I am a single father with a 9 year old son and I married a widow (her daughter was only 2 months old then) with a 9 year old daughter (now 12 years). The step-daughter was primarily pampered and raised by my wife and her maternal grandparents. My wife married me despite her parents vehement objections to the marriage. The daughter was a witness to the family arguments against the marriage with me. However, my wife got her way after convincing her parents that I (the husband) will bear ALL the cost of raising the step-family and that all my wife's prior earnings and savings will only go to her daughter.
My wife has been a homemaker of her own choice (more than 3 years) since marriage and is not inclined to go to work any time soon. While family monthly requirements are more than what I earn, I am three jobs to keep my family going. Under such circumstances, my 12 year old step daughter has rejected me as a step-father for all practical purposes and ignores me in a disrespectful manner at every opportunity and gets every thing done through her mother. She does not even talk to me and treats me like a stranger in my own house. On the other hand, my own 9 year old son, has completely accepted my wife as a mother more than his own mother and has also accepted my step daughter as his own sister and he respects and treats both of them with utmost respect and affection. He has voluntarily shared virtually everything that belonged to him in the house. And he always tries to make peace between everybody.
In return my step-daughter only spews hatred, harsh words, and demonstrates a hostile behavior at every opportunity. She even accuses me of discrimination against her if she does not get what she wants. All my efforts to change her mindset and earn her trust and love so far has only proved in vain. It is emotionally unbearable that I should be ignored and treated with least respect by the step daughter. My wife wishes that I ignore her daughter's wrong attitude and behavior and I just somehow learn to live with it.
I am at the present very close to the point of a breakdown. Can someone help me survive this emotional war unleashed on me by my step-daughter and to some extent by my wife.
Thank you much for your advice. We tried family counselling for a few months. Me, my biological son and my wife openly (my stepdaughter's mother) to an extent were willing work on my stepdaughter's behavioral problems. But depressingly no change was noticed what-so-ever.. I was even wondering if my wife was really trying to implement some of the suggestions given by the family counsellor. My wife fully understands that her daughter has behavioral problems but I think she wants me to accept her the way she is being a part of the marriae package deal and live with it. As far as I am concerned it is easy said than done and I just could not bear myself have to go to my own house and lay on the couch like a stranger on the park bench and this 12 year old stepdaughter goes about her business as if I do not even exist on that spot. If I indulge in conversation with her she will mostly have a one word answer and will NOT volunteer for any little chore in the house.
I can understand my wife's dilemma but I just do not know how long I can carry on being a stranger in my house. I am afraid that this may lead to the disintegration of my "so called" family if we did not do anything concrete in the near future. ????
Specifically, what did her whole family object about you so strongly? is it possible that the stepdaughter didn't just blindly believe what was being said negatively about you, but in fact feels the same way as your wife's parents?
You sound like you have made a real effort here, and I'm thinking there's something in your post that you aren't saying - some reason her family an her daughter don't accept you.
I'm not trying to sound blaming, just trying to figure out why her family was so vehement about her not marrying you - if there is a cultural difference, or some reason . . . I'm having a hard time thinking of what . . . that would make the stepdaughter have a hard time warming up.
Thanks again for your interpretation of my situation.
Well, my inlaws initially had their doubts (because I was a divorcee and their daughter a widow). However, after my inlaws stay with my family for about 6 months I believe they became fairly confident that I was not necessarily the kind of guy they feared. So the left in peace, and I think they also tried to convice their grand daughter to accept me as step-dad. May it was too little too late and after all that water had flowed under the bridge!
Presently their (my wife and inlaws) expectation of me is for me to accept my step-daughter the way she is with the hope that some day she will change and start accepting me. Is it too greedy on my part to expect a decent, caring and respectful relationship with my step-daughter, not even to the "envious" affectionate relationship my 9 year old son has with his step mother and my wife.
In the last few days my step daughter has not done anything drastic to insult me or upset me. But I see that is only like the calm before the storm. And her temper is such that she says, she sometimes has no control over it. During those temper tantrums, my step daughter acts and says words to me and my wife that is very hurtful. However, she later makes peace with her mother privately but not with me. She never apologizes to me for anything unless her mother and grandparents forces her to. She would only very reluctantly say I am sorry.
I always longed for a loving daughter. But I hope that this 12 year old daughter do not bring down the marriage. I hate to say this- but for my son's loving relationship with his step-mother, this marriage would have already run into troubled waters.
hi! i'm so sorry for what you are going through with your step daughter. i just wanted to tell you that if you give her time, she will come around. i was 10 when my mom married my step dad and i was awful to him! i talked back, ignored him, and if he were to engage in a conversation with me i always had sarcastic comments. i feel that it is just a phase. if you show her that you love and care for her i feel she will gradually let her guard down. it took me a while to have those feelings for my stepdad but as of today he is in my eyes my father. pre teen and teenage years are some of the worse years in a young girls life. i know before my mom married my stepdad i was so used to getting exactly what i wanted that i resented my step dad when he came along b/c he put a stop to all that. granted, my mom was more compliable then what i'm reading your wife is. your wife is going to have to work with you on this one. if not, it's going to be a lost cause....at least for the next couple of years. just let your step daughter know you are there for her no matter what. you might be surprised by her reaction!
Hmmm, I'm not a step-parent, but given your wife is a widow, is it possible that the daughter has not resolved the loss of her real father? Based on your post, I wonder if she is scared that now that her real father is gone, she is just supposed to forget and pretend that he never existed now that you're in the picture? Do you and your wife talk openly about her real dad? Or is it a topic that everyone avoids?
I'd guess that she feels the memory of her real dad is very threatened by you. In time as she matures she may finally realize and understand that this is part of the nitty gritty ugliness or life (losing people we love and having to move on without them). But in the meantime it might not hurt to see if anyone (esp the mom) has ever explained to the girl that you are not here to absolutely replace her dad - you're here as part of that moving on process. Some counselling might really benefit her as well, at least to help her understand that the loss of her real dad IS unfair, tragic, and *not* her fault. It might also help her to identify the source and diffuse some of that anger sge is clearly venting on you. If she can gain some acceptance, then maybe she'll be able to accept that it's time to create a new everyday normal life routine. I don't know - this is just a shot in the dark. Good luck!
Hi, I can totally relate you on this one. I am not her step-mom yet, but we are engaged. It has only been this last six months or so that she has started treating me worse. I think part of it is that I have started putting my foot down on something around the house and her father has backed me and also that she is upset with her father and is taken it out on me rather then him. I am not sure about that, but before I came along she did what she wanted and was daddys angle. She is 16 and on probation for getting in trouble, this has been a very hard two years. I do not think that we will have a relationship till she gets out on her own. I have tried and tried, I am tired of trying to convince her that I am here for her, that I love her, and that I want the best for her. She has a step-mom already (ex) and to make it worse she doesnt speak to her real mom. Her ex step mom is not a good role model, she is the nothing like me. Does not keep a nice house, lets her listen to bad music, lets her curse, no problem with her friends, clothing, and calls her drunk. It is very hard for me to gain her respect when the women she calls mom is like a kid herself. I have given up, I hate to say that. I can stress myself out any longer. I treat her the way she treats me, I feel she is hold enough to respect me and if she don't I wont her. I wish you luck with your step daughter she is younger and hopefully will come around. I feel mine is a lost cause... Thank you!!
Hi, I ran across your question and thought I'd comment. I'm in a similar situation and have been for the past four years. I divorced my first husband and married my new husband four years ago. He's a widower with four kids. We had a daughter together soon after we married and my 12 yr old stepdaughter's behavior has gotten worse since the baby was born. I've taken her to therapy off/on and basically what it comes down to is that she is now dealing with the loss of her mother (with anger) and is taking it out on me. Her dad's lack of consistent parenting has made it easier for her to try to manipulate situations and try to play us against each other. I am under so much stress and sometimes I don't even want to go home after working all day because I know that I will be greeted with disrespect and no gratitude for anything that I do for her. My husband is now in individual therapy to deal with his lack of parenting issues, guilt for being a widower/single parent before he met me, etc. and it is helping. It's a slow process for us and it's still very stressful. I honestly don't know if I'll ever have a decent relationship with my step daughter, but at least I know that I've done everything I can to try to help her. And my husband and I have learned that we have to present a united front to his daughter to minimize manipulation and disrespectful behavior. Good luck to you and your family. Make sure your wife goes to therapy. She may need to addresss her own parenting issues and learn to set limits with her daughter.
Hi, I'm not sure if this is a dead thread or not but I am going through a horendous time similar to yours. My stepdaughter is 16 and if I ask her or her brother the simplest thing, she flips out on me and tells me I have no rights. My marriage is suffering horribly. And I am scared it will end. At some point in time, you must ask your self if it is really worth it. Because she will be in your life forever.
I feel for you and am passed my breaking point now. I recommend a boarding school or you might try Boys Town in Omaha NE. they can do amazing things there and as a graduate of Boys Town, they pay for your college. So check that out.
Luckily, we don't have full custody of my stepdaughter.
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