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Parenting Children (6-12) Community
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Avatar universal

8 year old stepdaughter ruining family's life!

I'm divorced for 6 years, have twin sons, 20 yrs old. Remarried a year ago, he has 2 sons: 21&18.  All boys are self sufficient, have jobs and in college.  He has 2 dtrs., ages 14/ lives with his first wife.  The other, 8 and a product of a 2nd marriage.  He lived with them, divorced when SD was 3.  He saw her regularly.  Last year her mother moved her out of state 1200 miles away, sheleft her other 2 children with their father (her first marriage ages 15&17)  We saw SD on 3 occasions when we traveled to see her where her mother now lives.  Then, suddenly her mother phoned and said she wanted to give her to us because she couldn't handle her anymore.  We took custody at that time.  This child is  suffering from some abandonment and ???, her mother told her she is moving with her Dad because she is "bad."  She is a holy terror everyday.  I DO NOT want to raise another child and we had a happy home prior to her ...ENTER this girl, it has been hell since.  She is deliberately defiant at home and school, grades good/conduct for semester one point short of an "F" (think teacher was being kind), has no friends; she is bossy, cries, pouts, yells back at when she doesn't get her way.  When she finds a new friend, she tattles to the parent's for whatever.  No one at school or in neighborhood plays with her.  I cringe when she tells me someone invited her to go with them somewhere because I'm certain she invited herself and the parent is just being kind.  How Embarrassing to us as parents.  Sadly, I hope the neighborhood knows she is not MY daughter.  Since she came, her mother's sister had her over one time and has never called again.  Her Half & Step bros. leave as soon as she gets home, her father has a passive attitude, his solution is give her what she wants to prevent behaviors. I set all the rules, I enforce them and expect everyone in the house to respect that.  She's grounded regularly, aggravates others, undermines both her father and myself by asking one for something when she was already told no by the other.  I love her, she's a child, it's not her fault but I can't like her, tolerate her or feel any emotional connection to her because she is making my life miserable.  I've never seen a child like this.  She constantly has to have attention, negative or not...  When she came, her mother said she would sleep in her bed with her everynight and if her mother tried to get her to sleep in her own bed, she would keep her up all night until she got her way.  Her mother has a new boyfriend, he couldn't tolerate this child either. I believe her Mother sent her to us so she can keep the boyfriend as sad as it is. This child exhibits public displays of defiance, wants to be treated like a baby, walks with baby dolls strolling them in the neighborhood, no other children that age have baby dolls.  When my new grandchild comes over, she hovers over her, I have no time with the baby.  If I tell the baby she's so pretty, my stepdaughter says, "Lacy's (not her name) pretty too, see how pretty I am?"  I tell the baby to look at her fishies in our aquarium and this child argues that they are her fish.  I get very angry with this baby talk, baby acting out and tell her the fish were never hers and that our family had them long before she came to live with us.  She'll ask for food, then say she's not hungry and cry if she's made to eat it.  I have tried very hard to like her but the thought of even seeing her after work is appalling to me.  This week-end we are camping and I know that I will be the baby-sitter and she'll have a fit to sleep in the tent early tonight after waking everyone in the house at 5:00am this morning.  Naturally, I'll be the one to go to bed early instead of enjoying my family and friends because she'll make everyone's time as miserable as she can until she gets her way.  She responds to rules and consequences from me only but will do the same bad thing over and over as the days pass.  I told my husband out of honesty that had I known we would EVER get her to raise, I wouldn't have married him.  At that time I was speaking of a normally behaved 8 year old, well this is like I added fuel to the fire, she is hell on wheels!!!!  I resent her mother for sending her to us and deserting all her kids, I resent her for being a child of this woman (My husband's first wife & mother of his other 3 kid's I get along with fine), I resent being put in a position at 48 yrs old to raise another child especially one of this caliber, and I try not to but sometimes I resent my husband for ruining what we had; our marriage, my sons, grandaughter and the other kids were the best things that ever happened to me.  However, I also know that I would lose respect for him if he sent her away. The sad thing is, no one wants her because she drains the life and happiness out of you daily.  I also know it's deliberate most of the time because I can tell she knows what problems she causes and keeps repeating them after she's punished for them.  I don't know what to do because I know factually I cannot do this for the next 10 years, I had no intention of raising anymore kids, it was made very plain to me that this mother would NEVER, EVER part with this child so I married again.  I'm too old for this, feel like I did my time and raised two great boys, no matter how I try, I'll never be able to love her like I love them.  Am I selfish?  My husband would do the same for me if this were my child, I don't think he would tolerate the behavior and inability to control or change it, the manipulation and deliberate actions to create problems with the entire family.  Please advise, I'm desperate and about to move out of my house with my son, I'd even take his son's with me but never her!  My husband and I keep saying that divorce is not an option but I'm starting to think it's a very real option to me.  Especially after this morning.  At 5:00am my husband got home from his night shift (he works rotating shifts), got in the shower, she came downstairs when she knew he was in the shower, woke me and said she heard Daddy come home and had a nightmare and was scared.  This is a manipulation because how does 5 minutes elapse and she heard her father come in, went to sleep, had a nightmare, and come downstairs?  I told her everything's fine, Daddy's home and to go back to bed, she argued to lay with us in our bed which was something that took us over a month to stop, I told her no and go back to bed, she went upstairs, woke each and every brother one at a time, each yelled at her to quit waking up people/acting like a little baby..  She waited until her Dad lied down and she came back AFTER I had told her to go to bed.  My husband's response was to go turn on her TV and then she won't be scared.  I got up, told her she's NOT turning the TV on, the latest rule is the TV is out at 9:00pm, no exceptions,we just started this 3 days ago.  This of course affected my husband and I, and I told him his answer was just an easy course of action to keep from dealing with her, a short term solution/long term problem, once again...her mother created.  So, I was up 4 hours before work, my day will be very long, I'm tempted to not go camping with the family because of it.  As she left for daycare this morning she said, "Gosh, you have two hours now before you even have to go to work."  I looked at her, then she smiled her defiant smile so her father couldn't see.  What do I do?  She has been to a psychologist for the failure to sleep in her own bed, constant lying, disrespect, ect...  Her mother also had her on 50mg of Ritalin a day which I titrated her off of.  Her behavior was no different with the meds than without.  I'm desperate, please advise, thank you for reading this, I know it's long but felt it important to let you understand as much as possible for a profesional educated analysis.
24 Responses
Avatar universal
counseling maybe. this kid sounds like she has some serious issues. if she doesn't take to the counseling is there anyone else who can take her? it is absolutely unfair for your husband and the girls biological mother to expect you to raise her. it's not fair to your marriage or to your other children. if there are is no other family....i honestly don't know what to tell you besides seek out a counselor.

have you thought about spanking? i know a lot of people are anti spanking but....in all honesty if my mom wouldn't have spanked me as a kid when i was bad i probably wouldn't have taken her seriously. when she said she would punish me and i kept up with the bad deed....she delivered on that promise and i got my bottom smacked...hard. i didn't do that deed again. so i was a good kid. lol.
Avatar universal
Her mother also had her on 50mg of Ritalin a day which I titrated her off of.  Her behavior was no different with the meds than without.  --  your words

This statement tells me that this child is not ADHD.  I do suspect this child is suffering from some severe mental health issue.  If mental health issues are the problem, spanking won't work eiher.  I wish I could  help you more - are there any mental health services for children in your area?  Could your family doctor or pediatrician or church pastor or school principal or local medical centre/hospital or even the yellow pages of the telephone book point you in the correct direction?

You claim that you "took custody" of this child; but I assume that is not legal custody.  If so, then contact a lawyer to see your options.  It does sound to me as if this child should be in some structured form of protective care with overseers from the mental health field.  Perhaps others on this site can offer additional solutions ....
535822 tn?1443980380
Absolutly agree with jdtm this child should definatly be in the care of the protective agency.
303824 tn?1294875001
It sounds as if your Stepdaughter could have some sort of medical issue that has either been overlooked, or not at all. There are TONS of other issues children have than ADD and ADHD. She definitely needs to be evaluated and even counseling. There are things going on with her that need to be worked out. Her own mother gave her away! Can you imagine how troubling that would be? Even if she was being "bad" before her mother gave her up, did she at least try to get her daughter some help?

I know how easy it is to just give up! I am having my own issues with my stepson. I am constantly on guard to protect my other 3 kids from him. He was only 4 or 5 when he started inappropriately touching my son. Then I caught him doing it again about a year or two ago to my other 2 kids. He took a meat cleaver to our leather couches, he's kicked, hit, slapped, punched the kids as well. He spray painted a neighbor's boat AND egged their house. I can totally relate! I felt (feel) the same way you do. I know I don't love him like I should, but seriously! He has basically molested my children and I'm supposed to be forgiving of that??!!  

Anyway, we put him in counseling and it has done wonders for him. He's been so much better and I am slowly starting to work on forgiving and loving him the way I'm supposed to.
Avatar universal
There is no doubt in my mind that she has ADHD. I am living with ADHD child, and 3 other normal siblings, so I can smell ADHD from mile away: impulsive, no remorse, hyper, seeking attention, sometimes good one-on-one; bossy, etc.

50mg of Ritalin obviously did not work for her; so the next step is to either UP the dose or change the ADHD medication. You can spend a million dollars on therapy, spanking, taking away, etc. Nothing will work, because this is a pure chemical issue. Find her a right medicine with your pediatrician, psychiatrist (forget the psychologists!!!) - and you will have a transformed child!!!. Do not blame her mother  - they are born that way.
973741 tn?1342346373
Adhd does not smell.  This very well could be other things and how you drew that conclusion that it is absolutely ADHD from this story I have no idea.  I have a son with sensory integration disorder that has many of the behaviors of ADD/ADHD but treated differently.  There are also mental health issues that can affect someone in this way.  This poor poor child needs to be evaluated and given help.

What I think is the saddest thing about this is that this poor girl has had to move into this house.  It wouldn't matter if this little girl were an angel as the poster said----   she doesn't want kids now, she did her time, yadda yadda yadda.  Remeber the promise or she wouldn't have married her husband?  So a girl with issues is in a place she didn't have a chance in anyway.  I read a book recently that spoke of kids like this.  It said that the rest of the world can be hateful and cruel to them so they really depend on their parents for love and support.  What does this girl have?  NOTHING.  And for that, I am truly sorry.  
Avatar universal
I would totally disagree. her stepmother is doing everything in her power to introduce structure, love and keep sane at the same time. It amazes me how little people recognize the caregivers and what it takes to raise an ADHD child.
I have 4 children, and I love them endlessly. THe one with ADHD though, when he gets the best out of me - I sometimes seriously wonder about my love for him. He RUINS the family, the marriage and definitely the well being of his siblings. Yes, yes - he can't help it; but life WOULD be so much easier without him. Plain truth. To take somebody else's child that has ADHD, knowing what I know now? Let me put it this way - it would be like asking me to sell the self esteem and the childhood of my own children. No, thanks. We are all human. I will raise the one that I have to, and that's all.
Now - this was all IN DEFENSE OF THIS POOR Woman's feelings.
She has to get this child some professional help.
kss61 - try putting this child on some kind of medication. Trust me, the medication will have far less side effects, than the side effect of you abandoning her. You are the last thing obviously that is any good that she has. So you make it MANAGEABLE FOR YOU.
Thumbs up to you for even coming to this forum, and don't worry about negativism that is here. We feel YOUR pain.
973741 tn?1342346373
I also raise a child with a delay.  It wasn't that I responded to but the poster made several comments that made me feel sorry for the little girl. Anyway, this is an old post if you didn't see the date.  
Avatar universal
Well i must say i really felt your negativity jump off of the page and if i can feel it so intensely , you can bet your life on it this child does also..Yes i  am sure this child does have some serious issues but if you accepted this child into your home then you must also accept that it is your responsibility to help with them ie, councilling..but you just seem to be eaten up with resentment..In regard to her coming into the bedroom... im dumbfounded how you see this as such bad behaviour.. it seems to me that she is craving some affection and understanding and that she may get something resembling that from her father. I understand that is so much harder to tolerate a childs 'bad' behaviour when they are not biologically yours and the fact that you have raised your children and were comfortable with your life..but you made the decision to let her into your family home and take on the responsibility of raising her so you really need to put your feelings aside and work at making a connection with her.. and if you cannot do this then maybe you should consider whether you are able to  look after her at all...every child deserves to feel loved and wanted and from your post i feel this young girl is not getting that.
Avatar universal
i am also going through the same thing but maybe a little worse because my significant other does not believe there is an mental issue.I have caught his 10 year old son hurting our puppies, hurting smaller kids such as 3 and 4 yrs old and stealing ,lying,and will cry and say it wasn't him just for his father,my mate,to believe him even after I told him I seen it,Im losing my battle and am planning my great escape...
Avatar universal
Lots of words, tonns of negativity. Don't you think she feels it? I am with specialmom and syrie35 on this one. But, again, I am a weirdo that beleives that all people want love and acceptance. There are no "bad children". There are children that feel lost, different, due to environmental or genetic factors, what have you, and act out.

If the child "ruins" your marriage - you may want to start there, as to what you want from your marriage. I am not from around here, and many peopel seem to have oh-so-rosy-and-unrealistic expectations. About marriage, child rearing, etc.





Avatar universal
I know its been a year and you prob wont check this but I treaten my daughter that I will send her to live with her dad since she can not seem to get with the program of our life only because she adores him so and she gives him no lip not questions she is a perfect angel when she is around her father and a wreck with me ............ So my point to you is maybe the  mom felt this way that it would be easy for the dad and that maybe you should make the father do his part as well as love her the way a daddy's lil girl is supposed to be love this lil girl prob thought it would be great to be with dad but all dads are absent minded when it come to children and their needs ........... also I want to add that as much as she loves her dad and want to be with him she breaks down in fear and sadness at the thought of me sendind her away and not wanting her I had to apologize and I dont wanna say that to her anymore Ive been watchin nanny 911 for controling extreme behavior Im on day 1 of building a great relashionship with my daughter and loving her better
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