My step-daughter is a tad bit insidious.

My step-daughter “Judy” is in high school. She spends part of the week with us and part of the week with her mother, “Martha.” This morning, Judy asked to borrow my cell phone on the way to school since she had forgotten hers at home. She sent a text message, and that was that. Later, I got a text message from her mother saying, “Okay,” and I couldn’t help but see what Judy had written to her mom. She wrote, “Judy forgot her soccer uniform. Please bring it to school today because she needs it for practice at 3.”

Judy wrote the text as if it were coming from me! Martha and I have a fine relationship, and I would never text her and order her to bring anything anywhere. Judy has some issues with remembering to bring her homework, her lunch, her flute, and her soccer uniform to school, and we have been trying not to bail her out every time. I think she thought her mom would go for it if the message were coming from me. How should I address this? Everyone is getting along, and I don’t want to disrupt that, but I also think Judy took advantage of both me and her mother and I don’t want her to think this is okay.

Judy’s a sneaky little monkey, isn’t she!

I think the first thing you need to do is call Martha. No matter how well you get along, she’s going to be secretly thinking in the back of her head, “Who does that bitch think she is, bossing me around like I’m her personal valet?” Then she’s going to stew about it all day, and when she’s late for work and hustling to get to school with the uniform before her 10 o’clock meeting, she’s going to be cursing YOU out, not her daughter, because you’re the one who asked her to do it.

So call her, explain what happened, and make sure she knows that you respect her and admire her and think she’s pretty and that you like the red top she was wearing last week.

Judy doesn’t need to be treated so sweetly. If you’re afraid to rock the boat so much that you don’t want to upset a high school student, you and your husband might have to sit down with her mother and figure out a way to have uniform discipline and parenting across the board.

And I’d think twice before I brought ANYTHING to that brat at school ever again.

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