Step daughter problems

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by michelle75, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. michelle75

    michelle75 New Member

    Hi, I'm a mother of a 10yr old boy and a 5yr old girl and stepmother of 2 that we gained custody of in July, my 9 yr old step daughter has spent the last 5 yrs with her meth addict mother who although is married had an affair with a known sex offender who molested my step daughter at age(8) , when I met my step daughter who was 3 at the time had a bad habit of touching herself my husband and I thought we had gotten it stopped. From the day she came to us she always had discharge in her underwear we had her examined thinking she had a infection she did not, in November my 5yr olds babysitter called me in a panic to tell me she caught my daughter touching herself when I spoke to my daughter she told me that my stepdaughter had taught her, after speaking to my stepdaughter she admitted she touchs herself, she does it all the time even at school, she is already behind in school and now she's missing class time to go do this, the school has to send someone with her to the bathroom to make sure she doesn't do this but that doesn't stop her, she does this mulitiple times a day, this child has alot of problems including compulsive liar, stealing, masterbation, ADD, I don't know what to do anymore, the stress is out of control, I'm sick daily ( I never get sick) I'm cranky. I'm afraid this child is going to change the behavior in the other children, I know this child has had a bad life but at what point does she need to be held acountable for her actions. I really need some support before I lose my mind
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hi Michelle,

    Welcome to our board. I'm sorry your step-daughter was raped, and at such a young age. You are right to be concerned for her and your other children. Your step-daughter needs to be in therapy with a therapist that specialized in child victims of sexual assault. The masturbation is a clear sign that she is still suffering. I had a child like this in my ED classroom years ago. We were able to get the touching to stop with planned ignoring and substitute behaviors. Planned Ignoring Telling her to stop touching herself does convey to her what she is doing wrong but it may also convey to her that the adults she needs to trust think she is dirty and it does not tell her what to do instead. Do not comment on this behavior again. Let the therapist work with it. But clealy you can't just let her walk around with her hands down her pants. That is where substitute activities come into play. Substitute Activities Hopefully she enjoys some other activities or treats and they can be used to mold her behavior while she is in therapy to deal with it. Have her wear clothes that make it more difficult to get her hands in her pants. When you or the teachers see her hands creeping towards her pants, do not comment on it (she knows it is wrong, no need to tell her again) and immediately engage her in an activity that makes touching herself impossible (hanging from the monkey bars, playing with playdough, stringing beads, anything that she needs two hands to do. Praise her for doing a good job with the activity (do not praise her for not touching herself -- remember you are ignoring that).

    As far as the other children go, your step-daughter needs to have her own bedroom. Her play with the other children should be supervised -- this can be done in such a way that she doesn't feel punished, just play with them or work in the room they are playing in.

    You do not mention how old or the gender of your other step-child. Sometimes in cases of child sexual abuse, the children will reenact it. Is that possibly happening??

    Recovering from child sexual abuse is a long road but thankfully she has you now to help her. Hopefully something I said will help, otherwise there are many families on this board that will have lots of good advice and you will find what you need.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    JJJ is absolutely right, please get your SD into counseling with someone who specializes in counseling for children who have been sexually abused. I have a similar situation with my SD although the presentation of issues is very different.

    Also something to keep in mind... At 9, she's getting towards the age where "normal" (I use quotes because I'm still not sure what it means) kids start to move into puberty. She's probably got a couple of years at least, but she's been sexualized early. All kids touch themselves. Also, masturbation isn't a bad thing - it's just not something anyone should do in public! (There's a time and place.)

    With my SD, I have noticed lately that she just wants someone to listen to her talk. Not necessarily about what happened to her. Since it is pretty obvious from your post that her mother isn't an option, maybe you can listen. You don't have to sit down in a quiet room, either, unless she asks! difficult child will work on homework or a puzzle at the table while I cook, or pay bills, or draw - and we talk about EVERYTHING. This is a far cry from only a couple of months ago. It also helps because she trusts me now, since I give her my opinion or stories about what happened to me when I was 13. Also keep in mind that you don't want to single out any one child for favoritism... However... Fair does NOT mean equal and just because you spend 30 minutes with one child doesn't mean it's horrible to spend 35 with another and 20 with another... It's what you do that counts.

    Last (for this post), I'm glad you found this board - it has helped me more than I can say and I've only been here about 6 weeks!!! {{{Hugs}}} and prayers for you!
  4. michelle75

    michelle75 New Member

    My stepson is 11 he shares a room with my son thankfully we found out when we received the children in July that he had been living with his bestfriends family for the last 3 yrs so he wasn't around, and actually she isn't putting her hands down there in class but instead doing it in the bathroom even if the teacher is standing outside the stall they have now as of today started sending her to the nurses office to use the bathroom, I know she is still doing this at home when she goes to bed because we have figured out that the discharge in her underwear is from her touching herself, because we live in a small 3 bedroom home ( for right now ) my daughter and her share a room but at night we don't allow my daughter to sleep in there, and during play the door is not to be closed, it's sad because her brother is scared that his friends are going to find out she does this and make fun of him. She is and has been receiving counseling for almost 8 months the problem is we live in a small town and their doesn't seem to be anyone that isn't an hour or longer away that only deals with this kinda behavior problems. I'm still confused about why she was doing this years before she was molested. I'm begining to think the mother was using drugs while she was pregnant with her, I have heard children with mental disabilities have a big problem with sexual behavior, and she shows and has shown other signs that somethings not quite right for years, and with only a few weekands here and there see the mother kept the kids away from us 6 months or longer at a time for the past 5 years so we had no idea this child was so messed up or what was going on and everytime we inquired about an attorney they wanted $5,000 retainers it wasn't till she got arrested for meth that we had a fighting chance and found an attorney that cared more about family then money that we finally got them. Now we know why she didn't let us see them she didn't want us to know what was going on!
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hi Michelle,

    I see signs of hope. She is doing this in her room and alone in the bathroom. She has some control. That is good. Kansas City is probably a large enough city to have a Children's Hospital. They are likely your best source for a full multidisciplinary evaluation. Done correctly it will give you a more complete picture of what needs your SD has. (Cognitive delays, abuse issues, drug-exposure, medical illness, psychiatric illness, etc). Another source for a good sexual abuse counselor is your police department or the police department of the nearest big city - they usually have a list of counselors and can tell you which one specializes in child-victims.

    I think you need to ignore the masturbating when she does it alone in her room. I know some religions teach that it is a sin but from a psychiatric/medical point of view, private masturbation is normal. Having the urge to do it at school is more concerning.

    Therapists who are not trained in working with child sexual abuse victims can do more harm than good. I would strongly recommend you make the drive to get her to a specialist. It's only once a week and it would also create that "time to talk" that is so important to establish a bond between you and her. She needs to know that you are there for her and will keep her safe. Her last mother failed miserably. Don't talk about her issues - I think Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers are still the rage with that age group :)
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Welcome to the board.
    First off, I wouldn't even pay passing attention to maturbation. All kids masturbate, whether or not we see them doing it, and there's nothing wrong with it. I agree with not paying attention to what any religion might say about it--there are bigger fish to fry right now. in my opinion you are overreacting to her touching herself and so is the school.
    Since she was sexually abused I'd focus my attention on getting her very specific therapy for kids who suffered this violation. Her meth mom didn't do squat to help her. Ane she may well have been exposed to drugs in utero, but that doesn't cause seuxally acting out. Frankly, if she isn't acting out on others, she's not really sexually acting out. I'm not quite sure why you're worried about discharge on her panties. I think that's normal for girls her age. Perhaps you need to find out what is normal/abnormal as children get older, although I have no doubt that her lifestyle has given her MANY problems and that she needs MUCH MUCH very specific help.
    I live in a small town too. We had to travel over an hour to get help when my kids were molested by an older foster child, but it was well worth the trek. The results have been great.
    Next I'd take her to a neuropsychologist for a complete evaluation.
    This child is going to be very high maintenance for reasons that are not her fault. She is not acting strangely for a child with her background.
    You may want to post a signature like I did below. That will give us an overview of your family. Also, please realize that if substance abuse is in the family, the girl will have a higher risk of having a mood disorder since so many people abuse drugs due to mental illness. This girl has the cards stacked against her, and she is lucky to have you to try to help her.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    To expand on something MWM said, when you call for an appointment with the specialist do not say she is sexually acting out as they will take that to mean she is sexually molesting other children. Just state that she is the child victim of a sexual assault. You can get into the specifics (masturbation, etc) with the therapist at the first appointment (not in front of SD).

    (((Hugs))) it is a tough road but we will be here for you.
  8. C.J.

    C.J. New Member


    Welcome. I'm proud of you that you're researching for ways to help your SD. The road will be long and tough, but this little girl needs your loving care to help her grow into a healthy adolescent and eventually a healthy adult. Bless you.

    Children's Mercy Hospital is located in Kansas City, Mo:

    Kansas University Medical Center (KU medication) in Kansas City, KS:

    Some other services for child sexual assault victims in Kansas:

    Perhaps some of these organizations/hospitals have some outreach programs. Be strong. She needs you.
  9. michelle75

    michelle75 New Member

    Thank you for all the advice, we are looking into having her evaluated, although I understand this behavior could be normal and might I add that I don't believe she is committing a sin I'm not so sure she has complete control over this, she is using this as an excuse to leave class and was spending a long time in the school bathroom which is the main reason the school sends someone with her because she was missing so much class time, she is so behind in school as it is and to leave class just to go do this is not acceptable, doing this in front of my 5 year old is not acceptable. When she got put in time out last week for a lie she was sat in the hallway on a chair not 10ft from my whole family we caught her doing it again so she doesn't just do this in privacy. I have done alot of research on child masterbation and what I have found that yes it is normal to a point but when the child is doing it multiple times daily no matter where they are it has become an obsession and the child needs help, I'm not a quitter and I do love and care for this child as if she was my biological child, my husband and I blame ourselves for her behavior and not just the touching because we don't know how to help her, but we are only human and we have 3 other children at home that do not show any signs of behavior problems and it's hard to deal with all of this because we have never had to deal with this before. I keep telling myself over and over again when she gets older she will be grateful for everything we did to help her and thats what keeps me going. Although the touching so much does disturb me, it's not my only concern she lie's all the time not just little white lies big lies, lie's about the kids she is in school with, the teacher, the counselor. I know she's doing it for attention but some of these lie's could hurt other people and herself.The stealing over $60.00 worth of books from the book fair at school, getting ISS for 2 days because of this, these issues concern me just as much if not more. I realize that her mother is a big part of her problems, but I don't want her growing up thinking she can blame her mother for all her problems for the rest of her life.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi and Welcome Michelle!

    I am very sorry you are so stressed. You will find this group to be very supportive and helpful. I know it helped me TONS when my son was at his worst. They even helped me find the RIGHT help for him, and for my other kids.

    Call and make an appointment at one of the hospitals in KC for a visit with a psychiatrist and a psychologist who specialize in treating child victims of sexual abuse. This is NOT something you can avoid. The psychiatrist (called a psychiatrist here) is the one with the md and MUST be a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist.

    Children masturbate. As long as it is done in private is should not be a big issue. If she is taking a lot of time away from her classwork to do it then having someone escort her to the bathroom with a timer to give her 2 minutes in the stall should be helpful. I know that one elementary school my oldest was at did this with several kids. They didn't make a fuss or a big deal, the teacher or aide or office person just accompanied her and had a timer that made a ding loud enough for her to hear. Then they just need to say it is time to come out now. It will take some time to work, but it should.

    I think having your step daughter sleep alone (with your daughter sleeping elsewhere) is a VERY good idea. Sadly, kids who have been abused sexually do often act it out with another child. This is a good way to keep everyone safe. If SD wanders in the night you might consider some inexpensive alarms to put across her doorway. there are some that activate if the door is opened - when we used these we had them on the outside of the doorframe so if we had to go in we could turn them off. Another parent here uses motion alarms from Radio Shack. One near the floor and one on a table so they can't be gone under or over.

    Many of us have had good results using the techniques in "the Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It is not expensive and should also be available at the library. Personally I also have had great luck with the Love and Logic books (mostly because they made sense to my hubby, so we could be on the same page, LOL!). You can explore those at . They have a fairly new book out for working iwth children with special needs.

    Anyway, when you see the doctor you need to insist on either a neuropsychologist exam OR a multidisciplinary evaluation. If you suspect problems from drug use during pregnancy, you might consider a developmental pediatrician instead of a psychiatrist. dev peds are psychiatrists with special training in child development.

    Well, this is quite the book. Hope it wasn't too much info. I do want to recommend you go over to the FAQ part of the forum. It will answer a LOT of qustions, esp about the abbreviations and things.