How do you deal with step children that are disrespectful and dont listen?

Amberly - posted on 04/24/2011 ( 221 moms have responded )

30

2

0

I need some advice she's is my soon to be step daughter, and she doesn't listen at all, she is very disrespectful and steals food and hides it in her room. I'm at my wits end. :(

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Barb - posted on 04/25/2011

3,372

15

197

I have two stepchildren, which i love dearly. But for the first year or so i was known as "the next ex stepmommy" LOL.. Seventeen years later, i'm still known as that but it's a term of endearment, now my darling Debbie wants custody of me if her dad and i ever break up.

The reason why there are rules and consequences is actually to make the child feel safe. If you care enough to keep me safe from myself, you will keep me safe from others.

I'm sure there is a whole "days of our lives" story here, but really, it boils down to, these are the rules of this house, these are the consequences of breaking these rules. And we are doing this because we love you.

Be calm
Be cool
Be consistent

Jodi - posted on 04/25/2011

26,117

36

3891

I'm also willing to bet this is about emotional problems. I mean, I think anyone would be a bit screwed up if they couldn't have any contact with their mother, it really would be devastating for a 9 year old girl. How many therapy sessions did she attend? It is the sort of thing that would take some time.....and you may need to find a couple of different therapists before you find one that works.

Jodi - posted on 04/24/2011

26,117

36

3891

Ok, so she is not listening to either of you, so that's something that needs to be dealt with differently than if she was just not listening to you as a step mum. Does she ever see her mother? How often, or why not? Is it possible mum is putting ideas into her head? Or perhaps she feels abandoned? Sorry for all the questions, but they really do make a difference in working out what is going on, which in turn makes a difference in how to handle it.......

Constance - posted on 04/25/2011

2,651

24

136

Even though she is nine you have to remember you are the strange woman that takes daddy's attention. I know that is not what you are doing but that is how she feels even if she says different. Try a different approach and be careful what you say out loud around not only her but you own children they hear everything. She may be difficult but to blame her completely isn't fair to he she is only nine. Give her time and try to plan to spend one on one time withh her let her get comfortable with you. If she sees that you see her as the same as your own children she will come around a lot sooner. But he dad has to give he the same affection when not only when a parent moves on to a new relationship but this new relationship also brings in two more childen exspecially a lot younger. They do need more attention because they can't do as much fo themselves. Most behavior in blended faminlies stems from jealousy. Make sure she always feels included. She will come around, not overnight but it will happen.

Aimee - posted on 05/02/2011

11

27

1

Family therapy is a must. I don't say that to sound harsh, I say it from personal experience. I have four boys (three are my step children whom I have full custody of). Like your situation, their mother is/was a drug addict, only she walked out on her own 4 years ago and we haven't seen or heard from her since. We have dealt with food hoarding, lying, stealing, anger issues and numerous other aspects of behavior and mental issues over those four years. It's a daily work in progress, it's hard, it's going to get harder and messier before it get's easier. (So I keep getting told!) My three older boys (steps) have taught my youngest things that I never thought I would have to deal with. They lie (the 2 oldest) and steal constantly. The smallest of the three has an eating disorder. The food hoarding you speak of is her way of controlling a situation that is completely out of her control. It's normal (for these situations). As is reverting to having accidents even after being potty trained for several years. Find a step parenting support group. Keep good friends close. Never lose sight of the bigger picture and thats pretty much that she needs to be loved. She is going to press your buttons, for a long time (I've been a step mom to these three for 8 years, they have lived in my home full time for 4) but she does it to see if in the end you really do love her and are going to stick around.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

221 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

Talk to your partner and come up with some possible solutions for these problems. It has to be a teams effort otherwise it can come off as you picking on her.

Do you have children of your own? If so, the rules that you come up with needs to be consistent with those that you have for your own children.

Is she hoarding food?

[deleted account]

My feeling with children is that all behavioral problems stem from them wanting to feel like they belong and they are loved. They don't know how to express it verbally but they do it in other ways like misbehaving. If anyone gets counselling I think it should be the whole family together, not just her because it is a whole family dynamic that is throwing her off. You are doing a GREAT job I can tell already but I just wanted to add this little bit of advice. It's not easy at all!

[deleted account]

I dont agree that you cannot discipline. Since she didnt know hear mother has dad always been lenient? Let her know you haven't taken Dad away from her-maybe she is jealouse? It's hard to know when we aren't there. The parent that she disrespects at the time is the one to discipline. If she she is handing out disrespect to you-dont wait for Dad to get home to deal with her Maybe let the therapist is on your thoughts if you havent already about her pacifying the therapist.

Gretchen - posted on 05/02/2011

1

19

0

I married my husband when my son was 9 y/o. I wish there had been someone to give us advice back then because we had some very tumulutous years. The serious Red Flag I hear in your statement is that she is not even your step daughter yet and you are already at your "wits end". I would recommend you and your fiance and future step daughter attend counseling with a therapist that specializes in reconciliation. Remember that every action a child makes is their way of communicating to you.

Angela - posted on 05/02/2011

5

25

0

I would say that if you marry their father, then all the children in the household need to be and feel as if they are your first priority. And this may not make you feel any better, but she is a young girl, possibly on verge of puberty, with a zillion hormones, thoughts, and feelings raging through her young but maturing body. As the daughter of an 11 year old, I can tell you that she's not doing anything wayyyy out of the normal for her age and gender.

Ami - posted on 05/02/2011

3

5

0

Amber dear, this is when you set boundaries and parameters because if not now it would be late. Get your soon to be husband involved. Allow him to set the precedent of how he expects her to behave with you. Make sure he does that before you.

Angela - posted on 05/02/2011

5

25

0

I have no experience with step-parenting. However, my first observation is that it sounds like there are two separate issues here. One is her disrespectfulness which her father should definitely be a part (and the leader) in putting an immediate stop to. If he doesn't at the very least reprimand her when she doesn't listen to you, then he is showing you disrespect as well. The food issue may or may not be directly related. I would try to find her motivating reasons for stealing and hiding food (eating disorder, etc.??).

Lisa - posted on 05/02/2011

4

5

0

I am right there with you. I have an 11 year old boy who acts the very same. His mother lives in a foreign country and speaks to him about once every other year. He lies, steals food, goes places he should not, rolls his eyes is rude and disrespectful, except his father feels he is the victim?? It is a constant battle and I dont know what to do. He is fed, has plenty, has spoken with several people and no change. I hear it will pass but I am not so sure. In the meantime myself and my 4 year old feel hostage in our home? Can anyone understand Amberly and I have a real problem? If anyone has good advice or has been there as well, please tell us what you did?

[deleted account]

How old is she? I have 4 stepchildren-they have different mothers. My oldest 2 are grown and have their own kids, we are raising my stepsons' 4 year old due to their drug abuse and homlessness. All of my stepkids are disrespectful to me. I suppose because I'm not their Mom. It seems their mother encourages it. i have helped out the youngest kids' mother more than once financially. Today I do not talk to any of them at all. Disrespect is something i will not tolerate. Your husband to be needs to talk to her about this and so does her mother. If something were to happen to her mother-YOU get her.I would not do her any favors if she is going to disrespect you no phone ,rides to the mall friends over etc. Remind her you don't want to take the place of her Mom but you do expect respect.

Ashley - posted on 05/02/2011

6

39

1

I agree, you and your partner needs to talk and she needs to follow the house rules, I have a stepson and he is expected to behave just like my three and follow the rules,

Susana - posted on 05/02/2011

11

0

0

Give her alot of love, kiss her, talk to her like a friend, do not try to be her mother!! try to understand this is a child still and a person left between a broken marriage, must of all try to give her lots of love and try to put yourself in her possition from time to time. Hope everything worksout fine.

Chanelle - posted on 05/02/2011

2

0

0

Talk to her first to let her know that it is wrong to steal food. Then if that don't work have a family meeting.

ReBecca - posted on 05/02/2011

4

6

0

I'm in a similar situation. Been married for 8 1/2 years. Tried counseling for 4 years, didn't help. S/D said she was only there to heat what we were to do in regards to dealing with the problems. S/D is now 15. I wish I had more to say other than keep backing each other! I am near divorce because I just can't handle all the disrespect & lies. I wish you all the luck in the world! Would love to hear how you deal with this, maybe I could use some of your suggestions!

Fran - posted on 05/02/2011

2

6

0

Counseling! She needs an outlet with a third party whom she can voice her feelings. Put the candy above reach or just do not buy any for a while. Write a list of house rules and have it on the fridge where everyone can view. Praise her for when she adheres to the rules. Go to the movies with just the two of you or to get your nails done.

Rebecca - posted on 05/02/2011

13

18

0

Hi Amberly, it sounds as though it's all going too fast for her... you said you've been together a year and are getting married soon? It does sound like she's having difficulties adjusting to everything, it takes such a long time to come to terms with things like this. I have an eight year old stepdaughter and a two year old daughter. My stepdaughter stays with us on weekends and I've been with her dad for four years now - we are planning on getting married next year. A year ago, she would be saying to me 'you can't marry my dad because he was married to my mum' if it was ever brought up in conversation. So I just kept bringing the possibility up in giddy, silly conversations so it was never serious but it was something that existed. And because we had silly conversations about it, suddenly it became a fun option, and we talked more seriously about it. Last weekend, we spent two hours talking about our weddings :D. We did the same thing when I fell pregnant. It was a silly thing. It wasn't a big issue, it wasn't a problem, no-one ever acted like it was and life continued as normal. It just wasn't a big thing, even though it was to me inside.
When my partner and I first moved in together, I wrote five house rules down and pinned it to the door; we were all expected to obey those rules and accept the consequences. But nothing else, it was very simple and very clear and there were no hidden punishments or rules so she felt reassured and confident about it.
I also told my partner that I would treat her just like I would treat my own kids from the start - no point giving her loads of stuff and attention for the first three years or so and then changing the rules as soon as someone else comes along. So it's always been stable.
The other thing I've done is never pretended to be her mum although she has often called me mum off her own back, I am 'Becky' to her and again, it's not a big deal what she calls me, but I have never acted as anything else towards her. I treat her exactly as I treat my daughter now, it's always been that way. Although I do sometimes say I have one and a half kids. I think if she ever came to live with us full time, it would become two kids... but I would probably recommend just waiting a bit longer. A year is not a long time at all, and there needs to be stability there.

Tojo - posted on 05/02/2011

16

0

1

Some very good answers.... she is an angry and unhappy little mite.
To her, you are the reason she cannot see her mother.
She needs and wants to feel wanted, valued and loved. Try to include her in family decisions......agree to some of her demands
Sometimes .Ask her what meal to make that day/evening. Maybe she could help buy the ingredients...even pay for them. Give a her a bit of independence. Maybe she would like to help cook the meal.....
Take it slowly and she will change.....she needs to know she is loved and wanted by both of you.
PS Hide the candy...leave fruit out for her..

Jessica - posted on 05/02/2011

78

132

0

It sounds to me like she has some emotional baggage from before you have on the scene. I would suggest getting her started in counceling.
I agree with others, be clear, be calm, be consistant. That is what she needs. It may be hard at times, especially if her bio parents are not consistant, but she will benefit from having you being the "rock" in her life. I haven't personally been a step-mom, but I have a friend who has, and we've talked at length o nthis topic because she felt badly about being the "wicked" step-mom who made the child obey, but she was told by teachers, councelors and so on in the childs life that the child NEEDED that and it was good that she did so. Hang in there!

Kenyetta - posted on 05/02/2011

2

12

0

I agree with Jodi but at the same time it can be a double edged sword because he ultimately has to put her in her place and let her know that no matter who is in his life she must respect her elders!!! Also her emotional problems could stem from something her mother might of said to her in one of their phone calls. She probly wants a relationship with her mother because she isn't quite understanding why it is that she doesn't see or have regular contact with her. Try the group therapy and see if you guys can get her to open up about how she truly feels about her mom.

Sandra - posted on 05/02/2011

2

0

0

Could this be linked to the abscence of hr natural mum? Sometimes we are mistaken a child can be too young to understand the loss of a parent. If no-one offically explains to the child about the abscence of a parent, they will carry on the guilt into later/adult life. One cannot expect to start this process on their own! Would you have help from the child's natural father, that you are going to marry? I hope a natural and good effective outcome comes about in all your futures. God bless

Belinda - posted on 05/01/2011

1

0

0

Well you just said it your kids come first. I am guessing she has known that.

Gina - posted on 05/01/2011

41

29

5

Ok, here is a different view.

I was the step daughter who lied, sneaking around hiding food, and the bad influence on my half brothers. I didn't like her for a reason, I disrespected her for a reason. Not because she was y step mother, but because she criticized everything about me. "why are you eating that" "your eyes are so big, you always look surprised" "why do you walk like that?" Even at the age of 5 I was a bad girl in her eyes.

I say don't send her to therapy, that won't do her any good at a young age. Let her have some alone time with her father. She might be feeling a bit lonely and probably feels out of place like she does not belong. I'd also suggest taking her out just you and her and compliment her.

Just a suggestion, I know from my personal experience. I am in no way suggesting you are doing anything wrong. I just remember what it was like being the step child all the time (I had 6 step mothers)

Charolett - posted on 05/01/2011

4

10

1

Look up Reactive attachment disorder. This sounds like a child who was neglected due to the bio-moms drug use and lack of parenting skills. The lying and hoarding of food and stealing are very big clues! THe fact that you stated she is creating chaos with the other kids too. Sounds like she is triangulating. I would make clear rules and consistent consequences. Get attachment therapy and fast! As a former foster parent this behavior is seen by nearly every foster child that comes into care. Abuse and neglect can twist the hearts of children into curious shapes.

Erin - posted on 05/01/2011

3

0

0

you know I have a difficult biological child... I am divorced and nevery remarried. but for your own children it may help to give them a little outing.. I dont know sometimes i check my older one from school to grab a drink so we can talk and just hang one on one before we have to go get his brother... hes my own flesh and blood and there are days i cringe when he walks through the door..... you are a saint...

Rebecca - posted on 05/01/2011

5

14

0

When my husband and I married, he had three boys and I had a boy & a girl. Then we had two more girls! The first few years were rough. The older boys had a hard time adjusting to the fact that I am a radically different person than their mother is, so they had to learn to respond differently. While I love all seven of my kids the same, there are some things that we've had to handle differently. It took a few years for the oldest, specifically, to get real with me and stop trying to be defiant. It is frustrating, I know. Breathe, pray, see if you can take that capacity for lying and turn it into something productive. My five year old has no specific rebellion issues. She just likes to lie because she's trying to create a story to see if people will believe her. We're looking into theater classes. :)

Zoya - posted on 05/01/2011

19

11

0

I just saw more on the mom's drug use and history that you posted. That explains a lot. What I said in the other post definitely applies(except for the part about liking her mom). Lots of patience and consistency will be needed here. And, when things are good with your step daughter, build on the positive. It will be like money in the bank, in terms of your relationship with her. Those positive interactions will add up, even if it doesn't seem like it. Having a drug using parent is ridiculously tough on a kid and really hard to surmount. Good for you for having the patience and love to want to build a more solid relationship with this girl. She needs a positive person to accept and love her and let her learn over time she is worthy of a good, happy family.

Zoya - posted on 05/01/2011

19

11

0

The stashing of food is an indicator of anxiety and insecurity. How this is handled is really important. I have done therapy with kids in foster homes who hide food and many have had trust issues and worries about not being able to have food. Often, even though those fears might be unfounded, they feel very real to the child. It's best to not call it "stealing" food. Stashing or hiding is a lot better.

I would recommend starting with (and you may have already done this) reiterating you are not her mom and aren't trying to be her mom or take her mom's place. She may feel like she has to act out toward you to spare her mom's feelings, so, if at all possible--and even better if it's true--find something about her mom to like and tell your future step-daughter how much you like and respect her mom and how special she is to her. That should help her drop her defenses a bit and give you an opening to say that you really like her and hope one day to be someone she trusts.
When discussing the food stashing, ask her about "what is making" her stash food in her room. If she's like most adolescents, she'll probably shrug and say she doesn't know. That's where you can tell her you hope it's not because she doesn't feel comfortable asking for food or like, for some reason, she thinks she's not allowed to get it. We should all feel comfortable that we can have food when we want to. If eating disorders are a concern, her pediatrician should be able to make some referrals for help.
Then tell her you want to make sure she knows where everything is. Go over where all of the food and plates and microwave and everything is. Show her your favorite spice.

Then she may be more receptive to hearing some house boundaries and not just as black and white boundaries, but reasons behind why things are the way they are. (ie: "You don't want a bunch of ants crawling through all of your stuff trying to find the food you hide, right? Eww!")
Even when you think you've made headway, she will test the limits and she if she can make you mad or make you reject her. She won't be aware of this, but if she has some notions about maybe not being liked or feeling like she's a bother, she will act unconsciously to try and evoke that sort of response from you and possibly her dad. If she doesn't get it, she'll ulimately be relieved and start to show more trust and respect. But, even with the happiest of undivorced parents, teenage years are a challenge. But, even knowing that, with patience, consisitency and some predicability, things start to get better after about 17.

Best if luck to you and your family! :) Zoya

Cindy - posted on 05/01/2011

57

41

0

get her checked out medically. if she is back and forth emotionally it could be a mental health issue.

Cindy - posted on 05/01/2011

57

41

0

it's time to teach her life lessons. Take away her cell phone, her priviledges and any other things she views as hers! Ground her and stick to it! She needs to learn that she will not be rewarded for her actions. She needs to learn who is the parent! Your house, your rules!

Nancy - posted on 05/01/2011

2

12

0

All's I can say is GOOD LUCK!! You don't say how old she is...?? I've been a step-mom TWICE and it's no picnic-especially with girls! Most importantly you have to be a TEAM and don't let her see you waver at all. Discuss disagreements with discipline out of ear shot. She will go for the jugular and not stop until she gets her way.

Kristi - posted on 05/01/2011

87

13

1

Honey - I really feel for you!! You are going to have a long, tough line to toe....first of all, it's good you and your fiance are on the same page...you have to have a strong relationship to make it through this. I have two step kids and it has been REALLY difficult. I had the same problems plus some. The kids will steal candy and eat it and lie, etc...and I have no idea how to parent that to add to their integrity...I have been consistent and my husband and I have been married for almost 5 years and were together for 2.5 years before that. We have full custody and we ended up just sending my step son to live with his grandma because he was having severe issues. We just had a baby and we did not want her exposed to it....my step daughter still gorges on food, but doesn't steal or hide it that I know of, but she does lie still and we have problems with her listening and getting an attitude and being lazy at times....but we are working on it with her, but the past 5 years have not been easy....you will have to be very strong and hopefully loving....it will be hard, but if you love your fiance and you're on the same page, it is possible. Just know it won't be fixed fast and she could have some underlying problems due to her history or genes or whatever else....just don't blame yourself for not being a good enough parent- I have bouts of this...and go to counseling for how to deal with it....good luck to you!!! Don't be afraid to ask for help and seek advice and have a good support system!!!!

Amberly - posted on 05/01/2011

30

2

0

Thank Everyone for your suggestions, She has been acting a lot better, I don't know how long her good behavior will last, I hope forever :) but she's done this before, ups and downs, I think that may just be part of her age.

Tina - posted on 05/01/2011

1

2

0

I wasted 5 years of my life letting a stepdaughter and her horrible behavior send me into deep depression. her father never backed me up and actually went against me it was to the point where i wished she didnt exist. i hated myself for feeling the way i felt. I had to get out of the relationship to save myself. be careful.

Kathy - posted on 05/01/2011

37

8

0

after reading that she is 9, I would take her shopping to the food store, tell her you have 5-6 or 7 dollars for her snacks for her alone and let her pick them out... she is acting out because she has a mom who has been in prison. She need something of her own to feel important. Let her have her own snacks to feel important.

Kathy - posted on 05/01/2011

37

8

0

Hi Amberly. How old is she? I went through this and she is acting out, believe me!



BUT a show down is not th answer. Get your husband on your side about this and every issue right away.



She will try to separate you. So build your marriage bond strongly.

Pennie - posted on 05/01/2011

17

0

0

It is hard to do, at first, but one key to building communication is to be a good listener and reflect back what you hear her say without blaming or criticism. In time, she may catch on.

Shawna - posted on 05/01/2011

1

1

0

Take everything out of her room, make it clear that there isnt another option.

Miriam - posted on 05/01/2011

148

20

0

Lying is something kids around the age of 9 do quite a bit. 9 is a really important age for development. That is when they leave a lot of magical thinking behind and start seeing the reality. This reality can be scary and with a divorce and now a step parent coming into her life it's scarier than it might be otherwise. She might say things she wishes were true. If you know the reality, don't ask her. Just talk about the behavior. "You have been taking candy and hiding it in your room. What are you thinking about when you take it?" Talk to her about the rules and ask her if she can think of things that would help her follow the rule. Maybe you can make an area for "anytime" treats that would be healthy.

I still would refrain from calling it stealing. This has an extremely negative connotation attached to it. This is a very emotionally charged and accomplishes nothing to change the behavior. Catch her making good choices as much as you can.

Tabitha - posted on 05/01/2011

14

3

1

i believe that you both just need to get to no each other...she's testing boundaries with you because like all kids she wants to no how far she can go...give her time...to me from reading your comments it looks like things are already turning around for the better...a year isn't a long enough time to get to know someone, with your own children they've had their whole lives to figure you out...she's only had a year and doesn't get it...i also agree that the food thing might be that she's distressed about something maybe if one of the times you have just you and her time you could try asking her, she's nine it wont be easy because of that in of it's self. maybe she is hungry, she's hitting the beginning stages of puberty, she need a woman who can understand her, and maybe also try being her friend a bit...i hope everything works out.

Aneetrai - posted on 05/01/2011

1

12

0

Im going through the same thing with my 12 yr old niece who I adopted I'm also at my wits end I understand.

Sara - posted on 05/01/2011

5

5

0

Sorry I responded before reading any responses to the post. If she hasn't known her mother that makes a difference. Still you've only been in her family for over a year right? That's not a very long time. Change is really stressful for kids, her father getting married is a big deal. Sounds like she's really struggling with the change. I agree with everyone who suggested counseling for her. Poor kid. Also maybe some daddy/daughter time would help her out. Or a hobby that could be an outlet for her feelings like art or sports. Good luck, sounds like a difficult situation. Just keep in mind that she's a little girl going through a big change and be sensitive to her feelings.

Kimberly - posted on 05/01/2011

6

12

0

Hi I know exactly what ur going thru! I am a step mom myself who Encountered two children one boy and one girl. The kcker is the oldest and r only 10 years apart. Anyway I had this same issue with them and I do not think counceling is neccesary. As far as the snack stealing we ended up getting a cabinet we can lock the snacks up and left only healthy stuff out for them to steal and that seemed to stop that quickly! Also as far as her not listening to either of u my advice is that each of u spend individual time with her and just continue to treat her as u would any of your other children. I have found girls take longer to come around then boys. All will be ok I promise! My step children and I are closer to eachother than they are their own mother now! :) just keep your head up and keep smiling it will be ok! But just make sure you don't let your guard down. Keep rewarding and keep disciplining :)
Good luck!

Janine - posted on 05/01/2011

2

1

0

Be kind, but set your parameters of how things work at your house. She may not show that she likes it or even realize that she likes the boundaries, but I can tell you from experience, that they do. My step sons are almost 30 now, and we had our struggles, but now, we are close and they respect me. I thought I would never see that day. It does not get any better after the wedding, but HANG TOUGH! They need you. Janine

Sara - posted on 05/01/2011

5

5

0

How old is she? As a mother who is also the daughter of divorced/remarried parents I think I'm in a good position to understand/answer this. You're in a difficult situation trying to parent your soon to be stepdaughter for a good reason, you aren't her mother. You will never be her mother and you need to understand that. You won't automatically earn her respect just because you're marrying her father and gaining the title of stepmother. Your best bet is to respect that you are a new person coming into her home, replacing her mother and telling her what to do. There is a reason the 'evil stepmother' archetype is alive and well. Kids don't like to be told what to do by their own parents, let alone by some new person they don't think has the right to be parenting them. You need to be sensitive to the fact that this life change is probably emotionally difficult for her. If you want her to listen to you you're going to have to earn her trust and respect. You're going to need to try to befriend her. If she likes you and trusts you she'll be much more likely to listen to you, but you will never have the same pull as her mother or father. You need to accept that. Also if it's not a huge deal let it slide. How big of a deal is it if she eats in her room really? And if she's a dependent child she's not 'stealing' food, she's eating. Let it go, be sensitive to her feelings, and accept the fact that you are a step parent not her mother.There are boundaries and limits to what behaviors you can control, lower your expectations and leave the majority of the parenting to her father. Especially right now. You don't even have the title of stepmother yet! As of right now you are just her dad's fiance with no right to be parenting her at all.

Gayle - posted on 05/01/2011

2

9

0

Have you tried what I call positive reinforcement? What some folk call "catch them being good." A lot of times children will do things for attention. They prefer positive attention but when they can't get that they will settle for negative attention.

It's very possible because of her mother's problems with drugs she didn't receive much attention, let alone loving interaction from her.

Look for things she does good (even if she is misbehaving more than you can see her doing good). Even focusing on little things she does right like "I like the outfit you picked out for school." or "You did a good job making your bed this morning." Focus on the good things & praise her for them. So your biological children don't feel left out do the same with them. That will minimize jealousy within the family.

Miriam - posted on 05/01/2011

148

20

0

It would be good to think about what your soon-to-be step-daughter has been through prior to this. How long have you been in her life. I can imagine that being through whatever has put her in the situation of being a step-daughter would be pretty upsetting. Don't take any of it personally at all. Pick very important battles and ignore others. If she was your own child and she went and got herself food would you consider it stealing food? I can see having a rule about no food in one's room but I know my kids are allowed to get themselves food any time they want and it wouldn't be considered stealing. Or is she stealing it from somewhere else like the store? Stealing in general would be a problem at that point. Is she acting out because she's upset about what is going on in her life. She doesn't have any say about who her step-mom is going to be and could feel very conflicted. She might even feel guilty if she is nice to you because she might think it is disrespectful to her biological mom. It is a complicated situation. Counseling never hurts.

I also would like to recommend Positive Discipline. Check out the book Positive Discipline for Your Stepfamily. http://www.amazon.com/Positive-Disciplin...

Positive methods always work best. Think about yourself. If someone is negative with you, how do you feel and how do you respond. Positive Discipline does not mean being permissive.

Miriam

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2011

26,117

36

3891

@ Cheryl
"and her father won't say anything to her."

That's your problem right there. And I'm sorry, at 18, she can either treat you with respect or get a damn job and move out. Talk to your husband. If he can allow his daughter to treat you like that, then he obviously has very little respect for you, and I would put THAT to him.

Constance - posted on 05/01/2011

2,651

24

136

There you go Amberly! See she doesn't hate. She just has to be able to trust that you are going to love her unconditionally and not abandone her. I know you love her but she has to know you love her the same as the other two. Just make sure you give her the same amount of positive attention that you give your two little ones. Hang in there it can work but it is up to you. Be a stepmom that she tells her friends is great or my stepmother is a Bitch I hate her.

Jenni - posted on 05/01/2011

3

16

0

"I understand she is going to be a lot of work, but my question is when will it start being fair to my kids? Since she is needing more attention than I give my own kids, that isn't fair to them. I am a good mother, and my kids come first. Am I being selfish for feeling this way? I fear that if things don't began to change soon, I am going to start feeling resentment towards her and her behavior."



This is the problem, when you marry someone that has kids, they become part of your family. Their children are now YOUR children. You obviously care more for your biological children based on the above statement. Please don't think that a 9 year old doesn't know this. No wonder she is having emotional problems. She knows that deep down you do not view her as her child. The entire family needs to go to counseling together. And you need to decide if you are willing to be this child's mother before you marry her father or if you are the type of woman that is not willing to put as much effort into this child as if she were your own. It sounds like this child has not had much in the way of stability in her life and has no reason to think that you're going to be any different than her previous experience.

Cheryl - posted on 05/01/2011

1

16

0

I would like to know also. My step daughter is 18 and is disrepectful, rude, inconsiderate, lies, sneaky, takes things that don't belong to her..and her father won't say anything to her. Any suggestions, would be greatly appreciated...On the verge of a nervous breakdown

Heather - posted on 04/30/2011

10

6

2

I am willing to bet that the food hiding is connected to the drug abuse influence that was in her life. If she at any time didn't feel that she was in a safe environment, or that her mother wasn't going to look out for her needs, she would feel like she has to have a backup, just in case.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms