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An_241859 posted:
My 15 y.o. stepdaughter moved in with my husband and I in the fall, when her mom decided to move out of town. Up to grade 8 she was a good student, but last year her grades dropped to c's and d's. This year she is in a new school district and seems to have adjusted socially (has friends a school and in neighborhood). School continues to be an issue. She routinely tells her dad and i she has no homework, and does not study. She is doing very poorly in school .

When we talk to her about is she is unconcerned. She is not confrontational in any way, just not engaged. She is actually pleasant to be around. We recently started taking her to a therapist.

We know she had friends at her old school who were into drugs.

Two questions - does taking things away (phone/i pod) work? What about grounding?

If we are concerned about drugs or alcohol, should we search her room?
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momuv4girls responded:
Hi,
It must be difficult for a child to "lose" a parent - such as her mom moving out of town, and I don't think this should be taken lightly.

If this were my child, I would find a qualified, smart (preferably female) Child Psychologist for her to see and build a trusting relationship with. A good Dr. will help your Step-daughter, give her coping skills and help figure out why she is not caring about school.

I would interview perspective Psychologists, set up an appointment with them (just you and her father at first), and decide if the Dr is a good "fit" for her.

Usually when a child (especially teenager) is struggling, taking things away can back-fire. Limiting time on her phone may be a good place to start. Something like taking her phone away at 9pm and keeping an eye on her texts (if possible). She can "earn" more phone time by keeping her grades up (or working on getting them up), and showing you she is putting in effort at school.

I never took away the ipod, I always thought music therapy was a good thing : )

Searching her room ?? Yes, I have done that often, but I'm careful to not let my daughter know. It is our home and I am responsible for what is in it. Once I found alcohol hidden in her closet and I put it on the kitchen table and confronted her. Obviously then she knew I searched her room, but I have done it many times without finding anything and she never knew.
I believe its being a responsible parent to try and keep our kids on an even path as we possibly can.

Lastly, I would have her Dad do all the directing and discipline (even if you find stuff, give it to her Dad to deal with), as it is not uncommon for the child to get angry and resentful of the Step-parents position and blame you.

Take care,
-Kathleen
 
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new2allthis replied to momuv4girls's response:
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. We do think we have found a good therapist for her, though she has only gone once so far, it seemed that she was positive about it. I agree about music being therapeutic. The issue with the ipod is that she has facebook on it, and tends to spend her entire evening between facebook and texting.

I agree with you on letting her dad take the lead on parenting/discipline issues. The challenge is that due to his profession, he is out at meetings several nights a week.

I am just trying to find the middle ground of giving her space and time to adjust, but trying not to let her fall. Guess that's the challenge of every parent.
 
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RoseLynn02 responded:
I don't have kids that age( I do have kids though), but It wasn't that long ago that I was that age. I really agree with what momuv4girls said. My mom use to go through my things all the time & most of the time I didn't even know it (until I got older at & moved out at least), but sometimes it was probably a real life saver that she did. I acted out & had to see a counselor for a few years, but it helped. Taking things away just made me mad & I acted out more. Making me earn my things made me do better & making me start looking for a job the day after my 16th b-day so I could support my own desires (un-necissary mall trips, movies, ect.) was probably the best thing they did. I taught me to be responsible & that I wanted to go to college & not work at McD's forever so my grades improved. I was grounded for anything less than a B, which meant I couldn't go out but still had access to all of my other things although I could only use the computer for school & my phone privileges were lessened till I earned them back. I had to bring a weekly progress report home which I got from the deans office & had my teachers fill out every Friday so my parents always knew how I was doing & I couldn't just lie about stuff. But I never knew my real dad, I was adopted by my stepfather & as much as I loved him & even though he was the only dad I had ever known & i never thought of him any differently, I think that not having known my real dad & having him give me up was something I really struggled with as a teen. & even though your husband is a busy man I hope he makes the time to deal with things with her because if not it just makes it harder for you & that's not fair.


Anyway I knew that this is about your step-daughter, but I thought maybe if I shared a bit about my teenage years & what my parents did & how it affected me that it might help you now. Sometimes it's nice to hear someone else's story so you can see different sides to your own conflict. I hope it helps.
 
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new2allthis replied to RoseLynn02's response:
Thank you. I does help to get different perspectives. I really appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts with me.
 
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phoenix31674 replied to new2allthis's response:
Since you have wifi in your house, each device has it's own address. You can set up limits through your router on when certain devices can access the internet or even ban the device from accessing it at all. Routers should have online instructions on how to set that sort of thing up so you wouldn't have to take the iPod away, but it would curtail Facebook useage.

Other than that, the advice given sounds good to me.

It's good you found a therapist and hopefully it will help her. She probably feels worthless because her mother 'gave her away'. What happened to her is a huge change which has not only uprooted her life, but she now has abandonment issues. She may not be able to come to grips with the fact that her mother's decision was not about her. She might be thinking that she did something wrong and she is being punished for that by being sent to live with you and her father. Teenage minds are pretty alien to an adult even though we all went through it.
 
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RoseLynn02 replied to new2allthis's response:
Your welcome. I'm glad it helps. You guys will all get through it. Don't worry. & remember we are all here for you if you need to vent or want to share exciting improvements or anything else. Just keep showing her that you love her too & that you're there for her too & that might help ease her through this transition.
 
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new2allthis replied to phoenix31674's response:
I am so appreciative of the information and support. It really helps. Keep up the good work everyone.
 
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Shehanan responded:
maybe have her eyesight checked and see if she is having focus or other issues with her eyes. she may have 20/20 vision, but is not able to focus quickly enough to follow what is happening on the blackboard or in class. certainly having a quick look in her room won't hurt to make sure she is not into some kind of drugs or is depressed about her Mom moving away. also have her hearing checked.


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