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Issues with 15 year old stepdaughter

lorlors's picture

Hi all,

I have been married to my husband for 5 years and his 2 teenage children have recently moved in with us full time. They now no longer see their mother at all. Recently, SD15's behaviours have started to interfere with our lives and I have come here to seek some advice as to how we can help her. These behaviours make me very uncomfortable and DH, SS17 and I are really at our wits end as to what to do as she just doesn't seem to be 'getting it'. These behaviours include:

* Extreme lack of personal hygiene that has been going on for years. SD15 is nearly 16 and has to be told without fail every day to brush her teeth, get in the shower/wash her hair. At almost 16, it simply isn't normal.

* Persistent lying regarding her bad behaviour and making excuses for it such as claiming she had forgotten.

* I sadly had a miscarriage last week and went into hospital for surgery. SD15 called her father when I was in a taxi home after the procedure saying that she was sick and needed to come home from school. DH called me and I had to detour in the taxi to pick her up from school. Turns out she WAS NOT sick and had been lying presumably because she needed attention during this time where she saw me getting attention during the miscarriage.

* Inappropriate boundaries with SS17 such as 'needing' to use the bathroom whilst he is having a shower. I personally think it is strange for post-pubescent adolescents to want to see each other naked. SS17 is not comfortable with this.

* Inability to get into a routine and resistant to change.

We have had SD15 in counselling, I would just like advice as to whether we approach this with caution and sympathy or kick her up the ass and be direct.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

I guess my biggest question is where was your DH when your were coming home from the hospital?

lorlors's picture

He's a barrister and was in court that afternoon. He was at the hospital with me initially but had to leave to attend the court hearing. I had my sister with me throughout and in the car on the way back home afterwards.

Oldmom's picture

The most common reason for poor hygiene is feeling "dirty" on the inside. Usually from abuse. However also from feeling abandoned, unloved or unwanted.

Intense therapy to find the core problem first and work on the symptoms after.

Immediate boundaries and strict adherence is needed. Sometimes starting from scratch is needed. Everything out of her room. She gets a bed and blanket,that's it. everything else is earned

Also lots of positive reinforcement for anything she does.

lorlors's picture

Thanks oldmom. Her counsellor told DH that she had 'arrested development' due to neglect by BM, hence why they now live with us and do not see their mother. It's just hard to know how to deal with it as I particularly feel uncomfortable telling an almost 16 year old to brush their teeth,

blueskies4me's picture


I can’t believe YOU had to go get the lying spawn of some other woman after your tragedy. What!? Stop being a DOORMAT. I’m sorry for your loss.

lorlors's picture

You are 100% right blueskies4me. TOTAL JOKE that I had to go and collect the lying ratbag from school. She did write me a letter of apology but you know what? I am not over it as I simply cannot believe that someone of any age would pull a stunt like that. It beggars bloody belief.

stepmomto3idaho's picture

It sounded like you were describing my SD16. Sadly I have had to tell her for the last 2.6 years that she has to take a shower, brush her teeth go to bed etc. No yelling or kicking her in the ass is going to work.

Its hard to disengage when they live with you full time. My husband travels a lot so I am the primary care giver.

First off. Install lock on bathroom door so SS17 can have some privacy. If she can't hold it, she will go in her pants and make her clean it up.

I can tell you she isn't going to change. I have three SK on SS18 (in the military) SD16 and SD13. We got them also from an extreme BM neglect. We have been thru 6 or 7 counselors because of SD16 in the past 2.6 years because she won't participate. One counselor told us (don't know if its true or not but it makes sense) if you don't get the girls by 12 years of age they won't change they will be the same. However, my SD13 is a A/B student and in advanced classes in junior high. SD17 was 5th in his class in high school for gpa. She has the brains she just won't.

Come back here often. I do its a sanity break. Some people can be rude but they are coming from experience. I try to not let it get to me.

lorlors's picture

I feel your pain stepmomto3idaho and I agree with you about coming on here for a 'sanity break'. None of my friends are stepmothers so no one in my life really understands fully what we stepmothers go through and have to put up with.

MsMad's picture

I also am a SM of a now 13 SD. I moved in with her and SH 8 years ago and we have constant swings and roundaboutsn- it is kind of reassuring knowing I’m not the only SM to a kid who’s BM rejected them.

I can relate to a lot here as my SD needs telling to clean teeth, bath, wash hair and even wear unclean clothes now.. I am a 50/50 carer with DH and have sole care of her half of the week. I am disrespected, lied to, argued with and more - it hurts when you do so much for them alas I presume you feel.

I don’t know about any of you, but I res not looking after her, caring about her etc