“My stepdaughter-to-be is way out of control.”
Dear Annie,I'm engaged to a man with a 13-year-old girl whose ex wife has primary custody. We've been together 2 years and will be getting married soon. Until recently the daughter and I have had a good relationship. Right now I don't want to talk to her at all because of her attitude. The mother lets the daughter get away with way too much. The girl is constantly disrespectful to my fiancé and his parents and to her mother as well, but Mom just says she's being "moody." Mom allows her to have a boyfriend at age 13 (he's 16, and she sees nothing wrong with this either).
The girl plays Mom and Dad against each other constantly -- lies to us and her mom constantly -- to which mom believes every word she says. Mom doesn't think she needs counseling. I have no children, but if I did they would certainly not be behaving the way that this woman is allowing her daughter to. She's never been grounded, they won't take anything away from her, and when my fiancé questions her it doesn't matter what he says or how things should be handled, he's wrong.
I'm the outsider watching the action, but being drawn in quickly. I've been pretty quiet, but with the marriage looming closer I want this mess to be gone or at least some peace before we get together. Any ideas????
This "mess" is not likely to "be gone" any time soon, my friend. And you're about to marry into it.
It's not up to you to discipline your fiancé's daughter but when she becomes your step-daughter and spends time in your home, you are certainly responsible for setting standards of behavior. Without cooperation from your fiancé, I don't see how that's going to happen.
As an outsider it's too easy to say: In this situation the problem is the mother, "she let's the daughter get away with way too much" and the daughter "she's constantly disrespectful" but the father is very much a part of this unhappy picture as well. You're marrying into a hornet's nest of trouble. The whole family needs counseling. At the very least you and your fiancé should go to couple's counseling BEFORE another week passes and figure out how you are going to have a marriage in this context.
I hope this helps.