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My 12 year old stepdaughter is defiant and still throws screaming tantrums...any advice?

My 12 year old step daughter and I have been together for 5 years. I became her full time mom from day one. I only use the term stepdaughter here to clarify that I did not enter her life until 5 years ago.Grandparents and other friends commented on her defiant behavior early on but continue to placate all of her desires. She has no hobbies or interests but facebook and shopping. She throws a tantrum if we suggest going for a walk or bike ride or reading a book. I don't mean that she just says no I don't want to...I mean she will fly into a screaming rage if asked twice. My husband has five older children all sons. All active and polite people. He chose from the beginning of our marriage to let our daughter use tantrums and belligerent language whenever she felt like it. At first his disregard  of her behavior caused me to think he did not love me. Now I understand that he enjoyed having boys and writes off all bad behavior by her as being common female traits. I also have a daughter of my own the same age. She has never said one word to my husband in disrespect in all of these years. My biological child has learned to take the good with the bad and the two of them get along fairly well. I am still struggling and abhor tantrums and need some advice from someone. She accepts no direction from me and since I have little or no back up from my husband I feel very alone. To top it off she turns on the charm when grandparents or aunts or teachers are around now. The relatives are constantly taking her shopping or to lunch...undermining anything I try to teach her about good behavior bringing rewards and bad behavior as being negative. I do the whole thing about telling her I love her I just do not love her behavior. That means nothing to her when she is not getting her way. thank you for considering this conundrum and I hope some nice mom will reply.


Asked by notjustmom213 at 8:26 AM on Dec. 11, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 10 (467 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • 1. It is all your husband parenting issue. Whatever he let her she will do. You need to take your husband to a counsellor by himself or with you (couple counselling). You have to be firm and tell him he harms her daughter, you and your daughter as well. If he can't say no for her and her behaviour she will be a bully at home, at school. And today people are really don't like bullies. Tell him what his daughter does called abusive behaviour. And you both are responsible to change it to something good. I would send her to a counsellor as well. But first your husband needs to be convinced that there is a big parenting problem with his behaviour. And you can't do that alone. Family can't talk or counsel family member. You need someone professional from the outside. And really quickly. This behaviour will get worse and worse. And after a time it can go aggressive as well.

    Answer by adriennfaklya at 9:41 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • have you tryed consuling......maybe being raised by all men for the first part of her life she lost as to how to behave.....and at 12 i would think her hormones are starting to kick in......and the other thing you need to do is have a frank conversation with you DH about this behavior and how it is effecting your relationship.....

    Answer by cara124 at 8:40 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I agree that you should try counseling that includes your husband, you , and his daughter. You are so close to the teen years where everything could get so much worse. I wish I could be more of a help. GL hug

    Answer by elizabr at 8:56 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • First, I would find out the laws there about having a 12 year old committed to the hospital for a 72 hour hold. Then, I would clue in your husband that this is not normal or exceptable behavior and he needs to help you fix this problem if he cares at all for his child unless he wants to she her in the hospital for mental health issues. Then, if they will take her, I would tell her that if she flies off the handle like that ever again that I'm going to call the police to come pick her up and bring her to the hospital for a mental evaluation and I would do it. What she's doing is not healthy for anyone in your home and it needs to stop now.

    Answer by BUTTERCUP777 at 9:19 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • You need to get your husband on the same page as you or nothing else will work. Then you can try to set up a form of discipline. I personally would take everything out of her room except for clothes and bedroom furniture. If she has a TV, or a computer in there--take them out. Books can be left in there. Then, whenever she pitches her hissy fit you count 1, 2, 3. If she is still going at 3, take her to her room. Take her cell phone, if she has one. She needs to stay there until she is ready to display acceptable behavior. Let her know that she can scream and tantrum all she want, but she needs to be in her room to do it.
    But, this will be useless if hubby isn't on board.
    If this doesn't help after a few months, get her evaluated.

    Answer by layh41407 at 9:34 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • Wow, Thank all of you for responding so soon...and very good advice. I had made an appointment with a therapist a few weeks ago and it is coming up next week. My husband readily agreed to go. Thank you

    Comment by notjustmom213 (original poster) at 9:43 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • I think this has more to do with your dh than anything. Sounds like you've tried to talk to him but maybe try this: ignore her when she pitches a fit. Walk away calmly and say something like "when you are ready to talk let me know". Or "you need to calm down. I'll be back in a few minutes".

    Answer by BluDog at 9:46 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • She does NOT need to be committed. But, she does need to be evaluated by a professional counselor and she needs to have rules, consequences, etc. Until you find out if there is a mental illness, IGNORE her tantrum. Tell her that when she is ready to talk respectfully, that you will talk to her, until then she needs to go to her room or a certain place in the house to calm down. Keep consistency.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 10:40 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • you might also want to try behavior therapy with her, they will help with her lack of social skills....

    Answer by michaux at 8:50 PM on Dec. 12, 2010