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I think I hate my stepdaughter

WillowBon's picture

I hate writing this. I hate feeling the way that I am. I’m angry all the time and I need help. I need an outsider to tell me what to do to make my life better for everyone I love and myself.


my stepdaughter doesn’t listen. She purposely doesn’t listen. It takes my husband and me telling her over and over what to do and there being a huge meltdown that leaves everyone depleted just to get her to do simple things. Brushing her teeth, hair, taking a shower, doing her homework, etc; have all been a nightmare. It’s always been like this but it’s gotten increasingly worse over the last few years. The only thing I can attribute it to is the fact that her mom is remarried and had two more kids (ages 2 and five months). This behavior REALLY started when her mom became pregnant for the first time after my stepdaughter. And rightfully so. She wanted a family and she got one. My stepdaughter has always been included there and her stepdad (even though he’s a raging psycho to us) is good with her and always has been. Same goes for her mom. She’s a terrible person to us and is extremely high conflict but I feel like she’s always been a so/so mother. She’s busy with two babies now so I know she doesn’t have much time for my stepdaughter anymore.


anyway, just wanted to give you a bit of a background.


my husband literally walks on eggshells around his daughter. He lets her get away with everything and gives in and gives her things instead of her working for them because, well, he’s a lazy dad. She has been increasingly terrible here and I am at my wit’s end. I used to have so much patience for her but I just don’t anymore. She purposely does things to upset everyone in the house including my daughter. She has such a nasty attitude and makes fun of everything she does. My daughter is a good kid and she listens when I tell her to do things, she never gets in trouble, does her chores and is a good student. I have ALWAYS treated them the same up until recently. I started giving my daughter more freedom and she gets rewarded for things. I do this with my stepdaughter also but I felt so guilty when my daughter did well and my sd didn’t and my daughter got rewarded for it. Not anymore though. I’m done with that. If one kid is doing the right thing, they’re going to know it and sometimes get rewarded for their behavior. 


So anyway, she has a nasty attitude and talks back whenever you tell her to do something. It doesn’t matter what it is. When you tell her to clean her room, she will just sit up there and do nothing. She’s disgusting. She chews gum and puts it all over the place. Stuck on her bedroom floor, carpet, toys, everything. She will lie right to your face and say she did clean or she didn’t do it when clearly she is lying. She makes up stories and I just can’t believe anything out of her mouth.  She slams her door, the car door, the bathroom door, cries if you make her take a shower, fights with you, says things to hurt your feelings, steals things, and just recently she started hitting her two year old sister at her mom’s house saying she hates her. She lied to us about that too. Every morning before work, it’s a nightmare. She gets up hours before school starts but is never ready when it’s tome to leave. She fights non stop when you tell her to pack her water bottle or brush her hair or teeth. 


She has made me so angry that ive gotten to the point where I just yell at her now and don’t want her around me unless she’s acting like a normal kid. She does this fake voice and fake laugh and gets her iPad taken away from her constantly for bullying kids or doing inappropriate things. She won’t let me have a moment to myself with my daughter. She gets really jealous and starts proclaiming how great her mom is or something that she thinks will upset me. Like “my mom hates you” or something of that nature. She throws her slimy messes (literal slime she makes out of anything she can find secretly because it’s not allowed here anymore because she has literally destroyed every room in the house with it all over th walls and carpet) all over my car. She never picks up after herself and when you tell her to it just turns in to a fight. My husband doesn’t do anything to correct this behavior. Only I do. And I’m really freaking tired of it. Her and I used to be SO CLOSE but she literally has no respect for anything or anyone and she is spoiled and thinks she is entitled to things. Just today she told me all the things she wants for her birthday right after she got in trouble for almost breaking my car door every time she gets in and out of it. I took her clothes shopping a couple of weeks ago and she was sneaking things in the cart and then when I saw them and asked her she would say “you said I could.” Obviously I did not say anything of the sort. 


We think she has oppositional defiant disorder and i have been telling my husband EVERY DAY to call these psychologists I have found to make her an appointment. She went to therapy once but the therapist told her mom that her behavior is because of her mom so her mom pulled her out. Yay. Now we are basically dealing with a monster. I work, make most of the money, take care of the kids, do all the driving and picking up, and I feel like I am just taken advantage of by my stepdaughter and husband and I have a baby on the way. Stressed is an understatement. 


SteppedOut's picture

How is that toxic situation affecting your daughter? Is that really how you want her home life to be? It's supposed to be her safe place; that does not sound safe to me. And your baby on the way? Do you want her to hit your baby like the little one At her mom's house?

If your husband won't take corrective action, you have to..  by kicking his rear to the curb! You make the majority of the money AND cleaning and caring for the kids...including his? 

amyburemt's picture

So, what you have said is you have reached your limit and dad needs to step up his game with his child. Here's what you do. you ask her JUST ONE TIME to clean up whatever mess it is that she has made. She obviously most likely won't. give it a bit of time just to be sure then address dad. you say, so and so can you please clean up the ____ that sd didn't clean up. thank you. Simple as that. you do this each and every time with everything that she is being problematic with doing. Put it squarely on his shoulders. in that way, you are disengaging yourself from the responsibility of doing everything for her. Eventually he will most likely get sick of doing everything himself and then hopefully start to parent. If HE whines or complains about it you then say, wow i'm super tired i leave this in your hands and exit the situation. no yelling, no drama, just keep it simple.

MoominMama's picture

'my husband literally walks on eggshells around his daughter'  

That is the reason she is so badly behaved. She gets away with anything, she gets loads of attention for bad behavior and god knows whats going on at BM's if she is hitting her baby sibling. She is old enough to know better but nobody is holding her responsible, except for YOU and that can be brushed off by her, BM and Dad as 'wicked stepmother'. Makes it easy when he can play Disney Dad and let you be the bad guy. This is a dynamic seen regularly in step families and it is very toxic for the kids and for your relationship. I doubt she has conduct disorder as the litany of bad parenting you have described would produce these actions anyway.

I agree with SteppedOut this is not fair on your daughter and your new baby when it arrives. Have you talked seriously with your DH about his child's behaviour?  He needs to step up.

MoominMama's picture

I thought it was a condition in itself. So it actually should be called 'bad parenting disorder'  - but oh no, we can't make parents feel bad. That's how it is these days, no one has to take responsibility for their actions.

Steppedonnomore's picture

You can hate your stepdaughter, but you actually have a DH problem.  You need to focus less on her and more on taking steps to have DH actually parent her.  This means you don't yell and argue with SD.  You address it with DH.  "DH, SD made a mess. Please see that she cleans it up or clean it up for her if that is what you prefer."  "DH, SD isn't ready for school. I'm taking my DD now so you will need to get SD ready and take her."  "DH, SD is't allowed in my car until she can learn not to trash it. You are now responsilble for all of her transportation needs."  Disengage!

saruhhh_04's picture

I, too, feel like I am usually the one that tries to enforce rules with my SS. And just like you, he often laughs or talks back to me, and continues to misbehave. When he doesn't listen or continues the actions that I speak to him about, I go to his father. And usually it ends up with his father speaking to him again and telling him not to do it, "but we will let it slide this time"...and sure enough, SS eventually does the same exact thing. He is smart and very good at manipulating people. He tends to have this 'I am better than you and you cannot control me' attitude. Although, I am sure it's not his fault bc he has been surrounded by mostly adults that do not censor themselves and very few kids his own age. He often tests us (me specifically) and see how far he can push the limits.

Regardless, rules need to be set AND followed by both parties. When I have expressed my frustrations with my SO in private, it usually ends up with me in tears bc I feel like I am the only one who tries to set rules, and it makes me look like the "bad guy" in his eyes. I can understand why my SO is hesitant to discipline - he does not see his son often and fears that he will lose him if he starts to show his son that there are consequences to his negative actions. My SO has told me that I could discipline my SS...however, I do not do that, as I do not have that right (plus BM does not like me). All I can do is use a firm tone and hope that my SO backs me up.

It is without a doubt frustrating to feel like your efforts are useless. Then to have it continuously fall onto your shoulders, that is exhausting. I agree with Steppedonnomore's advice!

MoominMama's picture

I think this is behind most of the bad behaviour of skids, the fact that both parents are not working from the same parenting point of view. Regularly there is one parent playing good guy/bad guy. They want to earn loyalty from their kids and want them to love them more than 'the other side'  This is confusing for kids and they quickly realise that they can get a lot out of this. If only parents would realise that it's not a competition and that their children are damaged by this.

One of our BM's constant laments (even when the family was intact, before she left) was that she would not say no or punish them, particularly SS because then they 'would not love her anymore'  and its not the first time ive heard that said. Where on earth do they get that idea??

The kids psychiatrist said quite catagorically that children can learn and cope with two sets of rules from the two homes but only when each home does not interfere with the other and accepts the differences. Theres the key. Our BM, despite her failure to effectively parent either of her children was always telling us what we should be doing and criticising us in front of the children. No wonder they have a bad attitude. 

jrpartner's picture

I agree with many of the comments of others.  If SD has a diagnosis of ODD get her into treatment ASAP!  It will only get worse.  My girlfriend's son displays many of the same traits, and at 17, it really sucks...  Diagnoses of ODD, NPD, and bipolar have been tossed around.  It all adds up to a difficult road ahead for you and your family.  You probably have 1000 other examples like I do.  Therapy for the parents is a good option to consider.  I have seen little improvement with meds- either the right ones aren't being taken, or they aren't being taken properly.  Disengagement helps, but likely won't be a permanent fix for you.  There are tough decisions ahead for you.  Good luck-