Why Your Step-kids Hate You (and What to Do About It)

Why Your Stepkids Hate You (and What to Do About It)
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Looks like your step-kids hate you. What gives? Well…

Your step-kids are getting it from all sides, but they’re going to be taking it all out in one place: on you.

They have to deal with their mother’s venom, their father shirking responsibility, and discomfort caused by accommodating you as you enter their lives. In their eyes, you are new, you are strange, you are temporary, and you are disposable.

That can change with time. With some patience, empathy, and clear, consistent boundaries, your step-kids will grow to trust, connect with, and maybe even like you.

But first, you need to size up the situation. Make sure none of the below are going unchecked.

6 Reasons Your Step-kids Hate You (& How to Make It Better)

Their Bio-Mom is Turning Them On You

Bio-mom Manipulating Her Child Against You

Your husband’s ex feels threatened by a maternal figure entering her children’s life. She fears her children will love you more than her. Being kind, fun, and attractive also contribute to jealousy. She constantly reminds the children that she’s their only real mom. She instructs the children to disobey you, tells them you mean nothing to them, and that soon you’ll leave their father and abandon them too.

Solution: Talk It Out

Have your husband schedule a family meeting, which will include him, the children, and you.
Express to him in advance to proactively support you. He should be the one running the show.

During the meeting, tell your step-children that you’re glad that they have a bio mom and that you have no intent to replace her or abandon them. However, acknowledge your concerns about her negative statements and express your hope that she’ll stop.

Your Husband Makes You Play Bad Guy (by Making You Discipline Prematurely)

Stepmom Playing "Bad Cop," Having Been Made to Discipline Prematurely

Children feel emotionally abandoned when their father disengages from their daily routine. They blame you for that disengagement, feeling like their dad was better until you came along. Fear that they’re losing their “old” dad makes them resist your attempts at discipline.

Solution: Establish Clear, Healthy Boundaries

Privately validate your husband’s parenting challenges, and offer your support. Establish a joint parenting plan that will be implemented mostly by him. Explain to him that his parenting is crucial to his children’s well being. Refuse to take the main parenting role, by gently reminding him that it’s in his children best interest.

Your Go Out with Dad, Leaving Them Home

Girl left home after her parents go out for date night.

Your stepchildren feel rejected when excluded from your plans. They don’t remember their bio-parents going on date nights. They think you are trying to take dad away from them, and that you don’t like them.

Solution: Schedule Alone Time for Dad & the Kids

Bio-parent having regular time alone with bio-children helps solidify their relationship. It eases children’s insecurities and fears regarding losing their bio-parent to a new spouse, and establishes boundaries between parents, children, and the new couple. It is much easier for the children to accept the couple relationship when they feel safe and secure in their bond with their bio-parent.

Your Allergies Cost Them Their Pets

Step-mom allergic to the family cat.

Your stepchildren feel a profound loss when they have to give pets away. They resent you and are angry that they have to give up a pet who is a family member and a source of comfort at troubling times in their lives such as their parents’ divorce.

Solution: Create a Separate Space for the Pets

Pets are part of the family. Be sensitive to your step-children’s bond with their pets. Bio-parent needs to communicate your health concerns to the children, and the options need to be considered together when possible. Some families dedicate an area in the house for the pets, others move the pets to the other bio-parent’s home, and some find a different home for the pets. The emphasis here is on finding a solution that is humane and acceptable to the kids.

You violate their privacy

Step-mom Eavesdropping On the Kids

A child’s room is his/her ‘castle.’ If you go into their room and go through their stuff, to make sure they’re on the straight and narrow, they’ll be furious and violated.

Solution: STAY OUT! Your stepchildren’s rooms are off limits to you.

While ensuring your step-children are making safe, healthy decisions is an otherwise noble cause, enforcing the rules is best left to their biological parent. If you think that they’re up to no good, tell your husband in private, and leave further investigation to him.

You Dis Their Mama

Step-mom expressing disapproval of bio-mom in front of kids. Don't do it!

Some moms suck.

You may have expressed disgust at her irresponsible attitude, selfishness, or mood swings. Maybe you recommended monitored visits, because she can’t be trusted. You may have even said she needs psychological help.

Solution: Apologize & Keep Your Hate on the Down-Low

Apologize. Even if it’s all totally true, don’t harp on about it in front of your step-kids. Keep it between you and their father.

Children see themselves as extensions of their parents. If something’s wrong with her, they’ll see it as something wrong with them. Children need to believe their parents love them; criticizing bio-mom casts doubt on that. They’re also protective of their parents, and may write you off as mean.

Conclusion: Your Step-kids Don’t Have to Hate You

Your step-kids have to deal with their biological mother’s resentment, your husband’s inappropriate delegation of responsibility, accommodating you, and potential cases of you having overstepped healthy boundaries.

Understanding that will help you defuse situations and (with time and a little luck) connect with your step-children. That understanding paired with solid communication skills and honesty will help you and your spouse succeed as a couple and a family.

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93 Responses to “Why Your Step-kids Hate You (and What to Do About It)”

  1. i have lived with their father for over a year and a half now. he and i share a wonderful life together. we only get them every other weekend, but that is too much as poorly and nasty as they treat me. i live a very clean life, they have not come from that and they seem to go out of their way to destroy my home, my family pieces and their dad`s and my relationship. it is impossible to maintain my normal calm nature when they are here, they lie, steal and destroy. i am sure it is at their moms comand, but how much more can i take? any help out there/

    Reply
    • Laquita D. Hilton

      ..”How much more can I take?”..You should be asking how much more your poor step-children can take…

      Reply
      • I am going through the same thing. My grandfather who passed away 5 years ago had gave me a diamond necklace that meant the world to me. It was taken, were pretty sure by my step daughter who is 7. I love her and she says she loves me but when her dad is home and him and I are doing good there is always some passive aggressive behavior. It’s escalated so far idk what to do

        Reply
    • We all go through this. I have come to a point where i actually hate one of my step kids. took them on a super holiday to europe did all their dirty work. she was bum sucking me while we were there. the moment we got home and met after 2 days she completely ignored me at a event. did not even say hi. the slimy little thing. I understand your pain. trust me. I feel so bad for what you are going through. the thing is their father left their mum and them. but they do not hate him. they hate the step mum. thats crazy.

      Reply
    • “How much your poor stepchildren can take”??? It doesn’t sound like the step children are being abused in any way, so why the vicious comment? It’s definitely the stepmom who is being abused – her house, her things are destroyed – that is unacceptable boundary crossing. Either the dad needs to take serious control of his children, or most rooms in the house need to be off limits to the step children until they show more civility and respect.

      Reply
      • I agree with this solution, and I can tell you from experience that it works. As a mom, stepmom, and teacher, I can vouch whole-heartedly for the fact that children will push boundaries. Your husband needs to step up and put a stop to the destruction.
        My own house was being destroyed by my two stepsons who have been forced to listen to their mother’s vicious lies and slander. We cannot change the cruel stories biomom tells, so our solution was/is to keep our stepsons outside the house for most of the weekend. So, from after breakfast, until dinnertime, they play outside with numerous toys (I mean every kind of toy a little boy could possibly desire – from sports equipment to archery and BB guns, to bikes, super hero outfits, rope-climbing course, etc.). Are they happy with this? No. They have been “raised” on junk food, video games, and no rules. Has the sanctity of our home been restored? Yes! No more boy pee on the carpet, mud or boogers on the walls, rifling through personal documents, mail, bills, destruction of my own daughter’s artwork, peeling off previously perfect wall paint, or recording conversations on their cell phones. No more! We live on 1.5 acres, and they have every boy’s dream yard. My husband tries to play sports with them now and then, as do I, but they just act like jerks for the most part. They have broken most of their equipment by now from bikes to balls, to a bent BB gun, arrows ruined by being left out in the rain, bike helmets ripped apart, trucks dismantled, etc. We don’t replace their toys, but will buy them whatever they want for their birthdays, and do remind them to take care of their things, because broken toys don’t equal shopping trips.
        It has been about 4-5 years of implementing the outside practice. Some weekends are fun, but most weekends are spoiled and soured by tantrums, crying, moping, pouting – basically angry, spoiled behavior. The oldest (now 12 – I met him when he was 6) has been completely brainwashed by his mother. At this point, my older stepson has been given the choice by my husband to come or stay with his mother. He, of course, chose to not come this past weekend, as his main goals in life are to sit on butt and play as many video games for as long as possible. We still got the younger (8), and we had the best weekend ever! Although the younger still repeats some of the nonsense his mother taught him, he has a mind of his own and practices great personal discernment. He is able to see through most of the BS, and I believe he will turn out to be a great person in life once freed from his mother’s destructive grasp.
        My own daughter has been relieved to have her home be her castle again. With her toxic stepbrothers outside mostly, her artwork and belongings have not suffered destruction in quite a while. She is able to relax on the weekends again, and although she was very kind and generous to her stepbrothers from day one, she has taken to completely ignoring the older one as she is unable to trust him – a natural reaction to anyone who has wreaked havoc in your life, and years later simply, after much pressure from his father and I, offered a meek and hesitant apology.
        In my twelve years of teaching, I have encountered all types of children from K-12, and being a teacher that is mostly loved and requested by students, I can safely say that it really IS the biomoms and stepkids when they are being vile in your home. When my oldest stepson was at his very worst, he was definitely way worse than the worst child I’ve had to deal with as a teacher (and I’ve dealt with a lot). I’m saying this so stepmoms can know that it TRUELY TRUELY isn’t YOU!! You didn’t sign up to be a psychologist, a punching bag, a maid, or whatever else position is suddenly expected of you. You fell in love with a man who hopefully loves you back enough to demand respect for you from his own children. His children will grow up, become adults, and lead lives of their own someday, and you will still have your husband. There are so many variables that play into shaping a child’s/adult’s personality (genetics being the biggest), that you will have little effect, if any, on how your stepkids turn out, so don’t kill yourself trying to bend over backwards. If you don’t have your own bio kids, I strongly recommend that if you want to be a parent, to have your own. It is COMPLETELY different and much much more rewarding.

        Reply
        • Mea, Thank you. I agree. But it was nice to hear someone else say it.

          Reply
        • MEA, Thank you for that response. I am also a teacher and I have been struggling with behavior issues from my soon-to-be stepson. Most recently he told his dad that his mom told him to be mean to me. We already assumed as much. However, I think he only admitted that hoping he wouldn’t be in trouble any longer. I really enjoyed this article but your response has helped me more than anything. Thank you!

          Reply
    • Seems to me you are either not a step-parent or you have not dealt with a step child that has been brain washed against you, which happens all too often by vindictive exes, as well husbands who don’t feel they need to speak up. Take your negativity elsewhere, this is supposed to be supportive.

      Reply
  2. Kristin

    Laquita, maybe HATE is the reason for this reaction.. Perhaps judging is not the answer but understanding, patience and love is. You should consider blended families exist and condemnation is not right. How would you feel if condemned by another, falsely? Pretty upset, I’m sure. Maybe before you judge another, stop and take a look at what you’ve done to upset others… Casting judgement is not your place or your power/control.

    Reply
    • Understood

      I have three step kids and let me just say I understand what every step mother is going through. My advice to any woman out there that if you haven’t already gotten involved with a man with kids… don’t do it, especially if there are more than one kids,and they are of a certain age. Pick up your shoes and run because they do not appreciate what you try to do for them, they will feel like you do not belong there and in most cases the father will turn a blind eye to everything because he doesn’t like emotional drama and feels like what you are saying is crazy. The kids hate you for no reason as well. It’s just too much to mention and no one will really ever understand what a step parent goes through until they are able to walk a mile in their shoes.

      Reply
      • I agreed….. run!!! My 2 stepkids live with us, everything was great and I love them so much…. but my teenager stepdaughter (17) hate me now, she is trying me very bad and that is hurting me very much because we used to be close and I feel she loved me. Now she is acting with me like I am a monster. I just hope that this situation do not destroy my marriages.

        Reply
      • I feel all of you who’s step children hate them now (but it was not that way in the first place). If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have ran the other way instead of getting involved in my current husband’s life. I have one older step child that has always not liked her father, let alone me. It was ALWAYS tense to be around her. The younger child it was awkward at first, but got better and she liked being around her dad and me. However, both treated (before me) their father very disrespectfully, and they still do. In fact, it has gotten worse. One child refuses to see him and absolutely hates me, and the other has jumped on board the older’s bandwagon. The younger will see the father, but not with me around. The father has always complained to me about his ex-wife turning the girls against him and/or not allowing him to be a real dad. He said that the ex always controlled how close he could be to his kids and still does. I did not want to be involved in all the drama and I allowed him to suck me into it. I even begged him to go to counseling, which he did. I also got involved in that counseling. I truly support him to have a good relationship with his kids, I truly wish he did. I tried to support him but now I have turned out to be the bad guy. I HATE how this has turned around on me, and everyone else acts so nonchalant about all the drama. It has had a negative impact on our marriage. He is an “askhole” so I am tired of trying to give him advice, especially since I have turned out to be the one who has lost in all this drama. The ex, I have been told by others, “hates” men. She has absolutely no interest to get involved with anyone else. I can go on and on since there is so much to tell. But, that would take me a great deal of time. So so sad; very sad. I hate it all!

        Reply
      • I should’ve run. I know EXACTLY what you mean. My husband siding with the step kids at all costs have made my 13year marriage miserable. They won.

        Reply
        • I’ve been a step mom for the past 6 yrs, we get step sons every weekend.. I approached this situation whole heartedly only to now realize that no matter what I do it will never be enough!! Their BM is def in my opinion a narcissist out with one purpose and that is to try and destroy any happiness whatsoever even if it includes the happiness of her own children.. these kids are misserable.. and just when they are snapping out of their shells it’s time for them to return home to her.. they are super resentful of my BIo children and their half brother who is 4 1/2 and loves them so much.. This is by far harder than I ever dreamed it to be! These days I have given up.. I feel I should be more adult about the situation and try harder but as the lady above mentioned people will only know if they have walked a mile in your shoes!!

          Reply
          • I’m going through the same exact thing as you wow!!!!

  3. brandi

    My stepkids listen to their mom say horrible things about me. Crazy thing is, they both have said things about their mom. They stopped talking to us because we couldn’t give them money all the time. Now they hate me and told their dad to choose me or them. Apparently i am the reason they arent a family anymore. :( i came from a divorced family and have never tried to come between them. Those girls used to stay up all night talking to me. We did stuff together. Now they say hateful things and dont want me anywhere where they are going to be which includes my husband’s family events. I have to watch my husband’s heart breaking every day. How can they be so cruel

    Reply
    • SadStepMom

      brandi, Remember what part of the article said… “You are temporary” is part of their mindset. My stepkids LOVED me when I was fun and entertaining to them. But when I HAD to take on full time Mom responsibility; then all of that changed. Bio mom has even said that I will abandon them, and after 8 years of torture… I’m still here. The older ones are teens now and HATE me, even though I’ve raised them for all of these years while their bio mom is in and out of jail, mentally ill, dangerous and has limited supervised visits now. One piece of advice is: Don’t try anymore. Don’t question it. Just roll with it… they’ll come back around once they get over this brainwashed by bio mom phase. You and your husband should start family counseling and then eventually get them involved as well. It may have to start with you and your husband, your husband and his girls and then finally bring you and girls and then all of you together to work things out. Good luck!

      Reply
  4. SickandTired

    Help!! I’ve been with my bf for 8 almost 9 years. In the beginning I remember his kids being sweet. He has 2 boys. But as time progressed the youngest one was constantly trying to disobey me. I have 3 kids from a previous marriage and my kids are always getting complemented on how great they are and so well mannered. I have always strived to make sure my kids were being raised right. These kids had never been taught any manners from speaking to elders to eating like humans and not cows. During our relationship I have been thrown in the role of mommy which at first I didn’t mind. I understood that my bf needed tons of help and was willing to do whatever I could since his kids would be a reflection of me as well when they r with us. The oldest one took on real quick does everything right the younger one just challenges me Everytime. This kid made his grandparents which would one day be my in laws hate me by making up stories about me. They r much older now ones in 8th grade and one is in 4th grade. Recently they came over for their summer visit and it started immediately with the youngest doing everything in his power to be bad I decided to have a talk with him seeing as Everytime he is bad and his father and I seem to fight. We never fight when they r not around. I talked to his son and basically was told he hates me and does everything on purpose to cause us to fight in hopes we will break up. My bf and I just had a baby and were planning on getting married but I’m at the point were I just want out of dealing with the drama. This kid will stop at nothing and I am not getting the support I should be getting from his father despite him constantly saying he will or is and we will make it through I feel utterly alone and really just wanting to end the relationship. I feel horrible my child has to lose the chance at having a family because of his son and his inability to help me. Any advice? And really don’t need any rude comments. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • RUN!!!! Do not let your hateful step kids any where near your new baby!!!! They will hurt him/her when you are not looking & just so you know it never gets better, only worse!!!! I’m going thru it 9 years now and recently declared to them we will no longer be having anything to do with each other, no spending time together, no more vacations/trips, I’m never going to another game or recital ever again!!!! My husband is finally supporting this because I was prepared to divorce him over his awful, evil brainwashed kids & their disgusting mother!

      Reply
      • Ps: I feel awesome now! Like I just got paroled lol💪🙌🙏💞🎉

        Reply
  5. Janice

    My 13 year old SS told his parents he hates me bc I wouldn’t let him take some clothes we keep at our house for him. (He had plenty of others at bio mom’s house) He cried like a baby to his mom and then later texted me that he hated me and not just because of the shoes. My Dh had a long talk with him today about not following rules in our home and he feels like they are all designed to thwart his existence (all 4 kids must abide). The bottom line is the mom reminds him that DH has his own, new life with me, and doesn’t have as much time for him anymore since I came along. A few years of this and he has been brain washed so I don’t have a chance. She had been counting on my Dh moving closer to her to help shuttle around the kids once her BF kicked her out of the house but instead he moved to be closer to me. I feel all the pain you ladies are going through. My ex is remarried and I am so grateful for what she does for my DD. I don’t adore her as a person but she is good to my DD and that’s what matters. I have been taking care of both SS for 3 summers (we got married last year) to save BM money with camp and this is the thanks I get. I am so overwhelmed.

    Reply
    • I know how you all feel. My husband is the guilty dad who did all the fun things. I told him that with fun comes parenting. I accidentally started doing it. His kids are spoiled. Entitled. Messy little princesses. He cleans their room for them because I refuse to. The older one who’s 8 hates me. Like actually hates me and I don’t care anymore. She cries to get her way with dad and when she does with me I don’t give in. All she wants to do at dads is watch YouTube for 6-8 hours straight. I tried to limit it once and she pouted until the time went off for her to get her tv back. But she acts so sweet to me when grandma and other adults watch. We just had a new baby and she has a creepy look on her face when she’s around my daughter. Stares at me with this creepy smile. We only get them every other weekend. And his younger daughter has streaks of violence but somehow no one sees or believes it. She once said she would kill my baby if it was a boy. They used to love me until we told their mum we were having a baby. Then the moms turned on me because now there’s less child support for them. I’m tired of pretending to be a good step mom. I can’t stand them. I worry my daughter will turn out like them because of an over involved mother in law in place too. So let me be the evil step mom who sides with the step moms who dislike their step kids. I’ll read to my own kids. I’ll craft with them. I’ll make sure they turn into decent people. Because obviously my husband isn’t doing his job. They will miss out. His kids don’t even want to come here so why would I go out of my way to make sure they have a good time. I’m not the weekend step mom. I refuse to let them do what they want just so dad feels like they want to come over. Kids need boundaries. I don’t care if they hate their time here because they don’t get the princess treatment. People need to lay off the step moms. We have a shitty job most of the time. The way I see it is that if their moms took the time to parent. The fun stuff and the actual stuff it’s not my responsibility. I shouldn’t have o teach her kids to use manners. I shouldn’t have to listen to their crying when they don’t get what they want. I’ll do anything for my own daughter. But one thing I do is encourage my husband to see them. I’ll help when he wants. I used to be super step mom until their moms screwed me over. So when they go home and tell their moms how much they hate me they can know it’s their fault their daughter are miserable here. Hate on me all you like. You know there are so many people who feel the same. I married a man with kids. And when I was reduced to just a baby sitter, that’s when I gave up on them. Too many step moms are kissing kids asses to make them feel “loved like their own”. If my daughter was a little monster I’d make sure to turn her around. When you do it to step kids you get reprimanded for trying to parent them. So technically it’s not treating them like your own. This is why so many step kids are turning into lazy entitled spoiled brats. Because they have guilty parents on both sides trying to make their life’s as comfortable as possible. Here’s a lesson. Life is hard. You need to work hard for things. you can’t play the poor me card all your life.

      I was a step child. We got the same treatment as my little brother and sister. It was rough and at times it was easy to hate my step mom because she “wasn’t my real mom”. But in the end she saved me from being a crappy person. She also gave me lots of love.

      If I wanted to go to Disneyland with my family I wouldn’t invite kids who don’t like coming over. They need to learn that parents aren’t friends. So suck it up. Be a parent. Don’t be their friend or step back and let dad do it. You’re not doing any favors by coddling them

      Sincerely
      An evil stepmother who refuses to give in to modern parenting

      Reply
      • Yaffa Balsam

        You are taking good care of yourself by setting boundaries with your step children and your husband.

        It is very upsetting to hear about your step daughter making vague threats about your baby.

        It is possible that your stepchildren feel threatened by the new baby. I heard from other families that especially when bio-mom feels threatened by their ex having a baby, they project it to their children, who then start feeling that they may be emotionally abandoned by their father because of the baby.

        One-on-one attention from their father might help them feel more secure in their relationship with him.

        Reply
        • Cherry

          My patient just reach the limit, im tired being good step mom that run over by 2 disrespectful and liar kids. My husband and i been married for 2 yrs, he has 18yrs old daughter and 15 yrs old son, they both hated me. I have a 12 yr old daughter but my husband never had a problem with her.instead his kids were so mean to her that scares me a lot.they were once drop by school bus and his kids ran inside the house and locked up my daughter and cant get in the house, me and husband were both at work, my daughter called me crying. His 18 yrs old daughter was so mad when my husband take me with him to claim her at the jail from shoplifting for 3rd time. Worse is money and wallet were always missing at home and even my daughter’s wallet went missing and found the wallet(empty)at 18 yrs old daughters room after a week.My husband son is different story for making money, he makes stories that lost money and accusing me(while im the one working and giving him school money) and the dad replaced his lost money that he said. He even make stories and i dont feed him,omg! I cooked a lot of food its on the table and even told him to eat all he can,but instead he took a little piece of food and put on his plate,took a picture and sends to everybody including my in laws, telling them thats the only food i gave him, my husband confronted me in front of his son, and his son insisting he’s telling the truth, while me im crying defending my self wished i had a pictures to prove, but thank goodness my daughter was there to defend me, she’s a quirt girl,and never lie, she talks for the truth that released me and his son admitted he lie. I tried to explain to my in laws but i dont have a power over his son. Everyday they come home from school with their flying footsocks and shoes they took off when they got home,when i said pls try not to throw everywhere but they were mad and told me “you’re not my mom!” I cried to my husband and he talk to them but still the same, they dont know how to respect. Until now were not talking and theyre not talking to my daughter either, i gave up, i just let it happen until when my patient can take it. :(

          Reply
  6. I too, have 2 stepsons who have been brainwashed to hate me (well, the younger one actually likes me because he is stubborn and defiant to his own mother). It helps to know I am an awesome parent and person, because I have a bio daughter who adores me (most of the time – she’s 13 haha), and I’ve been teaching for 11 years and nearly every kid has either liked me or been nonchalant, but never hated me the way my older stepson does. This gives me a healthy perspective of who is really the problem here – and it’s not me!
    I really think that many of our problems as stepmoms stem from 3 areas:
    1. obviously – hate talk from bio mom
    2. societal pressure to place the child-parent relationship before the spousal relationship
    3. stepmom trying too hard to “mother” the step kids

    Point one is obvious and is out of our control as stepmothers. If bio mom is evil, there is nothing we can do but ignore her and have as little interaction as possible with both her and any comments or similarities that arise from her children.
    Point two is something that we all (step and bio) parents must struggle against. It is NOT ok to put a parent-child relationship above a spousal relationship, regardless of what society and all the counselors say.One way to battle this damaging societal message is to explain to children that marriage comes first, and WHY (you choose your partner, not your kids; your partner is joined with you as ONE; kids will grow up and have families of their own, while a spouse is for life; etc). Taking your kids to church can help enforce this crucial message. Special one on one time with kids is nice, but not mandatory for healthy growth – and kids should NEVER get the idea that they come before their parent’s spouse.
    Point three is a big stepmom mistake. Stop trying so hard. You married a man, not his kids. His kids already have two parents. You can be an aid to your husband, and a meaningful adult figure in your stepkids lives, but they will NEVER accept you as a mother, so save yourself the resentment. Some tips would be to NEVER agree to be a “stay at home mother” to your step kids. Why on god’s green earth would you offer yourself up as free childcare unless you are masochistic? Suggest summer camps, nannies, or babysitter services to your husband. Helping him out by dropping them off at camp is one thing, but torturing yourself all day can ruin your marriage as resentment builds. Another thing: I get annoyed cleaning up after my own daughter, who openly loves and appreciates me. You can imagine the annoyance of cleaning up after two stepkids who wouldn’t shed a tear for me if I disappeared tomorrow. So, you either need to make your husband make them clean up after themselves, or make your husband clean up after them, or if even that turns into tedious nagging (which none of us like), then get your husband to hire a maid service. We have a maid service clean biweekly on the Monday after the stepkids have had their weekend visit. This completely removes resentment from the equation.
    The bottom line is that even if your step kids tell you for years that they love you, and you think you have a great relationship with them, they will drop you in a flash for their bio mom. This is the harsh reality. Save yourself the heartache and resentment. Be patient and kind, but firm with your boundaries. Don’t set yourself up as free nanny and maid service for anyone else’s kids (even your husband’s). If your husband truly loves you and married you for you, then he will be happy to pay for summer camp and a maid. If he only married you so that you could be the cuckoo bird to his brood, then that is not healthy, and you’ll know when you try to put your foot down. Good luck.

    Reply
    • Excellent advice! I’ve done the same. Had my husband clean up after his kids and hire a maid service. Did it after my stepdaughter point blankly told me I had no place in the family but she had no problem with me cooking and cleaning… I refuse to be a servant in my own home.

      Reply
    • Excellent summary of why it happens and how to cope. I agree the Stepmother is their to provide loving support and guidance to her husband. What has helped our situation also is to have a united front when dealing with children, both biodad and stepmom are on the same page.

      Reply
    • Denise

      I totally agree with everything you said especially the part about being an aid to your husband. I couldn’t agree with that more. I tell all my friends who are newly married to men with children who live primarily with the mother, be an assistant to Dad no more no less. After the roller coaster of emotions of having great visits with my step children and horrible visits with them I finally decided to establish some healthy benefits for myself when it comes to interacting with them to protect my feelings. I was so depleted from spending wonderful quality time with them only for them to shun me the second their mom came around. I scaled back my efforts to parent them and my need to feel liked by them and opted to be more of an aid to their Dad when needed. I let him do the bulk of the interaction and I take a backseat. I feel much better now and the kids probably do too because the don’t have to pretend as much either. Some relationships just aren’t meant to flourish like we want. It’s better to accept that and move forward in a way that’s more comfortable for everyone.

      Reply
      • Yaffa Balsam

        Thank you, Denise, for your feedback and for sharing your personal story.

        It sounds like you bent over backwards to establish a healthy relationship with your stepchildren.

        Your husband has a crucial role in the process of you and his biological children building a relationship.

        I agree with you that children need consistent boundaries. That actually gives them a sense of safety in their home life and trust in their parents. Your husband needs to support you, when talking to his children, and role model to them how much he appreciates and cherishes you.

        I find your approach healthy and practical. You modified your stepchildren’s expectations while keeping your wellness, your husband’s wellness, and stepchildren’s wellness in mind. It sounds like backing off from parenting your stepchildren is working for all of you.

        Reply
        • I have been with my husband since my step son was 18 months old he is now 15 we are having issues with him. He is very angry with us avoids coming to visit us. We have had 50/50 custody since he was a baby never any issues with him. Mom has bashed me for years. About a year and half ago his mom told him the reason his mom and dad are no longer together is because of me. That his dad left her for me. Not true they were separated. We feel that this is where is anger towards us is coming from. We have always been a loving family I have two children from previous and we have a daughter together. My son and he are a year apart and have shared a room and have been buddies throughout the past 14 years but that has also changed. How do we handle this?

          Reply
          • Yaffa Balsam

            It sounds like a case of divided loyalties. It is interesting that it started only a year and a half ago. It seems to me that the bio-mom demanded your step son’s loyalty all along. Perhaps something else happened other then her telling him that you broke them up. It is probably hard for him to decide who is telling the truth. Somehow he feels that he has to choose sides. It could be part of the developmental stage he is in, where he’s trying to be his own person, and his mother’s constant pulling him into her resentment of you is preventing him from focusing on growing up.

            I would suggest considering therapy with a therapist who understands adolescents. He may need a trusted therapist to process his anger and develop communication skills as well as stress management skills that will help him get through this phase. You may need some family therapy as well.

            Your stepson needs reassurance from both your husband and you that you understand his confusion, and that it must be hard to decide who is telling the truth. Tell him that while you know that what you are telling him is the truth, it is not a topic for him to worry about because he needs to focus on growing up and enjoying the remaining years of his childhood.

      • Yaffa Balsam

        It sounds like you bent over backwards to establish a healthy relationship with your stepchildren.

        Your husband has a crucial role in the process of you and his biological children building a relationship.

        I agree with you that children need consistent boundaries. That actually gives them a sense of safety in their home life and trust in their parents.

        Your husband needs to support you, when talking to his children, and role model to them how much he appreciates and cherishes you.

        Reply
  7. I know it sounds selfish. But I mean, if you know there’s a problem between your son and his stepdad, why go on with it?

    Reply
  8. Sick of trying

    Seriously! My step daughter is 29 years old, a therapist, no less, and an absolute manipulative, lying, hateful person.
    She has lied to her father about me for the last 10 years. She doesn’t respect the simplest requests like locking the doors when she leaves.
    I DREAD her visits. I never know what she’s going to do next.
    In the meantime, she sucks as much money from her father as she possibly can. Her mother sends me insane texts and emails about how I victimize her daughter.
    I have spent 10 years in therapy over this crazy family. I have listened to all their insults and lies for the last time. I want NOTHING to do with her.
    My husband lives in a fantasy that she and I will come together someday.
    I wouldn’t trust her for a second. She’s blindsided me too many times.
    It feels like I live in the Twilight Zone whenever he’s around or her name is even mentioned.
    I am very uncomfortable with disliking anyone. But it’s the only way I know how to protect myself from her.

    Reply
  9. Carlton O'Neal

    Some of you “stepmothers” believe marriage is for life,but why is there divorce if marriage is for life? The original children from the original marriage or original relationship~ ~~know that the original parents are hypocrites,especially religious marriage which ended in divorce.some of you divorced step mothers are happy that the ex husbands are remarried with other stepmother which treats your original bio children great,but you step mothers falsely believe that the original bio children from your second marriage should except the father’s second wife (you) ,with open arms (or eventually!),especially your step family attempt force original bio children from first marriage into new RELIGION or new acceptance of step family ,but you step mothers still choose to falsely believe that ignoring the original bio children’ s hatred for the hypocritical bio parents’ divorce,(especially,religious marriage) ,will never disappear,(for most bio children of divorce!),and producing “half” siblings around the original bio children,with forcing the original bio children to stop referring to the step mother’s bio children as step siblings,then as siblings~~~will never work in most cases of justified original bio children from your current husbands first marriage.the only people i feel sorry for is the biological children from first marriages (and first relationships),even children who are victimized by second,third,fourth,etc.~~divorces or born out of wedlock.hypocritical marriages cause enormous pain and suffering! ,

    Reply
    • You obviously know nothing about religion, and nobody ever mentioned “changing” religions for the kids. If you are referring to my post (which is the only one here with advice to take them to church to reinforce values), then let me explain how marriage works biblically. 1. Preferable to remain celibate and single, but if not then 2. Get married. This is where you seem to stop. The Bible however goes on: 3. If one marriage partner is “hard of heart” then divorce is allowed. Hard of heart means many things ranging from cheating to physical or emotional abandonment, to pretty much any violation of whatever marriage terms the two of you agreed upon. Everyone makes mistakes but when one partner cheats or abuses that is an acceptable end. Another acceptable end is more vague and involves the emotional abandonment aspect… one partner for whatever reason completely shuts down or goes out of their way to consistently hurt their partner, counseling has failed and there is no reconciliation, that is emotional abandonment, or hardness of heart, and the other partner may file for divorce.
      God knows that we were not meant to be alone, and remarriage does occur several times in the Bible. The original marriage is null and void, and ceases to exist in the past, present, and future, and the new marriage becomes the one true marriage and is expected to be for a lifetime. You see, God knew some people would purposefully destroy their own marriages usually out of some selfishness. We were not put on this Earth to suffer at the hands of another human and we certainly cannot reach our fullest potential or use the gifts we were given when we are hurting.
      Did God originally want us to divorce and remarry? No. But because some people insist on being assholes, and hurting others, God reluctantly allows remarriage as a relief to better allow his children to complete their calling.
      Yes, the children of divorce suffer. However, I can almost guarantee that in MOST cases it is never the fault of the stepmother. That is why we have forums like his to vent and share ideas. It shows that we are trying to lovingly help raise children that are not ours, and sometimes that means stepping back from a parent role when there is resistance. From my perspective, the only stepchildren that suffer for long are those who have at least one bio parent who can’t let go of anger. In my husband’s case, he tried everything to make his last marriage work, but not only did his ex wife refuse to get a job and spent them into debt, she also caroused around town for 8 hours or more some nights doing God knows what with whom. Her MO was to stay out all night, sleep until noon, then sit on the couch day in and day out playing FarmVille, never cleaning or cooking, and the pot tots sometimes had to urinate in their bedroom while they were locked in there as she slept. Only someone with an evil heart would force my husband to stay married to his ex, and only someone with an evil heart would call him a hypocrite when he gets out of such a situation and finds peace and happiness (which is a better environment for children btw).
      Do we still deal with the repercussions of biomom’s successful alienation efforts? Yep. But we do it for the kids. If that means we have to hire a maid or not take them on expensive vacations until they’ve proven they can follow simple rules like “don’t run out into traffic”, then we are still doing what is best to maintain harmony in our lives which translates to a happier and more peaceful home for all.
      Just because divorce and remarriage have become so common, doesn’t mean it is hypocritical. I don’t condone divorce, but sometimes when a person is married to a monster, it is necessary for sanity. However, I would advise that we all take a good long look at ourselves and really try to make it work.
      Telling new stepmothers that their marriage is hypocritical and taking kids to church is wrong is not helpful at all, and seems to be an angry barb from the mind of a resentful bio parent.
      Keep in mind that being a stepmother is not easy. Your kid could have gotten a worse woman as a stepmother. More biomoms should be thankful for anything a stepmother is willing to help with because we don’t have to…!
      …and yes, my daughter also has a stepmother and I appreciate her and anything she chooses to do for my daughter.
      I stand by the truth that marriage is forever, and that children need to understand this. This one simple lesson will in turn hopefully help them in their own future marriage. If a child sees it as “hypocritical” then they simply don’t have a deep understanding of God’s word, and should either: A. Ask clarifying questions instead of making assumptions, or B. Stop basing their entire world perspective on the random and callous remarks of their relentlessly angry bio mother. Sadly, option B may only come through maturity and sometimes never at all… so yes, in this case I would feel nothing but sorrow for the damage bio mother has caused to her innocent children.

      Reply
  10. Perhaps we need to set up laws where people with children cannot marry nonbiological parents without a two-year cooling off and adjusting period. You want to know why these kids treat you badly? It’s pretty simple. It is because you feel like cancer that has invaded their lives. Slow, very slow should be the only way you enter children’s lives. I know you want it all, you want yours, and you want it now. But you are not the only person involved. These are kids who have already had their lives destroyed by divorce or death. If you come riding in expecting to be loved and adored and respected day one and forever after, you are living in a fantasy world.

    Reply
  11. I feel that when my husband has his kids come for a visit, it puts so much stress on our marriage. He has typical Guilty Father Syndrome and me and our son together are left on the sidelines. I feel like a single mother when his kids come. My husband gets such an attitude with me during this time. I have made it clear to him that our son together, my husband and I, are the first and current family, and that the stepchildren aren’t entitled to special treatment. He feels that they should be spoiled, get whatever they want, and not have to pick-up after themselves when they visit. My house is left a terrible mess by the time they leave and all my husband can say is it’s ok because they are guest. Well, he isn’t the one that has to clean.
    My take on it is, though I feel sorry their family didn’t work out, their father has a new family, and they need to acclimate to this family. My husband doesn’t support my view, which causes us to fight, before during and after a visit from my step-kids. How do I get my husband to stop neglecting his current family, while with his kids from his previous marriage?

    Reply
    • Angry Mother

      I feel the exact same way. I despise my “17” year old step-child, who continues to snowblow her father every chance she gets, in 5 months that horrible cunning human will be gone THANK GOD!

      Reply
      • I thought the same thing when my 17yo SD left for college. But its never over. It never ends. She will always be a part of your life.

        Reply
    • I hear you. I stopped cleaning up after my stepdaughter. She is an entitled little bitch who doesn’t appreciate anything. If I’m such a horrible stepmom, she can clean up her own crap, or her dad can do it for her.

      Reply
    • MegaMom

      I think it’s terrible that children are considered “guests” in their parent’s home. He’s their FATHER. His home should be THEIR home, not matter how much or how little time they spend there.

      Reply
  12. samara williams

    I have the step daughter from hell. She is horrible a bitch and spoiled rotten. She is 22 years old drives a brand new car and lives rent free. She lives off her father and doesn’t care he works so hard. As long as she is taken care of nothing else matters. I wish she were dead so I would have to deal with her.

    Reply
  13. First Reviewer

    When dealing with stepchildren in their teens it’s more like dealing with a step-adult. Best to proceed with caution, and instead of dealing with them “Step aside” is the best medician.

    Reply
  14. melissa

    my stepdaughter is 12 and a huge liar and con artist and think she the queen, well i kicked her butt off that throne, no one comes in my house acting like a fool yelling at me and lying on my husband and friend and telling me talk to the hand smh. she lives with my brother now and oh man that is a mess. he spoils her which makes it harder to get her to listen to us. but she does each n everything they tell her but when my husband asked her why she cant do that at home she tells him bc she dont want too. her mom abandoned her as a baby and she so disrepectful then my husband thinks he can tell my two daughters from first marriage what to do . no way . u cant even fix ur kid so y start stuff with mine when i can handle it. she made false police against us and welfare hotlines when she dont get her way, and they learned fast how big of a liar she is.

    Reply
  15. So good to read this! I raised my step children because the bio mother wanted to “find herself” and left them . I put career and much more on hold to become a full time mom to my step-kids…but, it was for nothing. As for Bio mom? She is now a priest! After I wed their father and raised them, doing all the hard work and having the teen years she is now back in the boys life…the saintly mother who never did anything for them but…is now the so called loving mother. They both hate me. I was the one who stood by them, took care of them while sick, fed them, loved them and cared for them as my own. Now…I am nothing. It hurts me beyond measure. The bio mom has all the love as does her lawyer husband she married and had a child with. My husband and I have not seen the boys for years…..why? Because we made them do right, were parents and not the best friend. My advice for anyone thinking of walking down the path with a man who has children is this…unless the bio mom is completely out of the picture do not do it!!!! Its easy to be a childs good time mama they will love that…but love and care for them as your own when the bio mother is a perm student in college and free as a bird but comes back when when all the hard work is done just isn’t worth the heartbreak…don’t do it…please don’t do it!!!

    Reply
  16. maryanne

    So good to read this! I raised my step children because the bio mother wanted to “find herself” and left them . I put career and much more on hold to become a full time mom to my step-kids…but, it was for nothing. As for Bio mom? She is now a priest! After I wed their father and raised them, doing all the hard work and having the teen years she is now back in the boys life…the saintly mother who never did anything for them but…is now the so called loving mother. They both hate me. I was the one who stood by them, took care of them while sick, fed them, loved them and cared for them as my own. Now…I am nothing. It hurts me beyond measure. The bio mom has all the love as does her lawyer husband she married and had a child with. My husband and I have not seen the boys for years…..why? Because we made them do right, were parents and not the best friend. My advice for anyone thinking of walking down the path with a man who has children is this…unless the bio mom is completely out of the picture do not do it!!!! Its easy to be a childs good time mama they will love that…but love and care for them as your own when the bio mother is a perm student in college and free as a bird but comes back when when all the hard work is done just isn’t worth the heartbreak…don’t do it…please don’t do it!!!

    Reply
  17. An article online can’t solve complicated life problems, but I must advice one thing as a stepchild.

    It’s hard to think any little kid is really evil, destroying homes, being criminals, ruining lives, etc like some of these posts. Now if the stepchild is much older, than perhaps they are evil and who knows perhaps he/she is a member of killer gang or something. But besides that case, seems hard to think of an adult just naming a child evil as reasoning for them “hating” you.

    Also, if you’ve done lots of work for this child and feel unappreciated, I’m pretty sure plenty of biomoms have also felt unappreciated. Raising a child is not solely about receiving appreciation, or at least I’d like to believe it’s not even close to the top of the list of why. Perhaps the problem lies not with how the child turned out, but more with the fact you weren’t meant to be a stepmom and how you could not completely love wholeheartedly a child that wasn’t yours.

    If the mom returns to the kids life after a long absence and they love their bio mom and their bio mom has changed for the better for them and regrets whatever actions she did in the past, I wouldn’t see it as competition and would see it more as extra people who love and care for my kids.

    Reply
    • I love hearing a stepchild’s perspective, so thank you for sharing! Interesting notion that Holstein cannot do evil, but from the age of seven forward, a child definitely can do evil! I’m glad you seem to be good hearted though. From seven forward, children have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. For the most part, they are well aware of what is wrong. What can make this situation hairy in a blended family is any efforts of alienation by a parent. At that point, the children are still looking to parents for moral guidance. Since most commenters here are stepmothers, let’s assume for this particular thread that if a child is doing evil, it is most likely a direct result of their wrongdoing being met with approval by biomother. Are the children evil? No. Are they acting evil? Yes. If this continues will they internalize this behavior and truly become evil? Yes.
      When I was a teen, my uncle divorced and remarried. This was unheard of in my large family. I did not treat his new wife well at first. Then I saw her sadness, and realized how selfish and cruel I was being. She makes my uncle a happier man and that is all that matters. It is truly selfish to think that poor behavior or mistreatment of another human being is ok simply because you think your life should be one way, and it turned out another. I apologized to my new Aunt and have gone out of my way to make her feel like a natural sort of my extended family since then.
      Yes, children can be evil. A stepmother is an easy target for many, and probably the least deserving of actually being the target.

      Reply
  18. What if they are. Grown women in they’re late 30s, mid 40’s? None of the above apply except for the birth mother dissing? We have been married 21 years already!

    Reply
  19. Same here. My oldest step child never liked me ,The second son had to come and live with us because his bio mother was always drunk. Now my stepdaughter hates me. we have 2 kids together(they qre adults, We are in our 70s and 80s, )going through health problems. Now they really hate us and will not help with there dad. My husband and I have been marries for 49 years. All hell is breaking out in our house. she gets on the phone with her dad, says awful things about me. He feels caught in the middle and can’t understand my anger. We end up in a fight.Now we don’t speak except through their dad. It is awful. I feel shoved to the side and my husband spend too much time arguing about them. I told my husband that I don’t want to talk to them or even hear about them My stepdaughter is59 years old and is still furious with me. I go to counseling all the time, but my stepdaughter will not get any help at all. I told my husband That I will not see her until she gets some counseling too. He still fantises about us being
    ‘the Brady bunch”We are having too many health problems to be in this mess with the grown kids.

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  20. Rhonda

    We got custody of my husband’s twin boys, 5 years ago. The smaller of the two, hates his mother, for abandonment. I have done everything textbook correctly. I have tolerated more abuse than a stray puppy, in the wrong neighborhood. When he says horrible things about his mother, I remind him, that she is still his mother. If I discipline him for calling me an f’n b, he breaks my 19th Century doll, that belonged to my aunt. My husband says: “Maybe I accidentally stepped on it.” That upset me very much. When I bought it up again, that his son must have done it, my husband smashed her arms off. He told me that I am not allowed to smack the boy on his arms, when he talks to me so horribly. I am not allowed to discipline him, nor point out that my husband is his child’s puppet. I cannot speak the truth, for fear of violent rages. My other stepson has been told by his father, that his brother is his favorite & suck it up. That poor boy is going to run off to the military, I fear, just to escape the dysfunction. The spoiled one, I fear will not survive his first few years, in adulthood. He is a very calculating, conniving, manipulator & he can make his daddy turn on his brother & me, at a snap of his fingers, or rather making the marionette dance. It’s truly the most bizarre thing I’ve ever been through. Thank God for this forum. It’s anonymous. I could never share with friends & family, the dysfunction in this household. It would be very embarrassing & they’d tell me to just leave. I’ve lost so much respect for my husband, that it may not be a choice. But at least I can vent, here, while I try to figure out what I’m going to do. Thanks

    Reply
  21. I have 3 step children they range in age from 29 to 23. Two girls and one boy. Each of the girls have children of their own that they don’t take responsibility for. They are constantly draining their father for money and he gives and gives and gives. These are not children they are grown people and yet they act 12. Wanting their parents back together. We have been married for nine years. I am at my wits end. They constantly tell people how much they hate me. How I get mad if their Dad does for them. Its not that I am mad it saddens me how much they use him period.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      Rejection from stepkids is hurtful.

      It is possible that part of the reason that your 17 year old s/daughter is rejecting you is her developmental stage. It’s an age where teenagers individuate, and want to be their own people, and they reject both bio and stepparents.

      I hope your husband is supportive of you in this difficult time. The couple relationship is the most important part of making the process successful.

      Reply
  22. This site is so helpful. It’s tiring listening to friends tell me that this is what I signed up for – but the kids behaved completely different before the engagement and wedding. Their father also did not reveal how many problems the kids have, apparently he was fully aware of them but did not give me a heads up. It’s hard to have respect for my husband when he allows his children to be disrespectful and misbehave. Being a child of divorce, I understand that the children are victims of divorce and certainly did not choose to have any of this happen. It’s easy for them to blame a step parent rather than see the faults in their own parents. It’s hard to grow into caring, mature adults when you have been given everything, have no responsibilities and care only for yourself. Since I am not allowed to discipline and are seen as attacking when I talk to my husband about how their behavior is worrying, ultimately the bioparents are to blame.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      I hear your frustration. It sounds like you feel that you were mislead by your husband and that you believe that your husband was dishonest with you about his children’s challenges, and about his parenting style. Transparency is crucial for relationships’ success.

      It is true that the bio-parents need to drive the parenting in a stepfamily. Discussing what values one teaches the kids, as well as rewards and consequences needs to happen before the remarriage. It’s not a guarantee that you will be on the same page. However, it can really shed light on one’s parenting philosophy and style.

      I find that when parents feel guilty for the break up of the biological family they ‘make it up’ to the kids with leniency in discipline and inconsistent boundaries which confuses the children. The children end up feeling that they have a lot of power in the family, but left feeling emotionally unsafe because they don’t have adults they can rely on and trust.

      Therapy with a therapist specializing in working with stepfamilies may help you clarify the issues, and develop realistic expectations for your family.

      Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      Stepparents, especially stepmoms, are the family scapegoat. Whatever goes wrong is blamed on them.

      Biological fathers can have trouble seeing their children’s needs when preoccupied with guilt over the nuclear family breaking up. Often, the children need consistent discipline, which includes rewards and consequences.

      The new marriage ends up being neglected, the wife feeling like a non-entity, and everyone involved suffers. Resentment ensues between the couple, and their relationship deteriorates.

      It helps to get into individual therapy, and couples therapy with a therapist specializing in stepfamily relations. The husband has an opportunity to gain clarity on his role in the strained relationship between his wife and his children, and he develops skills to parent the children more effectively.

      Reply
  23. Lena Treiber

    I fell bad for step moms out there but I have a close friend in my grade who is going through some really tough times right now. I know its none of my business but she wants to leave her dad and live with her mom because of her step mom. She treats her like her personal servant. Her schedule is to come home from school, do homework, clean until dinner. My friend also was ignored and didn’t get a happy birthday on her birthday, was called fat by her step mom. When she got full after eating, her step mom asked her “why are you starving yourself?” he dad din’t listen and sided with her step mom. I don’t believe that step mothers should treat their step kids like this and that is why they never want to call their step mom “Mom”.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      Thank you for your comment. Your compassion for your friend is admirable. She is lucky to have you as a friend.

      Stepmoms are individuals first with all sorts of issues. When people don’t heal from past traumas, they bring them along into their relationships, and end up struggling and sometimes they hurt the people they love because old hurts and vulnerabilities get triggered.

      Your friend is going through a rough time, and needs help. You can encourage her to ask her bio-parents to get help through therapy where she can get stronger. The therapist might recommend family therapy where she can have a safe environment to express her frustrations, and get support, and the parents can get some guidance in parenting. it is possible that the therapist will encourage the family to explore a change of custody time between the households

      Reply
    • If I were you, I would be curious what the other side of the story is, from the Stepmom’s perspective. Some children (step and bio) feel entitled to do as they please and never contribute to the household or pick up after themselves. They play the role of the victim constantly. My stepdaugher was overweight because of her terribly unhealthy eating habits, and was enraged when HER DOCTOR told her so. She thought she was entitled to eat junk all the time and threw tantrums when we purged junkfood from our house. She still would listen, so we let her watch Fed Up on Netflix. Her takeaway from that movie is that we were calling her fat. In reality, she was pissed because we proved to her that eating 200+ grams of sugar a day will kill you. She just loves to play the victim.

      Reply
  24. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread. I’ve endured more abuse from my step kids than anyone else I know, largely in part due to their bio mom.
    Bio mom was brainwashing the kids (all 3 of them, but mostly the youngest), to the point where she even told them if they ate off my silverware & plates they would die because I’m trying to poison them. Or that if they came to see their dad, SHE would die because “their divorce caused her to get cancer”.
    VERY hard to just “let all this go” and move on when you’ve been kicked, hit, spit on, etc. while your husband makes excuses for them. I applaud all you stepparents out there. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

    Reply
  25. Aidrea

    I tried all of these methods to no avail. My step children are now 12 and 13 (boy and a girl) and I’ve been married to their father for 6 years. From the beginning it was a miserable disappointment. In my previous marriage, I had 2 step daughter’s that I raised and had a very different experience with them so I am not new to step parenting. I also have my own daughter from my previous marriage who is disgusted and heart broken when she sees how my current step children treat me. My husband laughs their behavior off. For example, the older one (girl) decided to insult me in front of my husband’s family, when I called her out, she threw a tantrum like a 2 year old. He laughed it off when I addressed it privately, told me I needed to “loosen up”. My parenting is much different than my husband’s and so are my expectations. I expect to have my things respected, my boundaries respected and although I do not accept their acceptance of me, I expect them to respect their dad’s decision in marrying me. The back talk, the deliberate disrespect, the talking about me to their mom and her family and accusations of things i have never done has reached an all time limit for me. I finally decided that since my husband was not going to do anything after all these years, I would. I began recording arguments that my step daughter would start- record her throwing fits- and then I promptly send them to her mother with a note like ‘I’m sure you didn’t raise her this way, but I will not tolerate her to act this way in my home- please see to it that you address this behavior or she will not be allowed to return.” I have done the same with the younger one. It has caused difficulties with my husband and their mom- to which my response has been – I don’t care. The older one has no boundaries, she has never been taught- she interjects herself into adult conversations, she demands things, she is now upset that we won’t sell our house so we can be closer to the school she wants to attend (all her friends are there). She is a constant state of madness for me. However; with all of this said, she knows how my children are and were raised. My two older stepdaughters from my previous marriage are successful- one is a doctor and the other is a pharmacist- my bio daughter is successful, landed a job right after college graduation and is on her way to being a very successful manager with the company she works for. I have no problem reminding my step children that “thank God, I am not your mother, because if I were, you’d be a different child with a different set of morales and manners.” Yes, I have compared. It isn’t right, but in some cases it is the only way I can shut them up and make them treat me somewhat decent. Sadly, after 6 years, I have decided that they win- my husband obivously has no intention of becoming a parent, and I can no longer take the abuse. Sometimes you reach a point in life where it isn’t worth it- and this is not worth it to me. I would rather be closer to my three daughters and struggle financially than put up with the b.s. I have to at home.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      This is an example of a biological father refusing to take responsibility for parenting his children. Additionally, he is condescending and marginalizing you as a woman, and as his wife.

      It sounds like you are at the end of your rope with this marriage. Have you considered marital therapy with a stepfamily therapist? If you and your husband are open to therapy, you might give that a try before ending the marriage. You may still wind up divorcing even if you do go to therapy, but going to therapy will give you the peace of mind and closure of knowing that you left no stone unturned.

      Reply
  26. This is scary! I’m engaged to a wonderful man with three daughters (21 lives on her own, 17 lives w/ my fiance, and 13 lives 50/50 between bio mom and my fiance). I’m a mother of one adult daughter and grandmother of a toddler. I’ve been a stepmother of a wonderful boy and a very difficult girl. I swore I’d never date a man with daughters, but my guy is amazing and I can’t let my past experience ruien that. Still, I’m feeling scared! We’ve been carefull about how I was brought into the picture. It was 9 months of dating before I met his oldest and youngest. Then it was a few more months before we go together again…Etc. The middle I just met in December, after he and I had been dating for over two years. She was barely talking to him for over a year before she moved in w/ him in October after a fight with mom. She’s 17 and will be going to college out of state after a year of working here and raising money. We haven’t picked a date yet, mostly because I don’t know what is best. I don’t know if we should wait for her to go to college, or not. He leans towards not waiting. She’s difficult, but actually not my biggest worry. We’ve been bringing the youngest over to my house a lot. I’ve set up one of the spare rooms so she has a place to do homework, etc. She stayed with me a few days over summer break. Her dad slept in the third bedroom and I was working nights. It went pretty well for the most part. She is mostly home schooled, goes to a classroom three times a week and does the rest with her mom and her dad based on the subject. She had been in trouble with her dad for abuse of the computer chatting, Facebook etc. when not supposed to. My fiance left to take middle daughter to work and told youngest not to be on the computer. She finished home work and asked if she could listen to music while she hung her clothes in the closet. She listens to mostly Gospel music online. I said yes and she took the computer with her. My mistake for not saying yes, but you need to leave the door open…Oye! (BTW) we haven’t officially announced out engagement (it just happened reacenntly), but she is aware that we will get married at some point. I heard no music when I went back there but chose not to knock and say anything to her. I knew her dad would be back very soon. I met him in the drive and explained. He agreed to handle it w/out bringing me into it and making me look like a tatteler, bad guy, or whatever. He did very well. He went back and talked to her then told her she came out and all was well. That was a week ago. Here’s the problem that came up today. She’s grounded from computer for another offense. Her dad leaves to go taxi the middle one. Before he left I asked if she could walk the dog w/me, but he said she has too much homework; it’s fine for me to walk the dog while she stays and works. When get back I decide to post my homework before I pick up my grandson. I go into my room to get my laptop out of my school bag and when I open it up ther three log on options (mine, my fiance’s , hers) pop up. That’s normal, but what is not normal is the background. It’s her’s instead of mine, meaning she was the last one logged on. So, she must have gone into my room (ugh!) got into my bag and used the computer in the 30 minutes I was gone!?! I’ve not said a word to her, or my fiance. I think I should as boundaries need to be set and clear, but I am nervous.

    I honestly feel that my previous marriage was ruined because of stuff with the kids…My fault, his fault, my stepdaughter was guilty of some really mean things, but she was a teenager and not an adult. We were the adults, neither of us handled it right and the marriage was lost a month before she turned 18 ( I was holding on for that day, but we didn’t make it). Idk if it’s worth the risk of ruining what is the most wonderful relationship I’ve ever had, with the best person I’ve ever met, or if it’s better – smarter- for me to wait the five years until she’s an adult. He doesn’t want to, I don’t want to, but I’m lost.
    And yes, Yaffa, before you ask I will answer; we will be starting premarital counseling and both his daughters have been to counseling over the past four years since he and his ex divorced. I’ve only met the ex once a month ago and she’s the kind of person that talks crap to her kids about their father and tells stories that aren’t truthful. That’s another reason I’m very hesitant. Praying for clearity and hoping for sound advice.
    Thanks – Kathlene

    Reply
  27. Brends

    Here i am in a hospital bed after a heart attack from the stress from my step daughter together we hsve 5 she is the only one acting out at the age of 22 when my dh and i started dating her and i got along i threw her a baby shower and all she even asked me to be grandma and i was so honored 1st grand baby. Since dh and i got engaged things went down hill she would only alloy the baby over if i was at work. I am constantly accused of controlling her dad when she is the one. Who holds thst baby as a prize over his head. It tesrs my heart apart that he endores this treatment. She belittles him and makes him feel like a bad parent because there is no sharing for her and she has always controlled his life. I now too just sllow her to rule the roost and now at 47 im in the hospital with a heart attack.

    Reply
  28. Lyn1984

    I am looking for help. I am bio mom. My ex and I have been divorced for 5 years one child in common. We have both moved forward with our lives and found serious partners. (I also have step children and I adore them and they reciprocate that feeling to me themselves as well as through their mother.) My ex has come to me recently and let me know about an issue he is having in his home when my son is with them. He says my son has begun (in the past 5 months) to ignore his significant other, treat her as if she is inconsequential and even told her once he doesn’t want her around because she is mean to him. She has been in the picture since my son was 2 and this attitude change is very new (he is 7 now). We recently had a “united front” meeting (my ex, myself and our son) to explain to him that he has to treat her with respect and that he knows he truly loves her and inquired as to why he has started treating her that way. My son only shrugged his shoulders. I broke down all the nice things she has done for him, all of the fun they have had together and he said that he misses doing those things but still didn’t give a reason for his attitude except that she is mean to him. We asked our son how we can help him repair this relationship and how to help him move forward and he had no answer just shrugged his shoulders. Now I REFUSE to pry about my ex and his home life, so I don’t have much information on the situation other than what my ex had told me at our sit down with our son but he did tell me that his girlfriend has been treating our son the same way he has been treating her to prove a point that he wouldn’t like it and that he has been being punished at his house for his perceived indifference. I also know from our conversation that our son had written her an apology letter and after giving it to her, she replied by telling him that “It isn’t in your own words” and discarded it. On another occasion he had verbally said he was sorry and she told him he didn’t mean it and that sorry wasn’t good enough. This situation has created issues in my ex’s relationship with his girlfriend and I can only assume it has strained my son and his father’s relationship as well. We asked my son if he could think of a good first step in getting back to the relationship that they used to have and he had no suggestions so I concluded our meeting by suggesting to our son that he try apologize to his dad’s gf for the way he has been treating her (being specific as to the ignoring) and letting her know that he misses the relationship the way it was and that he would like to feel like a family again and that she was an important part of that. He seemed extremely reluctant to do this and began to tear up so we asked him why he was getting upset and he said “what if she doesn’t accept my apology like the last times?” I tried to reassure him and expressed how much I thought that would warm hear heart and how good that would make her feel but he was still not convinced but reluctantly agreed he would do it. I am truly at a loss and am looking for suggestions on how to help mend this situation. I would never butt in but my ex has brought me in asking for help and I don’t have any clue how to help other than to be supportive and reaffirm the positive things she has done in the past. I don’t want my son’s relationship with his dad’s girlfriend to be damaged beyond repair or for my son’s relationship with his father to suffer anymore either. Any constructive feedback would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      It is so refreshing and encouraging to hear from a BM concerned about her son’s relationship with his SM. You are a great role model!

      Your son’s BD needs to talk to his significant other and ask her to be open to receive the apology with kindness, and without judgment. Only after he secures a commitment from her to do so encourage your son to apologize in his dad’s presence.
      There may be something else going on that your son is unable to articulate. Perhaps his dad and SM are having difficulties in the relationship, and this is how he expresses his anxiety about the fear that they might break up. If the situation does not improve over the next few weeks, I would encourage you to suggest to your ex that he takes your son to counseling so they can get some help resolving the issue.

      Reply
  29. I was feeling so alone and googled stepmoms. BAM! I have friends. My story starts after 2 children 7 & 11 are left by their Mom to go find herself. Yes, she had visitation. After I helped her daughter through an abortion (stumbled upon), flunking out of college, becoming a single mom ( you guessed it, there were complications at the hospital) and I stayed with step daughter and new baby. Her Mom was not there nor her Dad. We did so many fun things together like the daughter I never had. I helped raised this new baby girl and loved her. The son was into music and would show up for meals.

    My son from previous marriage had a perfect childhood until he turned angry and rebellious.
    Then he set the 15 year old grand daughter up by accusing her of having cigs. She did but he got in trouble because he bought them. Chasm opened in my relationship with granddaughter. She keeps her distance. So sad. She is so tight with her Grandmother who was not around when she was little. As is my step daughter, thick as thieves.

    Dad continues to pour money into a house he bought for 50 yr old unmarried daughter and pay college expenses for 25 yr old granddaughter. A 15 yr old granddaughter in next in line.

    Meanwhile, the 46 yr old son sits in his paid for house not working. My 35 yr old son works 80 hours a week to pay rent, car, and bills. IT IS SO UNFAIR. All the stories about these children make me want to warn you of the future…can you handle being rejected after all the good times?

    Reply
  30. TiredStepmom

    Im so tired crying and ran over by spoiled brat and liars step children. I love my husband so much but i just cant stand his 2 kids anymore whose trying to destroy out marriage. He has 18yrs old theft and liar daughter,we even claimed her at police station when she caught shoplifting for the third time and she hated her father when he lectured her and she hated me whenever i asked her not to throw her dirty underwears and footsocks everywhere(flying everywhere)every corner in the house as im tired cleaning their mess non stop, she answered me”You’re not my mom!”me and my husband even bring her to counceling every saturday but nothing happen but become worse, she even stealing our money at home.Aside from her,my husband son is also extremely liar, making money out of lying. Telling my husband he lost money and accusing me stole it(while im the one whose working and giving him school money)my husband dont believe him but still and always ended up him replacing the money he said was missing :(. I have a 12 yrs old daughter from my previous marriage but my husband never had a problem with her but we’re so proud of her for always bringing awards and tropies from school,she’s well descipline and respectful kid,a quiet kid that loves books. But sadly,my husband kids are so mean to her, they were once came home from school dropped by school bus and my husband kids ran inside the house and locked her up outside and cant get in the house,my husband and i were at work that time, she called me on my phone crying,that make us changed our door into doorcode lock. I know its not good to compare children but sometimes i think they might be challenge to study too so they are not always failed in school.My husband always bought them all the gadgets they want but never see them bring a school bag or book.
    His son is extremely liar that almost cause me and my husband divorce. He’s telling everybody that im not feeding him :( without knowing that everytime i cook and serve foods in front of him and even telling him to eat all he can, instead he put a tiny peace of food into his plate and took a picture and send to everybody including my in laws, my husband was mad and confronted me in front of his son, he insisted he is telling the truth,and me…i was crying and cant even breath cant believe he did that to me after all the things im doing to him and treating me as her maid,serving him. But God is good, my daughter speak up and tell the truth but before my daughter came out to speak out for me, his son admitted he’s telling lie because he knew that my daughter is a quiet but once she speak is all true. I cried and cried, started then i asked my husband to put a camera to all the corners in the house. Its so hard, i never regret marrying my husband because i love him but id rather be in my simple and quiet life if i only knew his kids are as bad as they are.

    Reply
  31. Truth!

    Oh hell no!

    A bunch of ratty-assed step kids are not going to dictate my life!

    I am not going to go about being disrespected by some snot nosed little heathen! If some little bastard kid got uppity on me–I would straight tell them AND thier parent to GET OUT!

    Life is too short for problems! Why invite a bunch of problems by marrying some used woman? You wouldnt pay more than full price for a damaged used car would you? Well that is what you are doing if you marry a broken woman with kids by another man!

    Dont be a sucker and marry some used and broken woman that will only love her kids and not really care for you–you deserve more! Men already get shit on by women constantly in marriage–dont marry some selfish used nag that only is marrying you so that you can give her money and provide for someone elses kids.

    Im sorry that divorced women have it hard–but if they had been good wives they probably wouldnt be single–because the majority of divorces happen because women think they can do better and want to trade up their “aint shit man” for a “real man.”

    Reply
  32. 12 years and counting

    Saying your step kids will eventually grow to love and respect you if you just follow a few simple rules is terrible advice. If you are a stepmom, or are thinking of becoming one, you and your spouse should read “Step Monster” by Wednesday Martin. It’s a real world look at what it’s like to be a stepmom, and the kinds of relationships they have with their step kids. The unfortunate truth is that most children will continue to reject their stepmother no matter how good she is to them, and no matter how hard she tries. This is especially true when biomom is a hostile co-parent. Once you come to terms with this, you can stop being a martyr and start living life for you and not for kids who will never return the love you give them.

    Reply
  33. Lisa Jensen

    I am glad to find there are websites like this. I am not alone. I love my step children, but they are not aloud to love me because of their mother. She is a terrible alcoholic, which got fired from 3 jobs within 4 months. One was the kids school where she was teaching. She was walked out for being drunk. I wouldn’t let my niece in the car with her because I couldn’t take a chance. So, now my step kids are telling my husband that I’m bad and not healthy for the family. Our family counselor said that their mother has sat in every single counseling session with the kids and the kids are about to tell my husband he has to make a choice between them and me. So sad and it really hurts. Their mother also tells them I don’t do enough. I make my teenagers wash their own clothes, I won’t pick up the 17 year old’s snotty tissues he throws on the floor nor his toenail clippings on his bathroom floor. I also won’t pick up the two cases of empty water bottles he throws on the floor in his music studio and mixing room. Step-kids are hard and especially when they have a bitter mother. I feel sorry for their mother, but I wasn’t around when they got divorced. My husband had sent her to rehab and she came back drinking cough syrup. The woman hates me and I can’t seem to help with that either. I just try to stay away from her, but then she bashes me to the kids about that too.

    Reply
    • Lisa, the correct response to anyone (kids, ex, family members, or counselor) suggesting that the husband has to make a choice between his kids and his wife is to point out – IMMEDIATELY – that there is no choice: marriage is forever, and kids are forever; neither relationship is going anywhere.

      That’s just a fact.

      Time for the kids – and the ex wife – to get used to it. You may need to have a serious talk with his husband, because it’s up to him to defend himself & you, and he may need to start seriously documenting stuff & presenting some well-backed-up requests to family court, or demanding a better counselor if this one does not recognize that your marriage is every bit as much a family priority as any other family member, family relationship, or family member’s legitimate needs.

      If you’re not married, then back out and tell him to get things worked out before you marry. But if you are married, then that is just a fact, and you are part of the family, and you are not required to earn your position – it’s already yours. It’s on them to adjust to the new reality.

      I have been in your shoes as far as the bitter, nasty ex who can’t get over it. There is only one solution: to DEMAND that other family members respect, honor, and defend healthy boundaries – not only for your sake, but for everyone’s sake: make that woman keep her venom to herself.

      Reply
  34. Ready to give ip

    It seems like most of the reply are women, but as a man I can relate 100%
    I married a wonderful woman who had two children. They had a rough past, the father is incarcerated for molesting the daughter. I never for one moment thought this marriage would be easy, but I felt I was up for the challenge. Man was I wrong… This has been so much harder than I ever imagined. My wife’s daughter doesn’t feel comfortable around me, which I completely understand because of their past. I have to leave the house so she feels comfortable enough to spend time with her mom. If I happen to go inside, within minutes the conversation ends and she excuses herself and leaves. Then there’s the son, he and I don’t see things the same way. He is use to getting his way with my wife.
    When they first moved into my house, ii tried to make them feel like it was their home. That didn’t last long.
    He has been pretty much n his own since he was 9, when his dad was incarcerated. When we got married, he was 14, addicted to porn, close to 400 pounds and not going to school.
    My first mistake was taking on the roll of the enforcer, any punishment or disiplnary action was up to me… My wife had let her children do as they please for years.
    I put my foot down, set boundaries and he hated me for them. None of that botherd me because I could see the changes he was making. I pushed her to take him o the doctor, he took their information and lost almost 200 pounds, he stopped looking at porn, he had a girlfriend and he was going to back to school. Hey, I was helping getting this young man back on track……wrong…this is where the problems got worse. He got depressed, tried to commit suiside, and thankfully was not successful. We put him in therapy program, which has seemed to help him deal with his bi- polar and autism. He has done so well, he’s list over 200 pounds and now works out all the time and is full of muscle.
    Here lies the problem, even though I’ve had to fight my wife every step of the way and her son, he son has benefited and excelled at everything I have pushed him/ them on. With all hat, I’m still the outsider, I still feel like second best, no mater what I do or say, I’ll be wrong if her son says I am.

    Last couple weeks , her son has been angry. He’s been walking around he house slamming doors, not talking or answering me. My chalks it up to him being a teen and having girl trouble. I can understand that, but when I find his towel bar in his shower ripped off the wall and the mailbox bent from him hitting it with his car, I get angry. When I approach him, met with an attitude of why would I need to tell you what I did. My wife sticks up for her son and tells me to think about why he didn’t tell me about what he broke.
    I took this as her once again sticking up for her son and questioning my actions.

    As you can tell by reading this, I’m frustrated…don’t know where to turn, have tried marriage counseling, and feeling like I’m always going to be wrong no matter what I do.
    Looking for some help, constructive criticism or helpful advice…. I’m about to call it quits.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      You come across as a caring husband and stepfather. I wonder if you made decisions regarding parenting your stepchildren without brainstorming with your wife first. It sounds to me that there is lack of trust between you and your wife. She doesn’t believe that you have her children’s best interest at heart and her lack of support of you comes across to the children which reinforces their lack of respect for you.

      Your stepchildren and your wife experienced multiple traumas which you touch on in your description of the molestation by bio-dad. If they did not go to therapy for what happened they need to. The whole family was traumatized which makes it so much harder to trust anyone, especially a man stepping into a parental role, like you did. Yes, it was a mistake to step into the parental role before you built a bond with the children.

      It may help you to also go for individual therapy with a therapist experienced in working with remarriages so you can heal from the constant challenge to your integrity, and so you can understand why you took such a huge responsibility of raising such wounded children. Also, did you and your wife make a plan regarding parenting before you got married? Did you share the same vision as to how the marriage will look like? Did you talk about expectations honestly and openly?

      After you’ll evaluate these questions, and process the information you’ll be able to make a decision based on clarity, honesty, and self love.

      I do offer in person and over the phone consultations.

      Reply
  35. Hilary

    ok ladies lets be honest. Having children is a bed of roses, you have to watch for the thorns. Being a step parent and a parent has its advantages. I have been both for the last 18 years successfully. This being said it has not always been without pain. My step daughter came right out and told me it was her number one goal to end my marriage to her father so he could go back to her mother. There were many arguments and yes dad turned a blind eye to most. But this is my house and I am the parent here. It would be unrealistic to ever think that you will have a normal parental relationship with a step child. At least not while they are children. This children will not understand till they are parents themselves or step parents going through the same thing. Patients and a strong sense of self is what is needed. Do not make your marriage about the relationship you have will a step child. Your marriage is about you and your spouse. Take time to communicate and if all else fails video works wonders.

    Reply
  36. I would like to add that the article is very informative. I has my husband, read it.

    I have been involved with my husbands family for 8 years the children are quite young then.we have done every aspect of family outings , the children had s great time. Now, there is great conflict
    I’m being hated on , like a hammer to the nail. According to the children’s perspective I’m Satan’s child , annoying , the biggest bitch, YOU ARE NOT EVER GOING TO BE MY MOM!! You are ugly !now to be fair these words are true , but not in my face , some are done through social media and note passing in the home.
    My spouse puts it out as I’m trying too hard to please
    The children, you are making it too much about you . I don’t see it . I seeon that the children’s faces they don’t need to hear the nagging about cleaning thief rooms.

    I’m so lost When I try to communicate with the children . I asked what would you like to do – I get no response. I said you may talk to me I get a shrugged shoulder. Finally I asked are you being rude to me on purpose .. I get I DONT HAVE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION 😳

    What can I do I’m so lost
    I organized family events such a beachs, road trips, my related family occasions etc

    Please help . I love my spouse and do care for my spouse’s children, it detest the rude behaviors

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      It is indeed very frustrating and hurtful to be rejected by your stepchildren, especially after you have nurtured them, was there for them, and cared about them. It sounds as if your husband is not there for you and doesn’t hear your distress. Your husband’s support is what you need most at this time. He may feel at a loss himself as to how to set boundaries with his children, and discipline them, teaching them right from wrong.
      Get your husband on the same page with you. You might want to consider therapy with a therapist who specializes in working with remarried couples, or at least has an understanding of the unique dynamics of remarriage.

      Next, it’s best that if you are involved in their discipline, you stop, and your husband assumes all discipline. The children need to be consequenced for their rudeness. They don’t have to love you or even like you but they do need to be polite and cordial.

      Reply
  37. Amanda M

    My step-daughter is so ignorant and rude when she’s here. I can’t take her anywhere without her complaining and being miserable the whole time. She constently says she hates me and has never had anything nice to say to me until I’m in tears. As soon as my husband gets home from work she changes her attitude because she doesn’t want him to see how awful she’s being. I’m literally in tears every day (she’s here every other week). I’ve tried bribing her and everything else the internet has suggested but nothing works. I toke her to a science thing the other day because i thought she would have fun but her response was to be miserable the whole time and to say the other reason I toke her was because there was no one else home to watch her. which isn’t true at all. She thinks her father doesn’t love her and she thinks that’s my fault even tho he does everything with her and shes his entire world. I am so emotionally drained that I can’t have a happy marriage or a healthy relationship with her or my husband. I’m not respected at all and she thinks she makes the rules and doesn’t have to follow the ones i set for her. Which wouldn’t be hard to do because I really only have one rule, and that’s to be respectful.. but still it’s to much to ask. She can’t say anything to me in a nice tone of voice or without attitude. She’ll change as soon as my husband gets home, she”ll be as nice as can be to me if he’s within ear shot. I’m sure part of it is her bio mother telling her to be disrespectful. But me and my husband have been married for a little over a year, but we’ve been living together for 3 years and together for almost 5 years now, we were fine before the wedding we would have fun but as soon as i started planning the wedding she started hating me. I’m at the end of my rope there’s nothing else I can give without me just disappearing into thin air. The only time she ever shows any kind of remorse for her behavior is when I’m bawling my eyes out, and she’ll say I’m sorry but it’s always followed by will you not tell daddy now. I’m not sure what else I can do. I do everything for her and give her whatever she wants and still I’m always thought of as the bad guy. I’m not sure how much more of this my marriage and my heart can take. She doesn’t care that she’s hurting me unless she thinks I’m gonna tell daddy. I tell him everything but then she just blames me more for him punishing her. I’m completely out of ideas and options.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      Hi Amanda,

      I am so sorry that you are in so much pain. There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved in your family. At this point you need to be in therapy with a therapist who specializes in working with stepfamilies. Your husband needs to learn to set boundaries for his daughter. He also needs to learn to discipline her, teach her right from wrong, and stay the proactive parent, while you need to step back from any disciplinary position.You need to spend very little time alone with her. Your husband needs to learn to cherish you as his wife. You and your husband need to address issues of trust between you, and have fun dates so you can reconnect as a couple. You, Amanda, need to take care of yourself. Make sure you have a good support system, and do things by yourself, and with friends. When all of the above will be addressed you may be able to build a relationship with your stepdaughter very slowly.

      Reply
  38. It is so sad to see how many step moms have such hatred for the bio mom. Seems to me that the hatred of the other parent could be enough to create the very problems you face. Your problems with step children, as stated by a wise and informed woman above, are most likely a result of the pain the children experienced from their parents divorce or parent’s death. If you have rushed into a relationship with their father there is not doubt that the blame will be cast on you for their pain. Many poor, victimized step mothers seem to be making the situation all about them. Newsflash – it’s not about you. Parents should never talk bad about each other in front of the children. That includes moms and step moms talking bad about each other – on both sides. I am the bio mom in this situation. My ex and I try not to fight or complain about each other in front of our children. I have tried my best to have an amicable relationship with my children’s step mom. We talk when we see each other – not like we are going to become besties or anything, but we get along quite well. All the same, my older daughter can’t seem to control her anger and lashes out at the step mom and her two boys, who are about the same ages as my daughters. It’s not about my daughter’s step mom. She tries very hard. Her dad puts too much responsibility on her for the kids but he is grown up enough to recognize that and try to spend more time with his daughters. It causes problems in their relationship. I don’t. I wish them only the best. My children know that. The sad truth is that they don’t know what to do about my daughter and the step mom blames her for the arguments she has with my daughters dad. So, as a result, my daughter gets blamed and the situation continues. We have to be able to diffuse the anger in the moment with love, humor and healthy boundaries. The blame game and anger only make the situation worse.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      Thank you for your feedback. If more bio-moms would be as collaborative as you are, stepfamilies would be more successful! While it is true that some couples rush into marriages especially when children are involved, the solution is for the bio-dad to stay a proactive parent, and not dump the parenting on his new wife. If the new wife wants to take over, it is still the bio-dad’s responsibility to set boundaries with her, clarify expectations, and stick to his values.

      Reply
  39. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I’m in a situation where the two kids lie to the biomom and she tells the kids lies about us. I have a well calibrated moral compass. The biomom does not. Their relationship ended due to her infidelity and then to further complicate things after the separation they continued to have sex for years together sometimes 3 somes. The bulk of her friends that the children are around are strippers.
    Biomom doesn’t work and collects welfare and child support as her income source.
    Dad is really trying but often doesn’t think things through. Who’re he does things. He makes flirtatious sexual comments to biomom still and she makes venomous comments to the children about their father and me, someone she’s never met.
    We recently bought a beautiful huge house together and I asked the 7 year old how she wanted her room then went out and purchased everything she’d asked for. She outright refused to say thank you. She went home and told her mom once that she walked in on her dad and I having sex in the bathroom when her dad and I were dating. I wasn’t even present that weekend the dad was with his older sister all weekend.
    The boy who is 13 is biomom’s son from a previous relationship. My BF has paid child support for her son since they separated.
    The son was 6 when my BF and she got together. She was pregnant within 4 weeks of meeting and they lasted under two years. However my BF has still taken responsibility for her son.
    The boy lied to authorities stating my BF beats him with an electrical cord attached to an excercise machine.
    There is no excercise machine and my BF does not have a temper issue at all.
    The little girl is just out of control. She goes to the bathroom and won’t wipe or flush. She recently told me she drank her own pee and if I ask her to do something she won’t even acknowledge I’ve spoken.
    They don’t have a lot at their mother’s yet they have such a grand sense of entitlement.
    They speak so disrespectfully to their father.
    They both have anger control issues like the biomom. When the daughter was 6 her dad asked her to go put her new coat on. She didn’t want to do proceeded to cut it into pieces. Then when she refused to go to her room as punishment he took her hand to lead her there. She screamed let go of my you fu*#ing idiot.
    The mother is off the charts. She sends photos of her and the kids eg the child’s eyes are shut in the photo but she’s dressed up in a lowcut dress exposing a ton of cleavage. And every time we drop the kids off she attempts to engage him in a fight about why he’s a terrible father.
    He’s trying really hard to ensure the children are more r respectful. We have them every weekend.
    I talked to him about how we both work hard to afford the new house and that I have a right to relax sometimes without hearing the screaming no between the two kids. They fight constantly.
    We have the kids every weekend.
    We are having our own relationship problems now as I found out about some online infidelity on his part 10 days before we moved.
    The entire situation is tumultuous and with the flirtatious texts to her plus this new online infidelity I’m becoming resentful that I have to deal with the daughters dusrespect but especially that I have to help pay for her son from another man.
    I feel like an awful person.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      Nadia, you are not an awful person. You are just in the middle of a high conflict co-parenting situation with a lot of unfinished business for both your BF and his ex. The children’s behavior reflects the emotional pressure and uncertainty they are experiencing. They probably do not feel emotionally safe with their bio-mom, and are required to be loyal to her, thus experiencing divided loyalties. You have nothing to do with what happened between your BF, his ex and the children. You are at a loss as to where you fit in if at all. You need to address the trust issue asap. Between his flirtation with his ex and the internet infidelity there may be a much bigger issue about personal boundaries then you realize. Couple therapy can help you gain some clarity about your relationship and your BF’s values and expectations. Please make sure you take good care of yourself, and surround yourself with a positive support system.

      Reply
  40. my husband has two kids which I have been around for 4 years now and his daughter who was 12 now 15 yrs when we started dating still goes out of her way to lie about me saying I post “sexy” photos on social media (which I don’t post anything) then says I block her on social media which I only use one (facebook) and she is on my friends but every 6 months she tells him I block her request or other things basically looking like she goes out of her way to get to know me but I deny her. She is really vindictive and even calls her mom horrible names as well as physically fighting her. She is a little too close to her dad which many seem as very inappropriate considering she is built like a 21 year woman such as sitting on his lap or laying across him (which he stops). She will play fight with him and purposely act like she wants to hit him in his private area. She fights her younger brother if he sits next to his dad or makes comments if my husband pays any attention to my daughters who are 21 & 18. She also lies to him about her personal life like grades, boyfriends, activities out of school and he usually believes her because he doesn’t follow up on these matters. His ex wife had to give custody to the grandmother while he was deployed because she couldn’t deal with her and she also herself is not what you would consider a good parent ( she is from the Philippines and dates men with money which has contributed to his daughter thinking everyone is poor who doesn’t live in the up scale community that her mother lives in because of the mother’s boyfriend not her mother who works in retail) . I guess this is all over the place, everyone sees these major issues with his daughter but him even after see purposely threw an object at my face when his family wasn’t looking – I feel lost and don’t know what to do. I am a hard working mother of 3 now adults which I raised alone while working and going to college and it bothers me that his ex and his daughter are money chasing brand name junkies that blame everyone for any problems but themselves and he sees these problems as “its the divorce” but these aren’t normal things most divorced parents/kids go through. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to leave the marriage because the ex calls ALL the time to MAKE HIM deal with the kids instead of controlling them herself because she just doesn’t want to. Truly frustrating !!!!

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      You are a woman of integrity! I hear your frustration with your step daughter, your husband and his ex. It seems as if part of the problem is rooted in the divorce. Another part is in your husband’s denial that there are serious problems in his parenting, setting boundaries with his ex, and marginalizing you.

      Your stepdaughter needs therapy so she can work through feelings of abandonment from both of her parents. While your husband didn’t have a choice and was deployed, his daughter may have felt abandoned. Her mother emotionally and eventually physically also abandoned her. She clings to her dad because he’s her anchor in life. She does so inappropriately. You, your children, and your marriage suffer from his lack of boundaries.

      You and your husband can benefit from marital therapy with a therapist who’s trained in working with remarried couples. Your step daughter needs to be in therapy so she can heal from the abandonment issues.

      Reply

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