I am new to mothering.com and am pretty much desperate for advice
We are a large blended family. He brought 4 kids into the marriage and I brought 1 plus the 3 year old we have together. We have all been together as a family for 3 years now. The beginning was quiet rocky. We had to establish our roles as parents and determine a mix of our parenting styles.
I am having a hard time handling pre-teen issues and manipulative behavior. My 12 yr old step daughter has been manipulating her dad, my husband. He hasn't always been there for her and with my encouragement he is trying harder to make it right and be a good father. She is kind hearted and uses it to her advantage. She use to manipulate me until I put a stop to it and had her write a formatted paper about manipulation. I am basically at a place to where I do not want to come home. I have been feeling jealous of my 12 yr old step daughter. It breaks my heart because I hardly understand it. I am the only mother that she has and I want to be a mother for her. She did not have any boundaries when I first met her. She lived with her grandpa+grandma+Uncle. Grandpa did not discipline her, at all. She kicked her grandma in the chest after a major heart surgery, numerous times. Grandpa did nothing. Grandpa made her the woman of the house. She was above grandma+uncle on every decision and rules of the house. Grandma's belongings were her's when and if she wanted it, no matter if grandma needed it. She was smoking at the age of 7-8! NO PUNISHMENT FOR SMOKING?!? Now that she is 12 she is developing into a young lady and wants to wear short shorts and see through lace tops and shop at the stores that only carry sizes that are too big for her. We have not had much money for un-necessary items. Grandpa bought her a pair of $300.00 cowgirl boots and an htc evo for her birthday($100.00 a month for the phone). I have been and still am trying to teach my kids how to earn certain things that they want. Grandpa undermines me constantly, I think it sends the wrong message, myself. She is at an old enough age to understand that we are not rich and cannot afford lavish material items at this time. I find it hard to mother her when grandpa is around, too. It is like he is in charge and I am a stranger. She acts completely different when he is around, too. Well we all do, really. :| Grandpa spent $1000.00 dollars on her school clothes but bought nothing else for the the other grandkids. :| I have to somehow explain to the other kids why he does this, they usually find a way to blame me. Also, My husband has been involving her in conversations that children shouldn't be apart of. Conversations about our relationship, personal things. I do not like it and feel jealous when he does this.
Also, I have bent over backwards for my step children. I do not want anything in return except a little appreciation and I do not get it. In the beginning I focused on blending all of us together and mothering three motherless children. At the time it felt necessary to help them and be that mother they always wanted. My daughter who was 5 at the time told me that she felt left out. She was not use to sharing me. She has had the hardest time adjusting out of the bunch. Although the other kids were use to living with grandparents or being moved around. Now that I see how much these kids treat me like I am the enemy, I am starting to feel a resentment. I have been feeling like I just need to focus on my bio-daughter and let everything else fall together. IDK! It has been hard to keep my cool. I have been pretty upset a lot this past summer and I know that I haven't been helping matters by letting this stress get to me. I am 25 years old and I am responsible for my two kids plus his four, I basically run the house. Our home is not functioning the way I dream't it would 3 years ago. HELP!!
As you can see I just do not know what to do to fix this situation. I feel like I am failing my children because this issue with 12 yr old seems to be on my mind a lot. Any advice or experience will be appreciated.