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Separated step parent of a 7 yr old I was a father figure…

Hello. Separated step parent of a...
Hello.
Separated step parent of a 7 yr old I was a father figure since she was 4 months old. Going through the courts for guardianship/Contac-Parenting order. Now both bio parents are involved and opposing my application. There is a contact order I place. My step daughter has got to the point where for the one weekend a month she is with me I have to physically dress her and carry her to her mom. She say many negative things such as hate and kill about her mom. She get angry and violent when it comes time to go back. If I see her other time she pleads with me to take her with me. When she calls if someone is in the room with her she is good once alone she breaks down and cries and tells me she love me, misses me and wants to come home. It is extremely heart breaking and frustrating to witness and I'm desperate for solution and advice.
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Answered in 14 hours by:
3/18/2018
TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,968
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.

There are two possibilities with your step daughter. One, she is acting this way in order to gain your attention and to play on your emotions around the separation. Sometimes children will pick up on the tension going on between parents and in order to gain attention or even to manipulate, they will act out with one of the parents or both of them. When you stated that your step daughter is able to control her emotions when someone else is in the room with her, that shows she is aware of her behavior and can control it. So if she is acting out only with you, then it is possible she is trying to gain your attention for some reason.

The other possibility is that she is truly in distress and only shares it with you because she only trusts you. In that case, there may be some serious issues going on in her home with her mother. You did not mention if there was any possible abuse, neglect, alcohol or drug use, but if there are or problems like that it may be your step daughter's way of acting out with you, whom she feels safe with.

If you feel your step daughter is manipulating or trying to gain your attention in some way, then you may want to talk to her about it and start to set some clear boundaries. You may also want to consider counseling or at the very least, an evaluation by a child therapist. You need to know why she is acting out like this and what you can do to set boundaries and still show her the love you feel for her.

However, if you feel there is something going on in her home that might be causing this reaction with you, then you may need to ask the courts or your attorney how you can pursue help for your step daughter and possibly have her evaluated for the courts and for custody. If there is abuse or other serious issues in her home, then her safety becomes a priority over any other considerations.

I hope this has helped you,

MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you, ***** ***** parents refuse to talk to me about theses issues and claim she is all good on there end. I do fear mental and emotional abuse in the home from witnessing her mother in the past along with the mothers own mental and substance issue. bio dad is a wild card and from our conversations he feels he is competent enough to diagnose conditions with our daughter. She does or at least has seen a councillor, when I've requested to speak to the councillor with or with out the bio parents they refuse and feel they need to filter my concerns as they see fit. This all adds to my concern and worry. My case is an up hill battle no matter what but my concern for her well being has continued to grow over the last 8 months. I feel its not her playing sides since her biological extended family have the same concerns

You're welcome! I'm happy to help.

At this point, it sounds like your best option is to work this through the courts. Your attorney would have the best advice on how to proceed given the situation. However, if you feel you want to, you might also want to report the abuse to the authorities. I'm unsure of the laws in Canada, but your attorney, local community mental health center or children's hospital may be able to guide you on how to report suspected abuse. At the very least, if you suspect abuse, it should be investigated so there is piece of mind regarding your step daughter's safety.

You can also talk to your step daughter about her situation. She is old enough to tell you what is going on in her life. She may not provide clear details, but just by letting her know you are there for her and that you are willing to listen, it can help her. Let her know that there are boundaries, however, such as not threatening anyone or hurting anyone. But she can express herself through words and even pictures if she wishes. That may help you get a better idea of what is going on.

MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you

You are very welcome! My best to you.

Take care,

MaryAnn

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!

TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,968
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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