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Is it normal step child behavior or is it more serious?

Posted by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 9:58 PM
  • 61 Replies

My boyfriend has a 7 year old daughter. Overall she is very happy lovely 7 year old little girl but she also has some major troubles. I don't want to make a big deal out of them but as I am the one who deals with it all the time, I am starting to get concerned that there might be more going on than just normal behavior problems.

lets start with her memory. She struggles to remember the most simple things. For example, she has to clean up her meal time dishes after each meal. She can never remember to clean up her cup as well as her plate. And if there is still liquid there she can not remember what to do with it. She struggles to remember when I ask her to do something. For example, she was told to put the groceries on a specific table in the house when she helped bring them in from the car. When I made it in with my load she was standing there holding the groceries because she didn't remember where they needed to be out even though no more than 1 min ago she was told.

when it is time to leave and I say ok get ready to go, she struggles to understand what that means. I have to ABC it out for her. Put your stuff away, clean up your area ( and tell her what that means) crayons in the bucket, papers away, wipe the table, fix table cloth. She then has to be told to put her shoes on. Now I can understand having to say put your shoes on but I have to say go get socks, out those on our feet, get your shoes, put those on your feet, tie them. Brush your hair and so forth. 

Now for homework time, this summer she is going to summer school because she is struggling with reading. It will start on Monday back with BM in Wisconsin. She has been told by her teachers that she has to read one book a day and write a sentence or two about it to help her be ready for summer school. Every time we sit down to do this, the tears come out the shouting and the pouting and saying she misses mommy and wants to go back (we have only had her for just over two weeks now). She is fine the rest of the time. I have tried to make it fun and have pulled out all my teacher tricks but she will have none of it.

Finally lying. She never tells the truth. You can not take what she says as true unless you see it yourself. I know all kids lie but tis is redicioulious, it is so bad that she will lie about wetting the bed in the morning even though we can tell that she has wet the bed. (That is another issue altogether that we are working on.) 

any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. I think that she either has severe ADHD or maybe even is somewhere on the spectrum but I don't want to jump there if this is normal and she will grow out of it. But for my sake I hope that it is sooner than later cause I am not sure how much more of this I can take.

by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 9:58 PM
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by Bronze Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 10:18 PM
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My ss had that problem. It was a coping issue on top of normal child things. I got him started in counseling and slowly but surely he got better. (Dh is custodial) It took things at his mothers house straightening out and all of us being on the same page about things instead of her visitation being completely full of crap when he was there.

It's not easy on a child to be away from their mother ever reguardless of the circumstances. I know it had been extremely hard for my ss. Lots of love and patience with the tears and understanding that this is probably very hard for her.
I can almost gaurantee that is the root of her forgetfulness and lying. She most likely is so strung out heart wise she really can't remember and acting out through lying.
by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 10:22 PM

A lot of that sounds like my 7yr. old SS who has ADHD and has a lot of trouble remembering simple things and has a lot of trouble with transitions.

by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM

It can be hard to get into a routine when there really isn't one. IE:  If you only get to see her for a few weeks at a pop here or there and your "get ready" routine is different than Mom's, I can see it taking awhile to get into that routine.  Same with clearing the table.

My two SD's are teens.  We've had the same routines for several years.  But after a long break between visits (something new to our family) we're at the 2 week mark and still having to remind them about things they did independently for some time.  Like oh...clearing the table after dinner. 

That sort of thing wouldn't worry me too much.  It seems unlikely that your SD doesn't remember, rather, she isn't paying attention, is being lazy and thinks someone will do it for her if she plays dumb (my SD13 does that a lot) or she just subconsciously wants attention be it good or bad.

I think the lying is on par with that too.

But when you mention the school challenges, my radar pings a bit.  Has she ever been evaluated?  It seems to me that most kids without issues don't have academic trouble at such a young age.  I could be wrong, but to me that's a red flag.

by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 12:33 AM
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Is there anything positive you have to say about this kid?  

You're not someone I'd want around my kids even if we were related by blood, to be honest.  

Also, there is no "normal stepkid" behavior.  There is kid behavior.  

by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:11 AM

Hello, I agree with this nice lady, Rachel-Dawn. This is not normal - my SD went through similar things and it was mostly as a result of her BM problems -- we also had to get the child counseling and she had to go to tutoring (BM hates reading and encouraged SD to hate reading, so SD disguised it as a learning issue, but she just didn't want to have to read). It sounds like in your case there may be a learning issue with your stepchild though.

But, a lot of it is also acting out, and it is especially tough on stepparents. I completely understand your frustration. You obviously care enough about your marriage and stepchild to see what can be done and counseling was truly the very best thing we did for my SD. It turned everything around for us and while it is still a massive challenge for everyone involved (especially me and her SF who get the short end of every stick), it has been well worth it for SD who has changed extensively.

by Platinum Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:42 AM
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I think you hate this child and have nothing positive to say about her. Considering she is 7 and you barely see her I think the issues aren't her but you and your solution is to seek therapy for yourself to figure out why you hate a 7 year old child so much.

by Platinum Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:44 AM
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Oh and she lies about wetting the bed cause you are a jerk and make her feel ashamed about it. It's also why she cries when you make her feel like a "dummy"  when forcing her to read with you.

by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 3:10 AM
1 mom liked this
This is definately not "major" issues!!
It is a little girl struggling to cope with 2 different households.

You seem to be very hard on her - just telling her "get ready to go" and then expecting her to do all the things on your list - all kids that age will struggle to remember all your requirements (even I won't always remember to "fix the table cloth" as it is not important to me!).

Please do not jump to the ADHD diagnosis - it is actually very very complicated. It has been shown lately that a very large percentage kids that has been diagnosed with ADHD do not have ADHD, but emotional issues. Of which bedwetting is one symptom. But this you should know - you are\were a teacher apparently.
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by facta, non verba on Jul. 4, 2013 at 5:22 AM

Have you considered consulting with a behavioral specialist and maybe family therapy? There can be countless reasons for her behavior/"memory loss." Every child reacts differently in new situations and expresses her feelings in different ways.

I don´t care much for the fast diagnosis of ADHD... And I would never take only one doctor´s diagnosis for a fact. Personally, I would explore every option to find the reason of her behavior instead of looking for a "fast label" such as ADHD or ADD. Maybe she just feels insecure around you? Are you consistent in what you are asking of her? Are you communicating what you want from her in a way she can understand it? TBH, the way you are talking about her is very negative and makes me feel sorry for the little girl... 

by Silver Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 6:15 AM
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I think she sounds stressed out!

Change your expectations to what she has shown you she is able to do, not what you THINK she should be able to do. There are a million simple adaptations that could be made that would reduce her stress and your annoyance.
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