So, i don't even know where to start...
I am the proud mom of two kiddos (ages 10 and 8). I divorced their father in 2007 and began to date a guy I had known for years... he stole my heart and we were married Sept. 10, 2009.
Like i said, we've known each other for years so I knew when we began to date that he had 4 children with his ex wife... he was going through a custody battle with her when we began dating... she was refusing to give him joint custody, he was refusing to take anything less... but she has a past with CPS where the kids were removed from the home because she was being abusive to the children, so once all that came into play and with their oldest son (now 9) was removed from her home because she had two cases against her regarding him where the school had called on her and once her lawyer found out and explained to her that she would have to pay us child support if we asked she was willing to give my husband joint custody... biweekly joint custody began Feb. 2009.
In Aug. 2009 we received a call from the exwife that she has decided at 30 to move to IL to go to cosmotology school and pursue her modeling career (and she's 5'2) and needs us to take the kids full time... Two weeks later we took the kids in full time... Let me say this: I was furious about the situation, NOT because we had to take the kids full time, but because I couldn't fathom leaving my kids AND she only gave us two weeks notice...
My husband's children are 10, 9, 7, and 4... I have tried and tried everything I know how to make the transition easy for them, and I expected a few bumps in the road, but it is ALWAYS something... Of course things are easier with the younger two, and even his 9 yr old and I get along ok as long as I'm not in the position where I have to discipline him... but the 10 yr old daughter, she is rebellious. I understand that it must be hard for her for her mom to just up and leave... and when the exwife left she didn't come see them for a month (mind you she was only an hour away), she didn't come to court when the placement was switched, and only has visitation every other weekend (4 days per month). She only pays $78 per week in child support from her unemployment, while she runs a makeup artistry business and works at a bar that pays her under the table and we see NO help from her extra income...
She had a meeting with me and my husband in July to announce that she would be moving back to our city and wanted to resume joint custody in Aug before school started back... umm, she moved back but she moved into a women's home on the lakefront where the kids cannot live... when they go to spend the weekend with her they have to stay with her parents... she enrolled the rebellious daughter in an activity without even consulting us and then wanted me to alter my schedule to be able to take her and pick her up... I had to put my foot down about that, so the exwife and her mom transport the 10 yr old back and forth for this...
The 10 yr old daughter... she is stubborn, steals, and she's a bully. I have tried to be the nice step mom, the fun step mom, but with her this gets thrown in my face... we had the kids divided into girls and boys as far as bedrooms, but the 10 yr old kept stealing from and bullying my daughter so we divided the kids into my two and his four... this at first bothered me a lot, but it seems to allow my kids to have peace in the midst of madness. Just last week THIS is the day we had: In the morning heading out to school the 10 yr old purposely hits her 9 yr old brother in the head with the car door and he gets a scar on his face, then I tell her I saw that (as he's crying and bleeding) and she swears she didn't do it: myself and two of the kids saw her... so then after school i pick them up from daycare and find out that she punched her little sister in the back at daycare and choked my daughter for no reason on the playground. I was livid... i tried talking to her, she had no response. When my husband made it home from work he tried talking to her, no response. She admitted she did it and that she wasn't playing, and that my daughter didn't provoke her.
So now, here is my problem: How can I deal with this kid? I love ALL our kids, and with all that I am I invest in them morals and values. Their mother beat them, but I am primarily a talker. I communicate with them and with my own children, it works. They are often rewarded for good behavior and have been raised with the saying "When you do good thing, good things happen. When you do bad things, bad things happen," so my kids are easier to maintain. My husband has expressed that he's jealous that teachers don't call about my kids misbehaving and when we go to conferences my childrens teachers always shower my kids with compliments and tell me how well behaved they are. He gets that with his youngest daughter, but his older two and the youngest are very challanging... I need help, and FAST! This depresses me and puts a damper on the flow of our household... Things were good for a while, but it just seemed to fall apart... and when they come back from their weekends with their mom we have to spend the next 3 days reprogramming them... this is wearing me OUT!
I'm not there, but it seems pretty clear from your post that the oldest child needs some help in the form of a counselor or therapist. Who KNOWS what trauma she went through at her mom's... and then she was abandoned by her mom. She has every right to be incredibly angry at the world, and the model she has had for dealing with anger has clearly not been a positive one. While I think you absolutely can and should continue to be there and love her and talk to her and tell her and show her she is safe there, I think this is beyond something that talking can repair.
These kids are hurting and angry. They need help dealing with some really big, hard feelings. Family therapy for everyone and individual therapy for those who need that extra support can make the difference while they are still young.