Please help..... I am ready to jump off the bridge!
I guess the only way to start is to say........
After my divorce I had dated several women until I met my current wife. She was perfect.... Beautiful, sweet, loving, intimate, and awesome cook; She made me feel like a king. Then we married.
I have 5 children from my previous marriage, she has 3 - 20b,14b & 12g. My issues are mainly with the 12 yr old stepdaughter. At first I thought it odd that her daughter followed us around the house. If we were having a conversation at the table , she would sit down and start injecting herself into the conversation. Everyday she would have to come up and kiss me on the cheek. I thought it was an insecurity issue but after15 months of marriage I dont know what is up. I have stopped that btw. I am having an incredibly hard time with this 12 yr old stepdaughter.
Where I made a mistake was not acknowledging the huge differences in how my wife and I raised our children. for example...... I believe in being loving, firm, patient, and consistent. I believe in teaching children the right way and following up on what is expected. I believe that respect leads to trust. Trust leads to love and love leads to a healthy relationship. I believe in children being "their" best, whatever that looks like, and my job is to coach them to that end. Not all kids are the same....
Back to stepdaughter.......... I have tried many approaches with developing a relationship but I am continually discouraged. This is going to sound harsh but it is what it is. She has been spoiled by her mother to think that she is older and has entitlement of a 23 yr old.......... She is incredibly lazy, disrespectful, she lies as easily as she breathes. She struggles with school relationships because she "in her words", wants her peers to listen and adhere to her ideas, which they dont. She will not follow directions. I have asked her at least 50 times to do a certain thing, ie. please dont leave wet towels on the carpet after your shower...... and she will not do it. That by the way is just the tip of the iceberg. But basically she does whatever she can get away with or lie about. On numerous occasions she has lied to me about trivial and important issues until.
I really have tried to be loving and accepting(go on fieldtrips, hug, make positive comments about appearance, etc) but I feel she just does what she wants because her mother is the only one that comes down on her and that is only after the "cows" are out of the barn and down the road.... Always a reactive reaction and never proactive. This toxin is slowly polluting the atomosphere of my marriage and I am very discouraged. btw - the biological father is absent and has ZERO to do with these 3 children, and when they were married did not parent but just kept his path clean to do as he pleased. I have raised 5 children the best of my ability and have given clear expectations their whole life with a dose of follow-up and discipline. When I am with them or they are at our home, they are a pure joy. Completely opposite my stepchildren. I know this sounds jaded but it is true. My wife and I are constantly at odds over stepdaughter. I dont even say anything now because it causes fights. She just basically ignores her bad behavior UNTIL it becomes critical mass and then she goes nuclear on her, which by the way does absolutely does nothing but suppress her for a day or two and then she is back at it. I dont understand why she will not do what she is told. She hates to be told to do anything and has serious self control issues ie....
Most issues are with food or just being lazy......... I have witnessed her : Eating a bowl of sourcream ranch dressing chip dip as a soup. She ate a whole pack of canadian bacon in one setting in her room. She was eating a plate of oreo cookies with a glob the size of a small apple of peanut butter on each. She has twice taken a can of whip cream and eaten it straight from the can. She will not close the shower curtain and twice has flooded the bathroom below. She has started her period and leaves her soiled napkins on the floor(2x). She constanly leaves her coat at school and I have taken her 3 times to retrieve from her locker at least 5 coats and sweaters. She watches dvd movies she has been told not too and then hides them or throws them away. When playing at the back of our property, 4 acres, she urinates on herself because she does not want to walk to the house to go to the bathroom. She has also urinated on herself in public. She has no medical reason for doing this. It is stricly behavioral.
I have basically just withdrawn and try not to have any interaction with her because of the resentment I am experiencing. I know how I would handle this if she were my biological child but she isnt. Her mother doesnt seem to have the sense of urgency I have with trying to deal this or develop a plan. My greatest fear is that at 16, she is going to be a total nightmare if we dont get a handle on this now!
Any words of wisdom or ideas?
I am at my wits end with this behavior and do not know what to do!
My husband was divorced from his wife when the twins (boy/girl) were 12. His daughter refused to leave him and so the twins stayed with him, while the oldest and youngest boys went with his ex-wife. He had certain standards of behavior that were acceptable and his ex-wife let the boys do whatever they wanted.
Even tho Dad expected certain behaviour there was a LOT of pushing at the limits. I can relate to absolutely everything you talked about until you got to the urination thing. Even the soiled napkins (in the trash can not floor) but still should have been wrapped with toilet paper.
My husband is a mechanic and works with lots of other mechanics. Over the years he's had opportunities to talk to men that have married women with children. It seems that in 90% of the cases women tend to be much softer on their children until they explode, which as you mentioned does do good. I'm not sure why this is. The mother tends to want to protect and do everything for her kids. Not every mother is like this, but I would say most are. The ones I know anyway.
Unfortunately, the general consensus seems to be that of men who married women with children the women will pick the children over their husbands.
I was lucky in that when I got married my husband told his kids that if there is a problem it's you who will be moving out - not my wife. He did this because his kids will grow up and move away and we'll still be together. He wanted them to realize that.
However, even knowing that they did the stepchild thing and tested, pushed and pissed me off every step of the way. Had I known what it would be like I would have waited to get married till they graduated high school and were gone.
How does this help you? To realize that your wife is not the only mother to raise her kids like this. Your step daughter is not the only girl to act like this.
If you can get your wife to allow you some control in the situation your consistent authority and discipline may be the best thing to ever happen to the girl. As for the towels on the floor. It may take 151 times to tell her before she does it. I'm still asking my 21 yo to wash his lunch dishes and it's been a year.
Wow! Thank you for your comments. It feels somewhat comforting that I am not the only poor sap out there dealing with this kind of ****........ btw I tried to talk to my wife today about the stepdaughter and she did not want to talk about it. :s
did they move in with you? or the other way around? if she moved in with you then i would let your wife and stepdaughter now that the s*** has hit the fan and you will not deal with her behavior anymore. and ask your wife if her daughter is going to satisfy her mental and physically for the rest of her life, if her answer is no then tell her to stop letting her daughter run her life cause it is destorying your marriage. i am a stepmom myself and my stepdaughter at times is evil towards me, and her and my husband knows when i am p*****.
You don't say whether she's overweight of not - can you let go the eating habits? My 3 boys, who are all on the thin side, eat very weird stuff in large amounts. Maybe you can dismiss the eating.
Why did you "put a stop" to her kissing you on the cheek? One of my neighbors has two adorable daughters, and I often see them in the middle school drop off line. These girls lean over and kiss their dad on the cheek before getting out of the car. How adorable is that? Makes me smile every time I see it.
My guess is, your wife is on the verge of leaving you because of the way you're treating her daughter. And she should. She should leave you if you can't manage to be civil to this child.
All of the comments were to help the reader get an overall understanding of most of the variables in the relationship. Yes she is overweight but only because of her eating habits and the fact that she lays around all day on the couch during her free time. The "eating" thing is a symptom , not the problem. It is part of the overall lack of selfcontrol, as is the not wanting to come in to use the bathroom so she urinates on herself. Now for the kissing on the cheek thing. One of the things that became apparent early on is that the stepdaughter has been allowed to elevate herself on the food chain to an adult. This is apparent by her lack of respect to adults. She was in dire need of a reality check to help her realize that she was (at the time 11yr olds), not 23. Her kiss on the cheek was not a sweet daughter daddy kiss, I know because I have 4 daughters from the previous marriage who I have a very good relationship with and we hug and kiss all the time.
She would act as if I was entering a cocktail party and she was greeting me as an adult.(kinda) It was something that was not spontaneuous but became a standard way for her to greet me.
I am blogging here for support and ideas as to how I can better handle the situation. Because I am trying to be a good Christian stepfather and husband, I choose to seek out support and solutions from others, instead of just running away or hiding my head in the sand. I think you are confused about what a normal family should look like. I am very loving and kind and supportive of all of our children, but I do not tolerate, nor should any parent, continuing bad behavior. So my goal is to try and figure out the source and develop some sort of solution or game plan. My wife and I neither want to be stressed by this ****, and we want good things for all of our children! It is not about me being civil to her daughter in reward of her bad behavior, for our parenting is not child centered but God centered. And there is a food chain here. I am the head of the house in partnership with my wife. Then comes the kids and last the dog.(poor baby :) ) Thanks for your input anyway. Hope you have a great
Regardless of some people beliefs, the things are are describing are not normal. You need to discuss this with your wife, if not for your sanity...then for the health of this child. Eating the way she does not being active, urinating on herself..this is not normal or healthy in any way shape or form, and you need to be firm on this subject. You have other chidlren to think about and cannot have this child influencing them. Other children will see her getting away with some of this nutty behavior and decide to test the waters themselves. I think you really need to make your wife understand the severity of this situation...and if she will not then ask youself...can you TRULY live like this rest of your life? I honestly hope this gets better...I cant imagine living with that.
This is how soo many healthy children end up with heart problems and continued problems as adults because parents choose to "dismiss" their eating habits.
This behavior is totally unacceptable on all levels. A 12 year old URINATING on herself because she is too lazy to come back and home and go to the bathroom. Couldn't she atleast squat somewhere, to be sure she could have found privacy somewhere on those 4 acres you have!
I agree with the kissing thing as well. It is the fault of todays society that we have to feel this way about kissing. There are soo many sicko people out there who look for things like that. Grown adults with children of their own who think it is "wrong" for a grown man to kiss the cheek of his step-daughter or for his step-daughter to kiss his cheek. This is not your fault at all. Men get bad raps all the time because that is what our society has come to. Even giving a peck on the cheek in Church is frowned upon these days. It is the way we are programed now. Especially if she kisses you the way you describe in public. If a child is molested then usually it is the father who is looked at first. This is a sad fact!! I have seen this on 2 occasions by 2 different families. These families were strong enough to pull through together but I am sure there are hundreds more who didn't make it through. I know this is not at all what you were trying to portray with your step-daughter, but by witnessing what I have, I would like to say I think that you stopped it for the right reasons, especially if the step-daughter lies about small things right now to get her way.
Not once in your original post did I read that your wife was on the verge of leaving you. As you stated she is just on a totally different parenting level than you are. I am sure that in all ways it would make her feel MUCH better about herself, her daughter and your marriage if she would just release some of that power and allow you to co-parent together, to offer advice, to offer guidance and to offer more stablility to this young girl. I agree that there should be follow up as well.
Don't give up on her. Remember as you stated children need routine... routine creates stability.. stability creates happiness because they know what to expect and they know their world is stable and not going to go crashing down around them at any minute. Kids pick up on new temperments and I am sure she sees that you are being more distant now. Work on putting things back together stronger this time INCLUDE your wife.. but make sure the daughter understands that you are the head of the household.
Thank you so much for your comments........ I am going that direction per your post. We are on the same wave length. You words have encouraged me. The secret I think is to get my wife on same page with me but I need to approach her when something ISNT going on..... As to not put her on the defensive....... Other than the obvious, one of the main reasons to help correct this situation is not to expose my current children to bad behavior that they think is ok..... I have worked to hard to raise my children,(the way I feel is right), to let my efforts/results deteriorate when exposed to this crazy situation
I read your post with interst as I am in a second marriage and currently at odds with my husband over my daughter (13). He is an authoritarian and was bought up that way and I am more passive in my parenting although I try to discipline harder for him since we have been married now for 2 years. We have my 4 children and one of his living with us. It is very difficutl. We try to be united in our discipline but sometimes it just doesn;t work. My daughter is not as respectful towards him as he would like. He does sometimes get angry and shouts at her which she and me do not like at all. I try not to take sides but it is very difficutl. I love him dearly but this is really having a detrimental effect on our marriage. We have decided to get some counselling from our pastor as he wants me to be harder on the children and I don't think I can and I want him to not be so harsh and he doesn't think he can. What a stalemate! I am scared that our marriage will not survive unless we can work this out.
I know there are no answers for you here just a different perspective for you to think about.
My situation is kind of like yours. Although my wife will be very hard on her children when they misbehave, she does not like it when I discipline or speak sternly towards them to correct them. So here is what I have learned.........
A. Rules without Relationship = REBELLION! - And even having a good relationship doesnt always work, but something stepparents must always work towards, ALWAYS.
B. People are different, Mom usually discipline different than Dad's, therefore that gets into the equation as step parents. My discipline style in raising my children has always been one of a proactive training. I believe in being Firm, Consistent, and Loving. My wife is less proactive and more reactive. Which feels more like Firm, Inconsistent and Loving. I am such a baby sometimes when her kids do something. I find myself hell bent on making sure she knows that her way hasnt worked because her children have issues....... But her way is her way. Her kids still love her and she loves them, it is just the discipline is way different than my way. But to answer your question....
Try and be open to your husband's methods and ideas, we never completely arrive when it comes to learning new ideas. He will see this hopefully as you trying to "hear" him and understand him better and actually respect him. But ask him to please be patient because as I have learned, it is not just like training a monkey to ring a bell, there are so many factors affecting children/stepchildren with respect to how they interact in the blended family. One thing my wife does that helps us in a huge way is she always makes time for just us and that helps with letting me know I am a priority. As a result I want to make her happy and want to be even a better husband. Also prayer together. You lead sometimes and make sure you ask God for exactly what you are needing. Your husband will hear as well......... Make sure that the house rules are openly communicated to the children and you and your husband agree on the delivery and enforcement and by all means STICK TO IT! The need to see a united front, if not they will work you guys into a divorce........... Dont give up! I havent and you would not believe some of the "****" I have had to endure......... God Bless you and your family!
It is going a little bit better I guess....... My children 2 yrs ago gave me an IU nutcracker so I got it out this Christmas with the other decorations. Well Thursday I noticed the jaw/handle was broken as if someone tried to use it to crack a rock or something. It had to have been one of my 2 stepchildren,(14 & 12), but when asked they both denied touching it. Of course it is not so much the nutcracker but the fact that someone broke it, didnt say anything and then of course lied about it when asked. This is the kind of stuff that drives me bananas...... ( I need to take a deep breathe)
My children were over this weekend and things otherwise were realtively smooth and fun! I am a work in progress! :)
When the kids were younger (3 to 11) and John was going to get into trouble Doug would always say "no, daddy, john didn't do it. I did". Since Doug admitted it my husband wouldn't punish him for whatever "it" was.
Christina came out of a completely different egg. He knew she had caught the carpet on fire and all he wanted was for her to admit it. She let all of her brothers get spanked and still wouldn't admit it.
We have the same problem here. I think that if they are taught at a young age that it's OK to not speak up, then that's the way they continue. The oldest blames the youngest for everything even if we watched her do what she is blaming the youngest for. She has gone so far as to call her mom and lie to her and say that her dad deliberatly "busted" her head open and that it was gushing blood. During a tickling freenzy she bumped her head on the bed railing and barely had a red spot, but she locked herself in the bathroom with the phone and called her mom. Did we get an apology for being accused of child abuse by the ex... nope... not even after she saw for herself that the childs head had nothing at all on it.. not a scratch, not a bruise and was most definitely NOT gushing blood! If the mom doesn't back you up with getting the truth, I don't think you will ever get it.
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