Step dad at my wits end.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Capt806, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Capt806

    Capt806 Guest

    Hello all: Im sure my story is not a new one but here it is. I have an 11 yro step daughter that is blatently defiant and disrespectful of my wife as well as me. She has been "daddy's princess" her entire life and now cannot deal with being told NO. Dad is no help with her behavior, he feels I am the reason for the behavior because she is mad over the divorce and our marrage. When she does not get her way she throws fits worse than any two year old I have ever met, she screams at the top of her lungs about how much she hates me and her mother, whoever corrects her bad behavior or tells her no. She thows things, has hit her moother and has now began to threaten violence if she doesnt get what she wants, it started with saying she would hurt herself- it has now escalated to threatening to hurt our 8 mth old son. We have been seeing a family counciler but it is not helping, she ignores our attemps at dicipline, she gets so out of control we have had to call the police to try and get her under control. Dad will blame us saying we just dont know how to deal with her. He refuses to accept any responsibility for how she acts.
    Can anyone give some good advice on where to go from here.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, as somebody who went through a divorce and picked a new husband, I can tell you that I'm sure she is angry at you and your wife and that you probably should back off in telling her what to do because you're NOT her father. My hub had to back off the discipline and he got along much better with the kids once he stopped trying to be an authority figure. Me and ex worked on behaviors together. We didn't particularly like one another, but we did it for the kids. And my hub was great...he didn't particularly like watching, what he considered bad behavior without saying anything, but he did it and in the end he now has a great relationship with all of my kids and they respect him a lot. But no child likes to see Mom or Dad with a new honey and they often do act out their resentment. Her daughter didn't pick you. She did. I had to remind myself of this and it took us a long time to work it out right

    Continue with family counseling. in my opinion you need to understand daughter's point of view. She has a father that she adores, even if your wife thinks he's a creep (even if he IS a creep) and you are never going to measure up to him in her eyes. But if you try to work with him, all of you may get some good results from stepdaughter and peace in the house. If not, well, welcome to Evil Stepfahter/Stepmother :) My hub knows that role well. And he's a great guy, but my kids (and I had THREE of them) didn't want to see him as anything other than the man who didn't belong. How many times did he hear "You're not my father?" You ever have to hear that one?

    And don't discount how jealous and resentful stepdaughter is of the new baby.

    Anyhow, you joined a great board with a lot of folks here...some stepparents. I'm speaking from the kid's perspective because my kids are now grown and have spoken to me in detail about how/why they treated my hub so badly for several years. Welcome to the board and good luck, whatever you decide to try.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What is the custody arrangement? What do you think would happen if she lived with her father? I don't have any experience with stepfamilies other than seeing my bro marry a woman with 2 teenage sons. My bro made every mistake in the book over and over.

    YOU, stepdad, can NOT be involved in discipline of your stepdau. Take a few GIANT steps back from that and let her mom and dad work that stuff out. You can support her mother, but you can NOT discipline the girl in ANY way. It is HARD to do. The more you push her to behave a certain way, the more she will not do it. REfer to your wife when things happen. Practice holding your tongue, smiling and nodding. Around here we call it "the bobblehead act" and many of us do it iwth adult children, because we have no business parenting them regardless of how they mess up. If you have a problem with something stepdau does, talk to your wife about it IN PRIVATE and then let your wife handle the consequences.

    Of course if she is rude and nasty to you and then wants you to do something for her, you are free to say you just don't feel like it. THAT is just how people who are rude and nasty are often treated. But mostly YOU have to be the adult and just let stuff go.

    Don't set a situation up so that your wife must choose between her daughter and you or the new baby. It will just tear your wife apart. It will also tear the kids apart. My bro pushed this issue and his now-ex chose him far more than she stood up for her sons. Now she has 2 adult sons who don't even call her on holidays. They will call their 7yo little sister, and then when it is their mom's turn to talk they get off the phone. That is IF they call. And who could blame them? She married an abusive man who would yell and scream at the boys for hours at a time, and who never let ANYTHING slide and never gave them a fraction of an ounce of praise. Heck, he is my brother and I don't talk to him. You MUST avoid disciplining the girl.

    Find a family counselor. You and your wife will need this to survive, and it may help your stepdau also. IF your wife and her ex can work together it will be the best thing for the girl, but if not you still cannot step into the father role in any way. You have to carve out your own niche in the girl's life, even if it is just as a "housemate".

    Others will have more ideas.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Welcome... I am glad you found us, though sorry you had to!

    From the point of view of a stepmom of two kids who have been to hades and back... And husband has full custody now because of all this... How long have you been married? What are the custody arrangements? How long were Mom and Dad split before you arrived on the scene? Living arrangements? Does she have any diagnoses?

    Honestly, at first, when the kinds' bio mom had residential/shared parenting, I kinda stood back. I did what needed to be done, of course. When things started escalating, I had no choice but to step in. I see it this way: husband has to do the discipline - unless he is unavailable, and then I have to stand in similar to a babysitter or other relative watching the kids. I've made mistakes and gone too far with that. I am human (and so are you). But Susie's got a good point.

    As for the violence - no one, and I mean NO ONE - should have to worry about violence in their home. been there done that, still working through my own PTSD on that. For the time being, as long as she continues this behavior (and it may be till she is out of the house), she should NOT be left alone with the baby. The sibling rivalry plus her resentment could be dangerous if not deadly.

    How does your wife feel about this? She should not have to be abused, physically, verbally, or emotionally either. The counseling is a good move, though it could take far more time than you would expect. If your wife agrees with calling the police, then she probably understands how serious this is. Stepdau may need to be evaluated.

    Don't expect the other parent (Dad) to back you up at all. First off, you are the enemy. Of course he would blame you - you have "taken" his role as Dad, even though you and I (and the board) all know that's not it. Don't try. I got tired of hearing this, but you know what? It's so true. Think of yourself as the "bonus Dad".

    What works for me (and it doesn't always) may not work for you. But the physical danger is a biggie for me.

    Again, welcome. I'm not the best authority on this, of course, but know you're definitely not alone.
  5. Capt806

    Capt806 Guest

    I am a product of two divorces so I understand the anger and frustration my school district is feeling but at the same time it doesn't give her the right to physically and mentally abuse the members of the family. My wife and I have been married just over a year but together for just under four. The current custody agreement is three days at our house and four at dads. I stayed out of disciplining for the first three years- not my job- but then my 10 yro started resenting that I would correct her behavior but not her new step sister, so I then began to verbally correct difficult child's behavior when she would get out of control. difficult child's behavior has gotten so out of control we have had to call the police, a local crisis center as well as taking her to a local behavioral unit for a 24 hour evaluation, not suicidal was the diagnosis. I understand I am not her father so I should not have to discipline this child but her mother cannot-because she will not listen to her-and her father will not, I have heard her yell and scream at her father on the phone just like she does her mother here at home. I have read the requirements for ODD and this child meets the ALL to the letter, I have never met a child that is this mean and hateful to her parents. As a fireman I have seen what kids with this type of bad attitude can do and the amount of trouble they get into and it scares me to death to have this little girl in my home with my two other children when I am not home. As I said, I'm at my wits end.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    You can get her involuntarily committed for evaluation longer as a danger to others. You said you've seen yourself where it can go, and you have every right to protect your children. If she is a danger, find a way to remove her from the equation until the behavior can be brought under control through whatever means work, therapy for her and additional family therapy sound like a must-have for sure, but is likely just a starting place. You and your wife will have to present a united front to her and keep debates on the matter out of her sight/hearing. I'm surprised no one has mentioned The Explosive Child yet, it's not a way to discipline it's more of a ... well, think of it as wild animal taming.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Has she ever been evaluated for any mental health issues? How does she do in school? Do they see any behavior issues?