Am I A Terrible Person For Not Liking My Step-Daughter?

QUESTION:

"She is nine years old and the most disrespectful child I ever meet. She does have manners at the time (please thank you etc.) but is constantly wanting to be the center of attention for every little thing and has a want want want give me attitude. She lives with us 98% of the time, and her “teenage” attitude drives me bonkers. It seems like if I say to go this way, she will do the complete opposite just to make me pissed off. I’ve tried telling my husband that I’m not appreciative of her behavior/attitude, especially since she likes to be defiant, but my husband just feeds into her and babies her. My husband doesn’t let me discipline them, especially her, since he thinks I am too tough on them. I started dating her dad (my husband) when she was six and, according to her Aunt (who recently complained about her behavior to me that we should be doing something about her and her behavior) said she has always been this way. I feel bad as I’ve tried building a relationship, but it has progressively gotten worse, especially since I moved over two years ago, her dad and I got married, and my daughter/her sister’s birth this winter. My stepson is seven and has issues, but overall is a good kid and tries to improve and get better. Anyone else feels a stronger connection with one stepchild than the other? Any advice/guidance/help to get through the next nine years with her as I feel like she will end up being the driving force if my husband and I ever get a divorce.

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TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“I get what you’re trying to say and yes, it is normal to not like someone’s behavior. You’re a mother first and a friend last! Your job isn’t to be liked but to raise respectful, obedient kids and prepare them for the world! You need to speak to your husband about it though. You’re his wife and regardless of how he feels, he should have your back! You guys are ONE! Kids pick up on things and if she can see that he’s not supportive she’ll drive a wedge and it’ll get worse! I’ve seen it happen! I wish you luck…”

“She’s 9 there’s probably a reason she acts the way she does you guys just have to figure out what’s going on with her. Stop looking at her as a step child and look at her as your child and put 110% into finding a solution. Growing up in a blended family we never said step sibling half sibling it was brother and sister that was it. Family is family. I pray god will have his hand over your family and give the strength and love to get through it all. Good luck.”

“It kind of sounds like she’s not coping with the dynamics of the family changing. Maybe a softer approach rather than a disciplinary could be helpful? A new baby is a lot for an older sibling to adjust too, let alone a new home with a step mum. I can’t speak from experience myself. I am only a new mum. But from where I stand it seems like her behaviour is all in relation to not coping.”

“Look. You met her dad when she was 6 and I’m guessing she already lived with him full time? Then married and had more children in 3 years. She’s probably still overwhelmed because that’s A LOT of change and shift in their family dynamic. She went from being the MOST important person in her dads life to sharing that role with 3 other people. And your step son is probably looking for that mom type role in you since he doesn’t see his mom enough. Being a step parent is HARD. You have to work at it EVERY SINGLE DAY and give it your all every single day. Some days will be better than others.”

“She is testing your love. Keep reassuring her. That is what she really wants.”

“You probably shouldn’t be allowed to discipline a child that you feel that way about… he’s probably right that your too tough on them. When a mother/step mother or father/step father really loves all of their children step or not then they discipline differently.”

“Sounds like a few big things have happened in her life in a short amount of time and she’s having trouble handling everything, also sounds like she is being a typical girl at that age. I know it can be hard trying to parent your stepchild but you all have to be on the same page and treat every single child the exact same. She can probably see and feel the way you act differently towards her and that’s not going to help things.”

“Those ones need the most love. Speaking from experience.”

“I would just try harder don’t give up on her, she’s just a child and you’re the adult. I would try to spend time with her just you and her maybe take her out for ice cream or to the mall. Once she sees how cool you are, she will like you. Have patience and understanding, a lot of changes have happened in her life and she is still growing, she needs to process all of this. Good luck!”

“She’s 9 that’s a huge part of it, it also sounds like she may need some more positive attention!! Pay more attention to the good things she does than the bad things she does. Also, try some one on one time with her doing something fun for just her!”

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have her checked out by her doctor and get a mental health assessment.

Dad is making a HUGE mistake. Each day you go letting her get away with bad behavior makes it that much more difficult for her to correct that behavior. It’s literally making her life harder. I would have a long talk with your husband. Tell him that if you can’t discipline her (make her follow the rules and being respectful should be rule #1) then you can’t live with her. If she doesn’t have to listen to you, you can’t keep her safe. This is a disaster in the making. I’ll pray for you.

1 Like

I actually have a great relationship with my stepdaughter and a non existent relationship with my stepson. They’re adults now and my stepson has been ignoring his dad over a loan he doesn’t want to pay back. He even ignored him when he had a stroke and almost died of Covid. I keep telling my husband that it’s just bc he’s a male in his 20’s and they’re self absorbed, but I’m disgusted.

This will be a nightmare until your husband agrees she needs discipline. I would seek counseling immediately. I would take her wether he agrees or not. You are a family which means you both have shared responsibilities to raise her and part of that is discipline. Good luck! Blending is very very hard.