My 13-year old step daughter lives with us permanently, and treats me like shit

Alida - posted on 05/12/2013 ( 167 moms have responded )

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I don't know how to handle this child any more. She is a compulsive liar, steals our money from our wallets, steals chocolates and cookies, eats it all up in no time. She is 13 and weighs 107 kgs, thinks she is as skinny as her class mates, dresses like a tart, refuses to do any sport, has been in therapy for over 2 years now - with NO improvement, has been to dietician, no go - I am losing it. HELP

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Michelle - posted on 05/18/2013

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**********Mod announcement******

I am locking this thread as it has gone way off topic and people are turning it into a pick on the OP thread instead of trying to help. If you can't help the person asking the question please refrain from attacking them, that's not what this site is about. If you need reminding please click on the pink writing beneath that says :Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS.

Michelle,
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My first question is where is dad and what is he doing to help deal with the situation? Second, all kids have currency, whether it is $, games, clothes, friends, phones. It is time for some tough love. Take everything away. A bedroom with only what she absolutely needs, no tv, no phone, no computer, absolutely NO JUNK FOOD IN THE HOUSE! You and your husband can live without it and her health is the priority here. Time to clean out the fridge and cupboards and donate it to the food bank or a local shelter. In fact, having her take it to the shelter with you and help serve a meal, may open up her eyes to reality. Lock up your money, out of sight out of mind. Get rid of the nasty clothes, provide her with a reasonable wardrobe and get rid of the rest. If she wants to see friends, you need to supervise activities 100% and make sure you meet the parents of the kids she is associating. She needs to earn privledges and understand that this is your home and you make the rules. She needs to earn your trust, as well as the "toys".~ Now, I know this all sounds extreme, but if you do not regain control in your home and take back your status as parents, nothing is ever going to change. She is absolutley going to give you major grief, but make it clear, you provide, food, shelter & if she wants it, she has to earn it , including helping at home, chores are mandatory! 3rd, you need to find a new therapist. 2 years and no change? That is a appalling and the therapist should be ashamed & fired! 4th. What involvement has mom with her and has something happened there, or has she been exposed to something that is making her act out. 5th. Tell her you love her every single day, no matter how horrible she is behaving. Take a deep breathe and say, "you cannot make us stop loving you." It sounds like she needs to hear that more than anything else and she won't learn to love and respect herself until she realizes someone, especially her own family, does unconditionally. ~ good luck! ~ I have been the stepmother to my son for 17 years, since he was 2 years old, I have been his full time mom. We have had our ups and downs. He is now 19 and we are very close.. He is my son.

Jessica - posted on 05/14/2013

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I'm a real straight forward kinda gal I'm not going to say the things you may want to hear but I'm going to say what you need to know, like it or not. I'm a mother of five of which three are my step children and I've raised since young. I had a very difficult time in the beginning getting use to the situation it was no picnic. Lots of disagreements between my husband and I. The kids would steal my jewelry money and other odd things. They hid my shoes and talked lies about me to everyone. It was a nightmare ... But I didn't make things any better.. I felt the same as you sound In your post disgusted and annoyed. But here's my truth: You must change first! Your attitude your response toward her.. Your effort to get through to her your tone of voice.. Your feelings for her... You must work on yourself. She's a pest I'm sure I don't doubt that.. But she probably has a lot of hurt inside of her.. She probably doesn't trust anyone, she is looking for the attention she has never really had or perhaps she has had much of the wrong kind of attention.. If she's not with biological mom there is obviously issues that she's facing and probably doesn't know how to deal with at this age.
You also mentioned she's over weight.. That can be another red flag to the issues that haunt her.. Please but it can be fixed.. With love and understanding.. Your not going to understand my reasonings but trust that this is all to real for me. If you love her dad you must .. Must love her!
She will change with you when she see that your on her side. I'm not telling you that she doesn't need to be disciplined if she steps out of line but you have to chose your battles because not everything needs to be addressed.. Her eating up everything .. If you care about her weight you won't buy stuff that's going to trigger her appetite to indulge. Remember she is now "your" daughter you must treat her as such.
It's truly not going to be easy it takes great humbling... And commitment. It can work in your favor but you must find how to get her interest..
Good luck and hang in there because everything worth having is worth working hard to keep.

Robyn - posted on 05/14/2013

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Dear Alida, you are in a very tough situation and need to get some help for yourself. I can't say for sure, of course, (and his situation is a whole lot more complex than one forum post can address) but I am going to make some guesses. Forgive me if I take too much for granted.
Firstly, if her parents have separated, then the emotional reaction to this in the child often does not show itself until she reaches the teenage years. The enormous changes happening in her brain, body, and her new understanding of relationships can mean a child who seemed fine with the breakup suddenly is very very hurt that the people who made her are no longer "one". If her counsellor isn't helping get a new one.
Secondly it sounds like she has had to leave her mothers home and come to your home. This is an extremely traumatic event for any child (imagine being hit by a train), and foster parents will tell you that children who have been displaced from their parental home against their will will almost always suffer from an attachment disorder. Kids with these disorders do not respond to the type of discipline that regular kids (grown in safe stable environments) do. Honestly, you can't rely on your parental instincts with an RAD child. Get help and read about it.
Kids with RAD are also very "controlling" about food, as it seems she is, wanting to eat her way, rather than yours. Its an eating disorder like Anorexia, and its an attempt to have some control over a situation that feels totally chaotic to her. This, and he irrational desire to be with the unsatisfactory mother rather than the safe loving step mother is very typical (and really hurtful to you) of kids with attachment disorders. Remember, don't make it about you, ever, or you will not help her recovery.
If she is angry she will take it out on you to see if she can trust you but she is angry at her mother and father. I can relate and it is really painful and its going to stay painful. Be strong. Never ever talk about sending her away. Never fight with her. Just say "calm down and we will talk about it then". Don't leave your wallets around (obviously). If you expect appreciation or respect, you are making this about you, and its not. The best way for you to be strong is to have someone to talk to yourself.
I have a 20, 19 and 17 year old, (one fostered) and even with my own kids, parenting teens is really really hard. Its your job to be firm but love them as much as you possibly can. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that being a parent is about making you feel needed or loved. However, when you win this broken hearted (and lets say it now - seriously let down) girl, you will feel very very satisfied, even if she never says thanks, or even gives you a hug. That is the hardest thing. How I would have loved a "happy mothers day" but its more therapeutic to keep letting them vent at you. Eventually, you will see the recovery happening, and you will smile.

Lisa - posted on 05/14/2013

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Sounds like she could really use a parent who cares about her, who tries to gently guide her, who is patient and kind above all else and sets an excellent example to follow. That's about all anyone can do, I imagine. Best of luck in dealing with your newly teen!

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Stacy - posted on 05/18/2013

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I think the other Moms have given good advice as far as the issues with her weight and exercise. As for the disrespect and bad attitude and dressing like a tart, you need to set rules and consequences for breaking the rules. And, consistently enforce the rules so she must face the consequences every time. Remember that you are the adult and responding to her ugly attitude with one of your own only affirms and validates her actions. The louder she talks, you should speak that much softer and quieter. The shittier she acts, you should respond only with kindness. The response to bad language should be "I don't hear you when you say those things to me." Reasonable, consistent, and pleasant at all times sets the perfect example of what you expect and what you will respond to!

Amy - posted on 05/18/2013

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she is a teenager there is only so much you can do, the rest she has to figure out for herself, sometimes you have to choose your battles.
keep your wallets locked up or hidden when home, dont keep junkfood in the house, have only healthy food available, ask is she would like to go to the gym with you or jogging, or netball. do not confront her on her weight and cause body issues as it sounds like she is comfortable and confident with her body with will help her in the future.she will work it out on her own in the next few years, she is only 13 so still has puppyfat. see if she will exercise with dad as girls just rebel against female authority at this age, its all the hormones, so she might be more willing to go with dad? try to remember what being 13 was like for you. you dont want to push too much.

Penelope - posted on 05/18/2013

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I agree that you must solve this problem as a family unit, and seeing a family therapist
together would be the first step. Your step daughter must have many angry and painful feelings about her new situation; many children of divorce feel like the divorce was their fault so there is often guilt involved. The adjustment to this new family situation takes a huge emotional toll on all of you; you must be extremely frustrated. Talk to your husband first and try to get him to see that the family must act as a whole and that professional family counseling can set you on the right path. It still will take time and effort, but get some informed guidance to make the right steps. I wish you the best of luck.
Penny

Carrie - posted on 05/17/2013

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I'm not going to pick a side, because for one I've never been a step mother, and for 2 - I came from a broken home and never had a step mother. but I know what it's like to not have a family unit there (my mom and dad separated when I was 7, and devorced 5 years later). There's a lot of emotions there, and I know that myself I chose one path of blaming myself, but I have known other people who had similar situations blame others around them. Everyone handles things differently, and I assume she took more the destructive path that my own brother tended towards, stealing lying etc. emotionally, everyone seems to be lacking things, but pulling it out to thinner tends to make it worse. I agree that there needs to be more structure in the home, but how it's carried out can make a world of difference. Depending on what actually does need to be done, it could change her now to be happy or you may have to wait a few years before she respects you for putting a foot into her, I wont pretend to know which one needs to be done because I myself know neither person. I can only imagine it's difficult, frustrating, and painful quite often stepping into another family unit that has previously been broken, or where the possible perceivement is that the breaking apart family started with something. It's difficult to understand but sometimes people think the "fault" of a situation starts with something that it really didn't start with. communication is my favorite way to go because it helps them understand your point of view, but trust is difficult to gain on either side until someone takes the first step. Sometimes.. neither one can happen till discipline is put in order, but I know for my brother who was a master artist of getting out of "discipline" and "efforts to ground or punish" the only thing that worked for him was actually helping him build a foundation for himself on what would help overall, and not necessarily what would help the situation. f.e. "how would you feel if someone did this to you?" or "I wish I could trust you but.. I feel like..." etc. My mom was a complete push over but with a broken family she raised my brother somehow to be one of the most ethical people I know. sounds odd huh..

Otherwise.. um, my sister has been having urinary tract infections.. really harsh ones - and she used to eat sugar up a wazoo, and didn't do very much active stuff at all, was thin like a stick. maybe it's a physical condition that's making her not really want to do stuff? Most people in a emotionally devistated state caused by who knows what, with physical problems as well will rarely ever discuss their physical problems first. It's just a thought really... but maybe it's something you could look into. It often doesn't start with diet but a will to fix the problem itself, I wish both of you the best - and I hope some of this helps and doesn't harm the situation further. Feel free to take or leave any information as you see fit ^^ take care and best of luck

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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Look like Step mother on Moral High ground.... Um, and I suppose you will blame the bio Mums for that while you ( Step Mothers) sleep with their husbands, um. Good ness talk about double standards. Poor husband poor step mother, grow up all parent and get a grip!

The girl needs her Mum, poor thing. As yes guess they may other follow the Moral's wether good or bad set out by the lack of Morals Adults have these days sleeping with others, um

Goodness THE STEP MOTHER married the man, you woman want others husbands, so get a grip the child needs understanding parents, not angry mad demanding Step parents.


Amber say the girl needs to know her place??? You are the bossy one, look at it this way, you cannot force her, all the tough TALK and bulling tactics that children needs to know their place? where its often the NEW WOMAN thats IN THIER HOME with THEIR DADS, um Thus you are in HER the daughters place and territory, of corse she feels the way....

If the Dad and daughter moved in YOU OWn HOME may be she has to listen to you, but I guess all these females are in the new Husband home... only a guess.

GOD talk about de functional ADULTS all play nicely and be the adult, NOT THE SERGEANT MAJOR!

I note its the issue with the females, and not the males.... no wonder often men die before the woman lol! Women can either build or wreck a home... and these is just a lot of wrecking going on here with new relationships etc.. mind you I lived in a different generation, where children where loved, and adults felt shame if they done things wrong, now they blame chider far to easy for their own de functional relationships then move on to new ones....

Amber Rogers - posted 3 hours ago

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That's the problem with kids these days, they have no respect or morals and have way too much freedom.

Angelyn D - posted on 05/17/2013

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3 sides to every story ... My side ... Your side...... and the real truth to both sides
.

Ruthie - posted on 05/17/2013

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I have read a substantial amount of comments pertaining to your situation, and give kudos to all of those that have, unselfishly, reached out in concern, love, support and experience to help you and Amy.

It is my opinion that there's a huge amount of issues, in yours and Amy's relationship, that need to be discussed, evaluated and put into some kind of a working plan, that will be beneficial and healthy for your husband, Amy's father and yours and Amy's relationship as individuals and a family.

If I read correctly, you stated, "That your husband didn't know what to do about this problem with Amy"? What I believe is important, is that your husband needs to know that you don't know what to do either. So as a family unit, all of you can strive together to learn, search and look at all possible avenues to build a livable relationship?

I think everything that can be said about this problem has been said. It seems like it's time now to grab the bull by the horn and let the action fly.

Best of Luck. Our Prayers are with All of You.

Tedeshia - posted on 05/17/2013

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Idiots are so quick to blame the step mom. Obviously she is with her father for a reason. Im a step mom myself so I understand your struggle. If the father is a not strict then it may not get better. I wish you all the best of luck.

Robin - posted on 05/17/2013

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Why does she have to "steal" your chocolate or cookies?? She is 13...not 2. I get the feeling you dont treat her with respect., lime a biological mother would...could the problem start here???

Amber - posted on 05/17/2013

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Most of you are bashing this step mom. I'm a step mom and I know exactly what she's going through. Any of yall ever wonder why the dad has full custody? Maybe its because her real mom was not fit to raise her so now you have another woman stepping up to do the job. You can't be friends with a child you are raising, and I don't care about whatever situation this little girl came from. Parents do not need to earn respect from their children, are yall really being serious right now? That's the problem with kids these days, they have no respect or morals and have way too much freedom. Take control of ur home, don't leave ur home for a few weeks because some thirteen year old kid is running your home. Discipline her put her in activities to gain social structure. And have a structured home with rules and consequences POINT BLANK! its frustrating now but you can't give up even when u want to. Be the parent and the bigger person. And its ok to say you can't handle it anymore. How much can one person take? That doesn't mean ur giving up ur just venting about the fact that u feel you've tried every outlet. And its ok to feel defeated, but ur not defeated. She needs to know her place and u need to remember yours-- you are the parent

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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Yes the family needs a vacation..... a holiday would help. um


This Step parent says he HAS THE ANGER issue.... go figure. And don't all come back blaming the girl or asking Teaches to fix parents/ and Step stupidity.

She is just that a Step parent, ( and not the girls own Mother) some one who has Stepped in to the girls life, not the other way around... obvious the young girl simply doe snot like her.... and no matter what help, she really simply doe NOT like her Step Mother.... "the Step parent may feel the girl simply gets in the way of the woman cozy relations ship with her dad..... um two sides of all stories, and only here one side.....

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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Um what about doing some out door Physical social activity with them,,,um

Parents that use computers as baby sitters should get help themselves.

YOU are the Leader so LEAD, DO more positive Social activities instead of sitting around . Take then out the house do sport.... camping..... out door stuff, their bodies need it, it also WILL take out the excess energy and turn their thoughts on to others things.... other than themselves.


Take them to help other people in need etc, teach them something, and get a different lifestyle, that is not absorb by computers. As guess if left to their own deceives they will also choice the laziest.

Toughen up parents, DONT just Bark Orders, DO some thing with them.

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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What a load of brain washing labels and tags on kids that need tough Love and more out door pursuits.... Detox them from junk food Computers , unnecessary abundance of sweets and treats, and bad parenting.


detox from poisonous adult relations ships that run to get a doctor or therapist all the time , in stead children as always stuck in the middle, get LABELED to make the adults feel good just for the fact there is a vague reason such as this below?? and makes the Quack Therapists out there, more rich out from others miserly........ this person said her therapist sag things?? lol GOD help us all....

When couple split and children are in the middle, its a type of Death to children, and its grieve they suffer.... they DONT need TAGS on them mage up by over paid QUACKS, or parents. they need time patience and proper support.

always a shift from parents to kids, parent grow up!


Oppositional Defiant.???? Goodness defiant..... why because they don't jump when adults bark the orders at them....um....

In the heart of children to not listen, as their brains are still growing and learning boundaries, they are not little soldiers, and are not born to obey every thing, thats why they are called Children....um


Ask this QS, WHY is it its by far MORE % that are form Broken Homes that get these stupid labels ADD labels slapped crap on them...um Any one think for a moment its the parents stuffing up their own kids.



Carol Ehlnger - posted 3 days ago

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Alida,
She sounds like my stepson. We had him tested and found out he was ADHD and Oppositional Defiant. It sounds like you need to disengage as she is destroying you emotionally.

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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The home could be the Fathers.... the girl does not have to listen to the Step parent, like demand to, um obvious this has not worked for her, may be because this woman is NOT the girls Mother in the first place, and one cannot demand respect they have to earn it.

She say SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO HADLE HER< then she has the problem. The sept parent also has lost the plot, and gives in the Anger al the time she says. The Step parent needs to move out, to refocus her Clouded Judgement as she says its become like.

Heck kids will conquer and divide if they can, but this woman may not be cut out for the job of been a parent in the first place.

Pat - posted on 05/17/2013

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Over 150 moms have responded. I haven't read all the advice you've gotten. I'm sure it goes from treating her like s**t like she treats you, to tough love to killing her with kindness. Not sure if you want or need anymore advice. Honestly, I think you need a vacation from the situation. Has her school offered any reasonable advice? Are they willing to help from their end? Does she see the school counselor? Usually a favorite teacher can get through when parents can't. Find out if she's close to an adult in the school. Don't forget clergy. A little prayer time might get through to her. Perhaps there is a minister or Sunday School teacher who could help you. I would not leave any money, jewelry, anything of personal or monetary value in the house. You might think everthing is hidden, well she'll find it. She will unlock whatever, do whatever it takes to get your stuff. Do you have a place you can put your important items? Out of the house, in a place she doesn't know exists. I agree with not buying sweets, etc. but you don't want to go overboard with that. Denying her sweets will make her more determined to get it, stealing from friends and the store to get it. Moderation is the key. Figure out just how much to keep on hand to keep her sane. Perhaps a different mindset is needed. Sounds like mom and dad are useless. Find that certain something you can connect with. What is she into? Music, Art, designing windows, rooms, anything. Can she sing? Play an instrument? Love to read Harry Potter? Love it too. Love it more than her and bring her onboard to your thoughts on the subject. Maybe sports cars are her thing. I'm grasping at straws here. I know you can do it. You posted here which means you can do it. Outsmart miss smarty! God bless you both and I wish you much luck with your girl.

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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"One may win a Battle but in the end lose the war." You need a strategy and one fast! else you will lose all the time.

TOUGH LOVE.... IF ANY PERSON IS FEELING AS ANGRY AS THIS WOMAN SAYS SHE IS NOW< THEY NEED PROPER PROFESSIONAL HELP, not just a chat....... people that just come back and back and back with the same issue but never seeks help for themselves makes one wonder.... it will get you no where if you come back here with same issues all the time.... who needs drama, if you mean business ACT>

IF YOUARE SO ANGRY> then get out the house for a few weeks.... as YOU say here its so bad it clouds YOUR own judgement, you are not fit as this tiem to cope, so get out, as things can only get worse, and you may harm her unintentionally because you say your have clouded judgment.

Circle of Moms yes is to share things etc, but you now need serious help from professional places others canto help you with here.... use you ph book for professional help, and don;t come back here until you have made an appointment with your own therapist.

You need to step away from her..... as You say you are filled with so much anger, you can only make things worse.

Just because a person steps in to a child life that are not their parents, does not mean children needs to listen to them, as obvious the girls does not want you to be or have a step parent, No all people are made to step parent others children, as much as not all people can parent properly. So get your own Help first that would be the best thing you could do for her and yourself, instead of moaning all the time here, as while it gets things of your chest, we are not here to take sides... but clear to see now you have anger issue.

You seem to be fighting all the time with her, simple you came into her life, no her to you, she does not need you in her life. She is grieving....

You go and find your own therapist, as YOU need some serious direction as what to do next, ( WE ARE ALL TRYING TO TELL that while you come here thats fine.... but since you keep coming back with Same ol same ol. worse report, means you have NOT taken yourself to a Therapist FIRST, why not?

Its as frustration o read some of these, as its to easy to blame a child, while its the adults that are all in denial it seems. ALL teenagers rebel, and IF you GIVE HER ammunition like anger she will thrive of it, just because you are not handling your own emotions, this in return gives her powers over you... YOU HAVE ALLOWED OR GIVEN YOUR CONTROL AWAY GET IT???

You MUST Think carefully before giving away to anger, this is ALWAYS counter production.... Action works better than Anger... Take action and get OUT for a while.... Simply NO MATTER who many Therapist you go to, you still have to do the Homework.

To change any habits takes time and CONSISTENCY. if you let yourself down and don't get help, why should she ? Hypocrisy is just what gets teenagers going.... For her to see and example of calm, you have to BE one... and how you get there will mean you will have to swallow truths of your own. and the first bitter sweet pill , is that you are not her Mother.... but you can be a guide showing her a different way to anger...

We don't see any family out doors activity or positive spacial interactions,,,, You all need to get out of your comfort zones, and DO some thing different as a team... Camping, rock climbing, archery..... Boot camp for you ALL> instead of simply looking at one another and blame ing each other all the time, YOU have to be the captain in stead of the crew if you want to stay own board.....


TEAM work.... families take Team work... if you all cannot, then may as well go in other directions.

One may win a Battle but in the end lose the war.

Alida Heine - posted 5 days ago

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You know, I find that the therapist talked to Amy like she is a little baby. They did colouring in things - just fun things, probably with the aim of gaining her trust, but hell, she is NOT a little girl any more, especially not if you hear what comes from her mouth. I will try to find another therapist. At this stage I am filled with so much anger myself that it clouds my own judgement and I just cannot find a way of thinking of Amy in a nice way right now.

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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This person sakes other do they think she could go back to last Therapist? um well we don't know , only her Father , you and the last therapist should be able to know that..... Goodness..... the girl needs her Mother and adults are n messing her up.

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/17/2013

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Goodness ask her Doctor get her Father to take her to find one..... the young lady does have a family Doctor doesn't she?....

Some people should not be parents if they don't know how to find a Doctor, or Therapist,um The family needs Therapy all round.

If you are not the "legal Guardian then you cannot sign papers etc.

She has a Father and a Mother they our t to work in for her good, in stead a Step Mother feel she has to do the job, no she does not the girl already has one set of parents, leave it up to the Girls legal Parents.


If a Adult has to go to strangers here to ask what to do then what...um what about Parent classes teaching them how to use a phone book to look up a local Doctor, now that would be a good step in the right direction.

I thinking if I where them they would be more worried that it them thats needing the Therapy more, her because she has needed help long ago but NO one has taken action, there for its now left to more crises, A father Mother, and a Step Mother...... one may think between X3 Adults they could read a ph book for a Doctor

Mommy - posted on 05/17/2013

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Parents have control over what enters the house and what exits the house. I would stop buying sweets and buy more fruits and veggies. Then she could steal all the food she wants. As far as clothing....who buys the clothes? I would cut up all of the trashy clothes and buy conservative clothing for her age group. Don't give up! She will push you as much as she is allowed. Maintain consistency with all rules. Stay strong

Amanda - posted on 05/17/2013

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My sister went through this with her stepson, good news hes 20 now and a gorgeous, responsible adult! You can do this, just make your rules clear and have her father stand-by you when you need to sort out problems. Take time for yourself and try not to let her know shes getting to you, its not personal!

Shelby - posted on 05/17/2013

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Gosh, as I read through your comments - it just sounds like me, several years ago. Don't expect bio parents or even med. professionals to fight for this girl - you need to take the reins and get her the help she needs. You need to research online about her behaviors and switch drs. and counselors until you find the one(s) that listen. When you just want to give up...keep going - you'll get this girl successful.

[deleted account]

still 13 year old CHILD, she will have the attitude of a teenager and the language of an adult you have to be able to tell the difference and be smarter

Shelby - posted on 05/17/2013

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Hmmm...I don't agree with this at all. My stepdaughter had similar behaviors and I took her to counseling, we debited putting her on meds. We had to go through several doctors and meds and still couldn't figure out how to 'fix' her. The schools would come to us and complain about her behavior over and over - but when it came time for the psych evals the teachers would act like she was an angel. Turns out that she didn't have ADD, rather anxiety disorder, along with PTSD and the meds she was on were really hurting, not helping her.
My husband, too, did not have very much input when it came to parenting his daughter - not because he was abusive in any way, he just had no idea how to deal with the behaviors. I don't blame him - but I do blame SO MANY of the medical professionals that we took her to.
Unless you've been in a situation like this, you have no idea the damage it can cause and cannot offer and constructive help for this parent.

Shelby - posted on 05/17/2013

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This is SO similar to the situation that I went through with our daughter. So, let me say what we did. First, put everything important to you on lock down. If she steals your money, don't give her the opportunity. Keep your money on your person or in a lock box.
In regards to meds - our daughter hated taking her meds (she was diagnosed ADD, but I ALWAYS thought it was something more) - now that she is 22, she has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and told she should NOT take ADD meds, but rather meds specific to anxiety - I believe she is on Viibryd now and seems to be doing better. However, when she was here - I told my husband that he needed to hand her the pills and drink, watch her take it and look under her tongue to make sure she swallowed it (just like she would have to do if she were hospitalized).
We made the rules for all of our children the same and if she broke them then she was punished in the same manner as our other children (lose screen time, grounding from friends etc). We went as far as having her talk to a police officer and he explained how damaging her behavior was (she was taking rides from people she didn't know and the stealing etc) - he explained that we could have brought up charges and put her in foster/juvenile detention care. It took a long time, but around the time our daughter was 18, she started to realize the monster that she had become, I still see that side of her creep up from time to time, but our relationship is SO great now.
Just now this - your commitment to your stepdaughter is until she is 18...so you just have to make it through the next few years. Then the relationship becomes a choice.
Good luck...

Beverly - posted on 05/17/2013

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i admire you for putting in such an effort. It is tough dealing with these kinds of kids. I completely understand when you work with them day in and day out they start to see you as a parent figure when there is no really parent figure to turn to at home. And if mom dumped her off on you and you are the "bad guy" and mom lets her do what she wants but does want her that is tough on everyone but the mother she doesn't have to deal with the problem. I work with a boy in grade seven dad isn't in the picture mom has done nothing but send mixed signals to him she wasn't able to deal with his behavior so she put him in foster care but sees him on weekends and he is to stay in foster care until he is a good boy. If you choose to continue down this path I wish you luck because it is a tough one.

Alida - posted on 05/17/2013

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Kirsten, you are not a very nice person, are you? My goodness, you assume just what you want. Just as a matter o interest, she stopped her meds herself, I am really tring to help her and I am asking help and support, not yuou knocking us down all tahe time!!!

Sylvia - posted on 05/17/2013

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Here is on thing, I know, you said stepdaughter, ok, is the father having any input, does he spend a lot of time with here one on one, does she stills visit with her mom, what is her likes and dislikes, sometimes all children act out, due to fears, it could be something going on in school, low selfesteem, no friends, you need to find her strenghts and build on them to cover her weakness, also we have a court system, take her to visit the youth courts, so she can know she is doing wrong. Good scare tatic. " Incorrigibility" What is Incorrigibility?

Because children do not have the same rights or duties as adults, the law expects them to comply with the lawful orders given by legal custodians. (Legal custodians include anyone who has the right to care for or supervise the child, such as teachers, day-care providers, or summer camp staff.) A child is considered incorrigible when the child repeatedly or habitually disobeys the direction of the child's lawful parents, guardians, or legal custodians. When a child refuses to accept these orders, this can cause significant problems for the child, the guardians, and the environment in which the child resides.

Kirsten - posted on 05/17/2013

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You are obviously not helping the girl if you stop her medication. It takes a few weeks to get the right balance .A good psychologist will help her and you when you both do family couseling. Sure kids can make you upset. However, get over it. You are the adult. If you don't like the fact your current husband is an ass an obviously abusive because he is neglecting his prescious daughter give him an ultimatum to go to family counseling or leave and report him to child services. The girl needs love and help not incapable uncaring adults.

Alida - posted on 05/17/2013

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Ok, I will take that. I understand what you are saying, but we have had her on meds before, and she just refused to take it, and it caused so much emotional ups and downs for her that we decided to leave that. Regarding the parents, yes, I do find myself in a situation where I have to be the one taking the lead while the two biological parents sits back and see how I fare. THey expect results, and I feel that it should be the other way around. THe mom just came to me 4 years ago and said that she could not handle her daughter, and if I would please take her. Of course there was no question about it, and she moved in that very afternoon. Now it seems like the whole sticky situation has become solely my problem, and I am not throwing a pity party, I am crying out for help, because I realise that his girl has enormous needs, but I can't fill the gap alone, and trying to is more frustrating than anything else, resulting in an alltogether unhealthy situation. I feel that I am the only one trying to help her, and yet, I am the one that gets targeted by her, stealing my things, carrying my jewelerry and cosmetics off to her real mom when she goes there over weekends, come-on, would you not be angry too?

Kirsten - posted on 05/16/2013

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She sounds depressed and she also sounds like she has attention deficit disorder ADD. Seriously Alida you are the adult and need to grow a strong backbone and a set of shoulders. Stop whining and having a pity party ...you need to start being a role model and give the 13 year old structure. Get her disgnosed and get the medication she needs. You all need family counseling which Iincludes your husband who needs to step up and go to the psychologists office to get her diagnosed. A dietician can't fix depression. Eliminate all unhealthy foods which means all refined sugars and processed food. Get off the sofa and start doing family out door activities. Lead by example. Why is she going to emulate you if you are destroying her self worth and self esteme. Get her enrolled in art classes, dance and music. Find out what makes her happy and do it. Compliment her and reward her ...promote a positive outlook and stop blaming her. She is the product of 2 responsible biological parents who aren't doing her any good. That includes your current husband. He needs to praise her and reinforce good behavior.

Tanya - posted on 05/16/2013

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Oh man I'm going through the exact same thing with my 13 yr old son. No desire for anything except Xbox and shady friends. I do like some of his friends, but some he hangs out with I just don't believe is the best influence. I always try to keep tabs on who he hangs out with and ask questions. Whether or not I get the truth from him however. I deal with the issues by limiting his Xbox and signing him up for track/ cross country in school. I get little complaining about it yes. I preach everyday how important grades are and what choices he makes in life today will help determine his future goals. Good luck!

Kelly - posted on 05/16/2013

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Wow you sure have your hands full. From my own experience children often do act out with negative behaviour when they are seeking attention although they not likely realize it. Maybe some therapy sessions together would help....she may not feel as threatened and open up with someone else there. Dad does need to be very involved and you do need to work together and show her you are a team a marriage a familyand this is what will and will not be accepted in our home. I think you are doing the best you can and have reached out to those you feel would help you. A 13yr old does think the world revolves around them and they are very sensitive....I would put her weight issues aside for mow and work on the lying and stealing as her eating issues may be a way for her to try and get through her stresses. if the other issues can be helped the eating can follow but i don't think she wants or needs to hear anything negative about her appearence right now...she may really take it as offensive and you don't want her confidence or self esteem to be bruised. Keep your chin up know you are doing a good job and keep on loving her. tell her every chance you can and show her even in ways that may surprise her. Its very very hard being a parent to our own children but when we take on the role of step parent it sure does change everything and often becomes more challenging. Try to remember why you are doing it and keep reaching out for help. Don't forget to tell your self you are doing the best you can....i know you will be fine keep praying and i too will pray for you.......and don't forget a stiff drink will never hurt anyone now and then Hahaha for you i mean not the 13yr old....good luck and God bless!!!!

Sue - posted on 05/16/2013

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Hi Alida,
I was very hard on you in my last post, but here's what I went through.
I had 4 stepsons...yes 4! At the time I 1st had them, the oldest was 10 and wanted nothing to do with me or my real son, just his Dad. The next one down was 7 and an avid liar and stole very chance he got. The next one was 4 (same age as my son). Very tough little boy (physically). The youngest was 2. Spoiled rotten.
To make a very long story a little bit shorter.....their stepdad treated them like shit. Lots of physical and mental abuse. The 10 yr. old caught most of it because he was the oldest, then worked his way on down. You have no idea the mental problems these kids had. Their Mom was also a liar and would blame their real Dad (my husband) for everything from being low on money to whatever she could think of. She was even stealing money from their b-day cards we would send and lie to them that their Dad sent nothing. That's only 1 thing, there were so many. Anyway, finally 3 of them stayed with us for quite awhile. It was hell at times! I had to work with each one of them individually with their problems. One big problem was that I wasn't their Mom so they didn't think they had to listen to me. We had to make them realize that I wasn't going anywhere and they were going to follow the rules. It wasn't easy and I almost left many times. But I didn't. I was determined to get through this.....and I did.

You and your husband need to sit down with her and lay it out. Don't be shy either. You don't have to be crappy, just tell her like it is...both of you. You're husband HAS to be on board with this. He needs to make her realize that you are with him and that isn't going to change. You need to take a deep breath, and start over with a new. You may have to start over many times. You're a woman, show her, and keep showing her how to take care of herself. Talk to her like she's a woman too. Relate to her thoughts and feelings. My mother NEVER did this with me. Have healthy food around that is good for her to steal. Keep your valuables locked up, even your bedroom door if needed. Show her all the time that you DO care about her. Show her what is decent and what is not as far as language or anything else. Believe me, this is NOT easy. Just remember, she is not feeling good about anything right now. Ask her what her interests are and show some interest too. Get involved. If she looks nice, tell her she looks nice. Joke about some things, and try not to take EVERYTHING so seriously. You need to try and show her that your'e not so bad. I hope you're not anyway. Otherwise I'm wasting all this typing. Take each day 1 at a time. You need to try and change the way you feel about her and let her know you are there to help with anything. Good luck! I wish you well!

Ruthie - posted on 05/16/2013

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Alida, how long has your 13 year old step-daughter been living with you and her father permanently? What kind of a relationship does she have with her mother? How much interaction and time does her father spend with her? Are there any other children? Without knowing the questions that I've asked you, I am just going to give you my general opinion on what I have experienced.

1. My husband and I learned that the WORST time of raising our children was during the teenage years. They know it all!. You are snoopy! You don't want them to have fun! and the complaints can go on for many lightyears to come.

2. Step-children (not all) on the whole are great manipulators. The step-parent is mean to them, makes up lies about them and just about anything else you can imagine..to either get a feud started between the parents or get the biological parent to give into them.

3. You have a RIGHT, without any questioning, to be respected in every aspect. Anything less then this is inappropriate and intolerated. No matter what you do, this young lady isn't going to listen and/or follow your guidelines. Your husband and you are going to have to address each and every issue with this young lady and put into place what will and what will not be tolerated, any violation of the rules you and your husband have set will have serious consequences; be sure to let her know what these consequences are.

Bottomline Alida, your hands are tied. Your husband has to be the one to take these complications under control. The more you grow to resent, live in constant frustration and agony with this young lady, it soon will cause serious complications in your marriage.

I hope this helped in some small way, Alida.

Marian - posted on 05/16/2013

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Talk to your partner first . You need respect . May be , her behavioural. is something to do with school or other environment . My own 16 the years old is not respecting me either . I was told to give her space .

Beverly - posted on 05/16/2013

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The child may be disrespecting her but there is some level of trust between them when the child is able to share her personal hygiene issues with. In my opinion she doesn't need another adult to leave her.Don't take her rudeness personal. We also hurt the ones we care about first. Remember she is a teenage girl who is going through a lot of changes physically mentally and socially. She needs patience and guidance. That doesn't mean she should get away with bad behaviour But jail is not the answer. That will cause more abandamint issues.

JPatrick - posted on 05/16/2013

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Leave it up to her father (I"m assuming mom is not in the pic, that is why she is with you permanently)? If she continues to steal, press charges. She may need a dose of reality, maybe PINS (Persons In Need of Supervision) program, or your locale's equivalent could help.

Since she is your step, I also presume you haven't adopted her? If it is too much strain on your life and marriage, leave. Don't feel bad, it's impossible to know what you're getting into when you take on a stepmom role (which can change over time depending on the other parent being in/out of the pic, etc.), especially if your partner i.e. child's BIO-parent will not or cannot address his child's issues. That uncertaintly is why I left my bf of 1 year after he told me his ex-gf just had his child. Baby mama and stepkid drama is not for me, my life is stressful enough w/o all that.

Good luck!

Beverly - posted on 05/16/2013

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I agree 100%. I work in a social development program at a middle school, so I am working with some of our most damage violent and angry children around. Her behaviour sounds more like a cry for attention but not from you.If she is not getting the attention from dad or mom that she feels she needs than the behaviour turns negative. If she was clean and not stealing would she be getting all this attention. NO. I don't know what has happened between the parents but if there was negative separation she going to act up. And at this age everything is all about them so she is probably angry at her biological parents but it's easier to treat you like crap rather than admit her pain.

Veronica Gomez - posted on 05/16/2013

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Be her teacher . show her the house rules and her tasks .Then give her a reward if she deserves it!! take her to shopping and show her things she can earn with good behaivior ect luck

Alida - posted on 05/16/2013

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HI Marie
Daah! I have taken her to the doctor several times, spoken nicely about personal hygiene, come-on what the heck is up with you, I have done everything in the book to try to estabalish a healthy relationship with her, given her endless love attention, visits to doctors, ditiecians, phychologists our church minister, and by the way, we do have a close enough relationship for her to have called me to show me her ulcers on her vagina, after which I took her to the doctor, blood tests were run, all of that but it all boils down to poor personal hygiene - What to YOU suggest I do further? What do YOU suggest I do when I soend a whole day quality time with her, having the most relaxing conversations and experience real openness, and the very same night she steals my one very special ring, which I found the next day in her purse. What would YOU do?

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/15/2013

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Take the girl to the Doc for a check up,, and ALL so called parents seek help how to bring up a child.

STOP the blaming on the girl or her bio Mum.... all adults are responsible here that have contact with this girl... and could be worse things happening that no one knows about, that has lead this poor soul to poor Health.

TAKE THIS POOR 13 YR OLD TO THE DOCTOR!! daah, before her health gets worse, as can be seen as neglect as well if you don't and she gets Diabetes...

Alida said 3 days ago that the 13 year old has Ulcers in/on her V, why how does this step M know? I would think no one would be looking at a 13 yr olds Vagina any way but a Doctor, if you suspect worse health issues now.


If the girls is that unhygienic and her health is at risk "then all adult are guilty of not taking this young won to the Doctor for a firm speech to "encourage her" in a caring manner to take care for "her own body"...... Come one toughing up , take the girl to her GP for a health Check, thats the kindest ting you can do instead of complaining here.

The signs are all here as neglect she is still under someones roof, and who ever she may be under at any time are all responsible to take her for a doc check up, having Ulcers on her Vagina this woman says "may be so some thing worse like cancer in her cervix....... parents are not Doctors, and would be better to have a professional to look a this poor 13 yr old that seems to be tossed back and forth to homes and just criticize her.




Alida Heine - posted 3 days ago

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Well, both of us feel desperate and we don't know what to do. Every aspect of this girl's behaviour is repelling - If I don't tell het to go and have a shower she will not, and now she has ulcers on her vagina,

K - posted on 05/15/2013

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I wish you the best, Alida. Some days are so tough, I know. Will say a prayer for you. Read Courage To Be A Stepmom" by Sue Patton Theole

K - posted on 05/15/2013

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Actually Marie, she DOES need to listen to her Stepmother. While she lives under her roof and as long as her Father is married to her she is due the respect any parent or adult is owed. Are you a stepparent Marie? You haven't mentioned that. I have been for several years now and while it CAN be rewarding at times, it is also THE single most difficult family undertaking there is. Counseling is part of the key here. The other part is that this child's Father HAS to be behind his wife as they display a united front in providing stability, stucture and discipline within the home. If her Father is not doing this and is allowing his daughter to treat his wife with disrespect, not only is he doing his wife and marriage a disservice, he is doing damage to his daughter. No teen or child should EVER for any reason be allowed to get away disrespect of a parent or adult. Yes, she is at a very tender and difficult age. She does need love, kindness and understanding. But before you are quick to judge this Stepmother for her frustrations, you must look at the whole picture. You really also must be a stepparent yourself or you have NO idea what it's like. Also, stating this woman should have known what she was getting into: you NEVER know until you're in it and its too late. I read every book, went to counseling with my husband prior to marrying him and nothing totally prepared me for how difficult it got at times. Kids, especially at that age, can be horrible to deal with. That's where this child's Father comes in. He should be the one laying down the law in the home. He sets the standard and if he is allowing this teens negative behavior with no consequences, well, that's just sad for everyone involved. Love for this girl is not just hugs, kisses and I feel sorry for you, but also teaching and guiding her to mature into a loving, mature, respectful woman. Let this poor woman vent for goodness sake. She is in the trenches and there are no easy answers. Stepparenting is laden with rejection, disrespect, and tears and all within the very place we create to be our sanctuary from this crazy world; our home. "Courage to Be A Stepmom" is a wonderful book that encouraged me and helped me be a better stepmother to my stepdaughter and stepsons. Written by someone who would know; a Stepmom.

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/15/2013

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PS some say this woman is a Mother now?? NO the young Lady has her first Mother still, and unless this woman has Legally gone through an Adoption and UNLESS the child wants her as her new Mother, the daughter does to have to listen to her, respect yes if the first is been LOVED. But cannot help notice no love at all here, thats obvious.
If there was never a mutual acceptance of each together then very nearly impossible things will change much if at all, simply because the girl is a Young Lady now but in-between childhood and adulthood, a very hard place to be, she needs ALOT of support Kindness something this woman may not even want to show or may into be able to have in her ability, I actual feel sorry for the teenager... as always they are in the Middle of messy relationships.

Chile Adoptions Support NZ Parents. - posted on 05/15/2013

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Boot camp for the whole family, as a family all need to learn to work together as a TEAM.

If you just focus on her, then you wont see you own issues, she is 13 she is obviously messed up a bit, but hey she also has to adjust to you to, and you may sound a bit demanding as well.

We also don't hear anything about the fathers here wonder why that is? One can write all day and groan on their forums about children who ever, but don't see any PRO ACTION taken.

Remember she is NOT your child in any way or form , have you formally adopted her as your own? would you if you could? but she is the daughter of your husband or partner still , thus you must of known what your where getting into.

If you feel so strongly why don't you move out? or work it out with your partner? After all the girl is part and package of the deal being with her Dad, and you are the added extra in the Father and Daughter Relationship.

Last tin why is not your husband/ Partner doing anything? as you don't mention .

The 13 Year old Teenager is who she is at this time and where she is at, if her parents are separated from each other she will be Grieving, and hurt, and this is the only way she knows how to deal with it may be, as children are just that children, she is going though a transition of dealing with things that is obvious, so YOU go and seek help for HER, IF you CARE at ALL....um A 15 YEar OLD is NOT a adult yet thus doe not have the SKILLS to work things out in their own HEAD, the young lady needs HELP, and obviously this is her way of crying out for it.... you sound a bit nasty and uncaring, steeling yes is wrong, but pointing out her obvious weight does nothing to deal with her emotions.

DEAL WITH THE ROOT issue and help the emotions then she may listen to you. But in the end she is NOT your child so really she does not have to listen to you if she does not find you a caring person ( not saying you are not) but you have not said one thing you DO like about her.

Allow her own parents to deal with their child, that is where the responsibility lands. You may not like what I have said here, but this is the truth of the matter, unless her bio Mum is dead, she already has another Mother. Most just hate the fact that kids are always the ones in the middle of relations splits, as kids are to often left to deal with pain, that was not theirs in the first place or created by them, but by the adults that brought them in this world.


Remember she has her own issue, and you have yours.... do what you can for yourself if you are so unhappy you move out, as is her dads place to help her more so.

You cannot change her , so just deal what you can.

Mother Of Pearls - posted on 05/15/2013

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violence is not the answer love patience and understanding and maybe family therapy that sometimes works if not it can be deeper maybe the dad and biological mother may need to step in also every lil help from all count

Jes - posted on 05/15/2013

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How is adding violence going to fix things? Yes, give her more reasons to hate her, good idea. So tired of the violence solves everything mentality.

Ambur - posted on 05/15/2013

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My opinion may not be popular. But there are youth at risk programs most places. enroll her and if she steals or becomes violent then she could end up in juvy for a night or two. and about the weight. It is important that you tackle it as a family. do not bring home junk foods and then she can't have it. If you really want some treat, keep it hidden in your room and keep your door locked when you aren't in it. She needs to earn your trust, but not your love. You are a mother now. Step doesn't matter. she is yours and you are hers. this can be a hard shift. does she like her therapist? If not then she could be having trouble opening up. does she have friends her own age? maybe facilitate an activity with other children. does she have a hobby? introduce her to something. I hope this helps. tey to enjoy motherhood!

Hilary - posted on 05/15/2013

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Hi there, I am sorry you are having such a hard time!

Read this book:
Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline--The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation, by Becky A. Bailey

(http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Love-Difficul...)

Your stepdaughter could have an underlying behavioral disorder, or she could just be screaming for help. Either way, I think that the approaches in this book will help you.

Very best of luck!! :)

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