I'm new to this forum, I've joined because I need some advice. I'm quite familiar with step-families, becoming a step-daughter when my dad got re-married almost 20 years ago, and a step-mother for about 10years. DH has a daughter from a previous marriage, and we have 2 daughters together. Beginning times were rough in both situations, more so, when I became the step-parent. I was young, had no children of my own, and didn't really understand the dynamics in a parent-child relationship from the 'parent' side. We have adapted quite well however, at least as far as I'm concerned.
What I need advice on is teenage attitude *insert groan here*. My step-mom warned me the teenage years would be tough (she met me when I was 12), but I'm finding I'm not sure how to deal with it. My SD is 14. The custody arrangement is quite casual. DH and BM have a friendly relationship which made this transition easier on all of us. So SD comes for the weekend basically whenever she wants (which has been fine until now). DH and I both work shift work which includes weekends.
SD was here this past weekend, and I ended up in tears after taking her home last night. I'm at my wits end. I'm tired of the attitude. A few years ago, SD and I ended up in a blowout during which I told her is she wanted to talk to her parents the way she did, it was between them, but she was NOT going to talk to me like that. Things were better until recently. It's nothing specific, just the little snide remarks. She had a friend here this weekend, which threw her show-off-ness into overdrive, DH was working. One night I was telling them a funny story about something she said to me when we had first met and she piped up and said 'that's because I hated you', in her teenage tone. I'm not sure if I'm being overly sensitive or if the fact that I found this disrespectful is legit. I get it. Don't think I don't. I was a step-child too. I didn't like my step-mom at first, who really does, but I would never look her in the eye and say 'I hated you'. However, I couldn't get into it with her, because in the heat of the moment, calling her on it infront of her friend is disrespectful. This is just one example. There have been several remarks like that against me over the last little while, and she's pushing me to a point where it's getting hard to like her. It seems they are always remarks that would be made towards someone that you didn't like. Unless I'm completely oblivious, I don't think she dislikes me.
I told DH last night I do not want her here anymore on weekends while he is working. This is going to really mess things up as sometimes he works as many as 5 weekends in a row before he has some off. It doesn't seem fair, but I don't know what else to do. DH asked me what I wanted to do. Here's where I need the advice. I know we need to talk about this. I know she needs to know that her disrespect is hurting our relationship, and me. But I'm not sure how to get it across. not sure what to say. DH suggested I write her a letter, but I find sometimes things are lost in translation, and she needs to opportunity to respond to what I say, or to ask for clarification, she's only 14. He also suggested he talk to her alone. While this sounds like a better option, I'm afraid he won't be able to articulate what the actual problem is...the problem isn't that she didn't like me when she was little, the problem wouldn't even be if she disliked me right now, she is entitled to her own feelings...the problem is that there are ways to deal with it without being disrespectful and hurtful. The other problem is she's severely stubborn. If she sees things one way, there is no getting her to see things from another side. We argued for 5 minutes this weekend because I asked her to make sure she cleans up after herself, she said she always does, I told her she needs to make sure she cleans her glasses up after she's finished with them, she insisted she does, insisted I was wrong, she always cleans up after herself, I got home after dropping her off, and found 5 dirty glasses scattered throughout the house from her and her friend. This whole situation is so frustrating.
I would appreciate any advice. I don't know what to do. This is my forever family and I need to make it work, but it's not going to work if we don't all feel valued.