August 03, 2008,
S.W. asks from Tulare, CA on July 30, 2008
Step Daughter Troubles
my step daughter is 12 and she still acts like a "little girl", when she is at my house if i even get around her dad she gets mad or will try to get between us,she trys to be very affectionet with her dad and it seems like she trys to do it to make me upset (but i dont get upset)and she wants to argue with me all the time , when she says really nasty stuff to me and i tell her father she just crys and says i am lying .please someone let me know that im not the most horrible person in the world. what can i do about this??? i forgot to mentoin that im not new to the family, ive been their step mother for four years and this has gone on the whole time
So What Happened?™
i have been spending alot of alone time with my step daughter, and the fighting has disapeered..we had a long talk and she said she really just wants my attention, i did explain that she isnt going to have positive attention to negative behavior, we are not considering therapy yet they have been in group sesions for a few years and i dont think we want to take that next step(since it is getting better) thank you to all you mothers that responded,.....
A.A. answers from Las Vegas on July 31, 2008
had to respond because I'm sitting here reading the responses, and flashing back to when my step mom came to live with us. Us being me and my dad. did you catch that? he WAS MY DAD... then he just became HER husband. get it? honestly, I WANTED sooooo badly to love her, and have a real mom/daughter relationship with her. I really did. but when I acted out, she ignored me. truthfully all that showed me was that I'll never be her daughter. she'll NEVER love me like she does their children. and it showed me that I didn't belong. I ran away at 14. I did all kinds of things that I pray and try my hardest to make sure my kids never do. My choices were wrong, but I'm sure deep down that had a whole lot to do with it. even running away was to try to get some kind of emotional response from her! HER not him. I think this little girl (she really is still a little girl that does need attention from her daddy!) is just wanting a relationship with YOU! I know I know. she's being a brat, and doesn't deserve it. and after 4 years of her acting this way she must be on your last nerves. well, I'm sure none of us are perfect... but if you truly do care about her. (and you must if your trying to get help... ) please tell me you do care for her, and not just wanting to get her out of your way to have her dad all to your self!!! anyway, you got some good advise. take her to the mall. take her to get ice cream. take her on your jog. take her to the grocery store. take her. take her. take her. I KNOW I would have started acting better if I knew (knew-not just heard) that she wanted me around. give her privileges that the other kids don't have because 'she the oldest'.. You get it? give her HER rightful place in YOUR family. then she will be able to give you YOUR rightful place in HER family. Oh, and don't let her get away with too much. When I first realized that my step-mom didn't love me was when I did bad stuff and she didn't say anything. even as a little girl I realized that if she cared she would have punished me. but try not to push her too far until you've tied some heart strings.
if you need to talk
4 moms found this helpful
E.S. answers from Los Angeles on July 31, 2008
Sounds like this little girl is insecure in her relationship with her Dad, I think that she needs a lot of love and reassurance from both you and her Dad. You didn't mention if her biological Mom was part of her life. If she is a product of divorce she might be feeling that you are taking her Dad away... Good luck!
3 moms found this helpful
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C.V. answers from Los Angeles on July 31, 2008
First of all, PLEASE don't take any of that advice about ignoring her. That is just sad- she is part of your family now and you should never treat her like a burdern in your life. How you help raise her now will greatly impact the rest of her life. Raise her with love and she'll not only respond positively to you down the road, but she will love you and appreciate you forever.
Do you spend 1-on-1 time with her? Take her to the movies, to the mall, clothes shopping, etc. Of course she's jealous, that's common problem, but with enough love it will get better. Teenagers are hard to deal with no matter what, I'm sure she will be acting out with her real mom as well. Just do your best to make her feel like you want her around.
Do you want her around? Do you love her? If the answer is no, then the problem isn't only with her. You may want to consider family counseling or even marriage counseling if your husband doesn't believe what you're telling him.
Sometimes you have to let pre-teen's/teenager's attitudes roll off your shoulders, remember YOU'RE the grown up so don't feed into her games.
Try some bonding things like painting her nails or letting her do your makeup, play board games as a family, have a family movie night where she gets to pick the movie you all rent.
Bottom line, let her know that you're all in this together and you're not trying to squeeze her out of the picture.
Good luck, and always keep your cool, don't fuel the fire by responding negatively to her crying out for security.
Put yourself in her shoes. Deep down all any child wants is our love!
3 moms found this helpful
S.R. answers from Reno on July 31, 2008
You are not the most horrible person in the world, but four years is too long for this problem to have gone on without resolution. My heart goes out to you because it sounds as though her parents have not dealt with the problems and assisted the 12 year old in acting with proper respect and manners. You are only 10 years her senior so there are all sorts of potential problems that you will have to turn into advantages - maybe you'll find that you have a better sense of what she and her friends consider "fashionable" than her parents do. Perhaps the two of you enjoy some of the same music? Can you teach her some dances that she's just dying to learn and impress her friends with? Your fantastic husband needs to help his daughter understand that while she will always be his beloved daughter with a very special place in his heart and life, you are his wife, his partner and he expects her to show you respect. He can help by giving her affection at appropriate times, but let her know that he is not going to give her affection when she is trying to horn in between the two of you or when she is being rude to you. He also needs to make it very clear that she is never to accuse you of lying and help her understand that he completely trusts you to care for her without questioning you. If she accuses you of lying or treats you with disrespect, he needs to make it very clear to her that he will be sending her home to her mother until (or some other appropriate change in privileges) she learns to behave correctly. If her mother is using her "child-free" time for herself, then it might be important for her to help the daughter learn to give you respect, also.
I do think it will help you if you find some activities that the two of you can do together - start creating your own memories and histories. She'll probably fight you at first so you'll have to make it VERY appealing! Perhaps your husband will watch the other children because he certainly should NOT be with you on these outings - they need to be girls only and no one competing for your husband's time.
God bless you and yours. I do hope that you will be able to resolve this, but it will take help from your husband and it would be nice if her mother would help her to behave better.
2 moms found this helpful
J.C. answers from San Diego on July 31, 2008
I really empathize with you. It is not easy raising a step family, because you can end up feeling unappreciated by the stepchildren. I think what is going on in your situation is that the 12 yr. old is having to share her dad's time with so many people that she feels left out. If you have two other stepchildren and a two year old plus you and the animals, that is a lot of people to share with. Maybe she subconsciously wants her mom and dad back together, I don't know. I think what would help out is if you encourage your husband to have 1 on 1 time with just his 12 year old while you watch the other children. He needs to find out her likes and dislikes and spend some time at least every week with JUST her. I think that will make your situation a little easier. Don't get in any confrontation with her, just treat her with respect.
2 moms found this helpful
D.C. answers from Los Angeles on July 30, 2008
You are not a horrible person at all. What it sounds like is happening is that your step daughter is possibly jealous of you being in her fathers life and is doing all she can to show him that she's his number one girl. I am not sure how long before you two were together that they were alone but it is a defense mechanism. My children don't like it when mommy and daddy touch each other and we think it's cute right now but there is a greater dynamic in your situation because according to her, you are the newcomer.
I would suggest counseling for all of you so that they can teach all of you how to have a blended family and to deal with the issues that are involved with having a blended family and a kid who may feel threatened by you being in her fathers life.
Things will get better but it's going to take some time. You have to have a lot of patience and at some point put your foot down with this young lady without being abrasive or condescending. But she has to understand as well that you are her new step mother and you are there because her father wants you there and you want to be there and you want everyone to be a family but try the counseling first and see how that goes.
1 mom found this helpful
M.V. answers from Honolulu on July 30, 2008
There is a wonderful book called I Don't Have To Make Everything All Better by Gary and Joy Lundgren that has among all its other fabulous chapters a specific chapter on the request in your post.
1 mom found this helpful
J.W. answers from San Diego on July 30, 2008
Your description tells me that you are already lacking in self love. Take some time for yourself, ignore her when she comes unless you can be very respectful of her and take some time for yourself to do what you want. Show her you don't need her but always show her respect even when she does not deserve it. When she is ugly to you tell her that you treat her with respect and expect the same from her. Then go take a bath and let him deal with his children.
1 mom found this helpful