stepdaughter is ruining my life!

wittsend01October 27, 2010

I am experiencing the same things! My SD is soon to be 10, and my husband is soooo blind! Her mom is a complete LOSER and SD moved in with us a few months mom moved down south. This child wakes up in the mornings, and oozes "b@tch"! She has an attitude 99.9% of the time, and my husband blames me, and we have big arguments..he always undermines me in front of SD, my 8 yo son and our 4 yo daughter..these kids do not listen or respect me, and he never scolds them for cuttin up. I am soooo sick of it. SD has a problem with my authority, and is always fresh and very rude.. I try to keep him abreast of wat goes on since he works in another state, and only is home for 2 days. But he has the nerve to tell me its how I speak to them?? Wtf? Um its namely the SD who has a problem with being told wat to do.. Idk wat to do.. We have been fightin more ever since she moved in..

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Without knowing more about your background, I would guess that your SD is angry that both of her parents have abandoned her & now she HAS to be there with you. Your husband may not be blind, he's just NOT THERE. How can he see what is going on if he's only home 2 days? And it is probably frustrating for you to be home alone with three kids... one that's very angry over HER situation.. five days a week & have a husband that comes home to criticize. What does he expect to come home to? Doesn't HE empathize and appreciate all YOU are doing for HIS children? (yes, I know one isn't his, but the other two are...) yet he thinks it's no problem to work in another state 5 days a week & in this economy, I get that he needs to do what he needs to do.... but he probably needs a reminder of how hard it is to be a single parent, which is essentially what you are. && with a step child that is probably resentful of her loser mom leaving & her dad leaving her with a step mom she didn't ask for.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 10:58AM
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U hit the nail right on the head! I have been with my husband almost 6 years, married only a few months, and SD has been nasty to me for the last 3. He doesn't see how hard it is for me. I can't bond with her cause she always has a chip on her shoulder, and he feels like I don't speak to them nice enough, so until HE sees that I speak to them nicely, he's not gonna say anything. Her mother has 4 daughters by 4 different men.. A nasty mess. I try to do so much for all three of the kids, but I'm tired of being attacked because he is seemingly scared to put his foot down. I tell him all the time that kids know how to manipulate a situation, and that's wat she always does. So why should I keep going out of my way to give her structure while tryin to make her comfortable, and she gives me her butt to kiss and dad is okay with that.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 11:08AM
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I would simply tell him that if he isn't going to support you, then he can find another job where he can be home with her (not likely) or send her to live with her mother. There is no law that says YOU have to raise his child.. you have no rights, you have no responsibility either.

With him backing you, SD would not have a choice & I suspect she knows dad will take her side so she acts up even more. My SD11 did the same thing at that age.... til I told dad that HE can do everything for her & I won't do anything if he isn't going to back me. He's the parent!

But, the bottom line is it's a husband problem because this same problem could happen when it's your child together. If the parents are not on the same page and working as a united front, the kids will manipulate. Kids are manipulative by nature. They are born with an instinct to get what they need to survive & as they get older, they learn ways (through manipulation) to get what they want. I have my DGS. He's 20 mos. & already behaves differently with everyone that takes care of him. They learn early what they can or can't get away with from certain people. As long as your husband refuses to back you, she (and the others) won't respect you. The others are learning from her too. It's a bad example.

Before anyone gets riled up over the word manipulation, all behavior that kids do to get what they want (crying, whining, talking sweet, tantrums, etc) are methods of manipulation. It's a natural (innocent) thing when it starts out, but if they get away with too much and are not taught consequences, it moves to a higher level of manipulation where they are aware of manipulating situations & when that follows them into adulthood, that's where a lot of us see self serving, self centered, master manipulator ex's (both male & female) But, my point is that some manipulation from kids is to be expected but it should obviously be dealt with.

DGS will whine & cry more when his mother visits him. He doesn't pull that with me. Of course, he wants mom to baby him because she's hardly around. With me, he only whines when he's tired & he knows that means I will get him ready for bed & put him to sleep. I don't usually cradle him before bed, unless he lets me know by climbing up on my lap. But, when he whines with his mom, she gets frustrated & doesn't know how to handle it so she brings him back to me. I believe he wants her to cradle & rock him or hug but she can't or won't pick up the signals he gives... she only sees him as a whiny, crying baby & that gets on her nerves. Kids learn early on, how the parent (or person) reacts to their behavior & that determines their future behavior with THAT person. (that's why kids act differently at school too)

You have a choice of how to deal with your SD. I would tell her "Look, your dad isn't here during the week, I am. You may not like the situation & maybe I don't like the situation either, but it is what it is. I am the parent when your dad is gone & I really don't care if he is angry about it when he comes home on his days off... when he's gone, things are done my way. PERIOD." Because you have to stand up for yourself for your kids to respect you. I also think you should continue to give her structure because she is a child & nobody else is going to, but you don't have to make her comfortable as long as she is disrespectful or sassing you. Set rules for all the kids & take charge of your life. Be consistent. Be fair. and when DH gets home, don't allow him to attack you... because all you have to say to stop an attack is "Either you stay home with them or send SD back to live with her mom... unless you're willing to do that, then I am running MY house MY way when you are not here." and it would help if you refrain from complaining about the kids to him when he comes home. It would REALLY help if you give him updates while he's gone... on the good & the bad. It's tough & it's gonna take a lot of strength, patience & stamina to do what you need to do if you want peace. I was a single parent of my 3 kids & worked 4- 10 hr. days for a long time & part time job on my days off. The difference, I didn't have anyone coming home 2 days a week to give me a hard time because they thought I said or did something wrong... but I didn't have financial help either though. (no C/S)

BTW, I had 3 children by 3 men & that doesn't have a lot to do with whether someone is a good or bad parent. There are bad parents that have all their kids from one father that they're married to.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 12:06PM
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Thanks for ur imput! I understand tht being a single parent with kids by different dads is hard, but her mom does nothing. At least u were working and takin care of ur business. So my hat does go off to u. I will definately take ur advice and see if it works!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 12:24PM
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I agree with ima. If you are responsible for all the kids, then you are in charge. Of course your SD is not respecting you - your husband is not respecting you! And kids are manipulative - it doesn't mean that they're bad any more than it's "bad" if your accountant finds every deduction they can on your taxes or your attorney takes full advantage of the laws in your state. Kids are doing the same thing and trying to work the system - if their family system means that Dad will never punish them but always give them the benefit of the doubt, they're going to use that to their benefit in the exact same way that an adult with two co-supervisors will ask the more lenient one if they can take a day off.

I work from home and so am responsible for SS8 before and after school, while DH is at work, and was during the summer. It is/was rough at times. DH and I discussed rules, penalties, etc., but if there is any question of interpretation, violation or enforcement of those rules on my watch then my decision is final. If DH doesn't trust me to make responsible decisions than he has no business leaving SS with me, and I am not about to routinely justify or defend my decisions. If DH does not like my decisions than he can make child care arrangements that do not involve me.

I am concerned about your DH deciding that you need to be "nicer" to SD. Assuming that you are a rational, caring adult, that is a ridiculous statement. I'm guessing that if SD breaks a rule you don't rub your hands together and cackle with glee that you can now punish her, so I don't see how it's incumbent upon you to be "nice" when enforcing rules.

My advice (for what it's worth) is to sit down with DH and draw up rules and punishments for violating them. Make sure that there are defined penalties for, say, your asking something twice and it's ignored, or other quantifiable actions. Then watch Mary Poppins together. Seriously, if you don't remember she's not what most people would call "nice" to the kids - she's not nasty but is certainly strict. Then explain to your husband that that is how you will treat the kids - not "nice", not begging, pleading and coaxing them to follow the rules, but just matter of factly.

I wish you luck with this. If your DH is going to continually excuse away SD's bad behavior by blaming it on others (you) or the unfortunate circumstances with her mother, he's going to have a world of trouble on his hands in a few years.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 1:55PM
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"he always undermines me in front of SD, my 8 yo son and our 4 yo daughter"

There's your problem, & nobody but your husband can remedy it.

If he won't, you can put up with this (& it'll get worse, & when he dies the kids will take over where he left off) or take your children & leave.

I'd take the kids & go.

I'm sorry.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 2:52PM
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