Step Dad Has It Out for My Daughter...

Updated on October 15, 2010
B.G. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
36 answers

I have been married for 9.5 years now, I have a 15 year old daughter and together we have a 6 year old son. Lately I feel as though my husband has it out for my daughter. Example, we ask her to put her cell phone down stairs at night so she is not texting all night. i caughter her the other night with her Ipod on facebook texting that way. I asked her not to do it or I would take the ipod away as well. A couple nights later my husband caught her again, he took her ipod away, cell phone away and locked her out of the computer. I thought this was a bit much and told him the punishment needed to fit the crime and that taking her ipod away was more then enough, then he went into a bit thing about how disrespectful she is and lazy and all she ever does is watch TV and text. So I replied with she's 15, she comes home every day and watches her brother for 1-2 hours, you want her to go to bed at 9:00 and she's not allowed out with her friends.....what would you like her to do?!

I also told him that she is the only 15 year old that I know that goes to bed at 9:00 (we have since moved her bed time to 10:00), wasn’t allowed to hang out with friends on week night and has a limit on her unlimited text messaging. He would not let this issue go we fought for 3 days. During the 3 day fight my daughter decided to go for a run, this also made him mad because she was gone to long, so I called her and asked where she was, she replied that she had run to a friends house, oh I said good for you but you need to start coming home because it is getting dark out. My husband jumps to conclusions that she is up to no good, so in front of him I called the friends mom and asked if my daughter was there and sure enough she was her story was confirmed, again he was mad. I asked him I said I feel as though you “have it out” for her, he brushed me off and things were good for a few days. On Monday of this week I let her go for dinner to a friends house, again he was upset but I said she is done her home work and nothing else was going on she would be home by 9:00 and how is it that our son could go out the same night with his friends and he’s only 6?! Then tonight my husband was out, I fell asleep putting our son to bed and my daughter was having a shower and getting ready for bed, when he got home he was all over her because her phone and ipod were not down stairs yet, it was almost 10:00, I’m not totally sure what was said but I was woken up, her cell phone was taken away and everyone is upset.
My biggest concern is that she is not a bad girl, no drugs, no drinking unless I let her, she’s not having sex, she comes home when asked, she watches her brother everyday and sometimes on the weekend when asked, she plays school sports and is on the lacrosse team outside of school she’s just not a bad kid. She tries a few things like the ipod facebook texting but come on really?! If that is all I have to worry about I think I have it pretty easy with her, I feel he is making a giant mountain out of a mole hill and could upset her enough to turn her into a “bad” kid, you know well if he thinks I’m doing it I mind as well… what do I do? I love them both but can’t be in the middle, I totally think he is wrong and way out of line, am I wrong?

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So What Happened?

First I would like to say WOW this was my first time posting something like this and I really appreciate everyone’s opinion. I guess there are a few things I would like to clarify;
The first being the drinking…..I appreciate the no drinking, it’s illegal I get that, however I am a very open minded parent, my daughter and I talk about everything. The reason for letting her have a drink is because where we live the big thing is house parties and at these house parties some times there is drinking. The kids that attend these parties range any where from 15 to 18 so I would be a fool to believe there was no alcohol. I have made it a point to find out who the parents are, who’s going to be home, who’s attending the party, I drop her off I pick her up. I want her to go and be able to make the right decisions ie. not to drink. My thoughts are that if I let her have a drink at home with me in a safe and controlled environment then she is less likely to try it on her own or sneak it and so far it has been working. She knows which parties she wants to go to and which ones will be out of control and doesn’t even ask to go.

Second….the bio dad is out of the picture and has been since she was 4. My marriage has not been the greatest, we have had our share of difficult times. I do back my husband but no we are not on the same page these days at all. Last year is when I caught my daughter texting at night on her cell phone, since then every night the phone is to be placed down stairs before she goes to bed. We all agreed on this and have stuck with it now for long time. Now the latest crime is she used her ipod to text at night (cleaver I thought) but also against the rule of going to bed, the punishment that fits this crime well now you have to put your ipod down beside your phone, not for a few days, not for a few weeks but forever like the cell phone….simple right? What good does locking her out of the computer do? What does it have to do with anything? What I’m not understanding is why it has to go to the next level? We have all tried to sneak or pull one over come on she’s 15! Why he found it necessary to call her a liar and freak out when it wasn’t even 10:00 yet is beyond me, that’s why I say I think he is looking and waiting for her to do something to catch her.

I have asked that we get together tonight to discuss exactly what our rolls are and what the rules are so that we both understand and can enforce them together….stay tune!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Wow...not to alarm you but when I was a teenager my friends stepdad had her locked down like that too. He never let her call us (no texting back then), she couldnt visit etc. She finally confided that he was sexually abusing her at night and thats why she couldnt sleepover or be "unavailable" for him. I dont want to imply thats what is happening here but it just sounded SO similar that I hd to let you know.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Well I know that as they get older things get a little harder. First, is he the only father in her life and when did their relationship begin? Does she respect him and his wishes? Also do you back pedal things that he has decided on a whim in front of her? There are many sides to this problem. How was he perceived as a teenager? How was his relationship with his parents?
I agree there are limits to the phone, texting and facebook. She will be an adult in 3 years and he is going to have to start backing down a little if you want to have a relationship with her at all. If she gets good grades, plays a sport and barely gets to hang out with friends then that is her only outlet. My daughter is 16 and sometimes her homework keeps her up till midnight, she drives now and is also allowed to use her phone and facebook. If she is doing homework though it is all off. You just need to set boundaries, but if her bedtime isn't until 10 then give her the responsibility to get the phone and ipod downstairs by that time. If it doesn't happen, then the punishment should stand. She needs to be independent, but if this keeps up, she will be independent in a much different way.


answers from New York on

remind him she will be in College soon and should practie making (some of) her own decisions My parents were kinda strict with me and when I went to college I really enjoyed the freedom I mean too much! so I wanted my daughter to start practicing dealing with freedom her senior year. (not so much at 15 though) i think go to a family counselor and the two of you can make up the rules TOGETHER with counselor as a negotiator

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answers from Washington DC on

Ok, as I understand this story, the cell phone was taken a way because you didn't want her to be texting in her room at night. However, you trusted her with several other means of night time texting. Despite the fact that she knew you didn't want her night time texting, she went used one of the other methods to night time text. Your husband discovered that she was night time texting and thus punished her by removing all the means of night time texting. To me that seems like a reasonable punishment for a defined period of time -- assuming 2 things: 1. She knew that the reason the cell phone was taken away was because she was not allowed to text at night. (I would probably have a specific time, like no texting after 9PM.) 2. She needs to know why you don't want her texting all night -- she needs her sleep. These rules are not about running her life. They are simply because you all love her, and want what is best for her. She needs to understand this. She needs to hear both of you tell her you love her. Also, this is a trust issue -- you took away the cell phone to make a point, but you trusted her to respect your point by allowing her to keep the other texting devices. Did you violate that trust? She needs to understand that trust is a very delicate thing. Taking away all the devices for a set time, sends a clear message that violating the trust is a BIG issue. She also needs to hear the words. Together you and your husband need to explain to her why this is the right punishment and how long it will last. (You have to back your husband up on this one because it has already happened. Showing your daughter a divided front between the two of you is only going to result in more problems later.)

So on the first one I am kind of on the side of your husband but I would set a specific time that the devices need to be downstairs; and I would also list what devices. I would back up my husband's punishment for an agreed upon time period, and I would let him be the one to tell her when she'll get them back.

I think the 10PM bed time on a school night is reasonable.

Regarding the seeing friends during the week. That seems like a bigger issue that you all might need to work out. She does need a social life; however, she also needs limits, and you need to know where she is. Does she have any responsible girl friends that she could have over once or twice a week to help her watch her brother?

We always had a rule when I was growing up, and I have it with my children. The parents need to know where you are going and when you'll be back. If you will not be home on time, you must call before the time you were due to arrive. It was also explained to me when I was a kid, and I have explained it to my children this way -- this rule is not to control you, it is because we love you and care about you, and when we don't know where you are we worry. Calling or being on time, is about being consider of other people's feelings and being respectful. Given all this, I would have a HUGE problem if my daughter went for a run to a friends house and I had to call her to find out where she was. She should have called me. She wouldn't be going running alone for a couple of weeks.

It also sounds to me that your husband is scared that something is going to happen to your daughter. He may be being "overprotective" but this is probably because of fear. I know my husband and I have the biggest fights when we are worried about our children. We aren't really mad at each other we just get really emotionally keyed up and yell when anything bad happens to our kids.

Remember most guys aren't worried what the girls are going to do, they are worried what the guys are going to do. Remember they were once teenageboys, we weren't. They may have a point that we haven't really considered.

It sounds to me like your husband cares about your daughter very much, and that you and your daughter are very luck to have someone in your life that cares this much. Now you just have to work on communicating better, which isn't easy.

Good Luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Your not wrong, he needs to chill out. If shes a good kid she doesnt need all of this negativity. You and hubby need to have a heart to heart, because your daughter IS going to go insane. If shes always put down and yelled at for silly stuff, she might just give up and be bad, I mean if thats how shes thought of anyways, why not?

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answers from Columbus on

Children who live with men who are not thier fathers are in more danger from them being abusive in all ways than they are from any other man in their lives. That being said, if your husband is her "acting" father and has always been involved in her dicipline, then you may have set this up and it will be hard to undo it now that you don't like his ideas. If not, I would assert your parenting status and her fathers parenting status as the people who make descions for your daughter. This all sounds unreasonable to me, and some of what sounds unreasonable is that you spent three days arguing about it with your husband in front of our daughter. That you are not on the same page with a man that you live with about something as simple as texting, and what to do when a teen breaks a rule, then there are more serious issues at the heart of this that have nothing to do with your daughter. Don't let a child be the battleground. The whole thing should be handled between you and your husband. Maybe some marital counseling would help you come to a better understanding.

Ultimately, it does not matter who is right, and who is wrong, and if your focus is being the "winer" you are in a dangerous place in your relationship and it is spilling over into your kids worlds. They need more stability than that. Get some help, and make it your mission to be happy as a family, happy in your primary relationship, and be on the same happy page with your husband, not to be right.


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answers from Detroit on

No, you are not wrong, and you need to tell hubs that he needs to seriously lighten up , because you should not have to choose between him and your daughter, and she was your daughter before he was your husband. What is he so worried about and why is he insisting on being such a control freak?

EDIT: Just caught the part about you letting her drink and the "what happened" part where you explain yourself - I still don't buy it though, and do not agree with allowing her to drink because "it's going to happen anyway." Kids need their parents to be parents, and to let them know that some things at the age of 15 are just not acceptable. If something happens to underage kids at a party where there has been drinking, the parents will be ones held responsible.

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answers from Orlando on

I think a couple of counseling sessions are in order for you & your husband to iron out what is appropriate for her discipline & how much he should be involved. You need an unbiased opinion.

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answers from Dover on

You and your husband need to have a talk and come to an agreement. Sounds like you need to be the one to handle your daughter (back him up, but you should be the one to discipline her). I say that not because he is the stepfather but because he doesn't seem to know how to handle a 15 yr old. He may also be of the opinion (like some people are) that boys and girls have different rules. I don't think the locking out of the computer was unreasonable but the "contolling" of her every minute is.

I had a friend growing up whose stepfather was very controlling about where she went, with who, and for how long (even more than my family was with me) and unfortunately it turns out he really didn't see her as his "daughter" and had other ideas. Not saying that is the case with your hubby and daughter but please keep an eye out.

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answers from Washington DC on

He is a step father. He should NOT be disciplining your daughter. He should absolutely leave that to you. It is not his place.
If he simply stepped out, that would solve your issue.
She sounds like a terrific kid.

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answers from Biloxi on

15 year girl in our neighborhood had very permissive parents. She was allowed to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. She had a baby this summer - pregnant in 8th grade.

There is a reason we need to know what our children are doing and when they are doing it and who the are hanging out with. Permissive parenting is fine up to a point but I think you are allowing your daughter to rule the roost. Nothing her (step)father has done seems out of line. She broke the rules and she was punished. She left the house for a "run" but she really had her own agenda and disregarding the rules again. You are making excuses for her and putting her desires ahead of your husband. She sees this, recognizes it and it gives her power over *your* marriage.

15 year-olds should not be allowed to drink, hang out all night on school nights and disregard house rules - rules laid down by both parents. You are setting yourself up here.

Get with your husband, lay down firm, clear rules, then everyone, yourself included needs to up-hold them.

Have you stopped to think that maybe having a teenage daughter is freaking your husband out and that he is worried about her?

Good luck to all of you.

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with those that said you and your husband need to sit down and talk about this- preferably with a counselor. I have a friend who is a step mom to two teenage boys- she has been their step mom since they were 4&5, but they don't listen to her when she tries to discipline them and her husband doesn't back her up. It sounds like you are doing the same thing with your husband. I think that you should be the one to discipline her, but it has to be in a way you both agree to before hand, and if he has to discipline her and you don't agree with the punishment- talk to him privately about it.
Personally, I don't think he was out of line for taking away her stuff after you had both told her not to do it, and she did it and was caught first by you and then by him. But then again, I hate text messaging and none of my kids are getting cell phones until they can pay for them themselves!
My kids do their homework and chores on school nights and we have play time with friends on Fridays and Saturdays. Every once in a while they will be allowed to go over to a friends house after school until dinner, but never until bed time(my oldest is 10- so bed time is 8:30).
Honestly, he(your husband) doesn't sound too bad- he did agree to move her bed time back- he sounds frustrated that he is left to do the punishment and that you don't support him. I think that if you had appropriate punishment for your daughter when she breaks the rules and supported him when he felt the need to step in, he would calm down.
I would be upset with my daughter if she said she was going for a run and then was at her friends house for a couple of hours- 1-because I would feel like she deceived me and 2- because I didn't' know where she was(she wasn't' where she said she would be). For me, that's a big deal. You need to be where you said you are going to be. If she wanted to take a run to her friends house- that would be fine, but I feel she should have told you.
Anyway, I will most likely be eating my own humble pie in a couple years when I go through the same thing with my kids in a couple of years! So, good luck!

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answers from Memphis on

My step dad was the exact same way with me. He was soo obsessed with what I was doing all the time. When I started working at 16, I BEGGED them to call my house to say they needed me to come in and work for a little bit (I would work and not always get paid for it). He would sometimes drive by the restaurant to see if I really was there. It also drove a wedge between me and my mother. 12 years after they got divorced we are finally able to have a decent relationship. I still won't/can't talk about him with her.

I would seriously suggest counseling but people like that usually aren't willing to go because they don't think they have a problem. My step dad didn't until it was too late.

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answers from Savannah on

First off, STOP letting your child drink!!!!! She may not be doing it other places now but it could lead to it and then sex, drugs and other things!!!!

Second, I don't think you husband is being too strict on her!! She is to have her cell phone down stairs so she can't text right??? But she was caught by you and then by your husband texting on her ipod right?? Then yes, computer and Ipod should be taken away I'd say for a week!! She isn't stupid, she knew she wasn't supposed to be texting at night but she found a way to do it. Punishment fit the crime and next time it should be taken away longer if she does it again.

Maybe your hubby is being over protective with her but she's 15!! When I was in school girls were pregnant at 16, 17 and one had twins!!!!

All 3 of you need to sit down and talk about bed times, going out on week nights and other rules. Let her have her say about how she feels about bed time and what not. She is old enough to have an opinioin and she needs to feel like it counts too and you'll do that by letting her be involved in the process. She'll also know ahead of time that if she comes home late what her punishment will be, etc. It's about open communication and compromise and you want to keep that open to her during the teen years!!


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answers from Los Angeles on

Your instinct is RIGHT! and I'm sorry that I don't know what advice to give you about your husband.

But with regards to your daughte, do your best to affirm her everyday (express verbally to her how proud you are of her - especially at this age, she needs it!).

At the very least, show sympathy and understanding to her and she should be fine. If she knows that she has her mother's trust, that can make up for a lot!!

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answers from Topeka on

I am a stepmother to our now adult son, and I can tell you it is a TOUGH job!!!
I think that you and your husband need to sit down together, just the two of you, at a time when you are not emotionally charged...and CALMLY discuss the general rules and regulations that you want BOTH of your children to follow!!! I can tell you that children zero in on parental disagreements like a stealth bomber and they will take advantage of it at every single chance they get!!
Your first scenario...with the cell phone, Ipod and texting at night....I come down firmly on the side of your husband. Your daughter KNEW that you didn't want her texting at night...her sleep is important...she needs to be well rested to do well in school. She KNEW that she was breaking the rules when she started texting on her Ipod...but she just hoped that you would allow it to continue to avoid a confrontation!!! I think that the punishment definitely fit the crime in this case.
The one thing that you said that really unnerved me is that you are ALLOWING a 15 year old girl to drink alchohol!! You have no idea what mischief alchohol and teenagers can get into together!!! Not only is it illegal (and punishable by law in a lot of states!! ) to allow a minor to drink but to me it is sending the wrong...WRONG message to her at such a young age. Her brain is already in a whirlwind as she go from teenager to young adult and then to add the confusion of even a small amount of alchohol is, to me, very irresponsible. I know you didn't ask about this issue but as a caring parent I just feel like you might want to rethink this.
It sounds to me like your daughter is a good girl at heart...and that your husband loves her and wants only the best for her...what you need to do is get everyone on the same "team" and start working together instead of against each other.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

If you've been together for almost 10 years then your daughter should view your husband as her "Dad' (unless her bio dad is still in the pic) and they should have a MUTUALLY RESPECTFUL relationship. It doesn't sound that way. I speak from experience - my bio Dad died when I was two, my mom remarried when I was 6 and my Dad (who I never considered my step-dad) was quite tough on me - very abusive, condescending and it was EXTREMELY hard to grow up in that house. It doesn't sound like your husband is quite there yet - but he shows all the signs. Please intervene on your daughters behalf if you REALLY don't believe the punishment fits the crime, etc. I was always amazed that my Mom would sit back and watch while my Dad verbally and physically assaulted me - and while we're all very close now (I'm 36 and moved across country shortly after college) I'll always wonder why she allowed it to happen. Be strong - these are your children, your family, your spouse - work as hard as you can to develop a scenario that works for everyone.

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answers from Detroit on

First of all, don't let her drink period, not until she's at least eighteen and only if she's at home. First of all, talk to your husband, find out why he's reacting this way, there might be something else going on. Also, you need to set some ground rules.

I was not allowed to see my friends during the week while I was in school, of course, I lived 8 miles outside of town, but regardless, week days are for school.

Here's how my schedule was:
-Homework done right after getting home from school
-Dinner with the family then clean up
-TV time (1 hour)
-Read in my room until lights out

It was very structured which is a good thing, kids need structure. I didn't have a cell phone in high school nor did I have an i-pod (10 years ago) but I would say no texting past 9pm but she can't be glued to the electronics either. Good luck!

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answers from Columbia on

So i would like to say that your daughter is amazing. No drinking, drugs or sex? wow.

I do believe your husband is in the wrong. BIG TIME! I think he needs to relax big time. Y'all seem to be doing a great job with her and shes a teenager. At 15 I didnt even have a bedtime, as long as i made it to school and my grades didnt slip my mom allowed me to do what i wanted. I think its time you sit down with him and tell him you need to have a serious talk, no arguing, yelling or anything. Explain to him that shes 15 years old, shes growing up and its only normal for her to enjoy spending time with her friends or text messaging. Explain to him that y'all have it good with her and it could be much worse.

At 15 years old i was drinking heavily, had been having sex for over a year, already had 2 pregnancy scares, moved in with my 21 year old boyfriend (my mom only allowed it because i told her if she didnt let me i'd run away and she wouldnt ever see me again) and i was experimenting with drugs. I'm not proud of any of that but it's my past and ive made my share of mistakes, i learned my lesson and now im 20, a mommy of one and i have grown up way more then i could have ever expected.

good luck!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Um... no drinking unoless you let her? WHY would you allow a 15 year old to drink alcohol?

Sounds like she is good kid though, and stepdad needs to chill. Or you two need to meet in the middle a bit. I'm with him on the taking away technology after a certain point in the evening, but I see nothing wrong with her going out for a run or popping over to a friends house as long as she keeps in touch and lets you know where she is and works done, etc. I think it's weird he kinda flipped over that.

Is she respectful to him (and you?) has she ever given reasons not to trust her? hen I think stepdad can let out the reigns a bit. You however seem super permissive (because of your drinking comment) so you are coming from the opposite end. You might need to bring the reigns IN. Like I said, meet in the middle. And make sure you discuss all this when daughter isn't around, so in her eyes you always look like you are on the same page and supporting eachothers rules. On that note, Stepdad should stop thrwoing down edicts about phone usage, etc without consulting you first.

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answers from San Diego on

Hello, Since you are not going to agree on your daughter's discipline, I would tell him that for now, you will be making decisions regarding your daughter. Maybe you could tell him it's a girl to girl thing and he just doesn't understand how it is to be a 15 year old girl. I don't really see the problem with her going to a friend's house if her homework and other responsibilities are done, as long as she has a time where she has to be home. It sounds like he is being a little unreasonable, but maybe it's just been too long since I had a teenager in the house. I am a Grandma now. The phone being left downstairs should not be in effect until bedtime unless there is another reason for her to lose it earlier. She really does sound like a good girl who is just being a teenager.
Good luck with your precious family.
K. K.

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answers from Las Vegas on

I'm a step mom to 4 kids and a mom to 1. I've seen all 4 kids thru their teenage insanity and I can tell you your daughter is a good kid. My rule from day 1 with my husband is that I AM NOT the disciplinarian. Even though we live in the same house he is their father so he is responsible. You should be the person who is making the choices for your daughter's behavior. I think it's fair for you to get his input and it's vital that you have his support but he doesn't need to be the one to decide when she can and can't have the cell phone. Your daughter perceives this as you taking his side and putting him first when you KNOW he's not being fair to your daughter. I think you should make sure she is respectful of your husband but it's you that needs to be the one to make the rules. Cowing to him will only harm your relationship with her and may teach her that allowing your husband to treat you or others disrespectfully is acceptable or normal. It sounds to me like you already know what you want to do as far as taking control of the situation. Do it! If you don't have confidence at first then fake it. You will find the courage to put your foot down and demand your daughter be treated fairly. You are her only advocate in the family. Without you just imagine how she feels. As far as the's your business and you know your own kid. My son is 3 so it hasn't really come up yet!! I'm sure it will and I'll make the choice based on our lifestyle and my son's maturity. You need to find your strength. It will be your daughter taking care of you when you are 100 years old. Make sure you take care of her now.

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answers from San Francisco on

I agree with you on the drinking part, come one lets not pretent it doesn't happen here! Better to be in the loop then out of it, and no this doesn't mean let your teenager drink all the time. But I know when my Son is old enough I wont be a "blind" parent! ;)

and you should praise your daughter for all the good things she does. Your husband probably loves his daughter and would act the same way if she was "blood" related (but its be honest here, blood doesnt always matter!) and if he is like my Dad was. My brother was able to do things MUCH younger just because he is a male and am female. Old traditions die hard! It sucks being the ref but it must be done.. :) get into some consuleing and work it all out, then things will be better!



answers from San Diego on

She sounds like a really good girl. I also have a 15 year old, and we let her do lots of stuff, but going to parties is not one of them. (I mean the large boy/girl parties that end up on the whole street, etc.) Kids that are otherwise good become not so good at parties! I really wouldn't let her drink at home with you - she'll just get confident that she can handle it, and she'll like the effects, and drink elsewhere. I would never let my daughter drink even with me. But my husband and I don't drink anyway so it's a no brainer for us. (But we did as teens, that's why we're so cautious with her.) I sure hope your husband lightens up a little - that could tear a marriage apart. If it gets worse, maybe family therapy would help. My daughter goes to bed around 10:00ish, and she's allowed to do facebook and text as long as her homework is done. She's also allowed to go to her friend's house on weeknights, which is rare, but only until around 8:00 and if her homework is done.


answers from Austin on

Ok, here is what we did with our daughter.

She was a good kid. An excellent student and athlete. she had good friends and respectful (most of the time.. she was a teen after all)..
School was her number 1 priority. As long as her grades were kept high, we would allow her to ....

text all night if she wanted, but she had to get up without whining and go to school and make good grades. IF this did not work.. we did not want any texting after 9:00..
She learned pretty quickly on her own, she needed sleep.. SHE told her friends she needed to sleep..

Our daughter did not have a time she had to be asleep by.. she controlled this.. she is now in College and still does not go to bed till 2:00 am.. It works for her she is always on the Deans' list..

If our daughter went to a friends house during the week, it was only after any chores were completed and her homework had been completed. We did want her home by 9:00 on week nights, so we could get ready for bed..

Our daughter had to keep us updated on her whereabouts. If plans changed, she was to call us immediately.. If it was a huge change.. She had to come home and discuss it with us in person.. Example.. planned on attending the football game, but decided to go shopping instead.. Or decided to go to a party instead.. We wanted to make sure she was really ok with these changes without her friends hovering over her phone call.... sometimes this gave her an out.. when she did not want to do what they had decided..

Let your daughter take on some of the responsibility with her choices.. she will learn very quickly that she needs her sleep, her grades could suffer and SHE is ultimately responsible for her choices..

Your husband seems to be doing this in a backwards way, causing your daughter to test the rules more than necessary.. Let her know She will be the one to control what she can do and not do, based on how she treats her freedoms.. Right now she does not want to tell you all the truth, because she does not want to have to deal with the untrust in your home..


answers from Denver on

Late answer - but you are RIGHT that treating a good kid like a bad kid can cause them to become that "bad kid." Boy howdy, do I know that - that was ME!

I hope you have told your husband THAT too. Best of luck toy ou.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Have you tried posting the house rules and the consequences for breaking a house rule? That way, there's no guesswork involved in the consequences for breaking a rule. The rules should apply to both kids equally.
It would be really hard to have anyone else disciplining my kid! I would try to eliminate any type of "irrational grounding" by agreeing on the rules, the consequences and the plan.



answers from Enid on

i have to agree with you on the whole drinking at home thing. my mom never made a big deal about drinking, so parties and drinking werent a big deal to me. i was always the sober driver from parties and i still dont drink, because it wasnt a big issue in my household. Now my husbands parents were very strict, no alcohol was alowed at all. and so it was like he had to do it, in excess. He is still like that now. he cant have just a beer or two, he has to keep drinking. i think its just imbeded in his brain now lol.(he doesnt drink often, just on special occasions) but i think your husband is out of line. maybe he has something else going on, stress at work? maybe hes just worried because he remembers what teens do. i hope the best for you guys!



answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, your husband is being unreasonable and mean. You are her Mother and it is your job to be an advocate for her. Don't get into it with him in front of her - but do speak to him privately about his strict rules and unnecessary punishments.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi B.,

I am sorry you are in this situation. You didn't mention what their relationship was like when she was younger, but Im assuming it was relatively good or this wouldn't be a new problem. I can understand where you are coming from, as I have a 14 yr old and my husband is his step dad. We went through the same thing, and I was constantly telling my husband to back off and wondered why he had it out for him. His brother was a relatively good kid, but hit teenage years and went wild. I think he is projecting something onto your daughter. Maybe you should talk about it and find out why he is reacting so harshly. 9 yrs is a long time and too long to be suddenly having a parenting conflict. There has to be a root to this problem and if you and your husband talk it out, Im sure you'll find it. Also, you might try the 3 of you sitting down and carefully outlining the rules and expectations, and have your daughter come up with consequences for herself, in advance of course. I have found they tend to be a bit harsher than we would be, and have a more thorough understanding if they are included.

Your daughter sounds like a good kid and a normal teenager. I'm sure your husband is just worried and wants to make sure she stays that way.

good luck,




answers from Los Angeles on

I've always believed that, where a step-parent is involved, the biological parent should be doing the disciplining.

It sounds like you've got a good kid on your hands and I'd be careful with OVER doing the discipline and pushing her to rebel - which is where your husband sounds like he's going.

I would suggest the 3 of you sitting down and writing down house rules and the consequences that come from breaking those rules. That way, your husband knows his limits, your daughter knows her and you can rest easy that your husband won't blow a situation out of proportion. Keep them simple and focus on the important issues. Is it really that big of a deal if she's in bed at 10, or just that she's not texting/on the phone after 10?


answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't read any of the responses below, but having come from a childhood/teenagehood with ULTRA-stict and what I felt were completely unreasonable parents (based on the fact that I was a good kid in general, got straight A's, etc.) I would say that your husband is treading a thin line in trying to manage what he sees as problem behavior.

From what you've relayed she sounds like a good kid going through the normal throes of the teenage years. What you don't want is for her to rebel and start exhibiting undesired behavior, acting out against what she feels is unfair. It took me many, many years to forgive my parents after my teenage years (their unreasonableness goes beyond what I'll go into here) and I know you don't want that. Good luck, B.; remember the ultimate goal is to stay close to your teen so that she has the trust in you to come to you for help, advice etc. when she really needs it and so she feels like her family is on her side.



answers from Las Vegas on

When we were in decision making years with my (our) daughter, I had to stop myself from protecting her and stay out of it. I allowed him to discipline her as well as permit her to do things and provide for her. I figured I had to learn to allow him to do what he felt was right. If I disagreed, I would ask him later if it was the right thing to do and he would clean it up later, not me. Believe me, it wasn't always a perfect or pretty picture.

It sounds like the two of you are on two different pages. It is important for the two of you as parents to get ahold of right from wrong and why. Unite the values.



answers from Los Angeles on

I think that you're very wrong and here's why...
It's important that kids learn discipline and to follow directions. This is the intention when giving chores or instructions to kids or teens. If these orders are not obeyed fully, kids should expect consequences. Again the point of this is to teach a kid to be less emotional and more rational. Learn to do what you're told and not what you feel like.
When your husband is disciplining either one of the kids remove yourself as you understand that he's doing it for the well being of that kid. After all this is the man that you chose to bring into your life and that of your daughter. Your daughter should not be drinking at all, (water is ok!!) as she's only 15. There's no way to enforce rules once a kid likes a certain behavior and spends time away from the house. Don't put yourself and most importantly, don't put your daughter in a situation where she feels is ok to drink when she's with you or with your permission, as she'll most likely do it when she's not around you.
Folks please take parenting issues/styles seriously when choosing a mate as avoid one less headache in your future relationship!!
Best of luck to you and yours!!



answers from Los Angeles on

Oh wow do I know how that feels from your daughters end. I am 21 and still remember what its like being 15, dont we all. I would never go to bed when i was supposed to, I wasnt tired at all. my parents let me stay up till midnight as long as I didnt conplain how tired I was in the morning, if i did than i would have a normal bedtime. I would try letting her sleep when she wants to sleep. eventually she will be so tired she will start going to bed at a decent time. With he texting all the time, she is a normal teenager and is going to find anyway to talk to her friends, if you take everything away from her and seclude her so much she WILL rebell as I did. I think the drinking thing is fine, I have a 3 month old daughter and when she gets to this age I want to be a open parent like you are, i think that makes them more opt to come and talk to you when they need to. IE talking about sex and drinking and drugs. We all come to a point in our life when we need to talk about that stuff, and if you dont have someone to talk to than you will wing it and thats where it can get messy. With your husband I also understand, me and my husband dissagree all the time and ours in only 3 months old. I think he is like my dad, he is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact she is growing up can start making her own decistions (within reason) Try talking to him and explaining that you want to be the open parent that she can come talk to, and if he doesnt start trying to be like that she will come to resent him. My parents were the same way my mom was the square and my dad was easy going (sometimes it was vis versa) I new there was somehting i couldnt talk to my parents about at all. It was hard too because it led me down the wrong path there for a while. Also Im not saying you do, but if you do. please dont fight in front of your kids, exspecially about them. My parents did that alot and it was really hard on me as a teenager. I love them both very much though.
I hope this helps.



answers from Washington DC on

Do not argue about this in front of her. She will take sides and then the issue will be bigger.
Is he jealous? Does he see you as spending too much time or energy on the kids and she an easy skapegoat?
She broke rules, MY son broke rules and was locked out of the computer and we locked the tv. This was my hubby;s idea, I though it too much too. He's the stepdad but it turned out his way was OK.
I have a 15 year old now. She does not go out on week days unless it;s to church with us on Wednesday nights. Other nights she is in bed at 9ish asleep by 10.
If you want the electronics in the kitchen make it a rule and go get them.
Talk to hubby and tell him some of his requests are unreasonable. She has until 10pm to get her electronics down stairs. If at 10:15 they are not there then she loses them. Just don't tell her and at 10:15 go get them and put them away for a day, two or whatever.
Maybe she is a good kid, but she is being sneaky and will find other ways to circumvent the rules if you and hubby are not on the same page.
3 more years is a long time.

My hubby and son are very close now that he is out of the house. Hubby was very hard on him, much more so than your hubby is on your daughter. It was hard to watch sometimes, but now he is a very successful.

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