Is this a normal behavior for 10-year old girl?

mister_hOctober 18, 2002

I got remarried two and half years ago and we are living with a 10 year old stepdaughter who is from my current wife's previous marriage. Just 3 of us. What bothers me is that (I think) my SD ignores me. When she has questions, like school work related, she always asks her mom only and never asks me even if I'm standing right front of her nose. Even the questions that men know better, she doesn't ask me. No, she's not shy at all. For instances, she does often ask me things like 'can we eat out tonight? can you get me a cell phone? (which I'm currently arguing with my wife - I say No and she says Yes) etc.'. She also gives her mom a real big kiss and hug, and calls her with a loud voice in front of me. It seems so exagerating and unnatural to me. When we go shopping or go out on a walk together, she always holds her mom's her hands tight and clings to her (and I feel like a stranger). Her behavior just bothers me but can't really complain to anyone. Why do you think she's doing what she's doing?

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Has she always acted this way? Sounds like she is saying that if she doesn't acknowledge our existance, you will just go away. Try taking her aside and talking to her. Let her know that you love her and that you also love her mother and that you want all three of you to be one big happy family. Try leaving her little notes that say simple things like "Have a good day", "I love you", etc. She may not know what to think at first, but if you continue to show her that you are in it for the long haul, she will eventually come around.

Have you tried talking to your wife about it? Does she notice any of this behavior.

My oldest son was slow to interacting one on one with my husband, but since he had always been this way, we just gave him time and now everything is fine. Of course, he still feels more comfortable with his own father, but he also knows that his stepfather would be there and has been there when he has needed someone.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   October 18, 2002 at 4:57PM
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She might not talk to you because she never realized you wanted to talk to her.

Three pieces of advice:

1) *You* initiate conversations with *her* about specific things. Non-specific things -- like "How was your day at school?" -- are too easy to slip out of. (ie "Fine.") Be more specific -- like if she's talking about studying Egypt, whip a little "the sphinx's nose was shot off by Napolean's men for target practice" on her. Or something or other. This gets her used to the idea of talking to you, and practice at it. Up to now, she's only practiced up talking to her mom.

2) Team up with your wife so that when your SD asks about something you know a lot about -- chemistry, hunting, needlepoint, what have you -- your wife says (politely, and off handedly), "Why not ask [your name]? He knows more about it than I do." or even better, you and your wife get into a conversation about it, and then pull your SD into it. That way the SD has the mother to lean on (emotional-wise) while at the same time talking (and getting used to talking) to you. Like when you add tropical fish to a tank, you don't just dump the fish in, you put the bag it's in into the tank to slowly equalize the water temperatures.

3) Find out what she's interested in, and do some research for topics -- or better yet, build up some shared experiences to have something to talk *about*. Do you guys do fun stuff together as a family? (Sounds like an asinine question, sorry.) But shared experiences are what makes up 'remember when' conversations.

If she was 30, I'd recommend watching 'School House Rock' together. :) That not being the case, I recommend reading Harry Potter and seeing the upcoming movie together, and possibly also Lord of the Rings. (But that's just my kid. :) ) Maybe Powerpuff girls.

Remember: kids sometimes don't change in a week, or in a month, although when they do change, sometimes it's very dramatic. This is going to be a long campaign, if you don't want to frighten or creep her out. You're dealing with both territoriality -- this is my mom -- and also kids' (or at least how I remember myself as a kid) viewing their parents as things (or at least institutions) and not realizing they're people too. Try to keep in mind that you're trying to get closer to your SD *because that's the kind of father you want to be*, as opposed to wanting instant closeness. Don't expect gratitude or success, just do it because it's the right thing to do. (Takes some of the pressure of you.)

Also: think if there's anything you're currently doing that might make her uncomfortable around you. Be honest with yourself -- do you yell a lot? Belittle people when they're wrong? Do you not have too much in common with your daughter? Etc. If she doesn't like you for one reason or another, she prob won't want to talk to you. Don't try to play up to her though, because that can start a whole round of games -- just be a relatively nice guy, being nice in her general vicinity, and if she'd like to talk, cool, and if not, well, that's cool too.

Also also: ask your wife how your SD behaved around other male-types in her past. Was there any reason for your SD to have learned that talking to father figures was not such a good thing? (I don't think this is the case though. Sounds more like your SD had her mom to herself for a while on an equals-level basis and is now resenting your intrusion and her subsequent demotion back to child.)

I've found in my tremendous 2 years of experience as a step dad :) that the thing kids hate most about new situations is loss of control. With younger kids, it's maybe easier to give the illusion of control back to them -- it might be bedtime, but you can give them choices over brushing their teeth first or changing their clothes first. Perhaps ask yourself "Does my SD seem like she's angry because she's lost some control where previously she's had some?" And if you think so, maybe think of ways to give it back to her -- or at least appear to give it back, as in my example. (Magicians have this cool thing called a 'force'. Basically you give the audience the impression that you're giving them a choice -- say, pick a card -- but you're really not giving them any choice at all -- say, all the cards in the deck are really the 8 of clubs, or, even sneakier something like in a choice between 2 cards -- if the audience choose the one the magician wanted them to, he gives it to them, but if they don't he puts it in the deck and gives them the other one. Either way, he gives them the card he wanted to -- while at the same time presenting the illusion of freedom.

Like I said, it's easier with younger kinds. :)

Good luck, and don't lose patience. It's a worthwhile endeavor you've chosen for yourself.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2002 at 6:32PM
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Some children are afraid if they show real feelings for a step parent, then they are somehow being disloyal to their real father. Maybe this is part of what's going on at your house?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2002 at 11:32AM
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This is very normal for a child of divorce. Let her know how you feel but dont push it for her to be completely open with you. Remember just because you are her stepfather doesnt mean she is going to like you. Some people just do not mesh well and she may not like you because of you not because you are married to her mother.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2002 at 2:38PM
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Your heart is in the right place and it will happen in time. You have to remember that just because you've known her for a couple of years does not mean that you are not a stranger to her. Bonding takes time. For some more than for others. Don't give up. Find a common ground or activity that you can do - just the two of you. An interactive activity. Puzzles, building a doll house, choosing and planting spring bulbs, paint by number, carving a jack o lantern. Something as simple as buying candy to pass out when done together with the other's input could show that you value her input.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2002 at 5:52PM
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Thank you for those who gave suggestions/ideas. Now I think it is partly my fault that I haven't done anything about it. Defitnitely I need to be initiative and in charge of this matter (before it gets worse). My wife knows that her daughter acts that way (because it is so obvious), but she doesn't do anything about it (and we haven't talked about it either). I don't think she knows that SD's behavior really bothers me. I make my SD to make her own bed, wash own dishes, clean up own mess (books, toys, etc. on floor), say hello first to adults who visit our place, etc. I don't let her run in the house, talk on a phone for 30 minutes, cut me off when I'm talking with someone, etc. That's what I learned to do and not to do when I was little. But my wife thinks I am being too harsh on her (but does not stop me). I am thinking that's one of the reasons why my SD is trying to ignore me - like trying to tell me "you have rules for me but it doesn't really matter because you are an outsider!" I am just hoping that one of these days my SD realizes that I do care about her and accepts me as a family member.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 4:15PM
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Mr. H, your stepdaughter absolutely needs to know those things you are trying to teach her. They are called good manners! Does her mother try to teach her those things as well? Does she back you up? If you are trying to teach her these things and her mother isn't doing the same, your SD probably has resentment towards you, the outsider.

One thing my husband and I have learned is that you need to communicate! You can't just assume things. Have a long talk with your wife and tell her how you feel, what you are trying to do, and how you honestly care about your SD. Many times, my hubby and I appear to disagree, but when we have a good heart to heart, we realize that the end result we both want is the same, the only thing we don't agree on is which path to take to get there! So, we hammer it out and come to an agreement (or at least a compromise).

So, my advice would be to talk to you wife honestly about what's going on. Together, the two of you should decide what needs to be worked on and how to go about doing so.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 6:12PM
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The child is being deliberately rude. Why does her mother let her get away with such behavior? Appalling. You need to talk to you wife asap.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2002 at 7:26PM
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Yesterday on the way to a relative's wedding we decided to stop by a shopping mall because we would get there way too early. In the car I told my 10-yr old SD we would stop at the mall just to kill some time not to buy anything. As a precaution I always say that to her because she always asks me (or her mom) to buy her something that's not in the shopping list when go to a store. As my wife and I were just relaxing on a bench, SD came up to us and asked if I can buy her a wallet (she already picked out one from a store). I said NO. Then she asked if she can use her money to buy it. I said NO. By the way, she's an extreme compulsive shopper and always carries all of her money (whether she has just $1 or $100) whenever she goes to a store. Then she asked "How come you can buy whatever you want from WalMart (the other day we went there to buy some soaps and electrical extention cords) and I can't?!" My blood started to boil but I kept calm and explained that the things I bought are for our family and house. But she said "That's not fair! You always get what you want and I can't buy anything." My wife was sitting right next to me but was not saying anything at all. SD kept asking me why there is a difference - I can buy something and she can't. She uses that statement a lot. Why she can't do something that I do - like staying late or calling my long-distance friend, etc. I finally told her that "I do what I do because I am 40 years old and you are not." I awlays say that to her because that seems to quiet her down for a while. Another thing she has been complaining is that she doesn't want to help me cooking or cleaning the house. My wife comes home later than I do and I cook and clean the house when I get home from work (and I pick the SD from her school on the way home). So, I've been asking my SD to help me doing with some house chores. She said she asked around her friends at her school and church and no other child of her age does what she does at home (total less than 5 minutes a day she's helping me with cooking & cleaning if any). She said she's the only one who does those things. I told her that even no one is doing does NOT always mean it is a wrong thing to do - like helping parents. She's only 10 but I am quite worried what will be coming up as she gets older. Any advice?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 4:27PM
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Mr. H, it now seems as though your wife is not participating in disciplining your SD or trying to teach her appropriate behavior. If your wife simply sat on that bench, MUTE, while you were trying to reinforce what you'd already gone over with your SD (namely -- we are NOT buying anything) ... I think your wife is afraid of being the bad guy and is well on the way to raising a self-centered prima dona.

You know that this girl needs to learn more self control, manners, etc., as well as how to help around the house. There is absolutely no reason a kid her age can't pitch in and help out.

Your head and your heart are in the right place, but your wife has to be the pilot. If she's not willing to grab the wheel and steer the ship, you will only hit the proverbial iceberg.

Oh yeah -- and constantly arguing with you about why you can do things and she can't is VERY disrespectful! I can't believe your wife said nothing. That speaks volumes about her position in all of this.

I still say you should have a conversation with your wife about all of it. Try to do it in a non-threatening way (so she doesn't get TOO defensive, because she WILL get defensive)and stress your motives and how your care about your SD.

If you don't have a meeting of the minds on this issue, you will only become resentful as time goes on, and your SD will not have the proper guidance she needs.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 5:54PM
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> it now seems as though your wife is not participating in disciplining your SD or trying to teach her appropriate behavior

Yep, totally. Have you asked her 'why' she's letting you be the bad guy?

> Any advice?

Main piece of advice: don't get suckered into arguments. The SD might be doing it to tick you off, or she might like the excitement, but at the very least it's digging the rut of unproductive behaviors ever deeper each time you do it. People are creatures of habit -- so each time both you and her do something, like arguinng for no good reason, it makes it that much easier to argue in the future.

One of the reasons for 20/20 hindsight -- your hairtriggers are your ruts.

My uncle has a deal where he'd offer you a piece of paper, you'd take it, and then he'd ask you 'Now what are you going to do with it?' Just because she offers an argument, doesn't mean you have to take her up on it. You can refuse to talk after a certain point, or you can be dreadfully logical.

To wit:
> How come you can buy whatever you want from WalMart (the other day we went there to buy some soaps and electrical extention cords) and I can't

Well, first off, this is normal teen behavior. In the words of a long-standing joke between me and my partner "Aw, isn't it cute -- he's trying to think!"

But if I didn't get suckered into an argument myself, what I'd've tried to do would be to say, "*You* tell *me* -- what's different about the two things? Power cord....wallet. Power cord....wallet. One is for the good of the family, the other is a temporary desire that you don't need right now and will add one more piece of junk floating around the house."

You'll note that this will only work for decisions which you actually *do* have good reasons for doing what you're doing. You'll need to tighten up on this if you're in the habit of making decisions 'just because' -- or more specifically, saying no, just because your SD said yes. But this is the way to go, I think -- your SD is getting to be a teen, and up to a certain point, she can handle the logic behind the decisions.

She could probably even handle it if you said that part of *your* job is teaching her self control. Kids are smart -- it's the vocabulary and the social mores they lack.

That being said, if she sees you or your wife buying yourself personal doodads beyond power cords and the like -- say, (just pulling this out of my hat) really expensive model train engines, then the 'buying stuff for the family' argument isn't going to hold much water. Be consistent viz what you say/what you do. Otherwise arguments based on logic are all going to end in "Go to your room."

> She said she asked around her friends at her school and church and no other child of her age does what she does at home

Well, if you're not being silly about it -- getting her to install an air conditioner by herself, say -- I say tough. We had a wood burning stove in the living room for most of my childhood, and I often spent after school hours lugging wood to and fro. Not too many other kids in the suburbs did *that* either. Just be reasonable about what you expect her to do. You could even allow a bit of bargaining -- more of this, for less of that.

And finally, take the initiative away from her as far as providing carrots (as opposed to sticks) go. In the Walmart case, maybe either allow her to pick out something 2 bucks or less (especially if she's paying with her own money, and especially espially if it's seen as a reward for good behavior) or -- and this one's better -- since you're asserting that the power cord is for the good of the family, make buying it a real family decision -- allow her to participate in it's evaluation and choosing. Bunch of benefits there -- for one thing, she might learn a thing or two about power cords. For another, if she's just hooked on buying *something* as opposed to a particular thing, then she uses up her 'gotta buy' on something you needed in the first place.

You can often trust somebody to be themselves; if you can turn a situation around so that instead of butting heads on a behavior ("STOP THAT" or "NO") switch it around so that they can do what they wanted in an acceptible or controlled way ("not that, but this other thing, for this amount of time"). Much better, because no one's the loser. Sun Tsu, Art of War -- win away from the battlefield, and allow your opponent to save face because it averts future conflict.

The trick is to be the one injecting energy into the situation -- *you* offer the carrot first, rather than offering it in reaction to her saying *gimmee*. That way the family juju shifts.

Out of curiosity, what's a 10 year old doing with a hundred bucks?

In addition -- if she doesn't do anything around the house, it's further logical ammunition for 'why don't you allow me to buy things?'

But, yeah, gotta have the buy in from the wife -- and her active participation in the encouragements and punishments.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 7:33AM
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> In the words of a long-standing joke between me and my partner "Aw, isn't it cute -- he's trying to think!"

Whoops -- possibly this was unclear. By this I was talking about your SD not you. Sorry. We say this whenever my 3 year old SS is trying to "manage" us -- like the other day when he neglected to inform me of getting into trouble when I cam e home and asked how his day went.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 7:37AM
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She sounds like a normal kid to me. In fact she sounds like my oldest son when he was her age. He's 21 now and we both survived! He used to pull that "how come you can and I can't" routine on me. I would then calmly ask if he wanted to finish the laundry, wash the dishes, pay all the bills with his own money etc. He would reply "no that's too much work" So I told him the day he could do all that I do was the day he could do whatever he wanted.
He also avoided me whenever possible. Only needed me when he needed something.
Today things are way different. He's a great young man and much different from those days. So don't worry too much. I always found great resources in the book Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. I highly recommend it.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 2:55PM
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Again thanks for those who showed interest and/or responded here.
Another interesting episode occurred at home last night. As I was preparing the dinner before my wife comes home, my 10-yr old SD asked me if she could invite her friend for a sleepover at our house. By the way, she was on a phone with her friend just few minutes ago. I told her she could have it on special occasions only, like her birthday weekend or when I am away from home on a business trip (which go 5~6 times a year, usually a week long each time). One time she had a sleepover party and the house became a total mess. Also, I am the one who always cooks for the kids and cleans up at the end. Anyway, she was whining on a sofa, lying head down and feet up on the backrest, at least for half an hour while I was working in the kitchen. She kept saying You donÂt understand!, You donÂt understand!Â. Then she yelled ÂThere are so many stupid people in the world who donÂt understand!Â. I calmly asked her ÂDid you just call me stupid?Â. Instead of saying sorry or some kind of apology, she replied Âthat may not include youÂ. I was really shocked at her reply and told her ÂI know what you really meant to say. You will never have a sleep-over when you call your parents stupidÂ. The dinner was almost ready and I was going to have it with just her because my wife told me she would be late that evening, but I completely lost my appetite and went out for a walk instead. When I came back home 10-15 minutes later, the SD put away the dishes that I just washed in the kitchen. She asked me if there is anything else she can do so that she can have a sleepover. When her mom came home, I told her she was whining about having a sleepover but I did not say anything about she calling me ÂstupidÂ. My guess was that either she would become overly defensive about the SD or just keep silent about it. I thought itÂs better to say nothing about it and keep the peace in the marriage. I just donÂt want any kind of argument or dispute with my wife because it usually escalates into a bigger fight than what it should be, especially when the issue is about the kids. By the way, I have twin sons from previous marriage who are staying with my ex-wife.

My questions are:
1. Should I let the SD have a sleepover whenever she wants to (after this incident)?
2. Should I tell my wife about the SD calling me stupid incident?
3. Am I over-reacting over a small stuff?

JoeTypist asked:
ÂOut of curiosity, what's a 10 year old doing with a hundred bucks? Â
Reply: I donÂt know exactly where she spends her money on. I think she usually busy something small/inexpensive stuff (

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 5:57PM
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I think you should set up some sort of rules with the sleepovers. First off, though, have another and see how it goes. Make sure it's known what the girls can and can't do in your house. If we're talking 10 year old's here, they're old enough to pick up after themselves and listen. If they don' more sleepovers or at least don't allow the bad kids to come back. Tell SD no to the sleepover this time because of how she reacted and discuss what she needs to do to be allowed to have one. Kind of teach her that it's a reward for helping out and listening to you, not something that she gets because she wants it.

How did your wife handle what you said about no sleepover? If she got angry or sided with your SD then I'd tell her what was said (about you being stupid) and explain how she reacted and why you feel it's wrong to let her have a treat after acting the way she did. Also realize that at 10, she probably uses the word stupid pretty often. It's something that's done in schools and things and kids use it so much they don't realize how rude it is. She was also acting out to what was said and honestly, there are VERY few kids in this world that wouldn't. You can't expect her to take it and not say a word or get mad because that isn't normal. There are certain things she'll have to learn aren't acceptable to say or do because she didn't get her own way, though.

Some things you may be overeacting on. It will take a while for you to get used to your SD and her to you. You can't really expect to walk into the house and change all the rules and her overnight. I was your SD's age once with a new step father. It was VERY hard. We did learn to respect him and learned a lot from him and yet he was a little too controlling and we of course fought back (we were teens and that's how it goes at that age, though!) Sounds like you're doing a pretty good job so far. Hang in there. Also, I think it sounds like your wife isn't much help because of all the hours she's working. Sounds like she's probably too tired to care once she gets home. I also had that with my Mom...she worked retail full time and had so much to do once she got home she just didn't care about little things. Hopefully you'll all get settled in your new arrangement.

Oh, and honestly, the comment on wasting her money on unnecessary things...that's what kids do. Let her blow her money on junk and have none. Let her buy something, waste all her money, and have it break or whatever. It teaches them a lesson about money and shopping.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 6:48PM
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First off, why are you shielding your wife from her own daughter's bad behavior? If your SD threw a temper tantrum and called you stupid, then NO, she doesn't deserve a sleepover this time. And you should tell your wife EXACTLY why you said no. While it is true that all kids (step or bio) call their parents stupid at least once in their young lives, that doesn't excuse it or make it right. Banning sleepovers from now to eternity was probably an over-reaction, but saying no this time was definitely right. See if you can get your wife to back you up on this one. And when a sleepover is finally allowed, they are old enough to know not to destroy the whole house. I would make it known BEFORE the next sleepover that should the mess and destruction happen, sleepovers WILL be banned to eternity.

Oh yeah -- her putting dishes away to persuade you to change your mind is called SUCKING UP! They all do it when they want their way. Doesn't work with me, but they still try.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 7:56PM
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Yep, perfectly normal behavior. I saw it in my own daughter (now grown) and I see it in my boyfriend's kids.

The complicated part is that we stepparents don't get the "love" along with the manipulation. So, normal kid behavior can feel more disrespectful, more negative.

Today I commented to my boyfriend that his 8 year old was practicing her dirty looks on me. He laughed and told me how a kid in a van stuck his tongue at him on the freeway yesterday. Gotta love him. He suggested I stick my tongue at her. I declined -- "I won't let her make me into a mean person," I said. He smiled because he had recently said that to me when I suggested some nasty retort to one of his ex's actions.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2002 at 8:55PM
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Vikkijo, you are absolutely right when you say that normal kid behavior (or should I say "misbehavior"?) is more obvious and somewhat amplified to the eyes of a stepparent.

Last year I read an article about how we habitually tolerate from our blood relatives things that we wouldn't stand for in other relationships in our lives.

In applying this theory to step-family relationships, we seem to more readily recognize negatives in each other (because we are not blinded or bound by the blood-bond), and these behaviors can sometimes annoy us more as well, particularly if the bio-parent doesn't acknowledge the bad behavior!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2002 at 6:58PM
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I love the line "She's practicing her dirty looks on me." I'll have to remember that.

I agree with most of the advice you've been given so far, just want to add something that might help you when you address these issues with your wife. I had to go to counseling to get this same issue addressed with my boyfriend. What has helped our situation was when I asked him to just add a simple "listen to your mother" or "listen to Tammy", the behavior of both our kids improved. He has full custody of his daughter and I have full custody of my son. That one sentence may not sound like much, but since he's started to use it, our family life has greatly improved.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2002 at 1:17PM
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My SD is 12, and practices her dirty looks on me as well. LOL I love that!!

My husband backs me totally on dicipline with all 4 of our kids, and I him. It has to be united, or they will see it and walk all over you. Play one against the other, leaving the adults to fight and forget why she is in trouble. Your wife could be allowing you to dicipline your SD, not to be the bad guy, but to get her to respect you as a parent in her life. Is she always silent when your reprimanding your SD for something? I know before my husband and I got together my children were spoiled rotten and I let them get away with more then I do now. So when he came into the picture, they were defiant, and thought mom would always be there to say yes when he said no. If that's the case then you really need to communicate your frustrations with your wife, and MAKE her see how it is to be you. How SHE makes you feel.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2002 at 4:28PM
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Kids today (I have 3) are unbelievably spoiled and disrespetful. That's not to say that mine are this way (well, maybe a tad), but many of their friends are and it's a struggle to instill good values, respect and a work ethic when their friends and class mates have none.

Much of your SD's behavior sounds pretty normal and there are very good strategies for coping with her. However, let me first say, I feel you are being a little overbearing in not letting her spend her money. She has to learn how to manage the money and that when it's gone--it's gone. I hope that money in her wallet is money she earned. By the age of 10 she should be earning her spending money. There should be guidelines established AND WRITTEN down and posted, maybe on fridge, that state something like the following: SD must make her bed, feed the cat twice daily and help set the table every day WITH A SMILE ON HER FACE and in return she will be paid 7$ each Sunday. The $7 is her money to spend at will. That is how kids learn the value of money. Of course, include SD in the discussion of her chores and allowance amount before the final decisions and stay flexible in case changes need to be made as time goes on. Have her check off her chores each day as they are done and on Sunday, if she has done her jobs well, she gets paid. If she hasn't done them well or has complained, then her salary is reduced somewhat. This teaches consequences and responsibility, which is your goal.

Also, seems to me your wife is letting you take a lot of the heat and hassle and she comes out smelling like a flower. You two need to talk, big time. At the very least, she sound say "I agree with him."

And never be afraid to use the phrases "Because I said so" and "Because I'm the adult." My oldest daughter was very articulate and argumentative from an early age and I found myself in the same arguments you're in. It's exasperating to try and reason with a child, especially a child with snotty motives. You won't win by arguing! Explain the "why" of it ONE time and when she starts in for round two, calmly say "Because I said so and that's the end of this discussion" and walk off or just remain quiet and refuse to engage in further discussion of the subject. Whatever you do, don't lose your cool because then you are losing your position and any respect she may have for you.

Read John Roseman's newspaper columns and books. He's also on the radio--he is great. He says it's perfectly fine to have double standards when it comes to our kids, and he's right. For example, Roseman tells how he had a motorcycle but refused to let his teenage son buy one. His son complained that it was unfair and Roseman said that didn't matter. Period. End of discussion. Too many parents today worry that they aren't "FAIR" or that they're being "Hypocritical" so they let their kids do all sorts of dangerous things rather than run the risk of being unfair. Being a good parents very often means being unpopular. But I'd rather be a good parent than a bad one.

James Dobson also has some wonderful parenting books. You can find them at any library or bookstore. One good point I'll never forget Dobson making was when he son kept whining and asking to stay up later because he wasn't sleepy and couldn't fall asleep. Dobson told him it was o.k. if he couldn't fall asleep, he had his full permission to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling all night long. I've used that one MANY times!!! Another point Dobson makes is that if you're doing your job correctly, your kids are going to be mad with you on a frequent basis. That's because you'll be saying "no" and they want to hear "yes, yes, yes". Or you'll be enforcing the rules and they want to be left alone or let off the hook.

You're doing the right thing in seeking advice and again I strongly urge that you read John Roseman and James Dobson. Through the 17 years of parenting, so far, I've used their advice innumerable times and I've never regretted it. I've never regretted educating myself on child rearing, figuring out exactly how I stand on an issue and then holding the line. Oh, I think both of these men have websites so try a google search and see what you find. Good luck.

PS--just wait until she starts dating....that's when the real fun begins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 11:18PM
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My husband and I have three biological children, two girls ( 4th and 6th grade, and a son in 1st grade). My middle daughter ( age almost 10) has done this with her dad always. She ONLY wants my help, and she will only sit next to me when we go out to dinner. She fights with her younger brother for this position. She somewhat ignores him too, and always has, and I have no idea why. He has never mentioned her doing this and i do not know if it hurts his feelings, but he gets alot of attention from our 11 year old daughter and our son, so perhaps it is not as noticeable. I am glad that you brought this up on the forum, as I really have not given it alot of thought, but i suppose it is important somehow.

Perhaps you could find something that just the 2 of you enjoy and try to work on building a positive relation with her. perhaps just the two of you could go out to breakfast on saturday mornings, or you could take her bike riding or something.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 7:50PM
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I refocused my attention. I re-established a sense of calm in my own heart. I recognized that although I was the target most often of my 10 year olds angstthat it was an illness, and I stopped taking it personally. As soon as I could detach from his crazy-making behavior, I felt more sane, and could be a greater help to everyone.
I made the rules clear and simple. He knows I will stand by them. I had to stop trying to be his counselor, and start being mom again for everyone. My other children can handle his outburst better now because they do not steal my attention like they used to.
I had to learn that it is not my job to MAKE everyone happy it is my job to teach everyone how they can BE happy. Even through adversity. Therein lies my focus. I had to do it for myself first. As I withdrew the energy I was putting in the situation, the energy he puts in it lessened as well.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 2:31PM
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AM a mother of 4 married for 8yrs(horrible 8yrs of my life) leaving with my husband MOM,a step SON which i knew of after 2yrs of my marriage now my husband moves his niece (10yrs) all of them teaming up together to make my life miserable

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:53PM
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