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I recently have had the experience of raising a teenage girl. I have found it to be very exhausting, but I have loved every minute of it. Just watching in the background as I notice everything I have been trying to teach my daughter come into place. She has come from a very rough childhood, going between parents for most of her life. So really no stability and no rules or structure. Now she has lived with us for 7 months and had to adapt to both. I have tried to be her friend, that didn’t work! So now I have taken on the role as her Mom, but still her friend. Unfortunately her biological mother is not in her life anymore, so she can’t even talk to her about life stuff. I have encouraged my daughter to keep a relationship with her, but its her mothers choice.
So I have found that consistency works. She came from an environment where homework wasn’t enforced and grades were not important. We have had to enforce tough love, to make her understand how important this was. She has tried to get out of her groundings, but we never let up, until our expectations were met. Now after a short time she enjoys doing her homework and makes sure all of her assignments are completed. Success! I have asked her why she would think why we were upset about the situation. She would take the time to think about it and come to me with the answer. I never told her why, just made her think about it. It has worked out wonderful. Now she understands the importance of being responsible for her schoolwork, or there will be consequences. I am hoping that she will take this information and take it with her when she gets into the working world.
She also came from an environment where cleanliness wasn’t enforced. I live in a clean environment so as you can tell, this was a huge issue for me. Seven months ago, garbage in her room, dishes left where she ate, laundry not done weekly, room a disaster, I could keep going,but I think you get the picture. Now she complains if someone else makes a mess. Once again just consistency. My rules have never changed. She now says that she enjoys living in a clean environment. She helps me out, and in part of this family now.
Listening to your stepchild is also very important. I understand that what is happening in their high school life, seems so foolish to us. But it is very important to them. They need to now that their parents care about what is happening with their friends. So this is where the friend comes in. I try to put myself in her shoes, but still give her helpful information to help her get through the situation. I enjoy talking to her about her day, and make it a point of asking her about her day, every day.
So she has gone from a very hurt little girl, to becoming responsible and respectable in a short few months. She now thanks me for coming into her life.
write by Brian Brown