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  1. #1
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    Default Need advice ! Please help !

    Hi everyone I hope I'm posting this in the correct section

    I'm at the end of my rope with my 14 year old step - daughter - up until a couple of months ago, we had a fantastic relationship that everyone even commented on (her mother isn't in her life) I thought she felt she could open up to me about anything & know I'd be there for her, I talked to her about the birds & the bees, making the right decisions, being honest, respecting herself etc, we were like best friends as well as mother & daughter etc - you get the picture ... She has an iPhone, TV in her room, pretty much everything she wants & because we put trust in her she was allowed to go shopping & to the movies with her friends etc, she did chores around the house to earn pocket money

    A couple of months ago, out of the blue she tells us that she wants to live with her grandmother because she's not happy at home ?? She also told her grandmother that nothing I have ever done for her means anything to her ....
    We tried to talk to her about what was going on but she told us what we wanted to hear & wouldn't open up - as you can imagine, I was gutted & felt used (I should probably mention that my husband - her father is very supportive of us both & is trying his best to help us sort it out - we agree on discipline methods etc so that's not an issue) I told her how I felt & how hurt I was & life pretty much went back to normal after that (she stayed living with us of course) we put it down to a teenage tantrum & silly me, kept doing everything for her although I was still very hurt & bitter

    We found out recently that my SD's friend was drinking with some boys & her drink was spiked & she was assaulted - we thought that she (SD) understood the dangers of underage drinking, & spending time with the wrong crowd & we trusted her & so we let her stay at her friends & they were 'going to the movies' so I dropped them off & allowed her to walk back to her friends place after the movie as she was with a group of friends & it was a 5 min walk & it wasn't going to be dark - we thought her group of friends were responsible, sensible kids

    She didn't walk to her friends after the movie, she payed some older boys to buy her alcohol & her & her friends went drinking in the park, she drank 8 cans & passed out & woke up at her friends place ... We know all this because she bragged to her sister who she thought wouldn't say anything & she also admitted it after being confronted .....

    We are in utter shock as we never expected this from her, especially after what happened to her friend ... Where did we go wrong ? Did we give her too much freedom ? Do we really have no clue how to parent teenagers ? I went berserk & told her I've wiped my hands of her .. Did I do the wrong thing ? I was just so angry & hurt - We are so worried something happened to her after she passed out ... I know teenagers do dumb things but how could she be so stupid ?

    She has had everything taken off her & her trust with us is now 0 - At the moment the thing that hurts the most is that I have to live with her, I know it's probably wrong to feel this way because if it was my own kids, I'd feel different but I guess blood is thicker than water ..

    I'd love to get back the relationship we had but have no idea how ..

    Thankyou if your still reading & I apologise for the novel & I hope it makes sense - just so confused at the moment

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    I don't have experience with step children or teenagers but still recall exactly what I got up to as a teenager. I rebelled and did exactly what your SD is doing. I think I had to much freedom and my mother really trusted me so I got up to heaps. Taking all her stuff off her sounds like the right thing to do, not letting her go to friends/movies and when you do I'd drop her off and pick her up.
    As much as you are hurt you still need to stand by her and get her to win your trust back. Puberty and being a teenager can be hard work just as much as parenting is. Hope it all works out!

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    I just want to offer my sounds horrible. I NEVER want to go through this with my children so can only imagine how difficult it must be with step children.

    I would also have confiscated everything and she would lose all privileges- indefinitely. Until she could prove to me that she is trustworthy.

    She is a teenager and teenagers do this sort of stuff I don't think it is a reflection of your parenting.

    Unfortunately because of her age you may not regain your previous relationship until she is older. I remember telling my mum lies and doing things that make me cringe when I think about them. My mum and I had a rocky relationship for a couple of years. I think it's an age thing. If you remain there for her and maintain your support things will get better one day.

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    I have no advice, or experience, and I can tell how upset you are. I just wanted to add something to think about. She is doing what most teenagers do - rebelling against boundaries, experimenting and beginning to make choices for herself. If you tell her that you wash your hands of her, then she may not come to you if she is in serious trouble.

    I understand why you said it, but I think it might be worth telling her that while you don't approve of her choice, and she has broken your trust, that you would always help her if she got herself into trouble. You know, like if she only had the option of driving home with a drunk teenager in the middle of the night then she could always call you or her father to come and get her.

    That doesn't mean I don't think there should be consequences to her behaviour. I just remember getting myself into some very hairy situations as a teen and not calling my mum because I was so scared of her reaction.

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    My own DD is going through a similar stage. We have connected with our local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and had some counselling together which seems to have helped a lot.

    Your local public hospital or GP should be able to give you details about services in your area.

    It might also be worth considering how she might be having some feelings about her bio mum right now. I grew without mine (she was/is a deadbeat mum) and it certainly had an effect on my teenaged behaviour and relationships with other parental figures.

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    Thanks everyone for your responses & support it means a lot

    I did lots of horrible things when I was a teen also & I know that her behaviour is probably normal teen behaviour but I guess as a step mum it's different to how I would react if it was my own daughter iykwim ?? It just feels like I've been here for her all these years & done my best to fill the gap her mother left & then she goes & does this ? Maybe I'm taking it as a personal betrayal when I shouldn't be ?

    I just wish there was a step parent to teen instruction manual lol
    Someone suggested counselling & I think that might be a good start - I said a lot of things out of anger & frustration & I feel bad now - I think I'll sit down & try & talk to her now that things have calmed down a bit

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    I would start by saying sorry and explain feeling frustrated etc. Be a good example in open communication.

    No matter how good a step mum you have been (are) a rejection from her biological parent can have far reaching effects. I know this as an adopted child and also a step mum. She needs some counselling on her own as well some sort of counselling for all of you to facilitate open communication.

    Work out "house" or family rules and negotiate consequences with her, so that she knows what your expectations are and what happens when she breaks these rules (don't call them rules call them unacceptable behaviours or something).

    Knowing that teen drinking is a bad idea is one thing. She is a teenager with a teenagers brain.
    Last edited by PomPoms; 10-06-2013 at 00:26.

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  12. #8
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    Just another thought about the grandmother thing... I see by your avatar that you have a baby. Is there a chance she was either testing you to see if you'd fight for her/tell her she's as good as a daughter to you, or pre-emptively rejecting you before you can reject her?

    These behaviours seem a little like attention seeking behaviours to me. Has she been used to spending more time with you or something?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsharvey View Post
    Just another thought about the grandmother thing... I see by your avatar that you have a baby. Is there a chance she was either testing you to see if you'd fight for her/tell her she's as good as a daughter to you, or pre-emptively rejecting you before you can reject her?

    These behaviours seem a little like attention seeking behaviours to me. Has she been used to spending more time with you or something?
    I have told her in the past that she is like a daughter to me & having my baby didn't really change the level of attention she was getting - she is wonderful with her little sister but she has told me in the past that she wishes it was just her & her dad again (he had custody of her when he was single before we met) but she has also said to her father that if we argue, she gets scared I'm going to leave her as well

    It's difficult to know how she's really feeling as she will say things to manipulate & get her own way - she has admitted that the reason she said she wanted to live with her grandmother is so she can be closer to this particular group of friends (they live a street away from her grandmother & we are 20 mins out of town) but at the time she was telling everyone that she was unhappy at home & that was the reason

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    Quote Originally Posted by loumia View Post
    I have told her in the past that she is like a daughter to me & having my baby didn't really change the level of attention she was getting - she is wonderful with her little sister but she has told me in the past that she wishes it was just her & her dad again (he had custody of her when he was single before we met) but she has also said to her father that if we argue, she gets scared I'm going to leave her as well

    It's difficult to know how she's really feeling as she will say things to manipulate & get her own way - she has admitted that the reason she said she wanted to live with her grandmother is so she can be closer to this particular group of friends (they live a street away from her grandmother & we are 20 mins out of town) but at the time she was telling everyone that she was unhappy at home & that was the reason
    This could be why. Youve told her shes like a daughter to you but the first time she really ****s up hard, you wash your hands of her. And admit it would probably be different if its your own blood.

    Not meaning to sound like im having a go at you(Im tired so everything comes out that way, sorry). But like everything, at some point words will mean jack and you need to show it. And you didnt. Shes a teenager in a blended family situation, and suddenly her dad and step mum have a baby. She still needs to know where she fits in and most teenagers will do that by acting out and rebelling. I dont know if its a concious thing or not, but as having been the teenager who did act out I just needed reassurance that no matter how much I ****ed up, the people I loved would still love and be there for me no matter what. Even if I did get my butt kicked for it.

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