A concerned step-father is seeking advice on the forum:
"I have a 15 year old step daughter that I love very much. Her mother and I divorced 5 years ago and she has gone down hill since. Drugs, drinking, wrong crowd etc. Her mother told her that I was bad news and a bad influence when we split up. It's a long story but in short I am 5 years clean of drugs....pain medicine. Her mom and I get along now and I have remarried to a wonderful woman and have a great job. I have a 10 year old son with my ex wife. He is with me 6 days a week. I have had talks with both of them of the dangers of drugs, sex and bad company. My step daughter is a mess, she's been caught stealing from Walmart and from family members and myself included. She is dating a 19 year old man and he has been warned to stay away for obvious reasons. He is basically raping her because of the age difference...yes they are having sex. Her mother was cheating on me with one of my employees years ago and smoking pot and drinking excessively. She is no longer with him but my daughter knows what was going on the entire time. I am suggesting a CHINS service for her. We live in Massachusetts and it is a last resort. I am afraid for her life being ruined and I want to help before it's too late. We have tried counseling and she even went to live with my sister which ended very badly. She was stealing from her and assaulted her husband. She is now back with her mother, comes home whenever she wants, skips school and is smoking pot. I am very very worried about her."
"I'm sorry you are having a hard time with your step-daughter and I hope it gets better for both of you, if not right away, at least in the future. It is good that she has you to care about her well-being, but because of her unique situation, you'll need to go about helping her in a unique way.
You are trying to fix things for her instead of helping her fix things or herself. You are looking for someone to control her, but she is the one in control of her own choices
. Instead of focusing on raising the kid, something she isn't letting you do, how about advising the young adult, which she is already trying to be. This is often the best thing you can do for teens who do not have the family structure it takes to use normal discipline techniques.
Start helping her see the future
, as a positive one where she is working and has a real life. Sign her up for career
counseling at school. Tell her how hard it was to get off the drugs and you'll be there for her when she makes the choice of not doing them. Ask her what help she needs with school and get that help
. Make sure someone is taking her to a family clinic to explain what women need to know about sex
in a way that she can learn how to respect herself and her body.
Asking our community:
Do you have advice for this step-dad? Please share your thoughts, opinions and experiences in the comments area.