Making SD Feel Like She Belongs
Just some background first. I have a BD, 9 years old, a SD, also 9, 4 months older than BD, and we have a 4 year old daughter together. Dad has every Weds and every other weekend visitation with SD. I have BD all the time, never sees her father. We just got married a year ago, but have been living together since before 4yo was born.
Now my dillema. It seems as though since the wedding SD feels as if dad went out and got a new family and that she isn't as loved. She has told him that if it weren't for me he could be with her mom, which he has told her would not be the case. They were never married and were split up by the time she was a year old. We didn't meet until the girls were 3yo.
In the beginning I stepped on a lot of toes by treating SD as the other children in our family. It's okay to do things for them, take them places, play with them, care for them, but I shouldn't have been so quick to discipline SD as I do my own children. It just seemed natural to me to correct both the 9yos when they were being naughty together. I understand that this was a mistake, and I take full responsibility for that.
I have learned to let my husband take the lead in discipline, and when the children do need correcting and he is unavailable, I specifically say my 9yo's name and then give the direction, and then I just hope that SD will be listening. However, when my husband disciplines SD, she just sees that as me making him do that and him loving the other children more.
SD's BM is very much a contributing factor in the problem. She tells SD that her father does not contribute enough to her and perpatuates SD's feelings of not belonging here. She also puts much of that on me. The consensus between them is that if it weren't for me, everything would be great.
SD and I do get along well at times. We'll go shopping or on family trips with everyone, play games, and she'll seem fine. Then I'll say something like, Let's clean up now, and SD is in her room text-messaging mom that she hates it here and that I'm sooo mean. She commonly refers to me as Meanie and Fatzo in her text messages (yes, we look at them later sometimes), although she would never do this to my face.
Discussing this with BM is not an option for me as she commonly avoids me, and when we are around each other, she is sugar sweet to my face, although I know she has said nothing good about me to other people behind my back. My husband cannot address this issue with her either as she commonly is volatile and blows up at him. He is going back to court now to try for shared parenting. He feels that if she were over more, she would feel more wanted and he could have more influence on her upbringing.
My question is, Where do I go from here? I know that I probably should not hold myself responsible for her upbringing, that that's between her father and mother, but I do want her to feel loved and that she is a member of our family as well.