11 yr-old stepdaughter and acrylic nails - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 50 Old 05-16-2007, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

Wondering if anyone can offer advice on how to deal with this situation that is causing huge stress in our household.

I am in a blended family situation with my DH's 11 yr-old daughter who just came home with acrylic nails. My 12 yr. old has been asking for them forever and our reply has always been "no way." Maybe for prom when she is 17, but she is a kid and she should not try to grow up so fast... Now that his daughter came home with them, she acts like she has one-upped my daughter and my daughter is upset. My DH and I have told his child that we do not approve of them and that they are not appropriate for an 11 year-old. His daughter's response to us is "well they are my nails and I can do what I want with them." It is pointless to argue with his ex on the issue because she refuses to coparent and refuses give on any of our issues or concerns. If we take her during our custodial time and have them removed, his ex will have them put right back on. It is difficult trying to explain the situation with my daughter as she sees it as unfair (as if we allowed it), and is causing lots of resentment with her relationship with her step sister. As with many other issues, she feels that her step sister always gets her way because she knows how to manipulate both parents and households to get what she wants.

Besides the acrylic nails, she came home wearing a pink VS "Hot, hot hot" tee shirt that did not fit her because she is only 11. I am afraid next time she will come home with bleached blond hair and thong underwear.

Any ideas on how to address this? I feel like my DH just does not want to deal with it because he is afraid to piss off his daughter.

Thanks,
Ruby
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#2 of 50 Old 05-16-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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Honestly, I would just tell your daughter that just because SD gets away with it doesn't mean she can. You are not her mother so you can not make all the rules for her, however you can for your own daughter. Just because another girl at school or where ever gets something doesn't mean your daughter does... same scenerio. If she doesn't like it, well... bluntly, tough! That's how life is sometimes... My step-kids get a lot of things I don't agree with and that my kids will NEVER get... that's life.

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#3 of 50 Old 05-16-2007, 02:03 PM
 
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If your dh has a problem with the nails and the parents have joint legal custody, he should have them removed. It is expensive to have them put on, so eventually bm will get sick of paying for it.

As far as clothing goes, she can have appropriate clothing to wear at your house that stays at your house.

To make your daughter feel better, what if you took her to get a manicure? That is pretty inexpensive and looks age-appropriate, especially if you limit the color choices. In fact, you could take both girls together and DSD could get a manicure after her nails are removed.

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#4 of 50 Old 05-16-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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It is one of the unfortunate aspects of being a child of divorce that you really can't mitigate, step-siblings often have "better" rules.

The only thing you can do is reinforce that your rules are your rules and that is that. The important thing here is not the nails, who really cares about the nails one way or another?

The important aspect of this is that you are demonstrating to your 11 year old that your rules are not subject to outside influence, that they are made for a reason, that she is expected to comply with them wether or not she understands those reasons fully and that you are serious about them and cannot be dissauded from them by complaining, whining or huffy behavior.

Of course that means that you actually do have to think your rules through! Deciding which things are important and which ones can be flexible is probably one of the trickier aspects of parenting pre-teens and teens.

Personally, I would consider lightening up on the nails things. 17 is a long time to wait. They don't have to look like the belong on a hooker! A nice short length, french tip nail set is very demure.

Maybe you can find a middle ground with your daughter that allows you to demonstrate that your rules are important but also recognizes her desire to look "pretty and grown up".
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#5 of 50 Old 05-16-2007, 06:29 PM
 
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Her father needs to ask his daughter to remove them. Rules are rules. He needs to sit down with her, and explain to her calmly why expectations what they are at his house, that he believes it is not appropriate for her age, and while you can't really command what's going on outside your house, she needs to respect your rules while she's with you.

While we do not have a child together, but when we pick up DSD she knows what's expected: no flip flops in the rain, bright nail polish comes off, revealing clothes is not ok at her age, etc.

The key is to keep it simple and calm. Best of luck!

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#6 of 50 Old 05-18-2007, 12:14 PM
 
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I read no other responses. I am a Nail Tech too btw, and I think 11 is too young. That's just a personal opinion though, and not a professional one. What kind of nails are we talking here? Are they monstrously long and unnatural looking? You said your daughter was 12, can she grow her own nails? If I were you this is what I would recommend. I think that making this about the other child is the wrong thing to do, so my suggestion to you is to address the issue with your child, which is that she would like to have nails too. I'm guessing that you wouldn't have anything against her growing her own nails out of course.

If she want's to grow her nails out I would be glad to give you some easy suggestions and recc. some products that can be purchased by non-professionals. I think this will help to dispell some of the tention for your daughter.

Blessings-

ETA: I don't suggest that your dh make an issue out of this unless the nails are "too long" or "too loud". The bottom line is its very diffucult when parenting with an XP or XS to agree on these types of issues. It would be best to leave the child out of it, as the 'real' power struggle is between the parents, yk? Go to mediation or go to court, but don't get the kid too involved. Just my .02.
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#7 of 50 Old 05-18-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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[QUOTE=pinksprklybarefoot;8137460]If your dh has a problem with the nails and the parents have joint legal custody, he should have them removed. It is expensive to have them put on, so eventually bm will get sick of paying for it.
QUOTE]

I would not go this route. If your DH has a problem with the nails then he should talk to her mother about them. It is unfair to put DSD in the middle. Also, I do not think it is a good co-parenting policy to deliberately antagonize your step-daughter's mother. I know it can be annoying when you have different parenting styles, but as long as she is not putting her daughter in harms way then she has the right to parent as she sees fit.
As far as you own daughter goes...when we run into situations like this we just apply the different house/different rules policy. I also like the idea of getting her a manicure...everyone can use a little pampering now and again.
FC
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#8 of 50 Old 05-18-2007, 09:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Hno flip flops in the rain
O/T - what's wrong with flip-flops in the rain?
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#9 of 50 Old 05-18-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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O/T - what's wrong with flip-flops in the rain?
:

DS 5-11-06
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#10 of 50 Old 05-19-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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Once DSD came over wearing flip flops and it the next day we had snow mixed with rain. Cold weather - appropriate clothing/shoes.
*shrug* Am I alone on this one?

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#11 of 50 Old 05-19-2007, 11:35 PM
 
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I would not go this route. If your DH has a problem with the nails then he should talk to her mother about them. It is unfair to put DSD in the middle. Also, I do not think it is a good co-parenting policy to deliberately antagonize your step-daughter's mother.
FC
I didn't say this to antagonize the BM, it just got the feeling that the two bioparents don't discuss things at all from the OP (Not that this is good policy, but that is probably another thread). If the two bioparents can discuss it and come to an agreement, then that is of course the best possible solution. It just didn't seem like that was the case.

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#12 of 50 Old 05-23-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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I don't know what to say, but I have been thinking about this issue. Even though our houses are different, we haven't had many clothing issues, though perhaps it is easier with a boy, but I really have never said "no" to something ds wanted to wear. The only thing I can think of is I insist on socks with tennis shoes (socks get washed, but shoes don't = sticky teen boy shoes), but when he comes home from his mom's house with no socks I don't tell him to go put socks on. I think it is one of those things about blended families-- for better or worse, we aren't the sole maker of the rules. We try not to interfere with the biomom's rules as long as they don't have to do with safety. When it comes to clothes, food choices, even tv and movies, I just think it is a value judgement. When we decided to divorce or marry a person with an ex spouse, we have to realize that our biological children will be influnced by a child whose upbringing I don't have complete control over (dss) and that I will have a child in my family who has slightly different rules for part of the time. I'm ok with that.

Of course, I might mention something to the biomom on the off chance that she just didn't realize the situation or something, but after that. . .
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#13 of 50 Old 05-24-2007, 10:41 PM
 
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Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is over acrylic nails is. I get if they are long and hookerish, but if they are short and nicely done, what's the big deal? Is it the price? That I can understand I suppose. 17 really IS a long time to wait. FWIW, I let my six year old daughter wear fun little fake nails, nothing too expensive, just stuff that we bought from the drugstore, for fun. She isn't allowed to wear them to school, for around the house and on playdates is fine with me. Perhaps you could compromise and let her buy some from the store? They are usually fairly cheap and easy to put on/remove, and come in a variety of lengths, both long and short, some are very classy. Personally, I'd pick the larger battles-it seems kind of silly to make a big deal out of nails. If she came home in a mini-skirt and a belly shirt, I could see making a big deal, but nails? I think it's better to give on the small stuff, and save the big battles for the stuff that really matters.

About the step daughter, I'd explain to your daughter that over at bio-moms' house, the rules are different, and that is between your dh and her(your stepdaughter's) mother. If you dh feels strongly about your stepdaughter not having the nails done, then he needs to talk with his ex about it. Whatever they decide together will be the final decision. I know that it is really hard to step back and do that, but I really think that in this situation it would be the best course of action given the circumstances.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#14 of 50 Old 05-25-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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A little late to the party but I would have them removed. I would have DAD say that they are not allowed in his home. I would have them removed and have both girls nails and toes painted instead. 8) They are bad for her nail bed, and all together unhealthy and inappropriate. Eventually the Ex will stop paying to put them on if you keep taking them off.
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#15 of 50 Old 05-25-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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I'm really surprised at these responses.

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#16 of 50 Old 05-25-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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I'm really surprised at these responses.
Just curious...in what way?
Are you surprised that people think acrylic nails are inappropriate for a 12 year old year? Or the advice on how to deal with the situation?
FC
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#17 of 50 Old 05-25-2007, 01:56 PM
 
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I gotta say, I think a lot of parents would consider having the nails removed without saying a word about it as a direct slap in the face and would not be too pleasant about it.

I think when co-parenting, especially if it isn't too cooperative a relationship, you have to pick and choose your battles. Obviously there are issues that are so important (something dangerous or harmful to the child) that you go the whole distance and who cares if the other parent is pissed.

But the nails really don't sound like that kind of situation. Personally, I would attempt to find some compromise first.
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#18 of 50 Old 05-25-2007, 03:04 PM
 
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Just curious...in what way?
Are you surprised that people think acrylic nails are inappropriate for a 12 year old year? Or the advice on how to deal with the situation?
FC
I don't know about her, but I was personally very surprised that so many people think acrylic nails are inappropriate for a 12 year old. I've never thought of them as too "grown up" in any way...so I guess I am trying to find out what the big deal is about nails? I can understand how overtly sexual clothing and too much make-up can be considered too "grown up", but I guess I just don't see what the deal is about nails. In step and blended families they are so many other issues to deal with I don't understand why nails are such a big issue. I think it's rather silly to make a big deal out of them.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#19 of 50 Old 05-25-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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I am surprised at the suggestions that seem antogonistic to the other parent of the 11 year old.

I am surprised that some parents don't let 11 year old children have more control over their bodies. I remember dying my hair, getting a perm, and shaving my legs at 11.

I also don't see the big deal of wearing flip flops in the cold. I wear sandals even in "inappropriate" weather.

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#20 of 50 Old 05-27-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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I didn't say this to antagonize the BM, it just got the feeling that the two bioparents don't discuss things at all from the OP (Not that this is good policy, but that is probably another thread). If the two bioparents can discuss it and come to an agreement, then that is of course the best possible solution. It just didn't seem like that was the case.
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A little late to the party but I would have them removed. I would have DAD say that they are not allowed in his home. I would have them removed and have both girls nails and toes painted instead. 8) They are bad for her nail bed, and all together unhealthy and inappropriate. Eventually the Ex will stop paying to put them on if you keep taking them off.

I'm wondering......do you guys co-parent this way?
Me and X don't discuss, he refuses. If he does something that I disapprove of I don't remedy the situation by doing exactly the opposite enough times that he gets the point. This rarely works out very good IME.

It's unfortuneate that X spouses often don't communicate/agree on how to parent, but it's a reality of divorce. The solution is rarely doing the opposite of the other parent to get a point across. In these situations you learn to leave well enough alone, yk?

Certain issues have to take a front seat, and have to be discussed......but nails......I don't know about that.......
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#21 of 50 Old 05-28-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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Word to the PP.

And to the OP, straight up - not your department.

It will serve no purpose whatsoever to fret about something that is completely out of your control. Its like fretting about the weather, pointless unless you like to create alot of stress. There is no one to blame, trying to find someone to blame is another pointless exercise. It is ok that your daughters have different parents. They are both old enough to understand that. If the one is 'flaunting' in front of the other, that to me seems like a character issue and not an issue of acrylic nails, YKWIM? If the one who is under your authority is really upset by this and refuses to accept the 'unfairness'..... again, this seems more like a character issue than an issue of fingernails.

my two,
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#22 of 50 Old 05-29-2007, 03:27 AM
 
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I totally think that the issue is not the nails, but that it is more about control. I have step children that have different moms so it is interesting the things that come our way over here. We have different opinions about appropriate clothing, hair styles, and school performance. There are always times when one dsc does something at their moms that we forbid and then the other kids hear about it. All we do is let them know how we feel about it and move on. We let the kids know that they are old enough to know right from wrong and what we expect of them no matter where they are. I admit it must be hard for them getting two messages from two households, but kids know right...it is internally ingrained. Giving the situation more attention will only give the BM what she wants which is control. Your DSS is probably just defending her mom. This will not be the last issue from what it sounds like. You just have to tell your daughter what you believe , tell your DSS your beliefs and leave it at that. Anything more is just giving BM more power over you, your household, and your emotions and is totally not worth. Trust me, I have learned this the hard way.
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#23 of 50 Old 05-29-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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Maybe the nails were a huge reward for something? At 12, I was getting manicures with my babysitting money. For the record, removing the fake nails will leave your SD with VERY thin nail beds, and should not be done until her nails grow out quite a bit.

And for the record... I wear my chacos in every kind of weather, and my children decide what shoes they want to wear. After flip-flops in the snow, or Wellies in 90* weather, they start to learn some natural consequences of foot wear choices.
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#24 of 50 Old 05-29-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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If your dh has a problem with the nails and the parents have joint legal custody, he should have them removed. It is expensive to have them put on, so eventually bm will get sick of paying for it.

As far as clothing goes, she can have appropriate clothing to wear at your house that stays at your house.

To make your daughter feel better, what if you took her to get a manicure? That is pretty inexpensive and looks age-appropriate, especially if you limit the color choices. In fact, you could take both girls together and DSD could get a manicure after her nails are removed.


I think this is all great advice. I would definitely keep appropriate clothing at your house for her to wear when she's with you guys. And the manicures for both girls are a fabulous idea.
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#25 of 50 Old 05-29-2007, 05:57 PM
 
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just a quick question, lets say op follows the above advice and has the semi permanent acrylic nails forcibly removed (which by the way is going to be expensive, just as it was expensive to have them put on -PLEASE, do not attempt to remove them yourself, it is very painful and if not done correctly a danger of infection!) so, what was i asking....... oh yes, OK so what if the op does decide to counter this nails thing by doing what is suggested by the above poster: have them removed and hope that bio-mom will not want to fork out the cash for a new set....... what if she does have them removed?

Then, who is it who is served by this?
In whose best interest is it to have them taken off?
Who benefits positively from this?

The child?

'nuff said.

-anj119
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#26 of 50 Old 06-01-2007, 11:05 PM
 
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For the record, removing the fake nails will leave your SD with VERY thin nail beds, and should not be done until her nails grow out quite a bit.
Yeah. You don't want to go back and forth with your DSD's nails. If you take them off and her Mom puts them back on it will ruin her nails which is basically punishing her. I think step daughter is just stuck in the middle. If her mother took her, I don't see how she can be forced to have them removed. You need to make your own rules for your own daughter. Personally if I was your daughter I would much rather have a regular manicure but that's just me.

The real problem is between your DH and the Ex. They need to have a conversation about what they each feel is appropriate for daughter. Unfortunately that doesn't always work.
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#27 of 50 Old 06-03-2007, 08:50 PM
 
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I grew up in a blended family and am raising one. I don't have step children, but my children have a step father and a half-sibling on the way. When we got custody of the boys I was able to get a clause built into the agreement that I have final say on all issues that are in dispute. I have full custody, but he has liberal visitation rights (alternate weekends, alternate major holidays, 4 weeks in the summer).

When issues have come up about things the boys are allowed and not allowed to do I have gently, politely put my foot down. Acrylic nails aren't an issue for us, but violent video games are. Their father was letting them play "Far Cry" which is a very detailed realistic war game with lots of blood and realistic violence. It is rated M for mature. At the time the boys were 10, 7 & 5. He allowed even the 5yo to play this game. I made the rule that we do not have rated M games or R movies for the children. He seems to be sticking too it.

Personally, I think acrylic nails are ugly, even "tacky" but maybe they are fashionable in some places. That's just personal taste and opinion. I wouldn't make an issue of that. I try to respect my children's right to have bad taste, while influencing them to make choices I like better. They often wear things I'm not crazy about, but within limits.

Acrylic nails are also extremely unhygenic. People who work in the food industry are not supposed to have them. If a health inspector sees someone in McDonald's wearing them, that goes down as a health code violation. Until recently I worked at Barnes & Noble, and this is something that happened in our Cafe. Bacteria can get in under the fake nails. They can also lead to nasty yeast infections that can destroy a persons natural nails and the tissue that grow natural nails. They can cause irreversible damage. This I would fight over.

If a child or step child came to my house with them I'd march them straight down to the salon and have the things removed, each and every time. I'd probably let them pick out two or three crazy colors of nail polish, and decals, even if they were horribly ugly, to let the child express themselves, but make it clear that the acrylic things are not healthy.

I hope that helps!

Kiley
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#28 of 50 Old 06-03-2007, 08:58 PM
 
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I would handle this the same way I'd handle a classmate or friend who's mother had different rules than you.

Yes, she's your stepdaughter, but she still has a different mother than your DD does, and you can't control what her other mother allows her to do. It's reasonable to ask her to change her clothes when she comes to your home if she's wearing something you deem innapropriate, but something semi-permenant such as acrylic nails or hair color you can't really control.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#29 of 50 Old 06-03-2007, 08:58 PM
 
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If a child or step child came to my house with them I'd march them straight down to the salon and have the things removed, each and every time.
This would also not be healthy for the nails.
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#30 of 50 Old 06-03-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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This doesn't sound like something to stress out about. I'd let it go.

There will be coparting issues that will be far more important to your family - save yourself for those battles. Acrylic nails are well within a normal range of different family's choices (in your household, 11 is too young, in your biomon's household, 11 is not too young. So you dd doesn't get the nails and your sd does. No big deal. Your dd has to learn sooner or later that different moms have different rules. And if sd is holding it over dd, than that is a sibling issue best left to them to has out.)

Good luck.
mamawanabe is offline  
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