You are here

What if I can't handle it?

Nelly1988's picture


I'm really struggling at the minute, I have been with my partner for 2 years and am very much in love with him, when we got together his daughter was 2 and a very sweet nice little girl. 

She's now 4. And not a nice little girl. 

I'm really struggling to try and bond with her, she's demanding, hysterical and downright mean to her Dad, I know she's only young and doesn't understand but if she doesn't get her own way she's vile, she rips my curtains out and screams for her Mum if I ask her to do the slightest thing, she whinges and moans all the time over the tiniest thing and I can't tell if it's spoilt or just because she's dealing with the fact Mummy and Daddy live apart I don't know?

I don't have my own children due to medical issues and never planned on having any but I don't feel for this girl as I think my partner feels I should?

I feel terrible but I make excuses and work overtime just so I don't have to see her, when she's at our house I make excuses to be upstairs or go out so I don't have to see her? It's awful and I want to bond but I also want her to stop being such a horrible little girl.

Is my partner and i's relationship doomed? I'd NEVER come in between him and his daughter as he dotes on her and its lovely but I genuienly can't honestly say I like this child never mind love?

Do I walk away? Or hope this is a phase?

Please don't think I'm a bad person. I'm just really struggling.

Nelly xx 


Siemprematahari's picture

You are not a bad person and its only natural to feel this way. SD sounds like a princess Chucky on the loose and I don't blame you for not wanting to be around her. Have you spoken to her father and been honest about your feelings towards her? What does he do when she acts this way? Does he parent her and give her age appropriate consequences? He has to take a stance and teach her how to behave.

If you haven't had the talk, you need to NOW because its only going to get worse the longer he doesn't address it.

Nelly1988's picture

Hi there, 

Thank you for the comfort, I've told him I find her difficult and it's taking me some time to get used to this new behavior. This is where I get frustrated because he will tell her to stop it but then he pulls the crying Daddy card and he immediately gives in to her and it makes me want to punch him, it feels like he's giving in to all her behaviour as he's competing with his ex to be favourite parent. 

He doesn't see how bad her behaviour is and I feel like I can't put any behaviour protocols in because she's not my child. It was Christmas Day 3 days ago and she kicked her presents away as we didn't get the doll she wanted as it was too expensive and refused to open the others. If that was my Mum she'd have taken the presents away until I learnt some gratitude. 

Nell x 

Step-girlfriend's picture

Don't feel bad, my skids aren't terrible and I still make excuses to be gone and away from them. The upside is that at this rate I'm going to be in the best shape of my life because I'm always at the gym trying to get away!

Most of us find it hard to love kids that aren't ours, especially ones that are brats. Even if you do end up caring for them, it's still not the biological bond, and anyone expecting that from you has never been in your position and doesn't understand that It's an unrealistic expectation.

I don't have any advice, but others here will. Welcome!

Survivingstephell's picture

At 4 her parents should be the ones pulling her back to reality when she enters her hysteria.  She sounds in desperate need of parenting, limits and rules.  Its no wonder you can't stand to be around her and have doubts.  They are well founded.  He should be ashamed of letting a 4 yo rule the  home with her out of control behavior.  If he doesn't start parenting her now, she will be like this at 14, 16 , 21 and so on.  Does she treat all adults like she does you?  Is that acceptable in her father's eyes?  It doesn't really matter what BM thinks, what happens in his house is up to him to manage.  Kids can learn to behave in different envioroments as long as expectations and consequences are spelled out and dished out consistently.  

You have a man problem.  Plain and simple.  

Nelly1988's picture

She just gets away with everything. I started to think she might be autistic because she freaks out over the smallest things, I know her behaviour isn't normal as I have lots of God children and neices and nephews and they're all brilliant. I've said that if this is the way the future is going to go then what the hell will she be like as a teenager? It's so difficult and I'm concerned for my relationship. I mean how do you tell your partner you don't like their child?

Thank you for your response :) 

tog redux's picture

You would be smart to walk away if you are not married, and if your partner does not have any interest in raising a well-behaved child. These problems will only get bigger and nastier if she is this bad at 4. It's not a phase, it's a spoiled child who is the victim of poor parenting in BOTH of her homes.

Nelly1988's picture

And that's truly what I'm afraid of. Sad

Just not sure how much I can take of this. 

twoviewpoints's picture

You stated "shared custody" in profile, so I'm assuming 50/50 at each home. 

Right now the little tyrant is the product of her parenting (or lack of).  Where is Daddy when she is ripping on your curtains? Are you the only one home with her during these emotional fits or is SO just there and ignoring the tantrum? 

There is nothing 'cute' about  a 2-4 yr old who goes through the 'terrible years'. Perfectly normal for you to find it unappealing and well, unlovable. She's not yours and there isn't that unconditional love/bond between you and the acting out kiddo. Don't feel poorly about that. Frankly, when my GS was like three I use to silently mumble to myself 'kiddo, it's a good thing I love you or I'd right now be tossing you out the window' . LOL. He would deliberately try and push my buttons. With him it wasn't curtains, it was my wallpaper I had at that time in part of my breakfast nook. Little brat would look at me, put his fingers right at the seam and dare me to defy him. 

If you're staying an going to keep trying you need to sit Daddy down and inform him your expectations. You know, the ones where you expect him to parent his child. It's his job as the parent to teach. He also needs to be sure his child has respect for you. Nope, she isn't going to get her Mommy if she rips at your curtain , she's going to get a time out , or a favorite toy taken away or whatever the going rate is for ill behavior. 

If he isn't taking your concerns seriously, there likely is little hope for things getting better. If she's a terror at 4, just think of what it will be when she's 14. She'll be an intolerable monster. And it will be no one's fault but her father and/or mother. It is hard for little ones to go from one home to the other as different homes have different rules, expectations and parenting styles. But with that said, if Dad is consistent with her in your home she can indeed learn this or that doesn't 'go' in Dad's home. 

ndc's picture

Kids do go through phases. My SO's younger daughter, who is 3.5, was a sweet, always happy, cooperative child from the time I met her a couple years ago until about a month ago. Lately she's been much brattier, whiny and less cooperative. OTOH, his older daughter, who was much brattier than the younger one since I met them, has turned a corner at age 6 and is much better behaved.  Neither of them approach what you're describing, though.

I'd give it some time and watch closely how she's being parented.  If her parents are being consistent, expecting good behavior and imposing consequences when she falls short, she'll likely come out of the bratty phase and it's a matter of time.  If not, you might want to think about moving on. Other people's children (even people you love) can be annoying at the best of times.  Expecting a relationship to be healthy, happy and even survive for 14+ years when a skid is ill behaved and not parented is expecting a lot.

Nelly1988's picture

Thank you thats extremely helpful. We don't know what goes on at Mum's house but we do know that Mum thinks she's old enough to make her own decisions at 4 years old, I've tried a firm hand with her and after a while it does work but Dad is too soft for fear of upsetting her, I will sit him down and talk to him about how I feel. It'll end us if I don't. But thank you for your advice you're completely right. 

Glassslipper's picture

Ok, for starters, she is 4. There is nothing nice about 4 year olds. I have 2 bio kids and 2 step kids, I got together with my husband when his youngerst daughter was 2. She was sweet and we bonded, till she turned 4.
Honestly, I didn't like my own kids when they were 4. 4 year olds suck, at 2 years old they say "NO!" at 3 years old they say "NO" and tell you where to go and at 4, just FORGET IT, they are horrible creatures! Good news is that at 5, they start school and it starts to turn around.
My daughter and step daughter at 4 would refuse to wear clothing picked out for her, even on special occasions and would only wear what she picked out, would pout for photos or refuse to be in them, would ask me to do her hair and then look at in the mirror and rip it out screaming at me because it was "wrong" AHHHHH
I now have 4 teens ranging 19 to 13 years old and I would take and live with a dozen teens! before I sent 1 day negotiating with a 4 year old!
Sorry, I'm not to proud to admit, I just simply don't care for that age!

Iamwoman's picture

Don’t feel badly! I prefer teens too. In fact, I prefer any human that can be reasoned with. Toddlers are generally unreasonable, but then again so are some adults... Wink

OP, there is no written law that you have to like or adore children. Even the Bible simply says “suffer the children” in reference to adult feelings towards children. That means that if you are able to simply tolerate the girl, then you are doing a-ok!

Harry's picture

Its not SD,, ITS DH, he is not parenting her, not giving her boundaries.  This will never end, until DH stop it.  I just hope BM will support DH in this and not play into SD hand and crying.  If BM supports SS all is lost 

Mommy22's picture

Same here. I, too, have ran away just to get away. It’s been a horrible experience. In my defense, my SO has ran away too or has sent her away. 4 years in, its not any better. I’ve had to almost completely disengage from SD. I do blame bad parenting. She is of age that she knows right and wrong; but still bad parenting is a huge part of her behaviors. I’ve talked with SO about it, more than once. It’s done not much good.