Help! Stuck with adult step daughter, no end in site.

  1. I got married a little over a year ago, my husband has two kids, one in college and the other a 22 year old girl. I have 3 kids, two living on their own two hours away, the other a 13 yo ds living with us. When we got married, we timed it so that that his son was leaving for college shortly after we got married so we were down to just my ds.

    Page 2: Last June his 22 yo daughter decided to move back in with us, (I'm pretty sure it's because her mother, whom she lived with, got sick of her slovenly lifestyle and kicked her out). So.....she comes to live with us, because hubby wants to "help" her get on her feet and grow up. She had (still hasn't) any clue how to handle money, she doesn't feel the need to bathe often, would be layng around in her PJs watching cartoons if we hadn't constantly been a thorn in her side about working.

    Page 3: the problem is that she has worked off and on since she came to live with us, although she does finally have a full time job working at a local Buffalo Wild Wings for minimum wage. She continues to leave her room a pig sty, I have no idea how often she bathes (don't even want to know), and she continues to be irresponsible with her money. When she first came to live with us, we found out that she was being taken to collection agency for non payment of an overdraft account so my husband bailed her out so she owes him almost 300 dollars (she has sporadically paid him a grand total of 100 dollars toward that). We also fond out she owed another bank over 300 dollars in overdraft fees for an account she never closed so they continued to try and draw funds out of it, thus bouncing the account every month. Daddy didn't bail her out of that, but had to constantly keep after her until she paid that off.

    When she first told us that she wanted to move back in with us, we laid down some very specific expectations for her and she has failed to meet those obligations. My husband sits her down every so often and yells at her about it, but other than that, lets it go. He tells me he wants "to help her" learn to be a responsible adult who can function on her own. Our expectations of her were: get a job, save money, keep her room clean. Like I said, none of which she has done. Despite owing her dad the nearly 300 dollars, she spent 67 dollars at the bookstore last month, 52 dollars eating out and another 81 dollars on stuff she didn't need. I know this because I opened her bank statement this month. I might add, that last month was one of the months that she was just working off and on at temporary jobs and only getting off the couch and getting dressed to go look for jobs when we jumped on her about getting out and looking for work.

    Last night my husband told me that he was going to sit down with her once again and have a discussion about being more fiscally responsible, saving her money, keeping her room clean, helping more around the house, and will tell her that if she doesn't do those things that when she turns 23 in March that she was going to be kicked out. Now, if she does follow through and do those things, then he told me that "he has no problem with letting her continue to live with us and maybe go to school so she can be more marketable." WTH!?!?!?!!? :angryfire What ensued for the next two hours wasn't pretty. I told him in no uncertain terms that I didn't want her living with us indefinitely, that if she wanted to go to school, she could do so after she moved out. He preceeded to argue with me that he wasn't sure that she had the skills to make it on her own, that he wanted to help her no matter what it took, etc, etc. He thinks I'm being unreasonable and is angry because I don't understand that he loves his daughter and it's difficult for him to make the decision to just kick her out on without the skills to cope with life. I think he feel party guilty because he knows that he hasn't been diligent with sitting down with her and keeping track of her spending so she is spending what she wants, when she wants, and how she wants and she knows that all she has to do is endure a lecture from him every once in awhile and then she can continue to do what she wants.

    I told him that I think that 6 months is adequate time to give her to prepare to go forth out into the world and maybe if she knows that she only has 6 months, maybe she will think twice about buying that book, or eating out. I think if he is diligent with making her show him her account weekly, and making her accountable to him for her purchases, and making her accountable for showing that she is saving her money, then there is no reason why she should have to live with us any longer. I learned to live on my own, I worked full time, raised an infant son by myself, and went to nursing school. It's amazing what neccesity will teach you. If it was up to me, I would have kicked her out soon after she came to live with us because she was living up to my nightmares of what I had exected it would be like to live with her.

    Anyway, sorry this is long and rambling, but I am at my wit's end. Am I being unreasonable to want her gone? Am I being unreasonable to not want her to live here and go to school? I'm at the point where I'm ready to say, "she goes or I do" and follow through with that threat. My husband keeps getting mad at me because she is his daughter and he loves her and he is just having a hard time making the decision to throw her to the wolves, and thinks I (as well as his mom) are cold hearted and just don't understand what he is going through. I just know that we are going to be stuck with her indefinitely, laying around our house on her time off, eating our food, watching cartoons, spending her money however she wants. Oh yeah, he has agreed to finally start making her pay rent. Course if he is the one that collects it, it won't be collected and he will get mad at me everytime I ask him if she has paid him or not.

    Again, sorry this is so long and rambling. I guess I just needed to vent. So what do you all think? Am I a cold hearted so and so?

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  3. by   tencat
    Hi. I don't think you are being cold hearted at all. But, has anyone considered the possibility that she may be depressed or have some other mental illness? The reason I ask this is because you say she's 'lazy' and she doesn't bathe a lot (could be signs of depression). If that were the case, it could be addressed and she could learn to function independently with the help of counselling and/or meds. It might be worth looking into.
  4. by   compassion1
    I agree with tencat. What about family counseling, too. You need a united front to give her real help.
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    maybe the could be a compromise somewhee in thiis
    the first year or two are hard enough in any marriage
    this is a bad example to your must stand up no at this time because the longer you wait the more entrenched in their ways
    also if they feel like the 'won' this one he knows how t win the next time
    second marriages are difficullt because of many diferent reasons but it you at this one into the sink, she just might sink the boat
  6. by   Grace Oz
    If she were your biological child, what would you want her father to do in the same circumstances?
    I'm trying to take a neutral stand here.
    I feel deeply for the young people today. Life and the world is so different from when we were younger. I'm not excusing laziness or irresponsibility etc, just that the world is a very diffferent place now.
    It's a tough call I guess. I can appreciate both your and your DH's situation in all this.
    I hope things soon sort out and an acceptable solution is reached.
    Wishing you all the best.
  7. by   deeDawntee
    My first reaction as well, was that she is suffering some depression and no matter how much she is talked to or given ultimatums she will not get better without the proper help. I REALLY like the idea of some family counseling as well. She is at such an important juncture in her life, young adulthood, these next couple of years could make her or break her if she isn't given the support she really needs to get through the issues she is certainly dealing with from at the very least, divorced parents.
  8. by   MrsWampthang
    Thanks for all the advice. Depression may be a factor, however, when she lived with her mother, her mother offered to let her go to counseling, thinking the same thing. Stepdaughter refused stating that there wasn't anything wrong with her. I don't know anything except that she continues to disregard her father's directions. Yesterday he called and had me wake her up at 1130 ( I work nights, she works late evenings) and he told her to get up, clean her room, wash her clothes, leaving nothing in the washer or dryer. I woke up at 3pm, she was in her room asleep, there were clothes in the dryer, washer, and in a basket on the floor waiting to be washed. She was finally stirring around about 415 and getting ready to go to work when I left to go get my son from football practice. I called my DH on the way to work and asked him what he had told her and he told me the above. I informed him of just how well she followed his instructions. He must have found more than I had because when I came home this morning there was a very angry note to her, enumerating the things she didn't do the day before, like finishing her laundry. Now, if I had come home to a note like that, I would have at least taken my clothes out of the dryer, put the ones in the washer in the dryer, and washed the ones in the basket on the floor, but here it is this morning, and her laundry is exactly where she left it the day before. I know she saw the note because it is on the dry erase board that we all leave notes for each other on. It's things like that that frustrate the snot out of me because she has no respect for her dad nor does she care whether she makes him mad. Oh well. Again, thanks for letting me vent. I have to go to sleep now, last night at worked just stunk to high heaven.

  9. by   tencat
    Ok, if she refuses to get counselling, etc. then I don't see what other choice you have than to give an ultimatum: get counselling, or move out and make it on your own. Sometimes people have to hit their absolute bottom before they will try to change their lives (and sometimes they never do change their lives). Good luck.
  10. by   deeDawntee
    Oh, I see, I am soooo sorry that you are going through this!

    I still think you and your husband should go to a family therapist, just the two of you for a session or two and then with the therapists suggestions do what you can to get her involved. At the very least, you will have concrete actions you can take to either help her or find some other place for her to live...perhaps even a group home for mentally ill adults, that would wake her up, I would say, and at this point she is definitely not functioning, which is at least one working definition of mental illness.

    Good luck. Don't let this go on. It isn't helping her, you or your marriage.
  11. by   JBudd
    I would focus on the counseling for the two of you, to help him realize that he can't put her problems in front of your marriage: she's a grown woman even if not emotionally mature.

    Hubby needs to realize he changed the conditions you two set up when you married, and though he feels guilty about her, the two of you need to be a solid front.

    I too would have a terrible time putting a daughter out when I knew she couldn't cope. But until she makes an effort to learn, all you two are doing is enabling her to avoid her problems.

  12. by   Spidey's mom
    It is a stalemate and you need to get some outside help.

    Your stepdaughter didn't go when her mom asked - have you and your husband tried?

    At the very least, get some counseling for you and your husband. There needs to be lines drawn in the sand here. She may well be depressed but she is not being helped by letting this go on.

    I wish you well.

  13. by   smk1
    I'm probably going to be unpopular here, but I think you might need to rexamine your attitude towards this girl. She isn't running up your bills, has gotten a job, albeit one that isn't great, but still its a job, and the main complaint is her room not being clean and her questionable personal hygiene. I just don't see a huge issue here and this is your husbands daughter who you presumably need to make an effort to get to know and love as she is your daughter too now and will be a big part of your life. If she is rude or dishonest and doing things that are illegal, I could see a major issue, but she has only been with you guys for 3 months. Perhaps the guy you married did not raise his kids in the same manner in which you have raised yours which is causing friction. Still he has every right to try and help his daughter while she needs it. You have a son living with the two of you that he will need to deal with for a lot longer than you will probably have to deal with his daughter living with you. Sometimes it takes people a while to find a direction or to get the help that they need (if she does indeed suffer from depression). In the mean time why not shut her door so you don't have to see her mess, stay out of her mail (opening her mail is illegal) and not worry about her overdrafts because they are her business. I think she should absolutely pay some rent and if she isn't going to go to school then a timeframe for staying with you is a good idea, but if she is going to go to college and your husband wants to help out by letting her stay, I think that is reasonable. Setting up an ultimatum regarding you leaving a marriage over your husbands daughter who is basically messy and not a go-getter seems a bit unreasonable to me. Sorry.
    Last edit by smk1 on Sep 21, '07 : Reason: ...
  14. by   Soup Turtle
    I actually feel sorry for the girl because you sound very hateful towards her. I would understand the attitude if she'd set up a meth lab in your basement, but the worst things you've said about her are that she's messy and sleeps in. And maybe YOU went to nursing school, worked full time and raised an infant son by yourself, but she is NOT you.

    If a father wants to help out his 22 year old daughter, I say let him. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? Would you honestly have more respect for the man if he didn't take care of his children?

    She was a part of your husband's life before you were. You weren't around for the first twenty years of her life or the first twenty years of THEIR relationship. It's not fair to either of them that you're trying to step in, after all this time, and decide things need to be the way YOU want them to be.