or constant comparisons between your child and the other person's child can wear someone thin.  
That's why I think you should leave before he asks you to leave or he leaves you because I know this situation will not sustain itself.

Loving or caring about someone doesn't equal changing someone to suit your views and ways nor does it mean labeling or resenting someone's child nor does it mean nagging someone into change.  

Your bf had accepted your situation without qualms.  Either you do the same or leave before he asks you to.

"I'd love some feedback because at this point I'm concerned for her future. At this rate, NO man will be able to satisfy her when she's older. I was waiting it out to see if she'd outgrow it, but it's getting worse and now that she's deliberately cutting into her dad's and my extremely limited time together, it's opening my eyes to a potentially   harmful scenerio for her future relationships."..............Well, it is kind that you are "concerned" about her future, but I would let her two parents worry about that since it is their child.  The child is only 8 1/2 years old.  

3060903 tn?1398565123
You and the boyfriend are unfortunately not compatible. Your parenting styles are polar opposites. While you are away from your son all week, he is with his daughter. While your son is "fine" with less hands on from you, his daughter is used to "tons of time" with her dad.

The problem you're having really has nothing to do with this little girl, the problem you're having is that your bf is not taking all things into consideration and does not feel it's the right time to make changes with his daughter (right or wrong). The fact that you are fighting about it. and still no changes are being made, is proof positive that your bf is not comfortable being part of a relationship that would affect in any way his parenting style.

I don't think he's ready for a relationship right now. If he wanted a relationship to work out, he would be more considerate of your feelings, and your needs, and more open to making concessions that would include your needs. He would learn to compromise and teach his child to learn to compromise, in the best interests of everyone. If he is unable to "see" right now, it could be that his sole priority is his child, and he may not be ready for a relationship until after his child has left the nest.

I'm so sorry that you're feeling so out of sorts with this all. I suggest that you not be as concerned with your step daughters future, as much as your own. If you have asked your bf to make concessions, and he has refused, and you cannot handle the way things are now, i think you need to start to make other arrangements for yourself. If it was me, and my bf spent 3 to 4 nights of the week sleeping with his child, rather than to spend it developing consistency in our own bedroom, i would have to consider moving on to a relationship where that would no longer be an issue. I don't see it as you having any other choice to change your current living arrangements, other than to learn to understand and happily accept the current arrangement.
Avatar universal
I had the same situation in my marriage.  My husbands son has severe anxiety and had extreme issue with change.  He is now 9.  At first my husband went into his every wish, dividing the family creating a barrier between us.  It was their time, then our time.  I was left alone with our newborn son and my son.  To tend to both of them and help my older son through adjustments.  My husband was off doing day events at the fair, movie night, go carts etc.  It was very hurtful and further damaging to our relationship and family dynamics.  We went on our first family trip together with the newborn, since his son was throwing a fit about sleeping in a room with my son...which they share a room at home...My husband sent in my son to sleep with me and the newborn, so he could sleep on the couch.  Excuse me...This is our first night away, using a crazy co-sleeper, with a newborn that wakes 3x a night.....you are not sleeping out their with your son your are sleeping with me.  He begrudgingly did so and then didn't talk to me the rest of the trip....ended up driving home 5 hrs not taking to me, then left with his son to the movies when we got home.  I was stuck with breastfeeding an infant, trying to feed my older son and pick up our dog from the boarding house all within an hour.  Those are times I remember really well.
Blended families are difficult and both parents need to be on board of the manipulation the children will pull. My husband wasnt aware that it was manipulation.  He thought the more he gave the better it would get.  He was wrong and saw that his behavior quickly got worse.

My step son also pulled it all out with me....My mom and dad should be together, my dad kisses lots of girls, my husbands ex girlfriend is his real step mom, constantly talk about his mom and my husband's ex...everything!!!  I just stuck in there and now I have a great relationship with him.  He trusts to tell me things, I calm his fears and understand his crazy tendencies. Out took alot of one on one time with him to build that...which included many "when is my dad coming home".
This sounds very tough, but is very different from the OPs situation.
Avatar universal
So many 'adults' seem to think it's fine to marry,
to have children,
marry someone else who has children,
and then have MORE children

and then, we expect the existing Children (who already had a Mommy and Daddy that suited Them) to "adjust" and "accept" WHATEVER the adults do or don't do that affects Their lives in HUGE ways - these are CHILDREN !!  We're expecting Them to 'put it together' when we ADULTS are the ones wreaking the havoc in Their lives !!  If They are having such difficulty dealing with all this 'musical chair stuff'' their Parents are displaying, we should be more sensitive to what we are doing to the THEM !!  we're the adults - if we can't understand THEIR behavior how is it we EXPECT them to understand Ours ?? !!

We expect these Children to behave 'properly' when They see all this chaos around Them from the 'adults' in Their lives??  Young minds do NOT compute all the mayhem - They love Mommy AND Daddy and that's who They want.  If we (adults) are not understanding of each others behaviors what business do we have expecting the kids to put it all together?

This is NOT about Children trying to 'manipulate' - rather about Children trying to function amidst the chaos that we adults create for THEM.  They haven't even grown/developed all their brain cells yet while we have all ours and STILL mess up with each other.  We expect TOO MUCH from these Children we toss around.

....just saying
Thank you! I don't even have children yet (although I am about to start trying!) and I am really pleased that most of the responses here respect the CHILD over the adults in question's "new relationship". I was shocked by how little humility the OP had in this matter. Her bf's daughter is a little girl for goodness sake! The OP is ascribing adult characteristics to this child.
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there.  Well, I think we have to find a situation that fits our lifestyle, our wants and beliefs and certainly that does not do damage to any kids involved.

I'm afraid that such an attitude that you are displaying will indeed damage an 8 year old.  

ALL kids want their mom and dad to stay together or get back together.  Especially at he tender age of 8.  And I have kids---  gosh, my kids when 8 wanted my full attention.  My husband didn't mind because they also wanted his as the bio parent and our mutual love for our kids made us both enamored of them in a way that showering the with attention and love was what we BOTH wanted for them.  I hope that your 7 year old is showered with love and attention and feels like he is the most important thing to you.

So, I'd really consider that this relationship is not a good one for you to be in.  Her dad needs to focus on her without judgment or resentment by his current girlfriend.  She needs to live in a situation where she isn't viewed as 'a problem'.  She needs to just be an 8 year old living her life and doing the best she can without being called manipulative or having a complex for wanting her daddy's attention.  

I'd not subject yourself or your child to your feelings on this matter either.  You aren't happy because he has a child and the way you view the child and his relationship with her.  That will never change or if it does, that would make me feel very bad that you broke the spirit and relationship up of a close daddy/daughter.  So, move on.  Please for everyone's sake.

good luck
1029273 tn?1472231494
There's an excellent book about this same topic, which was written for parents and caregivers, by a pediatrician and a psychologist.  It was suggested to me by my son's therapist, and it was a real eye opener from the beginning.  Perhaps it could give you some more insight on what you are dealing with.
               The Manipulative Child, by E. Swihart & P. Cotter
Avatar universal
First of all, this is HIS DAUGHTER you're talking about. Her parents are divorced, she's 8-a time when a child's development towards their parents is crucial. Leave it alone. She thinks you're trying to replace her, that's it.
Keep in mind, this is coming from someone whose parents are divorced and went through the same thing. My dad was single for 16 years before he got re-married and I was the only girl in his life. When he met my step-mom, I was particularly overprotective of my father and very upset that I was now no longer my "daddy's girl". She felt similarly, it was like a power struggle between her and I for my father's affection and love. It took some time for both of us and a lot of conversations between my father and I, my stepmom and I, and my father and my stepmom before we all got over the fact that now there are 2 important women in his life. Even though I was 20 when they got married, I still remember crying during the daddy-daughter dance and asking if I'd still be his girl.
The daughter will always come first, ALWAYS. And if you're not willing to accept that, you need to be with someone who doesn't have any kids.
Avatar universal
Don't be an "armchair psychologist", ESPECIALLY with a little girl. Furthermore, I don't think "electra complex" is a valid MODERN diagnosis. What I am saying is, it doesn't exist in the most recent DSM. I looked.

I could understand expressing and communicating how the situation makes YOU FEEL lonely. Diagnosing a child with an archaic psychological disorder is just wrong.

You have to decide what is right for YOU in a relationship. There are no hard and fast rules with this. With children in the mix, I don't doubt it becomes that much more difficult. Just don't use outdated psychology to justify your feelings in this situation.

Eight year olds ARE mature in some ways. I endured some minor traumas from that part of my life. Yet as others have mentioned, they were abstracted through the lens of a young life. I didn't view them the same way the adults in my life did. For one, my stepmother treated me very differently from my mother. She kept a strict home and it was hard for me to digest when I lived in such a different environment almost full time. I have no doubt I rebelled at some points in reaction to this. HOWEVER, I NEVER even considered that I was an equal to my stepmother or that I was competing for my father's affections. It is worth mentioning that I am still VERY close with my "stepmother" despite the fact that my father and her divorced almost a decade ago! Maybe you don't remember the difficulty of youth like I do; I have a vivid memory. But, children are difficult in those formative years while they are learning to be mature. Try and empathize with your "step" daughter. Remember what it was like to be her age. It will take time for you all to bond as a family. If you don't have that time to spare.... spare this family some heartache and move on.

To summarize... be careful not to give children adult motives/characteristics. Try to remember who you were at 8. Did you have ulterior motives to manipulate those around you? I know I didn't. I wanted to be accepted and loved. I was curious. I loved to play with toys and create rich fantasy worlds. I certainly didn't scheme like so many grown women do for the affection of a "man". Just think about how icky that sounds. She isn't competing with you. She just loves her dad. Love and affection is important from a growing child...  and that's backed up by MODERN psychology, not Jung. I know we promote Jungian texts as one of the major predecessors to modern psychology, but that doesn't mean that all of his theories are valid or should validate your discomfort.  

If you and your bf are otherwise "blissful" maybe you should stop applying so much significance to this situation. After all, this is the first time, I assume, you have found yourself in this predicament? Let your boyfriend make the broad strokes when it comes to caring for his daughter. Every relationship has faults. You can make them as big or small as you like- depending on how much DRAMA you enjoy or what you are willing to tolerate. Maybe a bit of acceptance would go a long way here: the relationship between your bf and his daughter is his choice. From a third party perspective it seems you all still enjoy plenty of time together. Enjoy that. That's all you have to do. If you don't love him enough to make this compromise, get out, for both of your sakes.
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