May 13, 2010,
T.L. asks from San Jose, CA on June 18, 2009
Husband and Step-daughter Don't Get Along
I need your help. I am looking for some advice and support from other Moms who are remarried. My husband (married 6 years together for 10) and my 14 year old daughter do not get along at all. My daughter is very much a teenage girl who can have a heart of gold and then be so extrememly selfish. My husband can also have a heart of gold and then be very strict. My exhusband and I share custody our daughter. My daughter and I butt heads a lot also. My husband and I have also have a 15 month old daughter together. I feel so torn when my husband and daughter fight. I can't support both of them and yet I feel like I have to pick a side. My daughter feels like I always take my husbands side and my husband feels like I always take my daughters side. After yet another argument my daughter called her father and had him come get her because she did not want to stay here at our house because of my husband. My husband is so angry right now that he doesn't want her here. I want my family to get along. I don't know how to fix this. They can both be so difficult. I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking that I didn't stand up for her. I don't want my husband to resent me either.
I do ask for only solutions and not judgements.
1 mom found this helpful
J.I. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I grew up in this situation and when I was 14 I hated my stepdad as well. So similar. My suggestion is to get a family counselor who can give insight to your husband on how to deal with a 14 year olds emotions and how to have the 14 year old deal with her emotions. There is no way to expect both to act like grown ups in a civilized manner. There are so many layers of emotions that the 14 year old is dealing with and doesn't have the skill set or knowledge to handle them correctly. It is said that the brain is not fully capable of dealing with these complexities until at least 18-20 ( I just took a child development course which was so enlighting). The husband is dealing with being a parent to someone else's kid who has no interest in being his daughter. Very tough for his position as well. I feel bad for my mom and her being in the middle too. I could have cared less at the time, because teenagers are still very selfish in their thoughts. So, I wish we had a mediator or a counselor to get us through those rough times. It wasn't until I was 19 and moved out of the house that my stepdad said he was proud of me, I cried, and we hugged..and my mom was shocked. They were in the process of getting a divorce ironically. The Dad becomes the hero in this story because he is separate from the day to day life in which you are dealing with and can come in and support the daughter. I wish you luck. Do know that overtime you will re-establish a good relationship with your daughter. My mom and I are great friends, but those years can seem like they'll last forever.
J. (Mom of a 7, 6, 3, and a newborn coming..:)
1 mom found this helpful
K.L. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I actually live this scenario being the daughter in the situation. My mom’s fiancé lived with her and me with my daughter. He and I never saw eye to eye and I really did hate him. I felt like I could never talk to my mom because he would always input. Here is how I see it, he is not my father and I did respect him but I did not want him to tell me what I could or could not do. I was older and had two parents, I appreciated any friendly advice he gave me but never respected any lectures or discipline he tried put on me. I explained to my mom that I hated feeling like I could never talk to her. I did leave to my dad’s several times. My mom never really did anything about the situation and it got bad. I eventually left and joined the military but I will always resent my mom for taking his side. She is no longer with him now but she will always have me resenting her for that. I would suggest putting a boundary up with your husband and your daughter. When your daughter comes to you or something happens YOU talk to her and if your husband has an input talk to him about it in another room first. Then once you have decided what to do YOU talk to her further about it. Have him give advice but never let him talk down to her or disciplines her. She already has two parents to do that. I know it’s hard because it is his home but you don’t want to lose your daughter forever. It won’t be forever either, she’s almost grown.
1 mom found this helpful
S.F. answers from Nashville on May 13, 2010
Hi I'm Sam, I'm 18 and Autistic. I'm in this scenario as we speak, in fact for years. My real father left my half brother, my sister, my mom and me alone when I was 2. My mom remarried once before she married my step dad when I was 5. From the get go I didn't like him but as I grew up I loved him. Then once I turned 13 we started resenting each other. Now we fight over tiny thing and he acts very demanding in my eyes. For example; On the weekends when I'm allowed to stay up, he shuts my internet off at 9:00 leaving me with nothing to do. He even went as far as threatening my cats that serve as my only companion since the school pushed me out due to poor counseling from the school. I've always resented my mom for backing my dad up and even threaten to go to Jobcorp. But now that I realize how hard it is to deal with two people you love, I feel bad for moms having to be torn between their husbands and children. I can't really say this is a solution or a judgment but...Thank you for opening my eyes to how bad my mom's got it. Now I realize why she locks her self up in her room when me and my dad would argue. Thank you T. L.
D.Z. answers from Yuba City on June 19, 2009
You have gotten some great responses and I hope you are encouraged by them. There is a class offered called "Smart Steps for Step-Families". It may be found at some churches, though it is not a 'churchy class'. It really helps give your family practical tools for dealing with each other in a positive manner. Learning to be a step-family is so difficult and your daughter needs you as much now as she did as a toddler. It can only help and you all can get the help you need instead of it coming from just one source through you. The baby will benefit too from seeing all of her famly get along. The website is www.stepfamilies.info/.
I was the step-daughter at that age and it was difficult in both households, I felt like I was 'visiting' both of my parents, with this 'outsider' taking my parent and I harboured resentments for years until I was able to let them go.
J.D. answers from Sacramento on June 19, 2009
I am in the same boat. I have two daugthers and one loved their step dad and the other just butt heads with him. I just called it like I saw it. Sometimes he was in the wrong and sometimes she was. I asked him not to discipline her and reminded him that it was my responsibility. More importantly, your ex cannnot be the go between. It all worked out and now the one that loved him now is mad at him and the one who butted heads with him thinks he walks on water. go figure.
Mother of four.
N.P. answers from Modesto on June 19, 2009
There is light at the end of the tunnel...... :O)
I took the time to read a few of your responses, and I agree with all of them! A couple of things I just thought I would "emphasize" for you:
1) She is 14. Girls can be awful and regretful at that age. The world DOES revolve around her, and will for another 5+ years :O) She won't understand or accept anything less than that.
2) Your husband is not her REAL dad. You may have heard those words already quite a bit lately, and she's right. Your husband can actually come out "smelling like roses" in this situation if he plays his cards right.
3) Give her some space. Try not to ask her to help you with your other daughter for awhile, and things like that. Once you've allowed her "the space" to be her own person, she will miss the simple things in your home. Life will be better for all when SHE is the one who wants to be a part of the family, not when she is forced :O)
That's it. If your husband can "bite his tongue" for a year and only be there when she needs someone as a "friend", then things will be alot easier for the 3 of you. I KNOW, I KNOW..... he is a parent in your home and she should respect that living under your roof! Yes, and no. She already has 2 parents that love her very much, and when you are 14...that's all you need, everyone else is just in the way and that is frustrating for her.
Remember, even though you've been together for 10 years, and her parents have moved on it doesn't change her dream of wishing you both could get back together. Even if she knows it's wrong for the both of you, that's what divorced kids dream of.......even if they have the most wonderful step-parents :O)
I know things will get better soon ;O)
M.S. answers from San Francisco on June 18, 2009
I am sorry that you have been put in the middle. Here is what I think you should do. First, sit down with both your husband and your daughter and tell them how you feel. That you have been put in the middle. Second, let them know that from now on they need to work it out between them and that your daughter can't run away from the issue and insist on her dad picking her up. It is unfair to involve you when your daughter is 15 years old and she is old enough to resolve conflict by herself. If your child was 5, I would think otherwise. Hold true to your word that you will stay out of it. The only way they will learn to interact and become civil is to do it on their own. If that doesn't work, then I would involve your ex husband into the conversation and ask him to not get involved either-- Good luck to you and your family!
M.W. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
Any chance your daughter could live with her dad for awhile? that worked for me. Once my daughter saw that things weren't better somewhere else she became more tolerant of the stepfather. however i must say they never did like each other much. remember the kid was forced to come along with you into the marriage. they had no choice. good luck
C.S. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I am so sorry you and your family are having this problem. Teen years (or any other years) are never easy and so remember that there is no perfect situation, and no matter what you do there will be tough times. I do think that while your daughter and husband have to work on resolving their fighting and it would be nice if they acknowledged that you are put in the impossible middle, that your husband is the adult here and must be the big guy. You can communicate to your daughter (as you probably have) what is unacceptable and you can give her some help and advice about things when you both are in a good calm mood, but I don't think she should have to feel that she is as responsible as your husband-that will make her feel demoralized and resentful. I also don't think that going to her father when things get too heated is a bad thing. It gives her a sense of support and control that probably makes her feel less desperate, and a little cooling off is helpful for everyone. Maybe your husband could benefit from reading about adolescence and the difficulties of that time if he hasn't, and remind him (and yourself) that this won't last forever. It is hard for you to hear from him that he doesn't want her there (I know he said that in anger but I am sure that stressed you out to hear.) Trying to talk when things are calm and more reasonable, bringing a little perspective and humor to the situation, seems like a good idea. Your daughter is going through a lot but she will benefit from support now and get through this. Best of luck to you all.
L.G. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
The discipline, rules, etc. for your 14 year old should only come from you -- not your husband. He is not her dad and should not be laying down the law. As a daughter with step-parents, I can attest that it isn't appropriate and just leads to a lot of negative feelings.
If you are the single point of contact for discipline and decisions when it comes to her, your husband and your daughter will not argue. This is your sole responsibility as her mother.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you can't consult with your husband on the type of discipline or the household rules (when she is not around to hear this discussion), she just must understand that it is only coming from you. This way, you can keep the peace with your husband and help your daughter grow up to be a well-mannered young adult.
A.M. answers from San Francisco on June 20, 2009
i was a step-daughter, who resented my step-dad, blamed my mom and was wicked to the both of them... my real dad while somewhat in the picture, every other weekend or there abouts, and the only thing that eventually smoothed everything out...my mother took over my parenting completely, with whatever little help real dad chose to pitch in, leaving step-dad to do his parenting through my mom. step dad took an interest in all my activities, joked, commented on my daily life, took part in all my extra cirriculars, but when it finally came down to punishment, making rules, or questions like did your room get cleaned? or did you finish your eng. lit report? or why did we get a call from macy's mom?things of this sort...mom always did the parental bidding, step-dad stood by stong and silent supporting my mother in her parental descisions, and only gave his two cents when i asked him directly, in which case he replied...why don't you or i think you should, ask your mother. i eventually came to appreciate my stepdad for all that he gave to my mother and how happy she was and finally for careing about me and loving me the way he does. and i gained respect for my mother and to this day we all have a great relationship, and i love that my daughter has the two of them in her life, she spends every friday nite at their house, and in her eyes my stepdad is simply my dad, and her papa, and my real dad he sees her every couple of months for a couple of hours, and he is her grandpa and my father. and i couldn't ask for more. the love i now have for my stepdad is more like the love a daughter has for her dad, and as for my father, sure i love him but more in a once removed older male reletive you remember having some fun with when you were a child. the fact that your daughter has her father in her life, and that he actually takes part in raising her, should make it that much easier for your husband, her stepdad to step back when it comes to parenting your daughter, afterall she has a dad, and let him be her friend and offer her support, and your partner, and your strength while you deal with all her crummy teenage girl stuff, cuz you are gonna need it!
K.F. answers from Salinas on June 19, 2009
Hi T.- Sorry your having problems. I am not divorced or blending a family but I was a wild teenager who had a rough relationship with both my parents for a few years. Remember this would probably be a hard time even if you were still married to your daughters Father. It's just a tough age, especially for girls. They are so full of emotion that they just don't know what to do with themselves. The Mom that said teenagers just aren't capable of seeing things clearly as their brains aren't fully developed is right on. Of course that doesn't make living with them any easier! That being said, your husbands brain is fully developed so he really has to take the higher road here. You said he gets strict but I don't think he should have anything to do with discipline. He is not her Father, she already has one and the last thing a teenager needs or wants is another parent! On the other hand every teenager can use a friend. Have him try not parenting, just listening. Do they spend any time together other than arguing? He needs to let you be the bad guy with rules and punishment and just have a low key relationship with her. He can't afford to try to control her, their relationship is way too fragile, she doesn't have to love him the way she loves you. Maybe he could spend some time with her and talk about being there for her in a different way. This wouldn't be easy but if they can establish a different kind of relationship it just might get you through the next few years. After that I bet you'll see big changes in your daughter and her appreciation of her Stepdad. Good Luck
J.M. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
OH Gosh T.! I was your daughter when I was little although i didn't have a new baby sister I had a step-dad. I also had a step mom and felt like my parents let my step's make the rules for me. My step mom and step dad obviously wore the pants in the relationships when it came to me. I resented them all in every single way when I was younger. I bounced back and forth from house to house but when it all came down to it my mom's house was the stricted of the two but I wanted to be with my mom. I was mean and going through trying to find myself so i lashed out a lot, especially around that very special time of the month. I was mean and didn't feel close to my mom however I grew out of it. If it wasn't for her sticking to her guns and not doing what i told her to do i would have turned out much different. I now respect her for laying down the law and trying to teach me right from wrong. I believe in these cases you have to be the parent and trust your gut. I would sit down with both your husband and child and let them know how they are making you feel so they both get you are torn and in front of both of them explain you are the parent, you will decide per case which you think is right and it has nothing to do with picking sides, PERIOD! I hope this works! Otherwise send your daughter to counseling so she gets how difficult it is for you and help her express herself in a productive way.
Good Luck!! Moody female teens are no walk in the park, I know I wasn't and I am not looking forward to my daughter becoming a teen one day.
T.R. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
Hi, I had the same problem with my daughter and husband when my daughter was 10 and we were 1st married, also didn't help that he also had 2 daughters 9 and 10 who didn't live with us but were there for visits enough and you could see how he treated them different. and yes my daughter was a little more out spoken and willful but that was how I had raised her. We went all together to therapist, sent my daughter by herself and with me and didn't do much good. What I suggest is that you be on your daughters side more then your husband and stick up for her when the situation warrants it an explain to your daughter when it doesn't. And you need to make your husband understand that this is a delicate time for your daughter and he needs to be more understanding. It isn't going to get any better unless you stick to your guns about who is right in each situation. Good luck
C.B. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I know how extremely hard it can be to blend a family. i have one daughter; my husband has two sons. Thankfully they are all grown and out of the house now, but to this day just about the only thing we ever fight about are those kids - and like I said, they are all grown and gone! The one thing i can say is keep the old saying if your teenager doesn't like you, you're probably doing a good job in mind. your daughter probably doesn't like stepdad because he is strict - there is nothing wrong with that and you and she will probably thank him for it one day. BUT there is the flip side that perhaps he's too strict. That's something that should be discussed between you and he so that you guys come to some sort of understanding about what will be allowed and what won't and what the consequences of bad behavior will be. then you need to present that to your daughter on a united front. One thing I definitely would put a stop to is allowing your daughter to call her dad and be picked up because she's mad at step dad and/or you. she is not learning to resolve conflict - she is learning to run from it which will not serve her well in the future.
M.S. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
When my step daughter was younger, we sat her down and had a conversation with her. Basically, we told her we love seeing her, spending time with her, talking on the phone to her, etc. but we were not ever going to "make" her come see us, stay here, etc. That helped a lot with our relationship with her. It might be more important now for you to just spend some time with her and not force the issue with your husband. They may need some time together. It' be really nice if you had girls day to hang out and if you were able to focus on her and what's going on in her life and not bring up her step dad in the conversation that would be even better. If you plan these outings, dinners, movies, etc. she may be more receptive to spending time at your home eventually.
D.F. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I am sending you a cyber-hug! There is a great book "Loving our Kids on Purpose" by Danny Silk. It will revolutionize your thinking and set you and your family free. Danny is the Family Life Pastor at Bethel Church in Redding Ca, the president of Loving on Purpose, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening families and communities at the local, national, and international levels. He and his wife Sheri have raised their 3 children and parented over 70 teens as group-home house parents and foster parents.
This book is amazing! I am the childrens pastor at our church and I have been so impressed by how these concepts strengthen family relationships that we are using this as a foundation for a parenting conference we are hosting this summer.
My parents divorced when I was in 5th grade and my mother got remarried when I was in 9th grade. My mom went through the things you are going through, feeling pulled between us and her new husband. The things in this book would have made such a difference in our lives. You can order the book from the church's website: ibethel.org
I wish you and your family the best.
T.S. answers from Sacramento on June 19, 2009
I personally have not been through this but my parents were and what they did was never have the step father do the diciplining. The kids already have two parents that do that. I understand that your husband is strick but the law might be recieved a little better if it were coming from you. Then you don't need to pick sides. you just need to come to agreed rules and punishments with your hubby so that he feels apart. The only time my step dad ever stepped in is if one of us was outrageously rude to our mom.
M.W. answers from Sacramento on June 19, 2009
Teenagers often appear to be so confident and know what they want but its not usually the case. Most of them spend a lot of their time worrying about being liked. try to spend lots of quality time with her and then she may open up. Her world has been rocked with a new sibling, she probably sees the different bond her step dad has with his own child. maybe some counseling would help. i hope it gets better for you and your family
R.K. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
you've gotten some great advice so far. another thing that comes to mind, from someone who went through several stepparents, is that YOu should be the one to deal with her when discipline comes up. although i believe that kids should respect their elders, when there's a serious issue that requires consequences, YOU dole them out. for steppparents to try to enforce discipline is a bit of a joke, unless you are out of town or something. i agree that rules should be posted, and of course he has the authority to remind her of the rules when she breaks them, but you have to be the one to actually deal with her. sorry to say it, but stepparents come and go. you are her mom, you are the contant in her life, you have the final word and you are the one whom she trusts. as the "drama" subsides, and she matures, then she will start trusting him and respecting his authority. until then, they should cohabitate respectfully but not much else can be expected. you can't make her like him, but you can make her follow the rules. good luck!
D.S. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
Greetings T.: I am going to give you advice from an entirely different view. My father had the habit of marriage 5 times(2 were common law). My mother never did remarry (my dad was enough )but had children from different relationships. I give you this information so you will understand why I feel as I do.
I am also the mother of 5 have been a foster mother of several great kids, and a recent widow.
I think that you have 2 teens on your hands. Maybe your husband has forgotten that your the adults and not a child himself. He knew that you had this child when you got together. Parents need to set boundries and have family standards that are understood to be respected not all over the page. YOU are her mother not his! You don't have to choose between the 2 only LOVE THE 2!!
She is at an age where she needs to test the waters and push the envelope- My daughter did the same and she had both of us in the same house. She needs to know that she can't be the Queen that role is taken but princess is a good runner up. She may simply want to test these waters. Others said go for councilng- NOT. To many want to let someone else talk to their child not them. What do you expect her to say? She hates you? of course she will say that, it comes as part of the territory. My dad would respond with" I hate you at times to so it comes out even". That does not mean there is not love, caring, and passion in the argument.
When our daughter slamed her door I waited til I calmed down then took it off the hinges.(I am the action person and my husband the talker in the relationship) I hope that you, her father, and your husband can talk as adults and be resonable about this topic BUT be on the same page. She will someday wake up and smell the orange juice and be grateful you cared enough to do what had to be done. Parenthood is an adventure and a ride like no other with so many twists and turns it will have you spinning but it is the greatest thing that we have ever done and I can proudly say that we survived it all and the rewards are the times the kids call and say Mom I love you. Good Luck, Nana G
J.K. answers from Fresno on June 19, 2009
This can be very difficult or very easy. You should first sit with your daughter and ask her why she dislikes her stepdad and what made her feel this way. She was young when you got together and has probably hoped all along that you would get back with her real dad. Then sit with you husband and find out the same things from him. You two need to come up with a plan that includes the rules and consequences. You have to form a united front. She needs to know that the rules may be different at your house and at your dads. My husband didn't do the dicipline , only I did. He only said something if my child was being disrespectful to me. This worked great.I also let my son know that he was not going to play us and run to his dads everytime he didn't get his way or disagreed with our rules. Once you sit with both of them you all need to sit together and discuss everything. Rules and conseqences. This should come from you. Say to both of them that you are going to have a happy house with no screaming and yelling and no disrespect to anyone. You take a look at everything. Do you feel he is too hard on her? This is a very important age and can turn ugly in a hurry. She can get easily depressed and act out even more which is why she needs a structured outline of whats accepatble and whats not. She will never like him if all he does is discipline which is why he needs to step away from thart role. My son was 9 when I got with my husband. It worked very well for us this way. We have a 14 yr old daughter too. You must know that if she doesnt get good love and attention from her dads she will go look for it from every boy that gives it to her then she may end up pregnant and dating some very bad guys. My daughter thinks I am unfair alot to because her friends get to do things that I won't let her do. I say that I am not their mother and I know where she is. I also tell her that the day I stop asking her questions and being in her business is the day she will know that I have stopped loving her so just get used to it cause thats not going to happen. Your marriage and family will fall apart if they don't get along.
K.N. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I'm sorry to hear about your problem. I lived in that for a long time, too. I kept trying to "explain" my husband to my kids (he was often right, just harsh or rigid) and my kids to my husband, who didn't want "excuses" just obedience. It was non-functioning.
From what I've read and heard from others, the best solution is family counseling - sticking to it until everybody "gets" it. Your husband is not your daughter's father, she has a living father who is involved in her life. Basically, I think you need to be in charge of her and he needs to back off. But the best would be for a counselor to help you to all understand each other better and to get some tools.
Another point is that at 14, your daughter is going to be rebellious and your husband is a convenient scapegoat.
Good luck and God bless your family.
Hope things turn around quickly.
N.D. answers from Sacramento on June 19, 2009
I have a similar situation except I am the "new" wife. My husband's daughter came to live with us for a couple of months and was extremely selfish, did not help around the house etc etc. My step daughter is older - she is 22 years old. Her and I got into it in regard to helping around the house and her attitude - she's got the entitlement thing going on big time. In our case, my husband agreed there was an issue and we were fair in our discussion with her (no name calling etc.). Still, since the end of September, she has refused to speak to me or her father. It's tough. We have reached out a couple of times to try to resolve the challenges specifically (my husband calls her all the time to check in) and she responds with she doesn't have to like or respect me. For me, there is no opportunity to go forward until we can at least instill respect on all sides of the relationship. I would recommend continuing to reach out to your daughter, always remind her that you love her and encourage her to come home and that everyone needs to learn to respect each other. Maybe your husband and you and your daughter should try sitting with a counselor - someone who can referree the conversations and point out who is overstepping boundaries without you having to feel like you have to pick sides - there really are no "sides" in a family - and although we all love our children with our lives - our spouses are our partners and need to be treated as such. I know all this is so tough and I wish you the best of wisdom is working all this out. Take care.
K.U. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
You are stuck in a very tough position. I commend you for presenting both parties in a nonblaming light. You sound like a very fair-minded mom. The only advice I can offer is to get all three of you into family counseling. IT isn't a panacea, but if both your husband and your daughter are willing to see each others' points of view, it can really help to have a nonpartisan mediator. If they're both trying to pull you in to defend them it's a lose-lose situation. An objective third party can maybe help them recognize ways they can each learn to interact more civilly. But that really depends on them. Sometimes people are not willing to budge, and no amount of reasoning will help. I hope that is not the case with your loved ones.
All the best.
S.V. answers from San Francisco on June 18, 2009
I am wondering IF it could be less about your husband and more about the new baby.. You daughter might feel like more of an outsider, knowing that you and your husband share this new baby. Your daughter might now be feeling like she is the third wheel, dont get me wrong, you are probably trying to include her as best as you can . have you tried taking her out and spending some alone time with her and seeing if you can get her to talk about things. maybe (once she returns or if she does) take some time each week and make it just your together time with her. This could help a lot. I am sure in part she is going thru a phase, but even so, it just might help. Even if it feels like you and your husband are giving in to her, it might be worth it in the long run.
Wishing you the best!
D.S. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I am the Aunt of a child in this similar situation. Let me tell you that from an outsider looking in... Yor husband said "I do" to you knowing that you already had a child. Bottom line because of that, you are to be her mother first. Maybe he needs to back off all discipline and you and HER father need to discuss and implement the handling of situations. In my own family I see so much hurt in my nephews eyes and his step-mom treats him ssssoooo much differently than the kids she has with his dad, it is awful. You need to put your foot down and say enough is enough.
B.C. answers from Modesto on June 19, 2009
I was in a similar position years ago. I don't know if there's a real solution at this moment in time. Here's how I see it (and did then, too).
1. Your daughter's a teenager - that's enough on it's own.
2. Your husband wants to be a father but thinks that he has to be a disciplinarian as well , which doesn't work well with teenagers in general, much less a step-daughter.
3. Your daughter is overwhelmed with mom, dad, stepdad all 'guiding' her.
4. Her father is becoming her ally (which she needs one, by the way - we all need an escape to cool off sometimes. We as adults can go for a drive and leave the situation - what can a teenager do without permission?)
Questions to consider:
1. Does you husband also show her love, compassion, etc? or just the tough side?
2. Does he go overboard with his discipline (my ex-husband did)
4. Does he just have fun with her? or is it all about the discipline?
3. Is your daughter using the situation to manipulate all three of you?
Possible way of handling:
1. Have a family meeting, including father.
2. Talk about solutions.
3. Let mom handle most situations (with step-father's input)
4. PICK YOUR BATTLES - this is SO important. If the daughter proves she can be trusted, forget the pile of clothes on the floor - which one is more important. If the clothes are on the floor and not in the laundry, she can do her own laundry. And if that's the case, make it a choice - not a punishment, more like a 'I'm not going to be on your case about your clothes if you'd like to do your own laundry'. There is a limit, of course:) This gives her some breathing space
5. Give her some privileges as she proves herself in trustworthiness - this is probably the most important thing of all, so build it.
6. And, just remember who's the child here - both of you have to remember she's the child, you're the adult and you need to show her a bit of understanding - remember, this is a pivotal age for her and hormones are running rampant.
Just my thoughts - I wish you well.
B. C., CR, EFT-CC, CNHC
Certified Applied Aromatherapy Instructor
Certified Newborn Massage Instructor
NSP Herb Specialist
Natural Health Coach
F.S. answers from San Francisco on June 21, 2009
my friend went through this also. So the daughter moved in with her Dad and after awhile she realized that life with Dad wasn't perfect either. She got to know him better and he got to know her better too. To give yourself and your daugher and husband a break, let her go live with Dad for the summer. JMO
H.D. answers from San Francisco on June 18, 2009
UGH! I just wrote a big response and got timed out! LOL! Ok, here goes TAKE TWO! =)
I can relate, I have 5 stepkids from 10 to 27, 3 bio kids 6 to 24! I have been there, done that.
1st. If you have a good relationship with your ex you need to sit down with him and ask him not to let her run to him every time there is an issue in your home. It really doesn't teach her to face problems. Try to have him understand that if the roles were reversed he wouldn't appreciate her running to you. Hopefully he will understand that. If he is hostile, that is another story. You may have to talk to your daughter and explain that if she keeps running to him she will have to stay with him. BUT once she gets there she may find that living with dad has its drawbacks too. The grass is not always as green on the other side of the fence as it looks!
As for hubby 2. You two need to sit down and work out a game plan. Discuss chores, who helps with homework, curfew, all the areas that need clarification. You two need to agree on them first, write them down. Write down consequences and rewards. THEN present it to your daughter, discuss it with her, be willing to make some minor changes so that she feels she had some part it in. Be willing in 3 months to sit down and talk it out again, make adjustments. And then POST it where it is clearly visable and everyone has an understanding of what is expected.
And you two need to agree to be a united front. Kids at this age will do everything they can to divide you to get what they want! She needs to understand that no matter what you are a team. If she comes to you about a disagreement with him, the first thing out of your mouth should be, "and what did your stepdad say?". Support him, even if you disagree with it! You can always pull him aside later and discuss it with him. And it has to go both ways, he has to support you as well. Your daugther needs to see that she cannot get between you.
This is a difficult age! They need the structure even when they are fighting against it. Believe me, in 10 years if you follow these guidelines, she will come back and thank you. I know, my older kids have. =)
And also, each of you spend some one on one time with her. Find something special to do with JUST her. Have hubby take her out for icecream every Thursday, or play a boardgame with her. You take her shopping, just her. When there is a new baby the older kids can feel very displaced, even if it isn't true. Feelings aren't facts but they sure are powerful in directing how we act. Good luck dear, it does get easier, I promise...*HUG*
M.M. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
This totally hit home with me. I have a 15 year old daughter from my first marraige and 5 year old twins. At this point in time my daughter hates both her dad's and my husband is constantly upset because he thinks all I do is take her side. Like you I am trying to figure out the best way to balance it and make sure everyone feels loved, not judged etc. Unfortunately I have no advice but I do have complete understanding.
C.H. answers from Sacramento on June 22, 2009
You might want to try counsling with them. I am going through the same thing with my daughter and fiance. Also try and sit down with your daughter and find out why she is doing these things. I hope things get better for you.
H.H. answers from Redding on June 21, 2009
I was in almost the exact boat. My husband and I have been togher for 10 years and married almost 6. My stepdaughter was 7 when we met and is not 17. She lived with her mother only 20 miles away so we were able to see her ofton and she even lived with us for a year or so as a freshman in highschool. We also have a daughter who is 4.
My step daughters behavior to me was so irritating. I felt like she was so disrespectful and demanding. I could not figure out why my husband put up with it and let her walk all over him. I'd get so mad and let her ruin our vacation or our time toghether. When she lived with us I was the main one home with her after school. My husband had an opposite schedule then us so I was the main parent at that time. That was a tough year for all of us.
One day my husband said to me ( when I was complaining) You know you have to pick your battles. You cant get upset about every little thing. So thats what I did. I came to the conclusion that she wasnt doing these things to irritate ME. She was doing them because she was a teenager and thats what teenagers do.
I think that as long as you back your husband up in front of your daughter (even if you dont agree) then she will know you are united. If you disgree you should take it up with your husband in private then decide if the decision still stands. There is nothing wrong with sitting everyone down and talking about the situaiton as a family. Sometimes getting everyting off your chest is good for everyone. I would also ask my ex not to come pick up your daughter again. She needs to know she cant manipulate the situation by running to the good parent.
And remember, this will all get better. When your in the middle of it it feel hopeless but before long things start to get better or if they dont she'll be going off to college ;)