You are here

How do you deal with adult stepchildren

firefly39's picture

I have been married for 6 yrs now & I have 2 bio. children & 4 adult stepchildren. For most part I get along with all my step kids and when they drop by to visit I am very kind to them,but have struggled with one of my husbands daughters ,cause I have felt like from day one she has not ever accepted me or my children in her dads life. I have tried to go out of my way to reach out to her to show I care,but she makes no effort at all to show she wants anything from me or to even have me in her life. It has hurt me cause as a stepparent it be nice to be accepted & loved back in return. I guess Im struggling on how I should deal with my emotions & have gotten to point I just dont care or even want to try anymore. I feel after 6 yrs Id think she would of tried to make effort to get to know me,but Im frustrated & Ive wrestled with anger & resentment over how she acts. I cant share my feeling with my husband cause he just gets defensive & doesn't want to hear it. Recently we have found out my SD is going thru a divorce well I had wrote her online & told her we cared for her & was praying for her. No sooner had I wrote it she deleted it off & didnt have courtesy of even replying back. I feel any advice I give her she resents me for.Also when she comes to visit us I get feeling she only comes cause she wants to see her dad & not me. Am I wrong to feel way I do? I guess one has no idea what there getting into when they marry someone with kids & I wonder if I had to high expectations of what I thought our marriage would be like I don't know,but I cant help but to feel like me & my kids are 2nd best only because my husband will gripe to me all time about things my kids do & when I say anything to him about his kids he gets very angry like how dare I. Well thank you for listening I just needed to vent !

Shannon61's picture

Firefly, pray for her and keep it moving. It's the best thing you can do for her. Don't expect her to acknowledge anything because it would be too much like right. Some people have no moral compass and have issues to boot. Maybe one day she'll come around, but don't hold your breath. Don't waste time trying to figure her out, it's not possible.

I've walked in your shoes and know how you feel. The only difference is that I have no bio children and DH only has 1 SD (27). I moved in w/them against my better judgement. I'll admit, I didn't have all the answers and I did some things wrong.

Flash ahead a few years now, and SD still lives with us. She's done some crummy things to me, and only God knows what she's told my in-laws. She had such a hard time adjusting to daddy having a new wife that my MIL called her BM and suggested she work on them getting closer.

As of this writing, things are better between us, but SD is a sad soul. She'll never be the person I hoped she'd be. . friendly, kind, compassionate. She walks around with her a!@ on her shoulders. And at one point she wouldn't even speak. She does other little petty stuff that I can't prove, but it's a reflection of her character or lack thereof. I don't like living with or being around negative energy or funky attitudes, so for the most part, I speak to her and go about my business. I don't expect much from her and she never disappoints me. I didn't even get a card for my b-day last year, and we live in the same house.

Fortunately she's getting married next year, but they're already having problems. At this point, I have no malice against her, and pity her. I know the conflict she's caused in our marriage will show up in some type of karma in her own. I pray for her and keep it moving.

frustratedstepdad's picture

I have struggled with the same thing for the last four years. 4 adult stepdaughters and no kids of my own. Now that their mom isn't an open bank or submit to their every whim, of course it's all my fault. Whenever they come by, it's only to visit their mom. A lot of times they just visit their mom at work I think to basically avoid being around me. Hell I don't think any of them even have my phone number if some emergency happened. It used to bother me a lot, but I have come to the understanding that they are adults, and just like co-workers or anybody else in life, you can't make people like you.

What helped me come to this realization was talking to a counselor. For my own sanity, I have had to disengage from my SD's. I know longer allow myself to get mentally involved in any of their drama. I also think you need to have a heart-to-heart talk w/ your husband. No matter what he THINKS, your feelings are valid and if he thinks you are "being mean"...too bad. I know it is hard, because I put myself in a lot of situations or would do things like let them move back in at the expense of my own sanity in order to be "nice" or not have my wife be mad at me. I have realized that this is wrong. Your feelings and sanity are just as important as anybody else's, and sometimes you have to put your own self first, even if somebody won't be completely happy about it.

firefly39's picture

Smile Thank you! Your reply helped me so much & gave me different way of looking at things. I agree with you that loving yourself first needs to be top priority & think maybe thats where my anger stems from is cause I have felt I have not been heard. Feeling like my feelings don't matter to my husband cause I only feel shut down by him when I do try & share my feelings. Thats why I feel I need to disengage cause I do get to involved only to be hurt & disappointed. I also like what you said about how you cant make anyone like you. Amen to that! You reach point with your stepkids that when they keep excluding you from there life that you just dont care anymore. There actions speaks more than there words & best thing to do is move on. Well Id like to add you as a friend if you dont mind & wanted to say thank you again! I wish you the best!

firefly39's picture

Thank you ladys so much. Just hearing both your storys is so encouraging to me & I can relate to you both. I feel I have at this point disengaged only as a way of protecting myself from being hurt anymore by his kids ,cause as much as my husband would like me to be perfect stepmom Im far from perfect & Ive told him I wont be something Im not. If his kids cant make effort than neither will I cause relationships take 2 people working together & I told him its not always one sided ,so I feel your frustration & understand completely. I do feel at this point I just need to step back & pray for my SD . I liked what one of you said about not expecting to much or even trying to figure her out. I do feel that needs to stop cause I dont feel with way shes been toward me that its possible to figure her out . Ive witness her be down right rude & think thats been a weakness of mine is caring to much about people or kids who dont care for me,but its time I focus on myself & my kids & move on. Letting his kids live there life cause they are adults now & me living mine with my kids just being myself not expecting to much or giving something I cant give. I also wanted to add I understand how you feel my SD has not ever bought me anything or much less picked up phone to say happy birthday or mothers day & only time any of his 4 kids call is because they want something from him. It makes me mad & is very frustrating but what can you do you know? It amazes me how my husband can still hold all his kids on pedistal but with my kids he complains about them all time & I hate it. Like one of you said my best option is to move on! Thank you lady's again I wish both of your situations best as well!

firefly39's picture

Thank you Nodoormat! I appreciate your advice ,but don't feel counseling would help. I honestly think that there are some kids that in a nutshell they will either like you or they wont and I honestly feel in my heart if Ive truly done all I know to do to treat my SD right & she chooses to continue to exclude me then my eyes are truly open to know shes one with problem not me. For whatever reason she doesn't care for me I have to accept that & move on. I do have one thing working in my favor that is she does not live with us but is living with her mom at the time while she goes thru her divorce,so we don't see her very often,but I feel much better now after getting some insight on how others deal with there skids so this site has helped me so much already. I think if you & I are good Stepmothers & our SD still treat us way they do its clearly them not wanting to accept us & thats why we feel so rejected by them when we try & reach out ,but it might also be they might have fear that they think we might be trying to take there bio parents place & I agree with you I think alot of it has to do with jealousy. In my case I honestly dont think my SD was ever happy her dad remarried again,cause her dad & I had both just gotten out of a previous divorce before we married & I think she resented even the idea from day one. I remember look on her face when her dad told her we were engaged she was not happy at all. Then when she graduated Her dad & I talked with her to congratulate her she wouldn't even look at me or even say hi. I have never felt so unwelcome by her like I did at that moment,so yes I am so done trying so done!! What angers me most is seeing my husband make excuses for her. which I understand to point cause shes his Bio daughter,but good grief if a child whether its his child or mine doesn't act right I feel he should be willing to admit it & not get so defensive when I talk to him about it . I think I get more upset with him than I do my SD cause he enables her by not saying anything so I can feel your frustration. I do hope things get better for you with your SD ,cause it does hurt & I dont think us as stepmoms ask for much except to be treated with respect & to feel included once in awhile,but in our case i dont think it will ever be unless our SD grow up some & mature,but we can always hope cant we,,lol. Well I hope you have a nice day & if you ever want to talk I am here. ~hugs~

Shannon61's picture

Firefly39 . . . count your blessings that SD doesn't live with you. It would be 10 times worse. I've also been down the road of "DH turning the other cheek when SD does wrong" and it almost destroyed our marriage. I think the bigger issue is that DH's are so used to enabling SDs and turning the other cheek, that they want everyone else to do the same. I've also reminded DH when someone is wrong, admit it. He's finally at a place where he'll admit when SD is wrong, but it took us a long time to get there.

Also, your comment about being engaged prompted a memory of when he and I were engaged and were having dinner at FMILs. SD was there and I could see jealousy in her eyes when she saw my ring. When she recently got engaged, she wanted fiance to get her the same ring. . . I'm glad he didn't. Have some creativity of your own.

Finally, at one point when SD and DH used to talk, I'd join in so I could integrate myself into the family. SD told me she felt I was intruding on their relationship. I can't tell you how hurt I was. So now, if they start talking, I get up and walk out. Bottom line is this, I don't accept bad treatment from anyone . .let alone a enabled, selfish, lazy, immature, twit.

I enjoy having a happy and positive spirit and I'm not going to allow her or anyone else to change that. Life is much too short, and once I find out who you really are, I have a choice if I want to deal with you. There's a saying . .when people show you who they are, believe them the first time. You'll save yourself a lot of heartache. Don't get me wrong, I forgive her, but I'll never forget.

firefly39's picture


Thank you! I am so sorry to hear all youve gone through I can imagine that cant be easy & Im sure its a lot different when your living under same roof every day having to deal with it,but you have a awesome attitude not letting anyone take your joy thats best way to be,just talking with you has helped me so much. I am at same place you are & I'm sorry you have been hurt. It does hurt & I see myself being a lot like you. I'm type person to tell it like it is to be honest. If there in the wrong then say it,but yes for some reason men do have hard time with that of accepting truth,so best thing to do is be ourselves & not feel guilty for it inspite of how our skids choose to behave,which I feel its a choice cause were all responsible for how we treat others! I am just very grateful though compared to most that my SD doesn't live with us so I count my blessings lol ,but I think Ive finally began to accept it how she really feels & I do forgive her as well ,but what you said is very true you don't ever forget! Thank you for listening its nice to have someone to talk to who understands Smile My hats off to you & all moms out there who deal with hard to love kids. I really do believe we all need a mother award dont you think? lol Keeping my humor has helped me a lot & they say what don't kill you can only make you stronger well I sure hope so!

stepfrancy's picture

30 yrs a SM and SS lived with us from age 12. Things weren't always easy but I felt we finally had become "friends", then he met this woman, married her and hasn't spoken in 6 months because his wife has a problem with me and my BD. We just do not meet her expectations and do everything her way and refuse to bend to her wants and wishes. Hate to tell you this but as far as I'm concerned the worst time I have had as a SM is NOW. When an in law comes into a home (especially a woman) she needs to go along with the families traditions and not complain and try to change everything. Im sure glad I wasn't like that to my MIL because we had a wonderful relationship but she was my MIL, not my SMIL and to this woman (SS wife) that makes a BIG difference. Step is NOTHING! Believe me this is no fun dealing with.

AVR1962's picture

You can't make anyone accept you, you cannot make anyone love you, you cannot make anyone want to be with you no matter how kind and giving you are. This is the choice of the child to behave the way she does, do not take her actions personally. I just would not waste my time and energy on this person. If she eventually comes around and wants you to be a part of her life then fine but until that point you are just spinning your wheels. Don't let this person have control over you.