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how to help step daughter

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Old 03-27-2011, 04:26 PM   #1
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darkangelkitten HB User
how to help step daughter

Hello, I am a married stepmom of a very sweet and honest (especially for a teenager) 14 year old girl. I married her father 4 years ago, and knew then that her mother had emotional issues, but not how severe until my husband and I moved back to the area my stepdaughter lives in. Her mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder long before she got pregnant and has been unmedicated since before her daughter was born. She has convinsed herself and others that she was simply angry. She lived with my former mother in law at one point in time and told her that she was extremely promiscous at age 16. Her marriage to her recent ex (not my husband) ended because she wouldn't stop accusing him of cheating.

She is extremely religious and uses it as an outlet. Now my stepdaughter is coming into her own, wanting to express herself which she has done through writing since her mother bans all physical forms of self expression (all rock music is evil, graphic clothes are evil, fantasy books are evil, even limiting the color clothes she can wear, etc) and having a hard time especially when her mother changes her mind about EVERYTHING 2 times a day, no exaggeration. We bought my stepdaughter mary jane shoes with an anarchy symbol on the sole(okay it's anarchy I get it, but I don't get this, they were evil, but she made my stepdaughter wear shoes that were too small and gave her blisters because she couldn't AFFORD to get ones that fit. Then she changes her mind says they're ok to wear, then changes her mind again and says they're evil. She also spends most of her income on expensive gifts for people in her family to make her self look good and only allows my stepdaughter to wear hand me downs from her church.

So many mixed signals from her mother confuse, sadden and anger her. It has so severely affected her self esteem her grades dropped and she wrote about death and suicide for two years before we got her help from a local counselor. She hasn't asked us about why her mother does these things, not specifically anyway. She asked me why her mother was so mean to her (never acknowledging her accomplishments, mistrusting her 24/7, telling her she's a bad kid, etc) and I told her that her mother loves her but has difficulty showing it. Her mother's outlook is a controling sort of reality: If it doens't fit into her plans it doesn't exist, if she is forced to acknowlege it, it must be wrong. It's not only made things difficult for my stepdaughter but my husband and I as well, in being parents.

I have done everything I can to be a confidant to my stepdaughter, we are very close, but listening only goes so far. Her mother won't allow me to be a parent to my stepdaughter if it's within her power (she doesn't even want me to talk about her EVER, to anyone, I only talk about the positive things she does like good grades) and every little thing is an extreme fight with her in regards to parenting between her and my husband. I can't help but think that if she were on medication things would be different. At the very least easier for my stepdaughter to live with her mother.

What else can I do? Thank you.

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Old 03-28-2011, 06:14 AM   #2
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Re: how to help step daughter

I know you mean well, but I think that doing anything further to help your stepdaughter is up to your husband.

Old 03-29-2011, 03:00 AM   #3
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Re: how to help step daughter

Your stepdaughter is 14 - in most places she would be allowed to choose to live with either parent. This may cause more problems than it solves, but there are legal avenues you can use to help your family. Get some legal advice and go from there. Best luck, Sera

Old 03-29-2011, 06:55 AM   #4
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Re: how to help step daughter

You already are doing the best you can do. Unfortunately you can't change her mother, the only thing you can do is provide a stable loving home for your step-daughter and help her grow up to be a great person.

When the time comes, your step-daughter will thank you for being there for her.

I have a very similar situation to yours, my step-daughter's mother is very emotionally unstable and the only thing we can do to support her is provide a loving and caring home.

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:32 PM   #5
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darkangelkitten HB User
Re: how to help step daughter

very recently he was finally able to get joint custody of her after many hours of mediation, before it was only visitation, his odds if we'd gone to court weren't good because he'd been in the military for 5 years and while visiting her, not a big part of her life.

Old 03-29-2011, 01:36 PM   #6
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darkangelkitten HB User
Re: how to help step daughter

the problem is that (while I do understand that everything, and I mean everything is an all out fight that lasts for hours with her mother) he is reluctant to even disagree unless it is something important to my stepdaughter's future. Even things that are important to my stepdaughter he is reluctant to fight her on because she will throw a fit (like a 3 year old screaming kicking stomping etc). I also wish to add he is disabled and lives a very physically painful existence 24/7.

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