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Old 07-10-2008, 11:53 PM   #1
davespurl
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Help with my stepfamily
Hi All!

I need serious help. Here's the deal:

For the most part, things have gone really well when my 2nd husband and I married. I have my 3 daughters who stay one week with me and the next with their dad. Every other week, with each parent. My new husband loves my daughters and though things were difficult in the beginning when we all moved into a new house together, they got better quickly. Things changed to "almost perfect" when my eldest daughter left for college in the fall of 2006. My middle daughter is 16 and she is the one who has always had the best relationship of the 3 with my husband (their stepfather). However, now that she is 16, things have gone to HELL! She is snotty and argues with him like she never has before. (Me too). The hard part is she tells me that its because he never listens. And he thinks he does and he's perfect. And does nothing wrong and he is always open and listens to everyones opinions. But he doesn't and he won't hear that from me.

Help! What do I do?
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:04 AM   #2
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Sixteen is a difficult age even in intact families. Kids that age know everything and think no one listens to them. It's a very common issue. Have you considered some counseling? Sometimes it takes an impartial therapist to make people understand what the problems are and how they can deal with them. In the meantime, time and patience, time and patience.

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davespurl (07-11-2008)
Old 07-11-2008, 01:20 AM   #3
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Yes, I know, you are right. Time and patience. Its true and I usually am the most patient person I know. Its just hard because its been so easy and now after four years, its gotten so difficult. Thanks for responding.

p.s. I'm davespurl cause my husband's name is dave and i'm his pearl! Get it?
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:57 AM   #4
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Being 16 is tough. She wants people to hear her and listen to what she says. Something we used was to rephrase and repeat back, so a person knows they are being listened to. You might suggest that to Dave, and see what he says. No way anyone goes through those years unscathed.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:33 AM   #5
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I agree with everyone else. The thing with being 16 (and it wasn't that long ago for me) is that you aren't a child anymore, but you're not an adult. With her sister going off to college she became the oldest, am I right? This makes her feel like she should be treated like an adult...but not all the time. I remember feeling mad a lot when I was 16 because I wanted my parents to trust me and let me do what I want, but I also wanted boundaries. I think that boundaries are very important. My parents weren't super strict, but they had rules- No boys in the house when they aren't home, no boys in my room ever....you get the idea. I also had responsibilities- like cleaning up after dinner. I'm sure your daughter does too, but my main point is that she's probably going to be a snotty, rude teenager for a couple years and then she'll be an adult. Probably one you can go to lunch with, or knit with! Don't lose faith! She needs you more now than ever.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:33 PM   #6
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16 is a hard age. I think the hardest time in raising my daughter was 15 & 16.

I suggest trying to talk it out reasonably with her and ask her to come up with reasonable suggestions to help communication between her and your husband. Just remember that this is very normal adolescent behavior. Keep your eye out for anything that you think are clear warning signs of something more dangerous and trust your gut in that regard. But if she just seems to be more argumentative, moody and "snotty" with no other negatives I would count to ten, remind yourself that this too shall pass, perhaps give her some time to calm down and engage in conversation with her.

Of course, if she's anything like my daughter you'll be talking at her more than having a conversation with a few mmhmm's or nods when you ask if she understands, but eventually she'll relent Here's keeping our fingers crossed that it'll be sooner rather than later and you'll have peace in your home again

Now, the other thing is to reiterate to your husband that this is pretty normal adolescent stuff and not to take it personally, but instead do his part as her dad. I know that my BF had the hardest time with taking my DD's behavior personally. I had to remind myself that he didn't have the opportunity to be a dad from day 1. Its hard to walk in, be dad and then have the kid get angry and blame you for all their problems. Stepdad's want to be special to the new family (good one's do that is) and it hurts to feel rejected. Its hard enough for biological families to get through their kids' adolescence and I venture to guess its even harder for steps.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:57 PM   #7
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Thanks evona! Yes, my husband does get his feelings hurt and takes it personally. I'm trying to get him to understand this too. He's having a harder time dealing with the behavior change than I am!!!
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:32 PM   #8
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16 is a hard, hard age like everyone else has said! My mom and I have always been super close but once 15-16 hit all bets were off. I think we fought almost the entire year. Mom told me recently that between my older sister( who is 3 yrs older) and I, she was ready to give up parenting and move to Fiji. But we all survived. I just asked her and she said the only way she survived was reminding herself that this was absolutely normal and that she probably did it to her parents.
I know it's hard but it will pass! Tell Dave to hang in there. Somewhere deep inside is the daughter you both know and love.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:50 PM   #9
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16 is it's own special brand of insanity. It'll pass eventually.
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:18 PM   #10
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I can relate in many ways...being a step-mom myself to some kids that have gone through a rough time due to divorce and their mom's lack of stability in her own house. We have full custody though.

What I can tell you is that if you can find a good counselor, it can keep your marriage and your relationship with your daughter on track. If she is open to counseling too, I'd recommend getting a separate one for her so that she feels she can safely confide in someone rather than feel as though anything she says will go right to you - although if you prefer family counseling, that can be helpful too.

My step-daughter is pretty easy to deal with at age 17, but she was a bear at 13. Now my previously easy step-son is 14 and he is just like his sister was at that age...sigh. I remember telling my step-daughter when she would get into a snit that she had every right to feel any way she wants to but she does NOT have the right to spread it all around the house to us all so when she felt that way, she needed to go into her room and work it out - lie down, call a friend and complain about how awful we are, sit and pout, scream into a pillow, whatever. Find a constructive way to deal with it and come out when you are human again. What do you know, it worked.

Good luck...PM me if you need to vent or chat...hugs to you. Parenting isn't easy (understatement of the year) - and try to remember that step-parenting is at least as hard too. My husband forgets that on a routine basis!

The best sign I've seen in years was one that said 'Parenting a teenager is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree' - that pretty much sums it up.
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