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Step-daughter lying and abusing DC, what should I do? - Page 2

post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
My husband got home late last night and after an awkward hour this morning, things are back to normal...as in unresolved. I did have the boys tell him how she hurts them and specific lies and being coerced to lie for her. The lies and the hurting people are my main issues. She has a lot of difficult behavior but they're managable and she really is a sweetie in between. DH and I will have a one-on-one talk tonight and discuss what we will do. I know most of DH's guilt trip about helping her is meant for me to feel important in this little girl's life and not just her dad's wife and in a way to help us bond. Instead it's obviously causing me stress from the pressure.

He is self-employed and in the final stages of starting a project that will allow him to work from home full-time so hopefully going it alone is only for a few months longer. He does make an effort to have one-on-one time with her, but for her personality it is never enough. He even spent a three-day weekend just with her out of town last month and a week later it was whoa-is-me again.

I spend hours everyday searching fun history sites and animals online with her and reading science books to her and brushing her hair and talking and still it is never enough and she often complains that no one pays attention to her.

I've tried to get her into journaling but she refuses. I think it would be great for her in working through feelings and expressing her creative mind. I've been looking for another outlet and she has been doing a lot of crafts lately. In fact, this week we've spent three days, hours per day buying Christmas craft supplies, making things, and decorating the house just her and I. This is very difficult to accomplish with 5 other children needing attention, but I make special time for her every day and we enjoy it. DH (when home) and I also tuck her (and the others) in every night and give hugs, kisses, and "I love yous."

Thanks for all the encouragement and ideas!
post #22 of 37
it sounds almost like you have adopted an older child rather than her being a stepchild. when a child has been tossed around like she has i really think she needs professional counceling with a child development expert. when children are adopted at an older age, lik 9 years old, there can be major issues of attachment, abandonment, ect. I personally wouldnt feel comfortable simply adopting a 9 year old and hoping my love and fun one on one attention would do the trick. Is your husband opposed to professional help from a psychologist or social worker? or at least a learning assesment from the public schools?
post #23 of 37
The biggest to you Jessi.

If therapy isnt an option for you due to $, what about putting her in the public school system - at least there you can tap into their resources ie: psychiatrist; social worker; etc.

In my home, its my ds thats violent and lies and coerces my other dc (bio and step) into lying after he hurts them. (not too mention all the time lost to the other kids as well). However, I dont think I'll be much help other than a shoulder - my ds now lives with my mother.

Please take care of yourself,
s
post #24 of 37
There's this awful dynamic that happens in many, many stepfamilies; it's certainly happened in mine. Bio-parent looks to step-parent, sees (or imagines) something amiss, and cries foul! guilty! you don't love my child! I have two responses to that. First, being "fair" (almost always a big deal in step-families, as in, how come you're willing to homeschool your kids but not mine?) is not about everybody getting the same thing; "fair" is about everybody getting their needs met as fully as possible. (BTW, "everybody" includes not just the kids, but the parents, too.)

Second, our primary job as parents is not to make sure that our children are happy, but to make sure that our children have the skills they need to make themselves happy. Guilty bio-parents have a harder-than-usual time with this concept. I imagine your DP has an even harder time than that. My DP was horribly guilty about SS when I met him, and it played havoc on our family. He felt terrible that he and SS's mom had divorced when SS was just a baby; actually, he felt sorry for SS and tried to compensate by keeping him happy 100% of the time. SS had zero tolerance for frustration, and his back teeth were all but rotted out of his head from this. I imagine your DP is feeling that there's lots about his DD's life to make up for. Trouble is, that's not possible. Even if she had the perfect family experience from this day forward, the first 9 years of her life will still have been what they were.

The fact that your DP threatened to move out of the house, tearing his family apart, causing MORE disruption in his DD's life, tells me that he's not approaching this from a place that even sort of resembles rational; he's reacting, strongly, to something internal. My guess is that something is profound, heart-rending guilt. You're more rational, because though this was a shocking for you (and egad do I understand; my ex-husband and I got a shocking phone call 14 years ago next month), there's no baggage. KWIM? You have no reason to believe you should have done something different.

I think you need professional help, and sooner rather than later. I've known kids like that, who are absolutely insatiable for attention. You're right; there is no amount of attention that will satisfy her. She needs help in healing her deep, deep wounds. I think your DD needs a therapist of her own, I think you and your DP need a therapist to work with the two of you (preferably with someone who has experience with older-child adoption since, as a PP said, that's more like this situation), and I think your DD needs to go to school. Not that I have any opinions or anything.

OK, but really, I have a SN kid and a stepfamily situation and each of those things is pretty hard. Put them together, and it can be a powder keg. I think you're in real danger of a major burnout. When your DP is working at home, he'll still have to be working, so I don't see that as a big relief coming your way. Also, public schools have resources. You could probably get her an IEP and an IBP, which will bring access to resource rooms, social workers, behavioral management specialists, and special ed teachers. In all likelihood, she'll get MORE attention, not less, because the student/teacher ratio in most special ed or behavioral management classrooms is lower than the one in your house right now. And how much easier would it be for you and your other kids to handle her interruptions if you all had a few hours a day when you didn't have to deal with it?

I wonder, how could you approach your DP and let him know that this is a crisis in the making and let him know that there needs to be some action, w/o tripping his internal panic buttons?

And people are making noises like they'd like dinner to hit the table soon. Good luck, and keep us updated. I'd like to hear how things go!
post #25 of 37
Thread Starter 
It is more like adopting an older child than having a blended family. I know DH does have bio-dad guilt, but I've been there from the beginning of knowing about her and he really did try. Meth addicts don't leave much of a trail to follow.

DH came up with the idea of putting DSD into counseling on his own last night. Not that I wouldn't have approached the topic myself, it's just so much better that he figured this out himself.

I will look into what the local school can offer her but we're rural and I doubt they have anything worth sending her there for. We really believe in the benefits of homeschooling and I'd hate to send her just for the break if I can get her counseling any other way. The problem is that our kids are on a low-cost insurance and they need birth certificates to enroll and we just finally found out what state she was born in, but not what county to apply for her birth certificate in. She was basically just handed to DH, the end.:
post #26 of 37
she needs therapy now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She needs constant supervision . She needs to be your shawdow all day every day intill she has had therapy if she cannot be your shawdow then get her in school and tested and on a IEP.
post #27 of 37
Can you contact your local CPS and enllist there help in getting her paperwork and finding a sliding fee therapist?
post #28 of 37
First of all never leave her in a room with the kids unless you or another adult are there.

Look into community resources for counselling.

I might even think about putting her in school, are there good charter, public, or private schools in your area? Schools have guidance counselors that might be able to help too.

It sounds like she has a lot of anger and needs a way of working through it. Your dh feels protective of her, probably because he wasn't there for her in the past. He still needs to protect all of his children.
post #29 of 37
I would definitely put her in school. I was in a similar but much less severe situation with my children, where two were being outright abusive of each other. And of course we were all together 24/7.

You have to realize that this kind of constant togetherness is not necessarily healthy. Especially if it is draining you and making you bitter and exhausted, and exposing your other children to violence and gaslighting (screwing with their heads about what is true and what isn't). There is NOTHING wrong with taking advantage of traditional school choices. So she'll be at the bottom of her class-- so what?-- schools are prepared to deal with that sort of thing. In fact the public school my DD was at had at least a 25% student population that didn't even speak english! Not every student in school is an amazing student and schools are built to deal with those kids-- one might even argue at the expense of the better ones. She will be able to get an IEP if she is ADHD, and might qualify for a number of services once she's evaluated through the school.

Asking for help is nothing to feel guilty about. Refusing to ask for help because you think you can be a savior, is something to feel guilty about. Some problems need to be outsourced, and there is nothing wrong with that fact!

Putting my girls in school was the best choice I've made in a long time. I still continue to homeschool one of my children.
post #30 of 37
you mention working on changing her and fixing her. i wonder if she senses that energy and is fighting it?

play therapy. attachment therapy. asap.

that's a whole lot of responsibility every day.

eta: cross posted
post #31 of 37
Physical abuse is NOT a symptom of ADHD!!!!!!!!!
It's a symptom of ABUSE...
She needs counseling, maybe even inpatient care! Any time a child is a risk to her self or others they need serious help. Please seek help from a doctor or the department of mental health in your state or... DSS has a voluntary department that does NOT take custody they just help. I used them when my son set a fire and was messing with electricity. Please, for more info email me or go right into your local social services office.
post #32 of 37
Although school resources are great, they have limitations. There moto is "We have to provide for a child what the child needs to maintain education, no more than that." So only if it effects her at school and interferes with school work or peers will they help. They're usually too worried about the budget. Social services is free and they are willing to spend as much money as they have to to make the children safe. There new moto is "Do everything we can to keep this child in the home AND keep everyone safe."
post #33 of 37
Thread Starter 
DSD is getting a bit better. Now if she hurts them she will immediately apologize and then tell me the truth. We just have to work past the impulsive hurting in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by meowee View Post
You have to realize that this kind of constant togetherness is not necessarily healthy. Especially if it is draining you and making you bitter and exhausted, and exposing your other children to violence and gaslighting (screwing with their heads about what is true and what isn't).
Oh gaslighting! I swear, I can handle most obstacles in life besides that one! My husband is a recovering alcoholic and he would constantly gaslight me about drinking or anything related to it. I get very angry when the kids do it to me or their siblings. Unfortunately, my biological children started to learn this from my DSD (thankfully they never were a part of their dad doing it). I have had many, many heart-to-hearts with all of them about this and typical lying. Now if I say something about trust they will usually stop and come clean!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oh the Irony View Post
you mention working on changing her and fixing her. i wonder if she senses that energy and is fighting it?

play therapy. attachment therapy. asap.
What is involved in play therapy and attachment therapy?

We are very open about changing bad habits to her and she often apologizes for whatever behavior she does she knows she is supposed to learn not to do. We are constantly reminding her it is not her, somethings have to be learned and she is just learning them later. It's actually good that she has so many younger siblings naturally learning age-apropriate behavior so it's not just her that we are correcting all day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubyandwillsmom View Post
Physical abuse is NOT a symptom of ADHD!!!!!!!!!
It's a symptom of ABUSE...
I PM'ed you about DSS. I'll update you on what I find out. Thanks.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubyandwillsmom View Post
Physical abuse is NOT a symptom of ADHD!!!!!!!!!
It's a symptom of ABUSE...
She needs counseling, maybe even inpatient care! Any time a child is a risk to her self or others they need serious help. Please seek help from a doctor or the department of mental health in your state or... DSS has a voluntary department that does NOT take custody they just help. I used them when my son set a fire and was messing with electricity. Please, for more info email me or go right into your local social services office.
i just want to support you in seeking the advice suggested here. I have a family friend who was adopted from an eastern europeon country at age 4, she had been in an orphanage and had been farthest from the door so the nurses rarely picked her up, all sorts of horrors happened there. if this girl cried they gave her a tranquilizer so she would sleep instead of learning to deal with emotions. she has been violent and actually been arrested at age 12. i dont think the orphanage folks physically abused her in the traditional sense but she was definitly severely neglected and has diagnosed Attachment Disorder. this can happen from abuse and or neglect and your DSD sounds like she may have symptoms of this. it is a disorder that needs to be treated by a professional. i hate to say it but i dont think simply loving her and correcting her behavior will cure this.
post #35 of 37
I also want to add my voice to those saying that you need to seek outside support, even if it means enrolling her in public school or going to DSS in order to afford it.

Also, are you ensuring that your younger five are safe while you are sleeping?
post #36 of 37
Thread Starter 
We're going to put her in school next year so they can work on everything she is behind in. We're keeping her home the rest of this year to work on her behavior and keep instilling our morals and values into her. We know she will revert and want to give her a good foundation first to lessen that as much as possible.

Talking to DSS gave us a starting point. We can request her school info from FL and in it should be her birth certificate to get her medical insurance. They weren't too helpful about any free programs for children needing help though.

She has only hurt one child since my last post and that was by slapping him in the face for being goofy in her face. She instantly apologized and told him she realized afterwards that he was being playful.
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 
Also, we just found out we're expecting in Aug '08 which is the big decider for putting her in school next year. By then DH will be working from home full-time and she will be his responsibility to get to and from school, so less stress on me!
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