My ex and I divorced when my daughter “Kira” was 5. I remarried when she was 11. My new wife and I have a 4-year-old, a toddler, and a newborn. It is a struggle to keep everything fair and balanced, but I try my best to do right by all my children. The problem is Kira keeps running hot and cold with me.
My ex and I share equal custody, but we let Kira decide where she wants to stay most of the time as we live only a few blocks away from each other. Kira keeps fighting with her mom and comes over here, only to fight with her stepmom and me. Sometimes she is good with her siblings and the next she acts like she is Cinderella (we never ask Kira to babysit but we do occasionally ask her to entertain the older two kids while we make dinner). When upset, Kira will hurl the most hurtful statements possible, saying how much she hates her half-siblings and calling them the shiny new replacement children. She has done this in front of our 4-year-old. Kira always says she doesn’t mean it afterward.
My wife, my ex, and I have sat down with Kira and explained how much we love her but she can’t keep acting this way and trying to play her mom and me off each other. Kira accused us of ganging up on her and refused to go to counseling. My ex says that Kira will be off to college in two years so we shouldn’t press her. My wife is exhausted and tells me I need to deal with Kira. I love my daughter but short of marching her to therapy, I don’t know what to do.