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Old 10-25-09, 05:29 PM   #1
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Parenting advice sought

Okay, here's the deal. I have 'inherited' my 13 year old step-daughter not quite 2 months ago. Her dad said that he couldn't control her anymore. I don't know what all kind of trouble she was into out there, other than she was facing time in juvenile hall. Charges were dropped, or received suspended sentence/probation.

My daughter (the human flight data recorder, nothing gets past her and can't keep her mouth shut ) announced that her sister just kissed a boy . When I inquired about this, she said it was no big deal, that she did all the time out in NC (where her dad is at). Luckily I had to take the oldest girl to work, or I might have said some things that I perhaps should not have.

I know that I need to talk to her, but am wary of just what to say. If I go too easy on her, she will use me as floor mat from now on. If I come down too hard, it just may push her further down a path that I'm afraid that she is already on.
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Old 10-25-09, 05:45 PM   #2
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Okay, here's the deal. I have 'inherited' my 13 year old step-daughter not quite 2 months ago. Her dad said that he couldn't control her anymore. I don't know what all kind of trouble she was into out there, other than she was facing time in juvenile hall. Charges were dropped, or received suspended sentence/probation.

My daughter (the human flight data recorder, nothing gets past her and can't keep her mouth shut ) announced that her sister just kissed a boy . When I inquired about this, she said it was no big deal, that she did all the time out in NC (where her dad is at). Luckily I had to take the oldest girl to work, or I might have said some things that I perhaps should not have.

I know that I need to talk to her, but am wary of just what to say. If I go too easy on her, she will use me as floor mat from now on. If I come down too hard, it just may push her further down a path that I'm afraid that she is already on.

Have her Mom handle it.
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Old 10-25-09, 05:48 PM   #3
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Old 10-25-09, 05:54 PM   #4
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Okay, here's the deal. I have 'inherited' my 13 year old step-daughter not quite 2 months ago. Her dad said that he couldn't control her anymore. I don't know what all kind of trouble she was into out there, other than she was facing time in juvenile hall. Charges were dropped, or received suspended sentence/probation.
How do you not know this girls history? Sounds like you need a heart to heart with the dad first so you can get some prospective....
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Old 10-25-09, 06:26 PM   #5
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She won't respect you if you don't stand your ground. Same goes for mom.
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Old 10-25-09, 06:31 PM   #6
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Have her Mom handle it.
Her mom can only do so much. The child is a "Daddy's Girl" and would probably best respond to me.
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Old 10-25-09, 06:40 PM   #7
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The heart to heart with the dad is crucial. Remember, you don't have to be blood related to be a father.
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Old 10-25-09, 06:41 PM   #8
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Ask her to invite the boy she kissed home. Be sure to be cleaning the shotgun when he arrives.

You might want mutter something about the metal plate in your head and the few of the boys your own daughter had over that just "disappeared"

Problem solved.
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Old 10-25-09, 06:54 PM   #9
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Can't you just sit down with her and her mother and ask what it's all about? She is probably looking for attention in some way.
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Old 10-25-09, 06:58 PM   #10
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How do you not know this girls history? Sounds like you need a heart to heart with the dad first so you can get some prospective....
+10. Although, if part of the reason he had so much trouble controlling her is that he took a really hands-off approach to parenting, there might not be much he can offer.

I don't have any specific recommendations, but I do know there's lots books on raising teenagers, some good and some bad. If you really want to help raise her into mature and caring young woman, putting the effort (along with her mother, I hope) to learn from others who have struggled through parenthood is a relatively trivial investment in her future. You're doing a really good thing in accepting the responsibility in the first place, but it won't be easy.

I also know that teenagers need to know that someone cares about them just as much as they need discipline and order. If they don't get it regularly at home, they'll look for it elsewhere, and they're likely to only find it in bits and pieces that leave them disillusioned with the concept of familial love. I can't tell you exactly what to say about the kissing, but I would make sure that she understands that whatever you decide, you decided it because you believe it's best for her. I'm sure you want her to have friends...good friends...but too many people rush head long into romance and at too young of an age. There's so much to learn about being friends that they should wait a few more years before developing special friendships, and certainly before offering too much of themselves physically to another person who is also still learning how to grow up.

Since everything's changing for her, I don't think she should be punished. The incident is an opportunity to explain the reasonable limits for her behavior. If she continues to misbehave after having the rules clearly layed out, then you enact discipline that shows consequences exist for her choices. But stay rational when you do assign discipline. You can always start by sending her to her room to think about her decisions for a minute. She doesn't need to know it's really a chance for you to calm down and figure out how to handle the situation.

The flip side of discipline is incentive. Always be sure to notice and commend her when she does things well (helps mom cook dinner, gets good grades, takes care of her step-siblings, etc). That doubles as positive reinforcement and an opportunity to show you do care about her. As I said, that does mean something to teens, even if they'd never admit it. You can even extend that to her friendships. Be interested in meeting her friends, both so she sees that good friends are welcome and so you can get an idea about the sort of people she's hanging out with (but be careful of snap judgements).
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Old 10-25-09, 07:05 PM   #11
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How do you not know this girls history? Sounds like you need a heart to heart with the dad first so you can get some prospective....
A bit more background:

1. My wife claims that she was emotionally and mentally abused by her ex.
2. My oldest step-daughter (now a Sr. in HS) came to us as a Freshman. Confided to her cousin (OU Med School student) that her dad touched her inappropriately. They went to the local PD before telling my wife (I found out from her). The oldest went back to NC for Xmas break (against our better judgement, but the 'dad' was threatening filing kidnap charges). While out there, NC's DSS investigated. While they found no conclusive evidence, they did believe it was in the girl's best interest to be with her mother. Then her paternal grandmother tried to have her committed to an institution, claim suicidal tendicies and multiple personalities (38, to be exact). Said girl scored a 31 composite on her ACT last year, is a straight 'A' student, president of the robotics club, an officer in a couple of others, works outside the home, and is actively being recruited by some major universities.
3. This new arrival doesn't really remember her mom, except for child visitations (summers/ every other Xmas) and weekly phone calls (if he allowed).
4. Mom and the oldest girl wouldn't put it past the 'dad' to attempt or done something that he shouldn't do.
5. Though I try to give him the benefit of the doubt due to how ex's tend to trash talk each other. But I have met this guy a few times over the years. Something about him makes me want to store my boots in his anal cavity.
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Old 10-25-09, 07:06 PM   #12
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Ok, is this just kissing, or is it "kissing", as in a euphemism for more uh, advanced techniques? Just kissing is certainly not unheard of at 13. Aside from that, I don't really know what her situation is, but kids always need consistency in discipline. You have to be fair, but not overbearing or a pushover. It's a difficult act.

edit: just read your clarification. If she's been abused in any way, this makes the situation pretty tricky. You've gotta win her trust, but set her boundaries. You might want to consider a counselor, especially if she was facing time. Some serious issues here you may not be set up to handle.

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Old 10-25-09, 07:12 PM   #13
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+10000 to iamlucky13's post.

Sounds like excellent advice. I've never been through this since I don't have kids, but in many ways it sounds similar to training horses. You can't let a 1/2 ton animal do whatever it wants when it wants, because misbehavior, if it escalates, has the potential to be dangerous. Horses need limits so they understand who is the leader (alpha person) and what is acceptable and what isn't. One horse I worked with didn't like going in the trailer at first. Some trainers would have smacked the horse on the butt to drive it up the ramp. One thing I found worked well was to take said horse, turn it loose in a round pen and make it run around until it got tired. Then try again. If the horse refused to go in the trailer, then it was back out to the round pen. The process was repeated until the horse realized that resistance was futile and it would be less work for it to go up then ramp then to cause trouble. I use related approaches with students that goof off in classes I teach. The consequences are different of course, but instead of confronting them directly, I just say that if they did X thing (i.e. turn in a paper late) then the consequence is Y (some % off their score). That works better than getting into direct discussions. They see my comment or my email and then can decide if they want to deal with the consequences or change their behavior to get better grades.

So I think setting consequences like the previous post suggested is a great idea. If you have to reprimand her for something make sure you focus on the action rather than on her. In other words, make sure she knows that the *thing* she did was not right rather than her being bad.
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Old 10-25-09, 07:26 PM   #14
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Ok, is this just kissing, or is it "kissing", as in a euphemism for more uh, advanced techniques? Just kissing is certainly not unheard of at 13. Aside from that, I don't really know what her situation is, but kids always need consistency in discipline. You have to be fair, but not overbearing or a pushover. It's a difficult act.

edit: just read your clarification. If she's been abused in any way, this makes the situation pretty tricky. You've gotta win her trust, but set her boundaries. You might want to consider a counselor, especially if she was facing time. Some serious issues here you may not be set up to handle.
Not sure of the exact kissing technique involved, but as Iamlucky13 pointed out, this could be the start of an attention/affection seeking ride that I don't want her to be on. And her looks/build combined with her style of dress aren't helping matters either. She's like 5'1", maybe 125 pounds and has a 30 C bra size. (Damn things are pricey, none of the females in the house can wear the normal dept. store stuff).

What's really scary is the fact that my 9 yr old daughter is like a blending of both of her older sisters, and could but hopefully not mimic the younger one too much (though she already has developed a certain Diva like quality).
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Old 10-25-09, 07:32 PM   #15
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It's reading stuff like this that's make me glad we never had kids.
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Old 10-25-09, 07:38 PM   #16
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You are the parent, and the adult. Act like it!

She is the child, and will fight you at every turn!!!!

Hold your ground!
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Old 10-25-09, 07:44 PM   #17
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You are the parent, and the adult. Act like it!

She is the child, and will fight you at every turn!!!!

Hold your ground!
AGREED! I can't agree enough here.

At 13, she's going to have adult impulses, but juvenile risk assessment and decisionmaking. You and your wife are going to be her only limiters, and you will both need to hold a common line between you and beware of splitting tactics from dear young stepdaughter, as well.
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Old 10-25-09, 07:44 PM   #18
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Well, if you forbid her from seeing boys, guaranteed she'll find ways to get around it. I'd prefer having the situation where she chooses to bring friends who are boys to your house instead of galloping off to parts unknown with people of questionable intent.

As for the sexuality and appearance stuff...good freaking luck. It's one thing I do not look forward to, having children in this media climate.
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Old 10-25-09, 07:53 PM   #19
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Wait a sec...there is some potential of abuse with her older sister? Possibility is that dad abused her to, and if that is the case she could be acting out as a result of that....I think if I were you I would talk to a counselor. But as others said...boundaries. You might want to check out a book called Reviving Ophilia...good book easy to read. Good luck
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Old 10-25-09, 08:06 PM   #20
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Wait a sec...there is some potential of abuse with her older sister? Possibility is that dad abused her to, and if that is the case she could be acting out as a result of that....I think if I were you I would talk to a counselor. But as others said...boundaries. You might want to check out a book called Reviving Ophilia...good book easy to read. Good luck
What I'm afraid of is that she is unaware that she is 'acting out', but acting normally (like what she did while with her dad).

I'll try and see if I can squeeze that book in around my required reading assignments. I'll have the wife check the local library to see if it can be had as an audiobook.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:07 PM   #21
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I would get her into counseling, alone and also with you & her mom (if she's willing). If the girl is acting out she has issues that need to be resolved, whether they were caused by her dad or not.

If she is kissing boys, it's time to sit her down and talk very frankly about sex and how to protect herself from pregnancy and diseases. I started talking to my daughter about it when she was in 6th grade. She's now 21 and told me she appreciated it because so many of her friends' parents would not talk to them.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:20 PM   #22
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^^^what CbadRider said...
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Old 10-25-09, 08:46 PM   #23
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I can't give any real advise as my culture is very different from yours. Therefore my knowledge might not apply. But here I go:

1) She might or might not have some history of daddy's misconduct. I would not trust those stories.

2) IMHO she is sexually active, or will be very soon. Don't be surprised, is not that uncommon.

3) If the abuse stories are fake, you might soon become the accused on those stories, be careful.

4) Bad behavior is contagious, keep an eye on your own girl.

5) Beware that this is NOT your girl and she's gonna grow... don't be offended, I don't know you. But had to be said.

6) It might be good to have your wife put her on the pill... or something else.

And again, my comments are based on a totally different culture so, they might be incorrect and totally off. But keep in mind I am the one who once married a 13yo girl.
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Old 10-25-09, 09:10 PM   #24
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I can't give any real advise as my culture is very different from yours. Therefore my knowledge might not apply. But here I go:

1) She might or might not have some history of daddy's misconduct. I would not trust those stories.

2) IMHO she is sexually active, or will be very soon. Don't be surprised, is not that uncommon.

3) If the abuse stories are fake, you might soon become the accused on those stories, be careful.

4) Bad behavior is contagious, keep an eye on your own girl.

5) Beware that this is NOT your girl and she's gonna grow... don't be offended, I don't know you. But had to be said.

6) It might be good to have your wife put her on the pill... or something else.

And again, my comments are based on a totally different culture so, they might be incorrect and totally off. But keep in mind I am the one who once married a 13yo girl.
To #4: will do
To #5: This is the frustrating part. I know I'm not her biological father. But I AM her dad here. Before my wife and I could become really serious, I had to meet her kids. Apparently, I got a resounding round of approval. Those kids would feed me cheese puffs like they were feeding grapes to a Greek deity.
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Old 10-25-09, 09:35 PM   #25
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To #4: will do
To #5: This is the frustrating part. I know I'm not her biological father. But I AM her dad here. Before my wife and I could become really serious, I had to meet her kids. Apparently, I got a resounding round of approval. Those kids would feed me cheese puffs like they were feeding grapes to a Greek deity.
In case you didn't catch it in my comment earlier, you don't have to be blood related to be a father. It takes a lot to "assume" responsibility of someone else's child. You are in a situation to influence a child. And from what I've read thus far, you're trying to make it a positive one. Vigilance and all that jazz.
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