Mothering Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,091 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DH has been divorced since DSD was 6 mo old, and it has not been an amical situation. There have been many, many court dates, moves, and screaming calls from DSD's mom. After we moved to be near her (courts wouldn't stop her from moving) twice, we finally decided not to move again, so when she comes, she comes to place where she has no friends, which is hard for a 15 yo.<br><br>
When she comes, she isn't confrontational, but she doesn't want to participate in any activities and just stays on her cell phone (not too different from the stereotypical teen). The thought of her sitting on our couch and sulking for weeks this summer is stressing me out, so I'm trying to find ways to make it better.<br><br>
Things we've tried: going on a trip together (she didn't like it), enrolling her in enrichment activities (learning to sail) during the day so she could maybe make a local friend, me spending time with her individually, DH taking her places.<br><br>
I don't anticipate that we will hear from her for years after she turns 18, so I want to make the most of the time she spends with us and find the words to talk to her about life after 18. She refers to DH as biodad and her stepfather as her real dad, she won't ever call DH dad or daddy. I'm really not sure why they haven't taken us to court to terminate visitation completely, but she has testified in court (at age 12) that she doesn't like visiting us and doesn't want to visit us. It has always been this way. There was a time when we were getting closer, but then her mom would move. We followed twice to be closer to her, but then decided we were doing DSD a disservice because her mom said she would keep moving away from us. So I want her memories of our time together to be positive, for DHs sake as well as hers, but I don't know how to accomplish this.<br><br>
Our households are completely different. Her family is fundamentalist Christian, ours is agnostic. DH's not being saved is a major bone of contention with her and validates all the negative things her mother says about him, but he can't pretend to be someone he's not. DH is quite opinionated and into current events, so things like global warming, politics, war, evolution do come up, and they are polar opposites in their beliefs. It seems like there's nothing we can talk about. We eat organic foods, she drinks 3 sodas a day. She watches tv constantly, we don't have cable. We do GD, they spank. We want her to have fun here, so we make all kinds of concessions to our normal lifestyle. We buy the foods she wants to eat, for example.<br><br>
I know it must be difficult for her. If I were in her position, I'm not sure how I'd deal with having to be in a house where the values were completely contradictory from mine, stay with people my mom has told me all my life are evil, and above all, have no friends to commiserate with.<br><br><br>
It is stressful because I end up feeling like I can't be myself around her. I can't be my hippie, liberal self because I know she disapproves of that. I have watched her hurt DH over and over and over, and it is very hard for me to watch someone hurt him and treat him so disrespectfully. I know she is just a child, but at what age will she have some accountability and it will be ok to tell her not to treat him like dirt? We ignore all the major issues for the sake of "trying to help her have a good time", and I'm not sure that's the right thing to do, because it ends up being so fake.<br><br>
There is major anger underneath. One time we got her a counselor, and her mother moved and found another one. The other counselor signed off on her, saying she was fine. We tried taking her to counseling here but couldn't get very far in the short time we see her.<br><br>
Older DS asks questions, and I don't know how to answer him. "Why is DSD mean to Daddy?" "Why doesn't DSD ever want to talk to Daddy?"<br><br>
Any suggestions for making this a more positive experience for all involved?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,037 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Nosy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10733393"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I know she is just a child, but at what age will she have some accountability and it will be ok to tell her not to treat him like dirt? We ignore all the major issues for the sake of "trying to help her have a good time", and I'm not sure that's the right thing to do, because it ends up being so fake.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Disrespect is never okay, at any age. I would really stop trying to please her - just be yourself.<br><br>
I'm not sure that you can fix this. It's gone on for too long. Can she bring a friend along with her for her visit? That's the only thing I can think of that might help - otoh it could backfire and you could end up with 2 rude kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
We are in a similiar boat but bio mom cannot move as it is outlined in the divorce decree that she can only move one county away. Be your usual hippie self. Cut off disrespect. Show her love but do not allow her to be mean to DH. I would not have a friend come with her, because you could have two teenagers making your life miserable instead of just one. She or her mom's family would have already poisoned the well as far as the way the second teenager feels. I would try to find a family retreat based on the writings of Dr. Scott Sells, who wrote Parenting with Love and Limits. We went to one as a family and it really helped the disrespect and the hurting of DH.These retreats have a spiritual base but not a strictly Christian base. I would reccomend it for anybody of any faith or no faith. After the retreat DSS tells his dad he loves him and tells me, too. He comes over more willingly and without trouble. He still has other problems but the visitation disrespect has stopped. He seems more grateful to have us as parents. Your DSD may be a victim of parental alieantion syndrome and you may want to look that up on the net so that you can be armed with knowledge.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,639 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Laggie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10738162"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Disrespect is never okay, at any age. I would really stop trying to please her - just be yourself.<br><br>
I'm not sure that you can fix this. It's gone on for too long. Can she bring a friend along with her for her visit? That's the only thing I can think of that might help - otoh it could backfire and you could end up with 2 rude kids.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
ITA with Laggie.<br><br>
And I second angilyn on just being yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,091 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, I will look into the workshop. We did have her cousin here a few years ago, and that really helped, because her cousin actually loves DH, but now she has all kinds of activities of her own in the summer and is too busy to come.<br><br>
I know DH & DSD were victims of parental alienation, but we could never convince the courts. We did convince a counselor, at which point his ex moved away.<br><br>
How would you go about cutting off the disrespect?<br><br>
How would you talk to your kids about why DSD is the way she is when they ask questions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,091 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And if it is too late, how do we deal with that? Three more summers of sulking, disrespect, etc.? I want to find the words to talk to her about it but don't know how. All I ever get is a blank stare if I try.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,191 Posts
My own DSD is 15 now (yey). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Our relationship has been far from perfect, although about a year ago we seemed to have figured it out between the two of us, and now she is living with us and we seem to be doing pretty well. I'm saying this to make sure you know I'm not just speaking from a far away place, I have been there and done that.<br>
Two things that helped us to get to this warm and fuzzy place, is me realizing that it's ok to let her come to me, and to truly believe that it's never too late.<br>
I'd say it's definitely not too late for you.<br><br>
Here is what I think... You have to let go of the baggage... You can't fix the other person. You can't fix her mom, and you can't fix your DSD. The only thing that can change is the way you and your DH handle situations. If you ever raise your voice - stop doing that. If you ever allow her to say mean disrespectful things without a discussion afterwards, then start discussing things: "that's a very mean thing to say to your father", "people in this house deserve to be treated better than that", "we don't yell at you and don't call you names - that means you don't yell at us and don't call us names".<br><br>
Set those rules down when she comes over, discuss things that have hurt you in the past, writing letters to each other really helped us to find a way to communicate our feelings. Sometimes it's easier to pour your heart out on paper than in person. If something hurt you - be honest about it. And most importantly, expect things to work out. Have trust in the fact that she will grow up and mature to see things for what they are. If you show someone love and respect - they will appreciate it.<br><br>
There is no need to clash on religion and politics. In our case, DSD and her dad have very different views (religion, diet and politics alike), but he is respectful of her ideas, and he set the boundaries for her to be respectful to his ideas. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
It can work...<br><br>
Oh, and as far as developing relationship goes... You have to know what she likes, and allow her to aproach you, rather than doing it the other way.<br>
When heading out to the mall, leave it to the last second to ask if she wants to join you - it gives you power in a way, since you don't have to put up with her rudeness if it's your invitation. Start working on a project (scrapbooking? sewing? new video game?) and allow her to show interest it. Pick up a set of Friends DVDs, she'll get into it, and there is nothing like laughing together (it might require a compromise on your tv policies part, but I believe it gave DSD and myself HOURS of bonding together, plus, you can share inside jokes from the shows you enjoy).<br><br>
Try different things, dont' give up, and don't allow people walk over you. Doesn't matter what her mom says or does. The only thing that will matter is what YOU say and do. Have faith <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br>
Good luck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
984 Posts
i don't think you can make the visits positive if she doesn't want to be there. sorry. i know that sounds harsh but i know that's been the case with me and with my son. i didn't want to see my dad for a while growing up and my son sometimes does not want to go on court ordered visits.<br><br>
you step daughter is 16 now though and you say that she has some ideological differences. this idea could either go very well or VERY VERY bad, but what about sitting down with her and having a conversation about beliefs? create a safe space. let her dad tell her he'd like it if they could understand her better and invite her to talk about why she believes what she does. set some ground rules. no interrupting from any party. time for questions. maybe give her a chance to talk about a different, specific idea at set times. this might allow her to feel heard, important, and for the two of them to reach some kind of understanding. whatever happened in the past has made the daddy/baby girl relationship an impossibility. it's sad that that is lost forever but it does allow the opportunity to pursue a more adult parent child relationship earlier. she will likely get angry and how that'd dealt with is important. must be done gently and without reference to anybody who may or may not have planted ideas into her head. maybe, as a show of good faith her dad could look at the bible and find some things to talk about. read some history etc. i'm not a big fan of fundi christanity myself but the gospels have some things in them nobody could argue against and some of jesus' sermons/ parables really do have the ring of mystic hippie thoughts. not to say he's "saved" as that would be dishonest, but maybe to find something _anything_ about her faith to respect. a journey through ideas is a wonderful way to bond and it has very little to do with personal problems.<br><br>
i have to say from experience that she is likely just as angry with her mother but feels more attached. when divorce is messy kids often harbor anger and resentment towards both parents but maintain an almost inappropriately protective attachment to the primary caregiver out of fear. i know stuff happens, and my son's dad and i split but honestly, i can't blame anybody for having some serious long term anger over a parents messy divorce.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
I would take away priviledges for disrespect and cruelty. Also, if the visits are court orderd, IMO she has to come. How else can she ever bond with the two of you if she doesn't come? I would take away her cell phone for disrespect. She won't like it but give her the opportunity to earn it back. Give her positive written teen reports for anything good, including something as simple as smiling at someone. Your relationship with her is now at ground zero and you have to build the nurturance part. I think also Sell's book on Parenting the Out of Control Teenager would help you as well. In it he talks about how to make a written binding contract with your child, including stuff like disrespect and the consequences for it. Don't let her push your buttons and make you feel bad cause she isn't having the most wonderful time. She is the one creating the bad time, not you guys.One of the teens most powerful weapons against a parent is making the parent feel bad or guilty because the teen is not happy. You are creating an atmosphere where she could feel happy and involved with the family, if she chose. Do not feel badly when she makes the poor choice with her own actions and behavior. Let her feel the consequences. Get the books I suggested. I think they will help immensely.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top