Dear Maggie:

My 11-year-old step-daughter has been very very rude to me. She seems to think that I tore her apart from her mother and sister when I came into the picture. I do not wish for her to think that and I would ever want to ruin her special bond with her mother. I just want her to like me and accept the fact that I am not here too ruin her life. Another thing: she just lost her grandmother around the same time I came into the picture — could this be the trigger of her emotion toward me?

From,
Claire

Dear Claire,

The loss of her grandmother plus what she possibly sees as the loss of her father and the family break-up might all be laid on you at this time by this unhappy child. I think her dad needs to step in and tell her that in your home she needs to be polite to you no matter her feelings. You are his wife and you both want her to part of your lives but you also demand that she be civilized while she is there. He can ask her how she would feel if you treated her in the same manner as she is treating you. And if she acts up, don’t be afraid to tell her behavior is unacceptable and no one is allowed to treat you in this way. Do it calmly and gently, and also give her time. Once she sees that you are not trying to be her mother, but just a special friend, she might grow out of this reaction if not pushed.

You might also try your local library or Amazon.com for books on blending families.

My best,
Grandma Maggie

Peggy Moss, AKA "Grandma Maggie," was was an owner/partner in BabyNames.com after she retired as an early childhood educator. Her Q&A column "Ask Grandma Maggie" is now republished with the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice. She has written many eBooks about parenting issues, available at Amazon.com.

Peggy, who passed in 2014, was mother to Sue, Kate, Jennifer, and Mallory Moss, and grandmother to Ike, Peter, Miranda, and Veronica.