Step daughter - FamilyEducation
Step daughter
08/18/2011 at 12:03 PM

I have been happily married for 5 years now. He has two children from a first marriage and I have one. For the first year I was the MOM to all three children. The biological mom was not in the picture and had not been for a few months. So I took over as MOM. 5 years later Mom is now considered the "FUN MOM" she gets the children everyother weekend. For about 2 years now the oldest continues to cause argument with me and drags my husband into it. So it ends up being a fight with him and I. We have had family discussion and talks. But it just doesn't work. She is rude to me, keeps and additude and basically does not respect me at all. Just last night I offered to take her to the dr but she said that she would rather her mom take her. I was so hurt I just walked away and went to my room. I understand I am not her mom but I feel like she could have said it in a better way but she was very rude about it and I am crushed. What should I do? I am afraid this will destroy my marriage.

You don't give any specifics--ages, the nature of the arguments. I think you could go to a counselor and learn to be a little tougher, learn how to refuse to engage in the arguments.
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27742

She is 13 years old. Let me give you a fine example. She came back home yesterday after being with her mom for the weekend. She gets in the car and wants to know when we are celebrating my birthday. My husband & I both said we were not sure. She said well if you are going out Wednesday I have church. My husband her father said well we aren't but if we were you would have to miss this time So she says well then are we going out Friday? I said I really don't know what we are doing just yet so she says well I want to hang out with my friends. It just makes me so angry that she only thinks of herself. This time I just didn't say a word.
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27774

This little girl is exactly on target developmentally. She is in what Piaget calls the "formal operational" stage of the development of her thinking. She is applying logic to the situations she finds herself in. Because she is very young, sometimes the way she expresses herself leads to unnecessary conflict. When adults are interacting with children who are in this stage, the adults need to take a more objective and logical approach themselves. In the example you cited, SD anticipated (a formal-operational skill) that there might be conflict between her desires (to attend the church activity Wednesday and hang with friends Friday) and her parent's desire (to celebrate your birthday). She initiated the conversation (which shows maturity) and supplied the adults with the necessary information so that conflict could be avoided. I assume that you intend to pay her for babysitting.
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27775

Pay her for babysitting who? The children go where ever we go. We do not leave them at home. If we are celebrating a birthday the whole family goes.
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27776

Oh, I didn't understand that you were inviting her to go along with you. That makes her initiative in clarifying when an invitation would be considered inviting (not repressive) even more important.
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27777

When we have a family event coming up, we try to get input on everyone's calendar conflicts, so that there is no sacrifice required, especially of teenagers, for whom peers are more important than ever before.
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27778

I don't think you and I agree on this topic but thanks for your insight.
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27796

You may want to explore the resources on this site: Here's a starting place, there are lots of resources here. http://life.familyeducation.com/teen/parenting/34524.html?detoured=1
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27797

That is a good site if this was the only teenager we had in the household. I have a 18 year old biological daughter that has never given me any of the trouble that I have received from my 13 year old step daughter. We have four children in our household. I have one from a previous marriage he has 2 and we adopted a boy so there are 3 girls one boy. The eleven year old is totally different then the 13. She is thoughtful and giving and always thinks of others first. Sure both the 18 and 11 year old can get smart from time to time but when they do they come back later and apologize.
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27798

You must be a fast reader!
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27799

I have worked with girls of this age group for YEARS and let me tell you, what you are experiencing is totally normal. At this age girls (and boys) become very emotional and they express it in many different ways. It sounds like your step daughter is unfortunately one of the ones who choses to express it through anger. As with all anger there is a target, and I am so sorry to tell you that you are her target. I think it is reasonable to assume that when she is with her mother, she is putting on the "cool mom" act. Going out and about having a great time. Unfortuately during the week you do not have such a luxury. Tuesdays do not always mean pizza, and homework must be done on time. You are caught in a game of good cop v. bad cop.
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27804

I have several suggestions for you... 1. How to handle yourself. A great way to lessen the blow when your step daughter says hurtful things is to put it into context from her perspective. Remind yourself of several things; her mother is being the "friend" right now and you are being "the parent". While this may mean she often choses her mother over you, one day this will pay off because she will love and respect you. Also remin yourself that she is a teenage girl. They can be horribly vicious, but at the end of the day have no idea what they are talking about and so there is no reason to take it to heart. I suggest watching the movie freaky friday or mean girls, it might cheer you up :)
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27805

2. How to handle her. There are several ways to approach this but my top suggestion is be the other cool mom. You cannot compete with weekends of frivolity but try your best to make her feel grown up and valued. She is becoming a woman and wants to feel assertive, so although you might have to still be the bad cop, try and explain things to her in a more adult manner, and you may find that she rises to the occasion. For example: if her mom lets her go wherever she wants. and when she asks to go somewhere you find yourself having to say no, she may say something like "well MY MOM would let me". Respond to this by explaining your whole thought process: "honey I wish you could go out tonight, but you have school and soccer tomorrow and its just not a good night. but maybe after you finish your homework you could watch a movie?"
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27806

Basically: try and make her feel involved in your decisions, try and make her feel like you know and are aware that she is starting to mature, and try to be sweet about it. 3. lastly...the fact is girls at this age, with this demeanor may not respond to any of these suggestions so what is most important as that you keep your marriage intact. When my fiance's son was drving me up the wall I handled it by explaining everything calmly. I complemented his son, saying he is sweet, and intelligent, but also laid down the facts. He was going through a phase that was making it difficult to get along, and I needed his love and support. Surprisingly he handled it very well. He told me he could sense my frustration and that he would try and handle things with his son more directly from then on. I really hope my advice helps but please above all remember that this is a phase, and not one that is worth risking your love for your husband, so just try and keep a cool head.
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27807

OMG I can't say what a relief it is to hear from you futurestpmommy!! What you are saying makes perfect sense!! Her mom is the "Fun" mom and I am the "Bad" mom. When we have sat own and talked with her and try to explain that I know I am not her mom but I love her as much as if she was my bio. daughter she says that her mom is more like a "friend" to her then a mother. So you saying that her mom is more of a friend than a parent hits the nail on the head!! I will try your advice. I think it is words of wisdom for sure. As far as my marriage I would never want to risk losing it. So I will try my best to use your advice to better me. Thank you Thank you!!:)
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