This Stepmom Needs Help!

Tina - posted on 06/08/2016 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have been married for almost 2 years. He and his wife were divorced for 5 years before we met. He has two children, and I have never had children. I am 48 and he is 44; the children are a girl, 10 and a boy 12. I get along great with the boy. If I have to fuss at him over behavior, he has a great attitude and moves on with me. The girl is another story. She is my husband's favorite child and he has admitted it to me. She is conniving and manipulative, and she tells lies and half truths. My husband believes every word she says. She is constantly doing things to get my stepson in trouble. When I mention her behavior to my husband, he 1) doesn't want to talk about it, 2) tells me she's just a kid, and 3) says he will speak with her and doesn't or when he does, believes what ever she says. I love my husband so much and I waited my whole life to meet a wonderful man. Part of the reason I fell in love with him was how much I saw that he loves his children. I am a high school teacher and I know when our stepdaughter grows up she will be a nightmare. I don't know what to do, and I am terrified of ruining our relationship. BTW, she treats her mother the same way. What do I do? Please help!

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Heather - posted on 06/10/2016

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Having a favorite (sigh) is making her entitled. He does not see this- if he hopes to have a daughter that works hard, is honest, and have a career where she gets along with others he has to set the example. Right now he has to realize that by not having boundaries, limitations and expectations he just setting her up for failure in life. People will demand these things in all areas of life and she has to learn that in some cases she HAS to be treated the same. Ask him to do an experiment with you- have him write down everything he expects of his son and the actions that should be taken if he doesn't follow those rules. You will do the same thing and exchange papers- if you both agree on those points then say, "I would like to hold both children accountable in this manner that way we have consistent parenting from the both of us across the board and there is no confusion." Ask him politely to think about maybe having House Rules written by the two of you that applies across the board with BOTH children that you BOTH will sign and try your best to uphold to BOTH kids. Stress that you feel like you're gonna need the support with his daughter AND son- and that you will support him to uphold the rules equally also. Have a family meeting about the rules, and put the rules in a frame where everyone hangs out the most. Agree that whether he gives a punishment or you give a punishment you will talk to each other FIRST about what, how, and why the punishment is appropriate and will continue. Explain that when either one of you goes to talk to the kids you are united in maintaining the rules and that's why the communication is important. This is my only thought for a solution- hopefully he agrees...

Ashley - posted on 06/09/2016

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maybe go to family counseling it might be nice to have everyone together and have conversations I think as a young girl her issue may be the divorce even tho it has been 5 years it is still hard to see your parents apart and with new people especially if somewhere in her head she think they should get back together as a step mom it's hard to inforce punishment for bad behavior but if you and him are going to be married you have to be a team and he has to make the daughter acknowledge you as a adult and someone she needs to listen to girls at that age are mean and going threw a lot emotionally and if not nipped in the but could turn into some rebellious teen years I wish you luck maybe you should just reward the boy for his good behavior and then she will see and maybe want to change her additude so she could enjoy some things to

Emily - posted on 06/08/2016

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Hello, Tina! I’m sorry you’re facing these issues with your stepdaughter. I can tell you love your husband very much and want the best for your family. Parenting in blended families is a difficult task, marked by its own characteristic set of problems and frustrations.

Do you think it might be helpful if you and your husband sit down and speak to her openly about what you feel? Have you considered speaking to a family counselor? I know that Focus on the Family has free licensed counselors that you can call at 855-382-5433. I’m sure they would love to help. Also, you might find these links useful: http://bit.ly/1vv776H and http://www.smartstepfamilies.com. I’ll be praying for you and I hope you’ll be able to sort out these issues soon. Hang in there!

Michelle - posted on 06/08/2016

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I am concerned that the Father has said that she is his favourite child. That is so cruel to his son and children aren't stupid, they pick up on these things.
Unfortunately, if the Mother and Father aren't willing to pull her up on her behaviour then there's actually not a lot you can do. The parents actually need to step up and parent but they have to want to as well.
You can sit down with your husband and set some house rules with consequences but he also needs to follow through, not just you. It sounds like all of the adults could benefit from counselling.

AnnaMia - posted on 06/08/2016

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Evelyn Witt - i see your point & i agree with you... but the biggest problem here, in my opinion, is the fact that Tina's husband won't cooperate. she already tried to discuss it with him but he refuses to recognize the seriousness of the situation & it seems that she doesn't have his support; IF and WHEN she deals with that problem... she can move forward. her husband isn't aware of the situation and i'm not sure how Tina constantly bringing it up will affect their relationship... if i understood well, that's exactly one of Tina's fears. i personally live with my boyfriend and his daughter spends 50% of the time with us - however, my boyfriend is a very strict father + does take my opinion into consideration - that's the kind of support Tina doesn't have.

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Kimberlee - posted on 06/10/2016

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For some reason the girls are so much harder than boys. What makes it even harder is that I'm sure the bio mom is not on the same page. Divorced parents tend to try to outdo each other by spoiling the children so that they will like one better than the other. I suggest sitting down with your husband and establishing a time each week to sit down and openly talk together about the issues/expectations. I would love to try this in my own home. I know that pulling the family together helps with the overall bonding as a family. Treat them just like you would treat your own. Be supportive of them. As they get older and more mature they will appreciate you more. Most importantly, you and your husband need to agree upon discipline methods in your home. I believe half the battle is working that out and then both being consistent. Easier said than done I know.

Ev - posted on 06/08/2016

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AnnaMia--This is her home and they should be able to expect certain types of behavior in their home. I think they did not communicate that about setting up rules and consequences. He should be backing his wife in the fact that she is having issues with the daughter on the lying and other actions. As a mother whose kids have a step mom, I would tell them that I would advise them about how to handle situations at their dad's home which mostly ended up in them taking the issues to dad about what was going on. There are other kids in that household and I did not have a right to tell dad how to run it. But if there was a problem that did carry over to my home, I tried to work it out with dad about consequences but 9 times out of 10 he and step mom would not cooperate. I see what this lady is trying to accomplish. It is a problem in both homes and we do not know if the mother is doing anything at all at her home about it or not. If she also letting it go there may not be much that can be done on the step mom's end other than repeatedly asking dad to step in and do something. If mom is trying but it is not working then the parents and step mom should come together to take care of an issue that is going on in both homes. Do you have step kids or do your kids have step parents?

AnnaMia - posted on 06/08/2016

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Tina,

i'd advise you NOT to bring it up to your husband if he reacts badly; it won't be good for your relationship and your relationship should be a priority. HOWEVER; i feel like your daughter disrespecting you will affect both of you negatively either way... i think the mother should be the one to bring it up to your husband because i believe he'll understand the seriousness of the situation when he sees it's going on at the mother's house, too. the next step would be counselig because i think your husband is dealing with the guilty father syndrome.

can you sit down with him and openly tell him that his daughter's behavior affects you negatively and that you're afraid for your relationship? assure him that he is an awesome father, that you think he's doing a good job otherwise, that you want him to do even better and that you want to help him... as his life partner & a woman who loves and cares about him AND his kids.

if he refuses to see the reality, i don't think you can do much.

Ev - posted on 06/08/2016

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So how often do you guys have the kids? And did you two discuss what the rules and consequences would be in your home?

Tina - posted on 06/08/2016

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I communicate with the mother only with arrangements for the kids, but we get along ok. We've never had a run-in, but I keep quiet when it comes to hers and my husbands issues. She is a very good mother. When he catches her in a lie it's like he thinks it's cute. He has tons of guilt issues with the kids, but I know this will get out of control soon. Puberty is coming... When I approach him with the problems with the kids I just say things like, "The kids got pretty out of hand at my mom's this weekend." Or "I've been having some problems with Olivia." My stepson tells me she is disrespectful to their mother.

AnnaMia - posted on 06/08/2016

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hello, Tina!

hmmmm... did your husband ever catch his daughter in a lie? if so - what was his reaction like...? also, what is your approach like when you try to discuss SD's behavior with your husband? what is your communication with the mother like - does she recognize the problem and did she bring it up to your husband?

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