View Full Version : how to act towards 19 yo stepdaughter about to enlist

April 13th, 2011, 10:32 AM

first time poster but, big fan of the wisdom here.

Quick backround

I have been married for 10 years to a Thai lady I met on vacation 12 years ago. I brought her and her 9yo daughter to the USA in 2002.
Fast foward to 2009, daughter is 17 and junior in High School. She is "in love", first time become sexually active, and 6 weeks from graduating but, is on the serious decline w/ grades and behaviour. She has run away twice to the BFs parents house and, I needed to get the police to bring her back. For the first time, I can see our relationship seems over, in favor of her new BF and his family.

Finally, she runs again and this time, they have her hidden away from us. She does not contact us until her 18th birthday (5 months later). She demands her stuff which we gladly give her. She does not speak A WORD to her mom.

Fast foward to present time. She has lived with her BFs family for two years and we have begun a texting relationship, even having a meal two times. I do not talk about the past but instead, choose to fly above the turmoil and bitterness and focus on the present. She has enlisted (no college for now) but, I feel guilty because she still has not had any contact with her mom and we dont talk about it at all. Just small talk about her situation.

Whats my play guys?

1. stir things up and ask her to contact her mom before she deploys
2. let sleeping dogs lie and let, her know I think the path she chose is ok.
3. discontinue the contact until, she talks with her mom.

Thanks for any help


April 13th, 2011, 10:40 AM
Sorry... but can you clarify? Is she in text contact with her mom as well as you? Or just you? (Just want to make sure I have the facts straight ;) You said no contact with her mom, but I wanted to be sure that's right... she contacts you but not her mom and you don't tell her mom.)

April 13th, 2011, 10:46 AM
she and I have texted and even met. She has made no attempt at all to contact her Mom and her mom (asian) is too proud to make the first move. She is extremely hurt by the whole thing. We do not discuss the situation (her choice) but she is aware I am in contact with her

April 13th, 2011, 02:14 PM
she and I have texted and even met. She has made no attempt at all to contact her Mom and her mom (asian) is too proud to make the first move. She is extremely hurt by the whole thing. We do not discuss the situation (her choice) but she is aware I am in contact with her

The bold is the important thing. Your wife knows what you are doing so you are not going behind her back. Both mother and daughter are making a conscious choice. Any urging from you to reconcile also means you'll get the blame if it fails. Continue to maintain your minimal relationship with your step-daughter and wait until one of them asks you to help them.

Good luck. You must be a very special man.

April 13th, 2011, 02:46 PM
thanks so much for the advice. I am far from special, actually consider myself a failure in the stepfather dept. I was hoping my stepdaughter would be finishing her freshman year at ASU now, not working in a call center and waiting to join the Marines.

April 13th, 2011, 03:16 PM
azlos, I'm trying to think of anything useful to say to you and I'm at a loss. Thanks to Lucy for replying to you because I didn't want you to feel ignored.

I can't imagine the pain that both your SD and your wife must be in.

So, if I were in your shoes, I think I'd continue being the "safe place" that your SD has found in you. I hope that love conquers all in this case.

As far as being a "failure" as a step-father... au contraire. You have a strong daughter (who may be a little too much like her strong mother ;)) That does not make you a failure IMHO.

The thing that confuses me and concerns me is why her BF's family would hide her from you the third time she ran? I find that highly questionable of them, considering that she was underage and you could have charged them with kidnapping or something. Did they talk to you at all?

April 14th, 2011, 01:48 AM

It's not easy being the 'one in the middle', but even if you don't feel it that way, I also think that you are + have been doing a great job! Why else would your step daughter choose to keep contact with you? She could have gone plenty other paths, but she chose to keep in touch. And whatever you do, try not to discontinue the contact you have with her, because at the moment you are the only link between them.

Support your stepdaughter by showing her that you accept and approve her decisions even though she is not following a path that you would have chosen. My guess is, if she is maintaining contact, that on some level she would really like to have some contact with her mum. But this is scary as hell for her, so she might not even acknowledge it. What I would do is: whenever I saw her I would never talk about her and her mum coming together, but instead I would sometime drop a line about her mum doing such and such... or remembering a nice event from the past about her mother. Just things that could keep her mum alive in her heart. Little things sometimes go a long way.

April 15th, 2011, 10:43 AM
Support her choice to join the military - maybe mom could even make treat care packages to mail to her

At some point all kids grow up (at least that's what we hope). If they don't live thier lives the way we'd like them to - that's part of growing up. going their own way -

do you know what caused the rift?

April 15th, 2011, 10:07 PM
You are FAR from being a failure!!

A Failure would be someone who didn't care at ALL, and by you just texting her and meeting her, is far more than you're obligated to do since she is over the age of 19, and I am obviously assuming that she does not live with you.

Good luck. And I wish your step-daughter luck as well!

April 16th, 2011, 12:13 AM
Much thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I have read each post many times.

In most cases of family disputes, there are at 3 sides to every story. However, the punishment that my SD served my wife (and I) was extremely harsh, even if she was in love!!

It will be two years next month since my wife spoke with/saw her only daughter. I do not see either one initiating contact ever--- hope Im wrong

April 16th, 2011, 12:59 AM
I sincerely hope you are wrong too!!! As I am a mother of only one child, and it would just break my heart if mine did not talk to me for that long!! I would be going seriously insane!

By any chance, has your wife tried to make contact with her? Even a little Card saying that she hopes she is alright? Or even flowers with the card saying she hopes she is alright. Not necessarily saying she's sorry, or she misses her, or anything like that. Basically just saying that her mother is still there, and thinking about her, and hopes for the best?