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Old 06-26-2007, 09:31 PM
 
Location: California, again...
232 posts, read 745,541 times
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SSG II,

I think the posters here are giving you great advice. Don't try to force things, just set a firm example.

Personally I think if she is getting "paid" to do something, she gets a single warning, then you cut off the pay. Be calm and firm about it. That is how it would happen in the real world and you are doing her a favor by helping her realize that now. BTW in my experience (5 stepkids and 2 of my own) things that are done for attention quickly end when the person trying to get attention is dealt with simply and firmly. No discussions of why etc. "This is simply the way it is" works wonders because they can't engage you or frustrate you, they get nothing out of it and usually quit whatever they are up to.

Nagging is never good because it quickly becomes a battle of wills and that is not what you are going for here.

Set a good example, be positive and upbeat. Make smaller healthy meals for everyone in the family (4 pieces of toast is definately overkill). Provide unlimited access to fresh WHOLE fruits, raw fresh veggies etc for snacks. Make it fun for her. My girl went thru an "artistic" phase with her food, she would cut little shapes out of the fruits and veggies, arrange them on a platter, add a few crackers, a bit of dip and some olives. Made a bit of a mess in the kitchen but she was eating healthy balanced meals during her teen years.

One last thought, get involved in volunteering somewhere in your community. It does absolute wonders for a teen to see how much they have in comparison to others and the idea that they are actually making a difference in someones life is incredible. Help out in a soup kitchen, volunteer at a nursing home, help someone learn to read. The possibilities are endless and that is exactly what you will be helping her to see.

Best of luck to your family.
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:42 AM
 
1,343 posts, read 4,579,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesper View Post
SSG II,
Personally I think if she is getting "paid" to do something, she gets a single warning, then you cut off the pay. Be calm and firm about it. That is how it would happen in the real world and you are doing her a favor by helping her realize that now.
One last thought, get involved in volunteering somewhere in your community. It does absolute wonders for a teen to see how much they have in comparison to others and the idea that they are actually making a difference in someones life is incredible. Help out in a soup kitchen, volunteer at a nursing home, help someone learn to read. The possibilities are endless and that is exactly what you will be helping her to see.
Best of luck to your family.

Thank you. That is exactly what I finally did. When I made up her chore list and it wasn't done the first day, I told her if she was going to lay on her butt and watch TV, we'd just drop the whole thing and there would be no chance of earning money. It's working so far...

Unfortunately, there are so many retirees in our area, there are more volunteers than needed for most organizations. I used to help out at the senior center, but ended up standing around most of the time because of too much help.

As far as being "safe" at home, I'm sure there's nothing wierd going on. It's just that her mother seems to be catering to the new step-dad in every way, food HE wants, activities HE wants to do. Their whole life is now centered around HIM. That's why the idea that she's doing all this for attention made sense.

Thanks again for your advice!
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:26 PM
 
Location: In the sunshine on a ship with a plank
3,413 posts, read 7,834,257 times
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I know you said getting custody is not an option- but is that truly the case? It sounds like this young lady is in desperate need of a healthier environment than what she has with her mother. Flunking out of school and poor eating habits may be enough to make someone take notice.
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:49 AM
 
1,343 posts, read 4,579,094 times
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I flat out asked her if she had ever considered coming to live with us. She said she was afraid that I would turn into her step-father, meaning I would become the evil step-mom and she wants things to stay the way they are, in that I'm more of her friend than parent. On the one hand, I'm the one who has her on this strict schedule for the summer, but I'm also the only one who will take her to see plays or teen concerts. (Man, am I dreading the 10-hour "Projekt Revolution" at the Ford Ampitheatre , but a promise is a promise!) I guess her thinking is if she lived here full time, I would change.

Of course, what was unsaid is that she'd be leaving all her friends and the conscious thought of nobody MAKING her study, etc., even though sub-consciously she knows she needs the discipline. (Not sure if I'm saying this the right way...)

I did some research on the school she attended last year and it's one of the worst in Florida. She has the option to go to a different and much better school, so hopefully her mother will find time in her busy life (one child & works from home) to actually take an interest and do something.
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Tampa Bay Area
169 posts, read 974,712 times
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May I suggest you find a homeless shelter in your area with a soup kitchen and serve one night a week with her for a while. You said you've volunteered but have you tried this? Teen agers don't always connect with seniors.

She seems depressed. Maybe feeling rejected and lost by the new surroundings? Powerlessness is tough, it's hard to ask for help, especially at 15.

Life springs eternal from optimism and she needs IMO two things, 1. passion for an interest of her own (You probably know what that might be or can help her explore what would interest her and then open some doors to help her pursue it - even if it's something you don't understand like gaming or music interests that don't seem viable, just go with it for her sake) and 2.an appreciation for what she has (ala the soup kitchen). There's always further to fall and I find it fills the heart to help others who need and might just send a no-words-involved message that not helping yourself comes at a pretty high price.

Good luck. I too have a step daughter and our issues are different but we have them. "Their people" do tend to sleep a lot at this age and lay around and wonder about themselves a lot. Don't let it concern you too much that she's lacking in ambition. The ones who have it at that age are exceptional children. Most of them just want to watch TV and talk on the phone about how awful we (adults) are.

There are some books out there too that can get a dialog going with her on just about anything - Book of Questions is a good one that gives you questions you can ask them about their opinion on various topics. Gets them thinking.
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Old 07-03-2007, 07:58 AM
 
1,343 posts, read 4,579,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntfeldman View Post
May I suggest you find a homeless shelter in your area with a soup kitchen and serve one night a week with her for a while. You said you've volunteered but have you tried this? Teen agers don't always connect with seniors.
Life springs eternal from optimism and she needs IMO two things, 1. passion for an interest of her own
Thanks so much for your post. There are no homeless shelters in this entire county and like I said before, almost all the volunteer opportunities are already full with the retirees who have time on their hands.

I can't tell you how many things I've explored to find an interest she'll stick with. Guitars, skateboards, a telescope, all kinds of needlework, crafts, painting, books....she never finishes anything.

She's loves music, which is why I take her to concerts & the theater, but now this seems like a reward for being lazy.

I am at the end of my rope. She was doing chores for awhile, then even that stopped, though she's getting paid for some of them. I cannot figure out how to motivate this kid and I am getting no support from her parents.
A friend (who's known everybody involved for years) says let her sink. I hate the way I'm feeling, but why should I be banging my head against the wall, when her parents don't care and I know anything accomplished this summer will go right down the tubes once she gets back home.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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Sometimes it takes a strong person to help someone so confused, your step daughter seems like she is not sure if this will really benefit her. reassurance, love and support is all you can really do. It may seem hard but if you continue to try, by the end of the summer she should be on track. Just don't make it seem like punishment, I've tried that and it works out in reverse.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Tampa Bay Area
169 posts, read 974,712 times
Reputation: 165
You sound like a very caring person who has a lot of love for this young girl. Don't beat yourself up but I think your family friend may be on to something.

Patience is what it's probably going to take. Let her know you're there for her and then just turn a blind eye to everything short of self-destructive behavior (like cutting or drugs or pregnancy or truancy) ect... You know, because you've been there, that bad grades make tomorrow a harder place to live in and it stacks the opportunities against her and closes doors.

Maybe write your thoughts in a letter and give it to her. Let her know you just want doors to open for her rather than close but that no one but she can actually make it happen. Everyone wants to help a young person who's ambitious. Let her know you're there for her when she's ready to take control of her life and future and make something of it. Then just fall away and let her take control. Tough love.

If she needs an intervention at some point for more serious issues, get professional help.

Good luck, be a good role model, sometimes, that's enough.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:45 PM
 
4,948 posts, read 16,048,429 times
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hi, maybe she needs to see a counselor just to talk with. Being 15 is real hard, and being in a split home is hard at any age. She needs to be motivated.
To be paid for chores, I do not agree with this. She is family, and you all chip it together. Where you live do they have like a charm school for teenagers where they learn to let out steam and vent with there own.

Also what if you and her made a chart and set goals, as for a reward system.

Rather this pay for chores. I do admire you lots.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:51 AM
 
25,084 posts, read 13,912,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssg II View Post
I need some advice, please.

I have been with my "SO" for about 10 years. He has a 15-year old daughter who lives with her mom & step-dad. She's a really good kid, but lazy. This is manifesting itself in her weight and now her grades.

When she is with us, I try to get her to exercise and have bought teenage diet books to encourage her to eat the right things. As soon as she gets back home, it all goes out the window. And if that's not bad enough, we find out this late in the school year, she's failing math. Whenever she has a special project at school, she brings it to me, knowing I'll spend the entire weekend helping her, if that's what it takes. She tells me her mom & step-dad won't help her with homework, which I believe - her mom is one of those "it's all about me" people and the step-dad, who barely sees his own kids, is too strict with her about the wrong things and obviously neither is enforcing the right things.

I realize there's only so much I can do, seeing her only twice a month, but how can I get my boyfriend to tell his ex to get off her a** and get this kid motivated. I'm going to insist she spend the summer with us and hire a math tutor, but come fall, if things don't change, she'll be failing something else. Being a teenager, she doesn't realize how critical these classes are to get into a decent college, and if she doesn't do something about her weight now, it will be a harder battle later to lose it and become a serious health problem.
(The ex is the same woman I posted about in the pets section who let their poor dog become obese.)

I'm so frustrated. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I think your intentions are good, but u are not technically even married to this child's father so u do not have a whole lot u can say to that child's mother about her own child. I don't even know if your boyfriend can say a whole lot. It sounds like the mother is the custodial parent. If your boy friend does not like how his daughter is being reared the fist thing to do is go to court and seek custody. I mean if there is sufficient grounds. The issue of a teens weight is not necessarily her mother's fault. Once a child gets to be a certain age u can do your best to teach them about health and eating, but u can't make them do very much without a big fight. It sounds like u really care about your boy friend's daughter, but about the only thing u can do is try to encourage her and lovingly influence her to make good choices. U have no legal say so at this time, so no matter how right or good your intentions are u cannot press any issues. The only thing u will accomplish is frustating yourself and straining these relationships. Try to live and let live as much as possible. It is better to have peace than make war. I hope all works out well
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