You are here

SD causing problems between partners

strssd stepmom's picture

How common is it to keep arguing over a Skid and their behavior with their bio parent? In his eyes, she can do no wrong. I honestly do everything I can to avoid her but somehow she still ends up around in our constant conversations. What can I do? I love my husband but I'm starting to think this relationship won't work between his naivete and her absolutely annoying behaviors. 

JRI's picture

I bet 1,000 stepmoms on this site coukd have written your post.  Lol.  What can you do?  Many of us disengage, go to the Disengaging site on Forums to get ideas.  It kind of depends on the child's age, how annoying it is, what exactly bugs you and your future plans.  Good luck.

strssd stepmom's picture

I've been working on learning to disengage more. She's on the younger side so it's hard. But if I'm going to get my sanity back, I have to. 

CajunMom's picture

DH and I have ONE problem that we continually argue about...the behavior of his adult kids and his continued ignoring and/or defending. While it has lessened immensely in the past 3 years due to me totally disengaging (like I haven't seen or spoken to any of them in 3+ years), there are still blips along the way. Search for posts on disengaging and mini wife syndrome.  The key is to educate yourself before it gets the best of you. Good luck.

Jcksjj's picture

I think oftentimes they do know, but feel like it's also an attack on them and their parenting and get defensive. And I would guess that as far as how common it is - probably like 99%.

Onanisland's picture

I think it's common to keep circling around and around because even if they understand or empathize they might not ever get around to taking any action to make changes. Sometimes my SO says 'you've been complaining about  this for years.' That's because nothing had changed in years. Complaining about his children is not my lifelong hobby but I'm stuck here pushing that same old rock up a hill.


What's worse is when your friends and family start saying 'all you ever talk about is your step kids.' It's a trap that's hard to get out of.

strssd stepmom's picture

I feel like discussing this brat has taken over my life. Like any other crappy relationship! It's like the more I try to move away from her, the more she does ish to piss me off and I need to vent. I feel dammed if I do and dammed of I don't. 

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

I know SO knows how bad SKs behavior is. But I have learned his way if dealing with Thier behavior is to ignore it. 

Being completely disengaged and just an observer, I see the patterns. For example Monday night SO and YSD had a screaming match at midnight because she wouldn't go to bed. Last night YSD was wide awake at 1 am, SO said he knew and said he didn't feel like fighting with her. 

If I wasn't completely disengaged and made an issue if it. SO would choose arguing with me over arguing with YSD. Past experience has taught me he would defend YSDs behavior as a means of trying to get me to stop making an issue of it and convince me I was overreacting. 

It would go something like this:

SM: It's 1 am and YSD is still awake.

SO: I know.

SM: Well aren't you going to say anything, she had school tomorrow?

SO: It's not a big deal, YSD always gets up for school. I would say something if she was one of those kids that needed to go to bed early because she couldn't get up for school or was tired all day. 

SM: But she is one of those kids that won't get up, she is miserable and nasty when she doesn't get enough sleep and takes it out in everyone in the house! 

SO: No she doesn't, she is only like that because of the way you wake her up. She has to be woken up gently or she gets upset.

strssd stepmom's picture

I'm 100% sure he sees her crappy a$$ behavior. But he just keeps thinking it's because she's little. Like kids magically grow out of entitlement and being self centered. Only when called on it, which is not happening. 

Blended4213's picture

There have been a few times when I feel like DH was too hard on my bio kids for dumb stuff and I feel like he needs to focus on his own kids' issues.

But for the most part, we only argue over his parenting of his three kids, specifically middle SS who can do no wrong. In the past few years we have been together, DH has started to parent the other two much better. The middle one, he seems to finally be coming around to see his issues and address them. But he still parents out of guilt and is in denial that this kid isn't perfect. How can that not cause issues in the marriage? We honestly get along so well otherwise. I get frustrated that he lets this kid get away with bad behavior and we all suffer, and it is not the most attractive feature in a man.

I have disengaged, but I do speak up to SS13 and DH with major issues that affect me. That has helped a little. Maybe be patient and give DH some time to see things how they are. I think since SS turned 13, DH finally expects a little more from him. I told him the major issue that is bothering me, and how I'm concerned for SS because of it too. DH at first tried to make excuses, then finally agreed with me.

Is there one main issue you can start with? If SD is interrupting your conversations, maybe address that first. Either call her out at the time, or leave when she does this. Tell DH you are concerned other's won't want to be around her. Whichever one DH might get better. Maybe tell DH how you're concerned with her developing appropriate social skills. If she's not cleaning up her area or trashing the house, explain to DH how this stresses you out, and let him deal with it. Tell him you're concerned with her learning responsibility and being able to function properly as an adult eventually. 

Just know you are not alone. This is a complex issue because when we address it, our SO's get defensive because we are not the bio parent. But we shouldn't have to just deal with bad behavior either. DH's need to see how their kids negatively affect us and then step in and do something about it. Them not getting it causes a huge rift in the marriage. And as spouses we should really be priority in the marriage, not the kids.

Step2278's picture

how I'm concerned for SS 

This is how I approach virtually every conversation with DH. I tell him that I'm concerned for SS about X, Y, and Z. I think it makes DH a bit less defensive and allows him to actually hear what I'm trying to say. 

I'm concerned for SS that he doesn't have any friends, interests, hobbies and seems to attach himself to us. I'm concerned how this will effect him in the long run.


Dude- can your son please make ONE friend, find an interest, ANYTHING?! He's always around and its sickening that he just sits and waits for us to entertain him. 

strssd stepmom's picture

If there was one thing (amongst soooooo many) I could change is the lack of discipline. All her crappy a$$ behavior only gets a stern finger wagging and that's it. And it never works. I get myself all worked up and for what? For her to turn around and do whatever she wants anyway with little to no repercussion. I'm done teaching her anything. She will either have to watch and learn or never pick up skills from me. I chose peace from now on. 

Rags's picture

There are clear boundaries within children have no place regarding adult relationships, conversations, affection, etc...

When your partner and his spawn need clarity on this, provide it directly, assertively, and repeatedly regardless of  where you are, when it is necessary, or who is around when it is necessary.

strssd stepmom's picture

I've just gotten into the habit of walking away when she interrupts my conversations. Her dad's not going to correct her. And I'm not going to stand here while she's disrespecting me and my space. I don't care if it's obvious either. 

Winterglow's picture

Personally, I would correct her every time. Tell her to wait her turn. Tell her that butting in is rude. Tell her that nobody asked her opinion. Tell her that the grown ups are talking. I mean, that's what you'd do with any other child, wouldn't you? So why not her? If her father objects, ask him who's going to teach her manners if you don't ...

strssd stepmom's picture

I have corrected her a million times. And a million and one the behavior persists. And you are exactly right. If we don't teach her manners, who will?

scm444's picture

My DH has never really dealt with his ill behaved SD(17).  She turned into a nightmare at 14 and ran away to live with the BM.  Yes, with the help of BM, ran away from our house.  Slowly it turned into completely my fault.  After trying out different narratives, they went with the stepmother is mean and I ruined "the family".  Took me by surprise as I had a great relationship with SD and what I thought was quite a bond.  I guess I was manipulated and taken advantage of by her for years.

For the past three years I've been the scapegoat.  And after therapy and trying everything to make things better, I finally just gave up and said I wouldn't interfere with her life.  DH and in laws never supported me.  They took her side, didn't take up for me, and allowed me to be the scapegoat.  It hurt for sure.

DH, who I thought was this great Dad, turned out not to be able to discipline his teenage daugther.  I think he is scared that if he makes her mad, she will take her love away. That's what she does.  She's horrible to him.  But he also never confronted the situation head on.  He didn't have hard conversatioins with her and try tough love.  He says that he tells her that she has to respect me but his actions don't match his words.  It took him over a year and my constant harrassing for him to just ask her, "what's your problem with stepmother?"  Her response, "she's mean".  And that was good enough for him.

So now, everytime something with her comes up it's a trigger.  This past weekend I went out of town and he chose to not tell me that he went to see her in some dumb cotillion ball.  Just didn't tell his wife.  Told me everything else he did but not that.  Next week I'll be out of town and since he will be "so lonely" wants to invite her over.  He makes no concerted effort to invite her over to our house ever but waits until when I will be out of town to do so?  How can someone not see how hurtful these things are.  How can someone not see what message that sends to everyone, including me?  

So these things come up.  I can't have a calm discussion with him about it.  He blows up.  And so everything else is affected by this.  I think it brings up the feelings that they all blame me and I live in hell.   He gets triggered and then he's angry at me.  But he can't express that.  It comes out in all kinds of other ways.  The communication is completely broken down.  I don't know how to fix it.  It's like we are speaking two different languages but he can't focus enough to see that and try to really deal with the problems.  

If I could go back in time....I would never have allowed myself to love her.  I would stay at a healthy distance.  Been nice but not attached.  I wouldn't have done things for her like I did.  I would not have gotten involved in any decision making or ever made any suggestions to him about her.  I would have kept my mouth shut, used my money on other people, and focused on giving me and my husband what we wanted.  I did it for him.  But that didn't get me very much.

strssd stepmom's picture

Don't you hate pouring so many resources into a spoiled, ungrateful child?? You know what I could have done with that money and time?


I no longer try to ask about what she's up to or doing. I leave that to her dad. I don't see the road getting easier unless I detach as much mentally and emotionally as possible. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. I wouldn't wish this journey on my worst enemy. 

Hesitant to try's picture

to like other people's ill-behaved children. Even if they're the children of someone you love. I know the issue most frustrating right now is her behaviour, but if DH continues to ignore/enable the things that are making you, his wife, unhappy, I fear you will have other problems down the road. You might want to give him a heads up that if this lack of problem solving/correction continues, you will continue to be unhappy, and eventually it will start to affect your feelings for him. The first thing to go is usually respect and it's HARD to get that back. After you lose respect, you'll lose the attraction you feel for him. And when those two things are gone, is it even a marriage you'd want? I don't mean to be alarmist, but so many dad's just blow this crap off for as long as they're allowed to, and then years later when their life has fallen apart, they wonder where they went wrong. I think you should get his attention and soon! Family counseling for the two of you, perhaps? This isn't as much about his daughter as it is either his lack of good parenting, or your disagreement about what good parenting looks like.