I've been with my other half for nearly 4 years and have been known to his now 8-year-old daughterfor a little longer than that. She has been aware of our relationship for around 3.5 years.
When we first moved in together, her behaviour was terrible (refusal to go to bed, to sleep in own bed, shouting and screaming at him all the time, very disrespectful, no manners and generally horrible to be around). He and her mother had been separated for around 2 years at that point, and her mother had been in another relationship with somebody the daughter gets on very well with for around 18 months. I read every book going and guided my other half through a lot of behavioural changes, to the point where her behaviour improved a lot. Things weren't perfect - not by any stretch - but generally I could cope with her and sometimes even enjoyed spending time with her.
However, her being nice is more of a brucy bonus than a regular thing and she's never loving towards her dad, which is hard to see, especially as he's such a lovely guy. The problem is, he doesn't know how to handle her and no amount of coaching or nagging or support from me has ever changed this. I've literally tried everything. I believe she's missing boundaries and / or consistency where he is concerned.
Recently she's been refusing to have baths, never washes her hands and wants to be as dirty and scruffy as she can. She's being a pain at bedtime again and is generally foul faced and rude when she's at our house - it's not enjoyable at all. I am 90% sure this isn't the case when she's at her mum's, but we don't have a good relationship with her and so there isn't any communication about behaviour between my other half and the ex.
We have a toddler of our own and another on the way, so I'm keen to get our household to be a harmonious one for all involved. I want my step daughter to enjoy her time with us and I want to enjoy spending time with her - I just dread her coming over and am constantly waiting for the fight to begin. I try to keep out of it when an argument starts, but I just can't help but jump in sometimes.
How do I provide my other half with the tools to handle her and how do I get my relationship with her to be a more positive one? Any suggestions or help will be gratefully received!