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Daughter worries

Hi everyone

Im a stepmum and really worried about our 14 year old daughter.  

She displays some of the usual teenage 'tendencies' like moodiness and pushing boundaries, but I fear she is going down a negative path and I dont really know where to go to get any kind of help.

Her mum lives overseas and her relationship with her father is less than ideal.  Underneath it all I know she seeks his approval however she is getting herself into trouble at school (no interest in classes, skipping lessons, caught smoking in school toilets) and doesnt have any respect for authority or wont listen to anyone.  Recently we closed her facebook account as we read alot of messages she had been posting where she was offering herself sexually to various random people - when they showed interest in return she would quickly withdraw and state lots of reasons why she couldnt follow through, so I dont believe she is sexually active as yet, however seems its only a matter of time.

She seems to think the world owes her a favour and that everything runs on her time schedule - when even the littlest thing doesnt go her way her mood flips and she becomes sullen and withdrawn.

Tomorrow we have a meeting with the school principal to discuss education 'concerns'. 

Her father can also be rather moody and tends to fly off the handle at her as he is also at his wits end with her.  She states that she is 'scared and intimidated' by her dad and that she no longer wants to live here with us anymore, and that 'noone understands her'.

Recently she went to live with her mum for a few months as we didnt see too many other options and hoped that some bonding time with her mother might help things, however this did not turn out well at all as her mother is rather unstable herself.

I dont know if this sounds as bad as I feel about it, but just not sure where to turn for a bit of help - she also doesnt have any outside interests apart from school (which is not an interest as such, more of something she endures) and altho we try to encourage her to get involved with things, she just has no interest at all in anything (apart from spending her hours staring in the mirror, doing her makeup and hair!).

Would love to do some sort of parenting course for troubled teens and work out how to help her a little, or hear from others in any kind of similar situation.


Re: Daughter worries

Hi there,


this unfortunately sounds like an all to common story for me, even more unfortunate for the fact that I don't really have much knowledge on  how these situations can be resolved. From the position of someone who has watched his sisters go through similar issues in high school all I can do is give an outsiders perspective on what seemed to work for them.


Both of my sisters displayed more than a few tendencies throughout highschool and even I was prone to some as well even as a boy. This does not mean that tit is a part of growing up, naturalising such behaviour excuses it and being passive on such matters leaves too much to chance. i would try and endorse positive relationships (perhaps subtly so she does not push away) I had my greatest success in outgrowing these behaviours when I met people going through similar issues to me and we leaned on each other to get through it.


Also to give you credit where it is due the fact that you appear to care so much about your step daughter may be your greatest ally in this situation. If she is craving a mother or parental figure then you are positioned well to be one. I would suggest trying to relate to her in a way which does not appear alien or forced. Try and recall what you felt as a teenager and the situations you were in, especially those in which you were not perfect as this will make you more relatable to her and share them. Let her know that you care, as a mother figure and a friend and that you are not judging her because you have been in similar straits before.


I am sorry I could not help more, all I can suggest is searching the web for the information and groups you are after. I have done a quick browse through Google and there appears to be an abundance of groups there willing to help. Even this forum may be of use for your step daughter as an example.


Thank you for caring so much for your step daughter's wellbeing, not enough parents are like you,



Re: Daughter worries

Hi there concernedmama, it does sounds like your step daughter is struggling at the moment, have you encouraged her to check out herself? If she has private and confidential access to she might be able to work through some whats going on here. Also, have you asked her if she has any ideas on what might help? Or if she would like to speak to someone one-on-one outside the situation? Kids Helpline or the school counselor could be good for this purpose.

You obviously care a lot and want to do the best you can - it's understandable that you are worried but perhaps giving her a bit of autonomy to figure out what help she needs for herself might work? Goodluck

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Re: Daughter worries

Hey concernedmama,


this sounds like a difficult situation you are going through and it can be hard to cope with.


being a teen myself and having been through similar things, it was always good when my parents reassured me they aware always there for me even if it seemed like I didn't care or that I was too 'removed' to acknowledge. Love is one of the best things to give and reassure your step daughter of. if nothing seems to work, maybear give her time and space and she will open up on her own.


good luck.

Re: Daughter worries

hi concernedmama


thank you for posting and i hope you find ways to work things out.



as a teenager myself i can definitely confirm that we are very complex creatures and warn that you need to tread carefully.


i always appreciated family time whether that was going shopping, to the beach, themepark, the movies or casual dinner. maybe you could try a weekly outing to just chat about random stuff, what's going on in your lives at stuff ?


does she have any interests that you can share or that you can support ? like if she likes photography/cosmetics/beauty stuff maybe you could enrol her into a short course.