I'm new to this forum, but I need some advice from you stepmoms about the newest "challenge" that I've been faced with in regards to my "soon to be" step daughter. Here's a little bit of background.....
My fiancé and I both have kids. I have one little girl who is 5 and he has a boy who is 11 and a girl who is 9. Both of us have full custody of our kids. My daughter's father has never been involved, so it has always been just the two of us.
My fiancés kids have a mom that they've seen on and off throughout their life. Recently, they've not seen her very much because of certain situations she's gotten herself into.
Anyways, my daughter and I have been pretty much living with my fiancé and his kids for the past few months. I watch all of the kids on Friday's and Saturday's because those are my days off. I've tried spending quality time with them by taking them out to eat or grabbing yogurt, going to the park or to the lake to swim. Everything went smoothly in the very beginning, but now I find myself having a really difficult time accepting my step daughter. The tension between us is becoming pretty difficult to handle, and I'm afraid my fiancé is going to start picking up on it.
At first, I started noticing my step daughter doing little things to pick on my 5 year old; either by taunting her in small ways, or doing stuff just to hear her scream and whine. This was very hard for me to deal with at first, because my daughter and I have such a strong love and bond with one another. I would try to convince myself that my stepdaughter just needs more attention from me. I really tried looking at things from her perspective and tried seeing how she could easily be jealous of mine and my daughter's relationship versus her and her biological mother.
Lately, things have become really unbearable on my part. I have caught her "taking" my daughters clothes and wearing them without asking, she takes what little toys my daughter brings over there, she bosses her around when they do try playing together which always ends in a fight. My stepdaughter has become just really disrespectful to both my daughter and myself.
She's even been messing with my stuff. She'll take my hairbrushes and hide them in her room, my makeup, my deodorant, my curling irons, etc. The worst part is that I caught her smoking last weekend in the bathroom. My fiancé and I spoke with her together about the issue. We didn't yell, but were understanding that some kids may want to try things they see other adults doing, but we talked to her about the risk of smoking and just flat out told her she had no business even thinking about smoking at her age.
Ironically, I had a pack of cigarettes go missing just a few days before. We asked her a couple times if she took the pack and hid it somewhere, giving her the opportunity to be honest; of course she denied it. This weekend, while I was trying to get ready, I noticed my hairspray was missing. I went to her room to look for it and found the missing pack of cigarettes....now empty.
All of these little things are beginning to drive me crazy. I've found myself not even wanting to be around her, or hiding things such as my pocketbook and wallet; afraid she will take money.
I honestly don't know what to do at this point. How can I turn this situation around to where I can trust her again, and help mend the jealousy she has with my daughter? Any advice is welcome! And yes, smoking is a bad habit that I need to give up myself :)