Disrespectful, nasty, shoplifting 17 yr old SD, help!

gemmom24November 3, 2010

I am at my wits' end. I have 13 yr old triplets, the result of my first marriage. My husband and I have a 4 yr old together. And he has 2 daughters, 17 and 15. We have sole custody of the 17 yr old....long story, the mom is a whack job and the girl has issues. Lots of them. Many resulting from her parents' divorce and her diabetes diagnosis a few years ago, but even before that I always thought there was something a little off about her.

Anyway. it's been one drama after the other since she came to live with us. Cutting. Getting suspended from school and then to a court-ordered intervention program for troubled teens. Not paying attention to her sugar levels and winding up in the hospital. Disordered eating (eats only 5 foods, no meat, veggies, fruit or beans.)

It seems she is always creating some kind of drama, and it keeps going up a notch -- probably to get attention. This last week she was caught shoplifting -- by herself. The only consequence was a fine by the store. It certainly wasn't her first time, and doubtfully will be her last. Next up, pregnancy? Yeah, an overweight diabetic teen with the maturity of an 8 yr old managing a pregnancy. (I'm not being mean, she really does lack maturity. She refuses to even try to manage her diabetes, Dad has to check her levels all the time. Last week she ate an entire can of frosting.)

Last night was her Dad's birthday, and she did nothing for him. No card, no gift (I offered to take her shopping), didn't even wish him a happy birthday ("that's how she's wired," her Dad excused.) She never wishes anybody in the family a happy birthday. But she sat in another chair in the kitchen while we ate (wouldn't have what I made.) Before cake was served, my husband said it would be nice if all the kids cleaned up. I agreed, pointing out to the other girls, my son, and the 17 yr old. She looked at me, said she didn't eat my %$^#$ dinner so why should she clean it up, and why didn't I do my #%$#% job as a housewife and start doing things around here for a change!? (And let me say that this girl sits on her fat ass in her room all day and NEVER does one chore.) Than she stomped off to her room. I was horrified. My husband did nothing. The other kids heard it all. I just looked at him and said, "Let me tell you this. I won't allow my kids to talk to me like that, and neither will I allow yours." I was so furious last night I didn't know what to do. My husband apologized for her behavior this morning, but I told him I don't want HIS apology, I want hers. Not on paper, but accompanied by a talk. I am just really upset. I have done so, so much to try and connect with her. It's like trying to be friends with a rock. Like there's nothing in there, almost. She never says hello or goodbye to anyone. Never asks about anyone's day, or comments on clothing, shoes, a new picture on the wall, anything!!! She is very hard to like.

Anyone go through this kind of hell? This girl is heading down the road to ruin and dad can't see it. He's trying to protect her but she's going to pay the price for it. I can't talk with him about it, he gets too defensive. Thanks.

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"My husband did nothing."

Well, there ya go.

but I'd bet there's a very good reason for both her problems & for his attitude.

Her behavior sounds like the rage of someone who has been subjected to some really bad stuff & his reeks of paternal guilt.

& neither one of them is going to confide or confess.

You're in the middle of someone else's extremely bad nightmare,
you'll ever be able to make a positive difference in their lives,
& meanwhile you & your children are being torn down by *somebody else's disfunction* (how do you think your kids are going to treat you after witnessing this kind of scene time after time?).

& the misery never will level off;
it'll get worse & worse & worse until you die.

You have some very serious things to think about,
& I wish you the best.

that "difficult to like" stance is deliberate-
if you don't like her, then you cannot hurt her by rejecting her.

*but* it's too ingrained,
it's too destructive,
her father & her mother are all tied up in it,
all 3 of them are in denial,
& even if you were to sacrifice your health & happiness & the mental & emotional health of your children, it would not make an iota of difference.

Feel sorry for her, but don't destroy your own life by getting tangled up in what the 3 of them won't deal with.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 5:38PM
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How unfortunate. It sounds like Dad is another one of those guys that means well, but feel so guilty about what his children have gone through that he will try to do anything to make it up to them, even to their own detriment.

At SD's age I would think it would be very difficult to turn her life around even if you and DH were on the same page. I honestly don't see how you alone are going to be able to do very much to change things on your own, if Daddy keeps making excuses for her. I think if it were me I'd be focusing on discussing her future "plans" with DH for when she graduates HS/turns eighteen, and making sure that there were some kind of realistic plans in place. I fear that otherwise you may find yourself in a few years in the exact same place you are now.

As a side note, you've got teenage triplets, DH's teenage girls from another marriage, and a four year old and SD had the audacity to say that you should be doing anything more than you already are?! Ha ha ha ha!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 5:43PM
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you have triplets, wow. My cousin has triplets and I know how hard it is, it is like full time job.

This girl sounds emotionally disturbed, unhealthy and crying for attention. She needs serious treatment. ASAP. I would threaten to leave if she is not put on some form of meds, therapy etc

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 9:38PM
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Wow. If this kid does not take her diabetes seriously, she won't be around to worry about ever growing up into being a productive adult. A whole can of frosting?? While she has lots of other issues...the health issues if nothing else must be used to knock some sense into this girl.

Does she belong to a youth diabetic program (will help support each other, exercise, learn healthy and necessary eating habits ect... ask her dr about these and/or your local hospital)? It's hard to get through to a teen that this disease can not be taken lightly and dismissed. It is not one that will 'get all better' and she'll never be 'cured'.

What are her 3 month A1Cs? Her morning levels pre stuffing her face? Asking because the roller coaster ride as those daily levels go up and down and do so very quickly after eating can really affect what sometimes appears to others as abnormal mood swings. Normal people don't go from say 90 to 340 after popping 60 carbs in their mouths. If she's out of control, that can be a rough ride.

As a diabetic type 2 myself I've had to learn a younger lifetime/style of poor eating habit adjustments. I've had to learn to stock my cupboards with items I can eat and as to how much of each I can consume at any one time. The diabetes, itself, without all the other issues of this girl, has really got to be hell on this kid as a teen in a household full of other teens that get to eat normal things or have enough control to monitor their consumption. Why is she getting away with eating just five foods ( and I'm afraid to ask what those five foods are)? And no, I'm not laying the blame of that on you...you totally have my sympathy).

I make my own 'goodies' as I can control what is in them and keep low carb/fat snacks...and when I try something new I check my sugar levels 20 minutes after eating it and then again at the hour mark. I'm not sure I could have done all this as a young girl with a I'll live forever teen attitude (and if one looks at a routine standard lunch menu in schools these days the fat and starch/carb on those trays is scary).

As you'll be seen as just the evil stepmom, your husband has got to get throuh to this kid that she's killing herself and to deal with the 'fight' over it. But at her age and what seems like total lack of control and a sense in herself that her disease is no biggie, he really needs to go the extra yard and help plan/cook meals and grocery day shopping (it should not be dumped on you)...this is his kid, he needs to be the one that deals with educating and monitoring his daughter. If it's you instead, she'll just hate you more and never stop to realize you really have her best interest at heart.

I really don't want to get into a birth control discussion, especially concerning someone else's kid, but if Dad has really reason to believe this teen could be in danger of getting pg, what are his thoughts on birth control and the importance of educating this teen on additional types of diseases ect? The girl's dr may be useful in discussing with the girl her diabetes and dangers of pg.

You have your hands full, good luck to you.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 8:53AM
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Prayer may help more than anything at this point. At least for strength to deal with everything going on with your SD. I cant imagine having teen triplets, a 4yr old and an out of control 17yr old.
I agree she is crying out for attention. Couciling is always an option, but she would have to be truthful in order for it to work. I have a SD14 that is mouthy, lazy and is getting to be very disrespectful. DH and I are trying to get it under control, so far nothing working yet. It is very difficult being in a position of the step-mom and not being able to do anything about it.
I also know how hard it is to try to get someone else to control their own sugar levels. My DH was diagnosed with Diabetes a few months ago. I cook alot and he will eat just about anything so that helps. BUt he will snack, eat candy,and he think he can just take his meds and all is fine. I worry and he blows it off.
I wish you peace the best of luck.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 11:27AM
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Thanks, everyone. Justme, her AIC's are not that great -- last one was either 10.5 or 11. And she has been allowed to eat the same five foods since she was a toddler: cereal, pizza with no red sauce (just cheese), pasta with just parmesan or alfredo, bread and bread products, and sweets. She has no interest in joining a local teen diabetic group, but has gone to a diabetic camp for the last 4 summers, which she loved. Unfortunately, she got kicked out last year and isn't allowed back for 2 years.

In the beginning, I attempted to get her to try new foods, but without any support or help, I gave up. Dad wants complete control of raising her, which at this point is fine with me. We both think she's having sex and he's on board with birth control, but it would have to be a depo provera shot or something...she probably woudn't take a pill every day.

The whole thing is so maddening and sad. She has her CCD graduation tonight, and I'm not going. I'm not Catholic or really any religion, but I do know that this is a complete sham. She calls herself an aetheist, disrespects her parents, elders and siblings, steals from me, and challenges the law. It would like be standing up in a friend's wedding when you know the husband is cheating.

Thanks for letting me vent. I appreciate all your comments and help.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 4:10PM
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I find it ridiculous that she refuses to manage her diabetes. I have plenty of students with diabetes and they manage it just fine.

I think she might be doing it on purpose.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 7:13PM
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"Dad wants complete control of raising her, which at this point is fine with me."

That's nice, I hope he begins to raise her soon. It sounds to me like his plan so far seems to be along the lines of "Oh, she'll grow out of it" - and that is not working.

I'm fairly horrified hearing of her diet. What on earth is your DH thinking? Is this poor girl obese from being allowed to eat nothing but carbs for years and that's why she's diabetic in the first place? She's going to die if she keeps eating that way!

As justmetoo said, that might explain a lot of the mood swings and behavior. I truly hope that either SD or DH, or both, get their act together and soon, before it is too late and the diabetes causes damage that is irreparable.

As for you, gemmom, apparently you've tried and nothing is working. Unfortunately I don't see how you are going to be able to change anything when Dad seems to be passively sitting back pretending that this train is going to turn off its current track (heading for the wreck) onto some magical new one.

I'd also think about what sylvia said. Do you really want your children to be witness to someone who is slowly killing herself, and a father who is letting it happen?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 7:14AM
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I bet she's "doing it on purpose" too, just like anorexics are doing it on purpose, & over-eaters, & kids who take every insane risk in the universe.

This girl is self-destructive, & there's a reason.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 6:19PM
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Wait until she's 18 and then kick her out. There are lots of programs for teens but it looks like it has nothing to do with her. Only a life-changing event will change her attitude. She probably thinks she can survive on her own without you.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 11:03AM
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This girl has some serious issues!!!I can not tell you how serious this situation is she needs a counselor because to me she sounds depressed with severe eating disorder and self destructive tendencies. Cutters cut because they feel so out of control with their bodies lives emotions that its their way of controlling something. when you take cutting away eating disorders take its place. her not eating dinner may bug you but theres a reason in her mind. She may not want people to see her eat because she feels guilty about food in general. Although I cant know the whole situation I would def talk to hubby about professional help, def a in home program before she turns 18. Take the chance of helping her bec once shes 18 you cant. A 17 yr old who sits in her room and lacks all motivation HELLO red flags, history of cuttin, angry outbursts. Your dh needs to help his daughter before something terrible happens. She knows about her diabetes and completely neglects herself, this shows she doesnt care about herself or her health, most 17 yr olds try to look good feel good are out with friends work go to school. She is isolating herself from the world. Somethings definately wrong. Dont focus on her angry actions, focus on getting her help so she can work though her issues and have a chance at ;life.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 4:16PM
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How in the world can OP help her or get her help when the childs own father isn't willing to?

OP can't make this happen for the girl if her own parents won't. She has tried. It's time for Mom & Dad to step up to the plate. It's out of OPs hands. Sad but I do not see how this becomes her responsibilty.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 1:57AM
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I dont know if you know anyone who has had these issues but I definitely have. Dh needs to help his daughter. Also OP is dh own parent. She is married to her father and that makes it her problem..regardless of situation at hand when a child/teenager is in this situation the last thing you do is give that extra umph to push them over the edge. Best and prob only thing she can do is ignore the outbursts and talk to dh so he understands the severity. She may not be able to help, but if she doesnt at least try and the outcome is a tragic one she will always say i shoulda i coulda but i didnt bec i was so frustrated and angry etc trying may be hard but at least she can say she did what she could do and be blameless. Even happily married couples with kids miss these signs and the statistics are devastating. But op sees them and dh needs to!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 3:34AM
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Agree with your point there Mommyjoof3, but really DH & Mom need to step up here. Think OP has tried everything she can do for this girl Yes absolutely she should be supportive.

It's an awful situation for certain. I myself would start with a removal of all the bad high carb, sugar stuff from the house. Yes SD will get it elsewhere she is 17, but only healthy foods would be available at home. Lead by example as everyone will be healthier with healthy foods and snacks around.

Maybe have a registered dietician to the home and all family members present to teach all how to prepare healthier alternatives etc. Don't focus it solely on the girls to make her feel bad, just "We want us all as a family to start a cleaner healtheir lifestyle so we have invited Ms. so & So over to give us some ideas on how to do so." Cooking classes for the whole family together?

Now granted she is 17 so some of this will seem a bit lame to her, but it's something and somewhere to start. And of course lots of counseling for her alone and the family together.. Agreed this girl needs help but OP is fighting a losing battle if no parent backs her up.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Those are some very good ideas Cat..Im sure op is doing her very best and i can def see how frustrating it must be on top of having an entire family to think about. I hope that dh can back op up on this. It would probably benefit the family as a whole if she could get help. Gemmom I wish you the best of luck and hope things turn out ok for you and family. Your plate is full and theres only so much a person can take before it comes tumbling down. If there is a school counselor maybe you could try one last thing, make a call and just tell them your concerned. they will speak with her and if they think theres a problem they will call parents. Dad and ex can not ignore a school counselor.Sometimes no matter what we do or how hard we try esp dealing with kids from previous marriages it is never enough or never good enough. As a step mom I know my dh sometimes doesnt take my concerns of skids as seriously as he would his exes and when I voice them he can become defensive. This makes me want to just wash my hands of the whole thing, but by doing that I would be treating skids differently than my own. So i would think if that was my child(which they are no matter what anyone argues)how would I do this, how could I approach this with out making it worse or can I let this go? How is this affecting the family? How do my other children feel about this? Should i just cope and help other family members cope? If at the end of the day I knew I had reached my limit and did all I could do then thats all anyone could ever ask of me and I would try to just let go. It is harder to let go because it is your home your family your kids..everyone is being affected and not doing anything about it doesnt feel natural. We as mothers women and wives are fixers, we are nurturers, we are the backbone of family, we are wise and we are only human. A great saying is give me the courage to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 10:32PM
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Sounds a lot like my own situation, funny how I can see a solution to your problem, but not my own? LOL but seriously, I'd make her leave. If hubby don't want to deal with her behavior, she'd be out. If he didn't like it, he'd be out..that is what I am on the verge of doing myself, hope this helps...

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:23PM
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Where is her mother? Why does dad have sole custody? If HE is the better parent, and he isn't willing to see or deal with her problems, then it becomes easy to see why she HAS the problems she has. Poor kid has been dealt a raw deal in the parents category.

You have two choices: Stay & allow your kids to suffer along with you. You can try to make a difference in her life but there's no guarantee that you can get through to her. She has a lifetime of whatever happened in her 17 years to bring her to this point. She is angry & self destructive and neither of her parents gives a crap enough to do a thing. If they don't care, unless she WANTS your help, nothing you do will be well received. Meanwhile, your kids & her sister will learn from her example. Good luck when your kids are older. There's a good chance your kids will become resentful if you force them to be in a bad situation. They may lose respect for you for staying & I don't know how any of you can currently have any respect for your DH. Some guys stick their head in the sand... your DH is completely buried! His daughter is cutting, sabotaging her diabetes, is rude, committing crimes, and has problems in school.

"she is always creating some kind of drama, and it keeps going up a notch -- probably to get attention."

YA THINK???? "My husband did nothing." Sylvia is right... there ya go! It will continue to go up, notch after notch because her parent's don't give a crap! She is trying to get attention & if her dad doesn't step up, she will get her final attention in a funeral where everyone will ask why did this happen to such a young person? Then her dad will have to answer questions, like WHAT DID YOU DO TO HELP HER? Is he going to feel guilty the rest of his life when her life ends or is so screwed up because of him not doing anything now? That will be fun for you!

Your second choice it to leave & save your own children from suffering through your husbands baggage. It is not fair to drag your kids into this situation & it probably wasn't the wisest decision to have a child with a man that isn't a very good parent to one of his existing children. What a mess & I feel very sorry for the younger children that don't have a choice in witnessing this mess.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 9:07AM
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At the funeral, the dad will get all kinds of sympathy for having "lost" his child even after he'd suffered through all her problems.

Parents who mess up their kids *never* think that they had anything to do with the kids' problems;
they blame it on the kids.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 5:38PM
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