step-difficult child coming to live with us!?!! pls help

More than a little freaked out here.

Bio-mom has finally decided (after many threats) she's DONE with- her 14 y.o. girl and wants to ship her off to us.

I have my hands full the every-other-weekend that we get her as it is. My own kids are 12 y.o. boy (AI/ADHD difficult child) and 9 y.o. girl (major moods).

Would really like to talk to some step-moms of difficult children. Hubby and I need help coming up with a "game plan" for this.

He tends to side with his daughter. :smirk:

She is a bad influence on my kids, who are no saints anyway. She refuses to take her ADHD medications. Walks all over her mom.

She is verbally abusive, hangs out with 17-19 year old boys, threatens to run away, failing in school, and more. She's as big as me, with a temper and a foul mouth.

I am not of the disposition to put up with the kind of crap she gives her mother. My husband works afternoons 6 days and so would never be around except on Sundays. It would only be me, and I'm at wit's end with my own two. Plus they are both in a lot of extra-curriculars and we live a long way from town.



New Member
When I married my husband he came with 3 difficult children. I was the strict one at first, but then I always felt like the evil step monster in all the Disney movies. So heres what we did. If the kids asked him something, he'd say go ask mommy. They'd come ask me and I would either say yes or I would say, I don't know, ask Daddy. They'd go back to him and he'd know that if I referred the kids to him, his answer was to always be NO. Same as if they came to me first and I said go ask daddy, he would say, did you ask your mom? If the answer was yes, then he said no. We've been married for a little more than 4 years now and the kids have finally figured this out, but it trained them and husband great. I can now be the nice guy and Daddy can now be the disciplinarian. After so long of finding out what I would say no to, he knows how to take care of it on his own. If hes unsure, then he always answers no and waits for me to step in to say its okay. Let husband know that at first he has to tow a hard line and let you come to her defense. It allows you to be the good guy and keeps you and husband on the same team.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
Being a stepMom of a difficult child, here's some advice....

1. You and husband sit down BEFORE she gets there and decide what the house rules will be and the consequences for breaking them. Make up several copies to have handy.

2. You and husband will have to be on the same page or this will never work. If he sides with daughter, your house is going to turn into a war zone. Besides, she's not just visiting. She's going to live there. Time to stop trying to be the "good guy" and act like a Dad.

3. Make clear consequences for non medication compliance.

I don't know how bioMom did as far as parenting, but you and husband are going to have to provide a united front. Odds are stepgfg is going to arrive thinking she's on one loooooong vacation from bioMom and can do as she wants. You're going to have to be consistant and downright stubborn. Ages 14-15 in girls is horrible even without them being difficult children.

Oh, and make sure you get a treatment plan in place asap.

This isn't going to make her an angel, but it might make living with 3 difficult children easier to handle.



New Member
I have not been in this position before, my husbands only kids are with me. However, my husband is a step-father to my son which is VERY difficult sometimes.

Anyway, how can bio-mom just "decide" she doesn't want her daughter anymore? and that she has to go to you full-time??? Can you and husband just refuse to take her? Your husband, her dad, wouldn't even be home to take care of her and you have enough to deal with. How can anyone say it's in difficult child's best interest, which is what all involved should be concerned with?

If it's your husband that wants to take her, try to reason with him that this is NOT what's best for your family or difficult child and he wouldn't be home anyway. Everyone in your household needs to be considered, who cares what bio-mom wants???


Well-Known Member
I don't mean to sound too negative..really, I don't..BUT if your
husband isn't ready to work as a unit with you, it's a lost cause. I
would not allow a teen to move into my home without agreement in
advance on basic rules. All three of you need to sign a written
agreement and the consequences for not following through.

To me the first and foremost rule is medication compiance. If she refuses to take the medications don't let her move into your home. Let
her Mom do whatevr seems best to her in her hometown. Passing
problems on to another is not right for anyone in the extended

I hope you all can get on the same page and that you can stick to
your guns. Good luck. DDD


Well-Known Member
Well, I would be the biomom in this scenario. I did decide it would be best for difficult child if she moved with dad for one year:
1.) Got her into a different school district (having trouble with the one we were in).
2.) Give Dex and step-mom a glimpse into what I was saying all those years.
3.) Show difficult child that I mean what I say when I say it. Not that I did not before, but I had told her this would be the next step if her behavior did not improve, so it happened.
4.) To get myself straight - went into depression the year before, we struggling with patience (plus she came after me with a hammer and it scared me - for her and me).

What I was grateful for that step-mom did?
At first she for sure treated difficult child like family (not as much anymore - she now has 2 adopted sons of her own).

I have to continue later. Sorry!

Thanks for the input so far. Hubby and I work opposing schedules. Our first chance to sit down and talk will be Wednesday and only because I'm off work ... otherwise it wouldn't be until Saturday!!

I know we need to hash this all out in advance, that's why I'm here. To see what worked for those who have been there done that. I'm so scared and stressed.

I'm not one to tolerate what she's been dishing out to her mother. Once you've taken away all privileges, and have no physical control over their whereabouts, what then?


Well-Known Member
WHen you married hub, you knew his daughter existed and was difficult. You knew one day she may live with you and in my opinion it would have been best to have talked about it then. It is my experience (I'm not stepmom, but hub was stepdad) that kids can be hostile to steps. I would definitely have a game plan first, even if you both need to take off of work or do it at midnight. You're going to have this child without him around, and you need to set down consistent limits. But you also in my opinion need to have a softer attitude. She is part of him, and you knew that when you married him--he is certainly going to want to try to help his daughter and I can understand siding with the kids. That's why a long talk is so important. I called the cops when my daughter wandered around at night, and they'd bring her home for breaking curfew. I'd turn in the older boys. But I'm a MEAN I'd check it out with hub. Good luck :smile:


Well-Known Member
OK, I am back. difficult children stepmom became someone she could talk to. difficult child had me and her dad harping on her all the time (at least that is what it seemed like to difficult child). But, stepmom did not at first, so difficult child confided in her and they became friends. Only bio parents did the disciplining.

The more difficult child showed her true colors the less friendly it was - can't say I blame stepmom. My difficult child is not someone I would pick to be friends with.

Make sure the rules are the same for all kids in the house and be very specific what changes to rules are made due to age differences. Make the consequences very clear as well. When you write them out think about what could possibly be twisted around in any way - difficult child will find the loophole! LOL!

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
Well, if one of my kids took off and I didn't know their whereabouts I'd bring the cops into the picture. Wouldn't matter if they were bio or step. Plus I'd hunt em down, and when I found them they'd have wished the cops had found them first.

easy child got mouthy with me once. Was gonna go off to so and so's house whether I liked it or not, yadda yadda. I said go ahead. And when I drag you out by your ear in front of all of your friends we'll see who's humilliated. Believe me, if you get the right squeeze and twist on a teen ear they WILL come right along. :wink:

Mine knew I'd do it. They never tried. lol

But like midwest mom, I also had the rep of being THE meanest Mom around. lol

If you and husband can't get on the same page with this, DON'T take her. It will be an utter disaster all the way around.

What is hard to cope with is I don't have a choice in taking her or not. Hubby is not going to allow her to live in the surroundings her mother has put her in and I don't blame him. Bad trailer park and the first people she hooked up with are the troublemakers, lawybreakers. She ran away from home tonight and came back buzzed ... there is a 19 year old boy, er MAN who lives there and buys all the minors alcohol!! This after her mother told her not to leave sight of the trailer. She just walked off. Doesn't care.

Her stepdad was physically and verbally abusive and this is maybe the fourth time her mom has left him. Couldn't afford to go anywhere else.

She doesn't want to change schools and will probably try to run away from here too if she finds out her "visit" this week is permanent. :smirk:

Going to work on "THE RULES" ... for all three.

I don't have a problem with being MEAN ... my kids have grown up with it. I've been around since step-d was 8 years old and we've never had a big confrontation. I talk to hubby when there is a problem, and so far we've each dealt with our own, mostly.

I get mad because hubby's way of dealing with things is talking to her, she cries and gets the daddy's girl treatment, then all is peachy until next time... I'm not down with that. He's always been too lenient because he was the weekend dad, hardly ever saw her, and when he did, didn't want to be the heavy.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
Then you're going to have to stress to husband that he's NOT going to be the weekend Dad anymore. And it may be that a bit longer stretch in the home and her teary remorse won't wash with daddy. (worked for my husband lol)



New Member
This is what brought me here tonight-my 6 yr old step son whom we have custody of. Although my husband and I ARE on the same page he is causing major problems. I am ready to leave. It is not fair to myself and my son. Every day is bad but today was one of the worst. He is diagnosed ADHD,BiPolar (BP),Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and an anxiety disorder. We just started the whole medications thing a few months ago. He is currently on Depakote which has had NO effect whatsoever so we are weaning him off it and going to try Risperdal. He has been attending an outpatient program for a few months as well which seems to make no difference. Next month he will begin social skills classes. I feel like I am doing everything to help this kid but nothing is working. I even had to quit my job because we went through so many babysitters and they all quit within 2 weeks. I wish I had something positive to add to help you but I got nothing I can't even help myself.


There is no doubt that children, especially difficult children, and most especially step difficult children can put a lot of pressure on families. I think you've got good advice and you sound like you've got a plan. Just try to come from a place of love and strength each day and give the rest up to God (higher power, universe, whatever you believe). And do take it one day at a time. Come here any time you need support. You CAN do this. Big hugs, MicheleL
Lexilou - I feel for ya. Start a new post and tell your story, that way you won't slip through the cracks here. I see you're new. :smile:

I'm pretty new too, I usually only come here in times of crisis, and it has been a pretty quiet summer. Until now.

I would like to talk to a few stepmoms off the board who are in this position and share what "the rules" look like so far and if I am being realistic or setting us up for failure ...


Well-Known Member
Lexilou, what kind of MD are you using for his medications? Alot of us
have children who are on Depakote AND Risperdal with success.

I'll look forward to reading more about your family. It is a
very very hard life to lead...but sometimes...with the right combo of interventions, it can get better. Hugs. DDD
Day One --

SD was dropped off by her mother, who took off way too fast for me to talk to ... was hoping to get an update since things seem to change every few hours. *sigh*

Clearly has NO idea they mean for her to *stay* here. Only brought a small bag of clothes for the week. Was telling Thing 1 and Thing 2 about going to her school last night for orientation and the classes she is in. Seemed upbeat about it.

The Things and I have been working on little issues. Thing 1 doesn't like to exercise (Thing 2 does). Thing 2 doesn't like to read (Thing 1 does). So as a family, we are taking walks (the store and back is over a mile) and less 'together' we are reading before bed. So we took a walk, and Thing 2 asks SD if she is going, and I say YES for her *g* and nothing bad happened. LOL

She did her chores and is on the computer now. Will need to get off soon and that will be the *resistance* I'm waiting to see. It is Thing 2's turn. Time for getting ready for bed and reading and stuff soon ...

So within the next 24 hours husband is going to turn her life upside down and then go to work and leave me to deal with the fallout.

I'm not meaning to attack him ... we have a strong, loving marriage ... but we don't SEE each other, can't communicate except for a daily check-in phone call and on Sundays when we have a billion things to do.

Gotta go do a few of those billion things now ... back later probably.
Did not get off the computer after being asked several times so I finally stood there and waited ... she didn't realize I was there until Thing 2 pointed it out ... she looked at me and I don't know if it was a dirty look or just unhappy surprise but she did log off then. Pretty much sticking to her room now. The Things are in bed though I see one still has a light on, need to remind them to get their body clocks reset for school starting. :wink:

Working on a several page "rule book" for all ... hubby liked what I came up with so far, but I think I need to say some specifics about piercings, dying hair, etc. She wants her nose pierced (at least that changed from her belly button, then tongue) and I for one do not approve ... but ... do you give a little if they are otherwise being sensible? *sigh*


New Member

WOW, things are going to get real crazy, real quick. At least you have some WARNING about difficult child behaviors... most people know the situation that our household is in, my step-daughter moving in with us because mom went to prison,,,,etc. Before we got her, she was in the foster care system, and the foster parent she was living with would tell the caseworker and ANYONE who asked that our difficult child was A PERFECT LITTLE ANGEL and that there were NEVER any problems....and when she came to visit, she was an absolutely polite little girl (she's 13 today, by the way).

So, when she moved in with us and we officially became the parents, we had NO IDEA what we were in for....and BOY did it hit us like a brick wall!!!!

Any teenaged girl, probably from about 12-15 are in that weird stage of life where they are trying to figure out who they really are and where they fit into the world even when everything is normal...add on being a difficult child and having to turn your life upside down and move into another house and learn to live with new people and everything, it makes for a very tough situation for her, and her difficult child'ness WILL show. I agree with the above, it would be a good idea to set down the house rules and consequences beforehand, you and your husband HAVE to be in agreeance and he must know that you and he have to stick together at all times or she will take advantage of you!!! Another thing I can suggest if you have any more weekend visits before the big move, go over the rules and the consequences beforehand that way there are no surprises, if there is ONE thing I have learned about parenting a difficult child, it is that they DON'T like things to come unexpectedly, they will always do better (not great, but better) if they KNOW what to expect.

I definitely would also make sure there is a treatment plan in place and a crisis intervention plan, both of which you should go over with her at the same time as you go over the rules, as these things may be PART of the consequences of inappropriate or violent/agressive behavior. If she's not currently in therapy, GET HER A COUNSELOR ASAP. Most of the mental health centers have 24-hour crisis intervention teams or on-call partners to help with the crisis intervention plan part, then you are dealing with people that KNOW your child, not random, unassociated crisis people who don't know anything about her when a situation arises.

Good luck, I know how stressful it can be to take on a step-child who is a difficult child, especially at that age...if you ever need to talk, I am here !!!!!!
Short update, it won't answer all your questions, but here goes:

Mom caved, changed her mind, will NOT make her stay with us or change schools.

Temporarily relieved, but know that the cycle is just going to repeat and every "this is the last time" is going to be more dramatic. :smirk: