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My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! #402805 04/04/08 11:03 PM
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bradybeachmom7 Offline OP
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I am hoping that I can get some much needed advice here. I have been married for 5 years to a man who has 3 kids who are currently 13, 10 and 8. The older two are girls - only one of which is difficult. (I have three kids of my own too - just to keep things really interesting!) The oldest stepdaughter (13 yrs) has been wreaking havoc with me since I first met her dad. She used to tell him what he could and could not do. Then she went into this phase where she would throw fits for hours. Then she told her mother that she was being abused so we were investigated. Then she went to behaving in teasing and provocative manners online and with my husband. Her mother has borderline personality disorder, so I understand that she is not coming from a stable place. I honestly have tried to talk with the child, be understanding, ignore her, everything and nothing really works. She absolutely will do anything to be the center of attention at all times. She flirts with her dad - throwing her hair around and giggling and pretending that she is so stupid as to forget the days of the week (and I am absolutely not exaggerating - she did it a couple of weeks ago.) She won't talk at all if I am in the room, but the second that I leave, she swoops in on her dad and starts this flirty manipulative behavior. I don't feel comfortable in my own house when she is around. I don't know - maybe I am just too sensitive to things, but I don't have any problems whatsoever with my other stepkids. Can anyone offer any suggestions????

Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: bradybeachmom7] #402809 04/04/08 11:12 PM
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one word....therapy. This girl sounds like she needs it. And if her mother has mental issues it would be good to get the girl checked out. These things can be hereditary.

Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: Froggy_Moo] #402826 04/05/08 01:04 AM
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Robin Crime Editor Offline
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I second the suggesiton - but may I throw in all family therapy? Her behavior has got to have been noticed by everyone. Therefore, it has had an effect on everyone.

You don't say how her father is dealing with this....how about the other kids, including your own....??





Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: Robin Crime Editor] #402841 04/05/08 02:06 AM
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bradybeachmom7 Offline OP
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Hi - thanks for the replies. We have tried some counseling, but have had trouble with that too. My husband and I went to counseling to try and find some common ground on how to handle her but each time we left he was just angry with me because I brought up things in counseling that I had not mentioned to him before. We tried taking her to a counselor too, but each attempt that we have made at that just seems to make her worse. By that, I mean that everytime she gets attention from anyone for any reason, she acts out even more. We had a psychologist tell us to ignore her when she is acting badly, but be sure to acknowledge her when she is behaving the way that is acceptable and that helped for a while, but currently she sort of "comes on" to her dad and he is obviously uncomfortable with it, but he is afraid if he says anything to her he will lose her. I understand his fears, but just don't know what to do with it. We don't have any trouble with the other kids at all. Whenever she pulls her stuff, the other kids just ignore her and keep their distance. She is really snotty to everyone except her dad (and me when she needs something.)

Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: bradybeachmom7] #402864 04/05/08 03:19 AM
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To me, it sounds like this girl needs a little more than just counseling; she may need to go into an intense therapy program for a few weeks.

It is very hard to hear that, I know. But i have hd to do the same thing with my oldest son 16, who has Asperger's. His problems are not sexual in nature, but violent. But both things can be just as destructive.

I know we have an editor on here who specializes in mental
healt, and particlualry girls - so I'll see if I can get her to come take a peek at this thread and give her opinion.

Just from my perspective, it soundes like this young woman has possibly been sexually abused at some point in her life. Not everyone that has been raped shies away from it, some actually grow an obsession with it, especially acting out sexually with people they deem "safe".

I pray this is not the case - but I think there is way more going on that just "normal" blended family angst.

Last edited by Michelle_Launch; 04/05/08 03:26 AM.

Michelle Taylor
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Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: Chelle - Marriage Editor] #402866 04/05/08 03:30 AM
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Does your step daughter live with her mother most of the time? Is another male around? I am worried that she is being sexually abused by someone and this is just how she gets attention now.

I kind of agree that you all should ignore her behavior, but I don't see anything wrong with her father telling her "No, daughter, this is not how you behave. If you cannot act normal you can go to your room." or something... I mean she needs to be told when she is doing it that it is not acceptable. And she should be told by her father.

How does your husband want to handle this?



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Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: Stephanie - Weight Loss] #402877 04/05/08 03:54 AM
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Quote:
I kind of agree that you all should ignore her behavior, but I don't see anything wrong with her father telling her "No, daughter, this is not how you behave. If you cannot act normal you can go to your room." or something... I mean she needs to be told when she is doing it that it is not acceptable. And she should be told by her father.


Yes I agree with Stephanie,

Your daughter needs to learn where appropriate physical boundaris are. Otherwise she is going to be one of the teens that winds up pregnant, with a venereal disease, or date-raped somewhere in her future

By having a male authority figure demonstrate where these boundaries are, it will stikc in her mind better for dating when (and if she is ever) ready.


Michelle Taylor
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Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: Stephanie - Weight Loss] #402883 04/05/08 04:05 AM
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bradybeachmom7 Offline OP
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She lives with us 1/2 the time and lives with her mother, stepdad and stepsisters the other 1/2. I honestly do not think that she has ever been sexually violated by anyone. Her mother broke up their family when she had an affair with a former boyfriend when the kid was 6. But even before that, I know that her mother had jealousy issues with how the daughter would behave with her dad. The sexual behavior is not new - she used to just crawl and lay all over my husband. He did put a stop to that - he still hugs her and sits by her and stuff, but he does not allow her to crawl all over him. She has been talking about being sexy since she was 8. I know that the counselor that she was seeing asked her if she had been touched inappropriately and she denied anything like that. Last weekend, we went shopping and she was pushing her dad to buy her these super short shorts. He told her no that she needed to pick out some bermudas because he did not need a 13 who thinks that she is sexy. The next day she went and tried on this mini skirt that was so short that you could see the base of her fanny. He commented that that was not appropriate and she just giggled and proceeded to crawl on the floor to go under the door of the dressing room.

Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: bradybeachmom7] #403066 04/05/08 06:02 PM
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Hi. I'm the depression editor here and I have my own counseling site independently. There are a lot of dynamics going on here -- first of which sounds like you have tried many things a few times but have not really stuck with any one strategy. That's mistake #1. If you saw some improvement with only rewarding your stepdaughter's positive behavior then I would stick with that approach for right now. Even if it doesn't work 100% of the time. It seems to have had some impact - so I would go with that.

THe next thing is that the family should definitely be in counseling. At the very least you, her and your husband. But optimally - the mom should be included as well as her husband. You should not just stop just because you may not see any immediate results. And the fact that your stepdaughter started acting out even more after therapy - leads me to believe that the therapist may have been striking some chords with her that she wanted to leave alone. So go back to it. And stick with it.

Another thing is that your stepdaughter's behavior is of course not "typical" behavior BUT could be a result of many factors. Sometimes the stress of a step-parenting situation affects children in different ways. IT's also possible that she rarely got any attention from her mother in her formative years and looked for it from her dad -- but saw her dad give her mother "sexualized" attention, and interpreted that as the way she needed to get attention from him. I'm sure your husband is a wonderful man -- but I wonder just how much time he was able to devote exclusively to his daughter in the middle of a bipolar relationship then a new marriage and a lot more children in the mix. Perhaps he needs to model for her how their relationship should be - and how she can have his attention and love without it being sexualized and inappropriate.

Finally, there is also the chance that your stepdaughter has suffered some sort of sexual abuse by someone and is oversexualized -- therefore she exhibits those behaviors when she is around your husband. Another reason why she should be in therapy long term. Because you just don't know. Parents often find out much later (in their child's adulthood) that they have been abused. Children still do not tell. So just because she said she hasn't - doesn't mean that it is so.

Bottom line -- all of this is attention seeking behavior. While I know it must be hard as she is between two homes - and both have other children - this child is crying out for attention and validation. Work on ways to give that to her in positive ways. Get her involved in activities, sports, clubs. And then support her in these things. Let her know -- that you aren't going anywhere. That you care for her no matter what she does. And eventually through therapy and modeling - she will learn that she does not need to act out -- but that she has your full attention.

I wish you much success with this. I know it must be difficult. But keep working at it. You will be so fulfilled and proud of how you've shaped this young girl's life -- in a few years:)

Lisa Angelettie MSW


Lisa Angelettie MSW
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Re: My teen stepdaughter is driving me bananas! [Re: bradybeachmom7] #403108 04/05/08 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted By: bradybeachmom7
The oldest stepdaughter (13 yrs) has been wreaking havoc with me since I first met her dad. She used to tell him what he could and could not do. Then she went into this phase where she would throw fits for hours. Then she told her mother that she was being abused so we were investigated. Then she went to behaving in teasing and provocative manners online and with my husband. Her mother has borderline personality disorder, so I understand that she is not coming from a stable place. I honestly have tried to talk with the child, be understanding, ignore her, everything and nothing really works. She absolutely will do anything to be the center of attention at all times. She flirts with her dad - throwing her hair around and giggling and pretending that she is so stupid as to forget the days of the week (and I am absolutely not exaggerating - she did it a couple of weeks ago.) She won't talk at all if I am in the room, but the second that I leave, she swoops in on her dad and starts this flirty manipulative behavior. I don't feel comfortable in my own house when she is around.


Hi Bradybeachmom,

I am so sorry you are dealing with this issue. It sounds like a nightmare. I am a certified life coach and for what it's worth, I will share with you what I see happening with your stepdaughter.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that her mother has BPD. BPD is a serious mental illness which has genetic factors, and from your description of your stepdaughters behavior, she very likely has inherited the disorder from her mother. This disorder is triggered by anything that feels like abandonment. With a mother suffering from BPD, this could have been triggered when she was an infant, because people who have it cannot form deep bonds with other human beings, even their own children. Or it may have been triggered when her parents were separated. As her stepmother, please don't take anything she does personally, or feel personally responsible for treating her symptoms. Chances are, there is nothing you can do single handedly to earn her love and trust.

BPD is one of the most difficult mental illnesses to treat, because the suffers do not trust anyone fully. Therefore, creating a trusting relationship with a therapist is exceptionally rare. Most therapists unfortunately will not treat a person with BPD. It is very often misdiagnosed.

Your best bet is to connect with a specialist in your area who is willing to treat your stepdaughter. Also see if there is a support group that you can join.

Please take a look at this website on teens with BPD:
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