Stepmother Struggles With Spoiled 10 Year Old Stepdaughter

Gold Goat

Dear Elsa,

I’ve been married a year and a half; my husband is good and all. I have a eighteen year old by a previous marriage and he really likes my husband. My husband has a ten year old girl; she doesn’t care if she has a relationship with me or not. I have went above and beyond as any of my friends would tell you. My husband’s best friend says she is the most spoiled girl he knows.

At Christmas, she quickly opened the presents and then asked what time it was and wanted to leave. I was not the “other woman” by any means. I would never do that. My question is how can I deal with the little girl? My husband is blind sighted by her. She would love to have him to herself again; it is making life miserable. On Christmas I hugged her and was so kind and had tons of gifts, but she didn’t hardly want to say bye. She is cold to my parents and son as well.

It’s like I could never know what it is I’m supposed to be doing to get her to like me. On the way home from Christmas with us, she told my husband she didn’t want to come again. He tried to talk to her about it. I told him that he should not make her think life is about her. That is my style of parenting. I believe you can spoil a little but also teach respect – and courtesy is so important.

I am worn out with trying planning to detach and rest. My husband is beginning to get resentful, I can feel it. I hate tension in the home but I am at wits end. Help.

Step Mom

Dear Step Mom,

Your stepdaughter sounds like a pain and I feel for you. However she seems to be acting in a way very typical for a girl her age and in her circumstances.

I understand what you want. You want these people to function in a way that is healthier; however, if they ever manage to do this, it will be in their own way and on their own time schedule and in fact the harder you push, the more resistance you are likely to meet.

And you mention your husband is becoming resentful so you have to start asking yourself at this point, what it is that you want. Do you want to keep him? Because if you do, you’re going to have to take a new tack. Because like it or not, this is their family system. This is how they operate and you should never underestimate the power of a family bond. Families don’t like outsiders telling them how to be!

See, he resents you and you resent his daughter. And if you wonder about that, just read your mail. On the surface you are buying her gifts… but beneath that, you have as much contempt for her as she does for you.

And you are building a case against her. Against a 10 year old! Not only will your friends support you, his friend will support you! And I don’t mention this to poke holes in you. I am trying to help you by showing you what you’re doing, so you can cease and desist and get your power back. Because you are an adult woman! And you do not need to be battling a 10 year old girl! So here’s another plan… for your Capricorn Moon who likes them.

Forget about fighting this girl. Forget about convincing your husband his daughter sucks and forget about telling him how he ought to parent. And it’s not because I don’t agree with you, because I do! It’s because it’s not working!

Focus instead on setting an example. Be an incredible adult role model. Refuse to be dragged down. Leave the house if you must. Anything to resist your urge… your compulsion to control the way these people act. Your stepdaughter will have a heck of a time getting to you when she doesn’t get to you, huh?

And as an added bonus, if you can manage this, not only will be much happier, your sense of who you are will be more solid which will increase your attractiveness as a human being ten-fold. So you get the idea. Stop doing something that doesn’t work and start doing something that will. If you change, they’ll change. This is a law of nature.

Good luck.

 

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Stepmother Struggles With Spoiled 10 Year Old Stepdaughter — 9 Comments

  1. Note to self (pounding it hard in my own hard head):

    Stop doing something that doesn’t work
    Stop doing something that doesn’t work
    Stop doing something that doesn’t work
    Stop doing something that doesn’t work
    Stop doing something that doesn’t work

  2. stepmom- being a stepmom is a tough job. i know, ’cause it’s one i signed up for. you have all the responsbilities of parenting without the perks, or respect. you have to deal with kids that you aren’t bonded with, and regardless of your relationship with your husband, if it’s between you and his kids, you’re going to lose. so you have to find a different tack. and forget the presents! you can’t buy what you need here, and it’s not like a kid doesn’t get what’s going on, even at 10.

    get yourself some books on stepparenting, because that helps. understand that the kid’s reaction to you isn’t about you; it’s about her, her pain, her confused feelings of loyalty, lots of other crap that has nothing to do with you.

    stop worrying about what she should or shouldn’t do. she is who she is, and your husband will love her even if she sprouts horns and starts sacrificing the neighborhood cats, ok? the only arguement that will get you anywhere with him is what’s going to help her in the long run, not what she “should” do or not.

    fact is, you can’t just add a wedding and suddenly become a parent in an already functioning family. it’s not that easy!

    it can be done, yes. but it requires a flexibility that has to be developed; it requires getting tough enough not to let some little kid make or break your day; it requires letting go of the “brady bunch” fantasy and being willing to develop your own family dynamics that includes everybody and what works for you.

    and if you have a tough time with this, consider getting some therapy to help. it’s not easy to learn what you need to, but it can make or break your marriage. so it’s important.

    good luck and peace out.

  3. Super Right-On, Elsa!! This is one situation where it is best to disengage emotionally, and realize that this might always be a peripheral relationship for the stepmom and stepdaughter, despite having the dad/husband in common.
    Good luck, stepmom!

  4. When my father remarried, I was fortunate enough to have a step mom who went above and beyond to get to know me and make a family with us all. She made dates for us to chat, shop, or eat. She went out of her way to make dates for my father and I so we still had alone time.. just as she made dates for my father and her so they too had alone time.
    It really helped in making a healthy family. Sure, I still resented her being there for a while, I still acted out, as kids do. But, she knew I saw her as an outsider and she did her best to make everyone ‘fit’ into the new family.
    It was a lot of hard work on her part and I now appreciate every ounce of energy she put into us.

    Once the kinks were worked out and everyone started participating in making it a family, we were a family.
    Best of luck

  5. I dated for ten years and had men run off due to my kids. Finally, I met a man who wasn’t willing to buy them. He wasn’t willing to kow-tow to them or try desperately to make them like him. He respected them, but he set his boundaries. It was hell for nearly two years as they battled him and tried to get him to run. He didn’t. They now think he is the best thing that ever happened to them. They love him completely…and respect him. 🙂

  6. Well I know these comments have helped me. My situation isn’t NEAR what these are, but my 10 year old step daughter really disappointed me this last weekend, we were supposed to see high school musical 3 together on our girls day that we’d been planning for 2 months, and AFTER the movie she told me she seen it the weekend before with her grandma. just broke my heart, and we (my husband and i) both really let her have it for being disrespectful AND lying, but i feel its also a loyalty thing, she has none to us, and she does for her mom & that side of her family. but everyone’s comments helped me to grow up some and not take this so personally… i am going to get a good book on being a step-mom so i can keep this all in better perspective. thanks you all so much.

  7. I have a step granddaughter. She is pretty nice. My husband bought her an Xmas gift and not me.he rubbed in my face that he went to 5 places to find her a music box an she loved it. She wants erring if he buys them for me so he bought her 80.00 earrings. She lost them.. This is retarded. I had a stepmother that my father left my mother for. She was nice but constantly put us down to his family and complained that he had to pay 50.00 child support. We saw our dad once a year. I get the worse end the stick from both sides… If I divorce, I want nothing to do with a guy with kids.. This is my spouses step granddaughter.

    Que sera sera…. I will try to do my own thing but he wants me there when she is around….go figure…he seems more like a child then her…. I tell u the truth… I would not have married a man who doesn’t buy his wife a Christmas gift. Looks like I’m stuck for now… I’m sceared of how this pretty nice girl might treat me in the future…just cause my spouse seems to encourage what’s not nice… Why o why… I feel doomed….I got ripped off… Did not sign up for this…

  8. Wow I have a 10 year old step child that’s spoiled beyond belief and just reading this post has helped already. Thank you. I have two children of my own who are very respectful so my poroblem is she is influencing my children in a negative way. I’ve let it go she’s going to continue reaching her arms up say uppy uppy to be picked up even at ten when her father can now barely lift her! She’s not changing and hes not either. But how can displine my children for things she dose with no punishment. She been cought eating candy with out asking next day my child dose it and I punish her even tho the older child got away with it. What do you do when you don’t want your children thinking its okay to act like the step child.

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