Is it Me? Dealing With My Stepdaughter…

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Today a friend of mine dropped of a couple things for me. She had a toy laying around the house that she didn’t need. So she brought it over for Cassidy (just turned 6) with the other stuff. When they came home I casually handed it to my daughter. About a half hour later my 10 1/2 year old step daughter came out of her room for dinner. She was bawling. She was upset that SHE didn’t get one. The toy is for children much younger IMO. I did not go out and seek to buy it for my daughter. And there are many times my step daughter gets things or gets to do things that my daughter cannot do. Not to mention she gets double (actually triple) everything because she gets tons from her mom and that side of the family.

Her father asked her what was wrong and she said she was upset because she didn’t get one and doesn’t have one yet. It is a sleeping bag for a Zui Zui Pet. Nothing major AT ALL. She kept going on and on that it wasn’t fair – crying like a 5 year old. Her father coddled her a bit and said, “Maybe you can trade or something.” And then he had the nerve to say (to just me quietly) that I shouldn’t give Cassidy something if I am not giving Mackenzie something. It took everything I had not to blow up at both of them.

Anytime Mackenzie has gotten something and Cassidy didn’t…Cassidy acts happy for her and understands certain situations. Plus she has to watch Mackenzie bring her constant parade of new toys from her mom to the house. And she is FIVE years younger.

Am I so wrong in my thinking that not everything in life is 50/50 equal fair world all the time? Are there not times when one child will get something the other does not? Mackenzie is going to yet another sleep over that Cassidy cannot go to. No one is protesting that.

Am I so wrong to expect an almost 11 year old to act her age and not like a spoiled brat? The girl wears Calvin Klein underwear, tons of Justice clothes and gets everything she wants at her mother’s house. Am I obligated to do the same because those are now her expectations?

I am very frustrated. In the end, she was allowed to behave this way with no consequence.

Thoughts?

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About Heather Rayne

I am a mom, wife, writer, volunteer, eater of food, lover of animals and avid TV enthusiast. I am opinionated, honest, compassionate and sensitive. I can also be difficult, hard headed and emotional. I consider myself to have a great sense of humor and am very attracted to that in others. I am striving to live an authentic life. I am attempting to learn how to find happiness in the now. I always have hope to be a better person. That being said - I can be vulgar, negative and even a little bitchy at times. I say what I mean and my filter is often dysfunctional. With me, what you see is what you get. I have strong opinions and am quick to speak my mind. This can cause problems from time to time but I do not ever intend to hurt or offend anyone. With that - be warned. I do hope you enjoy my site. Thanks for visiting and have a swell day.

7 responses »

  1. I meant to also say that as for her mother’s house… You cannot control that so you guys just go on and run your household your way and don’t allow either of them to have a say in it. If her mother disagrees, that is her problem, not yours and vice versa when you disagree with her house rules. Don’t ever compromise your basic principles or your household sanity for either of them!

  2. I agree with you that her outburst was totally out of line. I would like to think that your husbands words were not meant as a criticism, but maybe as a means of preventing future tantrums for the same reason. I would recommend that, rather than responding to her tantrums, you totally IGNORE her and her tantrum. Unless she is doing someone bodily harm or is going to totally trash things, she does not even deserve a reaction. I know that for me this is a very hard thing to accomplish — and you have said before you have tried to ignore her. However, I mean take yourself out of the room, the situation, the house if need be. If she has a fit she is getting what she wants by the reactions she gets from you and your husband, then she is in “control” of the situation. It is nothing less than manipulation in it’s most basic form. You and your husband NEED to be on the same page about the response to her behavior, and it cannot be one that creates a hostile environment to either one of you.

    With one of my kids we had to resort to total silence on her part. Every time she broke the mandated silence, she lost a treasured toy from her collection. She pushed it so far once I was sure she would have nothing left but bed and dresser! It got through to her… for a while, till she found new ways t o be disruptive and we had to find new ways to deal with it. Similar punishments included charging a monetary fine for her disruptions. IE: bad behavior at the dinner table $0.50 and up depending how far she took things. Loud intentional belching, without excusing herself $1.50, with excusing $1.00. Tantrums $5.00 and for every additional minute over 5 minutes add $1.00. That kind of thing adds up quick and then they have no allowance, if they get one. If they don’t get one it can be paid off in chores in the yard* against the dollar amount. The balance here does not have to be equitable. One hour of yard work maybe equates to $5.00 if they have been good, or maybe half that if they haven’t.

    Life is NOT fair and the sooner she learns that the better. Don’t feed her insecurities, because that creates more of them for you and allows her disruptions to be more important than the rest of the entire family. No 10 year old should have that kind of power and you and her Dad have the means to end it if you present a united front. If you disagree about something during a situation, use a code word that means you both need to have a discussion about it before things progress any further and remove yourselves to a place that you can talk and come to a FAST agreement. If you take more than a minute or 2 to come to an agreement, she will see it as a victory and as a fissure between you two and she will use that against you guys.

    *Chores in the yard are really key. It gets her out of the house, it uses up A LOT of her physical energy and can help make her too tired to fuss inside. You can be in or out depending on what you have going on. You can check on her progress from windows and not have to get near her. If she does not do her designated chores in the designated time, she does not get credit for it AT ALL. If, however, she comes VERY close you can give her credit and use that as way of showing you recognize her hard work, even if she did not finish. Also, keep Cassidy totally away from her during punishment, unless there is no other choice. She learns from her sister, and she can also learn to use it as a weapon against her sister. That is not what you want either.

    I wish you luck and hope you find a good way of effectively dealing with your step-daughter. You guys need to take control back from her first and foremost.

  3. Ugh! Tantrums – There are plenty of those in our house! I have two daughters of my own (7 & 10) and the eldest seems to be on constant alert for situations where she’s getting the short straw. I agree with Laura, you have to grow a tougher skin and not get dragged into the drama of it all. Whether the kids are step-sisters or bio sisters the age difference will always be an issue so may aswell get used to it (this is what I tell myself anyway……!).

    I can also sympathise with the problems of having a step daughter visit who is disciplined differently to your kids. I dread the first few days of her visiting because I know it will be three days of tantrums until she gets used to our rules – she is waited on hand and foot by her mum, gets everything she wants. I get so frustrated! I have to literally force myself to make a really conscious effort to praise her everytime she does something independently or asks for something nicely – it pays off, she starts to behave much better. But she goes back to her mum and the next time she visits – we’re back to square one again. Arg!

    The positive side is your step daughter is really lucky to have you in her life, thank goodness someone is taking the time to teach her that life isn’t fair and that there are rules about how to behave if you want to get on in the world. Stand your ground and in 10 years time it will be you who she respects and comes to for advice.

    Mel x

    • Thank you very much. You are right. I need to use positive reinforcement more often. Lately it seems hard to find these things with her attitude. But I know it would go further. I too am getting to the point where I dread the first day. Its sad. I used to feel as tho she was my child. Everything just got all messed up. Thanks again for understanding…it means a lot!

    • LOL Laura…I know you don’t 🙂 And I am glad! Thank you for commenting. And I agree with every word. I just wish my husband and I could be a more united front. And I find it so irritating that a 6 year old acts more mature than a 10 year old. The spoiled attitude and the manipulative crying bullshit is at its end with me. This is how her mother has taught her to get by in life. By manipulative emotions. She cant pay a bill, she cries. She gets caught doing something, she cries and blames someone/thing else. And now my step daughhter is turning into an exact replica. She can turn it on and off like a switch and it seems almost sociopathic to me. It makes me so sad.

  4. I’ve had that argument a million times…with a blended family, “fair” is a constant topic of controversy…my philosophy is that it all balances out in the end…and I stress this to the kids (and my hubby) everytime they whine that one got something and the other(s) didn’t…just my observation from reading your posts: seems that your step-daughter has learned to play the game…tears have probably worked wonderfully for her so she keeps on doing it…I always threaten that if the kids want to act like a baby, I’ll treat them like a baby…no video games, no tv, no friends, no playing outside by themselves, no MP3 player, no afterschool activities…you get the picture…when they start thinking of what they are going to lose, the tantrum usually ends…if that doesn’t work, they’re sent to their rooms until they can act right, which usually doesn’t take too long…I HATE the temper tantrums!

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