You are here

Husband Refuses to Discipline His Daughter

CantKeepDoingThis's picture

Going to try to not go into a lot of detail here, as this would be an incredibly long read if I did.

My husband and I have been married 10 years, together 12 years. My SD is 13. She moved in with us in September, because her and her step-dad were getting into it all the time, and my husband's ex couldn't take any more. When my husband's ex realized she wasn't getting any money while my SD was living with us, she suddenly had a change of heart (and trust me, there are things that she has done and said that prove it is motivated by money). At the same time, my SD thought she was just going to push dad around, but she didn't bank on me putting my foot down!

Over the course of last school year, my SD started getting into trouble. It started with excessive tardies and her not doing her school work. Then, there were the episodes of cutting and slipping out of the house after 10:00 p.m. doing who knows what, and my husband's ex and her husband only realized this was happening when my SD returned home with a hole in her elbow, apparently from falling off of her bike. The last 3 weeks of the school year, my SD was in an alternative school because she was caught with alcohol at school!

So, in September, my SD moves in with us supposedly because mom can't take it any more, and my SD is tired of her step-dad yelling at her all the time. We continue to have problems with excessive tardies and her not doing her school work. I've also caught her in many, many lies, and every time I try to say something to her, she just argues with me until my husband tells ME to stop arguing with HER! He will then have one of his infamous "talks" with her, but it is always like in one ear out the other, as he never backs anything up with any kind of taking away phone or TV privileges.

I also see in her signs of her having an eating disorder. She will go days where she will only eat a few bites of food, and days that she does appear to eat normal meals, she is always in the bathroom shortly after eating. Whenever she is talking near me, or when we are all in the car together, I can smell that she has terrible breath. She is overly concerned about her looks, so much so that she nearly misses the bus on must mornings. I've tried to bring this up to my husband, but he ignores me, or it causes us to get into a fight. He doesn't seem concerned at all...just has another one of his talks with her about eating right, but then does not enforce it.

Before she moved in with us, she was in dance and cheerleading in her old school. When she came here, she found out there was not a dance program, and she was not allowed to even try to get into the chearleading squat, because all the girls were picked last school year. This immediately sent her into wanting to go back to her mom's...this and I told my husband that we absolutely would NOT be paying $200/month for some dance school my SD wanted to attend, especially when she wasn't doing her school work, and was having such a rude attitude! Truthfully, I don't see how she even expects to do well in dance or cheerleading when she is not getting enough nutrients in her body to sustain her muscles! She has been "hurt" at least 4 times while living with us practicing her dance moves...pulled muscles or rolled ankles that she plays up way after they should be feeling better. I say play up, because she will limp around and use it to her advantage when it is an advantage to her, but will suddenly be all better if something like a school dance comes up (which, of course, my husband lets her go to).

She has had a Facebook page since she was 11, even though the rules say you need to be 13 (she lied about her age, and neither my husband or his ex forced her to take the page down). She has had boyfriends since she was about 11...her mom thinks it's cute, and though my husband does not approve, he doesn't do anything about it. She has been wearing make-up since she was 11 (again, see comments about boyfriends). She has been caught talking to older guys on her phone and on Facebook, lying about her age and telling them that she is 15, and instead of taking these things away, my husband simply has another one of his talks with her. I know it is bad to say, but if she manages to graduate high school without getting pregnant, I will be shocked!!

I don't know what to do! My husband accuses me of not wanting to be close to her, and not seeing her as one of my kids. I try to tell him, "How am I supposed to be when she gives me such attitude, and if I say anything to her, you take her side or I get texts from her mother calling me a white trash step-mom!" I have two kids of my own...a daughter who is 21 and a son who is 18. Both were adopted by my husband, and he never had any issue disciplining them, or backing me with disciplining them. My daughter did go through a little phase of rebellion, but I stuck to my guns, and she turned out okay...even going back to school on her own after simply not going back the next year when she was 1 1/2 credits short of graduation at the end of her senior year. She got her diploma on her own. My son hasn't gotten into any trouble, star on the football team...sure, his grades are super great, but if I tell him, "Dude, get these zeros taken care of!" he will go into that teacher the next morning and figure out how to get the credits he needs.

The issue with my SD is just another of several issues I have with my husband, but it makes it very hard to work on any of the other issues when he is so wrapped up with trying to be chummy with his daughter trying to convince her to stay with us...when her being here is not helping anything. She isn't getting any help here, because my husband isn't providing any structure, and I'm not allowed to give her structure. She is supposed to move back in with her mom after this week, and I know it is sad, but I can't wait for this week to be over! There will still be all the tension on the weekends, but at least I will have the week for me and my husband to work on our other marital issues and figure out what to do, and maybe, if we get some of those resolved, he will grow a spine!

I'm so happy to finally find a place where I can vent about these things with people who know where I'm coming from. Thanks for reading. Smile

oldone's picture

Sad. This is a throw away child. Neither parent seems to be willing to actually parent her.

What is it with these BM's that are so willing to toss out their spawn once they turn into teens? And then the dad spends his time trying to be a friend not a parent.

Unless someone gets this kids some serious help this is not going to have a happy ending.

CantKeepDoingThis's picture

Exactly! BM has confirmed that she has been diagnosed as being bipolar, and is supposedly seeking help for it (this is what she says, but she has said that before and then quit after a few sessions). She had another child with her new husband about 3 years ago, and he is supposedly a handful. My SD is the only one that can seem to get the kid to do has no parenting skills at all! When my SD was younger, she used to throw fits and hit BM...I witnessed this several times. Back then, my help was welcomed! It has been the last few years, when the problems started getting more serious (i.e., the cutting and my suspicions of her having an eating disorder) that I've been basically shut out. I strongly believe, especially with the mom's diagnosis (as much is a matter of heredity), that my SD should have a full work-up done...check her hormone levels, vitamin levels, etc. as all these things can affect mental is a first step, especially since I believe in natural medicine as much as possible (I believe that meds should be a last resort, because so many things have been found to improve if certain dietary restrictions are put into place such as removing dyes from a child's diet). But no, no one wants to hear from me. While she needs love, she also needs structure! This is one thing that is said about most kids with any kind of mental issue...structure is especially important.

And you are is too busy trying to be a friend! There is plenty of time to be friends after the child is an adult...until then, they need structure, especially if there is the potential of there being a mental issue. When my daughter started in her rebellious stage, I seriously had to experience some tough love! Yes, I risked her hating me, and she did for a spell. However, when it all fell down around her, as I knew it would, she realized that mom was right. My daughter has come back to me now that she has a few more years on her (and has been out in the real world) and apologized to me...saying she is sorry that she was such a butt-head back then (her exact words) and that if she knew then what she knows now, she really had it good! Having to do her homework and her chores, staying away from the wrong people, wasn't really that big of a deal...not when you compare it to having to make a budget and work 60 hours a week at a job you hate just to make ends meet and maybe have a little money to see a movie! My daughter and I are great friends now, because we can be! I don't have to be "mom" anymore, because she is on her own and understands. Now, I can be her best-friend...and now is the appropriate time to do so. When she was younger and needed structure and direction, that was NOT the right time. Then, she needed a mom!

Krispey Kreme's picture

I feel sorry for this skid, she is crying for help. But if the bio-parents won't step up and parent her or allow you to step up and parent her, she is lost.

HateDramaMamma's picture

As step parents we end up just having to watch the train wreck for the most part. My SD has been crying out, DH and I tried to step in and help and got PASed away by BM and now as of yesturday were even told by the court system not to waste our time.

Orange County Ca's picture

The girl is crying for help which only a professional can give. On her way to self starvation (Anorexia) soon her physical health could be on the line also.

Download and print a article on Anorexia to give to him and ask that he get her professional counseling. Include a description of the symptoms and actions which include the bathroom visiting and bad breath to convince him she's 'guilty'.

At that point you will have done all you can do. Step-parents are helpless without the backing of a bio-parent and all you can do is stand by to help if and when invited. Tell him you feel helpless while watching his daughter degrade because of a lack of parential control and discipline and it may get to the point where you will have to leave rather than witness the girl deteriorate.

Not a divorce necessarily but just a seperation until the girls is either dead, helped or moved back to mothers. Use those words. Tell him you don't want to witness this parenting failure any more and will move if necessary. It may prod him to face up to reality.

CantKeepDoingThis's picture

Thank you for your response!

He knows the symptoms, and has even "talked" to her about it. She denies that she is throwing up, and of course he says she believes her. I can't see how he keeps believing her when she has been caught in so many lies! He always take her word! Just last night after we got back home from having dinner, straight to the bathroom she clockwork!

My husband tries to claim that because my SD is still slightly overweight, there is no way she has an eating disorder. However, I have recently been reading that people who try to use purging to lose weight don't necessarily see a drastic weight lost, because contrary to their belief, they already absorbed a lot of calories from the food they ate before they purged. If she is cycling with days of not eating, chances are she has already drastically slowed her metabolism...that her metabolism is in a starvation mode, and this is why she is not having drastic weight loss. While I'm only suspecting she is purging, the days she isn't eating is plain as day...I can see online her cafeteria purchases at school, and I know what she is eating (or not eating) when she is with us, and there are definite starvation days! I've also noted that in the entire time she has lived with us, I have only had to buy her feminine products ONCE (she has had her period for a couple of years now...sorry if TMI). There is no way that only one box of product would last her 4 months, and I haven't seen disposed product in the bathroom, so I suspect she hasn't been having regular periods, which is also a symptom of an eating disorder. Of course, I have brought all of these things up to my husband, he "talks" to my SD, she denies, he believes.

Her mom sent her for help for a short period of time when my SD was cutting last year, but it was only like 3 sessions, and then they stopped taking her. They said it was was too much trouble to keep taking her to appointments if she wasn't even going to talk to the counselor, as the counselor was telling them my SD would just sit there silent, and then going home and telling her mom that she really didn't like the woman. So, now, whenever she does something like cutting or the like, everyone just dotes on her, which is the reward she is looking for, so when she isn't the center of attention again...when it wears off...she does something else.

My husband doesn't realize that the talks are doing nothing! Just yesterday, he got a call from her that she wasn't coming home on the bus because she had after-school detention for not doing homework and tardies...a week after she denied tardies!

It is very sad, and my hands are completely tied! Right now it is looking like she is going back to her mom's at the end of the least that is still the wants her back, my SD wants to move back there. My husband is supposed to be checking her out of school Friday and taking all the paperwork with him when he drops off my SD.

CantKeepDoingThis's picture


Just out of curiosity today, I looked up my SD's name on Facebook. My husband actually shut down her Facebook after the whole alcohol incident, after he and his ex decided it was a good idea. Before it was shut down, all three of us were "friends" with her hoping to keep an eye on her posts (of course, we knew we could not see private chats). Because all the trouble was planned in private chat, her Facebook was shut down.

Well, today I found out my SD is on Facebook again! I can't see her profile, because I am not a "friend" on this profile, but it does show her picture so I know it is her. Neither my husband nor his ex have my SD listed in their friend list...was originally thinking maybe she created the profile at her mom's after her mom said it was okay to get back on Facebook, but that would have meant that her mom would have immediately added her as a friend.

I want to tell my husband, but I know it will end up in a big fight, him saying that I'm snooping on my SD and all, but I feel like I kinda have to, because it doesn't seem like anyone else is. The way I see it, if you put profile out on the internet, it isn't snooping if I look for your name and find it! That is how many of us have gotten back in touch with old high school friends and stuff...just looking up the name to see what came up! Things are already volatile between my husband and I, because it is very hard for me to hid how unhappy I am with it all (I did mention that there are other issues that my SD's presence is preventing us from dealing with). Should I even bring it up, or leave it alone? She is still slated to go back to her mom's after this week...well, after lunch on Christmas Day. I mean, after the alcohol situation, my SD's cell phone was also put on lockdown for about a month, and even thought I had my voiced my reservations about this (she still had access to the web on her iPod, and just a week before her phone was unlocked, my husband found out my SD had downloaded some texting app and was talking to some 16 year old boy telling him she was 15...I guess my SD forgot these conversations where still on there when she asked her dad to figure out why it wasn't charging). I feel like if I bring up the Facebook thing, we will get into a fight, and all my husband will do is have a talk with SD about not doing the crap on it that she did before...which we know will go in one ear and out the other!

At least on a happier note, my daughter is back in town for Christmas. Oh yeah, when I told my husband I was taking a day to go hang out with just my daughter, he asked why I wasn't taking my SD! I flat out told him, "I see ____ every day! I haven't seen my daughter since March! My daughter has just gone through a terrible break up with her fiance, and I think she needs some alone time with mom to be able to just say whatever she feels she needs to say without worrying about her little sister listening in on everything!" Sure, we talk on the phone, but that is not the same as having sitting with your mom, who can now be a best friend because you are grown, and talk over a cup of coffee!

CantKeepDoingThis's picture

What should I do? My husband decided on his own to give my SD a laptop for Christmas. It didn't cost him's a small laptop that someone gave him that they weren't using any longer. In giving it to her, he tells her that she still isn't allowed on Facebook and if she does get back on Facebook, he WILL know, to which she simply responded, "OK." I know she is back on Facebook...I've looked up her name...she has been back on since November 5th according to what I can see in her profile. I know if I tell my husband it will just cause a fight between us like anything with regards to my SD does...he will accuse me of snooping on her which he doesn't think I have any business doing. Obviously, he isn't checking up on her! Should I tell him anyway, or just let her burn herself when he eventually finds out...if he ever does? I doubt he will take away the laptop if he finds out...he will just tell her to delete her account again, and give her a "fresh start".

That's all he ever does! Right now, both my kids are not very happy with him. When my daughter and I went to lunch together, she asked me, "What's up with dad?" I asked her what she meant. She proceeded to tell me that her brother has been complaining to her that my husband has been really easy on my SD, and they have talked about how tough he was on them for the exact same things my SD has been doing (i.e., not doing her school work, lying, etc.). I told her that I've noticed the same thing, and assured her that I have tried to do something about it, but that my husband gets all defensive, claims he isn't treating my SD different, that I have no business telling him how to parent, accusing me of not caring at all about my SD, etc. Just today, my husband suggested that I go pick up my SD and take her shopping (yeah...I'm good enough to take her shopping and spend money on her, but not good enough to give my 2 cents on parenting her). He got mad at me when I told him I wasn't going to do that. He asked why, and I told him that it was the last day of the pay period after Christmas...there wasn't any money to go shopping with. He said that I didn't have to buy anything, and I responded, "Right...and every time I take her shopping with me, she asks for all kinds of stuff and if I don't buy her anything, she just gets an attitude with me and walks around texting...probably telling her mom how much of a b***h I am for not buying her anything." Sorry, but I'm only telling him the truth here...but he was already mad at me before I even said this. I'm tired of him treating her like a princess, even when she doesn't deserve it! She is playing him...lying to him and sneaking around behind his back. I want to expose her for everything, but at the same time feel it will just be another fight where I am the bad guy out to get her, and nothing will be done about it!

CantKeepDoingThis's picture

I ended up telling my husband about my SD's Facebook page. As I suspected, it ended up in a fight. My husband supposedly talked to my SD about the Facebook, which she immediately denied. When my husband pulled up the Facebook page I found, she claims to him that it isn't an active page, and that she doesn't even remember the password. He buys it...I still don't! I mean, it says "Joined November 5th" under 2012.

So, my husband still gives my SD the laptop computer. She keeps disappearing into her room with it, and when she had it over at one of our friend's houses New Year's Day, she disappeared upstairs with it...alone, when she had been sitting on the couch playing games the rest of the day.

I personally do not agree with a 13 year old using a computer on the internet unsupervised, especially one that has the history she has. Am I wrong? My kids didn't even get on the internet until they were 15. My 18 year old still uses the family use computer in the living room, and has no bones about us seeing what he is doing...doesn't care because he knows he isn't doing anything he isn't supposed to, and knows I see everything on his Facebook page anyway (since HE was the one who friended me, I see everything he posts in my news feed). I don't get why the secrecy with my SD unless she is hiding something.

TorturedGuy's picture

I really empathize with matter what SS does,his mom is at his beck & call!

CantKeepDoingThis's picture


Okay, so, as many of you know by know, my SD moved back in with her mom at the first of the year. So, we have her for this weekend. So far, she has had herself locked up in her room all day on her computer. As usual, after lunch, she just dumped her dishes in the sink, and disappeared back to her room. Just a bit ago, my husband calls her out, and asks her if she told me that she got suspended from school! He had her tell me about how she got suspended for destruction of property. Supposedly, this mini fridge in one of her classes had frozen over, and her and a bunch of her friends thought it would be a good idea to kick and throw the fridge around to "defrost" it. The teacher walked in and saw this, and the whole bunch got in trouble. A total "what were you thinking" moment there, right?

So, she was suspended from school yesterday, yet my husband is letting her have phone and computer privileges all weekend? Oh, that's right, when she's with us she doesn't get punished for anything. He simply told her that was a pretty stupid thing to do, and left it at that. She went right back to her room to get back on her she has been all day already, since noon when she finally got her happy butt out of bed!

Not even a month back at her mom's house, and my SD is already getting into trouble at school...AGAIN! My husband is doing nothing about it, and obviously, neither is her mother! Oh, and she is back to doing high kicks and splits all over the place, which means her old school let her back into dance. She especially does it when other people are around, as if to say, "Hey...look at me!" My best friend stopped by last night to borrow a camera for her vacation. Her and I were trying to talk, but my SD was right there next to us doing her dance moves and splits...and kept telling my friend, "Hey, look!" while we were trying to talk. Very rude and disrepectful! This is my friend, not one of your little friends, and she came to see me, not you!