9 year old stepdaughter drama!

Suzanne - posted on 01/03/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My 9 year old SD is whining, talking back and crying ALL the time she is here. I have also watched her manipulate her father with this behavior and we have talked about modifying his responses to this. She doesn't have any friends which concerns me and when she is here, cries if my 3 year old daughter plays with her dad, or her toys. We are trying to have her become more responsible for herself, such as picking up her room, taking care of the pets, but she still acts like a "baby". She does NOT exhibit this behavior when he is not here, however. We have a baby on the way and if we don't get her behavior under control, I don't know how I'm going to cope! Any advice?

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B. P. - posted on 01/08/2009

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Not only did the two older kids move in in April, but I had my second baby in February. So we went from a house of 3 to 6 in 2 months! I have known them since they were 3 and 4 so it wasn't like strangers coming together, and we did get them for a month every summer. But it has been a big adjustment. As for Girlscouts I think that is a great idea. Both of mine are in scouts. My SD's troop is small, about 5 girls, and she loves it! I also take her to my younger kids playgroups with me and she likes to help take care of the younger ones while the moms socialize. She plays games with them like school or house and the moms compliment her for helping. It makes her feel really ggod about herself and she loves going with me.

Suzanne - posted on 01/08/2009

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That makes a lot of sense.  We tried a soccer team last season and while she played and seemed to enjoy it, she didn't make any effort to socialize.  I will see about putting her into a much smaller group.

Erica - posted on 01/08/2009

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My two cents is that I would start with a small playgroup rather than a larger girl scout troop.  If your SD is not used to dealing with groups or "playing well with others," she may be completely out of her element.  Out of the frying pan into the fire is all well and good, but then she has to come home to you.  I think you have a good idea, but start very small. 

Suzanne - posted on 01/08/2009

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I am looking forward to that, she seems very immature for her age so maybe she will develop some interests and friendships throughout the next few preteen years.  We have some family activities planned this weekend and my husband wants to try out the responsibility chart.  I am looking into some books that may be helpful in "blending" families so I'll share them with you.  I'm also concerned that she doesn't have any peers/friends that help her grow into a 9 year old girl and not a "baby" so we are considering a playgroup or Girlscouts?  Anyone have experience with that?

Nicole - posted on 01/08/2009

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My SD was the same way, shee is 11 now and it does get better! Persistance and consistancy helps!

Erica - posted on 01/08/2009

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Blythe...wow.  What a huge change for you, getting two "new" kids so suddenly.  I don't know how I'd do with that one!  Were the kids with you for any time before they moved in, on weekends or something?  Whew.  Glad to hear that your stepson is just fine, but I can sympathize on the nine year old girl drama, for sure.  Only difference for us is not that our daughter's mom taught her nothing, but that she continues to teach her the wrong things! 

B. P. - posted on 01/07/2009

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I also have a very dramatic 9 year old SD. Hear and her brother just moved in with us full time in April. We also have a soon to be 3 year old daughter and 10 month old son. My SS is a dream but my SD is very dramatic, forgetful, messy and immature for her age. It can be really tough and very hard not to get frustrated. I feel like her mother taught her nothing and now I have to make up for the last 9 years!

Suzanne - posted on 01/07/2009

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My SD doesn't live with us full time, we have her 3-4 weekends out of the month, which is a considerable amount of "family time" although not long enough to have a tremendous amount of influence.  I really like the responsibility chart idea, it would take the frustration out of constantly reminding her to make her bed, pick up clothes, homework etc. Like you Erica, I think the communication breakdown with my husband and his ex girlfriend is one of the main problems because there is no continuity from house to house. 

Erica - posted on 01/07/2009

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I have a nine year old stepdaughter who is mostly a delight.  She's with her mom every other weekend, but lives with my husband and I the rest of the time. She's doing great in school, loves her friends, and is as excited as my husband and I are that we have twins on the way, due in the spring!  The issues we're having right now are that her mother wants to exert her "influence" at every possible moment, on the "biggies" of life, without talking to my husband first.  My husband and I tend to look at this like my stepdaughter's mom is buying her love so that evertime my stepdaughter remembers a "milestone," she remembers her "Momma" first.  So, this Christmas, the latest was that "Momma bought me a cell phone."  ARGH.  A nine year old with a cell phone...please...but we don't have any control over when things happen.  We do have control over it now, though, as the prepaid minutes are gone and since we don't agree with the phone purchase whatsoever, we'll not be paying for any more minutes...guess "momma" will have to fork over the dough for that one!  She also purchased the first bra without discussing it with my husband and I.  We have not had the "birds and bees" official talk yet, and with babies on the way, it'd be a really good time to start that talk, but I'm so afraid my stepdaughter's mom will horn in on that one and put her own spin on that talk.  Crazy.  But aside from her actual mom driving us crazy, my stepdaughter is lovely. 

Nicole - posted on 01/07/2009

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My 8 yo seems to be doinga lot fo the same. Shes been talking back so much, lying about random things and at times can be impossible. She lives with us full time but after a visit to moms its like all teh manaers and time we spent with her is gone out the window.

She too doesnt really have friends. she has her school friends but when I ask her to invite people over she says she doesnt want to. but then she gets very upset when shes bored and alone.

We taughter her more responsability with a "responsability chart". Not only a couple little chores but regular things she can do like making her bed and getting her homework done. she loves getting allowance and saving!

Suzanne - posted on 01/05/2009

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The reference to what babies can and can't do does help. She doesn't want to lose her TV or other privledges such as going outside. More importantly, is the tension she creates with her dad and I and I will use your suggestions Mary. "The cure is to figure out what his response is and do exactly the opposite"... She will be home again next weekend and I will discuss our "strategy" with him this week. I just wish I had better coping mechanisms myself, other than frustration and annoyance, it makes me feel guilty for having those feelings towards her and I don't want to give up on her and my family like that anymore. There is this division right now in the house and I need to do better too. BTW, what kinds of chores do you put on your chore chart? Richelle, LOL, I get the "huh"?! response a lot, it makes me crazy.

[deleted account]

My 12 y/o SD is in that "duh" stage. When you ask her a question she just stares at you like a deer facing an oncoming car. She love me, I know I should do more things with her but everytime I ask she say "I don't know". It drives me insane!! And of course my 5 y/o wants in on the conversation and has plenty of ideas.

Mary - posted on 01/04/2009

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sounds to me like she is displaying the behavior because it solicits some response from your husband that she craves...whether it be more attention or some babying from him that makes her feel more loved, or it could be just that she is a little jealous of you and can feel the tension that her behavior creates between the two of you. The cure is to figure out what his response is and do exactly the opposite. If he gives more attention when she behaves this way, he should give less. If it causes friction between the two of you he should go over board lovey dovey with you etc......she will quickly realize that "it" is not working and change her strategy. Reward her new or any good behavior with tons of attention and positive feedback.

Richelle - posted on 01/03/2009

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We have 50/50 custody of my 9 year old SD and we went through a similar situation as you. She was needed to know that we still love her and we love her new baby sister. Her dad took her for a walk to the store and they had a chat about feelings and our growing family. Things still didn't change so I had a stern chat with her and told her to give her new sister a chance. Things have slowly started to get better but I still notice little things like her counting the Christmas gifts to see if the baby got more than her or counting the pictures on the wall to see how many she is in vs her sister.

The best thing to do is spend time with her NOT money (I made that mistake). I was surprised when I took her to the mall and she told me that she missed spending time with me. Not only was she missing time with her dad she was missing time with me. Also, I found it helped for my husband to spend time with both the girls together. This made them all context and showed that Dad can spread his love around.

It also helps that my husband won’t let her get away with that kind of behaviour and he told her if she wanted act like a baby then she would be treated like a baby and babies have to stay in the house all day (no riding bikes), no T.V. because babies don’t watch T.V. and go to bed early. Then she didn’t like that so she started to act her age again.

It’s a long process and you need to balance it with love and discipline.

Oh, and my husband bought a chore chart were she can get a sticker when she completes a chore then when she has done so many she gets a treat such as movie night. (No money! Try quality time stuff)

You have to get your husband to participate in solving the problem because he will have more influence over your SD behaviour than you will. His help will take some of the stress off of you.

Good luck.

[deleted account]

Tough one! If she only does it when he is there it has a direct link to him it sounds like.

Maybe some one on one time with him just going to McDonalds together or a trip to the grocery store. Good luck!

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