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Help I Hate My Stepdaughter

Deyacat's picture

I'm married to a great man, we're a blended family, I have a daughter (14 year old) from a previous marriage and he has a daughter (13 year old from a previous marriage), we've known each other over a decade, because we were friends first and married other people before and then after our failed marriages we rekindle our friendship and ended up dating and realized we're meant for each other, however, my husband got full custody of his daughter on his divorce, and she's a nightmare.

I feel horrible because I don't want to feel this way but she is selfish, she doesn't help around the house, she sits with her legs spread open in our living room when she's watching tv, she doesn't clean after herself, and my husband just babies her!! 


When we got together our daughters were 10 and 11 we started living together in 2018 and we got married last year. My daughter used to be very helpful around the house but since we moved in she's started becoming as lazy as her stepsister and I feel like is unfair to make my daughter help me clean the house while his daughter sits in her room laying in bed all day on her phone.

It's getting to the point I see her and I instantly get in a bad mood and I know my husband can tell. She pretends she doesn't know how to do things and my husband just do everything for her, like cut up her steak!! Clean up the dishes, clean their bathroom, vacuum her room etc.

She dresses like a skank knowing she'll get in trouble at school, she lies when she's in trouble and to make thing worse she looks just like my husband's ex wife so is like I have a young version of her living in my house making my life a living hell! 

Sometimes I want to pack my things get in my car and drive away from her and tell my husband to call me when she's grown and out of the house because I can't take it anymore.

Please tell me I'm not a horrible person for hating this kid...I try not to, but she makes it impossible to at least like her. I'm also Bipolar and a Disabled Veteran with a lot of issues, I like my home clean and organized, raising a child who acts like this without having a mental breakdown on a daily basis is a big challenge. I'm scared she's going to make me lose my husband Sad



reedle2021's picture

Um, no, I think your feelings are justified.  I'm sure you'd feel differently about SD if she wasn't acting like a little sh&t.  Being lazy and having some attitude comes with teenage territory but still, it needs to be addressed each time it occurs - expectations must be set.  SD sounds like a nightmare to me too. 

There's one thing I want to point out:  this is more a DH problem.  He MUST stop coddling her,  he must set expectations and consequences and parent her.  Cutting up steak for a 14 year old?  No. Cleaning up after her?  No.  Dressing inappropriately?  NO.  Her behavior needs to be addressed by DH.  It must start there.  My ex was that way with his son: anything his son wanted he got, there were no rules, no expectations.  This poor method of parenting continued until I left the situation - his son was 21 years old.  I left for several reasons, but his adult son failing to launch was a big one.  Same thing, daddy did his laundry, cooked for him, cleaned his room and bathroom for him, brought his food to him on his plate to the table like this kid was royalty, made sure his son never had to be stressed or be gainfully employed, let him eat/keep food in his room causing bug infestations, even let him smoke pot with him, all the time.  It was all gross.  I'm not trying to offend you, but this is more an issue with your husband's parenting or lack thereof rather than SD.  She is in desperate need of guidance and discipline.  If it's not handled now, I can tell you it'll get worse and she'll just live with you all indefinitely. 

Maybe sit DH down and have a calm discussion.  She may also need some counseling?  Who knows what went on in BM's house.....

Please keep us posted - we are here for you!  Smile

lieutenant_dad's picture

You're justified in feeling less-than-loving feelings towards her, but it's not entirely her fault. Your DH is a big part of the problem, and if your marriage fails, it will be because of his actions, not hers.

My guess is that there are a lot of compounding factors happening here. Your DD is likely getting lazier not exclusively because of SD, but also because she's a teenagers and teenagers can get an attitude. I think most parents and SPs of teens have to fight with their kids/SKs to clean, do homework, take showers, etc. Maybe not all of those things, but definitely something. Having SD live there and not being made to do the same probably makes your DD feel justified in fighting you on these things, but again, that's a product of your DH just letting SD do whatever (or not do whatever).

I also want to address your mental health in all of this. Steplife is hard when you're mentally well. It can be hell if you're not because you can't control things the way you could if it was just yourself or your partner or your child. You essentially have an in-law living with you at all times who has a different set of rules amd standards and upbringing. There is a level of control you have to give up and compromises that have to be made to make it work. Is there a possibility that you're gripping very tightly to a specific view that everyone needs to live under in order for you to function? If so, your mental health may not be as in control and healthy as it could be, which may be something to explore. 

Finally, your DH. He is potentially a big problem here, but maybe not for the reason others would say. If his parenting style is to clean up and do everything for SD, so be it. The problem then is that he isn't keeping up with chores at a standard that is satisfactory to you (which goes back to having to compromise and set standards as a marries couple). If he is okay with SD wearing clothing inappropriate for school and her getting into trouble, then that needs to be 100% his problem that doesn't involve you. How he chooses to parent his daughter isn't for you to decide, but you can decide whether his parenting causes you more distress than it's worth. SD is going to behave at her boundaries (most kids do), and if those boundaries are too loose, that's for her dad to decide. If he is fine with where they are (and it doesn't matter if he says he doesn't like it - his actions are what count here) then there is nothing you can do other than to choose to not live around it.

It's easy to hate SKs because they aren't the person we love in the relationship. But, that also means we expect them to behave older than they are and give them way less grace than we do our spouses. Reality is that our spouses are the ones who pledged to work with us on building a life, not their kids. Rarely are SKs the issue. The issue is usually the parent failing to parent (even when going through the motions) but we don't want to blame them because it hurts. Same with kids who want to blame their SPs when they're mad at their parents because it's easier to hate the outsider.

So, have some serious conversations with your husband about what you need to see changed, then decide together where compromises can be made. You'll likely need to learn to disengage from much of SD's care. If you can't let things go and things HAVE to be your way in order for you to function,  you need to re-evaluate the state of your mental health because it's unfair that others have to live exclusively to your rules without a say. Remember, all teens are going to push boundaries, you're just going to have way less patience for SD's shenanigans than your own DD. SD pushing boundaries isn't the problem; your DH's reaction to it is.

shamds's picture

Against stepmum by dressing provocatively, touching or hugging their dad or behaving in a clearly sexual manner.

this is something they the father needs to address. If any of my sd's had dressed provocatively, legs spread open to show their underwear or lack of underwear, my husband would address that immediately. He doesn't want to be seeing that of his daughters.

there was a stepmum on this group whose sd would have daddy tie up her bikini and bras, apparently those arms of hers couldn't reach it. Her dad was uncomfortable doing it but stupidly still did. It wasn't till one day he told his wife how uncomfortable it made him feel because she was doing her best to not provide a reaction.

my sd's yrs ago would dress over the top and trying too hard and it was on biomums advice to show off. Like they had to show how beneath them i was. 
whenever they would joke how over the top they were dressed, it was met with utter silence from me and my husband.

we provided no reaction and they gave up.

Kona_California's picture

I disagree with this take. A 13 year old girl having sexually charged motivation towards her dad to compete with his wife. What a disgusting accusation. If you are serious with this insinuation then that means she has been sexually abused and/or assaulted. Either scenario does not make it the kid's fault.  

I am a step mom and also was a step kid. My step mom was highly abusive and treated me like a threat. My dad said his wife comes first and barely spent time with me, when he also had full custody. I was constantly grounded. I mean constantly, for the smallest things. Grounding meant I was isolated in my room except to clean the entire house and do everyone's laundry (family of 5). He would openly ridicule me WITH his wife so that they felt better about themselves. And after all that, they divorced as soon as I graduated college. I'm now left with wounds thinking I'm not lovable and am attracted to people who are toxic. I'm in therapy and working on it but the damage has been done. 

OP's frustration are valid but they need to be targeted to her DH. 

shamds's picture

And there are many stories on steptalk like the example i gave here from a fellow poster earlier in the year or last year from memory of a sd who dressed provocatively at home. Its not a disgusting accusation but a very real thing happening.

see link below on common reasons for a daughter dressing inappropriately:


you're claiming all teenage girls dressing provocatively to compete for daddy's attention have been sexually abused or assaulted is not true. Its an assumption you are making. 

stepfamily dynamics are so complex. Your own experience of being a stepchild with the typical view stepmums are evil like cinderella's stepmum is what stepmums are often viewed as and what plenty of us stepmums deal with when we are after a harmonious inclusive home that some stepkids simply refuse to participate and interact in. 

your own personal experience of being a stepkid will shape your views differently from other stepmums too. Just because you had a bad experience with your stepmum doesn't make us all evil and abusive 

Kona_California's picture

I don't see where I said "all teenage girls dressing provocatively to compete for daddy's attention have been sexually abused or assualted." Maybe you misread, but the point was that the statements YOU were making would suggest an early introduction to inappropriate sexual expression, which is usually born from abuse/assault.

I'm not viewing all step moms as evil cinderella step moms. Again, I don't see where I said this. Although, your complete lack of empathy to my anecdote isn't helping your case in particular. Maybe you missed the part that stated that I am also a step mom. I'm also sure you missed all of the dozens of supportive comments to step moms on this forum; including OP here. 

I just find it bizzare the number of people accusing children, young girls in particular, of "competing" for daddy's attention. There is no competition. If there is, it's the adult creating the competition. A child NEEDS, again, NEEDS their parent's attention. If a spouse is feeling neglected and seeing the kids getting attention, this is a conversation between the spouses. 

Rags's picture

girls for an attention stand up and inform them that beginning instantly neither of them will have access to electronics until their daily household duties are complete. Then confiscate it all and shut off their WiFi access.

When they are done cleaning, laundering, folding, putting away, vacuuming, slicing, dicing, chopping, cooking, etc... then they get short term access to what you choose they have access to.  Until the next AM when they lose all access until the new day's jobs are done.

Lather..... rinse...... repeat.


KISS.  Tolerate nothing but compliance to the behavioral and performance standards that you set.  Daddy can support and engage in accordance or STFU.

As for "make(ing) you to lose your husband"... If he does not man up and fix his failed family spawn, good riddance to them both.  You have your own daughter to salvage and fix.

IMHO of course.

Cover1W's picture

Agree that you have a DH parenting issue, not just a SD issue.

My advice to you at this point is to write up for yourself a list of teen/SD/DD related issues that you think you will not allow. And then things you will allow. And a chore list.  Then knock a couple things off the "disallow" list for now - that can wait until later.

Once you have things sorted and understood by you, you need to have your needs, your DD needs and your wants/boundaries super clear so you can iterate them in a converstation with your DH. You need to stick to your list and be clear about why you are asking this (for a calm, clean home, to nip future issues in the bud NOW before she's 16 and then totally out of control, and to make sure both girls grow up to be well adjusted, independent and able to function in society and get along nicely with others).

Kona_California's picture

uuugh I know the feeling of seeing your SKid and just seeing the ex. It's hard to ignore, and I get your frustrations.

Like a lot of other comments, you and your DH need to be on the same page with parenting. Something like what Rags suggested. Since he has full custody, you are also her parent, or at least an adult managing a house that she needs to contribute to. 

I would do everything you can to focus on being as fair as you can to both kids. Your SD no longer has a mother, and that's sad for her. Maybe a little quality time with just you and her could help your relationship and she would be less difficult to work with. 

With the spreading her legs thing, I'm pretty sure she's unaware. She doesn't have a mom to point these things out to her, so I don't see anything wrong with casually saying "sweetheart, we can see your private area and it's making us a little uncomfortable" in a way that doesn't embarass her. That was actually me when I was a kid. I used to wear this one micky shirt to sleep all the time as a kid and it was a little see-through. My mom pointed out that my chest was developing and she made me feel ashamed. I wasn't aware, I shouldn't have been expected to know. 

Remember, she's a child still. She cannot ever be considered or compared to a "skank." If she's dressing in a way that might get adult/boy attention, that is a symptom of something deeper. She needs connection. Since she doesn't have one with her mom, she definitely needs one with her dad. If her dad starts rejecting her, my money would be on her ramping up the provacative dress and misbehaving because she's getting shallow connection with bad groups.

Your feelings are understandable and it's good to have openness about things like this. I'm curious to hear how this unfolds for you and your family. Good luck! 

Deyacat's picture

Thanks everyone for all the helpful comments. I have talked to my husband several times about the situation and in the past it just has resulted on me being accused of "disliking my SD".

I treat both of them the same, when people ask me how many children I have, I automatically without thinking respond 2 girls, and because I consider her my child, I don't want her to become an adult who doesn't know how to take care of herself because everything was done for her. Her mother is still around she talks to her on video calls every day because she moved to another state, and my SD visits her once or twice a year, but they act exactly the same, you would think her mother is raising her instead of us even though she hasn't lived with her since she was a toddler when they first got divorced. 

Parents always want their children to have a better life than they did. I grew up with a mother who made me learn to take care of a home, cook, clean, do laundry (by hand) etc by the time I was 12. When I was little yes it was annoying because I had all these responsibilities and still had to have to excellent grades and go to church (I always believed in God, but always hated religions). But as an adult I've never struggled to take care of myself because of this, and I've always been welcome in anyone's home, friends or family because they know, I will not be a guess who will just sit around and eat their food without at least offering to contribute with helping around the house.

I have told my husband I am terrified one of them will end up pregnant and living in our home forever with a baby.  I have talked and talked, but every time I talk, I am treated as if I have no right to have an opinion because she's not my daughter.

Someone here suggested taking electronics away until everything gets done. This has been done in the past, but it gets done for 2-3 days and then my husband gives everyone theirs phones and everything is back to the same routine, me and my husband doing everything and both of my kids staying in their rooms on their phones, coming out to eat junk out of the pantry leave dirty dishes in the sink because they're too lazy to put them in the dishwasher, and I'm back to not saying anything so I'm not blamed of "disliking" anyone.

Everyone here has been great and you all have given me great suggestions. Thank you! 

Rags's picture

a sexual abuse component.   From my increasingly long ago memoy of Psych classes, I do not recall any reference to abuse in either complex.

I am not sure what the SParent element of these complexes entails but it makes sense to me that the competition with a SParent for the place next to the SParents BioParent mate can be more intense than the usual BioKid/BioParent version.

Just my engineeric brain crunching the scenario.  I'm no Psych professional.  I just took a few classes when I was working an unfinished Sociology degree a few decades ago.


Deyacat's picture

If anything my stepdaughter acts like she has some form of attention deficit disorder, she is always been like this, but my husband even stopped talking to a family member that once told him that his daughter acted like she was autistic and maybe he needed to bring that to her pediatrician's attention...He's one of those closed minded people when it comes to psychiatrist and therapist help...My stepdaughter only has gotten through school because of this new "no child left behind" liberal rule they created to avoid hurting people's feelings, but if it was up to her she would just draw all day and daydream and not do any school work at all. Today she faked being sick, and I caught her when we took her cellphone away, she was bragging on a chat on "Discord" about how she totally faked being sick this morning and got to stay home and her username on this platform chat is "cumflake" which all her friends were pointing out.  We have indoor cameras so I know what happens with my daughters under our roof, because of my depression I don't work, I do wish my husband would take her therapy because he deployed back when we were still active duty and at the time me and him were not together and my SD stayed with his ex first and then with his mom and mom's husband, we don't know if anything inappropriate could have happened to her while he was away and she won't tell us, she'll just continue acting out in ways that in my opinion are completely inappropriate for a 13 year old, I know times are different now, I grew up differently, I still wanted to play with dolls when I was 13, it doesn't mean I was a super happy child, but I don't think at 13 anymore should be acting sexually inappropriately unless they have seen that somewhere else, and unfortunately more advanced technology today also exposes our children to a lot of things we were not exposed to until we were older.

lieutenant_dad's picture

First, No Child Left Behind was enacted in 2001 under Bush. There is a continuation of that law with changes made in recent years, but it's not new nor "liberal".

Second, your DH ignoring his daughter's healthcare is neglect, pain and simple. He can bury his head in the sand, but it's his daughter who is going to get hurt. So put the blame on him for 1) giving her free reign of a cell phone at 13, 2) not actively taking her to the doctor when she said she was too sick for school, and 3) not having a plan to address her lying and inappropriate name online.

Third, if your DH thinks the mental health piece is hogwash for his daughter, why does he not think the same for you? Or does he and you ignore it? Or does he lack the ability to empathize and the only reason it's okay for you is because yours is military-related and he "gets" that? Doesn't matter, still makes him a crap person if he can't even be bothered to believe something is wrong with his daughter but will believe it for his wife.

Fourth and final, if you are depressed to the point that you can't work, then you're depressed to the point that you also can't parent on your own. Again, that just makes your DH a crappier person if he is putting you in a position where the house falls on you. It can't. You can't do it. That's not a failing on your part; it's just the reality of your illness.