SPARC Forums

Main Forums => Second Families => Topic started by: Rakira on Jun 10, 2009, 02:20:08 AM

Title: Blind sided by step daughter
Post by: Rakira on Jun 10, 2009, 02:20:08 AM
I have been with my wife for over 5 years. She has a 14 year old daughter who recently told us that she wants to move in with her father. Her father is a nice enough guy, but the reasons she tells her mom do not seem like enough of a reason to switch school, relocate, ect.
Things she does not like.
-Rules, grades are enforced in the house by cell phone usage times. Better grades = more cell phone time.
-Chores, every night she does dishes and she sweeps/mops the floors once ever two weeks.
-Clean room, (Does not happen often)
She also said that our family is not as "Family" like as her father's household. Her dad lives with his girlfriend in a house they bought together. His girlfriend has a son that is 12 and a daughter that is 9 (not his). They have been together for 5+ years too and do not plan on getting married. My step-daughter regularly sleeps in the son's bedroom in his bunkbed instead of her own room.
The blind sided part is that she is very unhappy with me. She blames all the rules on me, says I am mean because I made my own son (3 year and 1 years old) eat an onion when he didn't want to. This hurt me a ton. I felt like I have dedicated the last 5 years of my life trying to be the best step-parent I could. But in the end she does not see any of it.
It is rather unfortunate, and I suppose I am just venting. I do not want to vent to my wife because she is already heart broken over the whole thing.
I am worried that my step-daughter is wanting to relocate for the wrong reasons. At her mom's house, she gets almost all A's. She did track/drama this year. She was in 3 plays, had a couple boy friends, has lots of regular friends, ect. But she does have rules and expectations. I also think she may be unhappy about the time her mom spends with her new boys.
I am worried that she is wanting to relocate because her dad's house right now is the fun house. No worries about school, extra activities, and teaching responsibility. I am also worried this will drive a wedge in the already weakened bond her mother and her share.
I suppose I will try to suggest family counciling again, although it never gets pursued.
Any advice would be great.
Title: Re: Blind sided by step daughter
Post by: Kitty C. on Jun 10, 2009, 10:40:56 AM
Just because she says she wants to live with Dad doesn't mean it's going to happen.  For one, Dad would first have to file a petition for modification of custody.  Second, once he does he has to prove  that the modification is due to a 'significant change of circumstance' with the child.  What you're describing doesn't cut it.  Besides, even if this issue did make it to court, it's highly unlikely that a judge would allow a custody change just because 'it's more fun at Dad's house'. 
What this actually sounds like is normal teenage behavior.  The difference with teenagers of split parents is that they have a tendency to play one parent against the other.  Actually, practically ALL teens will try it at some point, but it's just easier for teens who have two homes.
What I would recommend is maybe seeking out a counselor or therapist, especially one who specializes with teenagers, and see if these issues can be worked out
Title: Re: Blind sided by step daughter
Post by: Rakira on Jun 10, 2009, 12:56:36 PM
Thank you for your reply. My wife has gotten in touch with her high school to ask for recommended therapist that they have worked with before. I hope every turns out for the better. She also is looking into getting some legal advise. As much as I like to browse the internet, I know that I only find a small percentage of actually what would happen.
Does anyone have a good attorney they could recommend for washington state that specializes in this type of situation? Right now we are pretty much at ground zero of what I fear will be rather unpleasent for both parties. It would be nice to not have to pick a lawyer out of the yellow pages or from a webpage.
Her dad has jumped at the chance to try and get custody, unfortunately, it will mean that lots of arguements and hard times are ahead for everyone.
I have my fingers crossed he will see getting his daughter some counseling will be the best choice for everyone involved.
Title: Re: Blind sided by step daughter
Post by: Kitty C. on Jun 10, 2009, 03:05:21 PM
Dad can make as much noise as he wants to........if he doesn't satisfy the court's description of 'significant change of circumstance', it's a moot point.  Just beware of Dad making idle threats of 'taking her away', because he doesn't have a crystal ball and can see into the future as to how a judge would rule.  This is a trick often used to stress out the other parent into thinking what they're saying will happen, but unless and until it's a court order, it's anybody's guess as to what the outcome will be.
If you are looking for legal assitance, you will want someone who specializes in family law.  Law is as specialized as healthcare these days and you want to look for someone who devotes the majority of their practice to the specific need you have.
Title: Re: Blind sided by step daughter
Post by: Rakira on Jun 11, 2009, 10:49:08 PM
My wife suggested counseling, but her ex just thinks its a way to buy time and is not happy about it. He does not think my step-daughter needs it.
In the parenting agreement, it says all non-emergency medical treatments need to be a joint decision. It sounds like she is in a hard spot, she thinks her daughter needs it but may not be able to provide it for her.
My wife scheduled an appointment for next week and asked the ex if he will or will not agree. I sure hope he does.
Title: Re: Blind sided by step daughter
Post by: Kitty C. on Jun 12, 2009, 08:15:15 AM
Go through the motions for the counseling so that it's documented, even if BF backs out of it.  That way, if BF does take it to court, you have proof that you tried to work this out and he refused.
BTW, I'm not sure if this is considered 'medical'.......something you might want to get clarified if BF takes this to court.
Title: Re: Blind sided by step daughter
Post by: cc on Dec 30, 2011, 11:18:44 PM
Take a deep breath and realize that there is no more dramatic creature on the planet than a 14 year old girl. And they have no filter on their mouths, so don't beat yourself up about this. I'm pretty mild mannered in my 40's, but I remember being 14 like it was yesterday, and I felt completely justified in tormenting my parents - and they were married.
I think it's wise to get ahold of a counselor, and just deal with this problem one step at a time. But don't stress about it, 90% of this is her age rearing it's mouthy head  : )