I got divorced when my son was 4. Now he is 10 and I just got remarried to a great man who is a wonderful husband and a very active stepfather. Although my son has a nice relationship with his dad and stepmom, we have primary custody and our house is 'home' which helps a lot.
Ten is a hard age in general now- I see my son still a kid in some ways, but always wanting to be a little older, so some of the back-talk, etc. may be from that. But- you are totally right to want to take care of it. if you let it go now, it will be much much harder when you have a teenager on your hands who does not respect you!
While you can't know 'what she has gone through' and divorce is always hard on kids- don't let that be an excuse to let her get away with things- it sounds like this is what the rest of the family has been doing. She probably realized a while ago that this 'guilt card' works really well on daddy and the grandparents and is playing it up for all its worth! Not because she is a BAD kid- but just because she IS a kid and that is what kids do.
You and your husband MUST get on the same page with this. If you do not present a united front at all times, she is just going to get around your rules and try and play you off of each other. Again, not because she is bad or mean- that is just what kids do until (hopefully) they become mature enough to stop it OR are taught that it won't work! You and your husband have to be the grown-ups and not let that happen.
As hard as it can be- you cannot leave the 'hairy difficult stuff' to your husband. You have to be a team- and more importantly, your stepdaughter must SEE that you are a team. Remember- you are the stepmom. I understand that you want her to like you and have fun with you and that is a great thing. But- mom is not always FUN. Mom's job ( the job you've taken on) is not always to be fun- it is to teach, to keep a child safe ( sometimes from themselves!) and to provide a healthy structure for their life. The fun will come- trust me!
But I would say, worry more about gaining respect, and not too much about the rest of it.
Have a serious talk with him about this. What she does and is allowed to do now, is setting her up for her high school years. Tell your husband that even if it SEEMS like all she wants is gifts, more freedom, etc. most divorced kids really DO want rules and structure. Especially if she is not getting much of it at her mom's house.
Right now, as hard as you have tried to create your family- it sounds to me like she is still a little uncertain of how she fits into it. I believe she is looking forward to the baby- but that is still a little scary for kids who have never been through a divorce. Keep that in mind- but that doesn't mean the solution is to just give in to her whims.
Make sure that your husband understands too that being Dad is also not always about making your child happy every single minute. Divorced dads- especially ones who don't have custody- sometimes tend to overdo it. He means well, I am sure, and doesn't want to waste the time he has with his little girl on a fight. None of us wants to spend our time arguing with kids- but it happens and you can't let it define your whole family.
Even kids much younger than 10 can understand that we have different rules for different places. Your house = your rules. Period. It doesn't matter what time mom lets her go to bed or grandma lets her do or watch on TV- your house goes by your rules and she needs to earn her privileges by helping around the house and having a GOOD ATTITUDE about it!
My son only gets his allowance if he does chores- but with a good attitude. If he sighs and drags his feet and is a grump about it- no $$, lol! At first he didn't like it, but we have had MANY long talks about willing and that sometimes HOW you act about doing something is as important as getting it done. Your stepdaughter is undoubtedly going to get frustrated with you and your husband and pitch a fit, etc. but you just have to be consistent about what you ask her to do and HOW you want her to do it. Over and over.
First talk with your husband and get him to write up a list of rules with you: what is acceptable and what is not as far as talking back, behavior, etc. Also what chores your daughter will be responsible for. Make sure you have that all set ahead of time.
then you both go and talk to her TOGETHER. Explain that you both want to do everything you can to make sure that your family is a happy one. No one is going to be happy every single minute, but you are ALL a family and even if you get mad at each other, you always apologize because you love each other. Always remind her of that- if you hurt someone's feelings, say you're sorry and try hard not to do it again!!
Then go over the rules with her. Tell her that neither of you want to argue about things. It is hard for her to know exactly what is expected of her, so you want to make it easier- with the list to follow, she has no excuse if she doesn't do a chore or talks back. Talk about what specific consequences will happen if she talks back or doesn't do what she is supposed to and STICK to them.
So far all the stuff she pulls gets her exactly what she wants: more gifts, attention, etc. If she can't have her old life back, that is the next best thing right? Since her bad behavior is constantly rewarded, why WOULD she stop doing it? You have to raise the stakes so that negative behavior only brings negative consequences- not attention and rewards!
When she is polite, give her a big hug and tell her how much you love her and appreciate her help. Reward her when she helps out around the house. But most of all, you and your husband need to BOTH do the same things and stick to your plan!
You are a good stepmother- not a WICKED one, lol!- or you would not be so concerned about this and bother to ask what to do! Ignore mean-spirited posters below who just want to harp on their personal issues about God or divorce or whatever. Their negativity is not helpful and I don't know why they bother to post ina forum like this.
This little girl is lucky to have you, even if she does not always realize it now. Just be consistent and insist on the same good manners and rules you would for anyone else in your house. You guys can do this! good luck!