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Step Daughter May Be Staying

Jodee's picture

I have a son and my husband has two daughters that live in the East. One of them is not getting along with her mother. She has come to see us for the summer and is going through counseling. I just learned today that she may not be going back home. We have never gotten along. Their mother has no structure at their home. His daughters hate that I expect our family to eat dinner togther, keep their room clean, and participate in family activities and only want to interact when they want a trip, clothes at the mall, etc. I am afraid it will be the end of our marriage if his daughter stays. I think their mother is doing this only because she is out of work and no longer wants the responsibility.HELP!


Stick's picture

Just wait to see what happens. And, if you can, try not to get yourself worked up over the "what if" scenario. What if we don't get along? What if she doesn't listen to me? Etc.

My SD did not get along at all with her mother and also had to go to counseling. She STILL is in counseling, dealing with feelings about her mom. DH and I used to have joint custody. Last year, SD came to live with us. This is what worked for us...

Have a talk with your husband and get him on your side and get both of you on the same page. Make sure that he knows that you will not be bending the rules for SD. She will have to follow the same rules as your son. Make sure that he SUPPORTS you with this and KNOWS that it is serious. I'm guessing he may have his own fears about this situation, to be honest. So try to find out what he's feeling as well. Don't forget, just because it's his daughter, doesn't mean that his life isn't also about to be turned upside down. I'm sure he is having some concerns about the whole situation.

Once you and DH are on the same page, both of you sit down with SD and give her the rules. TOGETHER. It will be important that she sees that. It will also be important that you tell her, this is OUR home and these are OUR rules. If you are going to live here, then you have to abide by our rules. You can even do this with your SD's counselor. That might be a smart way to go.

Don't be afraid of setting boundries. SD here was on her own a lot with BM. We had a session with BM, DH, myself and SD. Counselor asked the SD... who are you closest to, who do you confide in? And SD said "Stick". And then counselor asked "Who's the toughest one on you here?". And again, SD answered "Stick". The counselor was surprised! But it proved to me that you can lay down the law with love.

Your SD may NEED exactly what your home environment will provide for her. That doesn't mean that she might not "buck" it once in a while, but if you can stick it through, it could be the best thing for your family.

Good luck! And make sure you have and are willing to get PLENTY of counseling to help you get over the rough patches.

Jodee's picture

Thank you so much! It's great to hear from someone who has truly been there! I like the TOGETHER idea. I hope it works!