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Avatar universal

Father and daughter too intimate

I've been going through this same thing with 17 yr old stepdaughter.  She lives with us.  Her and I are very close.  I love her.  Everyone screaming jealousy when a woman makes this observation needs to understand, it's not that.  Perhaps sometimes, but not every time.  Neither is it incestuous. But it IS a behavior problem.  My stepdaughter spooning/snuggling her dad, stroking his arms/hair, lip kisses, a need to know where he is always, talking in a baby voice to him.  It's NOT healthy.  And for anyone that thinks this behavior curbs reckless sexual behavior- it doesn't.  She is very sexual.  She thinks it's funny to touch guys at school near their crotch and watch them get erections.  She does that in the same stroking manners she uses on her father. She has a boyfriend she has sex with. She is always talking about inappropriate things in front of her father like tender nipples, or difficulty getting a tampon in as she is so "tight".  For the women claiming jealous- do you find that appropriate conversation with a father? I would think not.
Of course bringing these issues up has caused great turmoil in my relationship. He says they don't think like that.  Always believing in her innocence.  
She is not affectionate like this with her bio mother.  She has to force her daughter to hug her.  Her mother is wonderful and loving, and wants nothing more in the world than a close relationship with her daughter. So rule out unhealthy female relationships- that's not it.
My SD is a senior this year and is pretty helpless.  She seems to think she will always be taken care of.  By men.  I have a theory that herein lies the problem. I wonder if because she has always seen her father as such a good caretaker, that she tried to emulate the relationship he once had with her mother and now with me? Like, if she behaves intimately with him, he will care for her like a wife. Emotionally and financially.  I've seen a lot about these "too close" father/daughter relationships that go on into adulthood, with the daughters rarely being independent, well adjusted women.  
With my theory, this is an unhealthy behavior that should be stopped.  Parents and children can be very close without it having to be physical.  My 16 year old son and I have a great relationship. We don't pet and touch all over each other. He's very hardworking and independent.  She is lazy and selfish.  Once again, here is the problem. Not the touching, but the motive as well as the result.  
For the women on here having this issue with 10-12 year olds- great! They are at a perfect age to start curbing these behaviors and teaching them independence. But your husband must be on board.  Mine, thankfully, now is.  And it's working!
Don't be resentful to the child or husband if you can help it.  Try to make them understand the outcome you are striving to achieve- a healthy, confident, independent adult.  Leave the "incest" word out of it.
16 Responses
Avatar universal
I really enjoyed reading this post! I'm glad your hubby is now on board!! Thankfully this is not an issue I deal with but as a parent I try to stay abreast of all parenting topics JUST IN CASE... I am glad you shared BC I feel it will help so many. I agree with you completely and it truly seems as if you are looking at the situation from all angles and are aware of your emotions and motives! Best of luck to you!
Avatar universal
I am not sure if you are asking a question or making a statement.  

"I've seen a lot about these "too close" father/daughter relationships that go on into adulthood, with the daughters rarely being independent, well adjusted women.   With my theory, this is an unhealthy behavior that should be stopped."......I agree, but to be perfectly honest this can happen with any child not just with daughters.  It's up to the father to keep this from happening; he is the biggest influence here.....actually the bio parents are.

When exactly did you enter this child's life?

Not to be rude, but this stepdaughter is the result of the parenting.  I am assuming you came into the child's life late and to be honest your influence will not be that strong in regards to changing this child's behavior as you didn't raise her the majority of her life.

I am a stepmother and I get what you are saying, but I find taking more of a supportive role is better than trying to take a dominate role in regards to dealing with my stepchildren.  Sounds like your intentions are good.  Let the bio father and bio mother take more of a dominate role.......let them take the lead.    

Nowadays it seems this problem is becoming more and more common........maladjusted young adults that are financially dependent.  I don't think your stepdaughter is wanting any "wife role," however, it does sound like she has some issues that need addressed.  You stated her father is a "good caregiver."  Perhaps he is too much of a "caregiver" to his daughter hence the lazy, selfish and helpless.

"She seems to think she will always be taken care of.  By men."........Where do you think she learned this?  Maybe your husband should do less giving and more letting this child do for herself.

As far as the sexual undertones, etc........her father needs to CURB this kind of talk, etc.  in his presence.  Remember, he is the ADULT and she is the child.  Children do what that can get away with if YOU let them.  If he ALLOWS this she will DO it.  
Avatar universal
I could not agree with you more.  I have been in her life for 5 years, but she only moved in 1 year ago.  Because it is absolutely my husbands job to deal with this behavior, I have only addressed it with him, never with her.  Except when she says inappropriate things.  I tell her ladies don't speak about those things in the company of men.
As far as the sexualized physical interaction- we had to speak to a psychiatrist about what is appropriate at her age.  The psychiatrist felt the same as me. And this was a lady who had lost her teen to a car crash, so I believe she was very objective in her view.
I have never ever blamed my stepdaughter.  It is a parents job to set boundaries.  I just don't like the fact, if a stepmom is ever concerned, people claim she's jealous of an obviously loving father.
Just being loving is not enough to mold your child into a responsible adult.
Avatar universal
" I just don't like the fact, if a stepmom is ever concerned, people claim she's jealous of an obviously loving father.".........Obviously, this can be the case but not always.  People tend to generalize too much in my opinion in regards to these matters and it seems they are people who have never been stepparents and aren't dealing with stepchildren.  That's my observation.  

I have stepchildren, so I can see your view pretty clearly.  Plus, I am a bio mother; I have one son.  

"Just being loving is not enough to mold your child into a responsible adult."......Absolutely agree.  There is way MORE involved.  

Well, unfortunately, she (your SD), has been molded into this less than ideal young lady and it's making you cringe as the situation is very concerning.  She will soon be an adult legally and that is scary.

Where is the bio mother in all this and does she know her daughter does this behavior with the father?  

Avatar universal
Her mother had quite a hard time with her and my husband and I never understood it, as we think she is such a sweet, good girl.  Our time with her previously was limited to weekends, holidays, and a month in summer.  Also lots of texts.  She was ALWAYS grounded or in trouble for one thing or another.  Her dad played the role of her defender and would argue with her mom on the phone about this unfair treatment. My SD and I were pretty good friends, and still are.
But since moving in, I started seeing some of the issues her mother complained about.  She's very lazy, ungrateful, inconsiderate, and selfish.  I'm saying this after a year of her rarely saying please or thank you, never offering to help, her feeling superior to other people, and entitled to some amazing life she never puts any work toward, because she's "cute". Her words.
Her mom and I talk regularly about these behaviors, but I haven't stressed her (what I consider) strange physical relationship with her father. The baby talk and such I have, as well as hand holding, but unless you see the caressing and the way she seems to want sexual affirmation from her dad, I've left out.
Avatar universal
Her dad has a hard time being a disciplinarian or seeing any fault in his daughter. He prefers his ex or I to do that, which is not a fair position to put me in as a stepmom.  We have house rules and if they are broken, certain punishments.  Those are easy ones for me, as they are non negotiable.  The hard thing for me is to deal with the other character traits. It's really not my place, but I worry for her. We will not financially support any of our adult children. She's so helpless I don't know how she plans to survive in the real world.
Avatar universal
Well.......voilà, there is the problem; the two BIO parents aren't in accord.  The mother is a disciplinarian and the father isn't.  The father passively parents.  Is this why your SD moved in with you and your husband?

I completely understand the worrying about her, but hey she will get a rude awakening to what REALLY happens in the real world shortly.  

BTW:  I don't financially support adult children as well.  My husband and I had an issue with his oldest not too long ago.  The issue is resolved.  He works and takes care of his own bills, etc.

All you can do for her is HOPE for the best.  
Avatar universal
She moved in because her mom was moving again and she didn't want to start a new school again.  It would have been her 4th since8th grade.  She already had friends where we live and felt more comfortable coming here.  Her mother was in a state of extreme mourning for her fathers sudden death, and just couldn't really deal with her at the time, so she let her come without a fight.  My SD and I have always been very close.  Closer than she is to either of her parents. But being in this new role is hard! Being responsible for how she turns out is stressful. I have to reveal things to her parents now that I would not have before, to make her father see her as she really is. Warts and all. It was imperative for him to stop seeing and treating her like a little girl.
We have boundaries of appropriate touch now.  He has also had to take role of disciplinarian.  I confer with her mother and stepfather on practically everything. Coming together this way is helping her.
When she said "daddy, snuggle me!" In her baby voice, my husband simply said- you are 17 now.  You are too old to snuggle with your father.
This is not being harsh. It's just setting boundaries. He still lets her know he loves her, but in age appropriate ways now.
Avatar universal
"Being responsible for how she turns out is stressful.".........I wouldn't put that pressure on yourself.  She is responsible for how she turns out, not you.  The choice is hers.  

Sounds like you are doing all you can to steer the situation in a more healthy, positive direction.  You've taken the "blinders" off the situation so to speak and pointed out the good, bad and ugly.  This is important if there is going to be any change.  

Well Mariam......yeah, it is difficult to be in this position, but I think you are doing great and have made progress.  This will take time and of course change doesn't happen overnight.

Hang in there.  
Avatar universal
I am having a simular situation, my step daughter is going to be 14, and is mimicing what I do with her father...(kissing softly on forhead, tickeling neck,ear, rubbing down leg, laying beside or on top of him. Things that I never would see me or my father do. I was a daddy's girl, didnt come from a divorced family. I adore my father, and know he adores me. Im confused I guess on whats appropriate, I have three beautiful daughters that are close to thier fathers,but never see this kind of behavior. Close, yes,but not tgat intimate. I say intimate only because its what we do. He will climb in bed whit her and tickel, and snuggle like we do. I hate thst most will think i am jealous, not jealous, have an amazing relationship with both my parents. I am worrief that it could do more harm then good, she is getting in th o a very hormonal stage. Also, I have had 3 semesters of psychology, which is why I'm probably alittle distressed.
Avatar universal
You are being too nice about it. The second i see my stepdaughter petting her father in even a moderately inappropriate way id say "hey thats your dad get off him like that only husband and wife show affection like that" or as soon as she mentioned nipples i would say "hey we dont talk like that in this house talk about that **** with your girlfriends"  its not mean, its truthful and direct. She needs be told to quit acting slutty or she will end up pregnant or with an std and all alone or with a man who treats her like crap. Shes old enough to hear thw truth.  Screw this "nurture her feelings" crap and talk to this girl like the adult shes trying to be! Take control of your home and marriage.  Good luck dear
Avatar universal
Daughters need appropriate affection with their Fathers with appropriate touching such as a pat to the back and certainly side hugs. If a girl does not receive this from her Father she tends to become promiscuous with boys her own age. I lived in an extended family because my Mother and Father divorced when I was 2 and 1/2 years old in 1945. My mother and I, moved in with my Mother's parents as she could not make enough money working as a waitress to have a place of her own and support my younger brother and myself.

The family culture was English and German so emotions were not expressed and there were no touches, hugs, or other physical signs of affection between anyone. My mother said that she was starved for appropriate affection from her Father and had issues with promiscuity with boys as she explained to me when I was an adult and she was explaining why she had had a child (my older brother when in High School and had to give him up.

When I was much older (35 y/o) and became a Registered Nurse specializing in psychiatry I became much more educated and worked  with patients who had these problems what my Mother had told me was confirmed.

In a family dynamics class I took once, I was taught something that applies to this Father Daughter issue. That is; that the best thing a married couple can do for their children is to keep their own romantic and sexual love for each other strong and alive. The children thrive in an atmosphere where their parents are affectionate and loving with each other. The parents must be affectionate with each other in front of their children and tell their children they are having "Married time" or a better term, go into their bedroom that they have installed a lock on the doors and let the children know they will be back in a couple of hours or whatever.

Too often the cliché of "The children are more important" becomes the attitude of the Mother and the Father then retreats to work or some interest like sports. There is then estrangement and emotional distance between the parents. This is an unhealthy climate for the children and attachments that are too close and too affectionate can occur between the Father and Daughter and between the Mother and Son (which is suspiciously absent from the comments I read).

I hope that what I have shared that I learned in my clinical practice and shared from my personal family experience have been helpful for someone. One of the things I learned is that the Family is a unit and is a whole. Any problem that appears is a "Family Problem" and is a symptom of a lack of balance or too use a stronger term. a "family dysfunction" not a dysfunction of just one of the Family members. When I worked on an Adolescent Psychiatric unit the adolescent patient in the hospital was called the, "Identified patient" but was understood by the staff as a symptom of a dysfunctional family and family therapy was needed.
I'm having a this problem with my boyfriend of 3 years and his 8 year old daughter. She trys to do the same things I do with her dad, and it just seems unhealthy. If I kiss him passionately on the lips she will look at me with a mug and do just that. She always wants to be in the bed with him and spoon/snuggle. She has her own room and has only slept in there twice in 2 months and she comes over 2 or 3 times a week. She will say, oh my dad is sleeping with me, or I'm sleeping with him. One time I was hugging on him and kissing him, and she walked in and kinda like nudged me out the way, sat on his lap and started doing just as if it were me. Everyone she comes over she acts as though she took over completely and she is his woman. I'm jealous?  No, I'm concerned. It seems very unhealthy,that she tried to play my roll. My boyfriend doesn't see what I'm talking about, and in turn, he is kind of condoning it. What do I do?
Avatar universal
Wow. I do not buy that the dad "didn't think anything" of his daughter rubbing anywhere near his crotch. I hope you were perceptive enough during all of this "rubbing" going to have checked to make sure he never got aroused!  
Avatar universal
My hat is off to you for handling this so well. I was in a similar situation and left the relationship over it.  I really liked him, too!!  But the whole thing; dad afraid to discipline, perfect daughter but in reality a turn off to everyone else. It was too gross for me and I didn't have the faith it would turn out well. What I saw coming was a dynamic that could only be sustained by these two people. No one else would put up with her behavior, and she filled a role for him too. ***** for me, but that was a hot mess I wish I would've identified earlier.  We kept kids out of it for a long time, to be sure of our relationship.   Now I see why.

I hope all went well for you and your family!
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You say you are not jealous, but you certainly sound jealous. The child, and she IS a child, is showing affection to your husband that you feel is inappropriate and your description does sound inappropriate, but her father knows her better than you do and it's up to him, as the adult, to make a determination if her behavior crosses a line. You have a lot of complaints about her as well as a lot of VERY personal information. How on earth do you know she likes to touch boys at school and watch them get erections??? She was there before you were, and while you have the right to have input into her behavior it is really the duty of her father to put this misbehavior in check, if it indeed is misbehavior and you are not exaggerating it. Your problem is not the child, your problem is with your husband. As I said, he knows her better than you do and if he does not see a problem with her but you force the issue he will eventually feel you are trying to drive a wedge between him and his child. If you are treating her badly she is going to turn to her father even more. Do you honestly believe she wants an intimate relationship with her father???
Avatar universal
"Neither is it incestuous. But it IS a behavior problem. "

Please get a new therapist. Ask them to help you with your mistrust and control issues
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