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How can I help my family stay together when we have a (step)daughter that is causing so much pain/drama

My husband and I have been married for 8 years. I have a son from a previous marriage and my husband has a daughter from a previous relationship. We now have three daughters together. I am so scared that I have taken so much abuse that there may be no point in return on my feelings toward my stepdaughter or husband. I really need help with this.
I that've fought, begged, pleaded and went above and beyond for this child to be part of our family and we, this family are the ones taking the beating.
To make a long story short, the past 9 years (including the year we dated) it has been tough dealing with my stepdaughter. She has been mean to her siblings including her stepbrother. She has made her dad cry with some things that she has said/done. She has abused her sister (babysitting, by not helping her to the bathroom and her sister pooping all over herself and she left her like that) because my stepdaughter was told no she was not getting to do something. For my sons birthday(a few years back), all boys were invited and she went joined in and taunted just him until one of his friends told her to go away and leave them alone. My son came in crying. Fast forward to today, this year 2010/2011-present. For homecoming a young man caught her off guard and asked her to go with him in front of the whole class and she felt obligated to say yes. She ended up telling the little boy no and her mom told her that was the lowest thing she had done in her life. She has also told her we were conspiring for her to live with us and for her to never go back to her house again (that was another time) Well I took up for her both times even after all the other mean stuff she has done to us. There is so much more, oh so much more. Since this time her mom I assume, felt bad and is now the friend again.
Aug. 13 was our anniversary and we were going to the movies and couldn't because school started and so much home work and papers we decided to do it another time.
In one week her driving she backed over a sprinkler, backed into a car and had a note on the winshield because of her parking. We tried to parent this situation but did not get through to her. The next week she lied to her SB coach so she would not have do whatever it was they were doing. Also to her dad. Last week she got to have her boyfriend over, we all had a great evening and they got to go to the school function the next day. Her phone was broken so I let her use mine to go to a school function, this is how we found the lie. My husband I decided we would go to the movies that night after they got back. When they arrived my husband told them what the plans were and she got mad cause she could not do what she wanted that night. She went in the room called her mom and said I was laughing because she could not go anywhere, she knew this would get a rise from her mothere. I wasn't even in the same area. But her mother has told my husband that I do all these things behind our daughters back.
This past week we find out that she was driving wreck less peeling out etc. in the school parking lot. The school called us and her mother ,which this week is where she was, and told of of the situation. We were very upset but nothing happened over at her mothers. We can't control things over there and it sure makes it hard to parent over here.
She has said and done things like telling me that she would not watch my kids "her sisters" and even if I make her that she will go to sleep and they wont be taken care of. She told my husband and I that she exaggerates to her mom about me when she is mad at me.
She hung up on her mother talked back to her dad all in the same day and still got to go to her bf's house. I don't understand.
My husband always says "I should have taken care Of this yesterday and we would not be in this situation now."
" I have a back like a duck, it just fools off my back.

Please do not get me wrong he tries when it gets really bad but I just think it should not get this bad before the problem is addressed.
He is a more logic person than I, but he let's things go that we wouldn't for our other children including my son.
I went to school to pick them up Monday and she decided on her own that she was not coming over here, which Is fine but instead if me dragging my sick daughter around and worrying about where she was , we could have communicated to her dad or he could have communicated to her mother about what was going on.
There is so much blame in every direction and I feel that everyone is at fault including me but I feel I am the only one trying to reach out for a solution instead of just pondering or not doing anything to help.

It has gotten so bad that I suggested to my husband that he and our daughter go to his parents until we figure all this out.
The last thing she told her dad was she did not want to come back here because of me.

Please help me figure something out for my family.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 2:06 PM on Aug. 29, 2012 in Teens (13-17)

Answers (11)
  • Okay first of all do not have her babysit her sisters anymore,, I would think this young lady needs to see a counselor,, and quick. I feel like she has resentment both from babysitting and her mother's input,, who is paying for car and car insurance? I think your husband and the mother need to have a long talk, you need to stop engaging with her period,, when she comes over, just be nice, but let your husband handle any and all issues. She is playing both sides of the fence, I don't think asking your husband to leave was a good thing to do,, get into family therapy as soon as you can.

    Answer by kimigogo at 2:19 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • If dad won't do something about his daughter, then there is no saving this. He needs to man up and be a FATHER. And being a FATHER means disciplining your child. Take the car keys away. Take privileges away.

    Family counseling TODAY. But I think you've already given them too many chances.

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:21 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • Take her car away and send her back to her mother. She has no respect for you or her father and will continue to abuse her siblings as long as there aren't any consequences.

    Whatever the problem is between you and her mother, you two should be working together to hold your SD accountable. Why doesn't her mother have her?

    Answer by QuinnMae at 2:25 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • I agree with everything kimi said. Also, I really think you need to set boundaries at your house. It won't be a picnic, but you can't just let her do watever she wants. Ground her from her phone, her car, going out, etc. Your DH needs to understand that he is the parent and she does not control him.

    Answer by Hollyhock. at 2:28 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • This is why families seek family counseling. (A counselor can see one motivated member of the family, or both parents....It's not about the entire family attending sessions.)
    You all are feeling unheard, mistreated, and unsupported. It feels lousy, doesn't it? Being heard goes a long way toward lowering stress/urgency, which is helpful for regrouping and beginning to make changes. Seeing where things have gone off-track (resulting in people feeling unappreciated, attacked, misunderstood...) is helpful in building family alliances and strengthening commitments, because you can begin to make changes.
    Communication is key, and people don't automatically communicate constructively, particularly around issues of conflict. It makes sense to need support, perspective, coaching...

    Answer by girlwithC at 2:37 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • It sounds like you are really patient and you go over the top to not offend or upset her and in turn with aid of her Mom she is walking all over you are and being her scape goat. Clearly this child has issues and this is not your fault,. On the other hand the only behaviour that is easy to change that you have full control over is you. Perhaps suggesting a few weeks of time out and asking the mother to take ther full realm so she can see for herself this child's issues with no scape goat would help. Perhaps you need to just stop even trying to be nice and be the ogre she wants you to be.and explain you can really be her ally when and only when you get her respect. This sounds like a situation where to get the control all parents really need to be on a united front. I am not saying that that is easy or that you can take full ownership but my understanding is that this is the root of the issue.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:44 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • It sounds to me like all of her privileges need to be taken away and earned back one by one. Cheeky little git.

    Answer by ABeaverhausen at 2:58 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • You know it is almost like dealing with jeckel and hide. If it benefits her she goes above and beyond to help wit anything but the moment she is told no the the war is on. Also, she tells her mother that I treat her like a second class citizen and she puts on a fake face when she comes over here. She says she doesn't get to do anything and when she she does it is because we feel sorry for her.
    Her mother told her father that she, the mother, believes nothing he/ we say and she believes only the daughter.
    She has no car we let her use my car. The privilage has been taken away. We are making her pay for the damaged car that she backed in to.
    My husband does try to parent, this is a really tough situation. I could only imagine being him. He has to hear them and us. I'm just scared that it is going to come down to an ultimatium and I just don't feel the rest of this family has to go through what my stepdaughter went through.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 3:00 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • I have been to counseling and I just suggested us talking to a priest.
    She is here 7&7 just like my son because we want our family to be a family as much as possible and my husband really is a involved dad. We don't think her being at her moms and getting that influence all the time will help her grow into a proper young adult. if we do that then there will be another person out in the world just like her. OUCH...
    Please do not get me wrong I do discipline her as I do the rest of our children because I do not feel this situation is special. My son is in the same situation and we discipline him when needed and trust me there are times he needs it too. Some of the issues we deal with are normal teenage things but majority of the things she does is not normal.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 3:11 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

  • Isn't she old enough to decide who she wants to live with full time? If she is and she still chooses to live with your family for part of the time then there is enough of something she likes or needs that she doesn't just stay with her mom full time. She probably likes the stability of your house. First thing is to make sure that you and your DH are a united front. That means that when you give her punishment, he doesn't go behind your back and let her off the hook (or vice versa). That will just undermine your authority (or his) and this will make her lose even more respect. I agree with PP's that suggested family therapy. Someone that specializes in blended families.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 6:58 PM on Aug. 29, 2012

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