I think that there just needs to be some communication and I think that it can be expressed in a fun way.
Your step daughter is probably in a downward spiral just trying to maintain right now, because you have provided a stable and what seems to be a GREAT environment she needs to get herself back up. The word STRUCTURE is coming to mind for everyone's sake, your grandson and yourself especially.
I would set up a meeting between your step daughter and yourself, something pleasant like having a tea or going out to a restaurant, somewhere that you can both focus without interruptions. Prepare a few notes.
Your introduction is to set the tone of peace. You want to tell her why you are getting together so that she isn't spending the whole conversation wondering what you are getting at, so tell her that you need to start working as a team and create some schedules together. There isn't a single organization in the world that doesn't have an operating manual or system!! They make life easier.
You want to make sure that her mind is open and that she doesn't feel as if she is being picked on or centered out. You don't want to stress anything but you want to make sure she feels that she is not doing anything wrong, that she is good, you want to let her know that she made the right choice to come home and that you are happy she is there. You want to point out all of the good things that you can. You want to tell her that you understand her situation and what she has been through and that she doesn't need to explain herself, but that it is time now to work together as a team looking towards the FUTURE and the life that you are building for yourselves and your grandson.
Make lists of points and bring them with you so that you can be relaxed and thorough.
After a smooth introduction where there is understanding and she is in gear to think about what changes she will be making I would pull out a calendar my the month, and I would make a WEEKLY CHART. I would then have prepared a chart of DUTIES AND EXPECTATIONS with 4 columns that lists all of your duties, all of your husbands duties, all of your step daughters duties, and your grandsons duties.
Make these lists as detailed as you can so that she can see all of the things that you and your husband do. In order for people to be grateful they have to SEE what they are grateful for. Your Step daughter is probably a bit paralyzed with her troubles and I am sure that on some level she knows what a blessing you are. But she has to SEE what it is she is getting. Don't stress any points or emphasize all that she is getting for free, just make a detailed list of what she is getting so that you can use it as a platform to ask for what you need in return.
Then show her a list of what duties and expectations you have of your stepdaughter and grandson. I would also have a copy of a tentative weekly schedule where you have listed what you expect done each week. I would also take this opportunity to remind her that you are a team and that you will not nag or bother her to do what she is asked to do because that is not fun for you, that is not who you are or who you want to be. You want to enjoy your life.
Then go to the monthly calendar where its filled out with all of the fun stuff that you have ahead of you. It is important that she look to the future and get involved in planning activities so that she can move further away from the past that she needs to leave behind.
If she gets argumentative, whiny, rude ignore it, do not engage. People that are troubled have learned to communicate this way and they have to learn .... that you do not deserve it, so stay silent so she can see she made a mistake and then just carry on with what you were saying as if nothing happened. This is showing her that you see HER and that you know that she is better than what she is being.
You all have the potential to have a wonderful relationship with one another and by helping her grow you will be giving her a wonderful gift, one that she will probably return in the future when you need someone to take care of you and your husband. Its all about attitude, and change is possible... if she starts seeing the power that she can have by taking control, creating a path for herself, a foundation for her son and teaching him how to create his own path,.... building a life that she loves.
I have more so say...but lets start with this, once these changes are made I can share ideas on how to get her focused on building.
Diet and exercise are two keys that are needed and will help her change her life.
Parenting is an opportunity to give tools to a child so that they can be independent..and let their light shine bright.. a future leader... as we are all on this earth to improve on life in one way or another.
We are ALL programmed, almost like a computer, what you put in you can get out.
We can be anything that we want to be just by training, practice. What have we been practicing? What habits have we fallen into and how we CAN change just by practicing new habits.
Change is a battle within ourselves... we can see and have power over both sides.. we just need to see the game.
Time to get a plan. Find an apartment for her and help her get into it.
It's unfair to expect you to take on all this responsibility of another family but I suspect - since you wait on him hand and foot - your husband thinks you are wonder woman and will tolerate/accept all this. Time to put your foot down. Let him know your maid days are over. Hire a houscleaner, if needed.
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