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Any Input Would Be Greatly Appreciated!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
HI, I'm new here and looking for any input, support, unbiased opinion. I have a 5 year old son. 2 years ago I met a wonderful man who has a beautiful 5 year old daughter. He lived about 30 miles away so on the weekends and on my days off I would stay at his house. After about 6 months of dating I introduced him to my son. Everything was wonderful. The background with FSD's mother: she is absolutely horrible. Examples: she would never see her, say she was on her way to pick her up and arrive 1-6 hours late, she doesn't feed her, left her home alone forcing her to go to the neighbor's house for food and to sleep, has been caught shoplifting, leaves her alone in stores, would not take her to school when she kept her overnight, kidnapped her for 10 days and returned her with bronchitis and had not taken her to the doctor or given her medicine, lived in 8 different places in 4 years, got 5 different pets and consistently lies to her about them being in training school when really she's gotten rid of them. I could go on forever.
My son and I moved in with them about 6 months ago and I finally persuaded my bf to go for custody, we won and her mother is allowed to see her 4 hours a week and every other weekend. Because I had to relocate and left my job my bf suggested that I take some time off of work to be with the kids, of course, I graciously accepted. The last 6 months have been hell. FSD's behavior is absolutely unbearable. She lies CONSTANTLY. I can look right at her while she is doing something she shouldn't and she will lie and say she isnt' doing anything. She is constantly in trouble at school, refuses to do homework or even eat for me. Even if I give her cake or candy she will literally take an hour to eat it just to spite me. She will not play with my son only being rude to him. She screams at me, throws temper tantrums when I ask her to do the smallest things. She also has a problem with hygiene. When she would go to the bathroom she refused to wipe, after explaining why it was so important she finally began to, only to throw the toilet paper on the floor. After begging and pleading she not do that I began to find it hidden throughout the house.
My bf commutes and works long hours, so I am alone with both kids from breakfast until bedtime. When he comes home and I try to explain what is going on without bursting into tears he accuses me of hating FSD and says there is nothing he can do about it. I have tried, what I feel, to be everything in the book. I began with timeouts, taking away toys, going to bed early, no snacks. Didn't fase her in the slightest. I tried kindness, explaining, pleading, doesn't care. I got a sticker board 4 months ago to reward her for positive behavior, once it's full she gets a toy. Still, she doesn't even try. Her behavior is the same when her father is home and he ignores it. I expect a lot from my son and he is very well behaved, but recently it has taken a toll on him and he's trying to get away with things and has begun lying to me.
Leaving my support system 30 miles away I tried asking his family for advice, their suggestions are to let her do whatever she wants and that I'm too hard on her. My problem is I love her and want to see her become a well rounded person, I can only imagine how she will grow up if she's never taught there are consequences for negative behavior. I have begged my bf to get her counseling, but like everyone in the family he refuses to see there are terrible emotional issues going on with her. I feel like the whole problem is my fault. I love my bf and fsd so much, but don't want to live my whole life feeling isolated, unsupported, and completely responsible for everything that goes on. I can't be her mother and father. I must do what's best for my son and is that to subject him to her behavior and by being completely ignored by bf? Sorry, so long. I'm so depressed and feel so alone. Any help would be appreciated more than I could ever express!!!
post #2 of 17
Hugs to you momma. Sounds like your dsd had some really bad examples fom her BM. When I first married my DH, it was really bad similar to that with my dsd. I was not home alone with her all day though, and we only had her half the time. She would also do things to spite me and she would act like I abused her and tell lies about me and refuse to listen to anything I told her. SHe threw the biggets tantrums. I realized really quickly that if I was ever going to be around her, I would need to work on disciplining her. I never spanked her. I started with time outs, sometimes having to physically put her in a time out chair. I completely ignored her fits and I started putting her in time outs for absolutely everything. She would be in time outs until she couls tell me what she did wrong and apologize without mumbling. Sometimes she would be in time out for 20 minutes. I tolerated only good behavior. It may sound a little harsh, but she was out of control when she was with me. It took a few months, but things got so much better and now we are the best of friends. SHe was 5 when all of this was going on too. When my DH would come hom, I too would cry and tell him how hard it was and dsd would cry and tell him how awful I was and I know it was very hard on my DH. He was very supportive of me. He didn't want to hear all the details of what hapopened all day (he would accuse me of being childish and overreacting and tell me I would never do that with my own kids etc) but he did support me and my decisions with dsd. I know his support made all the difference. I hope this helps. It will get better, I promise!
post #3 of 17
I really dont have a lot of advice to offer you but I will give you a little. Tell your dh that if things do not change or if he does not step up and do something, then you are leaving and thats it. It is not your place to have to discipline her, that is where your dh is messing up. Here is a for you.

I hope things get better for you!
post #4 of 17
This kind of statement is not allowed at mothering.com
Could you please edit your post?
post #5 of 17
I disagree with hairstylist. If you are home all day with the child, then it is absolutely your place to discipline. In my opinion you should not spank simply becasue it is not your child and the bm could use it as abuse if she ever wanted.

These things take time. Divorce, remairraige, step siblings, all these are hard on kids. It is great that your sk has a stepmomma who cares so much about her.
post #6 of 17
Wow, so in the past 6 months basically there has been a custody change in the little girl's life, you have moved in, and have become her full-time caregiver? That's a lot to handle (for all of you).

I would have suggested maybe ramping up your involvement more slowly, since going from moving in to full-time caring in one fell swoop sounds bound to cause problems, especially given all the turmoil in her life before. That said, there you are and there she is, and you're going to have to do your best to make it work.

I agree some with you and some with your in-laws and partner. Certainly you don't want to end up with a dynamic where she walks all over you, and it is not practical when you are with her all day to suggest that you play no role at all in responding to unpleasant behavior. On the other hand, a power struggle is a bad idea. Right now, it sounds like all of her energy is focused on resisting you "getting" her to do what you want her to do. This is probably the only thing she feels she can control in her life right now!

I would try brainstorming how to disengage from your end of the power struggle - you can't have a power struggle with only one player. If there is anything you would otherwise discipline her for but can really actually live with, do so - she's doing it to get a rise out of you. If there's anything you can get her on the same team as you in, through problem-solving and strategizing with her help, do so. If you can just be silly and fun with her, do so.

I'd suggest checking out the Gentle Discipline forum for suggestions also, to break out of punishments, rewards, and resentment. Some of the moms there have great suggestions, and may also refer you to some great books.
post #7 of 17
Wow. What a sad little girl. You all need help. I guess I would start with basics. She probably needs counciling (change in custody, and remember that even abused kids love their parents, she will miss even a terrible mother). Your bf needs to step up. It is his daughter and she is SAD. You are his partner and you are sad and frustrated. What is he going to do about it? I think you can be the partner, and you can eventually be her caregiver, but right now she needs her dad and it doesn't sound like he is there. Sounds like three things need to be addressed: daughter's pain, father's lack of invovlement, and ground rules for house. Don't bother with the small stuff (don't CARE about cake, just let it go, do let it offend you). Set the big rules for politness and behavior and enforce them the way you feel comfortable.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of the input and advice!! I do try to ignore the small, insignificant things especially considering there are so many other things to concentrate on. I desperately want to be a family with them, but it hurts me so much that my bf won't participate at all. Because of the fact I had previously lived so far away I didn't know what kind of father he was except from what he told me or what I saw on the weekends. Now that I'm here, I have seen he gives her little to no attention at all. He recently had 3 days off and thought it was acceptable to have read her a book (when I made him) being all he did with her. I try to make up for the lack of attention from her mother and father, but who am I? All I am right now is some woman who moved in with her dad. I have tried to explain she needs affection, love, attention from him, but he just says he's too busy with work. Even on his days off everything is about what he wants to do because he says it's HIS day off. My view is so different on things. I was raised that, yes, you need time for yourself, but after your kid's needs are fulfilled. I feel guilty doing anything for myself and get exhausted trying to spend every waking moment trying to give her attention. I have talked to him endlessly and told him unless he steps in and becomes her father I don't know what I will do. Also, he never spends any time with my son, which obviously is not as pressing right now, but my son's father isn't really in his life and I know he's desperate for bf's attention. I feel as though if I leave this beautiful little girl will have noone, but I don't want to live my whole life with someone who choses to ignore that there's even a problem.
post #9 of 17
This poor kid has been through so much! She may be being mean when she does these things, but she must feel very unloveable.

She has a crappy mom. Your son has a great mom. That isn't fair. Even though you are trying to be her mom, she knows there is a difference. She feels the difference. She has a Dad, but he is gone so much. That doesn't feel fair. Her Dad did very little to protect her. She knows this. I doubt she is stupid. I am sure when things were bad, she cried for Daddy. But Daddy didn't come.

She is acting out is classic "damaged" ways. She has been hurt, and she missed out on the very important first bonding years. If you had been there when she was tiny, it would be different. None of this is her fault. None of this can just STOP when she decides to behave. She can't make it stop.

I agree she needs counseling. You all need counseling to help her.

Until then let as much go as you can. Find one thing that MUST change, and work on that. For me, it would be homework. But, you have to decide what is important.

Then just love the living snot out of her. (without taking away from your son) Make her feel so worthy of your love.

Go check out some dance studios with her. Find one that looks fun and encouraging, and let her take a months of classes to see how she likes it. If she enjoys it, that can be something that you two get to do together. You be the dance Mom who sits outside the window, watching her dance.

But, try to let as much go as possible while trying to help her become more responsible. Hygene tends to come along on it's own after a while. At least I hope so, because my daughter is NOT as "neat" as I would like.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have suggested and would love for all of us to be in counseling. Unfortunately, her father absolutely will not hear of it. If I could take her I would have long ago. I don't know what to do if he will not do anything to help her. It hurts me so much that he is not willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make sure his daughter is happy and loved. It breaks my heart when he ignores her and I have to leave the room to cry by myself.
post #11 of 17
I don't know the man of course, but I'm sure these actions change the way you see him and feel about him. Does that concern him?
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
I really love him and want to be with him, but it has been effecting my feelings for him. I feel resentful, angry that he won't listen or support me, and very hurt that he can't even see how much his daughter needs him. I feel that everything is resting on my shoulders. I have explained all of this to him, he has said he will change and do more things with his daughter and be more supportive and responsible, but I've been waiting for a long time for nothing to change. He says he loves me, but with love comes compromise, and understanding. Why wouldn't you want the best for your child at any cost? Pretending problems away will not solve them.
post #13 of 17
Well, it sounds like this is just the way he is. He refuses counseling. He gives lip service to changing but does nothing to change. He works long hours (which is not necessarily bad in itself) but on his off time he puts his needs ahead of anyone else's- most importantly ahead of his hurt and needy child! If this is the type of role model you want for your son, and this is the man you want to parent your future children, then stay. You may love him like no other but it doesn't sound like he loves anyone but himself.

I'd leave now. There is unfortunately nothing you can do to help the little girl aside from what you're doing. You also need to consider your son, though. Maybe you leaving will kick BF into gear- maybe not. But you can't carry the whole relationship as well as raise his dd by yourself.

post #14 of 17
post #15 of 17
her mother probably paid more attention to her than her father does.
post #16 of 17

I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I hope that it gets better and that BF realizes what needs to happen soon. It can be very tough being the step-mom.
post #17 of 17

Your DSD can change with time and patience, but what about your DP?

You're in a very challenging position; working with an abused child who knows little more than craziness and neglect, without much knowledge or experience of what to do in these circumstances, and with your DS and minimal support.

The women on the GD board are great so I would suggest you go there for specific discipline issues.

There may be a point where you need to cut your losses, if the relationship is not working out. That's very subjective. But as important as your DSD is, consider your DS. He only has you to protect him and look after his interests.
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