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Should she be allowed to go on our family vacation?

Should she be allowed to go on our family vacation?

Casual scribe

Should she be allowed to go on our family vacation?

My step daughter is 14.  I have been with her father for almost 5 years.  She is a nightmare.  She doesn't care about anyone but herself.  She lies and is almost failing most of her classes.  She yells at all the other kids all the time and has a terrible, ugly personality.  She's rude all the time and is disturbingly selfish.  She is tearing our family apart. 


It got worse this year because of a boy.  She was obsessed with him and continued to get caught with PDA at school and straddling this boy in the empty performing art center at her school.  Keep in mind, we only know about the times she's been caught, we suspect its alot worse.  Even after this, she was given opportunity after opportunity to stop or change and she refused to do it.  After the last time she got caught kissing this boy by her principal, her biological mom and dad decided to transfer her to the school she was zoned to at her fathers (our house.) 


After this, to be nice, I offered to pickup a friend from her old school to go dress shopping with us for an upcoming cruise during spring break. The girl's mom refused to let her daughter go because it turns out, she has spread vindictive rumors about her dad to her friends and their parents so that they believe he is a monster and have blocked him and wont let their kids near us.  She has admitted she did it because she was mad and that she only did it so she didn't have to tell them the truth about why she had to move schools. 


She is sucking the life out of me.  I am consumed with anger for her right now.  I don't want her to go on this family vacation.  None of the other kids want her to go either (we have 5 total).  The only person who wants her to go is her dad and only because that is his daughter and he would feel guilty.   He even admits it would ruin everyone's time.  I can't tell him what to do out of respect for my husband.  It's his daughter and it's ultimately his decision but I know I will resent him if he let's her go.  What do I do?  What would you do????

Community Manager

Re: Should she be allowed to go on our family vacation?

Hi @kimiekim and welcome to the ReachOut forums.  So happy you found us here and thanks for sharing your story.


First up, just to let you know, we are based in Australia, and it seems to me, from some of the language you use that you are not based here.  


You are really welcome on these forums and I hope that you can get some helpful support and general advice from this amazing group of parents, but we can't obviously give you any practical advice about resources you can turn to in your region.


It is really hard situation that you are in at the moment and my heart truly goes out to you - you have had a lot to deal with over the past years and it is only natural that you should be feeling angry.  Some of the behaviour that you describe must have been really hurtful - especially the situation around some of the things she said about her father.


It also sounds like your step daughter is also in pain at the moment  and this could be contributing to some of the hurtful things she is doing.  I don't say this to excuse anything she has done or to minimise the hurt and anger that you are feeling, but only to consider what can practically be done to improve the situation in your household right now.  I truly believe that no kids are inherently bad - but that doesn't mean that they can't display bad behaviour at times.


I was wondering if your step daughter would be open to talking to someone outside of the family about what she is going through and what is causing her to act out in the way she has been doing.  Is there a counselling service at her school where she can talk to someone about what is behind some of her behaviour?  This might be a really good positive step in putting in place some rules and structures that mean you can better cope with the things that are being thrown at you. 


Having your step daughter access this kind of help might also be really useful when it comes to the practical decisions you need to make around how you manage your vacation.  


Do you think that she might be receptive to this kind of help?


I was also wondering, does your step daughter live full time with your family? Are you receiving any help from her mother in addressing any of this behaviour?


Casual scribe

Re: Should she be allowed to go on our family vacation?

I realized it was in Australia after I had already signed up and posted but I will take any help and advice I can get. 

She is receptive to going to counseling and we did get her set up with one but she fabricated this story of a room she imagines that is solid white and has black books in it that she stores her dreams.  She totally made it up for attention and admitted as much later but now the counselor said she is delusional and she doesn't specialize in that so she wont see her anymore.  We are going to try to find another option.  I am also about to start counseling for myself though.

We do worry about the counseling a bit because you don't know what kind of lies she will tell and falsely accuse us of.  It could do more harm than good.  Right now my husband is having to call the school and CPS to alert them ahead of time what she is doing.  Be proactive about it

As far as the mom.  She is....there.  She has just now started to parent a little better after me and my husband have been on her case.  She is more of a friend than a mom. But...she is going through cancer right now.  Which makes her daughters selfish behavior all the more worse.  She has caused more stress in her moms life than the cancer has.


Community Manager

Re: Should she be allowed to go on our family vacation?

Hi there @kimiekim - thanks for the update really appreciate it!


It is really positive news that you are looking into counselling for yourself right now.  You have probably heard this saying before, but "you can't pour from an empty cup" - you can only be effective at doing your job as a carer if you are feeling strong and emotionally centred.  With all the stresses that you are dealing with daily it seems to me that your emotional cup could use a top up!


A local councellor for you could really add value to you both in terms of supporting you emotionally and helping you process how being in your situation is affecting your emotional responses to the issues that you face, but ideally also talk to you about practical steps that you can take within the home to communicate with your step daughter and work with her to set agreed-upon boundaries that will, in the long run, make day-to-day life much more manageable.


I was also really happy to hear that your step daughter is receptive to going to councelling and I am sorry that your experiences so far have not worked out.  In the long run, this might be a blessing in disguise.  From my own personal experience I needed time to find a councellor who was a good fit with me which took a while.  There are so many different types of support available and finding out what is best for her situation is really important so it might be a good thing that her first councellor realised that she needs a different type of support before going too far down that road.


I am hearing from your post that you are worrying about the kinds of things that your step daughter might talk about in her sessions.  To put your mind at ease this could be something that you bring up both with your own councellor or privately with your step daughter's councellor who might be able to talk you through what processes are in place to deal with situations like this?