My 18 Year Old Step Daughter

Paula - posted on 11/30/2017 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My Stepdaughter is a good kid and we never had strong disagreements (except maybe backtalk once when she was 13. Pretty common, I know). She is now 18 and goes to school PT and works one day a week. She thinks curfews don't apply and is condescending to her dad. She is acting very entitled and telling us what we should buy her. She has the master bedroom at home and a brand new car with insurance covered. Recently she started yelling at us because she did not think she should have chores and thant the only thing she should do is clean after herself (which is not always done). I told her that we were a team, that we help her out with school stuff, car and rent and she helps us with 10-15 minute chores each day. She kept yelling and I told her she had t learn to appreciate what is given to her and she yelled "I do". I answered 'I can tell' {insert sarcasm here} <-( Maybe I should had said it differently). She waived her finger in my face and told me not to sass her. Her dad told her that we have simple rules, and she needs to follow, that if she did not like them she can live with her mom. She left, took the car, which we still pay for, comes to the house and takes groceries as she pleases when we are not there and never calls or answers texts unless she needs something. She told my husband's family that she was kicked out and even called grandma (which she never does) to have her ask her dad to send her abroad with her (so no more school?). I am sad because I always thought we had a good relationship and got along, but she is so angry now and thinks everything should be handed without earning. We keep trying to talk to her, but yelling always occurs. I just don't know what to do and I see that my husband is sad because he gets treated badly and she ignores him (unless she wants something) and that makes me feel worse.

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Michelle - posted on 12/01/2017

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Your husband should be standing up to her. He needs to stop feeling "guilty" about being a proper parent. Kids will hate us for enforcing rules, that's life, but they also NEED rules to grow up well balanced and appreciative of others and have respect on what it takes to have nice things.
It's our job to teach them that things don't just get handed to you, you have to earn them. Your husband isn't doing anyone a favour by bowing to her, all he is doing is creating a spoiled brat. Sorry but that the truth!

Michelle - posted on 11/30/2017

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So if she has moved out then the payments to her stop. Don't pay for her car and insurance.
You were right and even though she is an adult, she still has to live by the rules in your house. If she doesn't like them she can leave.
In regards to her coming in and helping herself when you aren't there, change the locks or take her keys off her.
She needs to learn that there are consequences to her behaviour and you won't tolerate her toddler tantrums. She needs to start acting like an adult and be responsible. Tough love will probably help. I know it's hard but hopefully she will see sense soon.

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Dynamaniac - posted on 12/04/2017

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I'm so sorry that you're going through these growing pains. Family dynamics are always difficult, but even more so with a blended family. I would try to make sure she's okay by making sure she is not going through something else? Is it possible that there are drugs involved? She thinks she is grown because she's 18, but maybe she is afraid and is just testing her boundaries as to what she can get away with. But even so, she's still figuring out how to deal with her emotions, if she even can identify her emotions. Is she working? Could you enforce her paying rent, or for half the car, or even for her insurance? Maybe giving her some sort of real life responsibility will help her appreciate what she's gotten for free for so long. I'm not sure how I feel about locking her out because you want her to always feel she has somewhere to go. At the same time, her stealing from you, even if it is food, is not a good thing to let her get away with either. Maybe it would be a good idea to take her key away from her. Have you tried to have a calm conversation with her? Premise it with no argument in that if she becomes disrespectful, you will ask her to leave. She needs to know that her behavior is unacceptable and that while you want her to live with you, as with anything else in life, there are rules and boundaries that must be followed and adhered to. Blessings to your family.

Paula - posted on 11/30/2017

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Thanks Michelle,
Its harder for my husband because he feels guilty for laying the law and wants her to have a car for school. I am a firm believer and earning what we have. I don't even know how to tell her myself that things for our house are for people that live here (including laundry privileges).That she's more than welcome to come back anytime under the previous set rules, and respect for each other. I want her to learn to speak like a mature gown up versus tantrums. But I just freeze thinking of the potential argument and I am diplomatically nice to her even if I am stressed inside (I have accidentally bumped into her while she is in the house). I don't come from a yelling family and I am a victim of abuse from a previous relationship. When she yells, it takes me back to that abuse and I shut down. I promised myself I would never put myself in that position, and now I feel bullied in my own house.

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