ONCE again, don’t marry after divorce…

Question: In January, I married my husband. He has custody of three of his children. I have one daughter. My step-daughters are 16 and 15 and my step son is 11. My daughter is 12.  My husband and I have been having a lot of problems with the 16 year old and it is causing major problems in our relationship.  Over the summer she has been caught lying about contacting her mother (court order supervised visitation only) and getting the other kids to write letters and email contact with their mom. We would have had no problem with it, if it was supervised and monitored. The kids were grounded by their Dad for a month. The month has passed and now my step-daughter is bullying/bossing around the other kids in the house and acting out by being disrespectful to everyone in the house.  I usually don’t address the issues myself and I talk to her dad about what is going on.  He says he will take care of it, but usually it is a long drawn out conversation about everything and nothing at all. He doesn’t address the issues and punish her accordingly. I am starting to find myself stressed and depressed over it. Am I crazy?  No, just tired of the disrespect in the house and the fights with my husband.   Although I speak to my husband about it he tells me that unless it is directed to me..stay out of it.  All I want to do anymore is get home from work and go into my room and avoid every possible conflict in the house. I am isolating myself from everyone and it is making me feel guilty. My husband does not support me and actually get very defensive when I talk about the issues we are having with her and tells me I need to back off.  This is going to cause a divorce!! I just see it coming and I feel like a prisoner in my own home.  I know that she is a teenager-I get that! I just cant seem to get any respect from my husband or my step-daughter. What do I do?
Answer: Jen,
This is the EXACT reason I tell parents who have divorced with kids to not remarry until the kids are up and out. People think I foolish, but I hear enough stories like these to know that it is not a good idea. There is not much you can do. As long as you husband is unable/unwilling to bring consequences for bad behavior you will have to deal with it. You are stuck! Your daughter needs a mom who is not depressed and avoiding people. I would suggest you seek out family counseling. If that doesn’t work I have two suggestions. You wait it out or leave. There is no guarantee that in 2 years the 16 year-old will leave even if you want her to. I don’t have any great ideas for you because you have painted yourself into a corner. If husband is not willing to change, then maybe you need to change by leaving or moving in with family to show husband how serious you are.

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