Hard time being stepmom cont.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Hard time being stepmom cont.
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 1:48pm
Thanks to everyone who responded...your advice and understanding have been invaulable. Things are rough one day, better the next, and that seems to be the cycle. It would be easier if I had a better understanding of WHY she does some things repeatedly that she KNOWS will get her into trouble, because then maybe I could help her. A lot of times, I'll say "you should probably go feed your dog before Dad gets home so that he doesn't get mad when he sees it's not done" and she answers with her FAVORITE answer "I know" but then doesn't do it. Dad comes home, and she gets into trouble. I don't get her total lack of caring, and why she would rather get into trouble than just do the few things she's asked to do. It's not like since I came into the picture they don't do anything. They have a lot of Father/Daughter time, and it's really my husband and I who "suffer" if anything, never having any time to ourselves. We always go out to eat, the movies etc. as a family...so I don't get it. To add to all my stress, I am pregnant with a difficult pregnancy. I was pregnant FIVE times with my ex-husband, and 3 ended in misscarriage, and 2 were stillborn daughters. This is my 6th and LAST pregnancy (I'm 34) and I am 20 weeks as of Easter...I am dialated 1/2 way and am on strict bedrest. I moved away from where I'd spent the last 12 years to be with my husband, and so I have no support system here...no friends or family. My husband is WONDERFUL, but he can't fill the gaps I feel missing my friends, and I also had to leave behind my beloved dog, who is like a child to me, because we are in a place that doesn't allow dogs...we are hoping to move soon and rectify that,but I am terribly lonely, feeling so isolated, sick and scared. So, to have a very irresponsible and apathetic 13 year old step-daughter is HARD. I try to be patient with her, and like I said, I've never yelled at her or put her down nor do I intend to. But her constand need for attention and her total lack of responsibility really takes it's toll on ALL of us. Just last week, I had gotten myself locked out of the house, and we have TWO spare housekeys here, one in our boat, the other in our shed. She had lost BOTH sets, and didn't tell anyone. So I had to crawl through a 7 foot window because it was 33 degrees out and we live on a farm, so I couldn't go get help...I had to be hospitalized because it brought on more contractions...when she found out, her response was "oh." We replaced the keys, had a BIG family discussion about responsibility, had some nice hugs at the end, and she actually lost the keys AGAIN 3 days later. I am pulling my hair out. Wow...I'd intended to only write "thanks for those who responded." LOL I guess I'm venting...I understand if no one writes back..it's just good to get this off my chest!!! Thanks for listening...Apryl
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-22-2003 - 12:37pm
I totally feel for you... but my advice is "Don't Sweat the small stuff." And this is small stuff because you CANNOT CHANGE her. All you can do is be the best possible example for her and she will either change or not change and learn on her own. Welcome to pre-teen 101. All kids are irresponsible at some age or other.

I would however, suggest that you talk to DH and see if she needs help with memorization. Perhaps buy her a GAMES magazine subscription (those mental puzzles really do help sharpen the brain). Instead of taking her to a counselor, get her mentally challenging video games or books. She needs to learn the art of doing something productive by herself. Some kids are a natural at it and others suck.

I know what it's like to have a high-maintenance girl on your hands, thankfully my STB SD is only 8, but she will probably act out very similarly in time. Accept her forgetfulness and IMHO institute stricter punishments for when she messes up. Once a child has outgrown her punishments, it's time for more stricter ones.

Also, have a heart to heart about what she is feeling (does she have a diary?) if not ask her to write down her feelings. Talk about how responsible she will HAVE TO BE when she becomes a BIG SIS. That is the approach I would take. Turn everything around and ask her, "is that what you are going to teach your new brother or sister? To not care?" Perhaps she is not feeling included in the new family structure that you are about to spring on her. She needs to feel helpful and appreciated. Give that to her via the new baby and I bet you that it will help calm everyone down a lot.

Good luck. Don't give up... pre-teens are still vulnerable while learning the skills they need to become productive adults. Look at it as a puzzle and keep listening for the clues and possible solutions. You may be looking for the pot of gold when in reality you may only have little nuggets to work with.

Buy a yoga book... they have great positions for pregnant women who are dialated early. Ask your SD to visualize with you about the new baby.


Avatar for skisgirl
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-22-2003 - 11:08am

Wow, I didn't realize you're expecting. Congratulations.

Well I'm going to change the tone of my first post here because you are expecting, you need to put yourself first, especially since you're having a difficult pregnancy.

Try not to stress out about DSD, it will not make things better for you or for baby. For now, let Dad handle her. Perhaps she's acting out because soon the focus will be off of her on onto your baby.

But I still recommend counseling for her, I think more of a peer group one so she doesn't feel like she's being attacked and that everything is her fault. Perhaps if she were around more people her age who are going through what she is, she may be responsive.

Good luck to you, take care of you and that baby, and God Bless.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2003
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 7:29pm
I wish I could offer advice, but I can't, sorry. You seem to have a very difficult siuation on your hands. Take care of yourself and your baby, and let your husband deal with your step-daughter. This is your sixth pregnancy. You must want a child very much. Try not to get to stressed about things that you can't change immediately. After you have the baby you will have a different perspective.