Stepdaughter Acts like child around father

Yvonne - posted on 09/21/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Bad divorce situation, biomother issues, etc. My husband's daughter is 17 and came to live with us in the past year. She is doing great (until biomom enters picture) but I have noticed she seems stuck in her relationship with her dad to about the age he left the marriage. Her biomom has always wanted to be her girlfriend and promoted a lifestye of such and her dad sees her as a child who was robbed of being a child by the mother's behavior. So here I have this child who is flip flopping depending on which parent she is dealing with. When with mom, she wants to go partying etc. with dad she wants his little girl approval. She recently drew him some pictures for his 60th birthday coming up and they look like they are out of a little child's coloring book. This is not good. How can I handle this without being critical. I did share my views of this with her dad. It is really sad that she just has no idea of what a family is all about. How can I help her dad and her have an age appropriate relationship.

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[deleted account]

As her step mum, the best thing you can offer her is a positive female role model. Show her that as a woman there are many ways that you can behave and inspire her. By giving her another female role model to look up to, it may help to change her ways and realise that she does have options in her way. Both you and your partner can raise your expectations of what you expect from her. The first thing is to act her age and fulfill the role of the young adult that she is.



Hopefully with time she'll realise that the expectations of 'behaviour' is acceptable with her Mum, but another set when she is with you and her Dad.



Certainly work on the bond between you and her, also it'll help her adjust between the two households level of expectations and behaviour. Yes there is a time for clubbing/going out, but it also comes with the responsibilities of being an adult.



From what you've said, she needs some help/support to make the transition between being the child who she was when her parents' relationship failed to where she is now.

Yvonne - posted on 09/22/2012

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All good ideas. I realize I don't do much for activities with her myself and I need to work on that. I help with homework and all the usual mundane things but we don't spend much quality time together. Live in a very small town so not much to do. We don't even have shopping in our little town. But I will work on some ideas. I did talk to her dad about the babytalk stuff and he is receptive to my view.

[deleted account]

It is worth talking to your husband about raising the standard of behaviour you expect from both him and his daughter. Say that you respect your step-daughter's wishes to have a positive relationship in her life with her Dad, but you feel that as she's virtually an adult, that she needs to have the expectations raised.



Once you and your husband have agreed on some new house rules, then move onto getting your step daughter to work toward them. Let them know it's some of the little things that need changing - first one to possibly work on is the baby talk with both of them.



Also work on the confidence of the step daughter that her Dad isn't going to leave her again for the foreseeable future. It may be partly confidence from her and wondering if her Dad is going to do have another broken relationship (however unlikely it may be).



What about doing more step mum and step daughter activities with her, that are more adult appropriate activities (within reason). Show her that there are other things to do with a female role model than clubbing.



Certainly work on building her self esteem/confidence around her Dad, and give her some extra guidance when doing stuff. Look at suggesting something - why don't you do/try x instead of y. I think your Dad would like that better.......

Yvonne - posted on 09/21/2012

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Thank you Ariana. I have a very good relationship with her and it is not child like at all. Her dad is doing those things you mentioned. He takes her fishing alot. I will suggest he refrain from encouraging the baby talk banter they often get into...I know the difference between having silly fun and her manipulating her daddy with her baby talk. I usually call her on it in a humous way. The pictures disturbed me though. It really does say she is stuck as daddy's girl when he left at Age 9. She was very close to him and he protected her from her bad tempered mother when he could. He works and did work away from home most of his life so mommy was pretty much single parenting and had huge influence. Now she is causing alot of trouble by secretly planning things, buyng her affection with lavish gifts, tattos, salon appts, all vanity related gifting and showing up unannounced expecting daugther to stay in hotel with her for her visit etc. It is getting very ugly. I just said enough is enough and am setting some boundaries and if not respected hubby and I will let her and her mother go back to what wasn't working, their choice. When she is with me she is awesome but after mom has her I get attitude etc. until I simply won't allow it and tell her where the door is.

Ariana - posted on 09/21/2012

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It's really up to him and his daughter. Your job as a step-parent is to try and connect and support her as she is. She's 17, you can't parent her or explain this to her. Try to talk to your husband and tell him that he needs to expect more from his daughter and also treat her like the young woman she is becomming. He needs to give her positive attention for the mature way she acts. How she acts in school, whenever she does something that a 17 year old does. She's looking for love the way a child does and she needs that same thing but in a healthier way.



Maybe you could have him take her to do mature adult things (not partying obviously). Go out to a show or something. Something adults do together. Go to a comedy act.



That being said I used to love going to glow-in-the dark minigolf and amusement parks with my dad. Sometimes people are just daddies girls. She may change once she's living on her own.



As I said it's up to her dad to try and build her up as a young woman instead of a child. She's stuck in the cutesy stage of love. I guess the other stage of love she knows involves partying and being older/sexier before she's ready and she doesn't want to bring that into her dads relationship. She needs a healthy older way of doing things.



You can only start teaching her healthy adult things to do. I can't think of really great examples but take her to a spa or something ladies do together, something that shows she's older and mature, but in a respectful adult manner. Have her dad teach her lifeskills like how to change a tire on a car or about taxes. Anything that is bonding but also shows her she's growing up.



Hope this all goes well and just try to support her as much as you can. You seem to be handling this in a very respectful manner.

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