I have a 12 year old daughter whose behavior sent me on a search that led to your website. I had her at 19 out of wedlock. When she was 3 I married and had two more children, girls also...all about 4 years apart. When my oldest was 9 I divorced my husband. Our custody arrangement is they are at my house for a week, then his for a week. We thankfully have remained good friends and are able to work out time with the kids together without too much issue. Amani, my oldest, had a bit of a rough transition period but saw the school counselor for a time and things seemed better. She was always an A/B student, teacher's pet kind of kid and very independent. I never had to follow-up with her to make sure she was getting things done...she just did them.
In 2007 I met someone who I consider the love of my life. He is awesome with the kids and things were great. We moved in together and then married in June of 2008. When Amani entered 6th grade...about 2 months in it was like her personality just changed and has become this person I don't know. I found your website and have realized that I was an extremely overindulgent parent. Probably in an effort to "make-up" for the things she's been through. Whatever the reasons it has created a very entitled, disrespectful person. My husband has been very supportive and is actually the one who found your website.
Anyway, I have been doing my best to enforce the parenting steps and I feel like there has been improvement. I am not perfect at it yet and I continue to improve with practice. The hard part is that when she goes to the other house every other week there are no rules. He wants to be her friend and will give in if she rides him long enough. All 3 of us, myself and my husband and my ex, sat down and my ex agreed to help and follow the same rules. However, he didn't and Amani is now on the verge of failing 6th grade. I had decided that Amani will start living with me full time and only go to my ex's every other weekend. I was hoping that consistency will help get her on track. I know my daughter associates her new "terrible life" (rules, consequences, etc.) with my new husband and resents him for it. She is verbally abusive to him at times and very disrespectful. We have sent her to counselors and for evaluations and she refuses to speak during these times. The longest we went was 2 months to one and at some point I feel like we are just wasting money since she won't talk.
So, last week my husband announces that he can't take it anymore, doesn't think she'll ever change and is leaving. I am in shock because up to this point he seemed to be handling it very well and letting things roll off his back. My two little ones (ages 7 & 3) are extremely attached to him as am I obviously. It is hard not to resent my daughter because the rest of us are suffering due to her actions. I tried to talk to Amani about it to find out why she is so mean to him without trying to make like her feel it's her fault. She just stares at the table or floor when I am talking and refuses to speak.
Ultimately I know I have to support my daughter but I also want her to understand the extreme consequences of her actions. I have also attached an email from my husband to me explaining how he feels about Amani, maybe it will help give you some perspective. Any advice?
My Out-of-Control Teen