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I can't stand my step-daughter


Duffy
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Been married for three years, have a wonderful relationship with my wife. Have two stepdaughters 10 and 13. The 10 year old is a pleasure.

 

The 13 year old is a pain. Nothing criminal (yet) and not a bad student. But she is very difficult to get along with. She only has no real friends, is lazy, has a smart mouth, is loud, a total slob, overweight, annoying, bossy, negative, whiney, lies constantly, selfish, rude, disrespectful...do you get the picture?

 

She hasnt had an easy life. Her biological father is a dirt bag and is currently incarcerated. Her mom's done the best she can, but was forced to be a single mom for many years. But know we are a stable family with a great home in a nice neighborhood.

 

She has ADD or ADHD. She has been on every med they make, but none really seemed to help. We stopped all the meds and try to control her diet as much as possible. And we try to keep her away from sugar...which helps...but we cant watch her all the time. ADHD is not her main problem. Its her negative, "I want my way" attitude.

 

She seems to very immature for her age, like she has a 4 year old's mind in a 13 year old's body. She doesnt appear to be going through puberty yet.

 

We took her to counseling...the best in the area... and the counselor surmized that we need to hope she grows out of it. I can't afford more counseling.

 

We feel like we are always having to punish her, yet it doesnt seem to have any effect on her. We take away priviledges, ground her, etc. She changes for a day, then she is right back to her old self

 

Almost every day we have an issue with her. My wife is beside herself because she is sooo tired of dealing with her. She feels guilty because she loves her, but also can't stand to be in the same room with her. Other relatives say the same thing about her.

 

The other night, she kicked a hole in the wall when she got mad because we wouldn't let her watch TV because she was running her mouth. I fear as she gets older and bigger, we may see more of this kind of behavior.

 

We try to get her involved in things....she now plays in the band and is doing quite well.

 

We admit she probably is seeking attention from us, and when we try to give it to her she annoys us so much we want to get her away from us.

 

I try to talk to her to try to understand what emotion, if any, is behind all of this, but I can't get anywhere. She doesn't think she is doing anything wrong. She thinks everyone else is wrong and everyone is unfair to her.

 

If we could afford it, we would contemplate sending her away to some sort of boarding school or boot camp...but we also think that would just make her resent us more.

 

We also fear that since she demands so much of our attention that our other daughter may suffer. Our other daughter is well liked by all.

 

We've run out of ideas. We want to help her, but I've about given up.

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Hi there and welcome to enotalone.

 

In many ways, your step daughter sounds like the "typical" problem teen, but there are some things that stand out which make me think there is more going on.

 

The other night, she kicked a hole in the wall when she got mad because we wouldn't let her watch TV because she was running her mouth.

 

It sounds less like ADHD and more like Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), which is behavioral challenge and not a learning disability:

 

link removed

 

You had mentioned that she is not a bad student. Is her behavior good in her classes at school? How does she behave in public places?

 

 

BellaDonna

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rodeo-rider, I am absolutely blown away by your advice. It makes such wonderful sense, and accomplishes several things:

 

- Gives the parent regularly scheduled, quality time with their teen

- Teaches the teen life-long values

- Boosts the teen's self-esteem by being able to contribute to something meaningful

- Gives back to those who need the help

 

Bravo!!!

 

EDIT: And let me just add that these are all things that I don't think boot camp or boarding school can give to a troubled teen. I understand entertaining the thought of sending a problem teen there, but I believe it's entirely within the power of the parent to actually guide their child through the difficult times.

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invest more time and resources on one of your kids than the other(s).

 

We wish we could have a "fair" or equal distribution of things and time but it doesn't always work out that way.

 

Your stepdaughter needs more out of you now than the others.

 

You mention not affording counseling and taking her off meds.

 

Maybe you can find a free or sliding-scale clinic?

 

Throwing up your hands in frustration feels good, but it is not the permanent solution to her troubles.

 

She's a teenager, they have low impulse control as it is. If she really does have some kind of personality disorder she needs you more now than ever.

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Hey, Duffy...I'd like to say a couple more things. First of all, welcome to eNotalone! I think you'll find this is a very helpful and supportive forum.

 

Second, I want to commend you on coming here. You clearly care about this child, even though she's sorely testing your patience right now. I think it's amazing a step-father would take the time and effort to find a resource of advice on the Internet for this kind of trouble, and it's also abundantly clear you've made numerous other efforts to date.

 

So, kudos to you! I'm serious, I did not come from a home where such patience was around, and if it had been, perhaps my teens and twenties would have been a lot better. I did not get the consistent guidance, discipline, positive reinforcement and BOUNDARIES that a teen needs, and as a result, I was pretty wild for many years. Finally shaped up on my own, but it would have happened a lot sooner if tactics such as the ones Rodeo-rider suggests had been vigorously applied to me.

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She sounds like a typical 13 year od. Go with the flow. I was a crazy teen and the more my parents and step parents pushed me I multiplied it by ten and pushed back. I have decided to take a different stand with my daughter (16yrs). She pushed the limits, she was even violent and threatened bodily harm to my husband (her step dad). She started doing very poorly in school (8th grade she made a .48 for the entire year, all classes) and used every opportunity in public to humiliate her parents. She would talk loud and say untrue statements. So...we explained that while it was sad she felt she needed to behave in that manner, ultimately she was hurting herself. It has taken since 5th grade for her to realize that she was harming her social, and academic future. Her behavior influenced what people thought about her, not us. She is a 10th grader now. Things are much better. We have never distrusted her, most everything she said was hot air. Our main concern as parents was her education. Sometimes you have to loosen up the reins, give them exactly what they want. You may be surprised at what happens. Kids are a trip. In addition I would like to say to you, hang in there. We have all thought about moving to Mexico and not leaving a forwarding address to our kids. I have considered as recently as this summer putting my daughter in a theraputic boarding school. Instead she and I took a month long road trip just the two of us. It was fun and she had my full attention for a solid month. It was a better deal than boarding school and the results were superior.

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I really think that you mustn't quit counselling. How about finding a terapist that is not the most expencive in the area? Maybe he woan't be the best, but he will still be good enough.

I guess you informed yourself about how to deal with kids who have problems like she has? Reading literature on parenting, difficult teens, what they missed or need?

10 year old is an angel? well, wait till she gets in her teen years!

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I really think that you mustn't quit counselling. How about finding a terapist that is not the most expencive in the area? Maybe he woan't be the best, but he will still be good enough.

 

Yeah, personally I think the original therapist's assessment pretty much proves that he/she wasn't the best, by far. I wonder if a female therapist might not be a better match for a young teen girl, too. (don't know if the original therapist was a woman or man, though)

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And if someone has some sort of attention disorder punishment doesn't work, and because of short attention kid is not awfull, mean, I want it my way, but unable to do better. I think that amount of suggar is not something that has any relevance on her behaviour.

Does she has this disorder diagnosed ? If she has you need to know that her behaviour is in majority conected with this disorder. So calling her mean or something else is wrong - because she has a disorder - she can't controll it - it can get little bit better, but she is not in control. So you need to adjust your parenting to her capabilities and to make your expectations on her in relation with her possibilites.

You said you tried a lot of meds? Well I think you need to find out, if she has a disorder, a good doctor that will give her the right medication and than to be persistent in that. I even didn't know they exist - I mean medications for it.

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Actually, I suspect there has to be a correlation somewhere between the rising rates of child ADD and other "behavioral disorders" and the sheer amount of sugar in today's processed foods. I've heard numerous stories about how over time, a diet change can make a noticeable effect on kids prone to jitteriness, high energy, etc. Regular exercise wouldn't hurt, either.

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I too think a 2nd opinion for a diagnosis is needed.

 

Regardless of the problem, positive behavioral support tends to work much better than blatant punishment for it's own sake.

 

Don't get me wrong. No one should be kicking in walls in your home. She needs to learn respect. However you have to be creative in the way the lesson is learned. Yelling does no good.

 

If she kicked in a wall- what might do good is to have her volunteer on the weekends for Habitat for Humanity in constructing a new home. Her "punishment" should be appropriate for the offense. In summary: If you kick in a wall you're going to help the community by building new ones.

 

 

BellaDonna

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If she kicked in a wall- what might do good is to have her volunteer on the weekends for Habitat for Humanity in constructing a new home. Her "punishment" should be appropriate for the offense. In summary: If you kick in a wall you're going to help the community by building new ones.

 

That idea ROCKS. Along with teaching her how to plaster the hole she just kicked in.

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I guess I should have pointed out that her behavior problems aren't new. Her mom says she has been a pain since she was a baby. She's had problems at pre-school, elementary school, etc.

 

My understanding is she was diagnosed on the ADD/ADHD by at least two MDs and one other medical specialist. Plus, we took her to a child psychiatrist who also said it's "probably ADD/ADHD".

 

She acts out frequently (usually) in public places. Then we call her on it and then she sulks to try to bring everyone else down.

 

I like the idea of showing her how life can be on the other side (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc. But I'm skeptical she will put 2 and 2 together. At least not yet.

 

Her view will be a simple "what's that got to do with me? I'm not going to be homeless!"

 

I've tried to invest time in her, but I see no effort on her part. We see that she CAN control herself when she wants to (like after punishment or when she wants a priviledge). She actually told me a few weeks ago that she would be good for a couple of days if we would take her to a movie that weekend!

 

If she would give me some sign that she cares and wants to change, then I would give 200%

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I like the idea of showing her how life can be on the other side (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc. But I'm skeptical she will put 2 and 2 together. At least not yet.

 

Give her a chance. Empathy is a very basic human emotion. Even infants display it at a very young age when they cry if they hear another baby cry. If she is helping kids less fortunate than herself, and emotional trigger may be pulled inside and it might be just what she needs to evaluate her own behavior. It will also make her thankful for what she has.

 

BellaDonna

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didn't read most of the thred, but have you taken her to the doctor to make sure she isn't suffering from a medical condition, some food allergies and auto immune disorders can manifest as psychological difficulties. A complete physical couldn't be a bad idea, I mean she may be sick and not even know it.

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It sounds less like ADHD and more like Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), which is behavioral challenge and not a learning disability:

 

link removed

 

You had mentioned that she is not a bad student. Is her behavior good in her classes at school? How does she behave in public places?

 

 

BellaDonna

 

Wow, I just read the piece on ODD and then looked up other articles. That describes her perfectly! I read it to my wife and her jaw dropped! Thank YOU!

 

I'm now going to see if we can find a support group, books, etc. on the subject! Wow, we are truly NOT ALONE! Thanks to all that have provided input...you guys are awesome!

 

Now, I still don't know what the solution is, but you guys are all suggesting good stuff...and more importantly, giving us hope. I haven't gave up yet...even though we've had two blow-ups tonight already.

 

Btw, I am not new to this forum..just had to re-register. You guys helped me through a divorce a fews years ago...especially a wonderful lady named SisterLynch.

 

This is one of the most valuable sites on the internet. TY TY TY

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If it is indeed ODD, it would not be that uncommon. You often see a dual diagnosis of ADHD and ODD in some kids. More and more kids are being diagnosed with ODD in school. Of course when that kind of thing happens it can be for 2 reasons 1.) There really is "something" increasing the amount of ODD kids inthe world 2.) The diagnosis is being over-used.

 

Either way, if your daughter had ODD or any other kind of behavioral challenge, as others mentioned , you would want to look at her diet carefully. Certain foods may be triggers which worsen the condition. Here's a book that might be of interest: link removed

 

If she were to change her eating habits, it's important that she does not feel singled out and picked on at home. Everyone in the family should adopt the new eating habits, even your 10 year-old. If you're if you're cutting down on sugar, cut it down for everyone. You'll all be healthier in the end anyways....

 

It sounds like she also needs a way to blow some steam off. Try to encourage physcial activities like a family walk after dinner or sports, etc.

 

If she does have a behavioral challenge don't give up on her. Chalk up some of it to being a teenager, and the other part to factors that she can't control without the right help.

 

At work I counsel college students with disabilities. On Monday I met with a young man who was diagnosed with ODD in school. During his study period in high school someone suggested that he would benefit from helping the kids with severe disabilities in his school. So for 45 minutes a day he would go into one of the special education classrooms and serve in a teacher assistant role. It worked for him and he really shined there. Now he is going to college to become a Special Education Teacher and he is working part-time in a private school, helping younger kids with disabilities.

 

BellaDonna

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She only has no real friends, is lazy, has a smart mouth, is loud, a total slob, overweight, annoying, bossy, negative, whiney, lies constantly, selfish, rude, disrespectful...do you get the picture?

 

This really stuck out in my mind.......you think she doesn't sense you feel this way? I was that same girl....and my step-mother felt the same way about me. I never asked for her to come into my life.....I can feel your step-daughter's pain.....and it's not pretty.

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.......you think she doesn't sense you feel this way? I was that same girl....and my step-mother felt the same way about me. I never asked for her to come into my life.....I can feel your step-daughter's pain.....and it's not pretty.

 

Of course she senses i/we feel that way. As a parent, if your child is lazy, has a smart mouth, is loud, a total slob, overweight, annoying, bossy, negative, whiney, lies constantly, selfish, rude, and disrespectful....dont you have an obligation to bring these behaviors to the childs attention? Of course we try to counsel her 'gently', but it doesn't get through to her.

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Of course she senses i/we feel that way. As a parent, if your child is lazy, has a smart mouth, is loud, a total slob, overweight, annoying, bossy, negative, whiney, lies constantly, selfish, rude, and disrespectful....dont you have an obligation to bring these behaviors to the childs attention? Of course we try to counsel her 'gently', but it doesn't get through to her.

 

She is only a symptom of the overall problem.....she may be the squeeky wheel.....but the whole family needs counseling, by someone who is qualified....they will point out what you, as parents, are contributing to the problem...and you ARE contributing to it....there are free or sliding scale services out there....I feel sorry for her....especially the way you describe her.......is there ANY love there for that child? Or just constant criticism? I think she feels hated by you....well of course...you did say you couldn't stand her...same thing.

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I too feel very sorry for your step daughter. If she is overweight she got their one pound at a time and excluding health problems, she was not fed right or excersized as a child to get that way.

 

It sounds like on top of all this she probally has a low self esteem, can not blame her considering she would naturally feel unwanted and unloved.

 

I just hope that some day she can heal herself because as sad as it sounds it doesnt seem shes going to get that in your house.

 

NO disrespect intended, so sorry if its taken that way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there, sorry your step daughter is a handful...

 

I was the loud, annoying type when I was her age, i dont think as bad, but I was there..

 

I got involved with sports, basketball, volleyall, and got into karate as well...Mabye even dance would be a good idea.

 

Give her more after school activities, but also try and maintain her school work as well...

 

It ususally helps with the energy, by the time I got home from practice I was too tired toi do anything, so i would do my homework and watch tv..

 

Maybe even put her on a point system, like if she does something good, let her pick a program to watch on tv for an hour. or maybe a new toy, or something...things like that..It works with my niece...you dont always have to buy her something, but maybe if she acts right she gets a cookie, instead of veggies, but if you do that with the 13 year old make sure to do it with the 10 year old as well..

 

hope that helps

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  • 1 month later...

Its been several months now. I've tried to be patient. I've tried being calm and loving. Its not working. For every one good moment or accomplishment, my step daughter throws 50 bad ones at us. She lies constantly. She is a slob. She does nothing to help around the house. She is rude, loud and defiant. She annoys even her few friends. Yet she seems to think that she should have all the priviledges good kids enjoy.

Every day there is another problem. {sigh}

 

I can't stand to be around her.

 

This parenting thing isn't all it is cracked up to be.

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