new stepdaughter

lizajane09November 18, 2009

My husband and I are newly married and his daughter who has been out of his life for 7 years has come back into his life. His ex wife tried to keep him from spending time with his daughter for years and kept him in court constantly. When his daughter was 10, she made the decision to not see her dad anymore which devastated him, of course. His ex wife is mentally limited and cannot get along with people well. She has no friends and is very hateful to others. Once someone disagrees with her, she writes them off and doesn't associate with them anymore. To make a long story short, his daughter is just like her. She is a really dramatic individual who is very self centered. She also thinks that she can do no wrong. She even told us that she is pretty much perfect. She is 19 but the way she acts reminds me of a junior high girl. I want to get along with her but she is very disrespectful to her dad at times and every time we are with her it ends up being a heartache. We do not see her often, but she wants to see us more. The way she acts hurts my husband too. I want to be supportive. I am praying that God will help us in this situation. I have a lot of anxiety with this because I can't fix this....I am a mom of 2 kids myself. I have never met anyone like this child. Any advice you have would be appreciated.

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yabber

Hi, and welcome :-)

It sounds like your SD (stepdaughter) might have been alienated from her dad at a young age. Unless a parent is abusive/neglectful in some way I don't think a 10 yr old kid would choose not to see her own dad anymore. You have to commend her for making an effort now, some kids will never go back once alienated.

But all the same it is tough on everyone. I've read a book called Divorce Poison by R. Warshak which was really helpful to learn to understand the dynamics. It doesn't make your anxiety about it all go away, but it might make it a bit easier, and there might be some useful tools for you. SD19's behavior is probably a result from all the heartache, she might actually be a lot different once she starts healing.
Did your DH try to stay in touch with her? She might feel abandoned by him? That might not be DH's fault, but they are valid emotions for her.

If it's hard to talk about things, maybe talking in the presence of a counselor might be a good idea. A neutral person can be really helpful to steer everybody in the right direction.

Also, don't expect too much of yourself. Small steps. Do the best you can when she's around. I'll admit it, sometimes all that keeps me from dishing out is the thought of coming here and telling you guys..

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 8:21AM
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mom2emall

All you guys can do is try to build a positive relationship with her and model appropriate behaviors. When she starts being dramatic don't give it the attention she wants. When she is disrespectful to your hubby he needs to say something to her along the lines of
"I do not appreciate being talked to in that way, until you can talk to me kindly I will be in the other room." And then he needs to ignore her until she talks to him respectfully.

I go through this with my 11 year old! He likes to blame everyone else for his wrongs and thinks if he gets a little attitude he is right! So I just tell him that I am done talking to him until he can talk about what he did wrong. He usually comes around and will then admit his mistakes and we are able to discuss it calmly. Your sd probably had nothing like that happening in her childhood.

All in all just try to be patient and remember that her actions are a reflection of how she was raised. She needs to be taught to act differently. And I am sure she suffered a lot of heartache not being in contact with her father.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 9:58AM
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imagr8tma2

Welcome to the website... the other two ladies summed it all up perfectly. I think she was alienated at a young age and probably is a little entitiled as well.

You guys can only try the best you can to build a relationship with her. It is like the old saying "you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink."

She may not be to receptive to it now, but may come around later.

Best of luck to you and your husband with this situation.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 12:05PM
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finedreams

we have regular members here whose SK's BMs are out fo their lives or just come and go and kids get fed up with that. I don't remember anyone saying that it is dad's fault mom is not involved. why does it have to be moms' fault? i don't buy it. there are courts and no one can keep kids away from anyone. maybe she is dramatic and self-centered because her dad was out of her life and she is resentful and angry. but blame mom of course.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 4:52PM
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mom_of_4

My first thought was how does a 10 year old decide not to see her parent anymore? I dont allow my 10 year old to decide not to follow my rules much less decide not to see me. Something seems very wrong with this. My other thought was how could dad just be okay with that and now feel upset that she hurts his feelings.

I dont want to seem like I am bashing you or DH but something is missing here. There is nothing in this world that would prevent me or my DH from seeing any of our children, including them 'deciding' that they didnt want to see us.

But, I suppose that is in the past. Right now the only thing I can think of is patience and perhaps a little family counseling for dad and daughter considering the very real possibility of abandonment issues.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 7:08PM
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yabber

Well, I did ask the question before: did dad make an effort to keep in touch? Let me re-phrase: did he try everything in his power to maintain bond? Until we know this we cannot say whether BM plays a part in all of this..

But I gave some advice based on the assumption that she might have..

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 10:25PM
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