Sneaking, Lies, & Rebellion

imamommyApril 11, 2011

As I said in other threads, SD is failing school. She has been tested & they won't re-test her this year so they put her in a class of "low achievers" and it's designed to hold their hand through each assignment so they 'get it', do the work & turn it in. Don't ask me how SD is actually starting to fail in this class.... it's like she has to TRY to fail. She is offered extra credit but doesn't do it because it's not required.... so she settles for a D- that will be an F with one or two more low scores or a missing assignment. I'm at a loss of how it should be handled. Yes, my daughter struggled in school... but she STRUGGLED. She tried very hard & I worked with her a lot. SD doesn't try at all. I have tried to work with her but she argues that she knows how to do the assignment, then does it wrong & argues that she did what she was told to do. She waits until the last minute to start working on assignments & expects us to run to the store for supplies.. usually at bedtime the night before.

Recently, we found make up she sneaked from her mom's house in a hidden pocket in her backpack. She was told she is not allowed to wear make up... if her mom allows it at her house, that's her business but she cannot bring it into OUR house! The next day she went to BM's & came home last night with more make up hidden in a different pouch of her backpack. (Yes, we've resorted to search & seizure) She also had notes she wrote to a boy that would make a sailor blush. Of course, she got angry & demanded to know why we are getting into her stuff? DH said, "um, because you sneak things & lie to us".

Last week, she came home wearing a sun dress that her mom got her. She's been told a million times that she needs to wear the same clothes home, that she wore on Friday. Why? I know it's not a big deal to wear whatever clothes belong to her.. their her clothes, right? Well, BM lets her wear clothes DH has told her no, usually her teen sister's hand me downs that don't fit her. Besides that, if she doesn't get to wear them back it becomes a huge production & SD yells at us that "my mom wants her clothes back!" and "my mom's gonna get mad". and SD usually takes 'her moms' clothes & folds them neatly & puts them on her desk or dresser so she makes sure she takes them back to BM. DH has been taking them back to her when he goes to pick her up after the weekend. Finally, I told her that if she brings anything else from her mom's, I am going to toss it. She has been told for a long time & just ignores what we tell her. She took her PE clothes out at her mom's & they got lost. I had to go buy her new PE clothes on Thursday because BM kept promising to call the school & buy them but we all know she isn't going to do that & SD needed them. So, while she was gone over the weekend I did her laundry for her. Then I notice that she only has 3 shirts from all the clothes we've bought her this year. This morning, I ask her where her clothes are, she shrugs & says "I don't know"... kinda like "I don't care" and it irked me. DH wants me to go buy her more clothes. So, SD has been wearing a pair of shoes she brought from her mom's. (her favorite shoes) I ask her where the shoes are that we got her for school... another shrug & I don't know. So, I bought her new shoes for Christmas that she hasn't yet worn because she LOVES the shoes from her mom's. Not sure if it was the RIGHT way to handle it, but I took her prized shoes & told her that she can wear her other ones. She yelled "WHY?!" and I told her that when she folds up the clothes we buy & keeps them where she can make sure she brings them back so she has clothes to wear to school & when she starts to worry about whether WE are going to be upset about things the way she worries about her 'moms clothes', then it can be different. I'm not really happy that I need to go buy new clothes for her today. (well, even if DH goes to buy them.. it's an expense we just can't afford right now.)

Speaking of expense... SD gets in the car last night & tells DH that she hurt her tailbone Saturday playing on the trampoline at BM's. The trampoline is at the house BM moved out of over a month ago... but I guess BM still hasn't gotten everything moved out so they were over there & she let SD play on the trampoline. SD denies she fell or hit anything... "it just started hurting". She told BM, who did nothing... and now SD is asking DH to take her to the doctor. Ironically, BM was limping when we picked up SD & she tells DH she twisted her ankle and going to the ER to have it checked out. It's nice how she takes herself to the hospital but lets SD walk around in pain. When DH asked her about it, BM instructs him to go ahead & take her in for X rays if she still hurts in a couple of days. So, she doesn't mind her kid being in pain for several days and of course, she isn't offering to help pay any of the bills that will arise from taking SD to the doctor & getting X rays. On top of that, BM has a hearing today to see if she is in compliance with her seek work order. She asked DH if he was going to be at the hearing & he said no, he has to work. She tells him "well, they are lowering my child support." which is laughable since she hasn't paid a dime in over a year... can't get much lower than that. But, I also know the laws in California and DH has to be served with a motion for her to have it reduced, there has to be a hearing & he has a right to be at the hearing. She was just trying to rattle him, I think.

Anyway, this morning DH was driving SD to school and she laid into him about why he is not taking her side against me. He told her that she isn't following the rules, and he agrees with me. She started telling him how mad her grandma is going to be that I took her shoes because I guess BM's mom bought them. He told her he doesn't care if they get mad, she needs to follow the rules in our house! So, SD isn't going to get it. She's now talking back & rebelling. I know it's only going to get worse because we either stick to our guns or let the rules fly out the window. Sending her to live with her mom would be easiest for us, but not necessarily the best for SD. Of course, she is already doing whatever she wants... she's writing to two boys telling them she'll do anything for them. I just feel like it's a lost cause at this point. I told DH that he needs to tell BM that if she continues to undermine him/us, that she can have SD & deal with the mess she has created.

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I think SD is torn between two parents. I think her educational failure is a serious issue, clothes i am not that sure, I have hard time following what and when she is supposed to wear just reading the post. In regards to her education issues, i posted elsewhere. I am going to paste it.

"One-on-one tutoring with a professional with experience in the field.

My niece struggled with math in 3rd grade. She is very far from being lazy, actually the other way around, works so hard at everything.
My brother did homework with her daily and she still struggled, it got to the point that he thought of retaining and even my niece was not objecting.

Principal said "no: bad idea, and suggested one-on-one tutoring but not with mom/dad but a professional.

So she went to private tutor over the summer and continues going now, it made all the difference. She got up to her grade level and is finishing 4th grade doing wonderfully. Math is still not her strength, but she performs on a grade level. She needed someone explaining to her individually, and not her own dad but a professional who knows how to do it the right way.

I understand it is expensive, but if it made a difference with my niece maybe it will help with SD. Now I do have to say that my nice is extremely responsible for her age, she will sit and sit and study and never give up even if it is too hard. She WANTED to do well. I am not sure if your Sd cares...

Maybe in your case she needs to be retained yet if her problem is work refusal, she'll do the same next year. On the other hand most of the time children do not do work because they don't know how to or find it too difficult"

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 6:08PM
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Hire an expensive tutor for a kid who only excels at failure? It would be different if there was a legit problem with her, but there isn't. She's a brat because her mom encourages her to be. Sure, throw more money at her - she won't appreciate it and she'll squander the opportunity anyway. And speaking of throwing money away - what's up with buying her new clothes?? Too bad. If she can't take care of the clothes that YOU buy her, then she'll have to make do with what she's got or figure out "where" she put them very very quickly. I personally don't see anything wrong with a little public humiliation (LOL!). Let her wear the same clothes over and over and over and over and over again until it sinks into that little brain of hers that you and daddy dearest will not dance to her tune.

And, AGAIN, speaking of money. Perhaps it's time that you "disengage" your money from your DH's. There is nothing wrong with having a "his" pot, "her" pot and "blended" pot. Perhaps DH will grow a stronger backbone with regard to BM if you're not consistently bailing him out? Times are tough and sometimes a community pot just doesn't work out equitably for all involved.

Personally, if I were IMA, I'd have divorced his @ss and danced (yes, while wearing bells) all the way to the courthouse because there is no way that I could put up with being treated the way you are in your own home.

Can you tell I'm PMSing? LOL!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:01PM
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yeah, I was actually going to say the same thing as lonepiper about buying new clothes. At this point it was her choice to not have any clothes. So, let her live with it. She is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I would make Dad tell her without you even being around so she knows this isnt you vs her, this is right and wrong and decisions have consequences good our bad.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 10:53PM
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Ima previously said that her SD does not understand what is being taught (besides being lazy), so maybe individual instruction could help. Most districts provide free tutoring by the way. If she writes at 3rd grade level then it is more than being lazy.

BM's other daughter is doing OK in school. She is raised by mom/grandma. Maybe she has different abilities and just has different personality, or maybe they do something differently? Is her other daughter doing OK in other aspects?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 6:30AM
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I may be way off base, but from just reading lots of Ima's postings on this SD for quit some time, I think this girl's problems/issues are far larger than tutoring is going to help... she's not in the frame of mind to WANT TO LEARN, it's not the priority in her life for her. School is just that 'thing' she has to do Monday through Friday cause the law says so. This little girl is a mess, and my heart breaks for the child. It's nothing Ima has done or not done, Ima's hands are tied and she's given this child her fact I think if Ima and this child had been left alone without interference from BM/Gma and the stuck in the middle Dad this child would not be in the situation she is in.

As much as this girl loves her BM, this BM has been a terrible influence and presence in this girl's life. Every inch of progress Dad/Ima might make with this child is ripped down each wekeend and all summer that child spends with her mother. Everything from lifestyle to morals to attitudes. This child is like the 'lost child'. Dad is in one awful position to be. If he lets this girl go she will sink, yet while he clings to hope of breaking through the more the child ages and will rebel... she'll resent him more and more. SD has one parent trying to raise her up and another parent rejecting her yet controling how the child thinks, acts and performs. I think this child is so torn in her out of school life that she can not function in her school life. Wanting her mother, wanting to dress and act like her mother (which is dysfunctional)and everything else...this kid is screaming 'I want my Mom, why the heck does she not want me? These clothes, make-up and behavior are good enough for my mother and it's good enough for me. Maybe if I do this or that my mother will want me. I don't give a flying flick about school, education and being successful, I just want to be loved and accepted by the one person who is suppose to love and want me more than anything else in this world'.

Just my 2 cents. I'm not a child expert, and not an inside player with a front row seat, I have no magic wand that can fix this nor any advice I can even begin to offer Ima...but I'm sure not going to take out a stick and start beating on her. I happen to admire all she has tried to do for this child.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:30AM
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I agree with Justmetoo. I beleive everything Ima has done has been for the benefit of this child, but she's being undermined by BM/GMA. It's obvious that BM is jealous of the relationship and wants to prove to everyone involved that SHE is the mom and SHE has a right to raise HER child, HER way even if it means reasing her to be an entitled little brat with no manners, no sense of regard for anyone but herself (just like BM), and no self-discipline. I feel for you IMA....I think most of us here would agree that being a Stepmom is the most thankless job on earth, but I think you've gotten more than your fair share of abuse from this child and her maternal family.

Is there any way you can limit the amount of the time she spends with her BM, particularly during the summer? And, I think the one-on-one tutoring will help your SD with her school there any way you can force BM to pay half the cost of the tutoring -- maybe that would make her realize that she needs to encourage this child to work harder to succeed in school. I've found that money is a great motivator for non-custodial parents...if it's going to cost them, they usually change their attitudes.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:49AM
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Ima's SD's BM is absolutelly useless loser when it comes to raising SD. But unfortunatelly we cannot change what's happening with the other parent, it is not bad enough to take visitations away. So since ima and dad cannot fix Bm's craziness, what's left to do? The girl is behind, yes she is lazy and lying but she is also struggling.

I see nothing wrong with tutoring, no BM will not help, she does not even pay CS. My ex was not a deadbeat yet if I waited for him to pay for things DD needed I would still be waiting.

I still want to know what is hapening with older DD, is BM favoring her...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 1:21PM
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"Ima previously said that her SD does not understand what is being taught (besides being lazy), so maybe individual instruction could help. Most districts provide free tutoring by the way. If she writes at 3rd grade level then it is more than being lazy."

SD does not understand the material because she does not WANT to pay attention, she argues that she knows & does not want it explained to her.... not by me, her dad or her teachers. She has one period that is a study period. It's time for her to ask questions, get help, work on stuff she didn't get done in class, etc. She had an F in study period last semester because she spends the whole time out of her seat, talking & disrupting the class. She also goes to an after school detention type class on Thursdays where the purpose is for students to get missing homework done & have an opportunity to turn it in. She goes and turns in work, but she thinks if the blank has something written in it, she's done her part.... whether it's right or wrong. We also were taking her to a morning tutor session with the Vice Principal. He set up a tutoring time before school on Wednesdays to answer specific math questions & help kids understand it. We took her to that for weeks & then found out she was going but just sitting there. Her math grade actually was getting worse when she was going to that class & I asked her if she's asking questions or getting anything explained to her. She said she doesn't ask him anything so she sits there "working on homework"... but her grades (or should I say the grade book showing missing assignments, tells a different story. IMO, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink & with our finances stretched as it is... and BM refusal to pay for ANYTHING, it's ridiculous to even think of private tutor. If she was a kid that was trying but struggling, then maybe we'd squeeze it from somewhere... heck, I've thought of private school too but she has to WANT to do better.

"BM's other daughter is doing OK in school. She is raised by mom/grandma. Maybe she has different abilities and just has different personality, or maybe they do something differently? Is her other daughter doing OK in other aspects?"

BM's other daughter was raised by grandma. Sure, mom was around part of the time but grandma has been a constant in her life. When BM's husband filed for divorce, their DD was 11months old. BM moved about 9 hours away to live with grandma & husband filed to get custody but lost. Grandma was her primary caretaker from that time... what I understand, BM went out a lot. When DH was dating her, Grandma would call him looking for BM & say she needs to come home & take care of her baby. BM would ask DH to say he hadn't seen her so she didn't have to go home. (Yes, I know DH should have gotten a clue about her at that point) So, Grandma raised SD's sister. There was never a custody battle where BM told sister that her daddy is trying to take her... sister was with her primary caregiver, grandma. And when BM moved away & left sister, she was still with her primary caregiver & going to her same school with all her same friends. And when sister finally went to live with BM (supposedly), grandma gave up her house & moved to the same town as BM so sister still has her primary caregiver with her. In fact, grandma still spends more time with sister & buys her what she needs than BM does. So, emotionally it wasn't nearly as traumatic for sister as it was for SD. And I also think sister does better in school, possibly because she has different genetics. Her father is a college educated bio medical engineer & SD comes from a high school drop out (BM) and a high school graduate that is working at the same job today that he had since high school... he's a great guy, hard worker but not college material. I don't give BM ANY credit for how well her other daughter is doing. BM has done nothing to benefit any of her kids & now that older DD is there, she is the primary caregiver to the new baby. It's rather disgusting.

Justmetoo, you not only hit the nail on the head, you pounded the nail into the ground. She wants acknowledgment that her mom wants her, loves her, cares about her. She has done everything she could possibly do to get mommy to pay attention to her to no avail. And she does whatever she can to undermine DH & I. She talks to SD about what is happening with the court case, tells her how we are taking all her money with child support, etc. And DH doesn't want to discuss any court stuff with her, even if it's to refute the lies BM is telling her. He tells her it's not her concern & it's a grown up issue, don't worry about it. Which obviously, SD wants to believe what mommy tells her so it works against us because DH is trying to do the right thing.

"I think you've gotten more than your fair share of abuse from this child and her maternal family."

LOL, not only the maternal family... it's caused a rift with DH's mom. She has also involved herself & given me a hard time. It's to the point where I talk to her when I have to... where we used to enjoy having her over for BBQ's & (my side) family parties or holidays.

Lonepiper, you made me laugh... "throw more money at her"

Yesterday, she came in after school & I asked her "so, explain YOUR SIDE to me" and she looked puzzled & said "huh?" Well, you told your dad "how come he never takes YOUR SIDE?" and I'm curious to know what side you want him to take. She says, "well, I just want him to stand up for me!" and I asked, when you're doing what? When you don't do your homework or turn it in? Should he stand up for you? "Well, no." When you sneak make up from your mom's house, we throw it away because you're not allowed to wear make up here and you bring more with you the next day... should he stand up for you and let you wear make up? "well, no." So, I told her that DH & I discuss everything, don't keep secrets from each other & he agrees with the rules because we made the rules together, as a team. (and in spite of the stress, I think I'll stay married because he's a really good guy that got himself in a situation that has really spiraled out of control. Yes, he knew what a bad mom she was to her older daughter, but they didn't "plan" to have SD. He was about to end the relationship when 'poof' BM get's pregnant, so he stuck around but couldn't take it after she stole from him & cheated on him... and he has paid for his poor choice more than anyone should have to.)

Then I brought up the clothes & told her that I'm upset that she 'loses' the clothes we buy her but when she brings clothes from her mom's house... which is also against the rules (and if anyone wants to understand why we have that rule, search GW for the thread "those damn pants") but she takes them & folds them neatly, has a place on her desk for them & wants to make sure they get returned to mom so mom doesn't get mad... so I told her that we work very hard to provide everything for her, that regardless of what mom tells her, mom hasn't paid a penny for anything in over a year so we pay for everything & it bothers me that she treats mom's clothes like they are special & stuff we buy is nothing... and I agree that buying more clothes is stupid. I told DH yesterday that it feels like rewarding her for losing them... lose your clothes & get to go shopping for new ones. So, I gave her a few shirts from my closet that are, well too small for me & she can take them or leave them.

ladyq, we've talked about limiting her time there but unless BM agrees, we'd have to go back to court. We've spent over $15k on attorney fees & the court's last ruling requires an evaluation to be done before custody or visitation can be modified. The evaluation costs around $6k and we just can't afford it. And force BM to pay... that makes me laugh! Child support is taking her to court to make her search for work. She hasn't paid in a year, and even then it was only because they intercepted her tax refund. She had a baby a little over a year ago & decided that now she has another mouth to feed, she no longer should have to pay for SD... after all, DH & I work. DH has a judgment for medical bills & attorney fees he was awarded the first couple of years we had SD. She hasn't paid anything on it. DH goes to court next week to try & get the court to do something about her not paying the current medical bills since the last judgment. Of course, BM tells SD how we are dragging her back to court for all this stuff. Right or wrong, it felt good to finally set SD straight on her mom's lack of contribution.

Of course, a few minutes after telling her how we pay for everything & don't appreciate wasting money on clothes that she loses or doesn't take care of... she came to me with an order form for "buddy picture day" and told me her tail bone is really hurting her worse & she needs to see the doctor. (mind you, I was paying attention when she came in & plopped down in her chair, jumped up a couple of times & didn't show ANY signs that she was in pain, but after telling me she needs to see the doctor, she stiffly limped away as if she could barely walk) So, she goes to the doctor today because we need to make sure & not let her walk around with an injury... even though mom had no problem with it. grrrr

"if it's going to cost them, they usually change their attitudes."

haha, BM's attitude when she moved & left SD with us... she told DH that since he was keeping SD, he could keep the child support he was ordered to pay her (when they had 50/50) and that would be her contribution. A year later (yes, he let her go a year before he requested support & only because she refused to pay for her half of doctor visits, which was $10.) when he filed for support, she used the argument that she isn't working so she can't pay. The court imputed wages & ordered her to pay $216 a month. Her response to the motion for child support was to accuse me of abusing SD & request custody, which was disregarded because it was a child support issue, not custody. That was her only vague attempt to get her daughter back. BM is very quick to tell SD to have us buy her this or that, take her to the doctor, etc.

As I said, SD hurt her tailbone at BM's on Saturday. When we picked her up Sunday night, BM tells DH he should take SD to the hospital & get an x ray. That's BM's attitude... she has no problem disregarding her responsibility & then telling us what we need to do & then tell us how horrible we are when we don't jump. Of course we also don't care what she says anymore... well, I don't but DH sometimes starts getting sucked into letting her make him feel bad, until he is reminded that BM does NOTHING for her daughter & we do everything... who has SD's best interest at heart? Not her.

I think it would benefit SD to stay here during summer & go to summer school or even one on one with a tutor. I doubt SD would want to stay here & do that instead of going to BM's where she can do whatever she wants. BM probably wouldn't care, except SD would give her hell if she wanted to go to mom's but mom said go ahead & stay with dad. The funniest thing is BM does not want to look like the bad guy, but she is totally oblivious to the fact that everything she's done makes her look bad to normal people.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 2:31PM
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I wonder what could be done to make SD stay home and attend summer school or work with a tutor, possibly going to court again? bm might even like it, she won't have to deal with SD

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:16PM
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I sorta answered that though it may have not been clear... I look back and it is a long rambling post. But, I said:

"we've talked about limiting her time there but unless BM agrees, we'd have to go back to court. We've spent over $15k on attorney fees & the court's last ruling requires an evaluation to be done before custody or visitation can be modified. The evaluation costs around $6k and we just can't afford it."

I do think BM would not care if SD stayed here, it's less for her to deal with & I think grandma is getting tired of transporting. But, SD wants to go there because during summer, she gets to do whatever she wants. BM lets the kids ride bikes across town, they go swimming, hang out with her sisters friends, etc. and of course she gets to eat as much of whatever she wants. She'll come home 15-20 lbs. heavier. If SD wanted to stay here, I don't think BM would object... but going to court is not an option. Besides, SD is already rebelling a little.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:43PM
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You know, taking the high road and not refuting the other parent's lies can sometimes backfire and be counter-productive... I really am for 'taking the high road' almost all of the time -- really. But not when it means the child LIVES with the wrong impression -- that Dad makes BM pay all this money for child support, or that StepMom is the one who broke up Dad's and BioMom's marriage (not in your case, I know), or that BioMom really would want full custody if only... Sometimes kids *need* to learn the cold hard truth -- even when it hurts.

It sounds like SD is trying desperately to 'be like BioMom' so BioMom will approve of her and give her the love and attention she craves -- But YOU know that won't work, and Dad knows that won't work. And probably even SD knows it won't really work... That BioMom won't get off her lazy backside and be a real, involved mother no matter *what* SD does.

But until SD admits this terrible truth, she'll probably continue to act out her fantasy, spiralling downhill until she does something irreversible. (Which is probably only a very few years away...)

Is there anyone who could get through to her? Certainly, Grandma knows what a slug her daughter is. Without saying exactly that (that BioMom is a slug), would she be able to convince SD that an education really IS important? And that BioMom's path is not actually a good one to follow? And that even if she does follow BioMom's path, BioMom will still not be able to step up and actually MOTHER her daughter? Surely Grandma knows this...

Or would a counselor be able to ask SD the right questions to get SD to reach her own conclusions?

Or you? I know it's risky for you, Ima, but posed as a series of questions over several weeks -- 'Why do you think BioMom did that?' Or 'That's an interesting way to handle that. Can you think of another way that could have been handled?'

I know when I switched from silently 'taking the high road' (and fuming) to "Why do you think your dad did that?" that I began to see a significant improvement in my son's behavior and a wonderful development of his character. Sure, he'd *seen* right, and he'd *seen* wrong -- but he'd never really been asked to tell the difference, let alone *analyze* the differences. It really, really helped.

You don't want her to get defensive -- You really just want her to think about things. To really, honestly think about things and build some emotional intelligence when it comes to her mom. BioMom's not going to suddenly sprout a conscience, so until SD sees that her mom's behavior is wrong, she's not going to have any reason to do anything different...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:44PM
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Thanks Sweeby! I don't think I shared anything she didn't already know... well, not sure if she knew her mom doesn't pay dad but she knows her mom always says she has no money. She didn't even buy her a birthday gift this year. Apparently, the ONLY gift she got this year was what I bought her & my dad gave her $50 & took her out to dinner. But, she knows grandma is the one buying anything at BM's house. BM has taken her to the thrift store a couple of times to get clothes or gives her sister's hand me downs... which is another reason the clothing issue just irks me... the prized clothes aren't nice, expensive, new, etc. and here I take her to the Gap, Old Navy, etc. and buy nice quality stuff. (and I know it's not about that... she wants mom's stuff because mom got it for her & she wants mom's approval)

SD has reached the conclusion with BM. When she left her PE clothes at BM's over a month ago, she kept it secret & BM kept promising her to call the school & get her new ones. Finally, she told DH she didn't have PE clothes, that she was using a loaner pair of shorts & had brought one of BM's BF's t-shirts (which I thought is odd) and had been using those. When he told me, I went to the school & paid for new PE clothes. After school, SD said thank you & told me she knew her mom was never going to buy them because she never does what she says. So, SD is aware of BM and can admit it, however she still wants to protect her most of the time, which makes it very hard to wonder if SD is "coming around" or just being manipulative.

The hardest thing to deal with in regard to SD is the damaged trust. She has done so many things, told so many lies & manipulations, continues to be caught in lies on a daily basis... though most are small things average kids do, but it's the constant barrage of lies that makes us ask "does she EVER tell the truth?"

As far as telling her the "truth" about things, right away she wants to call BM. Now, I don't know if she's calling to tell BM what we told her or if she's analyzing what we say versus what BM tells her so she can make her own conclusion about who's telling her the REAL truth. But, I do think it's a better way to handle it than to sit idle & let her think that everything her mom tells her is true.

and to PO1~ earlier, you asked about favoritism with older sister? Yes, BM favors sister. So does grandma. When BM lived with DH & had SD, they split when SD was a year old. BM moved back to grandma but grandma let her bring older sister but not SD. DH kept SD for a few months until grandma relented & let her live there too. But it was only every other week because DH kept her one week, BM the next. When I met SD, she was 5 & would tell me how grandma is mean to her, doesn't like her, etc. Now, she may have been playing victim to get sympathy in the way she started telling everyone that will listen, how I am so mean to her, etc. Grandma may not have wanted to have BM put another baby in her lap so she could go out. I really don't understand the full dynamics of what occurred but I do know that as long as I've been involved, it seems SD has been shuffled to the side but sister is the golden child. Way back when SD started going to tae kwon do, it was only because she begged & DH agreed to pay half. BM & sister had been going for a while together & SD felt left out. So, yes I see lots of favoritism & SD seems to be unwanted. It sickens me to think this could be true, but I've wondered if it's because sister's father pays $1200 a month in support and BM knew she couldn't get that kind of money from DH. She often threatened him to get full custody & ask for huge support, but never tried. I don't think she wanted to take care of SD 100% of the time. Besides, he wanted 50/50 from the beginning so the most she got was $286 when they finally went to court and it wasn't worth it to her or she just didn't want to take SD with her when she moved away.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 3:19PM
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Ima, I agree with justmetoo and Lady Q; SD is acting out hoping to get BM's attention and love. I'm also inclined to agree with Sweeby; the time may have come that DH needs to take more drastic measures. DH has tried doing "the right thing" and not discussing adult issues with SD, and it's not working. SD is apparently taking DH's silence as confirmation that BM is being truthful.

I have heard advice from other parents and stepparents who are reaching critical point, which it sounds like you are. And what they are doing is confronting serious lies told by the other parent with proof; indisputable evidence or third party discussions. For example, if the child is being told that "I was supposed to have you every weekend but Daddy won't let me" - show the child the relevant part of the CO. If the child is being told that BM is paying massive amounts of CS and BM is not - show the child the evidence.

It's harsh, it's extreme - and it may be about the only chance you have left before SD is too far gone to save her.

The other thing that you might think about trying is (again) a bit extreme for most situations, but SD might benefit from some serious discussions about finances. Right now SD is not seeing any real consequences from BM's fiscal irresponsibility, and so probably does not understand.

You're in an awful position. I'm sorry. I wish there was some good answer but if there is, I don't know it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 4:06PM
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1200 in CS for one child wow!!! it could be that's why BM is so nice to older DD, perhaps she is afraid if she does not treat her right dad would take her away and then good-bye 1200 a month. I have a bad feeling that it is the reason...

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:38PM
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It takes WAY more effort to be deceitful and dishonest than it does not to be. Personally, I think your SD is a bloody genius! If only she would use her evil powers for the good of mankind!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:56PM
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1200 is 'temporary' spousal & child support. That's probably why she has not finalized her divorce to husband. It's been pending 15 years now. If they were to finalize it, the court would review again & could terminate it. They were only married a little over a year... together at least. Now it's a 16 year marriage on paper. Her DD is gonna be 16 this year. At least when she turns 18 in two years, BM will still have her new meal ticket, um I mean her new baby w/boyfriend.

I had another talk with SD(more like to her since she hardly said anything back to me), but she started with an apology for rolling her eyes at me, which I didn't even see her do. Yesterday, she went to the doctor because she claims she hurt really bad on her tail bone. She didn't appear to be in any pain except after telling us it hurt, she started walking like she could barely move. (the doctor said it might be bruised but found no evidence of injury) Today, I see her sitting in a position that if her tailbone hurt, she would not be sitting like that, so I mention that "doesn't that hurt your tailbone?" and she changed positions & I guess rolled her eyes at me. So, after she apologized for rolling her eyes, I told her that it would really be upsetting if she had us take her to the doctor for something that she knew wasn't really serious enough to need a doctor. I told her that I notice her mom often has injuries... always something sprained, fractured, or in a sling/brace. In six years, I've seen her on crutches several times, arm slings, etc. so I told her that I don't know if your mom really hurts herself THAT badly all the time or if it's a way to get attention (yes, I was that blunt) but I told her that it's very expensive to go to the hospital or doctor for fake or minor injuries. I told her we don't mind taking her if she really needs to be seen & that's why dad pays so much for insurance... just in case we get hurt bad. But, when we have to spend all our money on doctor visits, lost clothes, etc. then it means we have no money for vacations, etc. Then I told her that I'm not really happy with her mom because when SD got hurt on Saturday, BM didn't even look at it, didn't put ice on it, didn't even think of taking her to the doctor... but she hurts her own foot & goes straight to the ER. (She's apparently on state aid so it costs her nothing) And SD tells me that if she were me, she wouldn't like her mom either. So, I had to clarify to her that I didn't say I don't like your mom, I said I'm NOT HAPPY with what your mom does sometimes... just like I am not always happy with what you do but I still love you.

Hope it has some impact on her. Don't know if that will do any good, only time will tell. I took it as a positive sign that she felt bad for rolling her eyes & apologized, even though I didn't see it. If I had seen it, I would have called her on it right away & she knows that. (Of course, she over heard me tell my dad how when my DD was a little girl, she used to punish herself when she broke a rule or did something wrong... she'd go sit on her bed or in her room like a time out & I had no idea she did something wrong or gave herself a time out until a few years ago she told me she did that)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:00PM
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why wouldn't her ex finalize it? why does he want to remain married? how do you know if they didn't get final divorce parers? if my SO wouldn't show me his divorce decree I would never know I would just assume he is divorced, how do you know if they are still married? and why is he agreeing to pay alimony for that many years? something is fishy with these two..

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 6:19AM
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I think you did the right thing talking to SD but I would worry she goes to mom and repeats and embellishes your conversation? hope not, maybe you should tell your DH so he is prepared to answer to her appropriately.

I am sure BM does her arm slings and crutches for attention, I know people like that.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 6:24AM
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I know it's not finalized because the case index is available online & the last action taken was an earnings withholding order for the spousal/child support in 1997. When we were in the middle of the custody battle 5 years ago, I got the entire court file, including declarations he made, she made & friends/witnesses made... there's even one from grandma that indicated BM had emotional/mental issues as a teen, after her divorce from BM's father.

Why wouldn't HE finalize it? The only reason I can imagine is that it's based on his income 16 years ago, which is probably significantly higher now. It's probably also based on the time split in the custody order, where he was going to have the child a few days a week. I think it was 4 days with mom, 3 with dad. That couldn't happen because BM moved 9 hours away. There are no other modifications to the custody order but their DD goes to see him on vacations & some long holidays... but not too often. Also, if they went in to finalize it, the court would probably terminate it as spousal support and re-evaluate child support. The child support would be figured on his current income & actual time share and would probably be more than he pays now because he only sees her maybe 10-15%. On top of that, if he keeps it as spousal support, he can deduct it for taxes and BM has to pay taxes on it. Since it's her only income, she doesn't get enough to have to pay taxes... so it's a win win for both of them. In fact, she usually gets a huge refund so I think she may claim EIC using the spousal support, though it's not "earned" so I don't know how she manages that... unless her refunds are from the few part time, short lived jobs she's had.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 10:07AM
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Sounds to me like you're on the right track, Ima.
Nothing like a little honesty to start to dispel a stinkin' heap of hypocrisy.

Po1 - Older daughter's BioDad may have other reasons for not wanting to finalize the divorce -- like substantial assets BioMom might get her hands on, or just having to deal with her again. The $1,200 child support is actually very typical in our state for a 'high-income' father -- and actually, not all that high income... ($60,000+ per year) Of course, in our state, there's generally no spousal support. So there's not necessarily a reason to suppose BioDad would see much of a change in child support if he does move to finalize.

My ex. dragged his feet on finalizing our divorce too, until I pointed out to him that his foot-dragging was costing him an extra $1,000 per month (temporary order had him paying the house note but no child support). THAT got his attention ;-)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 10:42AM
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