From the Inbox comes the following:
I know this is not an issue that you have had to deal with personally, but I am in hope that your readers may be able to offer up some advice on how they have met the challenges of helping raise a child, specifically a teenager daughter, amidst the many obstacles of being a stepparent, the teenage years, the lack of authority, and a father who is reluctant to set down rules and boundaries. It is greatly affecting not only the relationship between he and I, but the relationship that his daughter and I have tried to build over the last couple of years.
The most recent development is her admission to him that she feels like everything had changed (her freedoms) only since I came into the picture. This admission came, not surprisingly, after we put some restrictions on her phone use. She has failed to realize that as she matures, new rules and boundaries go along with that and her father seems ill equipped or reluctant to explain this to her. I should note that I don't say or do anything until I've discussed it with the W, but she still chooses to believe that it is coming from me, and not through her father and I arriving at a mutual decision.
While I don’t have any experience being a step-parent, I do have experience being a father. It’s never good for any child to have one parent who’s doing their best to be a good mom or dad with the other parent is only passively involved. Even though I don’t have teenagers yet, my kids are always testing boundaries and trying to find out if Marathon Girl or I will give in on certain issues.
Based on what you said, her dad needs to start set rules and boundaries. Odds are she'll listen to him more than you. Then the two of you need to get on the same page as far as what these boundaries are and what the punishments are if they rules are broken. Two different set of expectations only cause confusion and the problems you're experiencing. The two of you need to get on the same page. While that may not solve all the issues, it’s a necessary starting point in order to address the problems she’s causing.
Hope this helps,
Readers? What suggestions do you have for N?