amandaoram's picture
amandaoram

Troubling situation with new step daughter

I am desperate for help and advice... Coming in as the new "step mom to be" apx 6months ago I have realized it's not so easy. 

The child is 13 now, very immature (still plays with baby toys, doesn't have hygeine guidance (her mother is NOT teaching her good things or enforcing them- nor is she a good role model in this dept.), we pay $450 a month in child support and the child comes over every other weekend and only has rubber clogs for shoes, no warm jacket, etc.  (She isn't "allowed" to bring other shoes, supposably doesn't have any- when she did wear her "school shoes" over one weekend she got into trouble and they were KMart, velcrow sneakers that were demolished.) 

One of my biggest concerns is her eating habits.  She REFUSES to eat bread, hamburger, etc.  She ONLY eats hot dogs (cold and cooked), chips, candy, cookies, chicken, bologna, pizza, etc.  She won't eat milk in her cereal and will only eat cereals such as cocoa pebbles or fully loaded sugar foods, if we run through somewhere while we're out for lunch she will only eat a large frie and then want candy or cookies... she literally is in some serious danger!  It's absolutley crazy!  I don't know what to do!

We are now expecting a baby in a few months, she refuses to "grow up" or mature in any way and her mother supports this, she won't eat properly and tells her mom we don't have food here for her, she wants to lay on the couch and watch preschool aged cartoons and play video games- we can't get her to play a bord game with us or card game.  She is scaring me and for the sake of the new baby I can't get over this behavior and situations. 

Can someone please help.  We can't afford to live off the $800 a month we get and her mother gets $450 from us for support alone and the child needs obvious help in many areas... I don't know what to do... Please, Please help me!



SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

It seemed that there were some relatively easy solutions to your issues, until I read the last paragraph. Am I correct in believing that only $800 a month is coming in to the home?

amandaoram's picture
amandaoram

Yep... after taxes, insurance and child support come out of his paycheck- he brings home apx two checks a month (bi weekly) of apx $400-$500 bring home pay. ($500 only when there is significant overtime available, we live in PA and hours have drstically dropped due to winter season, but he manages about 7overtime hours every two weeks. Oh yeah, and hourly pay is $11 an hour!!) I am not working because at this point I am 7.5 months pregnant and on bed rest due to my pregnancy. He and I were both over the road truck drivers until this last summer- lost our jobs due to the obvious economy situation and the industry itself. So he is the sole provider for our home. We also just lost our house to foreclosure, when we got it from his ex wife this last summer as part of the final divorce it was already 6months behind in payments, so we are now living in HUD housing, driving a small 10 yr old car that we had to finance to be able to afford gas alone, etc. So yes, he and I and our soon to be born child are living off of apx $800-$1000 a month take home. (as I said- that is after taxes, med insurance and child support are taken out.) Pretty tight budget, huh? We are ok with supporting his daughter 110%, but it's just absolutly rediculous that one child support payment is half of our living money for a whole month! And then the child comes here claiming we don't support her enough because she doesn't have shoes! It's heartbreaking because we have sacrificed and taken this on knowing our responsibilities and it seems it's just not enough, we can't even live and then we are guilted and blamed for not supporting her. It's hard on us and it's killing me.

amandaoram's picture
amandaoram

And let me add... we just dropped my step daughter off tonight after having her since Friday and while we were waiting for her mom to meet us she had a cell phone sticking out of her jacket. When her dad asked her about it, she said "It doesn't work so I wanted it". This cell phone was in a drawer that had a few other old phones, phone chargers, extension cords, batteries, that kind of stuff. Let me add that this cell phone is a new phone that I purchased from a friend who was tight on money and I kept it as a "back up"- how many times do we have a cell phone that the screen goes out on us or the speaker and we all wish we had a "back up" to use?? That was my plan with this phone. So let me ask... is this a "problem" to be addressed with all parents/step parents? I am pretty upset about it. Am I wrong in this? I'm trying to do the right thing, not seem like the mean step-mom but I'm pretty torn and upset. SOmeone, please help me... I want to do the right thing and not feel negatively twords this situation but I'm torn.

pernlady's picture
pernlady

Hi, I'm new to this board. Would like to help.

It sounds like you have your hands full. It's hard to see a child make the wrong choices for meals and such. Can you just get her a salad or a hamburger and let it go at that? Can you say, at daddy's house there is no sweetened cereal. Her growing body won't let her starve.

I would let her keep a few good clothes at your house to wear while she is there and to keep at your house. That's what I do with my boys. Not that they don't have the nice clothes; it's just easier to have the boys take a few clothes to their dad's rather than pack everything up every week.

I have a 13 year old. He's got special needs to consider but lately he's taken a turn for a little bit younger shows. He loves the old Thomas the Tank Engine. He hasn't watched that since he was six or so. He's doing a few other things that seem a little immature to me. He carries around his stuffed animal.
Now, he has autism and a learning disablity and ADHD. So his situation is a little different. He just doesn't want to grow up right now. He does this when I compliment him on how grown up he seems. Go figure. Right?

John P. Stamos's picture
John P. Stamos

1.Buy her some new shoes
2.Tell her if she does not drink milk she will die of AIDS. I know that sounds extreme, but it has to be done, Amanda.
3.The other things don't seem so bad. What's wrong with watching cartoons? Okay,besides Dora The Explorer.

Buck up, little trooper. You decided to have stepchildren.

-Much Love, John P. Stamos

acitez's picture
acitez

John P. Stamos is correct on 2 out of 3 items. Don't manipulate children with scare tactics, partly because it is self-defeating.

SteppinOut's picture
SteppinOut

Some states let you deduct medical from your child support, as well as social security taxes, etc. Check with your state laws to see if you can get a break. I found the info on our state Attorney General's website.

acitez's picture
acitez

Apply for WIC for yourself. It will help with groceries during your pregnancy and while your baby is young.

SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

Amanda, If it could work in the budget, I would just get her a new pair of shoes. As for not drinking milk, we can get all the calcium we need from cheese, yogurt, and most any other dairy products. If the junk food is not in the house, she cannot eat it.

The situation you have described sounds somewhat desperate, but there has to be an answer to make things easier. Could your husband motion for a reduction in monthly support payments? If he is not getting much overtime maybe he could work nights part time. With a class A CDL he could go back over the road. Just because there is no work where you are living does not mean the companies out west would not hire him.

As for the suggestion to tell her that she will get aids if she does not drink milk, some people have no problem with lying. Even a child is smart enough to know better than that. Sometimes peoples fingers outrun their brains.

amandaoram's picture
amandaoram

Thanks for all the advice.

As for shoes- come to find out she has snow boots she can bring with her when she comes and I am going to do what I can to get her some sneakers for here.

As for the milk... she will only drink it if it's chocolate... mom says if we want her to drink milk then we need to buy chocolate syrup for it. Well... that's not gonna happen... it's milk or no milk. She won't eat cheese (except on pizza!), yogurt or such... there is no junk food in the house other than this last weekend I baked cookies! No ice cream, no cakes, candy- nothing of the sort. I am more confused because her father and I lay it out- "Here is what there is, there is plenty to choose from if you don't like it- go hungry"... well... she honestly decides to go hungry and then tell mom we dont have food for her! AHH!

With support- we are waiting to hear bck about refiling due to the numbers but we can't afford to go back to court without having a closer look at what are chances are... we aren't the type to just go back and forth to court unless there is a reason or obviously going to be a change in outcome.

I do appreciate all the info... I was really stressed and frustrated when I posted the original- I babbled quite a bit but I do appreciate all the advice and support. Thanks again.