My 14-YO Stepdaughter Refuses to Acknowledge I Exist: Advice?

QUESTION:

"My question is: I have been with my SO for nine years, going on 10 in January, and he has custody of his now 14 yo daughter. She ended up with us last year.

I’m trying to figure out how to deal with her ignoring me as though I am not in the house or I don’t exist. We have had our ups and downs, but it got to where we were cordial, now she has come back from visitation with her mom for a week, and I’m getting the silent treatment.

I have spoken to my SO about it, and in return, he has spoken to her about it. Her response is ‘I have nothing to say to her.’ I do for her what I do for my kids, no thank you, no hello, no nothing. I’m at my wit’s end with her.

I have tried my hardest to get along with her and even became the bigger person with her complete disrespect towards me and let things go to try and move forward, but no effort was made on her behalf.

Dad hasn’t tried or put his foot down with her either. I’m almost ready to throw in the towel and leave. Every time I bring ‘her’ up to him, he gets defensive. Please help as I don’t know what else to do."

RELATED QUESTION: How Should I Handle My Stepdaughter’s Awful Attitude Towards Her Father (My Husband)?

TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“Adopt the Nacho method with her. Not your child, not your problem. If your SO has an issue with that let him know that his lack of support in being an additional respected adult in his child’s life has led to you feeling like you’re not obligated to do anything but ignore her as well and let him parent alone for peace in the household. Family therapy will only work if your partner wants to be a partner with you and it sounds like you 2 are not on the same page which is causing problems. My recommendation is couples counseling before family therapy. You’re struggling more with your partner’s lack of respect/empathy for your position. You’re having a partner problem more than you are having issues with a14 year girl. Teens suck and it’s normal but the lack of support from your partner is what makes you want to quit.”

“Sounds like you guys need family counseling. Idk why parents think big adjustments are easy on kids.”

“I even tried being the bigger person…’ She’s 14, you’re an adult. That statement makes me believe there is a lot more to this than you’re telling. 14-year-olds rarely even like their own mothers. Give her some space and stop giving ultimatums and expecting something for being a parent. She clearly has something on her mind and what you’re doing isn’t going to fix it. Stop thinking about yourself and consider what she needs.”

“She’s a teenager going through a HUGE life transition, with probably her mother in her ear. People need to stop thinking kids should have adult coping skills. it sounds like family therapy is in order, and that poor girl deserves some grace. Not everything is about you, give her some space.”

“It seems like you may not like her for whatever reason and your own emotions are causing the issues. If she has nothing to say to you then what’s the issue? Leave her alone. Imagine not having your mom 24/7. Your mindset is ignorant to “be a bigger person” all because a 14-year-old is ignoring you. Please seek help. Or actually leave.”

“Well first off, you ARE the bigger person. She’s going through a lot for a child and he’s she’s still a child and one with some new hormones if I had to guess. If you’re ready to leave, I’d say this is a ‘you’ problem, not a ‘her’ problem. Drop the ego and try to understand what it might be like to be a 14 yr old with a new stepmom.”

“Do you and let her do the same. Don’t force it. She doesn’t have anything to say…that’s better than disrespect. Sounds like she is dealing with things her own way. Some of these women sound as immature as the child…THE CHILD!!”

“And if you’re willing to just leave over his child then you shouldn’t be with him in the first place IMO. It’s new to her and she can feel the tension.”

“She’s 14 so to me, with your husband on board, I would treat her like she is treating you. She ignores you, you ignore her. She can cook, clean, get from A to B all on her own. If she wants to act like you don’t exist, then don’t.”

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48 Likes

Sounds like you guys need family counseling. Idk why parents think big adjustments are easy on kids.

28 Likes

she’s old enough to understand you treat other people the way you want to be treated I would care for her basic needs and the rest is up to her. And flat out tell her perhaps when her attitude changes so will yours I would also make sure the father is present when you do say so So nothing can be misconstrued later

12 Likes

She’s a teenager going through a HUGE life transition, with probably her mother in her ear. People need to stop thinking kids should have adult coping skills. it sounds like family therapy is in order, and that poor girl deserves some grace. Not everything is about you, give her some space.

26 Likes

Counseling. But remember she was snatched from her home and is probably coping.

6 Likes

Maybe start with you - “she ended up with us” would be a great place to start.

19 Likes

Your husband should be thankful he’s not married to me. I’d nope myself on out of that situation. That’s some non spousal support you are dealing with

4 Likes

What’s the back story here?? I have always told my children to be respectful of their dads girlfriends. However you don’t need to be friends either. Divorce is so much harder on the kids. As adults we just expect them to suck it up and be happy for us. So not far

Ignore her back she will come around, we are hearing part of the story sounds like there is alot of hard feelings on both sides I agree with therapy

“I even tried being the bigger person” shes 14, you’re an adult. That statement makes me believe there is a lot more to this than you’re telling. 14 year olds rarely even like their own mother’s. Give her some space and stop giving ultimatums and expecting something for being a parent. She clearly has something on her mind and what you’re doing isn’t going to fix it. Stop thinking about yourself and consider what she needs.

44 Likes

Sounds like a typical 14 year old to me tbh :woman_shrugging:t2: that’s how my teenage siblings are and that’s how I was as a teen.

7 Likes

She’s a child. Just don’t go out of your way to do anything extra for her. Invite her to go along places with you but don’t be surprised if she says no.

Dad needs to be on your side and maybe stop doing things for her until she can become grateful. Let her make her own meals, clean up her own messes, etc. she will come around eventually

She’s a teenager, it’s perfectly normal even though it may not be polite. Just keep doing what you do and eventually she’ll come around. Your SO can only do so much, teenagers are tough.

3 Likes

Put her and dad in line tbh lives under ur roof she doesn’t need to like u but needs to have respect for u

5 Likes

It seems like you may not like her for whatever reason and your own emotions are causing the issues. If she has nothing to say to you then what’s the issue? Leave her alone. Imagine not having your mom 24/7. Your mindset is ignorant to “be a bigger person” all because a 14 year old is ignoring you. Please seek help. Or actually leave.

19 Likes

Her dad should sit down and talk to her.her dad should call her out too if she is being rude.

4 Likes

Adopt the Nacho method with her. Not your child, not your problem. If your SO has an issue with that let him know that his lack of support in being an additional respected adult in his child’s life has lead to you feeling like you’re not obligated to do anything but ignore her as well and let him parent alone for peace in the household. Family therapy will only work if your partner wants to be a partner with you and it sounds like you 2 are not on the same page which is causing problems. My recommendation is couples counseling before family therapy. You’re struggling more with your partner’s lack of respect/empathy for your position. Your having a partner problem more than you are having issues with a14 year girl. Teens suck and it’s normal but the lack of support from your partner is what makes you want to quit.

70 Likes

Why are you upset? She’s 14. How was your relationship before she lived with y’all?

5 Likes

14 is a hard age as it is, maybe counseling could help. Having separate homes is hard and having to transition from living somewhere to moving in with you all can take some time.