Help! My 'step' daughter is breaking my heart!!

Heather - posted on 12/24/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I have a 17 year old step daughter, I have been in her life since she was 6 years old. We have been very close up until about 2 years ago. She started drifting away, and now its just gotten to the point where I don't know what to do. She should be graduating High School this year, but she is struggling. Its a strain on all of us. My step daughter has always been at her moms and dads 50/50, one week on and off. Recently she wanted to change to two weeks and everyone agreed. She is a good kid, except when it comes to school. She is skipping classes and just not doing homework. Her mom doesn't do anything as a form of punishment. In fact when she was failing two classes her mom bought her a car! Well as you can imagine the problems in school have gone downhill from there. The lying about her school work has gotten out of control. She is always lying to her dad about what she has due or has done. It is causing a TON of stress. And now has escalated personally. She doesn't involve herself with our family. Her Dad and I have a 4 year old. We invite Ashley to things that we do as a family and she always has an excuse. Most recently she had to go to her moms to be with that side of family instead (even tho it was during our week) of going to see Santa with her sister. For Thanksgiving (again it was during the time she was staying with us) it was more important for her mom and her to go shopping then it was for her to spend time with her grandfather or Dads side of the family. We talk to her about this and she is sorry but does nothing to change it. I wish we could talk to her mother about it but we just can't. Her mother causes most of these problems but of course doesn't see it that way.
For a long time I thought Ashley (step daughter) was the only child I would ever have. I love her like my own but always respected her mother. Now its like she could care less if I am alive. It breaks my heart for me but more so when I see my 4 yr old sad that her sister isn't with us and even more to see my husband hurt. Its killing me. I feel angry a lot of the time which is just disguising the sadness. I just don't know what to do!! Any suggestions or other parents dealing with similar situations??

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HCHomeschooler - posted on 12/24/2014

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Yes, Heather. I'm a stepparent to 3 teenage girls and I can relate wholeheartedly. If you live in or near Howard County, Maryland there is a support group that meets in person to discuss our stories. Join us and know that you're not alone in your thoughts and feelings. SEE: http://bit.ly/1HEhjd3

Michelle - posted on 12/24/2014

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I can understand her not wanting to see Santa, my 13 & 10yo's wouldn't go this year with their little sister. That's not an issue.
She is 17 and trying to make her own choices about the path her life is going, she is almost an adult and most children by this age aren't still doing shared care, they have usually decided what parent they want to live with. Shared care can be unsettling for children as it's like moving house every week or 2. I have been doing it for 9 years now and I know there will come a time soon that they will choose who to live with permanently.
It's hard as parents to let go and give our children more freedom but that's what we have to do.

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