| | Trouble with my step-daughter
I have two step-children, a 19 year-old step-son and a 9-year-old step-daughter. I don't have any biological children. I rarely see the 19-year-old as he has a life of his own now (even though it means mooching off my MIL much of the time) and my step-daughter lives with us more than half of the time. I came into her life when she was 6. If she puts up a fight about something she often gets what she wants from grandma, grandpa, and mom. Dad will let her get away with some stuff but he knows where to draw the line. I work part-time (less than 10 hours a week) so I am the caretaker when she is at our house. I have noticed lately that she will argue with me about anything. The other day she started arguing with me that men can get pregnant and have babies (she has a good sense of humor but she wasn't joking). I've also noticed that I have to tell her to do things numerous times before she'll do it. This never used to be a problem and I haven't changed my parenting style. I don't know what the issue is.
This morning I told her that we were leaving at 11:40 and that she needed to go take a shower and get ready, she asked if we could leave before that, I told her that I was finishing something up and I wouldn't be done before we had to leave at 11:40. She started putting up a fight and arguing with me about it. Eventually I told her "that's enough, I'm not arguing with you about this, go upstairs and get ready, we are leaving at 11:40." I've approached her like this several times and nothing helps. At 11:35 she started to get her paints out and I reminded her that we were leaving in 5 minutes and told her that she wouldn't have time to do any painting. She started arguing with me about that. I told her to put the paints away and I went upstairs to get something. When I came down she was painting. I told her the next time she disobeys me like that, she's going lose $1 from her piggy bank (a huge punishment for her).
Am I doing the right thing? It seems like nothing is working and it's incredibly frustrating! I've worked with kids a lot of my life. I've worked at daycares, my little sister was born when I was 15 so I helped raise her, and I dated a guy for 3.5 years who had partial custody of two young children. Any advice?
Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves great success in any field of activity; yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage.
Sydney J. Harris