I just need a vent... again!

imamommyFebruary 27, 2011

So yesterday, I stayed home with SD & DGS while DH worked. About 15 minutes before DH gets done at work, SD asked if she can play outside, I said yes. I figured she wanted to greet her dad. DH came home from work & she stayed outside with him while he did a few things in the garage, etc When they came in, she asked to call her mom. No answer. Then she goes over to DH & whispers something so I couldn't hear her. He said no. She starts whining & that annoyed me so I asked her what she wants? She says "nothing". I asked her what she asked dad, she said she wants him to play a board game with her. I might have dropped it, but I didn't....

(Friday was the last day of the trimester at school, she got 2- D-'s and 2- F's. She continues to lie about whether she did her work, does not turn it in & spends her free time playing. If she's told to study, she will say she is done with everything & her grades are improving... more lies)

Well, I proceeded to tell her "how can you expect your dad to drop what he's doing & go play a game with you when you won't do what he asks you to do?" She just looked at me for a minute & said (with a touch of attitude) "uh, I don't NEED to get good grades!" and then, split second later (I guess hearing it come out of her mouth, had second thoughts) "well, I DO have to get good grades... but, I shouldn't have to get good grades to spend time with my dad!" "Well no, you spent time with daddy outside for the last hour & half. Your dad doesn't HAVE to go sit & play a game with you, just because you WANT. You don't seem to care what HE wants when you continue to ignore what he wants, which is to do your work & turn it in."

So, she goes to her room muttering under her breath.

I cook dinner, spaghetti & garlic bread. I left the kitchen for a couple of minutes & when I came back, she had served herself & was sitting at the table. DH was also sitting eating. I was in the kitchen serving my plate & she turns to DH and quietly asks if she can go get some of the garlic bread that I had just taken out of the oven. He told her it's not ready, I guess he didn't see me take it out of the oven. So, I told her that I thought it was rude for her to ask her dad for it when I am the one cooking dinner & I am the one standing in the kitchen taking the bread out of the oven.

I know these things may sound trivial, but the day to day stuff is SO annoying. The whispering or talking so low to make sure I can't hear what she's saying. Even when she asked for the bread, she said it very quiet & the only reason I know she asked is because when he came to get his bread, he told her now it's ready. (& I did tell him that he needs to recognize when she is being rude to me & call her on it) That has been one reason that I sometimes eat early when I am feeding DGS & let DH cook their dinner when he gets home so I have nothing to do with it.

It's just so frustrating because she's been talked to by both of us. It goes in one ear, out the other. It is SO uncomfortable in our house, it's horrible. If I go to my room to use the computer for a few minutes, she comes out of her room & stays on DH's heels, wherever he is in the house. If I come out of my room, she hurries back to her room & stays there. If I'm in the livingroom, she stays in her room until I leave. When I come back, runs back into her room.... like I'm a virus she might catch. It's very irritating. I've contemplated staying in my room to watch TV in the evening, but then it feels like I've been banished to my room because she will come out of her room & ask to watch TV with DH in the livingroom. DH is at a loss of how to stop her from doing that because we've both talked to her about it & she still does it, so he ignores it & lets her stay in her room. He doesn't understand how it makes me feel because she doesn't do that to him, it's only when I come in the room. His answer is to just let her go to her room, and that's fine. But it still makes me feel uncomfortable in my own home & he either doesn't get that... and/or doesn't know what to do about it.

and it's gotten to the point that when I say anything to her, no matter what it is, she shoots me a death stare. I was a little surprised she continued to whine & argue with me when I told her about her not doing what DH wants her to do, but she wants him to do stuff with her... when SHE wants.

How much of this is normal 12 year old stuff because my DD never talked back to me, rolled her eyes at me, or did any of the stuff I thought she would when she became a teenager. She is almost 21 & occasionally gets a teen attitude with me in the last year or so, but she kinda skipped over being a traditional teen. SD has definitely had that teen attitude for a couple of years & it scares me to think that it will get worse because I can't hardly stand being around her now.

Oh yeah, BM just moved to a much smaller house that they've all been complaining about... SD told DH last night (after knowing for the last three weeks) "did you know we're moving to a smaller house?" as if she lives with her mom, not us. It's just one more thing that makes it less likely she will ever go live with her mom. I know it's not as if BM has shown any interest in having SD move with her since the last court hearing.. two years ago, which was only a half ass attempt to get out of paying support, plus the fact that she now has become busy with the baby for the last year, but now moving to a smaller house makes it pretty much a certainty that it will never happen & SD still talks as if she is just visiting us. It really is so sad for SD but driving me crazy at the same time.

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I was going to ask is she lives with you or if she is visiting but then you stated that and her age closer to the end... So I had to re-read it with a different point of view because my thoughts changed with those 2 different pieces of info. Since I'm on the opposite side and I have a DD I can relate to your SDs attitude in comparison to my DD. I also grew up with stepparents so I can put myself in her shoes.

It sounds like SD isn't comfortable with you. I'm sorry... No offense at all. She whispers because she fears your harsh answers and dad isn't going to speak to her in the tone you will use even with the same answer. When I was younger, although now my best parent is by far my stepdad but I NEVER would ask him a question or ask his permission bc I was afraid of his tone when he answered. I look back and don't regret feeling that way, he actually regrets being that way. He had such a detachment from us as a 'parent' bc he was our stepparent. He could be objective in ways our mom never could be. He was harsh, his expectations were higher. His intentions were good, in fact he wanted the very best for us but he went about it the wrong way. I never went to him as a child and I would always whisper, not to be rude or to disrespect at all but because I did not want him jumping over my mom to tell me NO when I really just wanted to ask my mom not my stepdad.

Your SD wanting alone time or special time with her Dad should not (in my opinion) be contingent on her getting good grades. She is probably getting bad grades as a cry for more attention. Your DH probably gives her attention just fine, but this girl has a mom that just from this post appears to not have much to do with SD. she's crying out and you are annoyed. My dd's therapist says that MOM and DAD should be the go to. Not that DD should ignore, disrespect or have an attitude with her stepparents but stepparents shouldn't expect to be the go to on everything. The children are more comfortable with their parents and she wants her dad. She probably wants her mom too but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. You already said Mom is busy with the baby... SD is completely shut out. Mom is busy, Dad shouldn't be expected to drop what he is doing... Poor kiddo -- no wonder she has some issues.

No doubt this is frustrating for you because you are uncomfortable in your own home. I have no idea how to fix that but it sounds like maybe you could change your tone in which you deal with SD. My husband is awful about giving in to things. I think sometimes, who cares if you look like you gave up on the tug of war, if it fixes the situation by not digging in your heals and being the stubborn one, things eventually just work themselves out -- attitudes start to change. Maybe some extra compassion, some extra pats on the back for good behaviors instead of constant reminders about the bad... May help SD see that you aren't such a big bad wolf. And you are so very lucky that you by passed the teen yrs with your own daughter. I don't know anyone that by passed that. Lol remember your daughter had a loving mom at home which is the difference with your SD. Her mom doesn't have much time for her. And I honestly believe that even though you could be a loving mom to your SD, you aren't her mom, you don't sound like you treat her like a biomom would, you are annoyed by her and she knows it. The two girls are so different. Almost from two different worlds.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:30PM
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I am so sorry you have such discomfort in your home....It does not seem to get any better...I think her BM is to blame...

My DD had some attitude at 13-15, and she was sometimes difficult. No, she never had bad grades like your SD and she never hid in the room neither in mine nor dad's house, but then she was never in the situation like SD is. To all honesty she needs to live with mom, but mom does not care enough.

As about asking stepparents...SDs are adults, but they ask their dad about things that they know he has no clue about. I do get along with them, we all talk to each other and certainly no hiding in the room, but they do ask him not me!


"Dad, are you going to do laundry? I am going to use a laundry room"--dad never ever does laundry, I do and they know it.

"Dad where are sewing supplies?"-dad never has anything to do with sewing supplies, they are mine and I am the one who is in charge of them.

"Dad do you have any coffee?"-dad never ever drinks coffee, never had, I DO!

and many more, so I think maybe SD just does it because he is her dad, not to be annoying. But I hear you, it is annoying.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:02PM
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myfampg, I totally agree with everything you said... and the problem has become so deep because it's been going on for nearly 5 years. I completely understand that she has problems that are a result of her mom leaving her & while her mom has no time for her, makes time for her boyfriend's kids, and has had another baby in the meantime, I feel for SD. I really do & if I show the slightest anger or disapproval of what BM has done, SD gets angry with me. I also understand that. It's her mom & she can get upset with her mom but at the end of the day, she will defend her. We never say a word about her mom, yet somehow I think SD tries to guess at what we think of BM (or maybe it's how SD really feels) so she acts angry at us when we haven't said or done anything against her mom. ie. BM says one thing but then changes her mind or makes an excuse why she can't do it at the last minute. SD gets upset. If we sympathize with SD, she will start making excuses for BM as if we are attacking her mom. If we don't sympathize, we are heartless & mean... we don't care. It's a no win situation.

Four years ago next month, BM got into it with DH over SD's party. They were gonna split the cost but BM wanted to keep adding things & DH agreed to a point but finally told her if you add anything else, you can pay for it. BM had a hissy fit & went into DH's work, caused a scene & threatened to keep SD from him. That started the custody battle that lasted 5 months. After a full day trial, the court made an order that they keep the same arrangement they had before which was 50/50, week on & week off. The only reason it required a full day trial was BM was going for full custody, telling DH that he was gonna pay a crapload of support & only get to see SD every other weekend. She told SD many times that daddy is trying to take you away from me & I won't let that happen. SD would come to us, angry & ask why are we trying to take her away from mommy? So the problems began long ago. DH was happy with the order of 50/50, but a week after the trial BM met a new man & a couple of weeks after that, she moved 3 hours away to live with him. She left during DH's week & told us the night before she was to get SD back. "oh, by the way I moved & this guy is amazing, wonderful.. blah blah blah... and SD can live with you... JUST TEMPORARILY of course." That was almost four years ago & almost immediately, she made excuses why she can't get SD... claim to be sick but we were told that she was at her BF's ball game & didn't want to bother driving 6 hours to have another kid to deal with. The way she treated SD before she moved also makes me wonder if she just didn't want SD because SD annoys her. She used to ask DH to come get SD or keep her longer because she can't take it anymore. SD won't listen to her, SD annoys her, etc. So, I have felt bad for SD from the beginning because she got a raw deal in the mommy department.

After BM moved, SD & I got much closer. I helped her get caught up with school, I took her for play dates with her new friends because she had to change schools. I put her in girl scouts. and she would tell her friends I was her mom. BM caught wind of that & I'm pretty sure she made sure she made SD feel guilty so that caused the initial rift. SD began distancing herself from both me & DH. When BM was ordered to pay child support, she immediately filed for custody. They were sent to mediation. BM insisted on coming up during the week to bring SD to the mediator. Of course, we knew she would coach SD because prior to that (and since) BM does not come get SD at all. When SD goes to her house, BM sends her mom (grandma). Well, she took SD to the mediator & of course SD tells how horrible it is in our house. She said there was not one kind word to say about living with dad. She said lies about both of us, twisted things that we said & basically the mediator didn't believe her so it was referred to an evaluator, which costs about $6,000 and BM would have to pay it. BM dropped the bid for custody.... another blow to SD. We had SD in counseling & SD repeated all the lies about how horrible we are to the counselor and an hour later is asking us to take her to Disneyland. I think in the beginning, I did as much as I could to be a loving mom to her, I have tried to be understanding & patient. I cry for her still. It's not right for a mom to treat a child like she does. At the same time, I have grown tired of being lied to, lied about & treated like I am to blame for everything. When SD was 9, I felt differently but as she gets older & she knows that the lies she tells about me, hurt me. Well, as an almost 12 year old, I hold her to some responsibility for that.

I totally agree with you about the tone. I know I come across as harsh with her so I have tried really hard this last year to disengage & not be the one to say anything to her. That's when this whispering thing & running to her room has really taken off. It's like the house has to be either MY house (and she stays in her room) or it's THEIR house (when I'm not around). and I know she does not want to hear what I will tell her... I know she isn't comfortable with me. We've discussed this many times. I've tried to figure out how we can get along by trying to talk to her. I have no idea what her mom says to her but my gut feeling is that her mom has a lot to do with her refusing to have a relationship with me. Actually, earlier this year she came to me & asked to call me mom, telling me that I'm around her more than her mom. I agreed & as long as she got her way, everything went smooth. If I said no, I was the b!tch again. Once I realized it was a manipulation tactic, the same one her mom uses with us, it got even harder to be around her or trust her. I believe her mom may be telling her that she's eventually going to be living over there. She probably strings her along with that promise because SD has told people at school on several occasions that she's moving to mom's & won't be back, then has to come back & face them. She's almost 12 & getting to an age where the court will consider her wishes. No, I don't believe mom wants SD to live with her. But, I do believe mom does not want the headache of child support hanging over her head. Yes, mom has a new baby but mom also has an older, 15 year old daughter living there to help. The older daughter also got left behind when mom moved away... she stayed living with grandma but when mom got pregnant, grandma & teen daughter moved to the town where mom lives. IMO, grandma & teen daughter are probably primary caregivers to the new baby... and if SD went there, she would also be a built in babysitter.

and I don't want to be the go to parent... but when I am in the kitchen, taking the bread out of the oven & she sees me doing that... instead of asking me if she can get some or just waiting for it to be given to her (we have this bread all the time, I always give her some on her plate but since they served themselves before I came back to the kitchen, it was still in the oven) I just think it was rude to act like I am not there and ask dad, who didn't even know it was done. Like I said, I know it sounds like a trivial thing but it's upsetting for me to be treated like I don't exist in my own house & I hate having a 12 year old make me feel that way.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:39PM
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Ugh! Vent away, Ima.

Even though our situations are totally different, there's still so many similarities...
This part of your followup post really spoke to me "At the same time, I have grown tired of being lied to, lied about & treated like I am to blame for everything."
Here's an example from our house - SS likes the stability of the bedtime, square meals and routine that came along with me when DH and I got together... unless he's mad at me for something - then I'm an ogre who has ruined his entire life!
I try to just let it roll off, but it gets frustrating and can be hurtful.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:02PM
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Counseling counseling counseling. I know it's expensive but I really think it's worth it. In our town we have a family advocacy center trough the police dept. Free counseling. No matter what you make -- it's free to residents. Look in to it. Imma-- your SD sounds like she has some parental alienation AND she is going to defend her parents. She probably defends you to her BM. Kids have loyalty issues even when they shouldn't. Her mom sucks but she so desperately wants her mom in her life. Even if she says she doesn't or does or whatever floats her preteen boat!! I pushed my own mom away and demanded to live with my loser dad and SM #2 when I was twelve -- my pride kept me in misery for 2 yrs yearning to go back home. I treated everyone like crap. (not the same situation but just making a point)

Your SD is afraid to get close to you because she doesn't want to be disloyal to mom! And since you have disengaged, she might feel like you don't want to even hear her speak. (which might be true, I have a spoiled 16 yr old niece and she is my BLOOD... Can't stand to hear her drama)

Anyway - see about some counseling or is this something you have tried? I think SD would benefit from it for sure. I know my DD def. Has!! I hate it for your family that you have an ex'wife' with such drama and a cold heart. If she only knew what she was doing to her daughter. I'm sure she would love to know what drama she is causing you but too bad she doesn't care about her daughter.

And here I am -- a biomom, dying for my DD to come home from her weekend visit ... I don't get mom's sometimes ...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:41PM
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Counselor #1~ BM tried to manipulate her during the custody battle. When that failed, she dropped out of having anything to do with that counselor. I took SD, quite a bit after BM left, and SD never opened up. She would say what she thought the counselor wanted to hear. She had built up a relationship and that might have benefited SD, but the economy tanked & she lost her house & moved out of state.

Counselor #2~ SD tried to manipulate him. BM refused to meet him. SD would pretend everything is wonderful between us, with her mom... no problems in the world & no reason to be in counseling. We were focusing on her problems with her grades. She admitted that she was failing in school during the 5th grade because she thought she would get to go live with her mom, so her mom can help her with school. Then I found that BM posted an announcement on the internet that she was pregnant. I mentioned to SD & the counselor that I knew BM was expecting a baby. Apparently, it was supposed to be kept a secret from us. The counselor talked to SD, asking if she had any concerns about her mom giving a new baby attention when SD was already craving mom's attention. SD of course said "nope, it was no problem at all & she was excited that mom is having a baby... not gonna affect her the least." The world is all wonderful attitude. The next day, SD went to BM's for the weekend & SD told her we knew about the pregnancy. When DH & I showed up to bring SD home, BM came outside, challenged me to get out of the car so she can fight me (of course, knowing I am not going to~especially if she's pregnant) and called the police because DH demanded she bring SD out to leave. (When DH said "just get my daughter!", BM retorted "She's not even YOUR daughter!" implying he isn't the father, which of course is loud enough for SD to hear) It was awful & the next day BM called the counselor & threatened him. Since SD was not willing to address ANY issues... life is all wonderful... mom is the best mom ever.... Ima is the best stepmom ever... everyone gets along great... etc. I saw no point in wasting time & money when it was only creating more drama with BM.

I think when she's ready, she will need LOTS of counseling. But as long as her mom battles with us on any of those issues, it's pointless. I could write a book on how many damaging things that woman has done & how I've watched her go from a bubbly happy kid to an insecure, clumsy mess of nerves. I hate that my attitude adds to her nervousness, but I am not good at being fake & I can't stand to be lied to ~bold faced lies~ and that is what SD does... and she is a carbon of her mom... and while I don't want to hold that against her(because it really isn't her fault), it makes her unpleasant to be around. She refuses to have a relationship with me and it is true that I prefer when she's not around. When she is there, I try to look at her with the perspective that she is the victim of the way she has been raised... some of it is genetic & she has no control over it... etc. But, there are things like being rude that are within her control. (I'm on the fence about her ability to control her lying because her mom is a pathological liar & obviously she has modeled after her mom) At what point does a person start making choices for themselves? IMO, she is at an age where she understands enough to know it's not nice or it's wrong.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:48PM
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Wow oh wow oh wow!!!

Ok so nix the counseling idea. I almost want to take back my first comment because I honestly have no advice. In 5th grade!! My DD will be in 5th grade next year and I'm not sure that she has even come up with any of this stuff!! I am so glad DD is not as effected by our mess as she could be.

I can completely understand how you feel -- I would feel like giving up but you can't. I know you have to be worried about the lying. That is going to cause SD many MANY problems in her future. You can't make it through life lying. But one day it will probably catch up to her.

What does DH say? Does he make excuses for her? Sounds like he is a mild tempered man that just wants everyone to get along. I read your post about the driving the day of super bowl.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 11:11PM
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I don't know if this is normal 12 year-old behavior or not because when my SD's started to do this to me, they were 16 and 20. It is seven years later, the eldest moved out and came back a couple of times, but she continued the behavior at the age of 25 or 26. I complained many times to DH and he said that he didn't see it. He probably didn't want to deal with it. A couple of times he went so far as to say that I wanted it to be that way and that I was making it up just to have a reason to complain. Blood is thicker than water. It was only after the eldest moved away the second time that the youngest confided to a family friend that she felt guilty for treating me so badly. This got back to her dad. It felt great to finally have some validation. I hated feeling sequestered to the bedroom.

If I were you, I wouldn't even engage her. Don't have the conversation with her about the grades and the board game. Same with the garlic bread. She already resents you and you are just adding fuel to the fire. Be thankful that she's not your problem. You have tried very hard with her and it is time to walk away for a while. Her failure at school is her problem and your DH's problem. No use wasting your time on them. This stuff is between them. I know your SD has had a crappy home life with BM and all. I do feel sorry for her but I think it is abundantly clear that she doesn't like you nor does she respect you. Next time she asks you for something, tell her to have her dad do it for her.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:28AM
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Ima, I have to agree with Myfam in general because my dd has done similar things and I know it's because SF is able to see manipulations/etc clearer (so is "harsher") because he is not biologically related and I can be kind of a pushover. She goes to mom because she is more comfortable with me.

BUT... when my dd whispers to me I remind her it's rude to whisper in front of other people. When she wants something, I encourage her to ask him rather than me (if he's the one with the bread, so to speak).

In other words... DAD needs to take a stand and let her know what behavior is appropriate. It doesn't matter if you are SM or aunt or grandma or neighbor lady. If you're the one with the bread, she should have the social skills to say "may I have some bread please". If she doesn't, it's something to work on.

I've been a live-in pseudo-sm before and I can empathize with the side-looks, the clinging to daddy, the making me out to be bad guy routine. It must be really hard for you. I'm sorry!! Have dad nip this one in the bud though. This cannot continue if you are to have peace in the future.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:57PM
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DH has had talks with her but on the day to day stuff... most of it he doesn't see, but when he's right there... I don't think he is paying attention at all, kinda like with the bread. He's oblivious to when she is being rude & later when I mention it to him, he'll agree that she shouldn't do this or that but he didn't really notice.

Very rarely, he'll say it's not that big a deal. DH & I had a long, drawn out conversation/almost argument last week because a few weeks ago... before Thanksgiving time, I noticed my netbook that I keep in my car for work had a damaged screen. It looked as if something smashed it & the screen had a splotch on it. It wasn't cracked, just a portion of the screen was discolored. Well, sometimes SD rides in the front seat next to where I keep it (between the seats, under the console) I couldn't imagine how else it was damaged, except SD stepped on it, sat on it or pressed really hard on it... but she would have to take it out of the console because it's not where she could accidentally touch it. I was angry but I figured if she did it on purpose, telling her I was angry would only satisfy her so I gave it to my DD & bought a new one. In December I put a DVD system in the backseat. There are two screens on the headrests for each side. Last weekend, I was cleaning my car & right in the center of the screen that is on the side where SD sits is a huge thumb/palm? print. It looks like someone pressed into the middle of the screen. Nobody rides in the car except me, SD & DGS2 in his car seat. He can't reach either of the screens. Also, the last time I detailed my car, there was ink scribbled on the leather door panel where SD sits. Again, I said nothing because it is obvious to me that SD is doing stuff on purpose to my car & whenever I have confronted her, she denies doing anything. She gets this I'm so innocent look & how dare I accuse her of anything. Crap! I'd rather her tell me she hates me & is glad she did it but no matter what, she denies it, then tells everyone how awful I am for accusing her of something she didn't do. I have no proof it's her but common sense & I don't want her to see me get upset because I feel like that's what she wants. So, finally this last time I went to DH & told him I don't want her in my car anymore... he wanted me to have a talk with her but like I said, how do you talk to someone that says she didn't do it, doesn't have a clue how it happened, etc. So, he got upset with me & started trying to make excuses for her. Finally he admitted he doesn't know what to do about her but he works in another town & rides the bus to my office so she has to ride home with me. So, I know DH needs to address the problem & yes, he is a mild mannered good guy that just wants to do the right thing & live in peace. He wants to go to work, pay the bills, come home to his family & enjoy the evening. I don't think he thinks about, nor is he worried about what she will be like when she's a teen, maybe because he's a guy & has no clue about girls/daughters... or he hopes things will just fall into place. I don't think he realizes how serious her problems are or he just has no clue about how to fix them. As the on site female, I tried to give my input but as we can see, that has been rejected & backfired.

At the moment, I'm looking forward to summer when she'll be with her mom & only here for weekends. I plan to be gone and/or busy with DGS or work. I feel guilty for feeling that way but I can't stand how it is. Just this morning, I get up & go to the baby's room which is next to hers. She was in the livingroom & heard me coming, ran back to her room. I get the baby up & bring him to my room so I can finish getting ready while he watches his favorite show. DH goes into the kitchen, SD comes out & is talking to him. I get done getting ready & come down the hall, her bedroom door closes because she hurried back to her room. Last night, I was cooking dinner & playing Wii with DH. SD is watching us. I leave the room to check on dinner & she starts talking to him. I come back & she doesn't talk. I leave again, same thing. It's just very annoying!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 4:27PM
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"So, I know DH needs to address the problem & yes, he is a mild mannered good guy that just wants to do the right thing & live in peace. He wants to go to work, pay the bills, come home to his family & enjoy the evening. I don't think he thinks about, nor is he worried about what she will be like when she's a teen, maybe because he's a guy & has no clue about girls/daughters... or he hopes things will just fall into place. I don't think he realizes how serious her problems are or he just has no clue about how to fix them."

You've just described my DH perfectly. I think with my DH, while he tended to minimize any problems, he did realize that something should be done, and "soon" - but just not today. "Today" he is tired, had a rough day at work, and just wants to relax and not have any conflict or have to deal. (Of course, if there was some issue going on I'd already been dealing with it, regardless of whether or not I was tired.) And all those "not todays" start to add up to weeks, months, years....

DH was also very good at making exceptions to rules - except the "exceptions" seemed to end up happening way more than any rules were enforced. I also think another contributing factor is DH's perfectionist tendencies, which I've noticed in other areas - sometimes he's so afraid he'll do the wrong thing that he ends up taking no action at all.

DH got better with a lot of stuff when I informally started keeping track (yeah, I know, I hated to do it but I was desperate). He was honestly fairly shocked when I pointed out how many times some misbehavior had been excused away, or any penalty was "put off" indefinitely.

We also had discussions on whether or not some particular behaviors would be acceptable in an older child or teenager; when DH would say that of course SS should not be doing X when he was older I'd ask when exactly that was going to change. DH would claim that SS was going to "grow out of" some misbehaviors, and I'd ask if this did not happen, what a suitable age for beginning to correct him would be. Obviously it is ridiculous to think a child is suddenly going to turn 10, 12, 16 and just stop acting in a way that they've been allowed to behave for their entire childhood, and I think DH started to realize that we needed to begin changes now rather than waiting for everything to magically fix itself in this glorious imaginary future.

Ima, you're in an awful position. If your DH does not start taking control, I don't know what you're going to do, honestly. This is going to sound awful but have you considered the possibility that SD may end up being a lost cause? BM being the way that she is, and DH not doing enough to help SD (and he's got a tough row to hoe with that anyway) - it's honestly not easy to see how this is going to end well without some drastic come-to-Jesus moment on the part of SD. You cannot do this on your own - we all know that you've tried, but it just cannot be done in the position that you're in.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:08AM
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I know that your problems have been ongoing and you are exhausted but your last example of her watching you guys play the wii reminded me of when my daughter is being well ... snotty... and deciding she doesnt want to be apart of the family (usually because she didnt get her way). When she starts that I make her come out and be with the family. I tell her spending time with the entire family is not optional and at least make her sit while we play. I totally ignore her pouty (sp?) attitude and continue to have fun. I tell her when its her turn if she doesnt take her turn we move on without making a big deal about it and continue to laugh and play. Eventually its more than she can handle... because she is a kid after all and fun is contagious. Maybe a few (well perhaps more than a few) sorry charlie we are a family and you dont get to hide from family... it just doesnt work that way might eventually break her of that habit.

Perhaps if you focus on the family angle instead of the its rude to ignore me angle... "Families come in all shapes and sizes and this is ours but families dont hide in bedrooms so its time to come out and do xyz. No options."

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:56AM
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mattie: This morning, I asked DH what he's going to do for SD? He says, "well, you're going to be gone for her actual birthday, right?" and I had to say, "I'm not talking about her birthday, I'm talking about the lying, sneaking, attitude, & everything!" and he says we've tried counseling and until she isn't going to open up so there's not much we can do. So, it sounds as if he's already given up. I asked him if he wants SD to have the life BM has & he said no. I suggested that HE get counseling or help with his parenting skills so he can figure out how to help her or try to make a difference. I don't know if he will, unless I arrange it because he seems to never have time... always busy but really, I think he keeps himself busy so he doesn't have to deal with the hard stuff.

momof4: Since SD has had failing grades, DH has restricted her from playing video games until she brings her grades up, so she wasn't going to get a turn to play. DH got me the Wii for Christmas & that was the first time I've played it. I actually got it because I have a few friends that like Wii Fit, so I have no idea how to play video games & was learning. SD was taking her shower & DH was gonna show me how to use it while I was cooking dinner. I figured we had 20 minutes to fiddle with it while SD took her shower & dinner was cooking. SD went in & came out of the bathroom in about 3 minutes. Her hair was wet but there's no way she really took a shower... my guess is she hoped to get a chance to play the video game because she came out & wanted to watch, when usually she stays in her room when I'm there. It instantly irritated me... first, because she was supposed to take a shower & 3 minutes in the bathroom says she skipped it but wet her hair thinking that we are gonna be fooled. Then, she is grounded from playing but having her watching makes ME feel guilty because I know she wants to play... it's kinda like buying an ice cream at the park & some kid who wants one but didn't get one is staring at you eat yours. (sorry, that's the best analogy I could think of... but I would buy the poor kid an ice cream) But, I can't un-restrict SD & let her play. That's a part of why I haven't played it yet in over two months. I feel bad doing fun stuff in front of her when she is grounded & can't join in.

But, we have had that talk with her about joining the family & not hiding in her bedroom. When we do family stuff, we (DH & I) sometimes feel like we're walking on eggshells... watching everything we say. SD tends to go back to BM & repeat things we say, plans, what we do, etc. & many times, places her own spin on it or misinterprets what is actually said... and often hears part & guesses at the rest to come up with her own conclusions. One time, we were going out do dinner & disagreed on where to go. A couple of weeks later, BM tells DH to keep his fights with me private, not in front of SD. I was like WTF? So, now I feel we have to watch what we say/do around her.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 12:44PM
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any chance SD would go live with mom? i am not saying it to be mean but really was it ever discussed? maybe that's an option?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 3:43PM
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SD will tend to set the Step parent in a triangle, so the best is to delegate the parenting to the bio parent.

You and your H need to be on the same page. For example, about the bread, he should refer her to ask you out of respect to you. About the discussion you and your H had about dinner, when BM told your H to keep your fights private, then your H should tell her to butt out because that is your HOME.

Being a step parent, your responsibility should be limited to make sure kids are safe, other than that leave the discipline & the grade to the bio parent. You will find out that as you become less strict, the children will find nothing to fight with you.

If your H does not want to do the parenting, then that is his choice for him and his daughter, not yours. Just let it be.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 3:48PM
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At this point, I would prefer SD go to live with her mom. Her mom however, just moved to a smaller (they say "tiny") house & BM does not seem eager to have her living there... she's complained about SD's behavior/attitude toward her & BF, she still hardly answers her phone when SD calls her, and even today DH invited BM to attend a meeting with the school on Friday to discuss retention. SD gets picked up on Friday from school to go to BM's, so it's not like a special trip needs to be made & the meeting is half an hour after school gets out so all she'd need to do is come pick up her daughter & stay half an hour for the meeting. But, BM told DH that the baby is sick & she doesn't think she'll be able to make it... hmmm, how interesting that the baby is sick on Tuesday & she knows he'll still be sick on Friday. Besides, couldn't grandma stay with sick baby for an afternoon so mom can come to daughter's school meeting? No, grandma has to go pick up daughter, mom is too busy!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 4:58PM
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"For example, about the bread, he should refer her to ask you out of respect to you."

I agree. But, DH was sitting where he couldn't see & thought the bread was in the oven. He didn't know I was in the kitchen so he told her it's not ready. SD saw me take it out so she knew it was ready & that I had it in my hands when she turned to ask him.

"About the discussion you and your H had about dinner, when BM told your H to keep your fights private, then your H should tell her to butt out because that is your HOME."

DH has told BM several times to butt out of OUR home life. But, obviously if he has told her several times, she ignores him several times & continues... so we ignore her. That isn't the issue. The issue is having a nearly 12 yr old that feels it's her duty or desire to tell her mom everything that happens in our house... right down to mundane everyday conversations DH & I have with each other.. but SD puts her own spin or guesses details. For example, SD told DH on Sunday that she wants to go to a party my sister was having because they are having ribs & she wants to eat ribs. Well, first of all it was a party my sister was having but we were not invited. I assume SD heard my dad mention my sister is having a party & SD assumed we were invited. I have NO IDEA where she came up with they are having ribs because they had Mexican food catered. But, SD will hear part of a conversation and fill in blanks with her imagination... maybe what she'd like it to be & go with it. That's fine, except when she makes up stuff to tell BM & it results in a confrontation or accusations. This has been going on for years... everyone remember the near fist fight that almost happened over the peanut butter and oatmeal? SD went to BM saying I made her eat peanut butter and she hates peanut butter... I had been putting peanut butter & jelly sandwiches in her lunch because I thought of it as a treat... something different/better than the turkey or ham she usually got. And I thought kids love hot oatmeal on a cold morning... but apparently, that is abusive.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 5:20PM
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Really BM has no grounds to say anything about what you discuss in your house since she doesn't want custody or obviously any responsibility any way... I have butted in on things that Dd had told me before but I have custody and I feel some things they are talking about are too personal for Dd to hear. Like SM having a bad period ot PMs so dad and Sm fight and she tells him I'm having PMS .. It's bad or whatever. I didn't tell them do NOT talk about that in front of my child, I said something like DD overheard and shared with me so please filter bc I'm sure you don't want the world to know what dd is hearing... But only as an FYI DD tells all...

I think your SD is going to have major issues in life. My sister is this way. She doesn't 'lie' she just imagines what she hears and she is unreliable on details. I can't ask her anything bc it won't be the facts. And I really think it started in her teen yrs. I hope you get this yuck situation worked out!! For your sanity as well as for SDs future.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:04AM
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So, you've got a SD who desperately wants attention and love from her mother - the only attention that she really gets is when she complains about the "conditions" at your home, whereupon BM spews at DH (because it's a lot easier than her actually doing anything to make her daughter's life better herself). So now SD feels validated and gets her mom's attention, so naturally she is going to either instigate trouble or make up more "problems" to get a tiny bit more attention....

What a horrible cycle. I have no idea how to put a wrench into those works. Maybe someone else does. I hope that DH doesn't even allow BM to complain to him? That's the only way that I can think of that might help (if it's not already being done.) If BM can't get her satisfaction from ranting at DH, maybe she'll stop doing it. And by "completely ignore", I mean "hang up the phone or walk away unless she's talking directly about pick-up/drop-off times or an emergency".

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:35AM
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