Dealing with a drama queen stepdaughter

[deleted account] ( 5 moms have responded )

I have an 11 year old step-daughter who takes every suggestion I make and tells me that I'm either yelling (I rarely raise my voice to her, but am quiet and firm) at her or arguing with her whenever I try to make helpful suggestions to help her with school or making friends. She's not socially outgoing and can sometimes be very rude to her peers. She struggles in school and also hates reading and it's like pulling teeth to get her to do it. I suggested today that if she can finish her book (that only has 60 pages left) by Friday, I would take her out for a treat. She immediately told me that was impossible for her to do, and that she would instead read 20 pages. I kindly, quietly but firmly told her it had to be the rest of the book-- she did NOT have to agree to the deal, but that would also mean no treat on Friday. She got very angry and told me I was arguing with her and that I always start arguments with her everyday. (Apparently, offering to take her to her favorite froyo place as a reward is starting an argument.) What on earth do I DO WITH THIS CHILD?????


Michelle - posted on 09/21/2016




I agree with the other ladies. Don't put a time frame on finishing the book, reward her when she has finished. You may find that if you take away the time frame she will finish it earlier anyway. As long as she is reading a bit each day then there's no need to push it.
I love reading but don't get a lot of time, I will read a couple of pages a night so it can take me a while to finish a book.
Maybe she can go to bed slightly earlier and read for 10 mins each night.

Jodi - posted on 09/21/2016




I am just going to say that I think you are being a bit heavy handed about the reading.

I have an 11 year old daughter. Admittedly, she loves to read, and she is also a very mature reader. However, she has recently taken to reading books that have had movies made. She picked up my copy of Twilight and has since read the whole series. She has read 2 of the Hunger Games books, and before I even realised, had read The Lovely Bones......She has also just started reading My Sister's Keeper. Part of the incentive was that once she finished reading the book (whenever that might be - sometimes it has taken longer than others), we had a family movie night to watch the movie. We still have Catching Fire and The Lovely Bones to get to, but it's part of the promise. And we then discuss the differences between the book and the movie and which we liked better and why. I make sure I have read the book too, so that I can be a big part of that discussion, and it has become lots of fun!

Anyway, I am just going to say that to ask things like "What on earth do I DO WITH THIS CHILD?????" because she won't read 60 pages of a book in 3 days is pretty unreasonable. I don't know what book she is reading, or what level of reading it is, but that seems a bit extreme - 60 pages is a LOT. Forcing reading is only going to cause more angst about the reading. Why not just treat her when she finishes the book in a reasonable amount of time? Have you listened to why it might be impossible for her to do? You have now turned something that you want to make positive (reading experience) into something negative (getting forced into doing it within YOUR time). Honestly, as long as she is spending some time reading, does it really matter whether it is 20 pages or 60 pages?


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Jodi - posted on 09/22/2016




Lydia, she probably blew up because she felt your were criticising her for the pace at which she is reading the book. I know that isn't what you were trying to do, but you have to remember that her perception of the situation is different to yours. Rather than saying "If you finish this book by......we can......", you should approach it more like "When you finish that book, we will .......". Maybe you can't see the difference, but believe me, there is. One of those is placing conditions on the reward that may overwhelm her, and the anger/upset may be a defence mechanism. In a way, if she doesn't meet your conditions, she is faced with a punishment, even if she is doing her best. The other one is just encouraging her to read her book at a pace she is comfortable with. As long as she is reading, you should encourage her.

[deleted account]

It's not the reading that bothers me, if she doesn't that's fine. It was just a suggestion and she blew up. It was an example of many times she's blown up when I've tried to help her. I'm just trying to figure out why. This is the first full year I've had her living with us and I'm still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.

Sarah - posted on 09/21/2016




I have one of my three who is an avid finished Harry Potter in one day. The other three enjoy reading at a slower pace. As long as they are reading? I am happy

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