How to balance same age daughter & step daughter
Hi. I don't know how common this is or what people do. All and any advice would be great. I have a 14 year old daughter and a 14 year old step daughter. Neither likes each other, a lot of jealous. My daughter has had no contact w/BF since 8 yrs. old, and made it clear he wanted no contact. My step daughter lives with mom in Florida, we live in Arizona. We have been married 10 years.
Each summer step daughter comes out for 6 to 8 weeks. The world stops. My husband and I take as much time off from work as possible and try our best to make her feel at home. My daughter sees the special treatment and we try to explain it is because she is out only for the summer (and some holidays). Each summer my SD is very clever at doing something manipulative to shot my daughters ego straight down the drain. I hate summers now. I see my husband do his best, my daughter seems to only tolerate SD (but I really can't blame her - her world is trambled on each summer). But in the end my daughter is an emotional wreck. I won't go into each summer's scenarios, just the most recent.
This summer I was very proud of my daughter as she shared her friends with SD. Thought that was wonderful for SD and daughter. Only later to find out SD became better friends w/one of my daughters friends. They started sneaking behind my daughters back. Now they stay in contact via cell phones (friend & step daughter). In all honestly my SD & the friend are "boy crazy" and I can see how they get along. My daughter likes the boys, but not her only focus in life.
This is emotionally hurting my daughter. For when the friend and my daughter got in a small fight, the was over in a day, the friend say, "SD is so much nicer then you." I know not such a great friend, we have had this talk. However she is stuck next to her in almost every class and does not want to sit next to an enemy. It also makes it hard to cultivate new friends.T SD is very schooled in how to manipulate situations with a smile. My daughter not so much, she is an open book and does not mainpulate or try to find ways to make anothers life miserable. In other words, very little tact.
I want to send my daughter on vacation with my brothers family next summer (for 2 weeks) and then into a couple of camps. Why, to give her a break from SD. It seems to just destroy her more and more each year. I do not tell her this, but I see it. Now, it is spilling into her everyday life, even though summer is over. I also suggested we send SD for a week to see Grandparents she has not seen for 6 years (out of state). My husband is very angry and feels SD is the "bastard child" out of all this. I don't understand how he can destroy my daughters emotional health each summer and not look for a way to minimize it.
He feels we should all be together. He admits each year SD comes to our home with new tricks of the trade to emotionally crumble my daughter. I can see how both daughter and SD could be jealous of each other. However, I have a very hard time being near SD last couple of years, knowing she is going to do it again. I don't see it coming. I know very few people with step families and no one with same aged girls.
Help, what is the solution? How do I protect my daughter yet open my home up to my SD?