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Question from a newbie

Fairlady77's picture

I'm a step and a bio as I'm sure alot of your are. This is a question regarding my bio kids. I have two children with my exhusband. Three years ago when my oldest bio daughter was 14 there was a huge blow out argument at her fathers house between my ex, his new wife and my two kids which resulted in both kids not wanting to go back over. Few weeks after the "incident" the younger one who was 10 at the time wanted to go back over so she did. My 14 yr old was still hurt/pissed and refused to go over. At no time did my exhusband try and call or talk to our older daughter about what happened. I tryed to get my older daughter to reach out to her father but she refused. Her therapist said she was afraid of reaching out and being rejected as her father has made no attempt to resolve what happened.  Also my youngest would come home and tell of all the wonderful things she did at dad's house and I could see the hurt in my older daughters face. If my ex would take the first step I know my oldest would grab on.  My ex will go to every function/DR appt for our youngest but will not go to anything for our oldest. When we are all at an event for our youngest my ex will avoid contact with our oldest at all costs and will only say "Hi" if he can't avoid her. Its so awkward.  Before the "incident' my ex had a wonderful relationship with both children. My daughter is now a senior in high school with failing grades and drug problems and her father could care less. Yes she is not perfect but she still needs her dad. Yes I know I can't force my ex to have contact with his daughter but I wish I could fix this. I feel if this can't be resolved by the time she's 18 it will be harder to fix.  In your opinion is there anything I could do to help this situation? If there is nothing do you think time will heal or make it worse if there is no contact between them?

Scooster's picture

Your ex should be the adult, regardless of what happened and reach out to your daughter. If you have a not horrible relationship with your ex, you could reach out to him. Say something like 'this is a really important time in her life and she needs you. She's reluctant to reach out because she doesn't want to be rejected. If more time passes, you may regret losing this time with her and building your relationship. It doesn't have to be a big thing, you guys can start slow'  blah blah blah. Maybe he'll bite. 

Want2's picture

What exactly happened in the incident? It seems strange that they went from being close to having no relationship at all from just one argument. But whatever happened I think it’s somewhat futile for you to fix that. For a dad to throw a kid under the bus like that, what is there to work with? Is he abusive? It sounds like he could be, or heartless, or narcissistic. Is his wife abusive?

The fact remains, your daughter has been hurt by the man who was supposed to be a role model for her future relationships with men. That’s where my focus has been with my now 16 year old. Anything you can do to help build her self confidence will go a long way.

Maxwell09's picture

I think you should stay out of it. Many times here, the stepmoms try to intercede and help work out a situation gone bad and they end up taking the blame. Don’t do it. With the little info you gave us about the actual incident, it’s hard to say who’s at fault but from how you described both your Ex and his daughter are both being immature and need to learn how to handle disagreements like adults. It’s best if you stay out of it but if you’re compelled to get involved I suggest you simple email your ex and tell your daughter that you will be willing to help them reconcile when they’re ready and if they need you. Then leave it alone. 

tankh21's picture

I agree with Maxwell09. I am just a stepmom with no bio kids. I am curious as to exactly what happened to make a father just do that to his daughter. I normal parent that loves their children just wouldn't ice them out like that. Please do not take this the wrong way when I was you ask but w has your daughter ever disrespected her stepmom ever? Your ex is definitely wrong in this situation no doubt he should be their for this daughter. But I would just stay out of it because I think you trying to intervene will make things worst.

justmakingthebest's picture

I think that both you and your ex made a big mistake here. You allowed a teenager control. If you guys were still married and your DD had a fight with her dad, she would still have to come to the dinner table every night and they would have to get over it. 

You allowed her to stay away from him which made the situation worse. Your ExH did not demand she come over or try and seek counseling or anything else to make their relationship solid again. You have both failed your daughter. 

If I was you I would call a therapist or 3, do some interviews and find one that will work on this complex relationship with the both of them. Other than facilitating the first visist, stay out of it and let them figure it out with a professional. 

Cover1W's picture

This is what happened with SD14 and DH. The blow up was about HER ongoing attitude. DH was laying down rules and she didn't want them. So she left. Embellished stories. DH has consistently tried contacting her. She said at one point, to his face that he 'never contacted her anyway' which was a lie. 

Does OP really know the whole story or is just taking the teenager's word for it? Does she kniw for certain whether the father didn't contact her at all? And why ALLOW the daughter to make a unilateral decision to not go back? Any intact family would have to work it out and IMHO divorced families should be no different...but if one parent refuses to let the other one parent, everyone is screwed.

Just read OPs response below and agree with the feedback. Police are called when they are at the end of their rope and something really important was stolen, this wasn't the first time I am sure. Sad story but I don't blame the father or the SM .

beebeel's picture

She's afraid of being rejected or she's afraid of having to live by dad's rules? There doesn't seem to be many effective rules at your house if she's still on drugs and failing out of school. Kids will naturally refuse to spend time where they have limits and expectations in favor of the parent who let's them run feral.

Concentrate on fixing your daughter before you worry about fixing her relationships. It sounds like you are blaming her downward spiral on this single incident with her father. It is more likely that her problems started before that, which is why things came to a head at dad's. Does she have rules and consequences for breaking them?

You mentioned a therapist? How long has she seen this person? It may be time to switch therapists if her current professional isn't producing results.  

Fairlady77's picture

my ex remarried to a woman who had two teenagers. My older Daughter never got along with her. My daughter would tell me the new wife would get pissed about something my daughter would do or say and instead of talking to her about she would be sneaky pull my ex in another room or text him and tell my ex to “fix the issue”. Well her kids Accused my daughter of stealing some of their things. My daughter Denied it and there was no proof. Well the new wife Threatened to call the police on my daughter and my ex back up his wife. Words were Exchanged between my daughter and the wife and her father. My  younger daughter got involved and took my older daughters side. It turned out to be a huge screaming match with both my daughters running out of the house and calling me from down the street that the police were coming to get them. The police never came but the new wife and my ex went down to the police department to fill out paperwork that my daughter stole. They never pressed charges. So here we are. Did my daughter steal anything? Did the new wife’s kids make it all up as they did not like her? My daughter is no angel and yes I could be a better mom and maybe be a little harder on her. No one is a perfect parent but I’m trying. All I know is she was just 14 when this happened and my ex was in his late 30s. 

MurphysLaw's picture

I’m going to have to say based on your post & description of your daughter that she did steal something, and she’s feeling guilty hence her saying her father may “reject” her. And I doubt it was the first time she stole from her “stepsisters” or fathers house, again the filing of the police report. 

I imagine that both your daughters are feeling “replaced” by their dads new stepdaughters, especially if they happen to live with him full time. 

She needs to be in therapy and contact with her father needs to be re-established.

 You have failed her by not addressing these issues sooner as has her father, yet he may have tried and was at the end of his rope because the two of you can not co-parent your children.

 You daughter is only going to get worse 

beebeel's picture

You are convinced the SM made it all up? It is more likely to you that a grown woman made up lies about petty theft than a budding drug user stole from her family to buy drugs? Seriously? 

Well have fun raising the grandkids this one pops out.

TwoOfUs's picture

It’s not “sneaky” for a wife to talk to her own husband in her own house about his childrens’ behavior. 

This is how many blended families work. I never disciplined my stepkids because I didn’t have that parental bond or love for them. Also, if I tried, I saw how it quickly came back to bite me. 

Many experts and blended family therapists say to leave the discipline to the bio-parent. 

So...no. Basic communication between a husband and wife (whether that’s through text or a private conversation) isn’t “sneaky” of the SM. It’s just part of being married.

Loki's picture

I wonder if the OP is blaming her ex rather than holding her daughter accountable and if that’s the case, has her ex husband ‘given up’ after realising BM is not encouraging a relationship with their daughter.

My SD behaved in a similar manner when she was ‘caught’, her reaction was to go running to Mummy who immediately withdrew contact and sent several solicitors letter containing veiled accusations of me bullying and frightening her children. This has lead to ongoing issues with SD behaving in an entitled way knowing we do not have the credibility to rebuke her (i.e. - she have options as to her living arrangements - running back to Mummy’s house, telling lies etc. Now she thinks she can treat one or any of us adults like crap and fall back on her ‘other’ family to save her.

There are often two sides to every story and from a SM’s POV, there's often a very different interpretation of events from that of a BMs. Eg. why on earth should a SM have a thief in her home. OP's Ex-husband and SM are a married couple and that means their relationship is the priority, it’s absolutely right that a man has his wife’s back and enforces standards of behaviour in his own home.

Perhaps its time for a little introspection, forgivness and reconcilliation. 

Lndsy747's picture

I'm sure I'm biased because I've been through this but I cannot comprehend as a biomom why you wouldn't do more than "encourage" a relationship with the other parent. If you were still with your ex your SD would have to deal with her father but you've allowed her to run away and avoid her issues rather than dealing with them.

My SD has run back to BM several times because we "mistreat" her asking her to do horrible things like clean up and brush her hair. SD embellishes stories and BM rescues her from our abusive ways. When this happens her dad leaves it up to her to reach back out. He's not icing her out but it's expecting her to own up to her actions and refuses to be walked over and disrespected by SD and BM.

I don't think SM going to your ex to have issues solved is being sneaky at all. A lot of step parents here have the bioparent parent their own kids. I also can't imagine a grown woman throwing a fit and going as far as going to the police over a lie. I think your daughter is probably guilty and is scared to go back and face her father. She may truly be concerned about being rejected because she knows she's wrong. I know from talking to my SD that the longer no contact goes on the more anxiety gets built up about contacting the person again. 

I've thought about this a lot and for me if my biodaughter ever was in this scenario I would setup a meeting with ex and the kid and talk through it together.

Fairlady77's picture

I dont think the stepmom is lying but her kids could be. I believe husband’s should back up their wife’s I don’t have a issue with that. Yes my daughter could be the one lying. Yes she could be worried about rejection because she know she’s guilty. My Concern is the father-daughter  relationship or lack of. Yes I know I can’t make my ex have contact with her but as a mother it breaks my heart.  If my daughter did do those things I feel her and my ex should go to Counseling to figure out WHY she is acting out this way. My own father was a drunk who ran off on my mother when I was a child and I never saw him again. There was no father/daughter dance at my wedding or father to see his grandchildren. My fear is if this does not get Resolved soon it may never regardless who is to blame. I have Suggested therapy and my daughter will go but my ex refuses. 

beebeel's picture

Are you in therapy with your daughter? Have you asked your ex what he needs to see/hear from your daughter in order to resume the relationship?

Lndsy747's picture

I don't feel understand why you're putting it all in your ex husband. Your both parents and you allowing her to not go to her dad's and hide from him makes you just as fault as your daughter and her dad. If this is that important than do something about it. 

I feel like daughters learn how to deal with boyfriend's based on their relationship with their dad. If you get in a fight in a relationship you deal with the issue you don't just run away from the person and refuse to talk to them but you're showing her that that's an ok way to deal with conflict.