Okay... Curious.. my stepdaughter, Shel, who has been acting out. Her dad thinks the best way to deal with it is to not have her come over for a weekend as a bit of discipline. I am not happy with this. I think that we should have her over and sit her down and talk to her. I know that would be tough, but it seems to be the better idea. Any one with feedback?

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Donna - posted on 01/23/2009

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Keeping her away is not the answer. Envelope her with love and understanding .Once she see's you love her the truth of whats bothering her will come out. Hope this helps Dee

Barbara - posted on 01/23/2009

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I'm so sad for your stepdaughters!  Keep caring and loving them no matter how frusterating it gets!  I can tell you love those girls, and I know you are in their life for a reason.  Good luck, keep loving them and standing up for what is right! 

Sandra - posted on 01/23/2009

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Ask your husband what he would do if his daughter acted out and there was no other home to send her to. Our kids act out all the time, and we have to deal with it ourselves. Sounds like you and your husband need to have a discussion about this issue before she comes back. She's not coming to 'visit' but this is her house too, she just doesn't spend all her time there.



If you can talk reasonably to the other parent, inquire to see if she's doing the same thing at her other home. See if you can all come to an agreement on handling the discipline so it's unified. A 6 year old has big problems handling one type of discipline let alone different rules in 2 different houses.



You'll save yourselves alot of hassle if you work this out now, there's lots of years ahead of fun times!

Heather - posted on 01/23/2009

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You should definitely talk with her -- let her know her behavior  is unacceptable and will not be tolerated and use reasonable punishment ie; taking away computer privelges or whatever.  But then to make sure you tell her that you appreciate the time you get to spend with her -- but pushing her away as part of her punishment is certainly not the answer.  I am really suprised her dad suggested that!!!!  You certainly are on the right track Christina :-)  Good luck!!

Brittany - posted on 01/23/2009

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Well I have never been a step-child or a step-parent, but I also don't think that things will get solved by not talking about it, I agree with you, sounds to me like a family talk is in order.  Just remember to try to see her side of things, make sure she knows she is loved, and give her mutural respect, just try to remember how you would have felt at that age.

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Sierra Gayle - posted on 10/21/2013

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I agree,you may not be together anymore you are still both her parents. But there should still be some discipline. Sit down with her and tell her that if the behavior does not stop there will be consequences. If the behavior continues take away the hang out time with friends, electronics, stuff like that. I say the hang opt time with friends cause it is most likely that she feels like she has to act out to be "cool"

[deleted account]

I don't think that his/your time with her should ever be taken away from her as a punishment.  To me that says that your love is conditional.  Coming from a broken home I acted out a lot in a desperate attempt to reunite my parents....may not be what you want to hear but very much could be a possibility.  Keep in mind when talking to her that it is a hard thing to not have your parents together and that is her reality.  Give her that...try to relate to her on that if you think that is possible in any way.  Don't allow that to be an excuse, but instead if that could be part of the problem get her into some counseling!  Hope that helps!

Miranda - posted on 01/23/2009

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Your solution is the ONLY option. Depriving her of time with her father will not help...absolutely not. Actually, it might help for just the two of them to spend a little time together. She might be acting out to get his attention. Little girls (no matter what age) need their fathers and will do anything to get attention...even if it means acting out.



I know the dilema that you face. I am a step-daughter as well as a step-mother.  It's a very hard situation.



I wish you the best of luck.

Judy - posted on 01/23/2009

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I think stepchildren have a rough time.  Not knowing the reason for your stepdaughter acting out makes it tough to reply to, but I would say this.  The best thing for her to experience is a family who loves her.  I would definitely set some boundaries, things like she can't disrespect you or her father, no bad language, etc.  Talking to her would be a good thing.  Try to get in her skin and feel what she feels.  Don't baby her or soft talk, be assertive, but loving.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't think that withdrawing parental time and attention is ever a good way to solve any problems with kids.  The message is...."we only love you when you are 'good'".  That can be a very damaging message for her to receive.  If she deserves to be punished for something then she can be grounded, while still at your house.  Open communication is always a good idea, I'm with you.  I'm not sure how old she is or how severe her acting out is, or even how recent the divorce & remarriage are, but those are all factors that should be taken into consideration as well.



 



http://www.somuchmorethanamom.wordpress....

Sue - posted on 01/23/2009

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Your step-daughter is acting out because she is jealous/afraid that her Dad doesn't love her enough. It's called 'challenging" behaviour because she is doing exactly that;  challenging her dad (and you) to reject her because that is what she fears!  You are absolutely right in your instinctive feelings; refusing to let her visit would make her feel rejected and she would behave worse.



Most women seem to understand these things instinctively, but men don't!  Their instinct is to react directly - "you hurt me so I'll hurt you".  This always escalates the horror and pain - think of Israel and Hamas in Gaza today.  Often, when someone acts provocatively it needs the opposite response from the instinctive one.  Perhaps this argument might help your husband to see your point of view.



Yes, it would be good if your step-daughter would agree to sit down and talk, but she may not be ready for that yet.  If she has been abused and she's likely to be taken away from her birth-mother, then she must be going through terrible pain and turmoil at present.  If she provokes you, you need to try to suppress your natural reaction, although you can say "that makes me feel very upset".



Remember that, however badly her birth mother behaves, she is still very special to her daughters and you need to respect that, while still trying to protect them from further harm. Keep trying to give them love and security and I'm sure that things will gradually get better when they are living with you, although it will take time and patience to heal them.



I am in a similar situation in a way, in that the children I am raising (my grandsons) were abused by their mother, and they act out a lot.  I think that their mother is herself a damaged person, (probably by the way her mother treated her when she was small).  It may help you to think of the birth mother in a similar way.



Maybe it would help to tell your step-daughter exactly what the argument has been between you and your husband; that you want her to come, because you value her.  Explain that her father wanted to stop the visit, not because he doesn't love her, but because her 'acting out' behaviour makes him feel acutely uncomfortable.  Maybe you can make her your ally in 'managing' the male!

Sharon - posted on 01/23/2009

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Plz dont back down on your views on this ,it is very wrong too use visiting non visiting as praise or punishment ,,,,you definately need too find another way of dealing with her ,, all children act up now and then you need too establish cause let her hav her say on the matter make sure she knows you are listening too her and then have your say putting as nicely as you can that her behavior is not right and that you need too lay some ground rules not too harsh though . hope this helps ,

Pam - posted on 01/23/2009

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Hi. I have been a step mom for 5 years now with a very complicated story. She now lives with us, and I must let you know that not letting her come over is not discipline in her eyes, it is her not being good enough or not wanted. We have been seeing different councellors over the years and they have all said that a child in a split family that is having some behavior problems, always has a reason. She has some deep feelings that she either does not know how to express, or she feels she will hurt one of you or get in trouble if she speaks out. I totally agree with you when you say you need to sit her down and talk to her. My step daughter was 3 when I came into the picture and now she is going on 9 and we still have problems. Some kids really dont know how to express what they are dealing with inside. If you can sit calmly and just listen, she will feel more secure with you two. Try it out. I hope things get better. Let me know how it pans out. Also remember that it is a great thing to have other step moms to talk to that are in the same boat as you. Message me if you ever need to !!!

All the best.

Pam

Angie - posted on 01/23/2009

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You and your husband may be at odds on how to handle this, but hope isn't lost!!! My advice is to plan a nice evening w/ hubby when kids are at biomom's house. Talk to him and explain that you are only concerned about Shel's well-being and you don't mean to imply that he's not doing the right thing. It sounds like he's being defensive and making excuses...and sounds as if he's VERY frusterated!!! Sometimes we women forget that men think way different than we do. You have to resolve your issues with each other in order to be a team on getting your daughter's behavior under control. Also, COMPASSION is so needed with her. She's been through a lot in a short time, but that isn't an excuse to misbehave. She is definately needing something more from Daddy. You may not be able to convince him of anything right now, but I suggest you form as close of a bond with her as possible right now. Take her to get a pedicure, lunch and just talk to her about everything. Make sure she knows that she can open up to you about anything and that you feel so blessed to have her in your life! You get the point...she's reaching out to ya'll. Community service has always worked great for us and it teaches them so much more about being a good person! Plus, it's time that you can spend with one another. My son has to pick-up trash on the side of the road sometimes...be creative. Go to your local Senior Center, Animal Services, ect...there are so many places that can teach her a lesson and make her thankful for what she has in life. Another great organization is Special Olympics...so rewarding! This is something that can be done during the time she's at your house. Her mom doesn't have to be on board or do the same punishment. Also, remember that part of it is that she's a 10 year old girl being a 10 year old girl...they are so full of drama! Good luck!

Cherylynn - posted on 01/23/2009

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Christina, I completely agree with you. Open communication is the best way to resolve family problems. It is much easier (and less stressful), as you point out, to not have your daughter around -but this will not benefit her or the relationship that you and your partner have with her.   We all act out at times, and there are typically reasons why we are acting out. It's probably important that you three patiently get the root of this issue -as unresolved issues do not go away and often create more problems. Best to you.

Lesley - posted on 01/23/2009

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i would try and talk to her find out why she is acting up



tell her it make you sad when she like



if her dad stop her come over it may make it worse

Sara - posted on 01/23/2009

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true, it will take your husband's support for you all to get through this. as of right now, he has more "rights" with the kids since you don't have full custody yet so it's hard for you to set the rules on your own...heck, even if you had kids together, you and your husband would need to compromise on the rules, discipline, etc... would he be open to some counseling? you guys may need to try a few different things to see what works with them. 10 and 13 are tough ages....it's the whole middle school thing too. they're going through so many changes right now and maybe some family/teenage counseling would be good for them too. my stepson went to a therapist a few times during the problems with his mother and he also talked to a close friend of ours who has experience with troubled teens....very helpful.
community service sounds good or just grounding them from their friends/TV/computer for a weekend, extra chores around the home, etc... always works with mine. my husband would also tell him FIRMLY that disrespectful behavior (or whatever he's doing wrong) is unacceptable in our home and if he does it again, there will be consequences....end of story.
sounds like your hubby is giving up but he can't for the kid's sake! try EVERYTHING you possibly can before you say, "ok, i've done what i can, now it's up to them to do something"

Christina - posted on 01/23/2009

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My daughters are 10 and 13.  The 13 year old has a closer relationship with her father.  He and biomom split up almost 4 years ago.  So the 10 year old has had a lot less time with dad.  She is also the one that is more like biomom, so has a tendency to be negative more of the time.  I have been trying everything I can think of. 



 



I like the idea of community service as a type of punishment.  Seems like something that would be more interesting than so many other things. 



Has anyone seen Joan of Arcadia...?  'God' chose specific lessons to be learned by Joan, and different ways of learning.



Sadly, Dad is arguing with me.  I said I wanted to come up with positive ways of dealing with their behaviour. He doesn't think anything will work because of the fact that there is no way we would be able to get biomom on the same page with us.  I told him that we need to be consistent and not make what we do over here be the same as what she does. I want to have a consistent set of disciplines for negative behaviour and to always use those things.  He says it won't work.  I said it might take a while for it to work, because he and biomom never had a consistent plan for discipline when the kids were younger.



 



It is really hard trying to come up with something when dad is not on board.

Angie - posted on 01/23/2009

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I don't know if there are other children in the house, how much one-on-one time she gets to spend with her dad, or how old she is to know the best advice to give you. I will say that you are amazing and more 2nd moms should be more like you! I don't have any "step-children" (I hate the term "step"), but I was a step-child. She probably feels out of place at times, not getting the attention that she wants or gets away with it at her other house. Shower her with a lot of extra "I love you" and hugs!!!! Talk to her and find a way to relate to how she is feeling, she'll open up more that way! Under no circumstances should her punishment be not being able to come over. Find a punishment that is appropriate with the crime...disrespectful...have her do community service at a nursing home to learn respect of elders. I did this with my son when he was about 7 and he leaned a lot from them. He just sat and played with them and talked. They enjoyed it and he really liked it in the end. They talked to him about respecting me, ect. I am a HUGE fan of community service as punishment!!!

Chantel - posted on 01/23/2009

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Don't use not seeing dad as a discipline. My situation was different, my dad didn't always want to see me because I was a girl but whatever reason I think I would have felt the same way. I was SOO hurt.  Tell your husband to do everything he can to make sure there is no reason for her to think he doesn't want her or love her.

Ria - posted on 01/23/2009

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I have a stepdaughter who didn't take to me because her mother always bad mouthed me and her dad so we made sure that we had regular visitation and that she was treated the same way we treated our other daughter, i think sitting her down is the way forward, if you keep her away she will see it as another reason to feel different and will act out more, include her as part of your family and she will start to respect your authority.

Sara - posted on 01/23/2009

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wow, sorry to hear of your situation. since their biomom is abusive and bitter, it sounds like the girls need structure and positive reinforcement from you guys if they are going to be living with you full time. the change will be difficult for the kids, you, and your husband because the girls are already scarred from their biomom but it's not a totally hopeless situation.
my stepson went through something similar but not as distructive with his mother. her and her husband wanted him to move out of state with them but he didn't want to so they called him names, gave him a hard time about it, kicked him out of their house twice so he started living with us full time, and they eventually moved. for a while she even thought about giving up her rights as a mother. he was left hurt and angry but since then (it's been about 3 years now) they have managed to somewhat repair their relationship. however, if he was still living with her part time, i don't think they would have a relationship now.
so probably the best thing for your girls is to get them away from that distructive environment at biomom's if she's not going to change. thankfully, it sounds like you and your husband will get custody. is she abusing the boys too? good luck!!

Melissa - posted on 01/23/2009

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From a step-mom to a step-mom...my advice: You don't want to punish her by not having her over. If she happens to like Mom's house better(which sometimes happens), then this will only encourage her to act out. When my step-daughter acts out we take away rights to tv or add on some extra chores but always communicate to her that no matter what her behavior is, that she is coming over to our house and it is up to her whether the time will be enjoyable or not. This has been working for now but I dread when she becomes a teenager. I think talking to her about this is a good idea as well but make sure to keep control of the conversation. She is the child, you are the parent. Good luck!!

Christina - posted on 01/23/2009

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Okay...  Both girls stay with their biomom during the week.  We have only just started to get them every weekend for the whole weekend.  Biomom is abusive to the kids, and social services is involved in the situation.  Bascially they are just waiting for my background check to come back before they place the girls with us completely.



 



I treat both girls equally.  Although I do have a better relationship with the older one as we have more in common.  I have tried reaching out to the younger one, and it had been working at one time.  She started to tell her dad she wanted me as her mommy, and that she didn't want to go back to biomom at all.



From there, biomom started telling them if they choose to live here with us, she would hate them forever and move away and never see them again.  She has also started to go out drinking every weekend and talk about the sex she is having with different guys in front of the children.  She has also been posting inappropriate information on Facebook where both girls can read it.



Really can't talk to biomom at all.  Last time I tried to express anything to her about her negative behaviour she attacked me.  She doesn't think there is anything wrong with her or the way she treats her daughters.  And she resents anyone suggesting such.



My hope is that when my background check comes back and the children are placed with us, biomom will be too busy with her boy toys to pay much attention to the girls. I would rather no attention, than negative attention.  Then we can start building their confidence and self worth up.  And teaching them how to respect each other and others that are in their lives.



It seems to be a very long, hard and somewhat lonely road.

Jodi - posted on 01/23/2009

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Along with a chart make 2 cans. 1 can is a reward can and the other is a discipline can. On strips of paper write or type up rewards and disciplines agreed upon by you, your husband, and the kids. If one of the girls acts out, have her choose from the discipline can. The discipline can works very well with most children because they "choose" their discipline. The rewards can is more for at the end of the day, and if one of them had to choose from the discipline can, of course she is not rewarded.



Our discipline cans have consisted of anything from no dessert to a weekend without friends. Rewards are generally small and can be trade in for a bigger prize. My daughter (my bio, and adopted by mu husband) chose a blank reward (limit up to $5). She asked to go (with my hubby only) to an abandoned barn to take pictures of it. He was the person she most had problems with. They packed a picnic lunch- she made- and they had a great time. (She was why we started the cans. We had criminal issues with her - things had gotten so bad!)



Also, if your step-daughter must be disciplined, don't treat her different than your daughter. This will make her feel as if she is a 2nd class citizen, and not part of the family.



I think you are on the right track with not taking away her weekend. She needs to be welcomed, not rejected. It could even be a test to see if she acts bad enough "will Daddy reject me too (like he did Mommy)?".

If you have a family discussion (you, your hubby, and both girls,-and it might help to have biomom, too- rough, I know, but there has to be common ground) let the girls tell you what they like and don't like about the rules and the living arrangements.



I would also(with your husband preferably) talk to biomom and tell her how selfish she is being. Her daughter deserves to be treated as a person, not a weapon, and she is creating a vindictive monster that will think it is okay to disrespect authority if you do not like them. Good Luck.

Barbara - posted on 01/23/2009

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She also may be jealous of her sister because she does get to live with Dad and get Dads attention everyday.  Also, as a bio-mom and a step-mom.  I would never, ever tell my daughter to not listen to an adult that her dad has put in a position of authority over her.  I tell my child she has to listen to and respect her dads girlfriend and my husband.  "unless they ask you to do something in your heart you know is wrong, then tell me or Daddy"

Christina - posted on 01/23/2009

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She is barely allowed to talk at the other house.  Although, from the time that I spent trying my best to be friends with biomom, I know she acts out over there.  But she probably doesn't act out as much for fear of the abuse that comes from biomom.



Part of me thinks that because the rules are so much looser in our home, that she is making up for years of not being able to express herself as a normal child would.  And we are getting the brunt of it.  She seems to know that we won't call her stupid, idiot, ignorant or anything negative like that if she acts out over here.



Even with her acting out, I still want her to know that this is a positive and loving envirnoment.

[deleted account]

YOUR idea is the best one.  Time w/her dad should never be used as a club over her head.  Both of you sit down w/her and talk to her and listen to what SHE has to say.  I helped raise three step-daughters as well as three of my own and learned from trial and error.  But you should always have her in your home, which should be her's as well even if it is the second home.

Christina - posted on 01/23/2009

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See, that is what I was thinking.  That she might eventually equate being with us as not being able to express herself, and other negative things.  She has been acting out, and has been told by biomom that she doesn't have to listen to me because I am not her mom.  And also that she doesn't have to listen to her dad if he is backing me up on something.  I was thinking about doing a chart for both the girls that have chores, proper ways of acting and allowance all together, so she can see the correlation between proper behaviour and earning privledges.  I just don't know how strict to be on it.  If she hits her sister as a response to being hit by her, is that a rule break?  Do I include all fights, or just the ones that escalate to a serious level...  I don't want her to think that she doesn't have the right to argue and express her opinion, but I need her to learn when I tell her to clean her clothes up, or stop hitting her sister, or  being violent, that these behaviours are not nice or respectful.

Barbara - posted on 01/23/2009

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Christine, I should also add... you seem like a very loving and concerned stepmother.  Shel is very blessed to have you in her corner!  I know your hubby is not a bad father, like the rest of us, we are all trying to figure it out as we go along!

Barbara - posted on 01/23/2009

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I am in a blended family situation as well.  If my daughters father would not let her come for the weekend because of how she's acting, I think my daughter would be very hurt and feel very rejected. This could really cause resentment in a relationship. My personal opinion is:  It's hard enough for children from broken homes, witholding time from a child because they act out really sounds like it would backfire.  Especially with a little girl!  I don't know you or your husband, but I feel like he is trying to take the easy way out, and not deal with the problem.

Cynthia - posted on 01/23/2009

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I am with you! Don't tell your daughter the discipline for her behavior is spending less time with you. That will definitely leave some scars. She will automatically correlate his love and desire to see her with her behavior. Now, I'm all for no-nonsense discipline, but instead of pushing the problem away (in this case, Shel) show her you love and care about her and want to spend time with her, but as long as she makes bad choices, certain priveleges will be taken away. Maybe she doesn't get to stay up and watch a movie or go to a friend's house if she misbehaves, but don't make your precious time spent with her a source of punishment.

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