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Stepdaughter Rudeness

Mike51772's picture

my stepdaughter is 12 yrs old.  I’ve been in her and her mom’s life since she was 5.  Her mom and I are married almost 4 years now  her bio dad is a drug addict and has been essentially completely absent from her life for quite a long time   He calls occasionally but that’s about it   She expresses she has no desire to see him and has a lot of and her toward him.....very understandably so   


over the past 1-1.5 years, my daughter has become increasingly rude to me.  My wife has recently started doing a better job of calling her on it and telling her it’s not acceptable.  For a long time my wife acted as though my stepdaughter and I were siblings that she was refereeing between rather then  stepdad/stepdaughter, adult/child.   The other day I asked my stepdaughter to take some dishes out of living room to kitchen.  She didn’t do it and was very rude.  I told her she didn’t have a choice.  She said she doesn’t have to listen to me because I’m not even related to her.   This was extremely hurtful to me.  My wife soetbof understood but thought I was being too sensitive about it.   I’m trying to figure out a way to better handle this situation and more effectively deal with the episodes of rudeness.   Any advice would be much appreciated.  

Lndsy747's picture

Welcome to the joys of dealing with a teenage girl. 

My advise if to not deal with it. If there's an issue have your wife handle it.

Notup4it's picture

Teenagers are rude. My DD is 13 and can cop an attitude.... and she used to be sooooo sweet. She is actually more respectful to DH than me though to be honest.  I don’t put up with any of it, but I can still get it on occasion... I can tell it is hormonal. 

Usually I just say “check your attitude” or will ask her if she thinks that it is polite to talk to people like that. 

You should feel comfortable enough to tell her to drop it- I find going into anything further than that actually makes it more frequent. DH will usually just say something joking back to her or razz her a bit and she gets the hint.  Don’t get stuck on dealing with it in one particular way... try a few things and then stick with whatever gets the best response. 2-3 years from now and it will stop, Lol 

beastofburden's picture

would she be allowed to speak like that to a teacher? A police officer? An employee? etc. etc.

I doubt it. And none of those people in life are related to us. 

Areyou's picture

Don’t parent her anymore. But do tell her she is not allowed to disrespect you. Leave her to her mom to deal with. Ignore the sh*t out of her. Since you’re not even related to her don’t waste your time and resources on the worthless brat.

twoviewpoints's picture

You missed your cue to have a sit down with the little snot. 

This young pre-teen is only going to ramp up her 'tude as she gets on into her ten years and she will test her rudeness out on you every time you displease her unless you stand your ground with the kid.

I'm not related to you. You're not my father. Take your pick, you'll likely hear both. But here's the thing. You don't have to be related nor be Daddy. What you are is the adult of the home. You know, the guy who puts the roof over her sweet little head, makes sure she has food in her tummy and clothes on her back. Tolerates her when she is whiny and sick and full of all those rotten teen hormones. Yep. You're that guy. Nope, she doesn't have to like you, but she does have to respect you.

Let her try that 'we're not even related' crap out on her middle school teacher and principal this fall. Yeah, that'll be a hoot. Or tells some other kid in class she doesn't have to be polite and civil to him/her because well, they aren't even related. The little snot needs you and Mom to teach her this little attitude of hers isn't going to work out well for her. 

As an adult in the home you are as much due the same respect and civil behavior as her mother is. It is the mother's 'job' to be sure that respect and civil behavior is carried out. Actually on both you and your Sd's part. Just as you wouldn't get away with treating this kid like some unwanted , unneeded, and non-member of this household, the kid can't be allowed to get away with it either. If you treated Mom's kid poorly and as a 'nobody' , your wife would likely 1) never married you 2) divorce your buns. 

Ok, so Mom can't divorce the kid, an kid knows that, but she can hand out consequences and tow strict houserules of expected behavior. Your wife and you need to show this kid you are on the same page together on this. If Mom and you don't show Snot Jr you two are a united team and of equal valve to the running of this household and family , well, the game is already lost. 

No, this little young pre-teen will never be your child. Technically you'll never be related (unless by marriage counts in the kid's eyes). Sure, the kid has the ability to hurt your feeling. You probably have the same ability to deeply hurt the girl's feelings also. Currently the girl is testing the ropes. No kid child or teen likes having to do what they don't want to do. Gladly doing chores and cleaning up their own messes, well, that's just not their 'thing'. It's a rare teen that happily readily becomes their own maid. Rarer still the one who leaps out of bed at the crack of dawn with a smile on their face and says nothing but 'yes, ma'am/ yes, sir'. And their sun sunny little teen attitudes aren't save solely for their stepparent. Nope. They dish it out to their bio-parent too. 

She's twelve. Time to get a hold of this 'we're not even related and I don't have to listen to you nor respect you', right now. She gets away with it for long, and the monster in her will grow. 

You and Mom get on the same page. Decide together how the two of you are going to deal with the child. If the wife isn't backing you on this, this attitude will ramp up. Decide together what the house rules are, what the expectations of each household member is, how you all have to work together to make a household whole and functioning. Once those decisions are made between your wife and you, you should have just as much authority to enforce and guide as the actual 'relative' is. 

Mom and you sit down and you both side by side , explain to kiddo, the rules and expectations. 

caitlinj's picture

Explain to her since you are not related to her you are no longer spending any of your time nor money on her, including contributing to the mortgage payment and utilities where this brat lives. 

Evil3's picture

Your DW is not doing a good enough job of yanking her brat's chain when she disprespcts you. Your DW saying that you're too sensitive about it is gaslighting you. Since your DW lacks the ovarian power to require your SD to treat you respectfully as an adult in the house who pays for the roof over her head, those pretty things in her bedroom and the food in her belly, your SD does have to show you respect. Minimizing your role in the home is not OK and it is not respectful. Since your DW fails to stand up for you, her equal partner, then you will have to take matters into your own hands and chew the girl out yourself. Issue consequences and take her phone or electronics away or whatever currency she has. If your DW gets pissed off, tell her that you are the one pissed off since she failed to have your back. If necessary, then remove all of your financial contribution, and division of labour in the house that has anything to do with benefitting that brat.

Mike51772's picture

I greatly appreciate the advice.  My wife and I have been discussing the issue and the need for her to fully support me and make crystal clear to my SD that being rude and disrespectful is not acceptable and won’t be tolerated.  My wife agrees with me about it and says she intends to do a better job with her part of it.  I have used the “would you speak to your teacher at school that way??” Approach.  I figured that might be a good way to go because my SD is extremely well behaved in school, at friend’s homes, and in general whenever around other adults besides my wife and I, around her friends, friend’s parents, etc.    it’s at home or when it’s just her, my wife, and I that she’s a real struggle to deal with.  Not all the time.....but very frequently.  Hopefully things will start to move in a better direction. Wish me luck!