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Lauren - posted on 05/23/2013

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Carrie, I think you need to be EXTREMELY careful with the baby and your stepdaughter--and her older sister--as kids don't understand how damaging a simple action can be to a baby. That being said, I agree with Sarah in that there seem to be much deeper-rooted issues here. I really think you need to work with the psychologist to define strategies to help set boundaries with your step daughter on right and wrong, be clear with expectations with her at home, and consistent between you and your spouse (and as much as possible with her mother...perhaps your husband needs to have a serious talk with the ex). But make sure your step daughter is also getting healthy attention--not being babied, but also not feeling like she's the "terrible child" all the time or the only one "picked on" by the parents. She is clearly seeking attention, so making sure she has special her and daddy time, or her and you time, or time with both of you without the other kids, especially after the baby comes home, could be very helpful. Good luck and keep trying to set a good example for her; she needs your love more than ever right now!

Sarah - posted on 05/21/2013

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It sounds a little like she is a very scared little girl who doesn't have any control over her life except in the way she acts. I think a psychologist is a good idea, she needs a place for just for her. Her life must seem to her to be all change at the moment. I understand that you are concerned for your child but maybe try to see her point of view a little. She may be afraid that the only way to get attention is to misbehave. How does she respond when you give her good attention, deserved praise or just spend time doing puzzles or games with her? Does she respond well to responsibility? If you got her to help a little with the baby would she respond to that? by which I mean you and she together maybe at bath time she could hand you the cloth for washing the baby and see how gentle you need to be with a new baby. I was worried with my son when I brought my daughter home from the hospital, not that he exhibited any of the behaviours that you are describing but you never know how a child will react. My son ran past me to welcome his sister home and to help his dad carry the baby carrier. It may all be fine although I do think you are right to worry.
I hope everything gets better for you.

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You need to share all of that with your husband. Your baby's safety is far more important than putting up with the child's behavior. Tell him that if he can't do something about his daughter, then she can't be around the newborn when he/she comes. And if that means you staying with someone else. The safety of your baby should be the number one priority.

Pamela - posted on 05/24/2013

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Your FEAR will draw problems to the situation. Stop being "afraid" of what "might" happen and focus on what you want to happen. Get books that talk about "new babies" coming into a family, read them with her and then talk about what and when. Helping to prepare her for the event and including her instead of "fearing the worst" is a much better attitude to take.
I cannot understand why it has taken so long for you to take the child to see the child psychologist, but that is at least a step in the right direction, especially since they see their Mother every weekend. However, I am certain that if the psychologist is a compassionate one s/he will help your step daughter to adjust and self-correct her own behavior.
It is best for you to stop the judgment and stop reacting to the problem. It is best to RESPOND, not react and to NOT JUDGE the child for her behavior. Loving, compassionate patience is needed here....not fear of "what might occur".
Do your best to learn to include your step daughter in helping with the new baby. Simple tasks like getting things that are needed....fetching a blanket....handing you wipes, these simple chores can help to include the child in learning to help care for the new baby.
Your stress level is not helping your in-utero baby. Go to a health food store that sells Bach Flower Remedies and get a bottle of Rescue Remedy. It will help your stress level and will not hurt the baby inside of you.
The highest and best to all of you!

Amy - posted on 05/21/2013

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As difficult as it is for you I would not be leaving her unattended ever. If she can't obey, is destructive, and destroying things then she hasn't earned the right to be alone. There isn't much I can recommend other than take her with you everywhere until you get into see the psychologist.

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