Stepdaughter throwing up red flags... do I leave or stay

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

This is a stepparent question. I welcome any and all advice from both stepparents and non alike. My stepdaughter is 9. She was almost 5 when I met her father. He brought her with him on our second date and that is when I met her. I have two children who were 6 and 7 at the time. My parental instincts were fully intact and I had not met a child that I did not like up until that point. Of course, I had never lived with anyone else's kids either, but my point is I liked kids. Enter step daughter. She is very clingy to me immediately during the second date. She didn't talk a lot. She wanted to be carried and held a lot. We went ice skating. She insisted that I skate right next to her the entire time. I don't remember much else about the date. I thought she was nice and I liked her. She looked a little bedraggled (but not in a dirty way) which I chalked up to her dad having her and not being able to do her hair. During the next couple of months, we did several things together without my kids. They still had not met either my boyfriend or his daughter at this point, and things were going fine. I did notice that when I came home from spending time with my boyfriend and his daughter I would be extremely wore out and super thankful to be home. I realized that this was because his daughter would follow me around everywhere, ask me to color with her, ask me to dress her, ask me to do her hair, if I was in the restroom all of a sudden she needed to go to the restroom. If we went out to eat, she always had to use the restroom. If we went to watch a movie she would insist on holding the popcorn and sitting in between us. I really didn't think anything about it at the time, but when I would get home it would be like a huge exhale. Enter my daughters. Things got ugly really fast. I soon learned that she did not know how to share, had no concept of personal space, would slap, hit, bite them, steal their toys and take them home, go into their room and tell them how they were going to play with their toys and scream and cry when they told her no. My daughters were beside themselves because they had never had to deal with someone so different than them for such an extended period of time. A lot of our planned weekends together were cut short because the stress caused by the children being together was so intense that we had to leave. I will not go into all of the things that have happened between my children and my stepdaughter. My children had to learn how to stand up for themselves and they did, and they do. My stepdaughter only behaves because she is made to. Left alone with a group of kids and no adult supervision, left awith her mother, grandmother, aunt, etc. she returns to this childish way of behaving where she thinks everything is hers and everybody has to follow her rules. What I mean to say is while she seems to have improved, and thus makes everyones lives much easier, she only behaves when you have your guard up, when you are watching her 24/7. As soon as you let your guard down, she reverts back to this behavior because she feels comfortable or she thinks she can get away with it. If she thinks you're in a good mood, she will also revert to this behavior which is why everyone has learned to act very stoic when she is around. It's very puzzling. Here are the things we deal with the most - a. lying b. sneakiness c. sour disposition (she thinks everything is unfair and is impossible to please). We mostly just ignore the behavior and treat her just as we treat the other children as if nothing is wrong. My husband and I feel as though she tries to act in unhealthy ways to get attention, perhaps extra attention, because she gets as much attention as anyone else in the house. Everyone is puzzled by her behavior, even her father. What has happened in the last week is, we found that she was watching lesbian porn on her ipod. This is the ipod that her maternal grandmother bought for her six months after she bought her a 3ds for Christmas. The reason she got this was because my daughters got an ipod for Christmas from their paternal grandmother and because she did not have one she pouted around, told the girls they had to share theirs (to which they told her no they didn't) until her grandma finally bought her one. The reason I found it was that I was cooking dinner, one of my daughters was doing homework at the kitchen table, and my other daughter was doing handstands in the living room wherer my stepdaughter was sitting on the couch. She was watching her ipod, as she has been do a lot lately, when I walked by. I seen what she was watching even though she tried to hide it. I told her to come to her room. She left her ipod on the couch and came into the room where I proceeded to tell her to go back out and get her ipod. She does and I ask her to type in the "secret code" that's on it. After opening it, I scroll through her history and hand her the ipod. I ask her what is this? She starts crying and says dont tell anyone. She said that one of her friends had shown it to her. I talked with her, told her that her parents would be told and that was that. I took her ipod away and a week later she still does not have it. I understand if someone showed her the porn, but did she have to sit on the couch and watch it when I wasn't 30 feet away from her? She had watched so much porn that I didn't even know what to think. Of course I told my husband, he told his ex wife and supposedly she is grounded from the ipod at her moms house as well. And of course they are setting up parental controls on it. I'm just baffled that her parents did not make sure that there were parental controls in place when they gave her the ipod? I did that with my children, as 99% of parents probably do. I'm having a very hard time getting over what she did because I feel that she is only nine, and if she is watching that stuff now, what will she be doing when she is 12? And how is this going to affect my children in the future? I'm floored. And to top the steller week off we found out that she had lice, supposedly got it from her moms boyfriends house and I had to stay up until almost Midnight Sunday night treating her hair, plus everything in her room. I could not do the rest of the house until the next day because I was so tired. I did clean the bathroom when I finished because I knew the girls would have to go in there the next morning and brush their teeth to get ready for school, which put me to bed at 3:00am. It is now Tuesday, and all of the laundry and downfall from this has not been completely taken care of. I feel hopeless and like taking my children and running away. Please put yourself in my shoes and advise. I would certainly appreciate it. Thank you.

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Kimberly - posted on 10/02/2012

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This may come across as harsh but I dont intend for it to sound that way but you met this little girl on your second date, you learned very early on that she was a full on child and was exhausting but you still chose to stay with her father and try to make a family out of it, right? Well when you say her 'real parents' it sounds really wrong because you stepped up to the plate when you got together with her father, you are one of her parents just because you didnt give birth to her doesnt make you less of a parent now. Yes it does look like she is crying out for some kind of help or attention but that just doesnt fall to her 'real parents' you can check the setting on her ipod too or talk to her father about them. I dont want to make it seem that I'm having a go at you when your already at your end but I grew up with step parents on both sides and I was treated the same by all parents, disapline and praise were given to be by my stepparents just as much as my bio ones. I have great respect for these two people because they did take on the huge job of making and sharing their lives with children that werent there own. My dad died 11 years ago and I still talk to my step mom alot and visit when I am back home. She is still a important person in my life.

Vicki - posted on 10/02/2012

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Your step daughter deserves for her parents to participate in family councelling, or parenting class. The feeling you desrcribed was that your left feeling exhausted, depleted. Is because your reasons for doing things for this child is comming from the wrong place, its not genuine.

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[deleted account]

I feel like she needs me. That's why I stay. But I feel so tired of having to teach her things that I feel like her real parents should be teaching her, catching her doing things that I feel like her real parents should be catching her doing. I feel like my kids are suffering. I know she's screaming out for help. I KNOW THIS. I can't be what I want to be for her, I can't do what I want to do for her, because she has two "active" parents in her life. I have been batted back by her mom so many times that I just give up. My compassion from having to deal with so many things that I haven't even mentioned is utterly depleated. I know it's cruel to walk away but if her parents wont help or let me help aren't my hands tied?

Dove - posted on 10/02/2012

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This child is literally screaming out for help and no one is listening. It sounds like she needs counseling at the very least. If you've had a problem with her for 4 years (by your own words) how cruel is it to have stayed in her life this long only to bail on her now?

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