Electra Complex issues? How old to be concerned? (BF & his 11 year old daughter)
Issue: There have been a lot of changes for her lately (BF traveling more, the mom recently having a BF move in with her, etc), that I'm sure are contributing, but here's what's been going on:
1. She is still trying to convince BF to sleep with her almost every night he's home, acting extremely disappointed/pouty most nights he says no. Wants him in the bathroom with her while she showers (he's started just staying outside the bathroom the whole time, yet she'll still have no problem coming out naked or toweling off in front of him, despite her growing breasts).
2. Because she's tiny, Because she's tiny, it's easy for BF to think of her as a "little girl" doing those same things, especially he doesn't like thinking of the fact that she's a pre-teen who acts more like a teen, and is going through puberty. So, lately, she has become even more clingy/needy with her dad, to the point of being inappropriate. She is constantly trying to lay on top of him, sometimes letting her hands coincidentally fall to his privates (which he jerks away from), and has recently started trying to touch him skin-to-skin to massage him (the way that I frequently do). Sometimes he ignores it, so it continues, other times, he tells her to stop, and she gets pouty, just like she will often pout if he doesn't let her spoon with him. She's doing a lot more of just hanging on him, sitting on his lap, stroking his face, etc. Even something as simple as kissing on the lips (which they've always done, and I do with my son sometimes, so in and of itself, I don't have an issue with it), she's started trying to do more and more lately-- which he just sees as her "wanting kisses from daddy". Might be, but might be more.
3.BF recently told me that with her current behavior, he's actually worried that she might have a crush on him right now. The other night, staying in a hotel, he was sick, so I was massaging his feet reflexology style to help him sleep. She was in the next bed, and I could see in the dim light that she lay awake with her eyes open for 15+ minutes just staring at me while I massaged his feet, until I finally told her she needed to close her eyes or she wouldn't be able to sleep. Next day, she was constantly trying to touch him and just "be close", more than normal.
She's had moments of jealousy in the past-- 1. a time he got me a gift at the same time he got her a souvenir (which he does for her every time he travels), and she was upset that she didn't ALSO get what he got me (even though it was a dress which would not have been age-appropriate for her) 2. a time she started being very vocal about how she didn't want any other little brother besides my son (who she loves), and making pointed comments about how her dad wouldn't have any more babies (even though the decision was still in the air for us-- him leaning against, me leaning towards). Those issues went away, and things have generally trended towards improvement, and honestly, she loves me and has always pressured BF "When are you going to get married?" "When will you at least get officially engaged?" "Am I going to be the flower girl?" (and then being excited that I said she'd probably be a jr. Bridesmaid, instead of flowergirl).
But in the last week, it's suddenly shift to "IF you guys get married...." instead of "WHEN you guys get married..." Subtle, and I would normally think nothing of that, except that it's coming in the same week as her suddenly mimicking so many of my behaviors towards BF (sitting on his lap to kiss his lips, trying to rub his bare skin, etc.), and BF worrying that she has a crush on him. I know the electra complex is common enough, but it's usually around 3-5 years, not 11, while going through puberty. So is this an issue of competing with me for her dad's romantic affection, and something I need to figure out? Or it is just an electra complex a few years delayed (just like she's a bit delayed in some other areas of development, i.e. sleeping alone, thumb-sucking, etc.).
Not quite sure how to address it. I feel like the only answer is to have more clear boundaries, and be more firm with her about them, but that's exactly what I know BF won't want to do, and will get very angry/defensive about. I've got one shot at "presenting" this to him in a way that he'll probably take into consideration, but basically, I just want to point out to him that some of the things he enjoys doing with her as a "little girl", just have to stop because she's NOT a little girl anymore (i.e. she shouldn't be naked in front of her dad anymore, no matter how comfortable she is with him, she shouldn't be spooning with him, she shouldn't be sitting in his lap a certain way anymore, she shouldn't be trying to rub his bare skin under his shirt, and definitely shouldn't be sleeping with her anymore, etc, etc). And it's not that he can't show her affection, and in fact, he should probably increase appropriate forms of affection, so that she doesn't feel like she's suddenly been cut off and losing him. But that he should not be showing her affection the same way that he does for me-- that she should not be allowed to act like a mini-wife, and that HE is the one who has to set those boundaries because if *I* do it, it will just seem like I'm jealous and trying to compete with her.
So... thoughts? Read More At : ...