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Feel like my 3y/o step-daughter hates me.

Ashleigh's picture

I've been living with my fiancee and his daughter for 6months now. I love the kid, she's usually really sweet and says we're best friends. She's never met her biological mother so doesn't really understand the concept of having a mum, but if anyone (like in a shop) says "where's your mum?" she points to me.

The problem is when her dad goes to work. She suddenly becomes evil. It's not big things, but just little things, touching something I've told her not to, talking back, making a mess, refusing to do anything she's told to, climbing on me and shouting when I'm on the phone... It's got to the point where she has me in tears within a couple of hours, and I don't know what to do any more

Her dad says "just stop letting her get to you". Easy for him to say when she's an angel around him. I've tried everything to get her to behave - naughty corner, naughty chart, time out in her room, shouting, screaming, crying, letting her be naughty, ignoring her, giving her lots of attention (not all on the same day of course!) but she still finds a way to flick that switch in me.

I'm starting to think I'm probably just not cut out to be a mum to her. It's making me second guess our relationship, and I'm scared of what might happen if we don't find a way to deal with this soon. Please, please, if anyone has any advice I really need it.

WindX's picture

Hi Ashleigh! Children can be very moody. I don't have any of my own, but I have lots of babysitting/childcare experience.

She's 3...they have been known to be brats from time to time. Seems like you're jumbling all her actions into one big ball and they may each have a different purpose depending on the scenario. You don't have to be a mom to her to be a great cargiver (if you choose to). I wonder if you took on the responsibility for caring for her without feeling the need to mother her, if you would get better results. What would you do if the child in question was a niece or nephew that you were taking care of during the day?

Please try not to scream and shout or cry at her. That tends to elevate your stress level and probably makes it more difficult to get the situation under control.

Good luck to you, I don't think you are doing as bad as you probably feel when it comes to the little girl. Be patient and I think things will start to fall into place.

TexasBelle_80's picture

THIS IS NOT BECAUSE OF YOU. I repeat this is not because of you. Whoever named the terrible two's obviously didn't have a three year old on their hands yet. This is absolutely normal behavior for a three year old. When I'm BS was three I used to lock myself in the bathroom to have quiet time. When a child reaches three they begin to realize they are not a part of you. Up until then, most children think they are an apendage of the parent. She is testing her independence. Her dad has obviously already set his boundaries so your SD knows where she stands with him. Honestly, she sees you as a parent or she wouldn't be doing this. I figured it out really fast though. Ignore her. When she is being naughty "testing her independence" don't pay attention. That's what she wants. When she realizes that her behavior will not get a reaction from you then it will cease...quickly.
When my son was three, I thought I was the worst parent ever. I blamed myself. After talking to others I realized it is every single child. Once she hits four-ish this stuff will disappear as fast as is came. Until then, hold your breath and realize it's only a phase.

pastepmomof3's picture

Agree w/ Texas Belle. This is the nature of the beast...she's learning what buttons to push. Hang in there, you'll both work through it. The idea about the cards or chart that she can show daddy would probably work pretty well because sounds like Dad is a little oblivious. Good luck Smile

christinen's picture

I feel your pain! I have a SD who is almost 3 and does the same thing. DH thinks she is a little angel but I think she is more like satan. DH says it will get better as she gets older, but everyone else tells me it only gets worse!

overit2's picture

3 year olds are a pain in the ass...step kid or bio kid, period! probably is a phase...and as others pointed out if she feels love and safe with you is probably why she's starting to test you right now.