Connecting with distant step daughter

Elizabeth - posted on 12/29/2015 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Hi... I have a complicated family relationship. My fiance has a daughter of his own and also helps raise her older half sister. They have the same mom just different dads. The older one is 12 and the younger one is 10. My fiance and I have been together for almost 2 years now. There was 8 years between the girls mom being with my fiance and me. They were never married and were only together about 2-3 years. The older daughter is full of attitude and back talks all of us. It is worse when it comes to me. I understand that it is going to happen at that age and to me because I am the new one in the family. She keeps using the excuses that she doesn't show emotion and that I don't know her. I have done nothing but try and get to know these girls. I would and still do take them on my days off work when they are out of school. I have taken an interest in their grades and their homework. I haven't missed a school activity since we started dating. In Christmas she was upset because she was not allowed to take her phone into my parents and had to wait to open her presents until we got there. We then found a message on her phone to a 16 year old boy she doesn't know that I was the reason she had a terrible Christmas. She acted like she hated all her gifts and it was all in the exact tell if what she asked for. I am at a loss of what to do and how to get that connection with her. I have never asked for them to call me mom because I know I am not. All I have asked is for a little respect. What do I do???

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Elizabeth - posted on 12/31/2015

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We have had that conversation with her. She says she knows but can give no explanation as to why she does it. We have caught her messaging 'boys' who say they are 16. I work in a prison. It scares me to death that if things don't change she will be in there or worse dead. She made a comment that all she needs is her mom and her biological dad to be in the picture. He signed all rights to her away when she was a baby. She doesn't heaps that he chose to do that. He chose to walk out on them. And he just got out of jail himself.....

Ev - posted on 12/31/2015

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That lack of respectfulness is not called for. They should be looking after themselves at your place to a point, helping with chores and what not. I am not sure how to tell you to deal with that. But if mom is going to be lenient on how late they are up, full access to the computer she is going to have some issues soon that she would not want to deal with. Does the mom know that if it gets to the point of sexual texting and pictures sent between the kids that they both are going to be in trouble? Does her daughter understand that everything you put on the internet is seen by a lot of people?

Elizabeth - posted on 12/31/2015

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Thanks. I agree that she is too young for that kind of phone. Her mom is the one that have it to her. She now realizes that it was a bad idea. She also told us that she was monitoring what apps and cites she allowed our daughter to be on...
As for insisting their father's help I have. The girls knew that I would not be the one responsible for punishing them. I had this anxiety that they would tell their mom I was doing something I wasn't. I am a correctional officer and there were times I was getting accused of treating them like inmates... Come to find out their step dad is stricter than I am and it worked for him. I come from a very strict family and the way I was punished as a kid is different than my fiance.

We did all have a sit down the other night about it. Their mom basically stated that because she grew up in a very strict house hold she didn't want that for her kids. She was able to see first hand how the oldest was treating me. It took a similar situation for my fiance to see it too. We will not have the girls again until next weekend so I am unsure of how things have been going and if the talk was even worth it. I do know she has been up past 10:30pm playing games on Facebook. I also don't think it is appropriate for them to be up that late... I am not their parent biologically I get that. I know they need to be kids but am I asking too much for them to clean up after themselves and when they are here to help out with the daily chores? I don't ask them to call me mom or expect it not do I expect them to say they love me.... Just at a complete loss of what to do next...

Ev - posted on 12/29/2015

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I quoted these lines because they bothered me most:
"The older one is 12 and the younger one is 10. In Christmas she was upset because she was not allowed to take her phone into my parents...We then found a message on her phone to a 16 year old boy she doesn't know that I was the reason she had a terrible Christmas." What is she doing with a phone with full access to social media and other things she can get to via data plans, wifi or interent? At 12 she should be monitered better than what it sounds like. Time to take the fun phone and give her a generic phone with only numbers to you, dad, grandparents, mom...etc if she needs anyone to get her from school/activities or for emergencies.

As to her disrespect, you need to enlist her dad to talk to her about at least being respectful to you. You do have to earn the children's respect over time. And nearly two years is a good amount of time but not that long in a child's eyes. Just keep doing what you are doing.

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