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Trish, I think you're totally on the right track. Getting her involved in some fun family exercise each day will obviously help her physically--but I think it'll help her mentally, too, in that she will get some obviously much-needed attention during your walks (attention that she doesn't seem to get when she's away from you two!). Sounds like when she's not with you, she's on the way to a lifestyle of eating-to-feel-better. Maybe if she can see that exercising and eating healthily will make her feel even BETTER than food, she'll turn to that instead. I admire you for your dedication to this. You sound like you are such a positive influence in her life! And six weeks can make such a difference. When my DH and I had our SD for three weeks straight last summer, she slimmed down AND grew noticeably taller, plus her whole persona seemed "lighter," if that makes any sense! (Hm. Nutritious food makes such a difference, doesn't it?!)


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Hey Trish!

Also think about water stuff, swimming, canoeing - kids are so drawn to that in the hot summer, and they don't even realize how much exercise it is!

12 is a real "in-betweener" age for girls. They are really feeling that pull of wanting to be grown up, but not feeling secure about themselves yet. Throw in a poor body image, and a divorce situation - and her being a little clingy is really not terribly out of place at all.

I know my daughter (turned 11 last week) goes back and forth between wanting to sit in my lap and cuddle and wanting to wear makeup. And she is going back and forth daily about being excited/scared to death of starting middle school in the fall. Daily? Heck, she'll make the statement "I can't wait..." then follow it with a "you don't think this will happen?"

Top off everything with a few little starting off hormones thast are firing - and you've got a mood shifting, semi-insane, adolescent girl. Not too different from this mood shifting, semi-insane, post-hormonal woman! grin


Michelle Taylor
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Trish,

I hope you'll keep us up to date about how the visit goes. Hang in there!


Shadra Bruce
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Oh wow, folks.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. Did I ever go into that one blind. I totally romanticized this visit. I thought we'd do stuff, we would learn, cook, exercise, and be a family.

Oh. My. God. It was having a surly demanding clingy lazy houseguest. Exercise lasted 3 days before the pout-'n-whine fest. Getting her to do ANYTHING other than sit on her butt (computer or TV) was like pulling teeth. Prying her out of bed in the morning involved an alarm clock and three personal visits from her father, usually terminating with a raised voice. She exhibited clear emotional manipulation tactics. What was worse was the constant know-it-all opinions, usually involving "You should (spend some outrageous amount of money to "fix" whatever she thought was inadequate)"

By the end I was a screaming harpy to poor DH, who didn't deserve it. I flat out resented her presence, her neediness, her selfishness, her inability to do anything without being nagged. I dreaded coming home at night, and was glad when I got pulled into 12 hour days and weekends at work. I ended up in tears every couple of days because I was totally convinced I was a horrible horrible person for feeling this way, and that I was totally screwing up.

Good things: she *did* lose some weight - her clothes were "falling off" and she was down to 176.

I never told her what exactly I thought of her sainted mother, who I heard a lot about.

I tried (and who knows if I succeeded or not) to teach rather than yell.

I found out yesterday that her parents' marriage was less than a year old when she was conceived; That wasn't an agreement, it was an unemployed 20-yr-old girl announcing she wanted a baby, and she was throwing out the birth control. Yes, it was his fault for going along, but I was appalled. We've been married for over two years, and we're just now getting totally and completely comfortable with this marriage thing. We're improving every day. I can't imagine having the stress of a helpless baby added to our marriage now, let alone if we were young and broke and having problems.

I do feel bad for her. I certainly wish she would hurry and grow the hell up, and our personalities do NOT mesh well besides, but she's a sweet kid. And that's the hard part, too. She certainly does not *look* like a kid, and I kept expecting her to act and react like an adult.

Here's hoping I didn't mess her up *too* much.

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Hey, Trish,
I'm so sorry it wasn't the visit you were envisioning. It's so hard when our expectations aren't even close to being met. I read somewhere before my DH and I were married that marriages in which one of the spouses already has a child end up in divorce 75% of the time due to the additional stress of the "step" dynamics. Anyone who's in this situation can understand that statistic at times; looks like you also experienced some of that stress! Try to remember that there will be ups as well as downs. The "downs" will really, really hurt and/or anger you sometimes, but those "downs" always come to an end. If you and your DH can ride it out, it's worth it. When will you see you SD again? Maybe next time will be better; maybe she had to get it out of her system, so to speak!?


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Wow, Trish. I am so sorry. I totally understand your frustration. Manipulative stepdaughters can be the most difficult people in the world to deal with. I hope when the dust settles you are able to see past the maniplulation and see the insecure little girl underneath...and be proud of yourself for biting your tongue til it bled to not dis her mother or wring her neck!!

Hang in there...


Shadra Bruce
Stepparenting
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