How to deal with step daughter that doesn 't behave?

Ruthy - posted on 02/16/2016 ( 3 moms have responded )




I been married for 6 years I have a 4 year old son, and currently 7 months pregnant with my second son. My husband has a 9 year old daughter from a past relationship which she comes home with us every other weekend. The problem with her is that she doesn't behave or listens to me at all. My husband works on some Saturdays so most of the times I have to deal with her every Saturday morning (she's with us Friday through Sunday). Like I mentioned before I'm 7 months pregnant I work full time 40-44 hours a week I'm off on the weekends which are my only days to sleep in, and catch up on some rest but, it's so hard when my step daughter is there because she's up by 7-8am, and turns on the TV at very high volume, she goes in my room wakes me up to ask me that where am I taking her for the weekend or if I'm buying her new toys, makes a huge mess, doesn't pick up after her self, doesn't like to shower or brush her teeth. She gets super annoying, and I can't deal with that anymore. The worst part is that she wakes up my toddler son, and he gets up in a horrible mood, and then I have to deal with him also. As much as I tell her to don't misbehave she doesn't listen at all, and I find myself so stress out when she's there. This past weekend I was having a conversation with my father in law about my step daughter's behavior, and he completely understood where I was coming from, and gave me some advice but, the witch of my mother in law quickly got offended, and made smart comments on how I should deal with her bad behavior because she's my husband's daughter, and I knew he had a daughter before we got married so now I have to suck it up, and don't complain at all. I was like really?? My mother in law can be very ignorant when it comes to disciplining children, and she thinks it's "cute" to let children get away with everything. I'm so stressed out with this situation, and I don't know what to do anymore I don't know if I'm exaggerating or what but, I can't take it any longer it's been years that I have helped my husband raised her but, in part it's his fault because he doesn't discipline her at all, and he's completely inattentive with her. I don't know what to do sorry so long :-(


Raye - posted on 02/16/2016




You and your husband need to get on the same page with rules and discipline for all the kids. HE should be the one that is doing most of that for his daughter. If he cannot be home when it's his visitation time, then HE needs to address that with the mom, and possibly come up with a new schedule. Your husband also needs to make it clear to his daughter that YOU have authority while he's gone. And YOU need to have appropriate consequences for her bad behavior.

You did know she was part of the package when you married him, so there are going to be some things you do need to suck it up and get over, or compromise on. Like... maybe buy a pair of headphones with a long cord so she can listen to the TV without you hearing it. But, if you are the one responsible for watching her when your husband is not home, then (as Dove said) you should really be awake and watching her. Also try not to focus only on the negative, but praise her when she does something the first time you ask or without being told.

She's trying to push boundaries and assert her power, which is very normal at that age. You need to show her exactly where the limits of those boundaries are, and let her have the appearance of power (choices) while still following the rules. If she wants to have a choice, then she learns her decisions have consequences. Like...
* * If she chooses not to brush her teeth, she gets no foods or drinks that will turn to sugars and cause plaque on her teeth... so no breads, no chips, no candy, no pasta, no juice, no citrus or bananas, no soda pop. She gets to eat apples, carrots, celery, broccoli, cheese, milk, plain yogurt, boiled skinless chicken, nuts, fish, unsweetened tea and water.
* * If she chooses not to pick up toys she's done playing with, then she can't get out any other toys until those are put away. If she disobeys you, take all her stuff away and make her sit quietly while you go about your day, or she can go to her room and read or whatever, until she chooses to follow the rules and join the family.


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April - posted on 02/17/2016




Hi! Being a step-parent is a tough job, and it certainly doesn’t come with a manual on how to deal with certain situations. Sometimes our frustrations can also cloud our judgement. I am wondering if maybe your frustrations might be clouding your view of your step-daughter. It can be good to step back sometimes and put ourselves in the shoes of those we are frustrated with. How does the situation look from your step-daughters point of view? What does she see when she looks at you? What would you like her to see when she looks at you? How would you feel if you were the biological mom in the situation? The step-daughter is only nine and is stuck in a situation that she can’t control. This can cause anybody to act out. I completely understand that you are exhausted after working all week and being pregnant. I really do understand. I have six children of my own and two step-children. When you made the commitment to marry and have children (whether biological, adopted, step, etc.), you made the commitment to put others before yourself. That means there will not be the opportunities to sleep in every Sat or things like that. There can still be beauty in your Sat mornings though. Get up and snuggle on the couch with all of the children. Watch movies, read books, or just talk. Ask your step-daughter what she wants to be when she grows up. There can be blessings in those moments. Try to bring the family together as one the best you can. None of the “my kids” and “his kid” titles that divide. I admit that sometimes I struggle with loving my own step-daughter. I just pray about it, and pull up my boot straps…and I CHOOSE to love her. Love is a choice, not an emotion. I love her even if she doesn’t deserve it, because sometimes I don’t even deserve love. I’m thankful for those who love me anyways. Have you tried talking with your husband about this? Maybe consider some counseling too? Here is a link to an article that you might find helpful too. You can overcome these obstacles and find the blessings in your blended family. Praying for you!

Dove - posted on 02/16/2016




She's only there every other Saturday... sounds like she is acting up because she is bored and lonely. Get up and interact w/ her. 7-8am is a lot later than some kids sleep... I know you are pregnant and tired, but neither of those things are the child's fault. Your 4 year old son may be used to sleeping in later, but he is not a toddler (sorry... incorrect terminology is a pet peeve of mine). If you were up w/ her and doing something quietly (like a game)... she would be much less likely to wake him up.

Skipping a shower or teeth brushing (while not necessarily GOOD) one night every 2 weeks is really not a big deal.

If she makes a mess... she cleans it up before anything else can happen... even if that means sitting alone in her room for the entire day.

Basically... this child is 9. Pick your battles on the things that are important (like cleaning up messes and not waking her brother)... and let go of some of the things that aren't a huge deal. If your husband does not discipline and he has been inattentive to her for the past 6 years... this is something that should have been addressed... 6 years ago. Perhaps some family counseling is in order.

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