I need some advice on my 8 1/2 year old stepdaughter for my sake and her dads my hubby.
First off i need to state our living situation so it all makes sense.
She lives with her mum in NZ full time. We moved to Australia when she was 5 years old - before then it was 50/50 shared custody. We see her up to four times a year ( we pay for her to come over )sometimes back to back visits and we phone her twice a week. Hubby and his ex wife do not have a good relationship - in fact they don't even speak!!!!
Just recently dd has developed a major attitude and maybe even resentment towards us. We saw her in January for 3 weeks where she was an utter nightmare and last week on the phone didn't even wanna chat to us - cut us off.
We are not sure why the change in behaviour - maybe her age, we do have another baby on the way ( we already have one )maybe the new school year - new teacher and class, maybe her mother's strong influence and the fact she has issues regarding us. We really don't know but what we do want to know is what should we do about this!!!!!
We thought maybe we should back off a bit and stop chasing her. Cut back her visits and phone calls. She doesn't seem to appreciate the work we put into keeping her involved as much as we can from a far. I don't even know if she wants to be here like she use to or even wants to hear from us as much as she does?!!! She doesn't act like it.
Or is this the worst thing we could do. We are not giving up on her or turning our backs on her but does she have it too good with us? She has become pretty spoilt, entitled and unappreciative towards us and what we offer her, Not just material items but love and time.
We tried to discuss her behaviour and attitude with his x but she's not interested. So it's hard for us to pin point what's wrong.
So what should we do, give her her space and hopefully if it's her age she will release we are not going to put up with the attitude or risk a wedge been created???
Cheers if anyone has some ideas or advice xo
Its not at all helpful (although in a lot of cases unavoidable) that the parents dont get along. As hard as it is those two need to put their differences aside for the sake of their child. They dont have to like eachother but they do have to hide that from their daughter, it will do nothing but hurt her.
I think that you need to maintain strong contact and do not reduce the amount of calls or visits, she's just a small child and to her that will be rejection and will create a big wedge in the relationship. Its very confusing for a kid that age to have separated parents and do the whole visit thing, what you have to do is build the relationship with her and be consistent and patient. Be positive with her, be loving and show an interest. When she visits make her part of the family, keep a special room for her, if you cant do that then set up a special area for her that is the same each time she comes (ie special doona cover that is hers, a fluffy toy, things like that that show she has a place in your home too). Might be possible that one call a week might be enough though but dont cut back on visits. When you call dont expect too much from her, sometimes they want to talk, sometimes they dont - keep it light.
You might want to reassess visits, 3 weeks away from her mum at age 8 is too long and that might be why she was so difficult, she just cant cope with such a long time away. I'd arrange her visits so that they are for one week at a time and perhaps one visit a year that is two weeks. In the space of a week that's enough time for her to cope being away from home and have fun and then go home on a high note.
All the best, its a tricky situation. If you cant stop her mum being negative, the only thing you can do is not respond and when you talk about her Mum you should only be positive or not talk about her at all. When she's with you, you also need to let her know that if she wants to she can call her mum to say hello. Another idea might be to get a postcard that she can write and post to her mum, it will do wonders for her to know that you dont feel badly about her mum... and for her to know that she can maintain her connection to her mum when she's with you.