Teen who doesn't get along with Step Dad

Sheri - posted on 10/26/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My 16-year-old and my husband do not get along. He thinks she is lazy and selfish (what teenager isn't) and plans to boot her out as soon as possible. I on the other hand can't seem to mediate a relationship. She goes to therapy, but he refuses to waste any money going with as he feels she needs to deal with her problems first. I am tired of being in the middle. I love them both and have told them both that this is a very stressful situation for me. I just wonder if there is anyone else who deals with this. Keep in mind my daughter has issues like Bipolar disorder, ADHD, and ODD(oppositional defiance disorder). My husband is a sweetheart in every other way. They just do not speak to each other AT ALL.

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Becky - posted on 10/30/2009

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I can really relate to what you are saying! My 13 year old son and my husband have really had a hard go of it until recently. They still have some really BIG fights with yelling, screaming, and slamming doors all over the issues of chores and homework, but at least they can talk to each other when the dust settles. This came about when my husband started to spend some one-on-one time doing stuff that my son likes to do and just talking to him in general with respect for the person that he is and the adult that he is becoming.
I was thrown in the middle of this all out war for the first year after James and I got married. I, to, was stressed out and ready to run out the door screaming because I had enough of being the middle mediator between the two of them. James and I sat done to discuss how to keep me out of the middle. Here is what we came up with:
I back him up in front of the kids and if I did not agree we discuss the difference of opinion in private away from the children. If something needed to be changed or modified then he states that to Kris. If Kris had a problem we would discuss it, but it was Kris's responsibility to talk things out with his dad. I was then in the position where I could be supportive for both of them on the sidelines where I needed to be.
I do not know if this will help you, but I will keep you in my prayers and hope that a peaceful outcome will happen before long.

Shelby - posted on 10/30/2009

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Here is my bleak outlook on it, this may not be what you want to hear, but I have never been one to sugar coat things. We have pretty much the same thing going on in our household. I have a 15 year old son that is not my husbands. Although my husband and I have been together for 13 years there is still that animosity on both sides. My husband is a Marine and pretty much set in his ways. I can tell the difference in how he treats my son, and how he treats the 3 children we have together. I too am fed up. My son is ADHD and suffers from other problems, ALOT of problems. I have talked to my husband for years about changing the way he interacts with my son before it is too late.... Once children hit a certain age, its hard to "fix" things, Those times when they needed a father the most is gone. I have just learned that you can't change people like your husband and my husband. The best you can do is be there to continue mediating so that you know your child is not mistreated...Let the chips fall where they may, Its your husband that is missing out on some great times with a great kid. You can't change people that don't want to change and you are hurting yourself trying. I believe just from my experience that sometimes it is just not there. Be there for your daughter. You and her can do it. Your husband will never mistreat her but he just won't experience the level of closeness that you all will develope. Just spend less time trying to change him, You are wasting your energy, I'm not saying give up, I am just saying that you may need to realize that its not going to happen.
My husband is the same, doesn't want to discipline him, doesn't want to talk to him about things, and doesn't spend time with him. Yes it is frustrating, but all I can do is be there for my son, My husband is a big boy, My son still needs to be raised, and when he turns out to do something great, Well guess what, it was all me. I wish you luck.

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Lisa - posted on 11/01/2009

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Have you tried getting litterature on her disorders? I have been in this situation many a times myself.. I have a 17 year old daughter, a 15 year old son and an 11 year old son..My 15 year old has ADHD/ODD. You are the parent and wife, it is difficult, because in the eyes of your husband and daughter you are picking one over the other and that in fact is not true. It is harder when your hubby is an only child and did not have children. I am now with a man that does not have any children but he is great with my 15 year old, well all of them, but my 15 year old with the problems. You can not help who you fall in love with but you can help trying to make them understand the disorders and try to give him information on it. Your child is yours. I have had to make tough decisions and sorry but my kids come first. If you love me you love us all I say. It is hard to be in a relationship when you have children with disorders. Im sure your hubby is a very loving, caring man. But if he truly is this he would help you 100% on the subject at hand and go to counseling with the two of you to try to make it better for all involved.. He may support you, but being more involved would be better, this I know first hand. As I have said, I been through it plenty of times, and been through all the bad apples that wanted to "boot" my kids out as soon as possible, even the guy I am with, he is wonderful and my prince charming, but if he has a problem with my children, I tell him its all of us or nothing. Best of luck to you....... I hope it all works out

Sheri - posted on 10/31/2009

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Hold up there. I was neither naive or selfish when I got involved with my husband. My daughter was ADHD, yes, but the other problems did not surface until she went through puberty. My husband and I started dating when she was 10. We married when she was 12 and did not see any of these issues until late 13 to 14. I at no time was trying to MEET my needs for the sake of my daughter's. That is absurd and offensive. Now we are in the unique situation of how to deal with the situation with this new information. My husband knew what he was getting into when he married me. Neither of us knew this would change like this. He agrees with her seeing a psychiatrist for her issues. He just does not see that he has issues as well with dealing with them. Allow me to emphasize again that he is an only child who did not have any children when I met him. He has never really had to help with raising a child, much less one with all of the problems that my daugther has. He does not understand her disorders and that causes him not to understand her. From the getgo my husband has been supportive of me. I need that support and don't know how I would have survived this situation without that support. Neither of us saw this coming. We are just dealing with it in different ways. I just wish that my husband and daughter could find a common ground now.

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I have to say without getting into to much...I had to deal with this for 5 years lot of abuse. My last husband & my oldest daughter didn't get along at all to make a long story short...Kids are the ones whe get hurt in a divorce we parents sometimes for get that. You need to let your daughter spend as much time with your 2nd husband ( I think that is the one you said she gets along with) as possiable. She needs to know he still loves her. My bio dad abandon me before I was even born once we know that our world is crushed we think we are not loved or wanted we go through life trying to fill that hole. You need to pray & let God work on YOU because something has gone on in your life to make you keep picking the "fill in" so to speak. Trust me I am speaking from 100% experience. Once you find your root problem you will know how to handle things. You also need to sit you daughter down & tell her you are very sorry her bio day has left her tell her he does love her but he doesn't know how to show it yet. Let her know NONE of your divorces are her fault. I hope you didn't let her her read any of this because it kind of sounded like you blamed her for a divorce because you put her first. Children blame them self more then we think. You have to let her know none of this is her fault she is an amazing young lady & God has so many plans for you all. Don't let satan come to still kill & destory any of you. PRAY PRAY PRAY!! Pray your husband will have a change of heart pray God will show YOU whay YOU need to work on & change with in you Pray for your daughter to know it isn't her fault. Love them both love yourself & know we all mess up but by Gods grace we are all saved & healed. Stop any patterend you have been doing make today be the first day of your new life. Please know I promise I have been through this for 5 years long years of so much stuff happening I let Go & let God lead before something really bad happened. My last husband was older no kids of his own & I was the first wife. It really was never meant to be. Good Luck Sheri I am praying for you all please hold your daughter tell her you love her & it is all going to be ok tell your husband you love him & it is going to be ok then let God lead you all down the best road you have ever been on...your sister in Christ,Alice

Denise - posted on 10/30/2009

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Well Your husband needs to understand a lot of why she is like how she is is because of issues. She more than likely feels hurt inside because she feels he doesn't like her at all. So they argue or don't talk. If he gives a damn about her at all then he should go to atleast a session with her so he can understand. He is just an easy target for her because he isn't blood nomatter how long he has been in her life. If her really don't care one bit about her then maybe she would be better off not talking to him and moving out when she is 18. Try to talk to each of them separtly and see how they each really feel about the other. Don't beat around the bush, be blunt and forward about what you say. Good Luck

Andrea - posted on 10/30/2009

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sheri im sorry to hear that but im sure your not the only one going through this. I am only going to tell you what i would do if in your spot. Get your daughter proper meds! then after talking to them both seriously about the painful situation set up a fun weekend just for the two of them alone without you! your husband is the adult and should be smarter than your daughter therefore accepting your attempt to try to make this work shouldnt be an issue for him. it has to be something they both can do together and will enjoy and talk like camping, driving to the mountains for some snow boarding, hot chocolate, boardgames. The point is to leave them alone and they may find eachother to be not so bad

Shelly - posted on 10/30/2009

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Sheri,

Ok explain to me again why you are married, did you not say that you wanted a partner so that you wouldn't be doing this alone??? So I'm confused why did you not have this worked out before the marriage??? Why wait until you are so emotionally attached to this man that you wont walk away to discover his feelings about your daughter??? Yes I am being harsh for a reason I want you to stop and think about why this is happening!!! Because at the time you were wanting your needs met emotionally you needed someone else there to beable to rely on and forgot about the part of makeing sure that other person could hadle what was about to be thrown at them!!! I have to say that you were very unfair to both your husband and your daughter your desided to put your needs before thiers and now you are trying to clean up the mess. Well nhow that your there you need to have a very long talk with your husband and let him know that this is the way life is around your house and that he either needs to be a working part of this family or he needs to remove himself!! you need to focus 100% on your daughter and her needs to beable to survive in the world on her own. I don't care what kind of home your husband was raised in he oviously was not taught compation...His attitude stinks and he acts like a two year old when it comes to your daughter he needs to realize that when he said I do he wasn't just saying I do to becomeing a husband but he was also so I do to becoming a dad, and with that there are certain responsability's with that and be the adult and making sure that your child has every oppertunity in this world to be a productive adult and that means putting your needs on hold then so be it...Good luck and keep us informed

Sheri - posted on 10/29/2009

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Julie..I totally understand and empathize with you. I don't know that things will change when she is an adult. I think it will be much harder for him to accept my helping her. I will absolutely do whatever it takes though to care for my child. He does not have any children from previous relationships. We have a 3 year old daughter together. I was not young when I had my teenager by any means. I was 23. He was just older getting married and had no previous relationships this serious. He is also an only child. He has very limited experience in dealing with children that are "normal" and his first real chance at parenting is with my daughter. Regardless, since we live in the same house, he is parenting her whether either of them realizes it or not. It is seriously frustrating at times because you want the people you love to get along. I don't have the answers, but wondered if I was the only one and if not had anyone else found any solutions that I could try. This conversation was not just a venting outlet. I really had hoped someone else had found some solutions. Until you walk a mile in someones shoes it is easy to say where they should step. From my perspective, all you can do is pull your hair out sometimes, cry sometimes and pray a lot. I pray that it will all turn out okay because today the tunnel is long and arduous. I will add those of you who are going through a similar experience to my prayers.

Julie - posted on 10/29/2009

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This is my life through and through. My daughter is 14 and has been diagnosed with depression, ODD and a seizure disorder. She and my husband do not see eye to eye on anything ever. She is treated much differently than his daughter from a previous marriage who doesn't live with us and our 4 children we had together. I have not found any answers and sometimes I cry myself to sleep at night praying and wishing it would get better but nothing has helped. I feel for you and hope that for all of us there will be a ray of sunshine and some hope.

Michelle - posted on 10/29/2009

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I have the same problem with my 14 year old daughter and her step dad. He starts to trip over the little things that should be ignored. He has the bipolar disorder. They drive me crazy at times. I just want to pull my hair out.

Janet - posted on 10/28/2009

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Does your husband have any teenage or grown children of his own? I am dealing with this same issue in my home. My husband is a good man and would never intentionally hurt any of my children yet they have absolutely no respect for him. They will do anything I ask, but nothing he asks. As they get older, it gets worse. Sometimes I feel like he asks too much - almost like nagging and therefore they don't respond. I intervene when I feel he is right and demand them to respond to his requests. I have also started to back away and let him deal with them on his own with no interference from me and that is failing miserably. I thought they could somehow find a middle ground but its not happening. Maybe you should leave him alone about the therapy and go ahead and focus on you and your daughters therapy. Maybe none of this has anything to do with your husband. I also do not believe in ultimatums but if after 6 months or a year of therapy nothing is getting accomplished then you may consider forcing him to go to therapy. At that point you have done everything you could to get to the root of her problem and you will better understand her feelings and the role she plays in the disfunctional relationship. You would have to communicate everything with him that you learn and he would have to be receptive to it.

Sheri - posted on 10/27/2009

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I have tried to get them together to find a common ground. He just does not understand her and feels at times that I enable her. I think he is too hard on her and of course...she is my first priority always has been. Her real father is a drug addict who does not pay child support and is not in her life at all. My husband became her step father when she was 12 and it has been very hard to accept. She was and still is very close to my second husband. He was her Daddy when she was 2 and she still sees him regularly; however, he has no financial responsibility for her. It is mine and my husbands alone. I agree with getting him to go to therapy...my question is HOW? He believes it is a bunch of hoohee that is for women to vent. I have never put my husband before my children in any way. I must say that when the kids grow up I have to like who is left home with me though. I don't believe you should live only for your children. If you do not live a little for yourself you will have nothing left when the kids move out and that is just as unhealthy in my opinion. It is so much easier when the kids are younger. It is not so easy when they are older. I have lived my life where my child was my #1 priority and it got me divorced. There has to be a balance. Now I have more than one child who takes priority? Neither. My husband is a good person who has never had these kinds of problems. He tried and tried, but I think he has just given up. He does not see the point of therapy. He does not need it and that is where he is wrong. He needs it more than he knows. My question is how do I help him see that? I don't believe in ultimatums. I have been married enough times to know better than that. I don't want to become a professional wife. I like who I am married to now. We are best friends, but sometimes friends don't follow all of our advice.

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my husband treats all 3 of our kids has if they are his even tho my son is not..now that my son is a teenager he lets my husband know that he is not his dad..my husband just reminds him that he will be 18 in a few months and that life isn't all that easy and that he will need our help..he also makes it clear that he's the one that puts a roof over his head, feeds him, gives him money and buys his clothes (his biological father doesn't pay child support) your family needs to get into family therapy and you might wanna have them start doing things together like bowling, movies, mini golf, shopping or just going out to eat together..my husband worksout with my son and that is their special time together..

Tammy - posted on 10/27/2009

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Please remember the biological parent must do the the displining....and why does he refuse to attend counseling? This is a family problem...yes it seems like all the problems are your daughters; not true; she just happens to be the one on fire so to speak. If he loves you he will attend the counseling sessions. You had your daughter before your husband and he should respect that. She should be your #1 priority. Where is her biological father at through all of this? My prayers are with you. Tammy

Sheri - posted on 10/27/2009

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Let me say that I do not choose sides. It is easier to deal with. That does not say that there is not still the stress of things. It really bothers me personally that they can not even communicate. While they both say nothing I feel what is not being said. Yes, he knew I had a daughter and that I would never CHOOSE. That is absurd at best. It is just that I can not even talk to him about how to deal with her at times and it leaves me feeling the burden. I realize that single parents go through this, but that is just one more reason I am not single. He is my partner. I need him for this, but I don't think he can be objective. Let me point out that he is an only child brought up in the most non-dysfunctional home I have ever been in. He has no concept of how to deal with her and has made it clear he would rather not know.

Shelly - posted on 10/27/2009

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First of all, always remember you don't have to choose sides. Your daughter is your's and always will be, don't abandon her! Your husband knew you had a daughter when he married you, therefore he married her too. He needs to do what ever is necessary and should seek family therapy with both you and your daughter. Also, being a mother of a child with ADHD and ODD, make sure you and he understand how to deal with the ODD. It's very hard since there is no "real" medication for it. Pick your battles and determine what form of discepline works for her. Compromise is huge with a child with ODD. I'm lucky, we caught our's early and have "trained" my daughter, so it's easier to deal with. But there are always struggles in life! Good luck.

Jenny - posted on 10/26/2009

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i went through this with husband and daughter and still somrtimes do, it lead to a nervous breakdown, best thing is try to see both sides and step back a bit, i found if i did this they seemed to get on on there own terms, it is the hardest thing to live with , good luck

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