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How can I bond with my teen stepdaughter who was abandoned by her birth mother?

My teen was 10 months old when my husband filed for divorce. The bio mom has bipolar and is now medicated however cannot care for her. Can only do "short visits". Teen has anger issues on her mother. I don't blame her. Teen has also been diagnosed with issues but refuses medicine. Has gone through 2 therapists, never likes anyone. She takes this out on me and I react negatively (for a few years now.) I need to understand her and don't want to give up on her or my marriage. It's getting to the point where giving up may just be the answer. However I can't do this without trying for some help. Looking into counseling for just her and I. Any others experience this?

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Asked by busymom570 at 9:50 PM on May. 9, 2011 in Teens (13-17)

Level 2 (5 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • Why dont you try to go for counseling regarding this for yourself. Then later, the therapist can suggest a counselor who specializes with teens. Although I have been divorced from my ex for going on 8 yrs, I recently went through the death of my now adult step dd. She overdosed, she was 27. Even now, there is so much sadness and grief. My dd and ds lost their older sister, forever. We lost her in Feb, and she would have been 28 this month. These teen issues can lead to such distructive behavior later. If you can learn what your part is in this whole thing, how you can work through what you are feeling, it might help you. Then the work can begin on her. it might be at the same time, I wish you so much luck with this.

    Answer by beyondhopes at 10:02 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • Are there things that she enjoys doing? If there is why don't you take her and spend the day doing something that is just the two of you and you may be able to fit in a few conversations about how she feels and why she treats you the way that she does. Let her know that you love her and only want what is best for her and want to guide her along the right path with the right choices into adulthood.

    Answer by coala at 10:15 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • what is your goal exactly? because even mom's have this same problem with teens so trying to be her friend may or may not work as well as trying to be her mom... we already know she has issue's there so I agree counseling for yourself may be good also a parenting class may help you with issue's a bit you also need to realize she's never been able to depend on a Mother figure so set the rules and stick to them don't bend or break rules that you have for her she needs stability!!! praise and  discipline go hand in hand!!! don't be negative all the time reward good behavior but also discipline.


    Answer by traren at 10:37 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • Try to look at it from her point of view. The woman who gave her life and is supposed to love her unconditionally can't/won't give her what she needs. The woman who gave her life is messed up and on drugs, and she may or may not be facing the same issues.

    I'm willing to bet that one of the reasons she's refusing medication is because she's TERRIFIED of becoming just like her mother. I'm also willing to bet that she's deliberately pushing you away to prove to herself that NOBODY really loves her if her own mother doesn't.

    While I believe that boundaries and consequences are vital, she also needs to know exactly where she stands with you and that you are NOT going to turn your back on her. As I type I'm reminded of a character on Make It or Break It: Lauren. Her mother was an addict and her father refused to let them get to know each other. Lauren feels completely abandoned and manipulates EVERYONE.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 10:44 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • Going to counseling together might be an idea. Tell her how you feel and let her know that you'll always be there and will never give up on her.

    Answer by KamiB79 at 11:09 PM on May. 9, 2011

  • This is probably a big issue with her and who could blame her. She hasn't been able to trust her own Mother in all these years. She may have issues of trust with women. Gaining her trust is going to be harder than having a normal relationship with her. It will take time. Family counseling wouldn't hurt. That way together, all of you can get along better than your are now. I do wish you luck.

    Answer by amessageofhope at 1:21 AM on May. 10, 2011

  • Counseling may help, but don't give up on your marriage. My dh went through the same thing with my kids, but our marriage survived, and they do eventually grow up.

    Answer by elasmimi at 8:23 AM on May. 10, 2011

  • Counseling together sounds like a good idea. Think about how you would feel if your mother abandoned you and can only deal with you for short amounts of time. Do NOT give up on her, she needs you but it may take time and patience to get her to that point. She could be scared that you will leave her too. Try and spend time with just her. Go out to lunch, see a play, get your nails done. Something fun or that you can talk to her.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:16 AM on May. 10, 2011

  • I don't have answers but I am wishing you the best outcome with this. And lots of patience.

    Answer by ethans_momma06 at 3:04 AM on May. 11, 2011

  • Find out what she enjoys. Sometimes talking to a therapist or family therapist can help. Have special times together ie: shopping. movies, etc.

    Answer by sstepph at 10:44 AM on May. 12, 2011

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