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Long post alert. My family doesn’t want to listen to me to vent and I hope you guys here will understand. The long and the short of it is my stepdaughter is 5 years old. However, she acts like she’s 3 years younger. I suspect she has developmental problems, but everyone has their heads buried in the sand and won’t get her tested.
My biological younger daughter is only a few months older than my “step-dogter” but the mental age difference is striking. The stepdogter is constantly whining. She’s totally disrespectful to me, especially when her father is not in the room or isn’t home, and it’s gotten to the point where I can’t bear to be around her. We have her on weekends.
I feel bad, and at the same time, I just don’t care anymore. Before anyone asks, no, my stepdogter doesn’t act this way because I broke up her parents’ marriage. They were divorced up a year before I came into the picture when she was an infant, so she has no memory of her parents ever being together. Anyway, she’s just so whiny, and she’ll cry to the point of making herself throw up just to get attention.
She just last week told me that she hates me. Well, at this point, whatever, because I haven’t been able to stand her for a while now. At first, I just blamed it on “the terrible two’s,” but then it was the terrible threes and the terrible fours and she acts the same now as she did when she was 2. Yet she has a bit more vocabulary for the insults now. And everyone tells me she is just 5. Well so was my son until he turned 6 nearly 3 months ago. And you know they say girls are supposed to be more mature than boys. Yeah right.
Anyone out there that understands? Does anyone feel like they would be happy if they never saw their stepkid again? I know that sounds terrible. But we can’t help the way we feel either. It makes weekends awful for my kids as well when she is here and I almost wish her mother had full custody. But she’s my husband’s only child.
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It sounds like you are having a really tough time. Blended families can pose many challenges, especially where personalities clash or where there are emotional confrontations. You do not mention what your step-daughter's home life is like when she is with her mom. As your son is 6 years old, and your step-daughter is younger, I am assuming that you were also previously in another relationship - you don't mention whether your son lives with you full time, or whether he also spends time elsewhere.
Shared custody arrangements can be very difficult for younger children who crave a sense of stability and security. It can be even more difficult when they are only occasional "visitors", while another child spends more time in the home. It is quite possible that your step-daughter's acting out is as a result of insecurity and her own fears.
Most of us with more than one child have a child that is less challenging or that we find it easier to parent. In these instances, the important thing is to remember that we are the adult in the relationship and that we set the tone of our interactions. From your post, it sounds as if your step-daughter is having difficulty in expressing and regulating her emotions effectively - as a result she behaves in a way that seems immature for her age. If you feel that your poor relationship with your step-daughter makes it impossible for you to help her work on these skills, it might be worthwhile to consult with a play therapist who can assess her fully and advise whether she needs any additional developmental assessments.
In the meantime, try to look for the good in your step-daughter, even when her behaviour is bad. Children are sensitive and if she can sense that you have negative feelings towards her this might be making her act out even more. A family coach may also be able to help you form a parenting plan that you and your husband agree upon to make sure that you are all on the same page, not only for the good of both your kids, but also for the benefit of your own relationship.
I honestly have no idea how you're managing. That sounds like SUCH a nightmare - and I feel like you've handled it gracefully.
I'm sure with emotions running high it feels like you might be okay if your stepdaughter just disappeared but I'm sure you don't *actually* feel that way. I know you're dealing with a lot and trying your best to keep your family together while also dealing with such a difficult personality.
My advice would be to speak with your husband in a calm way and let him know that it's very stressful for you when she is such a brat about everything. Hopefully, he will be understanding and step in when she has one of her temper tantrums.
Hi there, Ashlee!
First of all... woof! This sounds like a doozy.
You're supposed to enjoy your weekends and downtime with your family. Not dread it!
All I can say is that you have to just take it for what it is. Do your best to just focus on what you have going on and your family that appreciates you. And take everything that your stepdaughter has to say about you with a grain of salt and move forward. If she's looking for attention and is making herself physically sick then you are probably just going to have to let her do it. She has to learn that those actions won't guarantee more attention and affection. Once she finally calms down, then try to do something that she enjoys doing. But when she does it again, then let her have her fit.
It may take some time, but after a while her fits will get shorter and she will understand that she can't behave that way just because she wants attention.