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new stepmom needs advice?

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I am new to the world of step parenting. 3 months ago my dh's 12 year old daughter reached out to him via cellphone. The last time dh saw her she was 3 years old. I'm not going to go into too much detail but I will say dh got into dome trouble. He was put on probation. Her mother took dh back to court to seek out full custody and revoke his visitation. To our surprise the judge granted her full custody and revoked dh's visitation. I know your think he must have done something really bad. Long stoey short dh was convicted as a sex offebder for engaging in sex with his 15 year old girlfriend who protrade herself as a 17 year old.

Well over the years he continued to pay his child support, provide her with health insurance, pay for all after school activities and send her $100 on christmas and her birthday. We put up pictures of her all over the house (mostly baby pictuees and her 2nd and 3rd birthday pics). As our children got older we told them about her and showed them pictues of her. Our plans never weee to exclude her feom our lives. Our doors were always open and our arms were always willing to welcome her.

3 months ago dh got a very surprising phone call from his daughter asking to see him. He picked her up and they went out to lunch. He conveied to me that not much was said. She did however ask to see him again and asked if she could come over for christmas. Dh told her yes of course. There have been quite a few visits since that day.

Dh brought it up to my attention that he is feeling like her reasons for wanting to see him were not to build a relationship, but to use him. Things she say's and does make him feel the relationship they are building are not based on each other but material things and places. For instance she always has to know what they or us are doing before deciding whether or not she wants to tag along, she constantly tries to get dh to buy her things, always claims she's bored if we hang out at the house playing games baking or watching movies, doesn't seem inteeested in getring to know us or dh, she never calls dh between visits, invites her friends to do stuff and says her dh will take them ect.

Dh goes out of his way for her. Calls her at least twice a week, invites her over at least once a week, goes to her ball games, takes her our just the two of them ect. I am trying to be supportive. I don't know what to tell him. Any advice?
by on Aug. 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Maybe thats how her mom raised her. If you Husband wants the relationship to change he's going to have to make it change. You said he always sent money and gifts, maybe thats all she knows. I could be wrong but if I were in that situation I'd try to change it. 

by Bronze Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:47 AM

No experience.

Good luck. Here's a bump!

CafeMom Tickers
by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:55 AM

If your husband wants a relationship with her then he needs to at least try to build one. Tween/teen years are the hardest years with girls. She could be going through problems at home or school. At least she reached out to her Dad. Be a friend to her. The reason she asks what his plans are before deciding to tag a long is because she may not want to impose on whatever plans that you have together. She may feel like a third wheel.  As far as gifts, he needs to be straight with her and set limits if he feels he is spending too much money.  Good luck. Raising girls is never easy but they are a blessing. :)

by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I would give it time.  She is only 13 and doesn't really know him at all so she may just not really know how to connect with him.  They way to most 13 year old kids' attention is through doing fun things and buying them things, at that age it is generally all about them in their mind, lol.  Just have him keep at it and over time they may  grow closer just from spending time when she does want to. 

by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Idk hon seems like alot of stress. Wish u Luck! (: It isn't ever easy being a step-parent. Dnt be hard on urself. I guess best thing to do would be Let dh sort it out hisself.
by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM

I'm sorry I have no idea. I hope the she decides that her father is more important than money or things

by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 1:52 PM

I think it would help to remember that she is the child and he is the adult here.

Regardless of the circumstances, he hasnt' been in her life for 9-10 years from what I'm piecing together in the post.  Don't have any expectations, and let her call the shots.  I wouldn't assume she's trying to use him, for a 12 year old - the things you describe are HOW they connect.  She's had 12 years of her life living it with Mom (and being told who-knows-what).  I wouldn't expect her to act any differently than how she is acting.

What about DH's family?  Why were they not involved with this girl?  Is Mom just a PITA and tried to sever the child away?  If that's the case - that only makes the daughter's behavior that much MORE reasonable.  He's going to have a tough road ahead, but at the end of the day, it's his child, he's obviously never stopped caring for her, and the best thing you can do is be supportive & encouraging to him and remind him of the ultimate reward of having a relationship with his daughter.  Patience!  GL!

by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 5:18 PM
Sorry but i have to tell you from personal experience that strong, loving, parent relationships are build upon year after year of bonding. That is how they get stronger:little by little day after day. The gap of years (almost ten) is two big and she can hardly see him as a father but mainly as a tool to make her life easier. That is exactly how I view mine. Your spot is hard. He should simply try to spend time with her and you all together doing things notbinvolving money and gently step back when feeling used..Good luck
by Bronze Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM
This is good advice.

Your sd is just twelve. She is acting just like a preteen. Even the ones who are "really" great girls can kind of act a little selfish at this age. Something else you might want to keep in mind, she is going through puberty so her thinking is going to be a bit skewed anyways. As long as dad keeps putting forth an effort and keeps being the father he should be, then in the end the situation should take care of itself. Either sd will want more of a relationship or she will move on. Just be there for them both.

Quoting splatz:

That is such a hard spot for you to both be in. I'm glad that he sees that he is being used too though. I'm sure it would be harder if only you saw that. I'm not sure how exactly he can correct the issue without her no longer wanting to come around though. Especially if she is just using him. :(  12 is a tricky age.

I would just keep trying to involve her in things. Like the pp said... invite her to things that do not cost money. 

by Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 5:40 PM
What I am gathering from all of the responses is that I should allow dh to figure this out on his own while encouraging him to give 110% without expecting much in return. He should realize that she's 12 and most 12 year old girls are selfish and only want to do fun stuff that benifits them instead of spending actual quality time no matter how boring or uneventful. try relating to her on her own level by doing things she wants and try not to ask so many questions because when she's ready or comfortable enough she'll ask. He should continue to make himself available to her even if she turns him down.

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