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behavioral problems with 15 year old step-daughter
My husband and I are raising our stepdaughter. She is my husband's first wife oldest child. She was 8 months old when my husband married her mother. He said he would treat her as if she was his own. He received custody of her about 9 years ago. My husband's youngest child (biological) was beaten up by his ex-wife's boyfried (who has been in prison for the past 10 years for the crime). It's a long story. She is 15 now and doesn't want to live with us anymore. She cries everytime she has to come home. She visits the first, third and fifth weekend of the month with her mother/grandmother. Her grades over the years have been up and down. I have had her to three different counselor's and she has been on anti-depressent twice. (Zoloft)We suspect one of her mothers boyfriends has abused her physically and sexually. Her mother has a history of drug abuse as does her biological father. (who is now in prison for meth and is in very ill health) My husband has always treated her as his own. We have problems with her constantly lieing, stealing (she forged one of our checks)ect. She feels like she doesn't belong at our house. Her grandmohter has constantly told her she doesn't belong here but belongs with her. Grandmother makes her feel guitly if she goes and sees her mother on the weekends she is supposed to be with her mother. We are at a loss. It is a constant struggle. She doesn't have a conciencse. She does things and doesn't think about the results of her actions. She feels bad she is caught but doesn't feel bad about what she has done. I constantly worry about what she will be like as an adult. My husband told her until she is of legal age she has to live with us. We are strict in the sense we expect her to do chores and keep her grades up. I understand why her grades drop her grandmother goes up to the school and interferes everytime she thinks we are not paying attention. My husband doesn't ever want her to be able to say my dad gave up on me by letting me live with my grandmother. It is affecting our family life. Right now I don't have in counseling because it didn't seem to be working. We don't have insurance and it is hard when I work all the time to take her.
There seems to be no end to this situation. We have told her if she wants to live with mother/grandmother they need to go get a lawyer because we are just not going to give her up without a fight.
My question is: By not letting her go live with her grandmother are we causing her more psycholgical problems than if we did?
We don't want her to be constantly unhappy living with us.
Are we doing the right thing?
I wish I was as wise as Solomon so I could answer your very important question. I don't have an answer. On one hand, eventually she will appreciate the concern and sacrifice you and your husband have made on her behalf. But eventually is a long way off now. Now she is angry, difficult, torn, and confused, and at the worst possible age. I think I would look for programs in your community you can afford...possible at a church, or the city or county, or ymca , that helps families get through and talk through these kind of problems. Individual counseling may be too expensive and may not work with her, while group and peer counseling may be effective.
I know this is a rather old post and I dont know if you will read this but I hope you will.
I am speaking with lots and lots of experience when I tell you that you must intercede where ever you can and when ever you can. Unless this poor girl gets the help she needs she will live here entire life like she is "out of control of her own behavior." I speak from experience in that I too was sexually and physically abused as a child until the age of 16 (I am now 35) and I spent my entire 20's acting foolish with sexual activity, loss of jobs, moved alot, just eratic behavior and I have a college degree so I am by no means dumb. 70% of childhood abuse victims exhibit Borderline Personality Disorder symtoms (symptoms) (BPD) and without help these do not go away. She must feel validated and then to throw in the fact that she has abondonment issues as well that poor girl doesnt know if she is coming or going. I know her behvior makes you want to just scream and I dont want to take the responsiblity away from here on her behavior but I will tell you that she can not control it as much as it may seem she cant. I always wish there was a way I could get a message out to people of the detrimental effects in adulthood of childhood abuse. See the abuse happens in childhood but you spend the entire rest of your life as a victim in your own mind. Your mind turns out to be your prison in a sense you have black and white thinking, you dont trust many people, and even if you do you always have some sort of shield up to protect yourself. Drugs are always a good option especially if your a teenager and already confused about life cause then you can numb the horrible feelings you feel but dont know why. Anger plays a great part in her behavior and she just be madder at the people (you and your husband) the very people that she really can trust to be there always because in her mind you didnt save her from the abuse no matter how stupid that sounds that is just how the mind works when you are a child and helpless and no one saves you at. At that age you cant reason reality like adults you cant say "ok maybe they had no choice, or maybe they didnt know." see a child doesnt think that way all they know is they are helpless and no one helped them so all they really have is themself and they go in to survival mode which she will spend the rest of her life unless she gets the proper counseling now and for a very long time. If I can be of any more assistance please let me know. I am sorry this is so long but it hit such a big cord with me in my heart to read your story. It might as well been written about me yrs ago while I was reading it.
good luck and she is in my prayers. See I know its hard on you and your husband but you two are adults and you can reason she is just a child and doesnt know if she is coming or going and she doesnt know who or what she can trust not eveb herself.
Thanks for the reply. She wants to live with people who let her do anything and everything she wants. In two months, she will have exactly what she wants. Then it will be out of our hands, the judge in this town asks the kids where do you want to live and that is where they go. One of her therapist told me do the best you can. Me and my husband have.
Music, design or the like.
Sounds to me that this girl needs to be appreciated.
Find what it is that she has the slightest intrest in.
No matter what it is, get her involved.
You must try and distract the thought process.
Reward reward reward.....thats all they understand
A trip to DC, NY or anything that lets her get a grasp
of the larger picture. Arlington, twin towers etc.
You need to show her love and honesty, dont fight,
let her make the choices, just controll the outcome.
You must help her understand that she is special.
Thats the best you can do, if you fight you will loose!!!!
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