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Confessions of a Wicked Stepmother...

SittingPretty's picture

My SD is a lovely girl. She's kind, helpful, thoughtful and adores my bios. She's the kind of kid that it sounds like most of you don't have. But she drives me up the wall. Things she does that annoy the hell out of me include:

Following DP around like a lost puppy. She actually waits outside the bathroom door for him. If she doesn't know where he is it's a constant whine of 'where's daddy?'

Always making sure she has the most attention from him. Her younger sibs always get shorted because she's so demanding.

Has to muscle in if he's ever sitting next to anyone else. If I leave the bed in the morning to get coffee etc she immediately takes my spot.

Went through a phase of taking things just because they were mine (blankets, hairbrush, foods etc) but we seem to have been able to put a stop to this recently.

Will not leave us alone EVER. The other kids play together but she is ALWAYS with us. Complains that the other kids 'don't want to play with her'.

DP used to correct a lot of this behaviour, force her to go and join the other kids etc but unfortunately they moved out of state and now because of the lack of time together he's turned into a bit of a Disney daddy and doesn't want to upset her. He doesn't encourage her but doesn't discourage her either.

I try to see things from her perspective, that she has limited time with her dad, but she drives me up the wall. The younger daughter doesn't act like that. YSD is so sick of it that she chooses to be with me and my kids most of the time. She seems to deliverately avoid them. I also like to avoid OSD whenever possible so it's created a divide in the household, and quite often we're doing separate activities at the weekends. Obviously OSD loves this.

We're meant to be getting married and DP keeps pushing me on when. I jokingly asked her if I was 'allowed' to sit next to daddy at the wedding and the look of horror she gave me was priceless. Maybe it's selfish but I just see her behaviour ruining the day for me. I've even thought about eloping but it doesn't seem right to exclude the kids. I want to go to Hawaii for the honeymoon and she keeps whining that she wants daddy to take her there. I can't imagine anything worse (thankfully, neither can he!)

Did anyone successfully navigate a situation like this? We get on really well when her dad isn't around but I'm tired of it always being a competition when he is. I always promote one on one time and even plan daddy daughter dates for them every now and again. It doesn't seem to make a difference.I never try to encroach on their time together. She was literally in tears a few days ago because he was playing ping pong with me and she couldn't stand that she didn't have his attention.

Will she grow out of this?! When? She will be 11 this year. This literally makes her sound dreadful but when her dad isn't around we get on wonderfully. I enjoy having her around unless DP is there.

Does anyone have any constructive advice? DP works a ton, and I work part time so I do most of the parenting when they're around. They get on great with my kids and are helpful pleasant children. This is my only major issue. I've been around since she was 6, but the problem just seems to be getting worse.

Acratopotes's picture

yes - tell Daddy you can get married the day he realize she's a 11 year old kid and he needs to step up and parent her,
treat her the same as all the other children, Daddy needs to explain to her, that she is not involved in your relationship, it's an adult thing... he still loves her but she is a child and not his wife..

After Daddy stepped up and is no longer Disney Daddy that's the day you will get married..

trust me if I say - do not get married until Daddy is parenting, she's going to get worse age 16 and it will go on for life....

CANYOUHELP's picture

Acra is right, do not do this unless daddy can be a parent, you will be regretting this move the rest of your time together. This darling will still be climbing in bed with you, age does not change a thing; only daddeeee can do that...

If he refuses to do it, reevaluate your options before marrying him.

TwoOfUs's picture

Sounds like me with my skids.

OSD used to be awful,but now she's tolerable. Other two have always been sweet and helpful. Still don't like it when they come over or when I have to spend too much time with them (they are now 21, 19, 17). They're just not my family...don't feel like it to me, at least.

Are your younger kids also your BF's kids?

I wish I could say they grow out of it, but it only gets worse. YSD 17 used to try to snuggle into bed with us or sit between us. Now she texts DH constantly and fawns all over him when she's here. Hate it. I always hated it but used to tolerate it / not make waves bc his oldest treated him so horribly. I wish I'd asserted myself earlier.

SittingPretty's picture

Oh my god I will die if she's still climbing into bed by 17! I was hoping she might become interested in a boy other than her father soon and that might help things!

The youngest is ours and the elder is mine by my ex husband.

What did you do to assert yourself and did it work?

SittingPretty's picture

She has some really nice qualities and can be very kind and thoughtful. She helps with her other siblings without being asked to and constantly asks if I need help around the house. She's always asking if she can make me a cup of tea, and thanks me for anything I do for her. She's very loving and affectionate. She does what she is told and is a pretty easy kid. She just has a HUUUUGE need for attention. If DP isn't around she will default to following me instead, but he is top dog where she is concerned. This is pretty much the only thing she does that annoys ne(but I admit it's a big thing).

skatermom's picture

Total Mini wife. First off, she is not allowed in your bedroom EVER, much less the bed. That is disgusting! First thing I did was install a lock on the bedroom door, none of the kids are allowed in the room.

Second, if she takes your place on the couch, tell her to move and go do kid things. Even if she was there first, doesn't matter, you are the adult, you make the rules. Don't back down ever. The second you do, Mini wives come back in full force.

I wouldn't put off marrying because of her, it's not her wedding or business. I have 3 mini wives and 2 BDs. We did not tell any of them we were getting married. We told them we were going for family pictures, the picked out a nice dress, got ready and we drove to the chapel, so we eloped with just them in attendance.

When we pulled up the the chapel, SD11 says, "Is someone getting married? DH says, "yeah, me" She was beyond salty the rest of the day, "why didn't you tell MEEEEEEE??" Like she needed to know over the other kids. Then when she saw that he had a wad of bills, she asked him where he "got all that money from" Sooo nosy

SittingPretty's picture

Three mini wives? I can't even imagine! That's an interesting idea with your wedding. Quite a big surprise I'm sure!

skatermom's picture

We had been together 8 years, engaged for 2 years. They all knew it was going to happen. And turned out thrilled to finally be real sisters!

Beenthere-Hated it's picture

The kid doesn't get informed about her parent's marriage? NO right to know? How discounting that is.
What you wrote sounds so full of bitter resentment. What a cruel mean little person you are- absolutely no concept of a child's needs or how you could fill those needs so the poor kid isn't forced to guess every move that is made by her unpredictable parents with the messy marital situation she innocently inherited. Needing a reality check in major major way. So withholding of must be an anxiety provoking experience for your step kid. You mock her. Shameful.

skatermom's picture

We had very good reasons for not telling the kids about the wedding. The biggest is his crazy ex-wife.

Kids are on a need to know basis when you are dealing with a high-conflict ex who can and will destroy a wedding. This woman has done so much to us, I could write a book.

Please save your condescending comments unless you know a situation. I would love to know yours, unfortunately there are no blog entries to read!

Trust me you don't know me, these comments on here are a snippet in time. Like looking through a keyhole in a door.

skatermom's picture

Total Mini wife. First off, she is not allowed in your bedroom EVER, much less the bed. That is disgusting! First thing I did was install a lock on the bedroom door, none of the kids are allowed in the room.

Second, if she takes your place on the couch, tell her to move and go do kid things. Even if she was there first, doesn't matter, you are the adult, you make the rules. Don't back down ever. The second you do, Mini wives come back in full force.

I wouldn't put off marrying because of her, it's not her wedding or business. I have 3 mini wives and 2 BDs. We did not tell any of them we were getting married. We told them we were going for family pictures, the picked out a nice dress, got ready and we drove to the chapel, so we eloped with just them in attendance.

When we pulled up the the chapel, SD11 says, "Is someone getting married? DH says, "yeah, me" She was beyond salty the rest of the day, "why didn't you tell MEEEEEEE??" Like she needed to know over the other kids. Then when she saw that he had a wad of bills, she asked him where he "got all that money from" Sooo nosy

not2sureimsaneanymore's picture

I was going to ask how old she was because our almost-four year old does everything you described and it drives me absolutely bonkers, and then I saw she was 11 and I was like, NOPE, NO THANKS. I often feel bad for our younger daughter because she will try to take our attention off of her if we are focusing on DD2.

We've started placing firm boundaries (thanks to advice I got here) by telling her to wait her turn and she's improved a lot. But it took a lot of work.

SittingPretty's picture

No sadly she isn't four. I feel like that for YSD, she doesn't beg for attention so almost always gets shorted as a result. Is the four year old your SD or your daughter?

MrsMeanie's picture

Oh man! You are talking about my life! SD is a pretty good kid..if you exclude some recent events, and I truly love her...but girls been competing with me since day one, and don't even feel like it's a competition! I'm always forcing SD and DH to interact without me around, all they will do is either watch tv, DH will play a game while SD watches, or they both sit on their phones...without once talking to each other. They they both complain that the other doesn't talk to them.

SD has always tried to walk between us when we go on walks, or she'll speed ahead of me and grab his hand then turn around and smirk at, he has another hand for one, and two IDC I'd you hold his hand..youre 15 but have at It! When we were getting married she pouted because his attention wasn't all on her..i made a point of having him dance with her and doing a few other special things for her but I heard from the babysitter later that she cried all night because her dad didn't pay attention to her. We didn't bother going on a honeymoon because we didn't want to deal with the fight she would put up. When she was younger, around 9, she would stand outside our door listening in to hear if we were having sex, not that we were, but if she heard any sound she would cry and yell that she was telling her grandma (BM mom) on us. She used to pick the lock to our bedroom door, which I was in the habit of locking because she stole anything he gave me, and stand over us in our sleep. If I got up to go to the bathroom she would slip into bed with DH.omce, DH was hugging his niece and SD pulled her out of his arms and jumped into them. She purposefully peed her pants when she was 10 so we would go home because her dad was holding a baby. And when we told her I was pregnant she "fell" down our stairs resulting in and "emergency" room visit...absolutely nothing wrong..even the Dr asked my husband why they came in. The next morning she told me she felt perfect, but she was glad her and "dada" had some alone time! She was 14.

momof4andsk's picture

Ew. Luckily mine has not been anywhere near that bad, but we are going to counseling and DH will (hopefully) be working on a few things so who knows? My SD is also a great kid for the most part, but when her dad and I got engaged, the first thing she asked him was, "Dad, will you buy me a ring like that?" You seem to have a pretty great attitude about all of it despite how extreme it is. How do you manage your emotions so well?

Beenthere-Hated it's picture

This comment is in response to every person who posted on this topic, especially the original poster. My comment is that you all sound like a bunch of complainers with zero empathy or understanding or insight into the needy little 11 year old, and maybe if you understood ANYTHING about child development, psychology, the pain of losing one's family as a child and what it DOES TO KIDS TO CHANGE THEM IN A VERY NEGATIVE WAY, or how your role in the family COULD be one of healer, leader, savior, confidante, friend, ally, supporter, and nurturer to this 11 year old who clearly feels an INSECURE ATTACHMENT to her father...hmm.. wonder why that is? Gee, maybe due to the fact that her entire universe of security, familiarity, comfort and stability BLEW UP AND left her stranded; a mere babe alone to face the world's ugly side? the ugly side where they have been failed at such a young age it TARNISHES and destroys them forever. The LOVE you fail to give to her she will surely give to the next man who wants her for sex- and that includes your husband and his profound emotional deprivation of his daughter and his FAILURE as a parent to establish a secure bond with her. Have a little sympathy for the poor girl and just leave the situation since you cannot accept her as she is or want to assist her development into a healthy woman.

ldvilen's picture

I fully understand your comment Beenthere-Hated it and even agree with it. This is one of the reasons why I mostly post on the Adult Stepchildren page, because even if a SM is in a horribly unfair situation (just speaking in general terms and not saying that is the situation here), it is difficult to convince anyone that maybe you deserve even a little empathy when young children are involved.

However, I do think your anger is largely misplaced. Your anger needs to be directed at mom and dad, who chose to divorce and place this burden on their child or children. They deserve the full brunt, to a degree. I agree Steptalk may be the wrong forum to vent on sometimes and it can come across as picking on young, innocent children, but many come here because in some ways, they find themselves in a similar situation to the needy little 11 year old. Through no fault of their own, they find themselves caught up in a messy, unbelievably difficult situation.

I'm sure the pain of losing one's family is about a level 10 on a 1 to 10 scale. However, it is not SMs or step-dad's responsibility to fix the family or suck it up and take it for the family. Most SMs and step-dads come here only after years of wanting and trying to be the healer, leader, savior, confidante, friend, ally, supporter, and nurturer you refer to above. Largely, others in the family do not want this to be our role and may do everything in their power to make sure it is not our role.

I do see where you are coming from, but I do think it is wrong for you to shake your finger at SM-to-be even in this situation. We all have heard BMs complain about their children and how they'd like to give them away or have them disappear for a while. They are not serious. The SM here is pretty much doing the same thing. However, I do agree that people tend to think when a SM does this, that she is some sort of horrible witch who is out to destroy the entire family, vs. if BM said it, she'd just be having a bad day.

momof4andsk's picture

I'm with you on this. My SD's BM and DH were apart for 6 years before I came along. That would have been plenty of time to seek help with the emotional fallout of divorce. I am not a certified counselor, I'm just a stepmom.

skatermom's picture

Wow. A bit dramatic wouldn't you say? What's your story? Beenthere-Hated it? Why is that your name? What do you hate? You clearly have some serious issues to work through. Are you a child of divorce? You really need to take it down a notch.

Beenthere-Hated it's picture

What human being who thinks and breathes DOESN'T have stuff to work through? Isn't that what we all do, in one way or another is to work through our stuff? I prefer to work through stuff than to pretend it doesn't exist or to deny it. I am proud of the fact that I do work hard at working through stuff. One way that I work through stuff is to prompt those who are struggling to be more honest and more truthful with themselves. Change starts with us- it is only me that I can change- I cannot change other people. But I can challenge them to view themselves in a different light, which promotes healing, promotes growth and thereby, helps the kid- my primary concern. The truth hurts. Yet, without it- what is there to strive for?

SittingPretty's picture

Wow. Actually I do understand her situation fairly well as I was in a similar boat as a kid. I really loved my SM and even though her and my dad separated I still have a really good relationship with her.

I do make a huge effort to empathize with my stepkids. It's a terrible thing for families to disintegrate and can have a massive impact on small children. I love her and her sister and treat them like they're my own kids. My stepchildren receive all the love, attention, and respect that my biological children do. Some of the things that she does annoy me. Some of the things that my biological kids annoy me too. But I'm allowed to talk openly about that, whereas I don't feel like I can when it's my stepkids.

It also strongly impacts her sister that she behaves like this. She's been through the exact same situation and shouldn't be shorted because of how her older sister behaves.

I came here for constructive advice about how to make my situation better. If you can't give any then maybe you should keep your comments to yourself.

Java_Junkie's picture

This got bumped to the top.

Agree some folks are stating the obvious and focusing purely on that.

Of the things I'm seeing, she's reverting back to child-like behaviors. I'm sure a psychologist or counselor would have some thoughts to offer on this. Something I've tried with my STBSkids is what many counselors might advise, to make them aware of what they're doing, and then asking if they think that's appropriate for someone their age to be doing.

STBSSon does some similar things as your STBSDaughter (he's now 13) in that he goes super-affectionate (like a 4 year old) and craves "huggy hug" from "mommy" - especially after he gets in trouble with her and she disciplines him (which is RARELY).

I "get" the kid wanting to psychologically be at that happier age when things were better for him, but recognize that it's not healthy to do that, so I know I have to say something if fiancée doesn't (and she sometimes does, sometimes not). Fiancée sometimes wants me to not get involved with this type of thing because it puts the kid on the spot (which is sort of the point, as becoming aware of an unhealthy behavior can be a little embarrassing). So beware that it can have some unintended consequences, which is why I recommend doing it one-on-one, and with a lot of tenderness - at least at first. Consider this:
"Just a little bit ago, you did XXX. I'm sure you love your dad and me and don't want to disappoint, and believe me, you're wonderful, however (don't say but), that type of behavior is something that kids usually outgrow at an earlier age. It's not at all uncommon for people to do that, though it's not always the best thing to do, and just to understand what's on your mind, I'm curious... Did something just happen to trigger an uncomfortable thought that made you feel like doing what you did?" Probably way too wordy, but pare it down to suit your needs, and don't really expect an answer unless she feels comfortable talking to you about her feelings. As for my STBSSon, he'll NEVER open up to anyone but his mom, and even then, I see it's super uncomfortable for him to look within, therefore he'll spew out some answer to take the spotlight off of himself - even if it's a BS answer. It's a good exercise, though the BS answers need to be challenged with "Are you sure?" and "Is there something else?" - keep your responses open-ended as much as possible to avoid the yes/no/I don't know stuff, and don't be afraid to say stuff like "You don't really need to answer me, as this is a question for you to ask yourself, but if you come to a point where you're confused, I want you to know I can help you through those thoughts."

So far, it seems kids just don't want to be forgotten. They know that if they put on the "adorable young child costume," many parents won't scold them (and you shouldn't - this is when you need to point out the behavior in a non-judgmental way) - but it needs to be addressed. I highly recommend the book Boundaries With Kids.

Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, to Help Your Children Gain Co...

Steptococci's picture

My SD is similar (9.5 years old- have known her since 4.) I felt like I could be reading one of my own posts reading this. I even dreaded our wedding day somewhat- because SD HAD the be in the middle of everything, the center of attention the whole time - my in-laws and DH encouraged it- the day was all about her being a special princess. But, I was gracious and enjoyed it and we celebrated with our friends and families and it was a wonderful day- just never felt like it was mine and Dh's. I love my husband very much though and it was the day we became a family. We did go on a child-free honeymoon to Hawaii though, which I highly recommend. Kids don't belong on honeymoons!

SD has always been the needy, loving, attention-hogging, super-sweet type, always there in the way and in every conversation- and like you, I've tried staying out of the way, encouraging the Daddy/Daughter time, being her friend, figuring she deserves all the time she can get w/ her dad... But I drew the line with some things. She's not allowed in our bed (not since age 6.) She isn't allowed to sit between us on the couch if we're already cuddling and wouldn't dare come between us (but her "spot" on the couch is the one between us, incidentally- Dh likes one end and I like the other.) I guess I always figured SD needs DH much more than I do. I'm a very independent person. The funny thing is, DH wishes I needed him more. I just feel like there's not much room in our marriage for that. SD takes up a lot of emotional space.

It's also hard now that we have little kids together and unfortunately I really do need him sometimes (to help and lift and keep me sane, and be a partner) and the little ones need him more. She's been forced to adapt. And my husband's gotten a slight clue in the past 2 years and occasionally helped her know her place in the family.

I think you have a case of divorce-guilt on your hands. Daddy is not setting proper boundaries with this child - in time he'll see this is probably increasing her anxiety and uncertainty- kids do much better when they're not in charge and they see that the adults are. Good luck to all of you.

SittingPretty's picture

That's really helpful, thank you. I'm glad that things seem to have settled down with your SD, makes me think there could be light at the end of the tunnel!

I know that's what I'm going to have to do too, suck it up that she'll be a bit annoying at the wedding, but know that the honeymoon will just be for us.