First time here

stacyd0701June 10, 2013

Hello Everyone,
This is my first time posting on this forum! I am just at a desperate place with my family & felt the need to reach out to others who could relate. I have been married for what will be 7 years next month to my husband. I have a soon to be 13 year old daughter with my 1st husband who left when I was 8 months pregnant so he is not in my daughters life. I have a 3 year old son with my current husband as well. My daughter was a few days shy of 6 years old when we got married & seemed to get along with my husband at first but still kept him at arms length. In the last 2-3 years their relationship has got more & more strained. I felt he tries to hard to be the disciplinarian instead of putting energy into their relationship. This last year has been the hardest as her hormones kicked in & friends & the internet have become more important to her. My husband handles things differently with her & can be more critical of her friends, music & being on the internet. I feel he is always making a comment which causes her to stay in her room. I tolerate a lot of these things for I feel it is typical of her age & I can remember being her age. Yes at times she is disrespectful & I let her know that is not how we treat one another. I feel in the middle of my daughter & husband for she says he annoys her & I feel she spends time in her room & does not seem to enjoy herself when we are together as a family because of my husband. I just want so much more for our family & have tried to talk to both my husband & daughter but I feel it is something they need to do but neither does. My husband has taken my daughter on a date a few times but has seemed to give up. If roles were reversed I would do anything in my power to have relationship with my husband's daughter. I just feel my husband has to be the adult & keep trying with her & cut back on the nagging & being critical & let me handle the discipline & work on their relationship for I am afraid as she creeps more into the teenage years it will be too late! I welcome any thoughts, comments, opinions to help my family be happy together!
Thank You,

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"does not seem to enjoy herself when we are together as a family"

wonder why...

Regardless of her hormones (I do hate it when people blame an adolescent's misery on her own body rather than on the person who's making her life miserable), you're married to a man who has been doing the same thing for nearly 7 years, & it's mean, & it's inappropriate, & it doesn't work & it's alienated his stepdaughter, & he keeps doing it.

I my own self think this qualifies as "enough is enough", time to sit hubs down & *tell* him, not discuss with him or negotiate with him or try to convince him of, the rules.

He doesn't get to discipline your daughter;
he doesn't get to make snotty comments;
he doesn't get to criticize, beech, sulk, or act like anything other than an adult person.

& for crying out loud, don't make her go on any more "dates" with him...

You are her mother, & you're all she has;
take that trust & that responsibility very very seriously.

It's the most important job/mission you'll ever have in this life.

I wish you & especially your daughter the very best.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Agree with pretty much everything Sylvia many "step parents" (and live-in BF/GFs..which is even worse) are too eager to try to take on the role of biological parent.

They (and the kids) would be better off if they would just leave "raising" the children to the bio parent. Stay out of discipline, criticizing, decision making, etc. Be a supportive adult friend...that's pretty much it. Obviously these lines get blurred when people are all living together, but it is a good goal to shoot for.

I disagree with one thing, however: "You are her mother, & you're all she has". That's a morbid way to look at it. I know for a fact that my long time GF's 13 yrs old son looks to me as THE primary male role model in his life, because his real dad moved 1000 miles away for a girl 2 years ago and sees him once a year now. So, even though my GF and I really try to live by the rules I have stated, I do occupy a very important role in her son's life, and take it very seriously, even though I am not "parenting" him. To paint a picture that she is "all he has", is a bit of a stretch. I'd do almost anything for this boy, he knows he can count on me.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Stacy, I agree with sylviatexas as well. I learned the hard way that when it comes to a step-parents and step-kids dynamic, the best thing a step-parent (or GF/BF) can do is to leave the parenting up to the parent. Kids and teenagers don't appreciate a person who isn't their birth parent trying to act like they are. They are looking for someone who understands what they are going through. She might want someone to aknowlage that her real dad isn't in her life and that no one is trying to take his place. She might just want to hear that your husband really cares about her, and wants to be there for her as a friend, as someone who will listen to her, and as someone who will back off when she needs her space. I would tell your husband to let you handle the parenting responsibilities and for him to work on his FRIENDSHIP with your daughter. Tell him to stop trying so hard. If you explain it the right way, it may actually be a relief to your husband that these things really aren't his job or responsibility!

I also would suggest that instead of him taking her on "dates", maybe YOU could! (I'm not suggesting that you don't already spend 1 on 1 time with her as it is) I just know that when I was a 13 year old, I rrrrreally needed extra time with my mom. It's a scary and confusing time for any teenage girl, and men have no clue how to relate to the things teenage girls are going through. And when it comes to 1on1 time with her step-dad, maybe something less formal would set better with her. Like them watching a movie in the living room together or him helping her re-decorate her room. That way it doesnt come off as him trying so hard to MAKE her like him. It might just happen organically.

I wish you, your husband, and your daughter the best of luck. And welcome to the forum =)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 12:25PM
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"men have no clue how to relate to the things teenage girls are going through.."

As the father of a certifiably-insane 15 year old, I agree 100%.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:42PM
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A "father figure" person who does his best for a child (Person A) & a guy who throws his weight around & makes a child's life miserable (Person B)...are not the same person.

If you're a momma & your partner/boyfriend/husband is Person B, you're all your child has.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Thank you everyone for your replies! We were on vacation all of last week so it is my first time back on here reading the posts! I too wish my husband would worry more about their relationship than the discipline & not criticize but support for I feel if they could have a good relationship then respect would be natural between the both of them for they have a good base. The one thing I forgot to mention is my husband is more than the "step-dad" for he legally adopted her in 2010 for my ex has never been in the picture. I know to some that might just be a legal piece of paper but it was a very special day for us & my husband really wanted to do that, so that we could all be a family, have the same last name, especially after my son was born, my husband never wanted my daughter to feel differently than my son. I know the paper does not make that happen & we have to do work on that. I know my husband loves my daughter but we parent differently! I want us to be able to do this together but I do feel he has to continue to work on his friendship with her & not get frustrated that it is this way after 7 years but especially now in the teenage years work on it even harder with her. It sounds like I want him to see it my way but I know if he would just work on their relationship & let me worry about everything else, our house would be a happier place! It is a big fight between us & not sure how he can see it that way We event went to a counselor who said they same thing. My husband has been working on not saying things to her which is helpful but has to work on just hanging out with her & asking about her day, even if she is just sitting on her ipod! I just want us all to be happy!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:03PM
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Your husband behaves like an immature teenager watching every single movement of the girls around him, critizing and picking on them. Sometimes bullying them.

And for 7 years you allow him, and buy "my husband loves my daughter but we parent differently!"

There is no mature, respectful man would threat ANY person like the way he treats your daughter.

This post was edited by azmom on Wed, Jun 26, 13 at 17:57

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Might you be enabling the behavior?

I wonder if there is a fantasy going on here where everyone is wishing and expecting to be just like a bio family......truth is, this is a step family, and must follow step family protocol to be successful that means step parent is not the disciplinarian, period.
Perhaps the goals need changing. I recommend an honest conversation about what the dream was, going into this marriage and blending a family, and then letting go of that dream. Not easy, but crucial then replace it with realistic blended family goals.
Pretending that the first marriage didnt work and that dad abandoned her and you will not effectively erase that reality.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 11:11AM
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You want your husband to let you handle all the parenting duties, yet he’s ADOPTED her. He IS her father and has been in her life since she was six. He didn’t want her to feel like an outsider or different than his biological son. That speaks volumes for what kind of man he is. That doesn’t sound like a man who doesn’t care about this child.

“I do feel he has to continue to work on his friendship with her” Um, no, if he’s her father, he’s supposed to be her parent, not her friend. I think the problem is the two of you parent very differently. He is a disciplinarian and you are not.

If you want your husband to cut back on the nagging and criticalness, don’t give him a reason to nag or be critical! What does he nag about? Things like she needs to pick up after herself or do some chores around the house?

Read on this forum. A lot of the problems step parents complain about are the bio parents undermining them. If you don't back your husband up when he tells her to do something and instead say he needs to "be the adult" your daughter is going to continue disrespecting her dad. If she sees you telling him to "cut back on the nagging" she's not going to think she's doing anything wrong.

And then how do you expect your husband to cut back on the nagging and concentrate on their "relationship", if she doesn't respect him? Being the adult does not mean you ignore or make excuses for bad behavior.

You admit that she is disrespectful and she says your husband “annoys her”. When your daughter is disrespectful, what do you do other than “let her know that’s not how we treat one another”?

Are you all talk and that's why he has to be the discipliarian?

If your DH came on this forum, what do you think he would say about his daughter?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 3:47PM
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Amber3902 has nailed it on the head from what you described in your post. It would be interesting to hear it from your husbands point of view. My husband is a permissive/guilty parent and I thought it was okay for me to step up and help as a step parent. I too was made to feel like I had no say so and was made to put up with my SD's disrespectful behavior.

The minute a kid senses you side with them and not the other parent/step parent, you've given them power. In looking back over the last three years, it is amazing how quickly the shift happened and I became the outsider rather than my husband and I being a team. One thing I've learned is steps are given less authority than a baby sitter or as an equal roommate (just plain wrong), but expected to do half the work. I don't even have the status of a roommate in my own home as I'm not allowed to complain about the dirty dishes she leaves out or her leaving her laundry in the washer and dryer for days on end. I'm the mean one who puts her clothes on the floor in front of the dryer (which if you ever saw her room, you'd see that is exactly where she puts her clothes. It's just wrong if I do it). It is easy to become the parent who is accused of being critical when you're the only one who is trying to be a parent.

The thing that makes our story different is that he adopted your daughter. If you both adopted a child together would you feel that neither of you have the same rights to raise and discipline the child because you lack being a biological parent? What if the child was 6 when you adopted him/her together? Are you okay with how he parents your son together?

I think YOU have issues with him having the same rights to discipline as you and your daughter knows it and exploits it to her own benefit. This will only get worse as she gets older. Especially if you are already a bit permissive as a parent.

Amber3902 suggests you and your husband parent differently. I agree with her. You should work with getting on the same page as your husband and come up with a family plan of rules that both of you agree on for both of your children. Remember this, Stacyd0701, if you were parenting as a team/united front with your husband you wouldnt feel like you were in the middle.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Please, STEPDAD should NOT be taking STEPDaughter on a date. Stepfather/Stepdaughter relationships are different from SM relationships. Not all lead to abuse, but far more than SM relationships. I suspect he MAY be grooming her for abuse.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 6:49AM
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what kkny said.

Adopted or not, or maybe especially if adopted, since he's now her legal father & has *rights* for crying out loud, there's nothing wholesome or healthy about the behavior you've described.

It sounds like your vacation may have been a sort of honeymoon phase, because now you're all chirpy & optimistic about your husband.

Sober up & return to earth.

There's a whole class of men who initially groom, not the children, but the children's *mother*.

Once a pedophile/abuser has the mother hoodwinked, he can do anything he wants to her child, & she'll believe every lie that comes out of his mouth.

Whenever the child complains & the tension builds to such a level that the mother (by now his live-in or fiancee or wife) begins to worry & starts to "nag" the guy...
he sweeps her off her feet all over again.

Please please please enlist some support & help for your daughter.

If you haven't done so already, get a *thorough* background check done on this man.

I wish all the very best for you & your daughter.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 3:43PM
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I agree with the last 2 posts. All the paperwork in the world will never change the very basic fact that he is not her father, that is why so many stepfathers sexually abuse their stepdaughters, because they don't see them as blood related. He is not her father, she's a teenager now. Wake up, protect your daughter. Even if he's not grooming her, I would never tolerate anyone making my child's life a living hell like this. Then, people wonder why their adult kids become estranged from them.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 9:43AM
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WHOA ladies - I don’t see ANYTHING in the OP’s post to suggest SD is grooming his step daughter for abuse. If anything SHE is the one pushing the two of them together.

“I felt he tries to hard to be the disciplinarian instead of putting energy into their relationship.”

“My husband handles things differently with her & can be more critical of her friends, music & being on the internet.”

“I just want so much more for our family & have tried to talk to both my husband & daughter but I feel it is something they need to do but neither does.”

As far as the “dates” go - OP is the one that uses that term, and I think she just means one on one time, and even that her husband has stopped doing -- “My husband has taken my daughter on a date a few times but has seemed to give up.”

If he was grooming this girl for abuse, he would be trying to spend more alone time with her, and it sounds like the exact opposite is happening.

I don’t see a step father who is trying to molest his step daughter, I see a man who is frustrated with his daughter’s behavior and the mom’s lack of discipline.
The problem is Mom wants dad to be a friend instead of a parent to their daughter.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 9:39AM
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I agree with Amber3902. I have read the original post over several times and I see a dad and a teenage daughter just like most normal households. Mom and dad do not agree on how to handle THEIR daughter's behavior.

I hope they can sit down together and can find some common ground.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:30PM
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"All the paperwork in the world will never change the very basic fact that he is not her father"


    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 4:19PM
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He IS the only father she has. There are plenty of adopted children who grow up to be very grateful that someone cared enough to adopt them.

I still feel strongly that mom and DAD need to be on the same page. She is their child. I think we can all say we expect our children to be respectful of other people rules while guests in their homes. A parent's home is no different. Teen and tween years can be very challenging.

Maybe the family should try outside counseling. I think it presumptuous to think the child is being abused.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 6:29PM
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He legally adopted a 10-year-old girl.
He goes on dates with her.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 6:33PM
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Boy, I feel like I'm giving an English lesson here. Sylvia, you have to got to pay attention to context.

The OP several times has mentioned she wants her husband and daughter to have a relationship, a frienship.

>>My husband has taken my daughter on a date a few times but has seemed to give up. If roles were reversed I would do anything in my power to have relationship with my husband's daughter.Notice she said dad has GIVEN UP on the dates. If he was trying to "groom" her don't you think he would be insisting on more one on one time, instead of "giving up"?

And in the next sentence the OP says she would do everything she could to have a RELATIONSHIP with her husband's daughter. Do you think she's saying she would sexually abuse a potential step daughter?

When she says "dates" I'm pretty sure she doesn't mean boyfriend girlfriend date, it sounds more like she wants them to be buddy buddy --

>>My husband has been working on not saying things to her which is helpful but has to work on just hanging out with her & asking about her day, even if she is just sitting on her ipodAnd I didn't know if you adopt a child that's ten years old that means you want to molest them. Wow, Sylvia, I don't know what happened to you in your past for you to jump to such conclusions, but I am really sorry that you see sexual abuse everywhere you look.

Where's Kroopy when you need him? LOL.

This post was edited by Amber3902 on Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 10:31

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Everything Amber said..."Date" is used by many parents in a harmless content for spending time with kids Mommy son date, daddy daughter date..Geez...

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:42AM
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You & your DH need to get on the same parenting page or you will end up with the same problems with your son as he gets older. I think some family counseling would help.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Amber, this isn't about English lessons or context, it's about a 13-year-old girl whose life is being made miserable by a relative newcomer in her mother's life.

I do understand that the *OP* wants an ideal family life & is willing to do her part.

I also understand that she doesn't have an ideal family life & that she isn't going to get one as long as her husband is hyper-critical of her daughter (demonizing a potential victim is a classical technique to isolate that victim's family).

& I also understand that, just reading what the OP has written, there are some scary red flags here & that a young girl needs an advocate.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Someone call me? LOL!

Ah I see Sylvia is back to her standard approach, all men have evil intentions from the get-go, and all women and children must be protected from them at all times. And even suggesting the old "background check" again...well, at least this time it's not before the first date like in previous posts.

Amber, I have also made the same suggestion to Sylvia: stop projecting whatever abuses you [unfortunately] may have suffered on ALL men.

And also, Earth to Sylvia, not all of any teen girl's issues can be automatically blamed on the "man who's making her miserable". Some teen girls (and boys I imagine...but I am int he middle of it now, and it does seem more prevalent with girls at this age), can have all the proper elements in their lives that they need to flourish and prosper, but still cannot seem to do so.

Unfortunately, I have such a daughter, she is 15. Despite what you may think of me Sylvia, due to our prior discussions, I can tell you I am the antithesis of what you think we men are like. I was always respectful and faithful to my ex wife (she wasn't happy and had affairs on me...for which she finally apologized to me for this year, by the way), a dedicated father to my kids, and have good work ethic and a very good career. My intentions were always to just provide my wife and kids with what I had, a happy, stable family life.

While the divorce threw a bit of a monkey wrench into things, my ex and I have still remained very amicable, both still live in the same town, get along fine, and share custody of the kids in such a way that we both pretty much spend time with them every single day. In a nutshell, if you look past the "broken home" part of it, my daughter has had everything a child needs, she is VERY loved and has always received tons of attention and has never been abused, shunned, or anything like that.

Yet, unfortunately, and this is hard to say, she is a mess. For the last 2-3 years we have been battling with her severe depression, social anxieties, self-harm, withdrawal from society, etc. She is a tall, slender, intelligent, healthy, beautiful girl, yet has zero self esteem and battles with eating disorders on top of all the other stuff. The last few years have been full of therapists, outpatient stays, inpatient stays, transitional schools, therapeutic schools, etc. She has not attended her HS since November, and will essentially be repeating 10th grade, which is frustrating because she is a highly intelligent kid.

Yet I am sure, there are some people who do not know the details of her personal situation, who like Sylvia probably just assume that she is so f*cked up because of stuff her parents (probably her dad), did, or neglected to do. So easy to place blame when you are not in the middle of everything....

Does the OP have some issues in the family that need to be attended to...sure, who doesn't? But don't be so fast in blaming all of ANY child's behavioral issues 100% on the parenting, because let me tell you, it's just not that simple.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Hi Kroopy,

I'm so sorry to hear your daughter isn't doing well. Sometimes a person can have every thing in life handed to them and still be, as you put it - a mess. All you can do is love her and make sure she gets the help she needs. Best wishes for you and your family.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Sounds like you and adoptive Dad need to create common expectations and boundries. Then, enforce them together with respect and love. Your daughter should be part of establishing them.

Once any family has these set, anyone can refer to them for any situation. No one has to be the bad guy, it is black and white, break the rules, these are the consequences.

Also, I highly recommend the book "Love and Logic" for any parent raising a pre-teen to teenager.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Thank you Amber, it's been a very tough year. We are still hopeful that all the help we are getting for her will pay off in the long run.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:34AM
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Golly, MK, I lost track of how many times you called my name in your post;
I'm sorry you think that every post I make is a personal attack on you, because it isn't, & I'm sorry that you are so distressed that you come very close to hijacking so many threads in order to attack me.

I'm sorry your daughter is having trouble, it sounds terribly rough, & I wish I could push a button & her depression would lift & all would be well.

My concern is not with you or any other particular parent;
it's with the people who are struggling with unhappiness & who post threads asking for insight or input.

To reiterate yet again:
my posts don't have anything to do with you or your personality or your situation or how nice you are.

My concern is not with guys who are nice;
my concern is with the people, primarily women & children, who are vulnerable to mistreatment.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 3:31PM
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Sylvia...I probably reply to one of every 20 or 30 posts you make around here..."every" is a real stretch. Besides, in this case, my opinion was actually asked for..."Where's Kroopy when you need him? LOL." I honestly don't think I have posted anything in several weeks until this thread.

And I really don't think I "hijack" threads...I post an opinion and move on generally.

And I don't take your posts as an attack on "me" personally, rather the generalizations you make toward my gender. Come on, even others (Amber in this case), who are not men, have the same take on some of your opinions.

And I too have the utmost concern for anyone who suffers abuse. I just will always take offense to your generalization that men are, in general, this predatory group of people that everyone needs to be wary of at all times. Most of the men I know are honestly good, family oriented people. I imagine I am not living in some fantasy town and the rest of the world is completely different. Sure there are bad guys out there...just like there are bad girls....but I dont see too many guys running around assuming that ALL women are up to no good until proven otherwise.

Oh and I will probably disagree on this forever....I have nothing personal against you...I just wish you could find it in you somewhere to not always assume the worst in men.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 12:36AM
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I agree that victims often see other victims where no such thing exists.

It's good for people to be aware that s.a. is a real problem.....but there are imo no red flags here other than child is unhappy.....and if all unhappy kids are being molested then we're all in trouble.

And I'm one who does put responsibility on parents. I see it too often. Kids of divorce struggle, and too often parents don't know how to heal manage that pain.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:27AM
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