SM of 14 year old step-daughter needs help

Stacy - posted on 12/29/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I don't know where else to turn with this question...We live in Michigan and have a parenting plan in place that requires the children both go to their BM for all regularly scheduled school breaks. My 15 Year old SS loves going there (autistic, and no rules or restrictions while there) , my SD, not so much. There has been a lot of lying, let downs and emotional abuse from her BM, and she has had enough. We have had her in counseling for 2+ years to try to help her deal with these issues, and she has made great strides with us. Every time she tries to talk to her mom about how she is feeling towards her or her actions, anything, her BM makes her feel guilty about how she is feeling instead of taking responsibility and dealing with the issues.
Without fail my SD gets off her required weekly phone contact feeling entirely unsure of herself an how to deal with her BM, and I don't know how to help her. We sit, talk about it, sometimes she cries. She doesn't really want to go spend time with her BM on her breaks, but she goes for her brother.
While she is there, there is apparently all kinds of negative talk going on, and she is made to feel guilty for loving her father and I, and other members of our families. She is also being talked to about going to court and talking to the judge and what she should tell them. The BM has been warned by the courts numerous times to stop this activity, but evidently has not.
I want to help my daughter get through this, any ideas on how I can help her? My heart breaks for her every time she has to deal with any of this and we feel horrible that she has to put up with it, but in Michigan, there is no age where she can say she doesn't want to go....

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Elizabeth - posted on 12/31/2010

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truly my heart goes out to u i am also a step mother to 4 kids also have my own 2 and can relate all my step children now live with us do to the fact there mom is not supportive but through family counsling the best thing to do is never ever put down the other parent because no matter how much they hurt the kids they love them no matter what .so my advice they will respect and come to u more and just need you more if you are just there for them.and if they do not want to visit the other parent let them tell them that that weekend is not good for them only step in if its too hard,and let the other parent know nice that the child would like to not have there visit and will get back to them when it works better.and let your sd know you love her and will always be there thats all u can do and really love them.

Sherri - posted on 12/30/2010

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Honestly, if your SD is that miserable going, let BM take it to court. That way, you get out of the fees and she can tell a judge herself what's been going on.

As far as emotionally goes, all my mom did with my brother and I and all I do with my SS is simple... Let her know it's OK. My mom taught me that you cannot control someone else's actions or behaviour and you can't change someone; that has to come from within. It does hurt. It hurts my SS and it hurt me very much growing up. No matter what you do, you can't fill the void and you can't make her feel any better. You CAN encourage her. Ypu CAN be there when she needs you. You can let he know her options as far as her relationship with BM, but I caution you.... If you chose this route, you have to give her the options without bias, without emotion... Simply matter of fact. Explain to her that you can't control someone's actions, all you can control is how you respond.

Between yourself, your husband and the counsellor, just VALIDATE her. She is entitled to her thoughts, her opinions and her feelings. We tell my SS that if he's pissed at BM, he has EVERY right to discuss it with her, but must do so in an appropriate and respectful manner, as he's allowed to do with us.

In short, all you can do is be there for her, validate her feelings and be as supportive as possible.

Hope that helps.

Deb - posted on 12/30/2010

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Have you spoken with an attorney? If she is that miserable and the BM is telling her what to say in court...let her know that she should tell the truth in court. It is SO very hard on any age child/young adult, to be put in the middle and that is what the BM is doing. Console her as you are doing, This is very difficult in many ways for her. I understand her wanting to be with her brother for the visits because it makes him happy, but she also needs to be happy too. What if she just refuses to talk to her BM on the phone? And what would happen if she just did not go on a visit? These are quesitons for her counselor and for an attorney. Good Luck...and please check that out. Every state has different laws Good Luck to your family!!!

Kimi - posted on 12/29/2010

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Just encourage her to stay strong for her brother, he looks forward to going but he needs her there with him. She tried being honest with her feeling for BM and that doesn't work over there, encourage her to just leave it alone and vent to you about it, just listen. She will get through this and be fine in 4 years when she's no longer obligated to go over there.

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