Hi everyone, I am having a bit of a hard time at the moment and am glad to find this board for support. I am a full time step mother to my 9 year old step daughter. I am also a birth mother to my 3 month old son. My stepdaughter has always been very attention seeking and we have had lots of behaviour problems with her since she was 4 years old. We first thought that it was because her younger sister was very sick and got all of her real mothers attention. Then her sister died when my stepdaughter was turning 6. A lot of anger and aggression followed since then and we got full custody of her 6 months after my husbands other daughter passed away. We were understanding that she was angry about losing her sister etc so we were supportive and to a degree lenient. About 2 years after she passed away though (about 18 months ago now) the anger, frustration etc wasn't going away. We did counselling and everything we could think of to help her. All the while her real mum was totally unsupportive and aggrevated the situation by condoning bad behaviour at her house. In other words it was too hard to fight with her so she gave up. Now her behaviour can be excellent and she can be the most caring, considerate and helpful child I know. She logically listens and takes in what I say but she doesn't listen to her mother or father. She usually abides by my punishments without too much of a fuss but this is because I have had a zero tolerance attitude since I have known her. She ignores her father most of the time and apparently fights quite badly with her mother. She has never yelled at me and would never hit me but she does with children and her mother. I am pretty sure I have gained a lot of respect with her in order for me to be the only person she treats this way. Anyway, my issue is that after many years of loving, caring, taking fun places and having heart to hearts with her, she is now misbehaving at school and talking back and arguing with the teachers and principal along with the other students. She is behind academically because she cannot maintain focus and concentration. This also stems from the lack of support she got at her mothers over the first 2 years of her schooling. The principal is almost certain she has Oppositional Defiance Disorder. After reading up myself and scoring 9 out of 10 on a regular basis I tend to agree completely. We have a referral to a pediatrician and we are just waiting to find out when we can get an appointment. I am at home with my son on Maternity Leave. I am getting phone calls to come and get her nearly every second day because of her behaviour at school. I am getting severely stressed and upset because I am feeling as though it is all dumped on my shoulders and her own parents are taking no responsibility. I do not want her bad behaviour around my son. I will not accept it at all and have smacked her on the legs or bottom when she gets to a point where she is losing it. It is the only way to get her to snap out of it. That is not going to work forever I know that and I am very scared about the teenage years. This is not a behaviour that has cropped up overnight but it has gotten a lot worse over the last few months. Again we thought it was because my son was born and talked to her about it but she really has no control over her behaviour at all. I have told my husband I need to take a step back and he needs to step up a bit. He is trying but he yells a lot and has very little patience so this just sets her off quicker than remaining calm. I am sure she anmnoys her father to get a reaction. Anyway, sorry for the very long post but I have a feeling that I am going to require help and support from an outside source because I don't receive much at home. Also I am frightened that she will hurt my son out of jealousy and won't leave him out of my site with her when she is in a bad mood. He is also missing out on a lot of my time and attention because she demands so much of it. And I think he can tell when I am tired and stressed and unhappy because he seems to cry more. I don't want him to have to deal withthis but I am finding it extremely hard to compartmentise my emotions. My biggest issue is that I want to help her so much and I always do. I don't think that will stop. I am just at a point where I am totally feeling that she is not my child and therefore not my sole responsibility. When we went for custody I thought I would be supporting my husband in raising her, not being her only parent so to speak. I am the ONLY one that effectively disciplines her so she is going to grow up hating me although she loves me now. I dunno what else to do. Thanks for listening.