In the past, it was more that my oldest stepdaughter encouraged and even incited her mom to have massive freakouts or reasons to fight us, send nasty emails, make horrible phone calls, accuse us of completely strange things. She left out information, elaborated, expanded, and just plain lied. It was sometimes to protect herself at our expense, but it was for many years because she wanted to please her mom. She had somehow reasoned that by keeping her mom mad at us, it made her mom happy or kept their bond. Maybe she thought it meant she would be in less regular trouble with her if she provided her mom with fake dirt. Not really sure, and not really sure that we'll ever know "why" she has kept her mom incorrectly informed for so many years.
We told her that the lies and left out truths just led to high conflict that she was making everything horrible for all of us, especially her and her sister. We were not only trying to teach her that lying was making things more complicated and her life worse, but also trying to get across to her that she was literally often causing these big huge flare-ups that led to court and anger.
She hasn't been causing the flare-ups as much lately, or their mom just hasn't cared. Not really sure, can't really know. But things have seemed better mostly. Then in one week, we get two nasty communications with their mom. But one was clearly triggered by my stepdaughter, and was completely unnecessary. It's clear that this time, it wasn't to avoid punishment or bond with her mom in the perverse way. This time it was to get mom mad at dad in order to get what she wanted. So literally, the brand new teen, has just done what I usually read about children of divorce doing- using the parents to get what they want.
It didn't work very well, of course. But this was the first time where my stepdaughter was directly involved and caused the fighting and nasty communications by going to her mom, in order to not have to do something when she was in our custody.
I'm pretty pissed about it. Before, she was emotionally confused by her mom's messed up mind and easy anger. Before, it was to please mom. We're pretty used to that old story. This, though, was to selfishly try to get out of something by using her mom's ever-present anger against her dad. I see this as worse, but I guess the good thing about this kind of behavior for us is it is much easier to attach repercussions to. And we've found that to be a lot more effective then trying to reason with them about the logic of playing their mom's emotional games.