We are at our wit’s end and feeling so very helpless...

I’m a white man and divorced father of one (6 years old boy) living with my girlfriend (a white woman) and her two kids (boy-10 and girl 16 – both black) for the past two years. My girlfriend’s daughter is, in my opinion, and many around me, out-of-control. She consistently is defiant and disrespectful to her mother, yelling and screaming when discipline is distributed for her actions. This past weekend, I got in between as her daughter was blocking her mother’s way to leave. She (daughter) was mad because her mom took $20 out of her purse that she owed, then grounded her from her car. The daughter was hitting her repeatedly. I got in the middle to break it up and was hit by her (daughter) a bunch of times. I threatened to call the police and she retreated to her bedroom. Her daughter told her she hated her and wished that she had died in a car accident (instead of her grandmother). She wrote her mom a note leaving it in her dresser drawer that said “I HATE YOU, I’m taking all the pictures around the house ‘cuz I’m too cute to waste them on you!” … then she took them. The daughter repeatedly tells her that her life is miserable because of her mom and that she wishes she was dead. The daughter gets good grades in school and is relatively well-liked by teachers and friends. Family members on my girlfriend’s side say that she’s a selfish, loveless brat that harbors anger and resentment. Her dad, a black man living in another town, takes no responsibility and says he was only the sperm donor and not a parent. Though she visits him a few times a year, he ends up being the “Disneyland Dad” in my opinion.

The boy (10) has a different father (also black) who sees him about once a month on the weekends. He is generally a good boy, but is easily impressionable and looks up to his big sister. I can easily see him drifting towards some of her behaviors as he gets older. The only reason I brought up race, is that I didn’t know if that may also be a factor. I think she (daughter) thinks it’s cool to be black, but very uncool to be white.

My big question is, does this story sound familiar? I’m a school-teacher for the past 10 years and have seen kids from all different family backgrounds. I have never, however, seen this type of disrespect towards a parent. The guilt of her behaviors (words and deeds) – to me, should be devastating. Her mother is at a counseling appointment right now and hopes to get the two of them into counseling together. I just don’t see it happening. I don’t know what to do. The strain on our relationship is maxed out ...we are at our wit’s end and feeling so very helpless.

My Out-of-Control Children

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