Originally Posted by Laggie
Thanks for all the hugs...
DH is obviously mad at me about this. Apparently expecting him to look after his child is unreasonable. Making lunches is too much of a challenge. If we had other kids and I was making lunches anyway, I would make hers too, but that's not the case.
I'm trying to decide whether I will go along on the camping trip planned for the end of the month (2 nights). Generally camping trips are filled with the joy of DSD refusing to participate in any activities or to help with anything, with the added pleasure of constant whining and complaining. Sound fun?
I'm pretty sure this isn't an attachment problem. She actually is fairly affectionate, she just goes out of her way to do the opposite of anything I say. Like this morning, after I told her it was going to be hot today like yesterday, she decided she wanted to wear jeans and a sweatshirt. Her daycamp teachers must think we're on crack.
I think you are being too controlling with her, and she is struggling to have some independence. Are you the person who hates the bangs?
The lunches sounds like a sticking point for you...... making a lunch is not a big deal, but I'm thinking this is symbolic for you of the care and love that you feel like withholding right now because you feel your needs are not being met.
How old is DSD? I'm thinking 11 right?
I'm wondering how it would work if you gave DSD more input into what happens in your family. Are her feelings being heard? Can you and she talk about the camping trip and if she wants to go? And you can talk in advance about the things you want to do together and get her input and come up with ideas *together*? I'm thinking if she has more involvement, she'll do better, and she may very well feel like she doesn't "fit" in your family and you'd rather be with DH without her. Seriously, feeling unwanted sucks and I'm sure she's picking up on your feelings.
I think you are the adult, and for you to shut down and give up is really inappropriate, since you married your DH you made a commitment to him *and* his child. I would also look into working with her in partnership on the lunches and if you ask her to make her own lunch, then take her shopping and get her the things she likes for her lunches and be open to whatever kinds of foods she wants (I wouldn't say no much on that trip, get what I mean?)
She's a tween (I think) and this is going to set the stage for the whole teen years. Being moody is part of her reality, so try not to take it all so personally.
I think that as the adult, you have more of the responsibility to figure it out and go the extra mile because she's frankly still learning how to navigate relationships, she's suffered the loss of her parents being together, and she's probably feeling very stuck and trapped in a situation she has zero control over. So I'd try to give her a little space to have control over or at least input into how her life is with you and your DH. She's old enough to make a lot of choices. If you want to give her additional responsibilty, you should also give her additional freedom and withhold judgement on so many of the little things, give her space to develop her individual self. Different people like different things, and so she needs to be heard, and to feel supported as she experiments with developing her identity. She sounds like she is very much struggling with her identity in your family too and feels insecure about her status. If she's getting frequently disciplined and frequent negatives, then how can she feel like a valued family member? Doesn't she deserve to feel like she is loved and valued and not just an inconvenience to you and your DH? How much positive is she getting from both of you? I feel like you are out of balance and you are giving her lots of negative feedback and not many positives, praise or appreciation. I understand that you are having a hard time seeing anything positive right now, but again, I feel that as the adult, you make the first move, you give more. She needs to see an example of loving and giving modeled and she needs to see that consistently before she might feel safe to let down her guard and respond to it, especially if she doesn't trust you due to all the past stress.
HTH. I am not a stepmom or a stepkid but I think you truly need to re-commit, and it's an investment in your own future peace through the teen years.