Need some input on SD16

tiredofbeingsmFebruary 2, 2010

I would be interested to hear what people think of my situation. DH and I have been married since SD was 8 and have two BDs (6 and 3).

In a nutshell, SD16 thinks it's OK to be rude to me and everyone in my house (including DH and our BDs). DH and I ended up in counseling over SD16 about four years ago. The counselor said DH needed to step up and discipline SD16 (that will never happen) and that he needs to make sure she is polite and courteous to all in the house. I am to be polite and courteous in return.

For a long time, DH did not enforce this (in denial). But as SD's behavior (and our relationship) continued to deteriorate, he actually decided to step up about four months ago. His only request of SD16 is that she be polite to people when she is in their houses. That's it. And she is incensed by this. She was supposed to come for Thanksgiving, which is at my parents' house every year. DH told her she must be polite to my parents, so she refused to come. Ditto at Christmas, he again asked her to be polite to my family and she refused to visit.

A week ago DH went and GOT SD and brought her down for a visit. On the way to our house he again told her to be polite (to ME), and she flipped out. Said all kinds of nasty things to him, including that he chose me over her. That is not at all the case. He simply asked her to be polite, which would only involve actually greeting me when she enters my house. Instead, she refuses to acknowledge me, walks past me like I'm invisible, etc.

What do you think? I'm proud of DH for standing up about this one TINY thing. But I think DH believes it will be the death knell of their relationship, and after she left he texted and "apologized" for fighting with her. I was appalled. He didn't do anything wrong by having a simple expectation, she did by having a hissy fit. Help!

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Teens are never easy. I think if all that is annoying you is that she doesnt say hello to you -- you should let it go.

As to your being proud of your husband for standing up, I think you finish the sentence, which is proud of your husband for standing up FOR YOU. If you had said you were proud of your DH for making SD do better in school, etc, it would be less one-sided.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 4:34PM
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"I think if all that is annoying you is that she doesnt say hello to you -- you should let it go"

It doesn't sound like that's the case. If dad is having to ASK his daughter to be polite when attending family gatherings, etc. that indicates a problem to me.

OP--when did these issues arise? Have you always had issues with SD? I am sure that some of this is just typical teen behavior but, when it's to the point where it's affecting your marriage and you and DH are in counseling, and it's affecting your other children at home--it's a problem! How does SD do in school? Are there are other problematic areas with her? How often does she live at your home?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 4:51PM
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kkny, this actually started when SD was 10, it has just taken DH this long to address the behavior. There are MANY MANY more things SD is doing to cause problems, I just try to let them go and let DH deal with them. She gets to do and say anything she wants TO anyone she wants, DH is slowly trying to rectify this and the politeness request was/is the first step.

lovehadley, you are correc that there are other issues, galore. DH and I have been together since SD was 5, married since she was 8. It has been very rocky ever since. That's why I don't attribute this to "typical teen behavior" but to something more insidious. DH had to take 8 years to decide to stand up for his WHOLE family (not just me).

SD is now doing OK in school, so that has improved. But she lives with BM now. It was 50/50 custody from ages 2 to 11, then BM moved an hour away and we had primary custody from ages 11 to 15, then SD decided she wanted to live with BM. SD has been with BM for about 1.5 years now, and she has pulled away from DH more every day. And it's not the, "I'm a teenager and I'm busy with my friends and other interests" kind of pulling away, it's the treat him nasty (even more than normal), make his life miserable kind of pulling away. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 5:07PM
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She is a teenager. Forget that she is a step... she is a teenager and my son at age 16 had the same attitude... refused to attend family gatherings (especially if my husband was going to be there, which of course he was) and what did I do? I have one family Christmas portrait where my son flipped the bird and we didn't catch it until they got sent out to all our relatives. (he was upset that I made him go), the next year he was absent from the portrait altogether. I just let him know how disappointed I am that he refuses to go & that one day, when I'm dead, he will look at that picture and feel bad that he isn't in it with me. (Yeah, guilt tactic)

Well, I made it clear to my son that his behavior was unacceptable... kinda like the talk your DH had with her on the way over. I'd get the same reaction... and I had to stick to my guns. YOU WILL NOT BE DISRESPECTFUL TO MY HUSBAND IN MY HOME! and of course, I can't "MAKE" him be nice at that age. I could however, treat him the way he treated others.... he would refuse to go to an event.. fine, stay home. Next time he wants something, sorry but you don't care what we wanted... and it took about 4 years to outgrow that... my son is now 20 and gets along fairly well with my DH. He still has his moments but it would be hell freezing over before I would go to my son and apologize for not taking his poor behavior!!! Are you kidding me???? That girl knows daddy will grovel for her and that is why she will continue to treat you (and him) however she pleases... she knows where everyone stands.

I am going through this with my SD10. We've been together since she was 5 and married since she was 7. She was also with her parents 50/50 until she was 8, when her mom moved away & she came to live with us... and we know it's just a matter of time until she is old enough to choose where she will go and she will want to be with her mother... and I know her relationship with her father will suffer or deteriorate because her mother already tries to alienate her from us... she has learned to manipulate all the adults and I refuse to be manipulated by her... so she ignores me, walks past me like I'm not there, calls dad into her room to ask or tell him anything, etc. And likewise, I treat her the way she treats me... (well, a little better... I at least say hi or try to be pleasant until she rolls her eyes at me)

Kids love their parents, even faulty ones. If he is afraid she won't love him anymore if he stands his ground, then she will use that against him... and say she won't love him anymore. I would tell my kids "I don't care if you hate me. I am doing what I need to do because I love you." and now that they are past the teen years, they still love me... and I did things they said they hated me for at the time... like enforce rules & refusing to do things for them when they were being sh*t heads.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 5:35PM
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she was told to be nice and she opted to not attend a party, how "nice". I hope counseling helps.

DD was very rude at 14-15, at 16 she was already OK. teens are tough. I wonder what her teachers say if she is nice at school. DD was an angel at school even when she was rude at home...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 6:31PM
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DH needs to impose consequences for her behavior. Does he give her whatever she wants, no matter how she acts? If so, he should consider pulling back, otherwise he is enabling her.

Under no situation should you be treated disrespectfully in your home. That is a form of abuse, and DH should not tolerate that ever.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 9:11AM
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what caphillsm said.

This girl is in control & she's exercising her power.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:07AM
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imamommy, thanks for your feedback. So you feel this is a teenager issue, even though SD has been acting like this for YEARS? I agree with your approach of not accepting the behavior. DH lets SD act badly, and I feel that allows her power over our entier family that she shouldn't have. And instead of NOT including SD16 in family photos, DH's approach is to just not have them taken. I have a hard time with that one, as I feel like our two BDs shouldn't be excluded from photos just because of SD16's behavior.

finedreams, I don't really know how she is at school. But I do know that she doesn't keep friends for long because of her bad attitude. And I know she's lying to people about me, because I don't treat her bad but according to her I am the source of ALL of her problems.

caphillsm and sylviatexas, this girl has been "in control" of DH's life since she was 2. And he honestly could not see the problem until about 2 years ago, so it's definitely an uphill battle both for him to address SD's behavior and for her to grasp that she's no longer the one in charge. I am just collateral damage, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:45AM
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I think that DH and SD should get counseling TOGETHER to talk through this. He needs to set boundaries with her. A counselor can help them work through that. Expect this to get worse before it gets better. However, the ultimate quality of the relationship depends upon this happening.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 11:40AM
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Typical "teen" behaivor for girls can start at preteen. I laught at parents with only younger kids, who say, my kids will never be like that. Its like people who arent parents think they know everything about raising kids.

First you mention not saying hello to you, then you say, or there are many other things. ?? Now you say she has been in control of her Dads life since she was two? You werent married till she was 8. Seems strange to me.

I think the mama bear instinct can be strong. Your dh may see you sticking up for the two younger kids at the expense of his older one.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 11:49AM
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kkny, yes, there are MANY more issues with SD16, too many to list here. That's why I was just bringing up one specific issue, to get feedback as I often feel I am too close to the situation.

When DH asked SD16 to be polite and say hello to ALL the people in the house, she went ballistic. Yelled all kinds of nasty things at him that he wouldn't tell me. But all this was said in front of BD6, who was a captive audience as she was in the car with SD16 and DH. SD16 went on to rant and rave at DH while at our house. When he finally threatened consequences, she said "I'd like to see you try it" and walked away. SD16 called BM, who came and took SD16 back to her house. SD16 was only at our house a total of 2.5 hours.

I don't "stick up for" my kids at SD16's expense. SD16 gets to do so many things my BDs don't, and not just because of the age difference but because DH feels he has to make it up to SD16 for being from a divorced home. But it's like that Verucca Salt on Willy Wonka. She is rude and demanding, and DH admits he usually gives in to her to avoid a fight. So I recognize that a great deal of the problem lies with DH and how he parents SD16, but it's affecting ALL of us SO negatively. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 12:38PM
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I am having the same type of thing with my SS and DH refusing to stand up for me oh the day that happens will be joyous..if it doesnt happen too late..if you find an answer please let me know because I sure do not know what to do...I have a post on here maybe I will find some help here I pray!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 1:16PM
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"Its like people who arent parents think they know everything about raising kids."

Or maybe like people who aren't stepparents giving advice to other stepparents?

Sorry KK, but I think you are picking on OP unfairly. She didn't say anything to me to indicate that she sticks up for her bio-daughters. Honestly, she didn't even mention them in the situation other than to explain that they are part of the family, that SD is not an only child.

I don't have a teen (yet) but I can honestly say--I did not act the way OP is describing this girl, nor did I have any friends who did. Sure, everyone had their snotty/rude moments, and I am sure I rolled my eyes at my mom or answered in a snippy fashion. But to have to be told to be polite when attending a family gathering? That just seems strange to me with a 16 yr old. Shouting obscenities at her father? That certainly doesn't sound *typical* to me.

It sounds like this is a very troubled girl and I totally agree with whoever it was who said she could benefit from counseling with her father. DITTO. I think this girl has some anger issues/unresolved feelings (perhaps regarding the divorce, nature of the divorce, etc, as we don't know all the details here.) She has the right to her feelings and to be angry/hurt/whatever but she does NOT have the right to be rude and disrespectful to her SM or dad OR anyone else, for that matter. I think the sooner dad gets into counseling with his daughter, the better for everyone!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 2:09PM
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The fact that she says "I'd like to see you try it" and walked away. That tells me that she knows he will do nothing. (very ballsy of her if you ask me) Then she calls her mom who dutifully comes to get her? (very stupid of mom to do that)

Her parents need to:

A. Get on the same page. If they are not talking, they need to figure out a way to communicate with each other & agree to what is best for their daughter. She is disrupting EVERYONE's life.. including her mom who asks 'how high' when she yells JUMP!

B. Stop giving in to her demands! They need to let her be miserable or angry... but she needs to know who is in charge. At the moment, she knows who's in charge~ SHE IS!

One thing to point out to your husband... How is this girl going to get on in the world? Will employers cater to her demands? Will she ever be able to have a relationship if she behaves this way? How will she learn to parent her own children when this is what is being modeled to her? They are BOTH doing her a great disservice in her life. Very sad. and more sad that you have to live with it and this is what your other daughters are witness to.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 3:19PM
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Love, OP said "I have a hard time with that one, as I feel like our two BDs shouldn't be excluded from photos just because of SD16's behavior. " -- so she is concerned about her kids, as she should be. But DH should be balanced.

This starts off with a girl who won't say hello to her SM, and now through the course of the thread, has become very troubled. Maybe Dad actually sees the whole picture.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 3:35PM
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I know what you are saying, but it appears that in this situation, the girl is disrespectful to everyone, including her father and mother. (and it is disrespectful to call your mom an hour after getting to your dad's and demand to be picked up because dad asked you to be nice & say hi to everyone... and even if the mom is stupid enough to jump in her car and doesn't see it as her daughter being disrespectful to her, it still IS)

You say dad should be balanced... dad needs to grow a pair! He lets this girl walk all over him for years and that is why she has become the monster she is becoming... both of her parents are probably doing the 'guilty parent' thing and they are creating this monster that nobody can control.. so they give in to appease her and apologize that SHE is not happy while she is making everyone else miserable???

C'mon KK, a teenager that has the nerve to say "I'd like to see you try"... she IS a very troubled girl... and she didn't get that way overnight and she has two parents that both seem to be contributing to her poor behavior. In my opinion, OP needs to protect her children, not only from her SD, but from the father that hasn't figured out how to be a good role model & isn't willing to discipline when necessary. (and if he does discipline his younger children and not his oldest.. which they are witness to... then he is sending mixed messages to all of his children) Discipline is a parent's way of showing the child they are loved. A parent that doesn't discipline is a parent that doesn't CARE.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 6:58PM
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Thank you lovehadley and imamommy,

I too feel that SD16 has serious issues that go far beyond being a teenager. Particularly because this behavior did not start when she entered her teen years, it was already well-established.

We did have SD in counseling when she was younger (about 10). But as soon as the counselor asked to speak with BM, she refused to allow SD to go to counseling anymore. I find that very suspicious, as DH and I both willingly spoke to the counselor. But BM would not. BM indicates she's going to again get counseling for SD, but I doubt this happens because BM "likes" SD's behavior. BM is glad SD is treating DH like crap. Even though DH and BM divorced when SD was 2 and she's now nearly 17, BM still has it in for DH. BM has remarried and has other kids, but she seems to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get back at DH. DH used to feel that SD was so enthralled by BM that she did whatever BM wanted to please her. But now that SD is nearly 17, surely she should have a mind of her own and be responsible for her own actions?!

I am not unfamiliar with how teens act, as my brother has four of them (now ages 19 to 14). I've been around them, and yes they can be rude but not outright hostile and nasty. Plus, my brother has no problem pointing out to them when they've overstepped their bounds. DH cannot do that with SD, for fear she will not like him. SD has been given WAY too much power in this situation, to everyone's detriment.

DH claims he did not hear SD say "I'd like to see you try it." But for her to even say it is pretty damn in your face. It's a perfect example of her attitude and behavior. This kid has thrown a phone at me while I was holding my baby. She has tried to hit my baby in the head with a doorknob. She has pushed me while I was at the top of the stairs. She is very troubled, and she runs the show.

I put the example of DH asking her to be polite on here because it is the FIRST time he has actually stood up to SD and said her behavior is not acceptable. I agree there is much more to this story, I just can't begin to type it all here.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 9:35AM
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I have a similar situation. Although, my SD is much younger and not quite to that level yet. I do fear that this is our future if we do not handle the situation now. BM is very insecure and jealous of the fact that I am part of their lives and that DH and I can provide for them more than she can, she admits this. She also admits that SD uses us all against one another, lies and manipulates us all to get her way. BM does not want to do anything about it though (I think because she feels quilty). BM feels that we shouldn't talk to SD about this because SD will feel like we are picking on her. SD is 8 and custody is 50/50. I would like to resolve this ongoing issue now before it escalates as she gets into preteen/teen years. I would love to hear about any advice that you get that is helpful to you. Good luck, I hope that you can all work together to do what is best for everyone involved.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 12:38PM
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"This kid has thrown a phone at me while I was holding my baby. She has tried to hit my baby in the head with a doorknob. She has pushed me while I was at the top of the stairs"

& there are no alarms going off full blast in your head???

This is *not* something that can be dealt with internet forums or counselling or trying to get along.

I don't know how things are in other states, but I know that Texas has a reputation for being less rigorous laws on social welfare & child welfare.

but even in Texas, if this girl injured or killed your child, you'd go to prison for child endangerment & failure to protect your child.

This is nothing to play with, nothing to try to negotiate;
you can't make it into something involving a troubled child's distressful but harmless rudeness.

This girl is endangering you and your child, & if you don't get away from her, I'm afraid we'll be reading about you in the newspaper.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:54PM
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what i see a problem with is stepparents posting about stepkids not saying hello or rolling their eyes. then by the end of the thread all of a sudden it turns out that stepkids are criminals attacking and pushing people off the stairs. I don't think it is possible for us to provide adequate advice if people do not provide enough information.

if she is doing what you described then I advice to call the police, this forum can't solve it.

but I am somewhat surprised that it took you that many posts to actually clarify what SD is doing.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:27PM
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finedreams, I guess I will give up and move on. I was simply trying to get input on ONE particular situation. But then people started questioning, so I provided more background. As I said earlier, it would take a book to present ALL that is going on in my life with regard to SD16.

I apologize if you think I did not present the information in the proper way. I don't want to be a "problem," I was simply seeking advice. Never mind. I can see this is not the proper forum for me, as I didn't know I was going to be judged for seeking help.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:28AM
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I am not judging, not criticizing, I'm just very very concerned - alarmed! - for your safety & the safety of your child.

Please please please get out of there before something irreversible & irrepairable happens.

& please don't respond to things that sound judgmental or hurtful:

1. on an internet forum, you don't have the extra "information" that tone of voice & facial expression give, &

2. on an internet forum, people put in their 2 cents whether their response is helpful or not.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 5:07PM
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