Parenting Stepchildren/Girlfriends daughtee


I'll try to keep this brief thought it is anything but brief. My girlfriend and I have been dating for about a year and a half. We are both divorced and both have children. Mine are 10,14, and 18 (almost 19). My gf's are 18 1/2 and 19. She moved into my home back in September and we went through a difficult adjustment especially where my children were concerned. It happened quickly and there mom had just moved out (we had been separated for well over a year and divorced for 4 months). My children were disrespectful and didn't pick up after themselves. It is not perfect but both my kids and I have come a distance. They have adjusted and while far from perfect they are much better with respect and picking up. During that period and even now when she gets frustrated they are "rude, disrespectful, annoying, and so on...  I took in her son for about 3 months until he could get a job. His behavior was no better than my children's. Eventually he opted to move to Michigan where he has family when he didn't try to get a job and made clear he didn't want to and wanted to live in the house for at least a year. This after my gf had said1-2 mos tops. Her daughter is a diagnosed sociopath. She has been in and out of juvenile detention centers and running away since she was 12. She got pregnant at 17 and has a 1+ year old now. She is 18 1/2 and we found out recently she is pregnant again. The father has no real job and about every 45-60 days we get a call asking for money (not $50 but 300-1000) and a promise that they have their act together. We have been arguing recently because they are once again without a place so she wants her mom to take her baby into our house. It was to be for 1 week. Now it's already 2 weeks and that changed in a span of about 4 hrs. We've been dealing with this for well over a year and nothing ever changes. Her daughter comes back into her life and yet she says they are going to get their act together and she wouldn't lie about (rent, how much they need, etc...). I'm writing because I'm angry that she can harshly critique my children and call them names and say I am naive about poor behavior and lying etc yet her daughter does it constantly and it isn't about more minor issues like picking up a toy it's about money, jobs, what she needs, that they are actually trying to make a difference.  I told her that at the end of this 2 week period nothing would be different and neither of them will do anything to change their situation in that span so our world is turned upside down (1+ plus my kids). I'm tired of it and I'm angry that she continually lets her daughter back in to her life only to end up hanlving paid out money or invested much time and heartache and at the end she ends up lying, calling her mom a terrible parent calling me a jerk because I don't send more money their way (mind you I've already given over $3000 I don't have) and leaving my gf more depressed and upset and the cycle just repeats literally every 1-3 months. Am I wrong to not want the grandchild here?  For two weeks?  With no plan at the end of the two weeks?  When does it end????


Thank you for writing in. It can certainly be difficult to be in the situation you are in.

With regard to your question, I offer the following.

First, try not to compare your family to that of your significant other. Doing so will just drive a wedge in your relationship. Instead, when there is a challenging situation that you identify, bring it up to your significant other during a good time, and when your partner can 'hear you'. Instead of saying something like "your kids are behaving no better than you said mine did", try something like, "I want to keep the house clean and I have noticed that Johnny is not picking up behind himself. What do you propose we can do to encourage him to clean up his belongings?"

Second, as for the plan for permanency when it comes to the plan for grandchild, you can use the same technique. Express your feelings using "i" statements, expressing your feelings and concerns for the child and for the normalcy of the house. Bringing up the past or highlighting the shortcoming of the parents, will not promote your agenda to gain a permanent plan or find out what the permanent plan is for the child.  

Parenting Stepchildren

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KaRae' Carey, PhD


I can answer questions that pertain to challenges stepparents face, as well as challenges with adjustment and integration of the stepfamily. I can answer questions about psychological, emotional, and social changes that affect adults and children in stepfamilies. I can answer questions that have to do with the emotional and psychological impact of stepfamilies pertaining to child support, visitation, or divorce.


I am a stepmother to one boy and one girl. I have been in their lives since they were about 8 years old. I have first-hand "real life" experience with 'baby mama drama' and strains in marriage due to the complications and challenge that being a new stepmother presented. Bio: Inspired and motivated by her experiences as both a stepdaughter and stepmother of two children, Dr. Carey founded the Triangle Stepfamily Institute and is committed to empowering stepfamilies. She has first-hand experience both personally and professionally, with the difficulties people may experience when adjusting to stepfamily life. Dr. Carey believes that with the right support, and armed with knowledge, living harmoniously within a stepfamily is possible. She has dedicated countless hours to understanding the delicate functioning of the stepfamily and has produced several articles related to stepfamily relationships and functioning. Dr. Carey has studied with research pioneers and clinical leaders in the field of stepfamily life. She has also conducted independent research about stepfamilies with a focus on the concerns of the stepmother. She has also earned certification as a stepfamily counselor. Dr. Carey has also earned seven specialty certifications. Dr. Carey’s specialty certifications include being a nationally certified professional counselor, an accredited clinical supervisor, a credentialed distance counselor, board certified health services professional, school guidance counselor, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and a certified stepfamily counselor. For more information on services, or to request Dr. Carey for counseling, interviews, or speaking opportunities, please contact her through her web site, or by calling 919-454-7857.

National Association of Professional Women American Counseling Association Licensed Professional Counselors Association of North Carolina

Publications, expert author

Oakland University, Rochester, MI Ph.D. in Counselor Education 2009 Dissertation: “The Experience of the African American Stepmother: An Exploratory Investigation ” Honors: Dissertation nominated for 2010 Outstanding Humanistic Dissertation Award Cognate Concentrations: Child and Adolescent Mental Health & School Guidance Counseling Major Advisor: Robert Fink, PhD Madonna University, Livonia, MI M.S. in Clinical Psychology 2002 Madonna University, Livonia, MI B.S. Psychology 2000 Cartified Stepfamily Counselor, Stepfamily Foundation, 2011 • Licensed Professional Counselor, State of North Carolina, (6893) • National Certified Counselor, NBCC, (234907) • Credentialed Distance Counselor, CCE, (966) • Approved Clinical Supervisor, CCE, (ACS01058) • Board Certified Health Services Professional, CCE, (1472) • Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist- Provisional- State of North Carolina • Licensed Bachelor of Social Work, State of Michigan, (6802084095) • Limited Licensed Psychologist, State of Michigan, (6301012018) • Social Worker Registration, State of Michigan, (6803075415) • School Counselor license (K-12), State of Michigan, (SC000554) • School Counselor license (K-12), State of North Carolina, (XXXXX2200)

Awards and Honors
•Kappa Gamma Pi, National Catholic College Honor Society, inducted 2000 •Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, inducted 2005 •Robert Brown Memorial Fund Scholarship, 2005

Past/Present Clients
Step family members, children, adults, teens

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