How do I deal with a bratty child who's not mine

A couple of months ago I moved to another state and in with my boyfriend, his friend, his friend’s girlfriend, and her child. Over the weeks, I find myself to be bullied by this child. First, my things are rearranged wherever I leave them. So, I try to leave them in the room I share with my boyfriend. Then, I find little notes taped to doors or walls with snide messages on them. Then, my dry towels (although they were properly hung in the bathroom) are thrown on the wet bathroom floor, and my shoes are placed in front of my door despite everyone else’s shoes lying wherever. More and more, I am being shown by this kid that I’m not welcome. This is very difficult for me. I’ve never seen this behavior from anyone before, much less a 10 year old kid.

A little backstory: we are here to assist the kid’s mother’s boyfriend in opening a business. We have no other jobs, very, very little money, and no place else to move right now until the business makes a profit. Right now I find myself faced with being the only unwelcome one in this household and I want out, which will force me to find an additional job and work over 20 hours a day to be able to move out, if I’m lucky. That in itself is stressful. But to be bullied by a 10 year old is humiliating at best.

More backstory: this kid is rather spoiled and has pretty much everything handed to her. She’s an only child and has no father present. Her mother is her “best friend” and she’s quite doted-on. The world revolves around this kid, I think mostly because her mother and the boyfriend feel sorry for her.

I’m at an impasse. The mother is impossible to talk to (very terse and staid in personality). In fact, the mother and daughter are quite alike.

Any advice?

Are you sure it’s just the kid that is working on you?

How do you know the messages taped to the walls are for you?

If they say “Dear Blackeyes…” present them to the mom, and ask her to address it with her daughter. If mom refuses, explain to mom, that you all live together, and in the interest of getting along, there are going to have to be some boundaries. Then lay out the boundaries:

  1. Don’t go in my room or bathroom without permission.
  2. Don’t touch my stuff without permission. If my things are in the public space and you want them moved, please ask nicely.
  3. Etc.
  4. Etc.

Lay out consequences for breaking the boundaries.

Bubbadog, I do think it’s both the mom and kid. They are joined at the hip. But the kid is the one I have to share a bathroom with and that side of the house as well. Her mom also leaves general messages for everyone on the refrigerator door, and they’re displinary in nature, heh.

So you see, we are sharing space and Little Miss Territorial is freaking out. Well, in a way I can’t blame her for FEELING the way she does. It is a bit weird. But ACTING out this way is a pain to say the least. She sees me as encroaching on her ground. My boyfriend? Well, he’s cute and charming so he gets a pass, lol.

Since the OP is seeking advice, this is better suited for IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

Thanks, Colibri.

I also wanted to add that I realize they’re being passive-aggressive, and I guess I am, too. Ugh.

Sooo … if I understand you correctly, your future prospects and your current entire livelihood are pegged to the success of an as-yet-unstarted business that will belong to re-reads OP the kid’s mother’s boyfriend, who is friends with your boyfriend. Is that correct? You’re “assisting” but will you get a share of future profits?

Considering how difficult the kid’s mother seems to be already, my only advice right now is to make damn sure you have ironclad contracts about this pending business, so she can’t screw you over in that department, too. Otherwise, as far as the kid is concerned: water off a duck’s back, as much as possible. You can even turn it around on them: the shoes by your door thing, for example, you could say in your best saccharine voice, “Why, thank you for returning my shoes for me! That’s so sweet of you!”

Keep your eyes open for an opportunity to reward/praise the 10 year old girl for doing something right.

Say, “Wow. That’s a really nice thing you just said.” ( or did)

Do this a few times.
Praise her doing even the smallest thing.
But, not over the top praise.
Just show her that you notice.
“That was a nice thing you just did. Good for you.”
“Well done you! High five!”

Then buy her something small.
Just a token.
A pretty/girly soap to put in the bath.
A small hand towel, just for her.
Flavored toothpaste.
You get the idea.

After a week to 10 days of this, you can begin to express your needs for her cooperation. Your opinions will have more leverage.

Such as:

“When you put wet towels on the floor, it makes the bathroom smelly. Let’s keep the dry towels here and the wet stuff there. Do you want to help me pick out a room freshener to make our bath smell better?”

“When you go into my room when I am not there I don’t like it. Please don’t do that again.”

“Do you like it when someone moves your personal things without your permission? I don’t. If you are looking for something, please ask me. I can help you find it.”

It will require a lot of patience on your part.
Good luck!

Get out. Get out now, by any means necessary. This is a fight you’re not going to win.

Get out of the house. Get out of the business. Get out of the relationship with the BF if needed. If he’s not willing to stand by you against this bratlet and the woman who spawned her then what is there between the two of you worth saving?

Purplehorseshoe: the mom has no interests in the business. Just my bf, his friend, and me.

Pinkyvee: I’ve thought of this and tried doing some of it. However, she’s already cow-towwed to in this manner. She’s praised and gift-bestowed and still reacts this way. I even put air fresheners in the bathroom to no avail. She will continue to do this, I believe. She digs deeper and deeper for any little thing she can do no matter how much I stay out of her way. She doesn’t go in my room; however, if I happen to leave anything outside of my room it seems to be fair game. She’s not looking for anything. She’s wanting to disturb my things for the purpose of saying, “Go away!” I’ve tried being friendly. As an example, when the mom and kid return from work and school I always great them with a nice “Hi!” or “Hello, there, welcome home” and I have never received a reply in return. They are rude, rude, rude.

Alpha Twit: I agree that I need to get out. I am looking. I just thought I could somehow deal with it in the meantime. A week will go by, or more, and things are fine. And then something will happen again. The only time I feel happy is when I am out of the house, working on the business. But I have to be here in the late evenings and one day a week that I have off.

Since your boyfriend dragged you into this mess and it’s his friend’s girlfriend and her daughter who are causing the problems, he needs to step up and do something about the situation.

We are planning a meeting (I just spoke with my bf). And it will all be over soon enough because dealing with only-child syndrome is not gonna be MY problem, heh, and we are moving out as soon as we can. But it will be addressed before we leave.

Get one of the over the door towel racks. I have one that has 3 bars and a small laundry bag. When I shower, I use a terry cloth bathrobe instead of a towel, and a turby towel [hair wrap to dry hair] and get out of the shower, put my hair up in the turby towel and put the robe on instead of toweling off. I head back to my room and dry off and dress there. Practice is about 30+ years old and dates from college dorm living.

Once dry, the towel robe and turby towel get hung on the rack on my door to dry off.

If the little bint doesn’t have access to my towel, she cant throw it on the floor.

Keep your hair and body care products in a tote, keep it in your bedroom when you are not using it. Again, dates from living in a dorm.

Get a locking door knob for the bedroom. If she can’t get into your bedroom, she can’t rummage through your stuff.

Is there something upsetting about finding your shoes by your door?

If you keep your belongings locked in your room, they cant wander around or go missing. If someone asks why you have installed a lock on the door, tel them that you are tired of your stuff being messed with. With a locking door, all temptation has been removed. [of course you may have to keep your door key on a wrist twisty, and lock it when you go shower, but at least the little monster wont mess with your stuff.]

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

Sounds like a really screwed up situation. Too much drama to deal with.

If your boyfriend is at all concerned about you, he should “man up” and get a place for just the two of you.

We now have a meeting planned about this and yes, we will also move as soon as we can afford it. It may be as little as a month from now, maybe less.

This is an aside.
My husband and I saw the movie Due Date a few days ago.
The funniest scene is one where Robert Downey’s character encounters a horrible boy devil child … who appears to be about 10 years old.
They can do things in a movie that one can never do in real life.
Boy meets instant (and impressive) consequences.
Don’t try this at home, folks.

Due Date is just an OK movie, but that one scene … priceless !

Thanks, Pinkyvee. I’d like to chalk this up to just a kid used to her having her way as an only child, never forced to share before. I’ll have to see if I can find that scene somewhere online, just to get a chuckle to assist me in ridding myself of all this drama. Thanks again!

If your boyfriend is cute and charming, there may be a jealousy element going on as well.