Difficult step daughter
I have a step daughter that gets everything she asked for but sooks every time I ask her to do anything.
We are building a new house and she cracked the shits because her bedroom was to small.
For Christmas I bought my wife a car and we planned to sell the old car to get some money back. After I bought the car my wife said we will keep the old one for the kids to practice with (she is on her L's. There are continual problems but if I say anything we argue. Its makes a relationship very difficult.
You don't mention how long you have been together, but the problem could lie with your wife because she has raised her daughter her way. It's the reason why you argue because you both have different views on parenting. You guys need to learn to live together and share with each other but if your wife can see no error or problem with her daughter's attitude, then you could be in for a frustrating relationship. If you just expects you to accept her daughter's attitude even if it grates, then you need to sit back and weigh your options.
I speak from personal experience where I attempted to 'cater' for 3 teenagers with a woman for 7 years. In the end I got out because not only did these kids put a hole in my pocket, but their mother continually supported their lousy attitudes. While I worked hard at trying to get these kids to appreciate others efforts for them, I eventually sat back and realised that I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't. Argue? it's the only thing we argued about and it was ongoing. It's because their mother raised them to be that way and she still runs after them now where there are in their mid twenties where they still live at home, by cooking their meals, picking up after them and running them all over town at all hours.
While I loved this woman, it wasn't worth the effort of having to forgo my values and standards (and I was forced to questioned hers and why was I with her) I was raised with and at the end of the day, these kids were supported by their mother in everything they did, whether it was right or wrong, and I was just expected to go along with it if I needed to be there. In the end, I didn't need to be there.
It all starts at home and most kids will live their whole life the way their formative years have molded them. In your circumstances, it starts with your wife IF she has a different opinion on how to raise children responsibly and it's your choice as to whether you want or need to be part of it.
"There are continual problems but if I say anything we argue."
So argue, then - surely? What's the problem? Don't you like arguments in a relationship? Clearly not. Why not? For believing that arguing itself unearths a fundamental incompatibility?
Do you suppose arguments might actually be vital and that there could be a finite amount of them to be had (in terms of the meatier sort), meaning, the sooner you get on with them the sooner they'll all be done and dusted? And do you suppose there are ways of arguing that are more like debating, whereby nobody gets hurt on any personal level whilst the issue gets hashed and resolved?
Do you suppose it's your hatred of entering into any 'argument' which allows your wife to fail to honour firm pre-agreements, such as selling the old car in order to offset the new one's cost? And are you SURE-sure-sure you made it clear it was a firm requisite or actually received her firm agreement?
Also, 'spoiled-ness' and other of her faults aside, what conclusion do you think a teen girl that's already been (her perception) rejected/not fought for by her natural father might form when it comes to how you, "dad number 2", show how you feel about her, on seeing to her dismay that her bedroom is a lot smaller than she (clearly) anticipated? Do you suppose terms like 'cracks the sh*t' demonstrate a lack of effort at understanding and empathising with her point of view?
Thanks for the feedback. Yes you are correct, I don't like arguments and sometimes this is a problem itself. We have arguments and nothing gets resolved and after the argument we are still shitty with each other and don't really talk to each other for a week or so. I also get worked up if we argue and say the wrong things and never seem to say what I really want to (Like always coming out of exams or interviews and remembering the answers when you get out but couldn't remember when you needed to) I sometimes write my concerns on paper but its not always appropriate and I think its a bit of a copout? (not sure what others think). I do keep quiet a lot as I don't think its healthy to continually criticising someone's children. (And my sister always says 'Pick your battles'.) Im just wondering if this is one to pick? With regards to 'crack the sh*t'. I wasn't actually there. These are the words my step son used when he told me.
Sorry Manalone, Yes its a bit hard to give a an opinion without some background but I was trying to keep it short?
I met my wife about 10 years ago. I have 3 girls now aged 20, 18 and 16, My wife has a daughter 17 and son 15.
When we met there were a few small instances. Taking clothes etc but I took it as she's young not a problem.
About 2 years later I bought a house with 3 bedroom and a spare living room to use as a bedroom. I agreed for her children to have their own bedroom and mine to share the other room as they were only staying 3 nights a week. Step daughter tells my girls "This is my house not yours". When friend were over she would say "they are my friends, you cant play with them". They were kids at the time and I didn't think it to much of a problem. When I heard her say the friends comment I sent her to her bedroom. The wife didnt talk to me for a day but that was that. She was a child.
As she has grown up she has been a normal child, probably better behaved than most and as with a lot of kids these days she just stays in her bedroom most of the time. And the fact that her mother does everything for her doesn't worry me most of the time its just that every now and then (maybe about once a month) she/they will do something, as you say, against my morals. Some examples I can think of:
The girls always got underwear mixed up so my oldest went and got a particular brand. Stepdaughter went and got exactly the same.
My two oldest girls needed braces. Step daughter said I want braces (apparently they are cool now?) My wife said step daughter went to dentist and he said she needed braces. I said the car salesman told me I also needed a new car. My teeth (like my girls were) are in a lot worse shape. There appeared to be nothing wrong with stepdaughters. I said that I need braces before stepdaughter. About a week later the step daughter walked in with braces. I didn't say anything. I'd already lost the argument.
We went away on holidays with the five children and wife made a rule that children would do the dishes. Next holiday (and a lot more since, are without my children) and the step children don't do the dishes. They don't do the dishes at home either, mum does everything. But, so I found out recently, my children were asked to clean their room by step daughter.
We got married about two years ago and I hired a large apartment on the gold coast for us all to stay in. My 18 year old wanted to invite her boyfriend, which I was happy with but step daughter was uncomfortable with that. We had the argument. The battle was worth fighting. Couldn't see how I could lose but everyone has their own ideas on what is right and wrong. I considered calling it off but we had organised other friend and family to be away with us so I hired an extra room for my children and they stayed in a separate room to us.
We have a side unit in the kitchen with family photos on it. I noticed the photos of my children moved back and things placed in front so I moved them forward. The next day they were to the back again. I dint argue I just made the comment.
Our children play a lot of sport and we watch sometime. Two basketball games in rooms next to each other and I watch one game and go to the other when there is a break or one of our children not on the court. My wife just stays and watches the one game.
As far as Step daughter with her dad. When we met she was staying with him every second weekend and for tea on Wednesdays. A few years ago she decided she didn't want to stay at her dads and doesn't.
As far as my relationship with her. As I say she is in her room most of the time. She doesn't come out and have a conversation she yell's for mum and mum goes into her room and talks to her.
If I ask her to put a dish in the dishwasher she will be shitty. Last time I asked her the following day I asked who's cake was in the fridge and I got "That's mine you cant have any"
As we are trying to sell the house I put new carpet in their bedrooms and asked them not to eat in their rooms. She still ate in the room. I said to the wife if they keep eating in the room I will not put carpet in the new bedroom. We went in about a week later to do some paint touch up and there were a heap of chocolate wrappers behind the bed. I just looked at my wife and didn't say anything. Last night I walked past her room and there was a bowl on her bed and a plate of toast on the floor. Should I put carpet in her new room?
There are also the sly things. I was fixing pipe under kitchen and yelled out not to use the water so step daughter stops watching movie and proceeds to use kitchen tap. One incident is fine. When does it become to much?
These are just some I can remember at the moment.
With regards to the agreement for selling the car. I said we would put the car on car sales. She said she would wash the car and get it ready for sale. We also discussed getting insurance for the new car so that it covers the kids driving on their L plates.
It was after I had bought the new car she said that we will keep the old car for the kids to drive. She said step daughter needs to keep learning in a manual and the new one is a auto. Comment was that the car should be kept so that it can be passed down through the children as they learn. Step daughter can use it and then pass down to step son. I think my 16 yo was missed ??
Also, stepson has part time job and already saving with plans to buy car that he wants. Three daughters also have part time jobs with savings. Step daughters comments "I don't want a job. What do I want a job for? Although to be fair this may have been a bit of a 'cheeky' comment as she has done some baby sitting and a couple of hours in a clothes shop. Just doesn't want to work at Macas.
Anyway I've rambles on to much (and got things off my chest) but wondering if the old car for the kids is worth the fight.
One hand says yes I was lied to and unfairly conned
One hand says It was a gift. The old car is hers to do what she wants.
One hand says the step daughter shouldn't be spoilt
One hand says don't be a grumpy old man
One hand says the proceeds of the sale of the car was going towards the holiday, now there will be no holiday.
I have to many hands!!
It's all very well to have 5 hands and try and juggle everything and your post shows that you are trying to keep everyone happy all because you are not supported with what you believe is the fair thing. If you and your wife 'enjoy' a good marriage apart from the odd hiccup then you'll be happy to keep juggling. The way you describe your stepdaughter's behavior would probably drive anybody around the twist because it's pretty much pure spite on her behalf and she has her mother's full support by the sound of it. It's plainly obvious that your step daughter disrespects you, but would you cop this sort of behavior from your own daughters?
While it's not your place to discipline her, it's your choice as to whether you need to keep copping it from both of them and while you have to co-operate with them, the alternative is to get the silent treatment which is basically controlling abuse. They are both as bad as each other. It's your wife's choice and it's her right to raise her children as she sees fit but it's not all OK for her to control you if you have differing opinions and this applies to your step daughter as well. You have as much right to an opinion just as they have. While you provide for them, a set of simple
rules is the norm but when you're kicked in the teeth and dare you say anything, you're flogging a dead horse. Your sister stated about picking your battles but going by your post there's bugger all you can win because they're lost to you before they begin! This is because your values and standards differ from theirs and you are committed to a marriage but you're crawling over broken glass to achieve it.
In short, while you allow it, they will continue to do it. Take your thoughts further..while your efforts are going into trying to sort a no win situation, your own children are missing out on quality Dad time. Two people make or break a marriage and you guys both should be putting in daily to make it work especially when there's two sets of children brought together. It takes an extra effort from everyone involved to make it work. Ask yourself if this is happening in your marriage and after all your efforts trying to keep EVERYONE happy in your extended family, are you being treated fairly?
What exactly do you mean by 'say the wrong things'? Can you give any examples?
If arguments get too easily out-of-hand or you're not used thinking on your feet when under fire or lack enough cognition to call Time Out for 10-30 minutes then, in actual fact, doing it via letter in the first instance and asking for the same back is a damn fine idea. I mean, how you feel and think are what count as the point, right, not the mere method of delivery? There's nothing inappropriate about stating in your opening paragraph, how, since verbal, face-to-face arguments seem to have proven non-productive, you thought a letter format might bring a more swift and smooth resolution. (Furthermore, it's impossible to interrupt a letter.
But here's another morsel of food for thought: Might your wife up until that pertinent point have failed to consider how her daughter might react to being given what by her experience is a small bedroom, meaning, possibly why she backtracked on the agreement over selling the old car, instead knee-jerk offering it to daughter either on yours or both of your behalves as an attempt to compensate and pacify (meanwhile, expecting you to cotton on to the tactic)?
Also, if you knew the kids needed a manual transmission for learning to drive, why did you switch to buying an automatic?
But anyway - here it is: " A few years ago she decided she didn't want to stay at her dads and doesn't."
A kid doesn't just "decide" something as life-changing as that. Something big had to have happened or come to a head. What was it, do you know?
She seems to be pendulum-ing between wanting your approval and status recognition (full-time daughter, part of the main cohabitational group) and then 'getting you back' for times when, as she sees it, you've failed to do either of them. Saying that, if she had a movie going at the point when you yelled out, can you actually be certain she'd heard you?