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Is it possible to repair?

kelevra's picture

Good evening-

I found this website after searching on the internet tonight and felt I needed to vent with a community that would understand. 

I am the step father, I have raised my step daughter since she was two with her bio mom, she is now twelve. My wife and her bio dad have never really gotten along. I have heard stories from my wife about how bad of a person he was and still is. I was even involved in a serious court matter about the step daughter that resulted in me having to pay thousands of dolllars for lawyers and child advocates for my step daugther when she was younger. 

The past six months have been progressivley gotten worse. My stepdaughter has been mean to her younger half siblings, she has been back taking and yelling at her mother, she has told me I need to do more around the house, she complains about having to do household chors, even though we pay them for their efforts. Its like nothing we do here pleases her. Her bio mom and I have been raising her as parents and her bio dad raises her as a friend. He lets her stay up as late as she wants, she can play on her phone and do whatever she wants because he has no rules. On the other had my wife and I have been saving money for a car for her, we pay for her cell phone, we even gave her a debit card to make sure she has money whe she is at school or her dads house to buy food or drinks. 

Even with that, she has admmited she likes living at her dads house more because they have fun all the time and we have more structure. Today she had an overnight with her father. He was to take her to school today but didn't, and never called the school to report it. She had baseball practice tonight and skipped it. (bio dad has let her skip soccer practice in the past) My stepdaughter covered for him and said her leg was in extreme pain and could not walk, that is why she didn't go to school or practice. We told her we would come get her and take her to the doctor and she and her bio dad refused. She started tell lies about us while on the phone and it really hurt my wife and I. Its like she is purposoly trying to sabatago our relationship or always trying to impress her bio dads side. 

I told my wife tonight I have spent 10 years dealing with this drama and I can't do it for another 10 years. Something has to change, if she wants to live with them let her go. When my wife and I are with our two other kids the family is happy, very rarley are they arguments. Its as soon as the stepdaughter comes back all hell breaks lose.

Any advice? I am at my wits end with this child and just have nothing else left to give to help her. My wife is upset with me and said she will always pick her daughter so I am afraid we are heading down a bad path. 

Findthemiddle's picture

 You appear to be roaring headlong into a crossroad. Decide what your boundaries are with the wife and SD.  Maybe counseling - if you aren’t ready to break your family up?  Teenagers totally suck - maybe consider whether SD is just a batty teen or this is permanent?  My SD was a rough teenager - but I announced by boundaries and didn’t back down.  My SD didn’t grow up for years - but I did everything I could to limit the disruption to my peace.

Trini868's picture

There's no competition between you and the BF. You are providing the tools necessary to make her a successful adult with rules and boundaries. Let your wife know what it is you want and if you two are not united in the discipline it will only be a cycle of drama. 

tog redux's picture

Sounds like there is some parental alienation going on, with the father badmouthing your wife and you, and trying to get SD to want to live with him. What is the custody arrangement? Does he have her 50/50?

Part of this is also that 12-year-old girls can be miserable human beings. I'd suggest therapy before giving him custody, it sounds like in his care she will probably do poorly in school and life in general, if there are no rules or structure in his home. Let her know that 12-year-olds don't decide where they live and she's not going to live with dad.  Keep up the necessary rules that most good parents have and don't take her behavior personally.

It's not fair for you to put your wife in this position - you want her to allow her daughter to go live in a home she feels is not good for her, or keep you - would you send your child away like that?  Try disengaging from parenting her, therapy and give it some time before you insist your wife send her child away.

Rags's picture

At this stage I would say that this is a two variable equation.  You family happiness and money.   Based on her behavior... the 12yo is irrelevant.   Is your family's happiness worth more than the CS that you/DW will have to pay to the BioDad if SD-12 goes to live with him?

SteppedOut's picture

The problem is.... his wife wouldn't want/allow that....she has already said she will choose her daughter. 

The advice you give to step parents is sound, the problem is the bio won't "accept those terms". 

More often, the "choice" the step has is accept or leave. Not really much of a choice. 

Tried out's picture

she is willing to give up half of her other kids' lives to remain the custodial parent of the daughter. What a crappy situation.

Rags's picture

I would not tolerate either of the variables, though I do recognize that I isolated those variables.

I would neither tolerate the crap from the asshat kid, nor would I give up the status of the CP household and pay the opposition CS.

That asshat kid would visit.  Period.  If she continued to be an asshat, she would be in a state of abject misery from the moment she arrived until the moment she either knocked off her shit or she left.  She would have her nose rubbed in everyone else enjoying the benefits of being a pleasant member of the family while she suffered.

Lather............... rinse.................... repeat.

What the idiot opposition chooses to do, really is irrelevant to the quality side of the equation IMHO.


Wicked stepmo.'s picture

I would take the first step and have DW and SD start going to counseling together.

My advice to you is to start to disengage. As I have learned from experience teen girls will distract from their behavior by pinning the BP against the SP. Especially if you are the enforcer in the household and OP is the antagonist who better to deem wicked than SP. 

Let DW take the reigns and back away. You have to let her do what she thinks is right for her child otherwise DW anger and resentment will turn on you as SD continues to rebel.  I know I have been there and it sucks. 

SD may very well make the decision on her own to exit for good. For the sake of your marriage do everything you can now to make sure that you can't be blamed for that.