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My name is Jen and I just joined today after feeling like I have nowhere else to turn. Currently, I am a stay at home mom to my 2 daughters and one step daughter (all school age). My daughters both have different BDs who have never been involved and it's better that way. My step daughter's BM decided to not be involved this past January after relinquishing custody of her daughter this past August. I believe in the end, her opting out will be well worth it, as she has no positive attributes or input for her only daughter. For right now, we are struggling with trying to get my 10 year old step daughter to adjust to living her (she regularly visited us before the custody switch). After 7 months, it just keeps getting worse. Everyday there are battles to get her to be honest, to account for herself, to eat without giving a problem (gagging, vomiting). We have had her in therapy, but she is not interested in opening up and we find ourselves constantly spinning our wheels.
It's a long and involved story, but I won't flood this post with it just now. I'm an open book, so feel free to ask questions, offer advice, etc! At the end of every day I question why it was such a good idea to take on this endeavor. I'm running out of steam and patience!
Welcome to JM and Blended Families! We have full custody of my step sons and we had initial problems with the adjustment despite them visiting often prior to moving in, especially with the oldest who was 10 at the time. He had a weird relationship with his mom, still does, so it's sometimes still difficult.
Have you ever heard of an organization called Big Brothers Big Sisters? I was a Big Sis for a couple of years.
The program gives children (and really, she's at the perfect age for this) a trusted adult outside of the family to just spend time with. And in that spending time, she may find that her Big Sister is someone who doesn't lecture, doesn't judge or press for information, it's someone who is just there. It has had a big impact on lots of kids, and might be worth at least calling for some information.
I haven't been on this website long enough to post links, but usually they go through your local YMCA or you can Google it.
Thanks for the support and advice ladies! To answer some questions: my husband is as fed up with her behaviors as I am, as are the other two siblings. Everyone sees my step daughter doing ridiculous things for attention and everyone is flat out exhausted. We have literally tried everything to get the behavior to change. We have changed our methods, simplified things, etc. Nothing works. I know we just have to stick it out and hope it will get better as time progresses, but right now I am just ready to throw in the towel!
Perhaps the only good part, for us (the parents) is that the BM of my step daughter is not involved. Unknown if she'll pop up again in the future (we'll worry about that when it happens). We have left the door open to Vanessa (step daughter) to talk about her feelings but she just doesn't exercise that want and let's be honest, who can force her?
Honestly, the BM probably sent her to live here as punishment to us (she groomed her well and taught her these behaviors) and in the past tried to revoke her decision because she was no longer getting child support. The history of the BM is long and disgusting, but I completely understand why we are dealing with these issues. I am just exhausted that after 7 months of having her full time, therapists and teachers telling us we're doing everything right and it not feeling right at all!
I will look into the Big Brothers/Big Sisters thing. Sounds like an avenue that could help! Thanks for that suggestion! Therapy just doesn't work because she doesn't want it and she's too afraid to open up anyway.