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pawsmomma's picture

Hello all! This is my first post and I am very new to all of this!

I have been married for about 7 years now and my husband has a 12yr old daughter. We found out a few weeks ago that she will be coming to live with us very soon.I have only met her 2 times and other than child support my husband hasn't really had anything to do with her. Lots of past family issues there. My concern is that I am only 26 and the idea of raising a 12yr old is overwhelming. I never planned on having kids of my own. I am perfectly content with my cats and dogs. I know her coming to live with us is the best thing for her because her mother cannot provide a stable environment and is apparently have issues with her. Her mom called to tell us that it was either she live with us or she go to a juvenile detention center. I mean, what do you even say to that?! So needless to say I have no idea what we are getting into. I know nothing about kids and don't even know where to start! :? Any help/advice would be so appreciated.

thinkthrice's picture

ditto on #7. I discovered that the two youngest skids were pinching, shoving, kicking and hitting my older cat. My younger cat would hide under my bed all weekend when the "angels" were on their entitlement sessions, errrr I mean "visitation." Both cats dared to come out to eat and drink only in the middle of the night when the "angels" were fast asleep.

ltman's picture

Be prepared for her to call cps on you and DH and lie about being abused. Dh needs to aware too.

Get nanny cams now to a) prove you don't abuse her, b) catch her if she steals, c) prove bad behavior when dh's back is turned. Don't let her know you've put them in.

pawsmomma's picture

Thank you all for responding.

Once she gets here and starts school we will be going to counseling. I know she is no angel but I do think that BM is overreacting a bit. BM's past is messy and I think she just wants to be single and responsibility free again. BM gave up her son freely about a year ago as well(different father). We will find out what is in store soon, and I'm trying not to underestimate the damage she could cause.

Do a lot of you use nanny-cams? I'm not sure how I feel about that.

thinkthrice's picture

I also agree with punkin and itman. It's going to be a major shitstorm and a shitF5 twister if you and DH are not on the same page. Beware the guilty daddy syndrome as well.

Calypso1977's picture

ditto what others said. and read books - parenting books, step parenting books. that was what i did. helps to confirm that what you are seeing in her behavior is normal and expected relative to what she's gone through.

Esmerelda's picture

SD12 and SS 15 moved in with us when I was 26 too. Nice kids, not a bad bone in their bodies, but it was hard because they had routines that I wasn't used to and that I would not have instilled in my own children if I had them. Their BM was a hovering molly-coddling mother who did everything for them and they couldn't think for themselves. We were wrestling with telling them to have showers every day and how to do homework and shutting the front door. Basic shit that was just brain numbing. It was part of the reason why we offered to take them on - one last chance to turn them into something resembling humans. Now they're 16 and 18 and they're better but they still do things that I would not allow my children to do at their age. i.e. leave lights on in rooms when they leave and leave their dishes lying around. I found I really had to pick my battles. What was more important to make sure they learnt - taking your shoes off inside, or turning off they fan heaters in their room? Well, the latter one is a fire hazard, so I'd tell them off for that. I found there were just too many things to tell them off for EVERYTHING. But the key was also being a team with my now hubby. We always approached as a united front. And as a result, I can identify things that are wrong and I'll ask hubby to talk to them about it or tell them off for it sometimes, just so I'm not the one thats doing it all the time. Of course he recognises that he missed more than half the stuff I see, so he isn't too worried about me asking him to do that stuff. If I think I'm overreacting, I'll run it past him and we'll discuss it. Sometimes the smallest things just grate on you and you think, "Is this as big a deal as it seems, or am I just being petty?" And because this is a human being that you didn't raise who is entirely dependant on you and lives their life in a way you might not understand or condone, there will be things that piss you off. Its like having a housemate - someone you have to live with who comes from a completely different upbringing, possibly different values too.

On the other hand, it could be great. She might react really well to having a positive female role model in her life and you might get on famously. But the key is that you and your man are united on even seemingly inconsequential things, but that if you disagree, do not disagree in front of her. Things like, how much time is ok to spend on the playstation or computer, what chores are acceptable for her to be doing, do you expect her to get a job at some point, how do you deal with issues at school? All of these are fundamental to raising a teenager. Our "younger woman" advantage is that it wasn't as long ago as it was for our men, so you have that card you can play. Sometimes its a balance between understanding older female and getting your mum hat on.

Good luck!

needs_a_drink's picture

Oh my gosh!!! I don't want to be so negative but you are in for a long, long, long road ahead of you. This is not only going to seriously test your relationship with your DH but it's going to test you as a person. I highly recommend immediate individual counseling for your SD and either family counseling for the 3 of you, or marriage counseling for you and your DH. You may not think it's going to be important but trust me, it may be the most important thing you can do considering the nature of what you'll have to deal with.

Good luck with everything!

pawsmomma's picture

Just an update. The flight is booked and she will be here on the 25th. :O

Thank you all so very much for your insight! I am doing what I can to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I know we have a very long road ahead of us. I'm sure you will be hearing more about our new adventures in parenting!

Rags's picture

Establish the household rules for all kids in the home now so that when SD-12 shows up the rules are published and in force on day one. Your DH needs to hold her accountable for following the rules as do you and you both need to be fully prepared and participatory in effective discipline if she chooses to not comply with the rules.

Good luck.