ok, here it goes.. I have been a step mom to my 15 year old daughter ever since she was 2 years old. Her mother gave up custody to her father when she was 4. Only because she had gotten pregnant and gave up the baby. I have treated her as my own forever and love her dearly, but lately it seems like she can't stand to be home with us. She would rather go with her friends, or her mothers. When she comes home from her mothers it's like we don't exist, unless she needs money for something or she wants or for us to run her somewhere. I know this is a typical teenager.. but her mother has never offered to help us in anyway. She pays 40.00 a week(not court ordered) and thinks this should go for her schooling, health expenses, clothing, and everthing else. We asked her back in Aug to help us with her tutuion for high school, or to help with school cloths. She said she would give us 100.00 in Sept. Never happened. We have never asked her before that for any extra money, we have always paid for everything. I try to explain to my daughter that money doesn't grow on trees and my husband seems to think whatever she wants we should break the bank to give it to her. She acts as though we owe her. When ever I mention to her that maybe her mother should help a little she gets all defensive, like her mother shouldn't have to. I am at my wits end. any suggestions? I have asked her before if she thinks living with her mom would be a good idea, I expained to her that she would have to leave her friends, whom she grew up with, and share a room with her step sister from her mothers husbands kid. She says she likes it here. We have never denied her to spend time with her mother. And I understand that she loves to spend time with her, but I don't understand how she can put this woman on a pedistal when I have always been there for her and love her. How did I become the bad mom?
That's a tough situation. Teenagers are hard to begin with, but adding in the two separate homes and there is potential for things to go wrong.
One thing I would suggest is not talking about her mother to your step-daughter. Even though you know her mother has pretty much done nothing for her, she is still her mother and it is a natural instinct for your step-daughter to defend her. One day (hopefullYy) she will understand and appreciate what you have done for her (if she hasn't already) but she is really still too young and immature to see things the way they are. You don't want to stoop to the level of bad mouthing the woman in her presence becasue that will cause resentment.
Have you discussed taking the mother to court to your husband? Any woman who would give up custody of her child isn't going to bend over backwards handing over money at your request. Perhaps it's time to have a court order put into place. I mean, your already paying tuition for high school which I'm sure isn't that cheap. College is coming up too and she should be obligated to help with that expense as well.
You are not the bad mom, so don't think that way. She obviously cares about you, even if she doesn't always show it. That is typical teenager. She will continue to put her "mother" on a pedistal until she is old enough to know better. What do they do when they are together? Chances are she lets her get away with a lot more than you and your husband do. That tends to be the case a lot. They have a guilt and try to win over affection by buying their love and trying to be more a friend than a parent.
Hang in there and keep being the real female role model in her life. Keep the lines of communication open and let her know you are there for her. That is what a teenager needs more than anything.
Thanks so much for the reply, I have talked to my husband about court orders, but he says he knows, and that he is just a nice guy. She really won't talk about what she does at her mothers, she did slip up one weekend and say that she stayed at her mom's friends house, who has a teenage boy. I told her that wasn't appropriate behavior, and she should watch herself. She got really mad at me. I don't tell her how bad her mother is, because I know she would never believe me and I don't feel it is my place to tell her all of the things her mother has done. Her mother has even went so far as to tell her that the only reason her dad has custody of her is because the courts told them who she was to live with. We never made it to court, she signed her over. I know she would be crushed to learn the real reason. I stay completely away from that mess. I just pray that someday she will see the whole story for what it is. Thanks again
I definately feel for you. My ex-husband is no longer involved with my 5 year old daughter, but new husband and I endured one awful year before that. She was nearly 4 when the overnight visits started and she would tell me how daddy would call my husband a monster. He told her that she would live with only him when she was old enough to know better. He would bring girlfriend after girlfriend around her who would treat her like some make over doll than a child. She came home after one visit with so much perfume on it triggered my allergies.
Even though my daughter hasn't seen him in over a year she still thinks he is this wonderful man. She has a special place she keeps the things he gave her (to buy her love). She has a scrapbook of pictures of him. She talks about the day when she can sleepover again. We got his rights terminated and just don't know when and how to explain all of this to her. She is still too young.
I know I am not in the same situation as you, but I can totally empathize (sp). I hope that one day she will see it for what it is. You should feel very proud that you are a positive influence in her life and that what you do will turn her into a decent woman.
My father left when I was 2 months old and when I was 19 I called him (idiot me). He was great. He told me that he felt really guilty for leaving me and not visiting me. We had alot of fun together. No-one could say a bad word against him, not my mum, not the people who had been there all my life helping raise me, feed me, clothe me etc. I staunchly defended him - he was my dad and I was proud of him and he was the greatest.
Unfortunately it didn't take long for his true colours to shine through. Only as an adult (I know 19 is adult, but its young adult) have I been able to assess the situation for what it is - no more rose coloured glasses, no more being bought - just the plain old truth. I can't explain the pain I went through during this process, but I got through it and now have time for only the people who have been good to me throughout my life, and he is not one of them.
Unless your stepdaughter is very unintelligent I believe that one day she will wake up like I did. As an adult she will be able to see things more objectively and pay tribute and respect to those who deserve it. But I don't think it will happen in the teenage years. I hope this gives you some hope.