How do I deal with an attention craving stepchild?
I married a woman with a 9 year old daughter. I honestly did not foresee any problems since I'm used to younger children, having 3 significantly younger siblings.
I was in for a rude surprise--this kid constantly does whatever in her will to disrupt my relationship with my new wife. If I am sitting next to my wife, she will come sandwich herself in between us. If that doesn't work, then she mysteriously has a stomach ache. If I accidentally step on her foot, she screams bloody murder and starts doing Michael Jackson style dances all over the floor. On the same note, there has been many occasions that she has lied and claimed that I hit her.
I found water poured inside my Nintendo Wii, and mysteriously no one knows what happened.
Another time, I bought my wife flowers and a card for her birthday left it on the kitchen table--I later found them ripped up and thrown out of the window.
One time, my mother came to visit me, and before she left I gave her a kiss. When my wife came home, the girl ran to her yelling "I saw Alex kissing another woman!"
If we are talking, she will either butt in and start asking my wife silly questions to get her attention, or will say something like her cell phone is ringing when it isn't.
Now it's escalating to something more serious--she has developed an ongoing antic of undressing with her door wide open, and when I walk past, she'll scream "MOM! Alex is looking at my private parts!" Last night, she walked out of the shower and into the hall butt naked where I was on the phone and screamed that. Mind you, I was on the phone with my BOSS of all people.
You know, the last person I thought I would butt heads with would be a 9 year old girl--I would have thought it would be a mother in law! I try to be mature about this, but feuding back and forth with a 9 year old is getting to be tiresome and it's really starting to make me feel 9 myself?
How do I diffuse the situation without dropping her off on some remote island somewhere?
- josaphine_hopeLv 41 decade agoFavorite Answer
First thing is to realize that it's probably got nothing to do with you, but more to do with the fact that her mom remarrying is a very clear message to her that her parents are not getting back together - and she may see you as the cause of that. Not that that is right, but try to be patient and realize that this is where it is coming from.
Next - you and your wife need to have a chat. Address the concerns that you have and that you would like to find a way to stop this behavior NOW - together. Don't automatically take on the role of disciplining the child as that can cause a bigger rift between you and your wife. Talk about what you each expect of your step-daughter and also what you expect each other to take on for responsibilities as far as discipline and such goes. In my opinion, if you are taking on a parental role with the child and the only one home with her at times - then you need to be able to discipline her and parent her. But that being said, there may be some things that your wife will want to handle herself - and you need to set those clearly defined boundary lines for your sake AND for your stepdaughter's.
Then your wife should talk with your stepdaughter - alone. This way the girl does not feel ganged up on. She should have a heart to heart and discuss things like what YOUR role is to be in her life - that you are not trying to be anything more than her friend...etc.
Lastly - have a family meeting. Work with your stepdaughter to lay down some ground rules that you expect from her - and also a set of consequences for breaking these ground rules (one of them should be "close your door while dressing/undressing"). Write these down in a type of "family contract". She should be able to talk about things that she needs/wants from you two as parents, as well. You should all sign the family contract (this isn't a real contract, it just makes things seem more serious to your stepdaughter). This gives a clear-cut explanation of what each of you expects from the other, and when kids know what to expect - they adapt a lot better to the changes that are coming at them.
Just my two cents! Good luck!
- ?Lv 41 decade ago
Well it's too late to say, "You knew she had a child when you married her." because I can tell it makes no difference to you what so ever, so I will give you some friendly advice.
See, children who come from broken homes (parents separate, divorce, etc.) usually cling on to dear life to the only parent they have left out of fear of losing them. They get jealous and competitive and they will do all they can to make sure they get what they want. Now yes, she is only 9 years old and I tell you now, if you don 't learn to love this child, spend time with this child and show this child that she too is a vital member of your new family, then you're in for a horrific ride.
It's not her place to be the "bigger person" it's yours. You are the adult, you are the role model. What happends if you and your wife get pregnant, is she going to be a burden or a big sister. There is a difference and children feel it, they take a look, a sign, a gesture and go with it. So you may not really like kids, just pretend you do. Hey, I don't like kids and I have 3 of them. It's okay- but you must be real. You have to deal with this the best way you can and you can not expect your new wife to choose between her child or her man.
Men are replacable- Your child is not.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
She's probably feeling confused about you being around and wants you to know that she is Mommy's little girl and you are an intruder. Stop fighting with her, that's what she's looking for. Ask mom if it's okay for you to discipline the girl by putting her in time out or assigning extra chores for behavior. Sit the kid down and have a conversation with her; tell her you would never take her mom away from her but sometimes you and your wife need to be alone together. Let her know that telling lies isn't going to be tolerated, I'd see if she could visit a shelter for abused kids and show her how good she has it. Tell her she will be paying for repairs/replacement Wii by doing chores to earn the money for it.
- 1 decade ago
This is no joke!!! I would let my wife know that this is really starting to rub you thte wrong way. Let her know that you understand \what her child may ne going through, but there are some rules that must go into effect. Like the whole nudity thing. A mother should always teach ehr daughter to undress behind clothes doors, and with a man in the house she needs to enforce that. Things like this could get you in a mess of trouble if the wrong person hears it. Address these things with your wife beofre they get all out of hand.
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- 1 decade ago
LOL =) Okay I know it's not funny but it kinda is (the island part of course!!) I married the love of my life, whom has no children yet of his own However I have 3... (go a head & say it YAY!!) I have 13yr. & 6yr. son's & 9yr. princess. So I totally understand the age. First off let me start with.... mom has to address the problem!! Unfortunately you can not fix it without mom on your team. Hubby & I took a step-parenting class to better explain my part in our marriage & his. I had to understand that the majority of the problems need to be addressed by me because I am the biological parent. However with that said I do not address any issue that disrespect him... he has to address those. Either way both of you have to come as a team in front & behind the child, mom needs to let you discipline when you see fit & mom needs to be firm when you do. (she can not for any reason go behind your back & change the out come!!) It tells the child that mom always has final say & the child can & will manipulate the situation. I share custody of all 3 with dad & regardless of dad you being the step-parent need to have authority in your family as well as mom. Good luck & express to mom that you need to have a unity when it comes to the child.
- TX MomLv 71 decade ago
This really weird. I've seen spiteful, outrageous behavior before, just not on a 9 yo.
Definitely a job for the experts. Psychiatrist & Therapist. Get a checkup, too. www.nami.org can help you find a dr & therapist in your area.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
She's probably having a hard time coping with having a new man in her life. Also I'm sure she believes she can get her mom to get rid of you. I'd say get her into therapy, you never know when that kind of behavior will turn into bigger lies that might get you into trouble.
- 1 decade ago
Sound like you need to tell your wife to discipline her or you're leaving.
Maybe she doesn't realize it's getting as out of hand as it is.
I know I would be pissed if I were you and I would tell my husband to straighten his kid out or I'm gone.
You didn't sign up for that and you don't have to deal with it.
Plus she could have gotten you fired.