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Dealing with a sneaky manipulative 5 year old---HELP!

I have a 5 year old stepdaughter who is the sneakiest, most conniving child I have ever seen in my life! She is one way around people, and another in front of my husband. He thinks she is a precious, honest little girl. She literally looks out the window to watch him pull off. Then she starts 'trying' to be an adult. She throws tantrums and she will tell me she doesn't have to listen vto me. When he walks in the door she will lay out and say in her best 'sad voice', "Daddy, thank you for coming home I was so scared" He then looks at me like I did something to her. One time, she went home with a mark on her face from sleeping on vher barette. She told her mother I bit her, even though her mom & I don't get along, she even said its not a bite mark, but my husband, a different story. Its so stressful, I can't stand to deal with this girl. My home is so stressful when she is here. How can a 5 year old come change the energy of an otherwise happy home. My major worry is, she is 5 what's gonna happen when she becomes a pre teen or teenager. She even makes my 4 year old uncomfortable, he cries to go to my mom's house. Its bad because when I have tried to talk to my husband, he immediately gets defensive. I'm so sick of this, if she lies on me 1 more time I just might explode!!!!
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Avatar universal
Let the child know that you love her and it will work.. From the text you wrote i can see that it was angrily written. The child has her reasons for behaving that way and you need to find out why and try to help your step kid.. My five year old step daughtet told me that i seemed a bit too young for her dad. I sat down with her and had a good conversation and things have changed. She doesn't back answer me anymore or hisses her teeth after I scold or corrects.. Its your job as a parent to accept your step child and see if you can help alter her behavior. If you bring hatred into the relationship. She'll never change
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If the problem is that she is really two different people entirely when he's gone and when he's there, you could put in one of those 'nanny cams' without telling anyone and film her when he's away.  But it will probably take more than the incidents you described above to convince her dad that she is really being two different people.  If there are other things that are worse, then film away, and show the dad.

I'd see a therapist about the stored-up anger and dislike you have for the girl.  Not that I'm saying you're the problem, but a counselor will be able to suggest mechanisms for desensitizing yourself so the changed atmosphere will not be so changed.
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Avatar universal
In my opinion, you need NO therapy, but that child does and needs it like yesterday.  I would recommend recording her in action and giving the evidence to her father.  After he sees her in action hopefully he will take the child for professional help.  

I understand just how you feel.  
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Avatar universal
I came into my step daughters life when she was 4 and her mom tried her hardest to turn her against me. What I feel worked for us was one my husband was on my side. He could tell I loved her and wanted the best for her, so he helped me work through her issues with me and with us being together.

I honestly believe all these answers you have rec so far are good answers. You should resent the little girl or have so much anger toward her. You should be trying to feel for her and be there for her. Kids act out because they are angry or hurt to. I do believe if you dont know how to keep from being so angry toward her it may help you to get therapy. Not saying that you need it just sometimes talking with someone helps us sort out our feelings.

It would truly help if you could talk to your husband and have him start assisting more with figuring out the underlying reason why his daughter acts the way she does toward you. Some tips for talking to your husband is remember this is his baby girl you are discussing and therefore you have to show you love her and care for her like he does, and that you really just want the best for her. You have to make him realize that you are not wanting to get her in trouble, and you are not jealous of her...but truly concern because she has so much pit up anger. It may take you sitting him down when she is not around and telling him that you love him and her and you want your family to be happy together.

Once you have him understanding that you need his help and that his little girl needs his help then you should discuss therapy for her, or maybe how you both can be proactive in helping her to adapt to the situation she is in. Remember this is probably hard on her because the woman that is with daddy should be mommy, and that is how children see it. I know my husband had to remain firm that I was in charge when he wasnt around and that if his daughter didnt listen to me that she would be in trouble with him as well. We also both told her that I wasnt replacing her mommy just wanting to be her friend.

The last suggestion to me is the biggest thing. His daughter sees you as a threat, and also feels like you have no right to tell her what to do because you are not mommy. Dr.Williams is right it is your job as step mom to help the child to adapt and feel loved by you and her father. She may even feel you are trying to replace her. You need to sit down with her and talk to her and let her know you are not the bad guy. Kids can sense our anger and resentment I believe so make sure when you go to sit down with her...you are calm and ready to be open to hear her out and to love on her.

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Avatar universal
Oh my. I have exactly the same problem. My partner is a widower and her mum dies when she was three. She had to grow up very quickly and has resented my presence (even as a nanny-which I was first and after their mum died). She acts as if she’s competing with me for a woman of the house role. It’s so complex because I feel so hurt and betrayed by years of rejection by her. I know she’s suffering but for years I offered myself, selflessly, trying to help her and it seems she puts me down at every opportunity. Her behaviour makes me want to push her away which then confirms her belief that the ones she loves disappear.

I am aware of this on a higher level but I am only human and I can’t handle it anymore.

I’m sorry! I don’t know what advice to give but just a commiseration. ❤️
Helpful - 0
Good Afternoon, take a deep breath. I can tell it has been hard on you. She probably feels resentment and like you are trying to take her moms place. This little girl is still trying to come to terms with her moms death to probably. Does her father talk to her about the death? Does he talk to you and help you with her? Many times if you and him can form a bound and not go against her but show her, that you both are there for her and she has a stable home. This could help your relationship with her.

You may want to even sit her down yourself. Ask her if she feels like you are trying to take her moms place, ask her if she feels like she is having to compete for her fathers attention. Talk to her and show her you care about her. Another thing is check your emotions as well. As step parents whether we like to admit it or not sometimes jealousy can come over us toward the children. They are first in our Husbands lives and that is how it should be but it is still hard.

I have had my ups and down with my step daughter who is now 18. Now I can honestly say we are close. We still dont always see eye to eye and she still treats me differently at times...I think this comes from being unsure of whether my intentions are pure (due to her mom). Still she knows that when it comes down to it. I love her, I am here for her, and I am not trying to take her dad away from her or hold him back from being there for her.

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