Step Daughter - South Saint Paul,MN

Updated on October 05, 2010
A.V. asks from South Saint Paul, MN
10 answers

We have custody of my step daughter and she is 12 years old and goes to her mothers house every other weekend. For the past 4 weekends she has gone over there her younger sister has been biting her and leaving marks. She came home last night and it happened again her mother is not doing anything about it and now she is sharing a bed (double bed) with the biter who is almost 3. She lives out of a small 3 drawer dresser and we have had it. She should not be treated this way she is 12 years old. Has anyone gone thru this and what can we do? She loves her mother (obviously it is her mother) but we can not stand what is going on and we don't know what we can do, My husband (her biological father) call child protective services this morning but no one has called back and I am not even sure there is anything they can do since it is the sister biting not the mother abusing her. It is just so frustrating, and I feel so helpless. We should be protecting her from these kinds of things she has never been bit while at our house and she has even asked for her siblings over at her mothers to come spend time with us so they can have rules and punishment and that hurts that she knows there is such a difference. Please anyone who can help with anything would be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?

So my husband just got done talking to the county worker and he said there is nothing we can do except hire a lawyer and try and get her custody taken away which could take 6 months to 2 years as biting is not a priority for our county. and in the mean time she will just continue to get bitten because it is not an adult biting her or holding her down so she can get bit, and in regards to the sleeping situation because they are siblings sharing a bed it is perfectly leagal no matter what the ages are. Seriously what is wrong with this situation that it is ok for a 12 year old to continue to get bitten and have to share a bed with the biter. I am so pissed and frustrated right now and so very helpless that I can not protect my own child (yes she is my child we have had custody since she was 2 years old I am the one she calls mom and I am the one who does everything for her)

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answers from Dallas on

I was unclear about what exactly has been said to the mom, but maybe Dad should let her know just how seriously he is taking this. Get a counselor involved, get other people's support like grandma and grandpa or anyone else close to the family. I understand that you may have to get CPS involved, it can come to that, but take my advice as someone who has asked for help from CPS...they consider everyone a suspect. I guess they have to. But if there is any way to resolve this without involving them I would try that first. Good luck, I hate that you all are having to go through this.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

Oh my goodness!!! How sad! Can you have Dad let the mom know he called CPS and just tell her they told him to "document and take pictures"? This is neglect. He can even go as far as to tell her he will be filing a police report? Maybe that will scare her into doing something about it. Dad needs to let her know that under no uncertain terms will he ignore this and that his daughter's safety is priority number 1!

Your step-daughter needs you guys to intervene at this point! Have her back and fight for her safety.

Don't let the fact that fighting for custody can take long!! If the Mom is against it, she'll stop her young daughter's behavior.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It is the responsiblity of parents to keep children safe from each other and the outside world as best we can. The 3 year old is far too old for this kind of behavior but there seems to be no negative consequences for this action. In my family if some 3 year old had bitten one of the kids when they were 12, some of them would have definitely popped the kid by now.

Your 12 year old isn't the family doormat. Child protective services will ask some questions. Take some pictures of the wounds from the bitting. They may recommend the mother take some kind of parenting classes or they might find some other things that may need to be addressed. You always have the option of going back to court to request supervised visitation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Yakima on

First of all, take pictures and document!! Dates, names, where they were (ie: bed, kitchen, car, etc.) and who all was present at the time of the biting.

You state that the mother isn't the one doing the abusing, but really she is by proxy - and we call it neglect. She is neglecting to keep her child safe. You need to contact the police with the pictures of the bite marks and the documentation - keep the originals for yourself and give copies out. You need to give them to whomever her CPS contact is (usually there is one appointed within the courts to handle a custody issue), and fight like mad to keep this girl safe!

Give her a cell phone (or two - one that the mother can know about that is charged and may or may not actually be on a plan but will non-the-less call 911, and one that is hidden that really works so that she can call you from a secret location away from her mother) while she is at her court appointed dates with her mother. That way you can document the phone calls and what is told to you and remind her to call 911 from the phone the mother knows about. If the mother takes that 911 phone away, then you can explore the legality of that within the courts as well. However, be sure that your step-daughter makes a scene about 'losing her phone' and does not let the mother know about the second phone or she will be stranded!

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

If there is no problem with the 3 year old, (who is obviously old enough to know better than to bite) and child protection services won't do anything, why not tell the 12 year old to bite her back? I know it sounds childish and rediculous, but so does the 3 year old biting and noone doing anything about it. Also, when she bites her, tell the 12 year old to call you so you can go and pick her up... if the mother wants to involve police, the 12 year old can then tell the police that she does not feel safe because she is being injured and her mother is doing nothing about it.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I've been a stepmother for 25 years. Both of my stepchildren were physically abused by both their mother and their stepfather for years before we were able to get them to live full-time with us. There was much heartache, legal action, and money spent in the meantime. Child protection was of no help at all.

Of course you care about your daughter, but don't blow this situation out of proportion, please. She is not being physically abused by an adult, she is having sibling rivaly issues with a 3 year-old. Send a sleeping bag along and tell the 12 year-old to sleep on the couch, or the floor. As far as having just a 3 drawer dresser, she is there every other weekend, what more would she require?

I don't know what her relationship is with her mother, but it is necessary to help her preserve that for her as much as you can by working together to resolve this temporary issue.



answers from Philadelphia on

What if you tell her to bite her back ..the sister will think twice about doing it again if she realizes her sister is going to do something back.



answers from Minneapolis on

Can you send an air mattress and sleeping bag with her and have your daughter be the one to strongly urge Mom to allow her to set up and sleep in a different area or room? It might be different if the plea comes directly from the 12 year old, and not from her other family. If she doesn't have a lot extra space because of money I wouldn't judge her for that, but even having your 12 year old camp out in the living room or share her Mom's bedroom space is better than her getting hurt. The 12 year old should really respectfully plead her case since Mom hasn't changed logistics. Maybe she just doesn't have an ideas. They can brainstorm at least a temporary solution together. Actually BOTH girls may be happier with their own sleeping space. A lot of kids are biters, and maybe the Mom is working on it with the little girl. It seems the sharing a bed is the issue. When awake, a 12 year old should be able to defend herself from a 3 year old, and she can be supervised in the day time, but to leave her alone to sleep with another child is a bad idea.


answers from Los Angeles on

I wouldn't allow any more sleepovers. Work something out to ensure this. Up to and including showing up before bedtime to retrieve your child. On another note, is the 3 yr old capable of understanding that she is causing harm? If the mother is not able to discipline her children, that's one thing, but if this toddler is not able to control her actions through a dissability, that's another. If it's the latter, that's another reason for an intervention from child protective services. I would suggest hiring legal representation. I know you mentioned it would take 2 yrs., but it seems there may be problems down the line and this is the tip of the ice berg. The last thing you want to say is, "I should have taken action when we first started a problem with the biting issue." If by hiring a lawyer, it jars the mother into more hands on parenting, it is a win win situation. Doing nothing and expecting something different just seems feasible, especially with the health and well being of a child in the balance. Acting out on your child's behalf, is more important in showing her that you will exhaust every means necessary to keep her safe, I can't imagine she would feel as loved or cherished if her parents just threw their hands up in the air citing, impossible avenues as an excuse.

I have a son with a dissability and I am a stepmother to my 27 yr old daughter. I thank God everyday that he gave me the courage and determination to speak out against injustices against my son and get him the help he needed. He is now a normal 17 yr old football player. Just a neat kid. I also met the most precious angelic child in the world when she was 5. I married her father. Her Mom, my husband and I have always done what was in her best interest and I'm grateful her Mom shared her daughter with me. She is my daughter. She simply says, "I have two Moms!" I just hosted a beautiful baby shower for her and am now anticipating a grand daughter in November. I wish you the same successes with your family. God Bless you all.


answers from Dallas on

I can tell you love your step daughter very much. I do think your husband needs to talk to his daughter's mother more about this situation with the biting. I'm being the devil's advocate for a moment, but she may be verbally scolding her youngest child. I know my kids sometimes think I'm not doing any type of discipline with my youngest, there is a 9 & 11 year difference between the older two with our youngest. When I'm trying to correct the problem, they think he gets away with everything, and he doesn't. And I'm not saying your daughter is lying either, I'm just saying sometimes as a parent our children don't see our actions as discipline. The biting is bad, but do you think the mother is telling her youngest daughter to bite her oldest daughter? No, I'm sure this mother loves all her children. The biter is very jealous, that's obvious. I'm sure your daughter loves her little sister who is biting her, she doesn't like the action. I know at 12 years old it would be nice for her to have a room at her mom's house, however, maybe the mom doesn't have room for that or can afford that right now. She has to share a bed with her little sister, she has a 3 drawer dresser. Maybe that is all the mother can afford right now, and I don't see that being so terribly wrong.
I really wish you could have talked more with the mother, before calling CPS, it may cause more heartache on your daughter. I can tell you love your daughter, and are being a mother bear trying to protect her from all harm. Like you said she loves her mother and I think having a good relationship between you and your husband and her (if possible) is the best for your daughter.
Good luck!

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