16 year old SD who steals
I would like some advice from people who hopefully have been in this situation before.
I met my husband in 2004 and we were married in 2006. During 2004 and part of 2005, the kids BM would shower me with affection and praise ("the kids speak so highly of you"!) while at the same time trashing BD (my boyfriend) every chance she got. How he didn't honor their visitation schedule, how he hurt the kids all the time, how he would promise to pick them up and then not (painting this picture of kids standing at the curb with bags packed looking down the street and crying), how he wasn't paying her enough child support, and even (TO ME) saying how he spent too much time "with his girlfriends" at the expense of the kids.
This is at the same time that she would promise extra time for him and then call last minute to cancel, telling him he needs to drop everything and drive the kids to a sports activity right that minute (she did that during several of our dates), etc.
After I got to know him better and saw that he in fact was an amazing dad who went to every school function (many times she never showed up), every sporting function, spent tons of time with them, coached soccer teams, etc etc...I started defending him. One soccer game she made a beeline for me as soon as he left to go stand with the coaches and started trashing him again. I started saying "You know what, that isn't really what I have been seeing, he seems great with the kids."
From then on I was the enemy. She would email him to try and break us apart, say that they had a "wonderful coparenting relationship" until "you met ", say how much I was hurting the kids because I seemed to "always be around" and sometimes "THEY didn't want me to be around" (even though I got along great with them and brought stability to their dad's life), and also talking bad about me to the kids. She would find out that I would plan to go with my SD to a cheerleading competition then email my (now husband) to say that she was taking her instead...on HIS weekend.
So naturally SD has not grown up respecting me and although she has to admit she likes me as we get along great, she also has a lot of conflicts about me since she is getting fed negativity and encouragement for disrespect at any chance by BM, who is incredibly pissed she did not succeed in breaking us up and rather, we got married (she herself is still unmarried).
So my SD is now 16, but I have noticed as soon as we got married, when she was 13, that things would start disappearing around the house. At first she would ask me to use something then not put it back, I would find it in her room. Then she would ask to use something and it would get packed in her bag and go back up to her moms (since she used it once it must be hers right?) Once while driving them to their moms i happened to look in the rearview mirror as she was saying something and saw she was putting on lip gloss...MY lip gloss. She put it back in her purse. I said "isn't that mine?" and she said "oh...uh...I saw it on the floor and didn't think it was anybody's". Riiiight.
Then it got to the point, in the last year or so that she has started taking things without even asking. Thank God so far it hasn't been anything huge, like cash or computers, but still it bugs me. Like she will ask me if I can have a blank CD from a brand new stack of them and when I tell her yes, I notice after she's gone that 14 of them are missing. She'll ask me to buy a box of tampons to use at our house and the entire box will be gone that weekend. She has taken things from their bathroom that we've provided them to use while here - bathroom towels, curling irons, hair dryers, whole unopened bulk bags of cotton balls, towels. To me its a total disrespect/entitlement thing (her mother has a huge entitlement problem too, going in my husband's house after their divorce without knocking, even once climbing through a window to get something she wanted, when the front door was locked).
Just before Christmas this year was when I finally had enough with the SD taking my things. I had packed luggage for a trip to CO to visit my family (stepkids were not coming with us as we would have to have them during BM's parenting time and she has thrown a fit when we've done this in the past). I walk out of my room the night before and I notice my bottle of facial toner that I had packed in a zipped toiletry bag, is outside the luggage. I pick it up and it is completely empty. In other words SD went into my bathroom to use it (probably had been using it all along without my knowledge), didn't find it on the bathroom counter, so went digging through my LUGGAGE to find it and use it, then didn't bother telling me it was empty, or even put it back, just dropped it on the floor next to the bag.
I went downstairs bottle in hand and asked if she had used it. She lied and said "I don't even know what that is" and then "I don't think I used it". The next day while dropping them off I told her that I knew she had used it becuase the bottle was empty and I specifically checked how much was left before I packed it. I told her I didnt want her using any of my things anymore, including other examples such as athletic clothing she'd used without asking and is now missing.
Well, after Christmas she sent her dad an email stating that she was no longer going to come down to our house. And after two weekends of not coming down (a month's worth), she wrote him another email basically blaming me for not coming down, she said she was sick of dealing with my "bitchy" comments to her and she can't imagine living in a household where people don't "share" things, and that I better shape up because 'moms just don't act like that'. She said I should "try to act like a mom", even though her first words to me after her BD and I got married were, "don't call yourself my stepmom".
So now my husband is in a tough position. Basically he wants to see her so bad, but we feel like she is going to manipulate it so that if we discipline her while she's down then she simply won't come down. I say fine, have it your way but we are sticking to our guns, which eliminates the manipulation. But my husband disagrees and says "Look I just want to see my daughter". He is willing to put up with it (probably because it isn't his stuff being stolen). He promises he'll talk to her about disrespecting me, but he is afraid of her and wants to be her "buddy". He has notoriously not disciplined her since she's been little (a common theme I have read on here). So I really doubt much talking is going to go on. And they both have said they don't want my "involvement" in talking to her - my husband backs her up on this one so she has succeeded in dividing us which makes me even more resentful of her.
Anyway I'm wondering what I should do. She has the largest bedroom in the house and we have a 1 year old biological child together in a tiny cramped nursery and she is starting to get more things and I'm thinking about switching their rooms since my 1 year old lives here full time and the SD has not been here in 2 months and says it will be a long time before she comes down again (if ever). Should I keep a bedroom for a spoiled brat who refuses to come to visitation? Should I attempt to address the email she sent her dad (she told him not to show it to me but he did anyway, then when I got upset he said "I knew I shouldn't have shown it to you"...doesn't change the fact that she said some awful things about me to my husband). I'm not sure if I should just ignore her, and how much say do I have in my own house? My husband thinks we should keep the bedroom for her "just in case" while it sits there and collects dust.
If anyone has been in this situation before with a SD stealing the SM's stuff, trying to make the BD think badly of SM (his wife) or teenager refusing visitation because she's jealous she isn't center of attention anymore or doesn't like our super basic discipline rules ("hey don't take stuff")...let me know how you handled it. Or what you think I should do.
Thanks for reading! Its been a really tough situation for me!