16 yr old Step-Daughter is out of control
07/08/2009 at 07:26 AM

Wow, I don't even know how to keep this short and to the point, but I will do my best. I am the step-father to (2) girls, one is 16 the other is 13. The 16 year old is the one with major issues, the 13 year old acts just fine. I've been in their life for 8 years now and the older child has always shown flashes of having anger management issues. Even when she was 8 years old, she would slam doors, yell at her mom, etc. Throughout the years it has just gotten worse, she's been caught at school with weed, been in fights, got pregnant last year, and she's always been disrespectful to her mom, grand parents and myself. I've tried to play a role in her life, but she's never respected me and she's always playing the "you're not my daddy" card. Speaking of her dad, he's actually got a restraining order against him for assaulting the girl, but she STILL, to this day she worships the ground he walks on and she will do anything to hurt her mother and myself, the 2 people that have cared for her, it's very frustrating. Well, recently, things have gotten violent between the girl and her mother, since she got her driver's license and started dating a new boy, she's lied, broken curview and has just been out of control. There's also speculation that this new guy is abusing her, his mom actually told us that, so all parties decided that it would be best if we just limit their time together. Finally, my wife just took the keys away and grounded her, but that just doesn't work, she walks out of the house, curses at her, etc. Last week, things just got REALLY out of control, the girl started throwing things, yelling and my wife called the police. They came and talked to her. Last night, same thing, called the police, they came and calmed the situation, but I can't have the police at my house every night because they are not solving the problem. We have had her in counceling NUMEROUS times and it's a joke, she doesn't take it seriously. I really believe that she has some sort of mental problems and I would love to get her evaluated, but I don't know how to get that done, who to go to? I mean, it has gotten so bad. I'm the step-dad and I feel like I can't get involved at all, in the past I have tried to talk to her calmly and she will just not listen to me. Last night, my wife told me that the girl told the boyfiend's mom that I have abused her and choked her, that absolutely broke my heart because NOT ONCE have I ever laid a hand on her. She is trying to break our family up with lies and her violent behavior and I just don't know what else to do. I seriously belive that she needs to be sent away for an evaluation, to get away from these other kids that are bad influences, but I don't know how to get that accomplished and the police are absolutely no help, at least here in my town. I am so sorry that this is so long and that I rambled, but my heart is just broken in two right now.

Has she seen a psychiatrist when in therapy? If so, what is her diagnosis?


No, she has just seen a councelor and they ruled out A.D.D., but that's about it.


Your stepdaughter needs to be seen and evaluated immediately by a psychiatrist who is a specialist in dealing with adolescents. These are very serious behaviors which must be addressed before something even more devastating happens to you or your family that cannot be repaired.

I have personal and professional experiance with what you are going through. Professionally, working for many years with children with emotional and behavioral issues such as you describe, and personally (unfortunately prior to that) with 3 ex-stepdaughters who tore my marriage and family apart. The eldest has Borderline Personality Disorder, and ended up accusing my son of touching her inappropriately, which was the final straw for me. She recanted after the breakup of my marriage, having achieved her goal. Believe me, I feel your pain.

Please get your stepdaughter and family the help you all need before it is too late. Don't expect the police to help you, they are not trained in solving these severe problems. This girl need serious psychiatric intervention for all of your sakes. The 13 y/o will be negatively affected by all of this chaos, as my daughter and son were. This is a very painful situation and requires you and your wife to take action now.


Thank you for the response, I agree with everything you wrote. My wife took the 16 YR old to her primary care Dr. on Monday for another issue and while they were there, she showed the Dr. the marks on her wrist and the Dr. recommended a psychiatrist in order to get her evaluated. Well, my wife calls the psychiatrist and they gave her the run around, they told her that they didn't evaluate the patients, they just treat them, which sounded absurd to me. We just don't know how to approach this situation. We are looking for help, we just don't know how to go about getting it. I guess we will check with our insurance and start calling psychiatrists.

As far as the 13 yr old, I am trying so hard to keep her away from all the madness. When my wife and the 16 yr old start to fight, I grab the youngest and we go for a ride, shopping, putt putt, anything to get out of the house until things calm down. She's never been at the house when the police came over, I've always taken her out of there. I know all this will still affect her, I'm just trying to do all I can to lessen the impact.


you can contact the local metal health they can help you get where you need to ,to get some help .or a trusted family doctor i know some of what you are through my niece has had some of the same issues my sister has sat and cried over it alot but to be honest their is a time when you have got to say i have done what i can and you just have to step back and be their when the great fall comes because it will i know this for a fact i was that girl when i was young i worshiped a worthless dad ,went out drinking ,had boy friends older than me ,got pregnant when i was 16 gave birth to a wonderful boy that my mother had to raise because i was not mature enough to do it .trust me they do need family again but at this time she does not feel like she needs you .my sister has a 17 yr old who will be giving birth any day to a 32 yr old mans child she has moved out to live with this man the law does nothing she has chosen to to be their for her daughter but to step back some she has other children in the home and its not fair to them just like all this is not right to the child left in your home it is not easy to do this but with all you say i really believe you and your wife need to step back and just tell her if she is going to choose this life then she will do it somewhere else that is what my mom did and yes i tried it after being sent somewhere else it took me 1 yr and half to figure out i was going no where fast i came home got my life together finished school ,and have a wonderful daughter and i also now have a good relationship with my son it will not be easy but it seems you have no choice this home is not stable for the other child .tough love is one of the hardest things you will ever do but it is also one of the only choices some families can make good luck no matter what let her know you love her but will not allow her to live at home doing this ..as for taking the other child out so she will be out of it when it starts my sister was done the same way and to this day she can tell me everytime i fliped out this child is still feeling the impact of all this whether she is out of ear and eye range of it i want to say you are wonderful for being there for them all but i must be honest it is hard to help a child who doesnt want help and seeing someone for help will have a 50% chance of helping it is worth a try but just know it may not help until she is ready to be helped .


Call your local Department of Child Mental Health, tell them how severe the situation has become and all your concerns. If no quick results, then look up child psychiatrists or call psychiatrists and ask if they evaluate patients your stepdaughter's age. It can be difficult to find one who does evaluations but be persistant. Good luck!


FINALLY, I believe we are on the right track, my wife got the number of a child/adolecent psychiatrist today, she's making the phone call to set up an evaluation. I have my fingers crossed.

Just to comment on "stepping back" and letting her make these mistakes. BELIEVE ME, this was what I wanted to do, I told my wife that we had done just about all we can do, there comes a point in time when you have to just let go and let them realize that they are making a huge mistake, BUT her actions in the last couple weeks have led me to believe that she may have mental health issues and I don't believe abandoning her at this point would be a good idea. Her mother will NEVER go for that idea anyway, maybe that method is easier for me because it's not my child, I don't know. I just know that I was brought up in a good home and all of this (having the cops at my house every week) just embarrasses me. My mom would die if she knew what was going on in my home, the fact that the girl was telling people I was abusing her? Wow, my family would be really upset at that accusation after everything I've done for that child. Boy, I just want things to get better. My best friend told me the other day, "buddy, you are a Saint to have put up with all this, I just don't know many men that would stick around". That made me feel good because I've never even considered leaving my wife over this.

As crazy as all this sounds, it has made me feel better just writing all this on this message board because there's not many people I can talk to about it.


it is wonderful you are there still and trying so hard for your family ,if there is mental issues by far i would stick with her i just meant if it isnt that you may have to still be there for her but let go some i would never say just abandon her letting go some does not mean you are doing that it just gives you the right to say not in my home i will not allow you to wreck this home with your actions and just completely forget everyone else feelings i do wish you and your family the best of luck you really sound like a wonderful dad !!!!!


Thanks for all the kind words.

Her appointment is Monday at 2:00 PM, we'll see what happens.


Very glad to hear you got such a timely appointment. Let us know how it goes.

In the meantime, look up Conduct Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. These are worst case scenarios, based on the info you have given, but will give you some insight into what you may be dealing with.

Be prepared for your stepdaughter to be less than cooperative with the prescribed course of action, which will likely include meds, therapy and seeing the doctor regularly. Mine was very uncooperative, treated the therapy as a big joke and either refused, abused or sold her meds. I sincerely hope your stepdaughter will get with the program and your situation does improve.

You are to be commended for your positive role in this very negative situation. Best of luck at the appointment and best wishes for success for you and your family.


Just wanted to give you guys an update. Over the past weekend, my wife and I actually sat down and wrote down everything that has been going on, just so we could give the Dr. an idea of what is going on with this girl. Yesterday she saw the dr., he evaluated her and determined that it was depression. He gave her meds and recommended therapy. I don't know if I agree with that assessment, but he's the professional, not me. We are going to put her in therapy, actually watch her take the pills (just so we know she's not selling them, etc.) and we will see what happens.


Don't give up, My husband is also the step father of my daughter.he has been around 13 yrs. since she was 2.She very much disrespects him and he feels the same as you do. we have even discussed seperate houses til she is 18, for her sisters sake. my husband and I have a 10 and 6 yr old together. Before we attempt this we are starting family counseling. individual counseling did not help.Some other things we have done are keep a notebook of everyday happenings, and that is great documentation for counseling or an abuse case if you two ever got accused. another thing is when she starts to get aggressive I get out the video camera and tell her this is so we can see how we get along. and by watching it as a parent I think of different things I could say or maybe I should have walked away before I did.I have a 40 minute video of my daughter threatening physical harm to me and calling names and put downs. You are right about the police,unless you have a real assault or battery case that you are ready to press charges on, they don't help much but it is also good to have a paper trail and reports to follow to collaberate your journals and video's so that if something does happen you have evidence that your wife or who ever was defending themselves. we have already had cps called on us by her dads side of the family where she has told awful UNTRUE things about my husband.cps found nothing wrong.you are a great dad and man, just don't give up tour wife needs you. I could not do this on my own.and she would be worse if there were not two of you to monitor her. please reply back maybe you can help me.it is great to know we are not the only ones goin through this. I am working nites. and can only get on the computer at work. so til fri or sat. I will check then.


I totally agree with 2xstepmom there is some serious issues that need addressed and fixed soon as you don’t want your daughter to lead a destructive and unhappy life. Along with professional help I would also suggest sending her to a Christian summer camp of some sort, don’t rule this option out and look into some as I have seen where it has helped some very unruly teens totally turn their lives around 100%. She won’t want to go but try and enforce it. I wish you the best.


My brother was diagnosed w/ depression at a young age and treated w/ meds. I'm suprised the dr was able to diagnose your step-daughter so quickly, but like you said, he's the dr. Continue w/ therapy (I wld suggest individial therapy for your daughter as well as family therapy for all of you). This is so important. Make sure you stick w/ the same dr, provided you're happy w/ his services. It is also important that you and the dr monitor your daughter closely. I am not a huge fan of meds for children, but in many cases they are necessary. If you see any changes in your step-daughter (for the worse), report it to the dr right away. It cld be that the medication she's taking isn't the right one, or the dose may need to be adjusted. Monitor your step-daughter and make sure she's taking her meds responsibly. My brother was not very responsible w/ his meds, and this resulted in a negative result. I really wish your family all the best. I can tell you're a very dedicated husband and father, and as your friend has said, many men wldn't stick around as long as you have. I admire your dedication. Try not to feel embarrassed about any of this. Focus on helping your step-daughter w/ the support of your family and friends. W/ the right help, things can get better for all of you.


Do you have an update on how things are now going? It's been 3 months I think since your daughter started treatment. My daughter also suffers from depression and at the age of 16 was diagnosed with ADHD which is the root of the problem. Along with any drug therapy I think that you should also look at seeing a therapist that specializes in cognitive therapy to not only change the behaviour but to help patients recognize when they are losing control and how to deal with it before it becomes an outburst . Most psychiatrists do not do this themselves they just like to hand out drugs and send you on your way. It can be very frustrating. We were finally able to find one that does both and while our daughter is still in crisis from time to time it all has helped quite a bit in keeping her safe.


I have a stepdaughter who twice has been physical with her mom. She is 14 and 2 weeks ago punched her mom in the eye. she has been hospitalized 2 out of three times for cutting her wrists. The state is not helping the proper way. My wife and I think she needs to go and stay with whomever can give her the real help she needs. She is going to break up our family. We have three other kids that keep seeing this behavior. What can I do to get her to go somewhere for real help? We have had counciling for her for about 5 years and things are getting worse.


Wow, reading all this makes me feel so much better, to know that I am not the only one going through these issues. I think one parent said she was considering separate houses until the daughter is 18 and that is basically what my husband and I are doing. But, what makes me really sad is seriously, my daughter is a very good girl, she has some issues and we have had a few problems, her wanting to be sexually active is the biggest I think. But all in all she is a good girl who is trying hard to do her best despite everything that is wrong in her life. I am so sorry for all the problems and seriously wish I had the advice that could fix it all for everyone because I know how painful and heartbreaking it is.

I hope you find what helps and just that you are posting and seeking help means that you really are trying to make it work!!! I feel for you all and good luck!!