Abusive Child

My husband has a 14 year old daughter who posts vulgar abusive messages on his facebook and calls our house when she is upset with him and curses at him while her mother laughs in the background. Under normal circumstances she is well behaved when she is with us but when she gets with her mother she becomes a different person. She acts for lack of a better word “trashy” making suggestive comments on her facebook to boys and posting pictures that are somewhat inappropriate. We usually go for months at a time where everything is fine and she and I get along really well. We do things together and we take her places but when she disagrees with her father she gets abusive. She ignores his calls and says she feels she is justified because she is “busy” watching a movie and again she talks in a very vulgar manner to him on the phone while her mother laughs in the background. Last evening she told him she didn’t need him that her mother and stepfather give her everything she needs which is a joke. My husband pays his child support and we try to support her in every other way possible. We are both just lost.

curious, have you tried family/individual counseling with/for her, she just may need an outlet to be heard - and you may find the root of the problem.

Unfortunately, other than hiring an attorney and going to before a judge I don’t know how to get her counseling. She hasn’t seen her father now in 8 weeks. He took her once for ice cream and he has spoken to her a few times. Her mother is permitting her to do whatever she wants to do. She listed her stepfather as her father on facebook just to hurt her father’s feelings I am sure. She joins the most repulsive groups on facebook and her mother or stepfather think it’s funny. My husband has tried talking to her and her mother both and he gets nowhere. She told him if he makes her come over to see him she will run away. We are lost. I feel like the only answer is for my husband and I to separate since she blames me for not wanting to come and see him. There is nothing I can do except sit back and hope it changes. I would be lost without him.

I’ll apologize first for this being so lengthy.
I am so sorry that you are going through this. I’ve always heard that daughters tend to break their father’s hearts more often than sons…

My suggestion is that you and your husband sit down and decide how you are going to handle each situation. Do not allow the child, even a teenager, to rule the house.
The issues with her facebook account…read the facebook terms. You can report her account for inappropriate photos, comments, vulgar language…any number of reasons that are listed in their terms. I’m not certain but I don’t believe that it tells them who reports them. If she is posting things that are inappropriate or hurtful to you, remove her from your friends list. Or do as a friend of mine did. Instead of having to explain removing a friend, she simply deleted her account. You don’t have to witness these things unless you want to.

For the issues when she is at her mother’s…there is little that you or your husband can do, except not allow her to treat either of you this way.
If you two are in agreement and your husband has supported you in your role as a stepparent, then there is no need to think about separating from him. Keep in mind that the child will not always be a minor and will eventually leave the home. It would be unfair to ask any person/parent to put their entire life on hold because the child is acting out. The child would find some reason to do this regardless and a teenager doesn’t even need the excuse of having a valid reason…
If the mother is trying to set a good example she will not allow the child to behave this way. She is remarried also so it’s obviously not because you are there. How can she blame you for something she doesn’t want to do? That is her choice and she is using you as an excuse.
Do not call her when she’s with her mother. If she calls, talk to her unless she is disrespectful, rude or mean. If that happens, hang up. You do not have to allow this behavior to involve your life. The hardest thing my husband ever did was not answer the phone when his ex had the boys calling him after the divorce. If you don’t give the fire any fuel it will burn itself out. If you allow the drama to continue it will only feed on itself until it is out of control. If she is well behaved when at your home then there is no issue. If she begins to act out while she is with you, take her to her mother’s. My husband has told his ex that since she created the problem, it’s her responsibility to fix it. He often hands the boys the phone when they start getting out of control or pitching fits. He tells them to call her and pack their stuff. He tells them that he loves them but that they are not going to act this way. If they are determined to act like this, they can do so at their mother’s. We’ve realized that it normally blows over…if we don’t react to it.

There may be an underlying issue that could be corrected with counseling but if you are showing the child a better way to deal with problems the behavior normally stops. You can not force this situation to resolve itself…but be patient, always let her know that you love her, and let her see the repercussions of some of the bad decisions she seems to be making. Eventually she has to be responsible for her own actions and behavior and teenage years is normally when we have to start letting them take that responsibility.
It sounds as though her mother is similar to my husband’s ex. She did not want her children to be close to me because she did not want me to take her place. Once everyone involved realized that they had room in their life for both of us and that no matter what happens, she will always be their mother, things calmed down. We now only have to deal with the youngest who is 12 and going through what his 15 year old brother has already gone through. Resisting change does not mean that the change will not happen, it only means that you are determined to make things more difficult than necessary. It’s up to you and your husband whether you allow her behavior to make your lives more difficult also.

On the support issue…there’s no discussion needed. He is her father and that will not change. That he pays child support is not her business and should not be discussed with her. Though it is about her, it is not anything she needs to worry about. Pay the child support and do not bring it up. When comments like this come up, express to her how glad you are that she’s being taken care of and leave it at that. Eventually, she will realize that you do provide for her when she is there. If her mother is telling her that he isn’t giving her any money, then he can, if he feels the need to vindicate himself, show her the canceled checks for child support. This is only necessary one time. It should not be done with malice but simply to explain to the child that there is support being given even if it not seen.
My husband did this once with the boys. Thier mother kept telling them she didn’t have money to buy them clothes and shoes because he wasn’t giving her enough money. He sat them down and let them go through his checkbook. They saw every payment for clothes, shoes, school lunches on top of child support and they have not mentioned it since except when it’s to tell him not to pick them up because it’s her turn to drop them off.
The child does not ever need to be put in the middle of disagreements between the parents. If they have one parent constantly telling them that the other parent is at fault for one thing after another, and the other parent does not discuss these things, they eventually quit worrying about it. Keep reminding her that you love her and want to see her and spend time with her. If things like child support and what happened to end the marriage are brought up, remind her that these are not something she should be concerned with. They are your responsibility, not hers and change the subject to something neutral. If the child keeps bringing things up, simply tell them that it is not going to be discussed and drop it. Be consistent with the answers and behavior and constant in your actions. Your actions speak louder than words sometimes.

Most importantly, keep in mind that the child loves both parents regardless of what they say. That is their nature. If they know that their parents hate each other then they will naturally try to please whichever parent they are with and they do this by saying and doing things that the one they are with knows will hurt. My husband’s ex had the children calling to tell him they hated him. They could see that this behavior made her happy. When they were with us, they told him how mean she was and that they wanted to live with him.
A child does not care who bought them shoes or took them to the movies…they only care that they got new shoes or went to the movies. They do not know that they have hurt your feelings over the phone, because they can not see you. They have no sense of what happens while they are not with you. They do not realize that life goes on even when they are not there. As teenagers, they begin to see that a little more. Hurting someone can not always be corrected. You can not always fix the damage that is done by your words or actions. Sometimes you can spare them that lesson but sometimes, they will not learn unless the repercussions of their decision to say or do something is allowed to happen.
I will keep you in my thoughts. Things do get better…I have seen it.


I respect Stepmother’s response here, and I agree with much of what she has to say.

Unfortunately, though, you are dealing with an adolescent. You can try counseling, but counseling does not work for anyone who does not want it or see the value in it.

Also, I’ve been through the hatred caused by an ex with an adolescent girl. Don’t live your life around this girl. Yes, it is heartbreaking, oh god, it sucks, and it is miserable. But if she is going to learn to treat you with any respect at all, she has to first thoroughly understand the natural and logical consequences for her behavior. Don’t give her attention when she is “asking” for it by acting so wretchedly. Do your best to remain civil to her, but don’t go out of your way at ALL to appease her. If she insults you again by saying that she doesn’t need her father, because her mother and stepfather provide everything she needs? Stay calm: “Oh, okay, thanks for sharing. It’s good to know that you are happy.” Keep her statement in mind the next time she asks for something; and more than likely she will–most teens are very self-centered and selfish (it’s just their nature… with HELP and guidance, they grow out of it). Once she finally gets it, really understands that you are not going to REACT to outrageous behaviors, which are merely ploys for attention, she will have to force herself to find alternative ways to reach out for the attention she clearly craves from you. Force her to seek out your attention in healthy ways. Refuse to react (as much as you can, within reason) to the bad stuff.

Pondering separating from your husband over this girls’ behavior is overreacting yourself, and it’s not going to solve anything. You’d be giving her that kind of power of your lives–two grown, mature adults in a married relationship giving it up for a badly behaved child? Don’t hurt yourselves like that, and don’t hinder her development by teaching her she is that powerful.

Ignore, ignore, ignore the disrespectful, hateful and immature behavior. Reward the better side of her, when she shows it to you. It’s gonna be hard, but . . . teenagers are hard.

I suggest the girl needs a counseling.maybe she keep hatred on her heart and that is the reason why she express her anger on the net. in front of you both of your husband she is behave but on the other side of her she is hiding something. i think she also seek attention.

This child is so full of herself that she thinks she is fine, counseling won’t work because she would never agree and neither would her mother. It has gotten bad enough that we have an appointment with an attorney to find out what our rights are. She calls my husband’s cell phone whenever she has an audience (always including her mother) puts him on speaker phone and picks ridiculous arguments with him, tries to belittle him (Like this week she said, you should go on that show Wipeout, it would be so funny to see you fall on your ■■■). She accuses him of recording her and her mother yells in the background that it’s against her constitutional right to for him to record her when he is in no way recording her. If he says good bye and hangs up she keeps calling back. She is out of control. She has a boyfriend now and they are up to all hours of the night on skype together. Her mother goes to bed and leaves her in her bedroom with a laptop and she has posted videos at 4am. This goes on once a week or so. She recently asked me to be her friend on facebook - why I don’t know. My husband signed on as me and looked at her facebook and in her posts she referred to me as “the monster”. This is probably one of the nicer things she calls me. This has been going on since Father’s day 2010. She has seen her father several times since then since every now and then she gets the urge to see him so he can take her to the moves, out to eat, to the batting cages and such and when she is with him she is perfectly behaved and neither one of them bring up the things that go on over the phone. If she were my child I’d have plenty to say. It is so sad that her mother lost her own father just a few years ago so you think she’d understand the importance of the father/daughter relationship instead she enjoys the mocking while running to the bank every week with her child support check. I am at my wits end. I know the attorney is going to say that we should take her to court and demand that she uphold the original order of visitation but I think with a 15 year old child that would be difficult and expensive. He is at his wits end… we both are. I think he should ignore her calls or hang up on her and turn the phone off when she starts, however, the mother & the daughter are going around telling people he’s a bad father, that he doesn’t see her, that he doesn’t pay his child support and that it’s all because of me which if funny since I am the one who has pushed him for the past 7 years to spend more time with her and go on daddy/daughter outtings alone. She and I used to have a wonderful relationship until this one event and she has played this for all it’s worth. I used a curse word 3 times in a conversation with her and now she talks like the trash queen of the hill especially to her father and he mother curses like a truck driver (no offense to any truck drivers it’s just an expression). Me personally I’d like to move as far away from this town as I could.
Sorry for rambling on, I’m just lost and hurt for him.

I think a lot of stepmums understand what you are going through. It breaks your heart about the lengths some people will go to out of hatred to poison their children against the other parent. What they don’t understand is that they are often poisoning the well against themselves too because whatever you teach, you will reap.

My dad’s mum poisoned him against his father too. It took my dad years to recognize what had actually happened. Although he never did have a proper relationship with his own dad, because of his mother’s actions, he never had a proper relationship with her either. He never could trust that she would tell the truth about anything after that and they fought on a regular basis up until the day she died.

As a stepmum you feel so powerless, though…and on top of it are often put in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation. If you try to help, you are seen as interferring with the relationship or trying to usurp the mother’s authority or rights. If you bite your tongue and let hubby handle everything, then you are seen as uncaring and cold and therefore working against a good relationship between husband and his child.

I’m sorry. All you can do is make sure that boundaries are set as to what behavior will be tolerated and what won’t and stick by them. Then make sure that contact in some form or another is maintained and the truth is told quietly and consistently. Just keep in mind. She’s being brainwashed, and apparently is trying to curry her mother’s behavior by treating her dad like dirt.

FWIW, in your shoes, I’d probably take to taking screen captures of the 4am weekday posts and some of the other more egregious behaviours and document them all. You never know when they will come in handy. Better to have the info when needed then to need it and not have it. Oh, and as far as the “friending” situation goes, that may be so that the mother can use the daughter’s account to spy on you. Had it happen with my stepkids’ mum as well until she found that she had more to hide than I did.

Thank you for your reply. I had wondered until I posted on here if this happened other than to us. The newest update was that my husband called his ex and told her that since the court order states he has visitation every other weekend that he is going to enforce that and that he would be picking her up today. The ex told him “NO”, she states she spoke to her attorney and he said that she needed to do what was best for the child and if that meant no seeing her father than so be it. She also told him that I need to take anger management classes which is so funny since she has such issues she was seen in a department store at Christmas creating a scene at the register screaming at her husband. Anyway, he told her that she would be in contempt of court and she told him to take her to court. The daughter called not 2 minutes later and told her father that she never wants to see him again, she doesn’t ever want to speak to him again, that he cannot make her come to his house, if he comes to her house she won’t go with him that she has no intention of ever seeing his house or walking through the front door again. She said asked him “do you get it?” he told her he did not wish to discuss it and hung up. You want to talk about being torn ??? I think two things #1 - we should take them to court and force her to come to show her and her mother that they cannot just do whatever they want no matter what the court says or #2- Walk away for now and let her realize on her own what she is losing.
There are children out there that would give anything to have a father who cared, who paid his child support and wanted to see his kid but not this kid. I am just not sure what avenue to take. I told my husband it’s up to him. I have learned by raising my own two children that sometimes you have to take the hard, bumpy road to make your point and if he chose option #1 he needed to be ready for a constant battle. Honestly, I will be glad when she turns 18.

No, you aren’t alone. We’ve had similar stuff. Not quite as outrageous as your situation, but outrageous nonetheless. My other half’s (OH) ex is a bit more subtle than yours, but she still makes a common practice of promising the kids stuff that neither parent can afford, then telling the kids that the reason why they are unable to do something or get a toy is because daddy spends all his money on his new wife. She also tells them that since there are two of us in my house, that their dad should be supported by me so that he can send all his money to them because he “owes her”. (A bit of an oversimplification, but that’s pretty much what comes out of her mouth.) As a result of this bad will, the kids treat OH like an ATM machine and one of the eldest actually came to blows with my OH because he tried to make him go to school. Somehow the ex twisted all this around and is now saying that I’m the person who threw the child out and that OH had been physically violent with the boy even though OH never hit him.

It’s really sad what these women are willing to do to bind their children to them. In my mind, such behavior demonstrates that to them their kids are possessions that must be fought over and controlled because they are deeply afraid that at the first possibility their children will abandon them and not love them anymore.

I would suggest reading up on borderline personality disorder (“Walking on Eggshells” and other such books). It’s what the ex-wife in our case has, and is really not an uncommon appearance in divorce court. Borderlines have a very high rate of divorce due to their yo-yo treatment of their spouses. Don’t know if yours has it, but it sounds a lot like it and it might give you and yours some strategies in dealing with her. Borderlines loooooove to use courts and attorneys and often give their attorneys only their version of things and only hear what they want to hear in return. Ours is on her 4th attorney right now because they are all “incompetent” (i.e. they realize that she’s an utter nutjob and tell her that her outrageous demands are outrageous and undefendable.).

(If the ex has borderline, then she could be using a divide and conquer tactic on the child so that she can maintain control and feed off of her daughter’s love. She’ll alienate her daughter from anyone else who in her mind might take some or all of the daughter’s affection which will make the daughter more dependent upon her for approval and love. If she’s yo-yoing your stepdaughter, then the child probably is in a situation where she is so insecure about her mother’s affections for her that she desperately doing anything she can to keep that “love fix” coming, including treating her dad like dirt. It’s positively vampiric and sickening.)

For yourself, if you can pick up a copy of “Stepmonster,” it is also very helpful. There are also a fair number of online forums for stepmums that can be valuable outlets for you to vent.