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Anonymous
Anonymous asks:
Q:

How can I get my daughter to stop ignoring her new stepfather?

My daughter and I have been living with my new husband for 3 years.  At first she loved him and we all enjoyed spending time together.  However, recently she has started ignoring him.  He says a simple Hello or Goodnight and she refuses to reply or even look at him for that matter.  I sat down with her to talk and she says that he has never done anything wrong to her and she likes him okay but she still refuses, even after I explained it was rude.

The crazy thing is that she only ignores him when I'm around.  When I'm there she will only talk to me and sometimes whispers so he won't hear.  But when I am not there, she is very nice to him and open and talks his ear off.  But as soon as I walk back into the room, she once again ignores him.  I've been trying to plan more things together, but it's frustrating.  I'm so confused.  

I'm wondering if it has anything to do with her father (he's always tried to cause problems b/c of jealousy).  She does see her father every other weekend, but I have full custody.

Any ideas on what I can try?

Thanks,
-Confused Mom
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Blended families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Mar 25, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hi-

Blending families after a remarriage can be very difficult, but from what you said, it sounds like you have done a great job of trying to include your daughter and create a peaceful environment. It's great that you're trying to plan activities that both your daughter and husband can be involved in together. It sounds confusing as to why only recently your daughter has begun to act shy around your husband. I'm glad you've tried to talk to your daughter about her behavior and why it needs to change. It sounds like your discussions haven't changed anything, so it may be time to look deeper into why her behavior has suddenly changed.

You didn't mention how old your daughter is. Younger children tend to adapt to step-parents more easily, so it's possible that as your daughter has gotten into her teen or early teen years she is becoming more rebellious and unwilling to accept her step-father as an authority figure.

There are many other possibilities as to why your daughter is reacting this way. It's possible that there is something else going on that's not related to your husband at all. Maybe something is going on at school, with friends, or her health that she is afraid to talk about and her way of expressing it is by changing her attitude at home.

It's also possible that something negative happened between her and your husband but she's afraid to tell you about it. I would try sitting down alone with her and asking her again what's really making her act this way, emphasizing that she's not in trouble, but you just really want to help her. If she refuses to discuss anything with you I would suggest taking her to talk to a counselor. They may be more able to get information from her.

I hope this give you a start!! Good Luck!

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (2)

Hannah loves Kevin
<p>It's a guess but take them both to a movie or a game just try if it works. :)</p>
<br />
> 60 days ago

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ShirleyCressDudley
ShirleyCres... , Teacher, Child Professional, Parent writes:
You have quite an interesting situation.  What is your husband's opinion of her behavior?  It would be helpful to have his "take" on this.  He may have a perspective you haven't considered.

If the poor behavior only happens when you and your husband are present, take the lead and refuse to communicate with her if she acts this way. Tell her you love her, but there are two adults present and she should not ignore her stepdad.  End the conversation firmly but lovingly.

Later on, talk with you daughter and tell her that you've noticed her whispering and seeming to want to talk with you alone.  Arrange a time each week to do this.  Once a week, take her on errands, out for ice cream or a fastfood (inexpensive) meal.  Let her know that this is the exclusive time with Mom, once a week, and just for her and you.  Remind her that the other times are family times and you really appreciate it when she talks to both of you together, as a family.  Tell her it makes you happy when everyone is communicating and interacting together.

Good luck with this.  If her poor behavior continues, tell her that you are going to limit the Mom/me time to only twice a month, until her behavior improves.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC
www.BlendedFamilyAdvice.com
> 60 days ago

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