Newlywed Step Mom Struggles With Her Stepdaughter

cancer doll madame alexanderDear Elsa,

I am newlywed, with a nine-year old stepdaughter. His daughter liked me… until I married her father. Then, she began wanting to sleep with us. We told her she needed to sleep in her new bedroom. She kept asking my husband and he did put her back; he knew I meant it. So now she wont even come over.

I love her. She tells my husband she does like me but she doesn’t want to come. I feel like a outcast and she is so spoiled by her grandma. My husband says there is nothing he can do. We don’t want to force her, but she should want to come see her dad. So he goes occasionally and takes her to lunch, then to her grandmas, that’s all.

I have been good to her. I’ve been friendly but I can do no more. I am worn out.


Dear Stepmom,

I am not sure what you’re asking for here, other than an outside perspective – so I’ll give you one. It sounds to me like you’ve done a very good job with this situation in all ways and on all levels. And it sounds like your stepdaughter is struggling to adjust. But it does not sound as if the situation is ominous or anything like that.

Look. Her dad had a girlfriend, that’s one thing. But now he’s made a commitment, so of course this is going to rock her world. So she reverts back to wanting to sleep with him… which basically only means, she wants to be reassured she is still his number one girl.

And some women out there would freak about that, but not you. You seem to get it, completely. You want this family intact. So here is my advice:

First, try to detach a bit. Look at the situation intellectually, rather than getting all emotional about it. What this girl needs is her daddy to tell her she’s a big deal. So encourage him to do that. To shore her up and let her know he loves the living shit out of her, regardless of his relationship with you.

Next, lay off the grandma. The spoiling, or whatever she is doing, is only going to bother you if you let it. Forget about her, and play your own game. Because your motives are good. You want a strong family and if you keep yourself clear, and focused on your positive, high-minded goal, I am pretty sure you will win out. Know why?

Because your stepdaughter likes you, remember? And no doubt, this is because you’re a good person. She’s just trying to come to terms with the change. And even in this midst of this crisis, she still has good things to say about you, so you know how I read that? This is the girl talking: “I’m intrigued with the new deal, my dad’s wife, but I am very frightened and I am not sure how I fit in. I don’t know how to act and I don’t have anyone to ask…”

Now you’re a Cancer sun, so you know what to do. You’re a natural “mother” and you can work this out. Just take it very slow and easy and help this girl feel secure and safe in her new home.

Good luck.

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Newlywed Step Mom Struggles With Her Stepdaughter — 4 Comments

  1. gosh, stepparenting can be challenging, huh? just a couple of quick thoughts from an old stepmom:

    * consider accompanying your husband on his brief visits. the longer you’re away from this girl, the more difficult it gets.

    * plan activities that include everyone to replace the dad-only lunches with family activities. while one-on-one time is important for them, you also need the opportunity to continue buiding a relationship with her. it would probably help if she got some special attention from dad while you’re around, to cement the idea that she doesn’t lose dad if you’re in the picture.

    * if she didn’t participate directly in decorating her room at your house, that may help.

    * i understand you don’t want to push her if she doesn’t want to come, but her refusals to visit because she didn’t get her way isn’t good, you know? that’s too much power for a kid. i don’t have a good answer for it, but it’s something to be aware of.

    * you may be able to transition back with a special occassion or activity. a weekend trip including daughter? an early-morning start to the amusement park that would encourage her to stay over? i don’t want to suggest bribing her, but having a special occassion may help making the move back.

    anyway, hope maybe some of my thoughts help, and good luck!

  2. goddess makes some good points. Can you call her and tell her that you miss her? Send her a “just because” card? Ask her to come visit because you’d like her to help you bake her dad a cake? Just things to remind her that she likes you and that you like her. Then you can help her see that you’re not the competition; you’re both on the same side. Good luck to you!

  3. You have received some excellent advice here. I can completely relate to how you feel, except that I’m much more of an “outcast” because I’m not yet living with my mate – I visit him at his farm, and none of his three grown daughters (18, 22 and 26) will even meet me. I’m planning on moving in with him July 1st. The oldest two are open to meeting me but the youngest one refuses, and has made it clear that when I’m at the farm, she will not go there – he must visit her at her mother’s place. She is very much the “daddy’s girl” and I can see all the same emotions in her as this 9 year old has. How can I have the advantage of her liking me if she won’t even meet me? She’s definitely on a power trip, and poor Dad is caught in between. Good luck – you have a lot of years ahead with the daughter and I hope they are good ones. At least I can console myself that these three are older and have their own lives.

  4. Thanks for comments guys very frustrated and i am not the other woman at all.I feel like i am though an out cast.I have a lot to offer this little girl.The only thing i know to do is back off and let her come to me.She may neverand that really hurts and im not the other woman ive been done that way by my ex and would never do it to someone.

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