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Need advice, feeling I’m in over my head with SD10

Jerrysizzler's picture


I'm new here but I've been lurking intermittently, hoping to learn from other's experiences and advice, but now I need my own. I have a 10 year old step daughter that's been in my life since she was 4, and now have a one and a half year old daughter of my own. My relationship with SD has been good up until my DD was born, and her reaction to DD were very unexpected.

SD has three brothers from her BM, so she really wanted the sister, but now that she has her she's just jealous of everything. She's been shaming me for not being a good enough mother to her now that DD is in the picture. I've probably over compensated her (5000$ spent on a very elaborate 10th bday party and 3 days at universal Orlando) because I feel guilty that I'm not enough, but I also know I'm being taken advantage of. She's always compared me with her BM, and apparently I'm not allowed to have anything her BM doesn't have (so if I buy a new handbag, BM already has that and 10 more, even if she doesn't and it's a lie). I know the behavior is a lot of wish fulfillment, and she feels like she needs to feel like her BM is better in every way. It has been frustrating, but as an adult and having been a step daughter, I handled it as gracefully as possible.

However, BM is now pregnant with number 5 and it's a girl. SD has already decided that her new sister from BM is going to be better than my DD in every way, and this is where I don't know what to do. I don't want my daughter to have to take those hits as she's growing and developing. I don't want her to spend her young life compared to another child, and where she will never win in that comparison. I also don't know how to confront a child about a behavior I don't think she realizes she does, and how it's so hurtful. My SD is not the most emotionally aware child. My husband seems unconcerned, but he has the luxury of not dealing with the digs, so he doesn't understand how all those little things chip away at you. While we have a decent relationship with BM, she's a narcissist and her kids can never do any wrong so she's not helpful either (still trying to get her on board about the values of oral hygiene). 

So yeah, that's what I'm dealing with and would love some advice to save my DD's future self esteem.

Siemprematahari's picture

My husband seems unconcerned, but he has the luxury of not dealing with the digs, so he doesn't understand how all those little things chip away at you.

Can you elaborate the "he has the luxury of not dealing with the digs". He needs to address his daughter and do so ASAP. I would shut her down every time she feels the need to compare (nicely of course) but should she not get it I'd get more stern. If she doesn't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. You have to remain consistent if your H "decides" its not a big deal and wants to bury his head in the sand. This is not ok behavior and SD needs to be made aware of it. She wants to place her mother on a all means have fun but the comparison nonsense and manipulation she's enacting is a hell NO!

Shut down mode QUICK!

Jerrysizzler's picture

To elaborate, he doesn't get compared to anyone or her stepdad so he doesn't have to deal with it. And he doesn't deal with it, he gives excuses not to deal with it. I've usually just shrugged it off with a "that's nice" and moved on, but I can't when it comes to DD. We have similar issues with his family because he avoids conflict at all costs.

Harry's picture

Do not spend any money on SD.  Let her live and be supported by her BM.   And Waite for the next trip BM takes her to Orlando    Maybe someday she will understand.  But I think not 

Just J's picture

I think your only option is to just ignore her. And definitely stop trying to buy her love or assuage your guilt with money. The girl has a mother and it's not you, and she's made it clear she thinks her mom will always be better than you, so ignore her and let it go. When she says her mom has that bag say that's nice or nothing at all. If she knows what she's doing she knows she is getting to you so don't let her. She'll eventually stop if she's not getting the reaction she wants. 

The good thing is that a 10 year difference is huge, and your daughter will not "grow up" with her sister. SD will be off doing teenage things pretty soon and then be off to college hopefully, and won't really be around. My SD is 10 years older than my DD and we hardly see her now that she's an adult, and just the other day my DD mentioned that she doesn't really remember seeing her sister on a regular basis growing up.

Jerrysizzler's picture

I hope that's the case for us as DD starts to get older and understand things. For me I usually just ignore it as annoying as it maybe. We weren't trying to buy her love, but we wanted her to know she was still loved post the arrival of DD. She goes on endlessly about what DD gets from us and also from my parents. SD hasn't gotten a lot from my parents because she hardly says hi to them despite their attempts to bond. 

Winterglow's picture

Why should she get anything from your parents? They aren't her grandparents. And your DH really needs to shut her up about the bean-coiunting because it ain't pretty.

AgedOut's picture

She does these things because she gets a reaction. Stop wasting money on her because she got a reaction out of you. A simple "okay then" or "that's nice" or even a "good for you/her/them" and walk away or change the subject. 


You bought a new coat. SD: my mom has that too but her's are better. You: that's nice hon, good for her. 

If she brings up her "new" sister and tries to compare your child to her, shut that shit down. Do not allow it. "we don't compare people here" "since you're choosing to be rude to DD, you may go play in your room/by yourself." 



now snarky me would say (don't say this) "I'm glad your sister at Moms has such a great sister in you. I wish DD had a great sister too"


Lollybobs's picture

This behaviour definitely needs nipping in the bud and it needs to come from you and DH as a united front. She is old enough at 10 to know exactly what she's doing.

And it's probably best to stop buying her affections. It won't gain you respect and she won't really appreciate it. I've just converted $5000 into sterling... OMG!

ESMOD's picture

I think you can start sending a subtle message of your own.. 

"hmm that's nice.. but you know this isn't a contest right?" when she says mommy has 10 handbags.

Of course when she starts on with how great her sister is.. just say..

"Ohhh... I'm sure the little girl will be your mommies favorite"  

just kidding.. but I'm sure that is some of what is making her insecure and putting down you/dd to make herself feel better.  

Seriously.. bring up these concerns to your DH.. your DD's dad.. I'm sure he will want to make sure his daughter isn't an ahole to his younger one.


Jerrysizzler's picture

Thank you, that's a really good response vs just ignoring the behavior. 

My husband is aware and agrees with the concerns but hasn't said anything to her and probably never will unless it becomes an undeniable problem. 

Rags's picture

Mirroring works.  Start mirroring SD's behavior back at her.  When she gets upset about being highlighted as deficient and less than in comparison to her younger sister (your daughter) ask her how it makes her feel.  Any time SD pulls her crap, mirror it in response.  Escalate as necessary to make the point that what she is doing is hurtful and toxic.

Make sure to keep the focus on her behavior by pointing out that she does not like it when others pull the shit that she pulls and if she does not like it she needs to knock her shit off.  I call bullshit that she does not know that she is doing it. She knows damn full and well what she is doing and that she is being a hurftful evil little POS.

Bring the pain. An escalating complete state of misery works wonders in tuning put toxic behaviors in the toxic people that exude toxicity.