Defiant Disorder, Please Help - I'm a Step Mom & Biological Mom of 5

Mommy - posted on 09/03/2015 ( 4 moms have responded )




Hi - I'm so glad to have found this site! I have two birth children and three step children, we have full custody of all of them.

Our 12 year old daughter Kara (middle child of the 5) has defiant disorder. She is my step daughter but I've been raising her since she was five so I claim her as my own. Her biological mother has never taken full time care of her because she is an alcoholic and drug addict and has had only supervised visitation since Kara was 3 years old. The biological mother visits for 2 days living at our house, about once every two to three months. We've had Kara (12 years old) in counseling for three months.

It's been a struggle - this child will scream, yell and cry literally for 5 to 6 hours at a time saying hateful and disrespectful things to me and her Dad. Recently, my husband took her to the counseling session (I usually do), and the counselor said that she has a new rule - the step mom is not to discipline at all.

So after counseling yesterday - Kara announced to me, "you are not allowed to discipline me." I spoke with my husband and he does not agree with it. I texted the counselor and told her this is a 360 from what she has said to me every week for the past three months but if she thinks it's best, that I would just walk away and not engage conversation when Kara is out of control (which is at least every three days).

We are taking Kara to a psychiatrist tomorrow because nothing seems to be getting better and everyone, including the counselor, agree's we need to take it to the next level.

My question to you is.... do you agree, or disagree, that in this situation, the step mom (me) should step out of "raising" i.e. disciplining my step daughter?

This is only the rule for her specifically, I still make the rules that our other four children follow and respect -
9 year old boy - my step son
14 year old boy - my step son
16 year old girl - my birth daughter
19 year old girl - my birth daughter (that BTW was in a car accident a year ago and is currently recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Long story short, we are lucky she's alive, she is still recovering, has a great attitude and has a ways to go to get back to being fully independent.)

But I digress, what I really need help with is this situation with our 12 year old daughter Kara. Please give any advice you can.... we really need help here.


MaryAnn - posted on 09/04/2015




After seven years, taking a step back may become an abandonment issue, and with four other children, it would definitely cause whole family dynamic issues. Three months is a relatively short time frame for any counsellor to seriously help a child, and I would be very wary of a counsellor who treats one child in a house hold of seven who thinks they can suddenly change all of the rules.
It is probably time to seek another opinion.

Karla - posted on 09/04/2015




Hi, I am sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you and your family have been through a lot. Maybe it would help to seek 2nd opinion and see a different counselor. I think it's important to have a counselor that brings the family together. Family counseling maybe helpful as well. Praying for you and your family!

Raye - posted on 09/04/2015




If you and your husband are on the same page when it comes to raising all the kids and disciplining them, then it shouldn't be up to a third party to change that. The counselor should have made that suggestion to your husband outside of earshot of your daughter, and then let you both decide how to proceed. If you decide to continue parenting together, don't let the daughter throw the counselor's words back at you. Explain to her that you and her father are the ones that run the house, not anyone else , and that you feel it's in everyone's best interest to continue to parent together. End of discussion. If she won't let it go, don't let her pull you into an argument. Just say that you and her father made a decision, and it's not up for discussion. Then ignore it.


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Mommy - posted on 09/24/2015




Thank you so much! GREAT advice!!

We are meeting with the counselor together (my husband and I) and working through all of this.

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