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  • need advise on teen daughter behavior

    4 posts, 4 voices, 962 views, started Jan 29, 2009

    Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009


    • inactive

      Hello ladies,
      I have a 14-year-old step daughter that i am greatly concerned about.  She has seemed to have totally disengaged from our family and i dont know if this is normal for the age or something we should be concerned about.

      She does not live with us.  She lives with her mother about 15 minutes away.  However, other than her every other weekend visits, we hardly hear from her (maybe once a month).  When she is here, she isolates herself away from us choosing to close herself in her room, on the computer or on the phone.  We ask her to join in on family activities, and we get a 'no thanks', she comes out only for meals and that's it.

      My husband has tried to talk to her and she says nothing is wrong.  She also does talk to her mother at least 5–6 times a day when she is here.   She is just acting really weird and distant and it seems to be directed at my husband and myself.  She is totally close to my twin daughters and is a bugger to her brother (typical).

      We just don't know what to do or what we did to get this reaction from her.  Is anyone else going through anything like this or can anyone offer some advise?

      p.s. my hubby also tried talking to bio-mom about this and she took offense like he was calling her a bad mom or something and they got in an argument, so there is no hope for help from that direction either.



        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Farmmom wrote Feb 1, 2009
        • Well, that’s definitely a difficult age even in the best of circumstances.  I know when I was that age, I didn’t always want to join in with my bio-dad and step-mother either, so I would say that some of it is typical behavior.  On the other hand, she’s calling her mom 5-6 times a day while she’s with you.  That’s a little troubling.  Suggesting family counselling might seem like a drastic step, but maybe she’d be more willing to open up if there were a neutral third party involved.

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Anne Lyken-Garner wrote Jun 5, 2009
        • I work with a 15 year old girl who’s in your step daughter’s situation. She lives with her mum and visits her dad and his wife (and child) every other weekend.

          She doesn’t talk to her parents about the way she feels but felt free to tell me exactly what her opinion of the situation is.

          I will say this, but it’s not what I believe is happening in your (or her) home. I’m sure that you want this child to be happy and part of your family, and that you‘re a good, responsible, loving adult. What I’m about to say is just in order to give you an idea of what your step-daughter may or may not be feeling. I think that if you understand her feelings (wrong as they might be) you may be able to start from there.

          Okay, ‘Gina’ (not her real name) said that her dad had left her mother and her and went to start his new perfect family. She said that she felt that she was not good enough to be a child of his, because if she was he wouldn’t have left her to start over and have new ones (kids).

          She felt jealous of the other children because they had her daddy and lived in a house with him (had him all the time) when she wasn’t allowed that privilege. The family was now perfect and complete - mother, father and children, leaving her an outsider, someone who they didn’t want there to mess up their perfect lives. They only had her visit because they had to. She was not going to give them the pleasure to show them that she needed them because they obviously did not need her. (This was her opinion. I seriously doubt it was the reality)

          Do you see where I’m coming from? She’s a teenager now and has issues with the first man in her life who left her for another ‘woman.’ She will grow out of this state of mind, but it’s a situation that may take years for your husband to neutralise, especially since she only visits every other week.  

          My suggestion is for you to spend individual time with her -teach her to do something special, cook something, make something, share a secret. Allow her to get close to you so that the ‘other woman’ becomes her confidant, not her opposite. If possible, invite her to go on holidays with the family. You invite her personally. Give her responsibilities with the kids and show her that you trust her as their responsible, equal big sister. She will appreciate this and boast about it to her friends. This will give her confidence and make her feel an equal part of the adults in the family.  

          She will never have a daughter/mother relationship with you. She’s very close to her mother and does not spend enough time with you. You have to pick another role for her to be. Maybe a sister or friend. She will always have issues with her dad. This will get better depending on what he does with her in the future. However, you can work on your relationship separately. If she doesn’t feel threatened by you, she’ll look forward to coming over to see her little siblings and you - her friend. Getting her to participate will no longer be something you do as a stranger to a guest. This will become more natural and voluntary on her part.

          All in all, she’s a good girl. ‘Gina’ swears at her step mother and throws her things around. She gets expelled from school and involved with drugs and boys.

          Hope it all works out.


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