My wife and I have been having an issue with her daughter, my step-daughter. She was potty-trained at 2 and since then her parents got a divorce and she moved in with me. She stays with us most of the time and stays with her dad every other weekend.
Lately she's been peeing her pants every day. At school, at home, at her dads. It's one thing for her to do it while we're in the car and she can't hold it. But she does it at home, 15 feet away from the bathroom. We'll just see this big wet spot on her butt or see her walking by us in such a way as to hide it. When we ask her, she either denies it or feels her pants to see if they're wet, then will admit it if they are.
We've asked her why she has wet her pants and the only answer I've ever gotten from her is that sometimes she can't feel it when she has to go or when it comes out. We've taken her to the doctor and he said there's nothing wrong, she just needs to try to stretch her bladder so she can hold it longer. I don't think being unable to hold it is the core issue. I think she gets too busy playing and distracted and tries to hold it and is unable to hold it for as long as she wanted to. I think it's easier to just go in her pants and she doesn't want to use the bathroom all the time. She sometimes has to go 20 minutes after just going. I know that I'd hate to run into the bathroom that often, and maybe if I was used to going in my pants, it might be an attractive option.
It's hard to know whether to believe her or not. I've noticed that she's really good at finding excuses that are both plausible and hard to prove either way. She got in trouble last night for telling her 3-year-old brother to throw their toy microwave. He got in trouble when he did, but she denied telling him to. When my wife said that she was right in the other room and distinctly heard her say it, she said, "Well, I think I said slide it over here." When my wife didn't accept that, she went further into deniability and claimed that maybe she did say throw or slide, but doesn't remember saying that. Of course I was at work so I can't know either way, so I default to the side of my wife. I have to take it with a grain of salt, though, since I've witnessed her many times be overly quick to jump to conclusions based on assumptions. She's an ISFJ and can be pretty overbearing when she's trying to get an answer out of her. I'm more inclined to believe that she's not lying unless there's undeniable proof, which puts me in a bad light to my wife and she thinks I'm against her as well. My wife thinks she's peeing to get attention.
Aside from her peeing and lying, she loves going to her father's place. He lives with his new girlfriend and she has daughters who are a little older than my daughter. She gets to play with them, go outside in the apartment complex and across the parking lot without supervision. She gets to stay up as late as she wants to. She often doesn't bathe. She often comes home with flea bites. He buys her stuff all the time and takes her to Chuck E. Cheese's a lot with the money he makes under the table and refuses to give my wife for child support. And then she comes here and only has a 3-year-old brother who pushes her around, a home with schedules, rules and bedtimes, she has to do her homework, and she can't go out unless we watch her.
My wife is at her wit's end. I just consoled her from crying at lunch time because she doesn't know what to do. She's supposed to go to her father's for half of winter break, but my wife is wanting her to go the whole break because she can't deal with her right now. She's tired of her lying, peeing her pants, and having no respect for her. She said it's the same as when her and her mom would fight and she ended up hating her mom. She's afraid that our daughter's going to end up hating her and loving her father more. She's about to just have her live there and she wishes she let him have full custody in the beginning.
I feel caught in the middle and helpless. I don't really have authority over her to make these types of decisions. I've tried telling my wife all the reasons for keeping her with us, but she is beginning to think that those aren't good enough.