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Question:

I have been dating my boyfriend for 2 years now. He and his ex split up when his daughter was 2 and she is now 7. She often gets in trouble at school for not following rules, kicking, pinching, stealing, etc. She also misbehaves at home and doesn’t listen. I have never seen her play with other kids without being the cause of conflict or hitting them, having to be first, kicking them and making it look like it was an accident, etc.,etc.,etc…. She faces no consequences for these things by her father either. I dare not say a word about her behavior to him. Do you think she may have ADHD or do you think she is just SPOILED?

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Answer:

There is no way for me to be able to state, with any kind of reliability or accuracy, what here problem may be. However, one thing seems quite clear and that is that you have your "hands full" with this situation. The fact is that this girl is not your daughter. What is even worse, is that it seems obvious that you cannot speak to your boyfriend about her problems. It seems to me you have limited choices and here they are:

1. You can live with the situation and hope things get so bad with this girl that her father finally "wakes up" and gets her some help,

2. You can tell your boyfriend that the situation with his daughter is intolerable because he does nothing about it and if it continues this way, you will leave. You have to really mean it and be prepared to leave.

3. You can explain to your boyfriend that you are not criticizing him or his daughter but that you believe that she needs psycholgical help and he must act now for her sake.

4. By the way, his doing something about his daughter means bringing her to a psychologist and having her evaluated and properly treated,

5. You can decide that this is too difficult to live with and get out of the relationship. After all, there are other men in the world.

I happen to agree with you that your boyfriends daughter needs help and it is his responsibility to get her help. He seems to feel defensive about his daughter and, for that reason, you need to try to be gentle at the same time emphasizing her need for help.

However, you cannot force him to do anything. Therefore, you have to make your own decisions about your life and what you can and cannot live with.

Good Luck

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