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Name: Page
[ Original Post ]
Hi, I have three children. My oldest is from a previous relationship. She's 9. My husband was a great daddy-figure to her until we had our first together. Now my oldest and my husband are constantly at war. I don't think my husband treats her at all fairly, but also, my daughter pushes all his buttons just to make him mad. I don't think my daughter should have to put up with this kind of "abuse", but I don't know how to fix it. We've gone to counseling and it helped for about a month. I've asked him to leave on several occasions b/c I just can't take it anymore, and he says he'll try to work on it, so he stays. Things get better for a couple of weeks or a month, then it's back to the same thing.

What do I do? Any and all opinions would be appreciated!
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Name: rachelle | Date: Jul 18th, 2005 7:04 PM
You have to give him an ultimatum. "I'll try" isn't good enough...he actually has to do it! He won't do it unless he feels like he is going to lose something he needs. 

Name: Jessica | Date: Aug 10th, 2005 11:01 PM
At the age of 9, your daughter is fully aware of how people should and shouldn't be treated. Without knowing what "abuse" the stepfather is doing, it's hard to say what you should do. I think they both need to sit down and talk to each other about acceptable behavior and the acceptable consequences if behavior is unacceptable. Kids need to know what's going to happen when rules are not followed. I'm a stepparent myself and I can tell you that it's not easy when a child treats you like crap, then pushes all the buttons and expects the birth parent to jump to their rescue when they are held accountable for their behavior. The world doesn't work that way and it's unfair to raise a kid to believe that it does. Maybe the stepfather needs something in his hands to say what type of punishment should be handed out when behavior gets out of line? Just ideas. Good luck! 

Name: JULIA | Date: Sep 15th, 2005 6:26 AM

Name: Trinni | Date: Nov 16th, 2005 6:20 PM
honey I have been there and let me tell you...it scarrs a child and it makes you feel unwanted and look for love in other places and plenty of other mental and emotional issues can happen...I see it reflect in my life sometimes and I am 29 years old...do not put your baby girl through that hon......She will turn on you next ...DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN!!!! GET THAT MAN OUT OF THERE!!!! 

Name: Rebkah | Date: Dec 20th, 2005 2:45 AM
I'm in the same situation. My husband and daughter from a previous relationship don't get along. We have since had another child together. The new baby gets his love and attention while he nags my oldest at every turn. It is very disstressing. 

Name: Denise | Date: Jan 18th, 2006 8:30 PM
I wish I had an answer. I'm living in your same situatuation. I'm not sure which is worse-him tattling on her or her tattling on him. She's 15, so I expect her to confide in me. I NEVER expected to hear from a grown man, "yea, but SHE said...". Like you, when I intervene things get better for a while, then I hear my daughter mutter 'stupid mf' when she thinks no one can hear. It's sad to think she believes no one is on her side when I really do believe every word she says. My husband whines about everything that is not out of 'Leave it to Beaver', even the fact that I don't wear heels when he come home from work. (yea, right, like we can afford for me to spend money on HEELS! Wouldn't those look great with my sweats!) I tell him back off, nothing he says is going to change the situation, which is the absolute truth. If he does, and acts like a true step-dad should act, I believe the situation will improve. This macho-i'm-in-charge-of-the-world attitude turns off everyone and will not get him very far. Until he does that, I can't help him and her resentment will continue to build. 

Name: Dee Dee | Date: Jan 30th, 2006 3:29 AM
I have the same kind of situation except neither of my kids are his, and he treats my oldest like crap every chance he gets, "she doesn't dress appropriately, she gives him dirty looks, and she's mouthy"... she doesn't do ANY of these, i have witnessed it first hand when I've been in the room and he says she gives him a dirty look, but I didn't see NO dirty look. It's like he looks for things to say to her to try to hurt her feelings... I'm at my wits end and I can't take it anymore, all he does is cause me grief. I cry alot now, because i think that he should love her the same way i do, and he says he doesnt and never will.. i hate him for that..... 

Name: Helene | Date: Feb 13th, 2006 10:58 PM
I have a simular situation but all 3 of my kids are his. My youngest and him argue all the time, he blames her for everything, even if he doesnt see wat happens, and yes she pushes all his buttons, i think as a mother we always protect and i think i was ashamed to think that something was wrong wit my daughter cuz i felt like i did somethin wrong, but it turns out now she maybe depressed , were workin on it and next my husband. i dont know i think children in genral r challenging, all i have to say is good luck cuz i know how stressed i am, make life very hard, well if u need to talk email me or add me to msn, [email protected] 

Name: michelle | Date: Feb 27th, 2006 11:19 AM
I feel for you .Y our sitution sounds identical to mine.My boyfriend and my daughter are constantly at each others throats.It causes so many arguments,my daughter likes him but thinks he shouts at her all the time .He also call s her stupid a lot which i hate .like your own my daughter winds him up a lot .Im stuck in the middle and dont know what to do .I regret that our relationship wont continue for long .Good luck MICHELLE 

Name: Helene | Date: Mar 2nd, 2006 8:26 AM
Ya i end up in the middle too, it sucks, cuz most of our fights are cuz they cant get along, i hate it, i wish i had enough money to leave him but i dont. sucks to feel that way but shes still my baby and i cant take much more sometimes 

Name: sue | Date: Mar 2nd, 2006 4:59 PM
She's the child.

He's the adult.

He needs to change and only then will things change!

Name: sue | Date: Mar 12th, 2006 12:40 AM
all men are jerks . make him leave 

Name: sydtan | Date: Mar 13th, 2006 7:50 AM
i grow up with a stepmother like that i have always said that she is just jealus of me but know i have come to realize that is just how she is she is different i will tell you i lost a lot of respect for my mom and my dad for not doing anything about her she litterally was cinderellas wicked stepmother. i am 28 and still to this day some of the things she said to me stick in my mind whenever i have to be around her yes my dad is still with her and now i tell her and my dad off about it almost daily because now she is on my parenting your daughter will loose respect for you if you don't find a way to show her you are on her side and want them to get along my dad used to tell me and my sister i am going to lock the 3 of you in a rubber room until you can get along good luck 

Name: jeff | Date: Mar 15th, 2006 2:40 PM
Here's the other side of the arguement. I am engaged to a wonderful woman who has a daughter from a previous relationship. We also have a son together. Her daughter who is turning 6 y/o in May is rude and obnoxious. just this morning I said "good morning, Lilly" and she responded by completely ignoring me. She had no reason to be upset with me. We watched movies and played games last night until bed time and she was happy. This behavior happens all the time. A few days ago I drove her to school and she refused to talk to me the entire time. when I said goodbye and have a good day she just got out of the car and walked away. She is also defiant and often I have to address her bad behavior (no spanking) because her mother can't handle the stress. She often tells her mother that I don't like her because I get mad at her but never get mad at her 3 month old brother. It's not the jealousy issue because this was happening befor eth baby was born. She is already in counseling and after reading some of these posts I plan to get all of us in family counseling. I've tried everything up to and including bribery and nothing lasts. Any progress is short lived. So should I be kicked to the curb? Sometimes the issue is the child. Not all men are bad. 

Name: karen | Date: Apr 3rd, 2006 5:13 AM
i have the same situation. my daughter is16 and my new husband has been with us since shes 8.
we have a 4 year old together. dont as about the fights between them. i told my husband today dont make me choose between the two of you, you wont like the answer. he was surprised when i said my daughter comes first right or wrong. 

Name: Laura | Date: Apr 4th, 2006 10:03 AM
Most natural fathers and daughters from the age of 8 on up fight. So it only makes sense that stepdads and stepdaughters fight. In fact, if they DIDN'T, I would be a bit concerned as to why....do they not care about each other? It is a rare breed of father/daughter relationships that get along after the age of 8. So I would not necessarily blame this situation you are dealing with on the stepfamily relationship. Though I am sure it does play a part in it, I don't think I would call it the problems' source.

I would step back a bit and look at your husband from an outsider's view as well as you can. Is he immature (more then is natural for a man, lol)? Is he verbally abusive, calling her terrible names that you would not want to repeat? Is he really forcing her to do things that are unreasonable? (Your post has not mentioned any form of physical abuse, so I will not ask about that....seperating a child from such an environment goes without saying.)

Or is he just terribly frustrated because he cannot 'control' a 9 yr old, and floundering around because he does not know how to deal with it? It sounds to me, just by the little bit you have posted, that he is indeed trying. It sounds to me like the problem would be resolved if your daughter treated him with the respect due him. And it sounds like he needs to learn to enforce rules without anger.

I like Jessica's post, the second from the top....I think it is absolutely excellant, Page, and if I were you I would copy and paste it to a word document, and print it out to refer to it. Unlike mine, hers is short and sweet, lol.

"At the age of 9, your daughter is fully aware of how people should and shouldn't be treated. ......
I think they both need to sit down and talk to each other about acceptable behavior and the acceptable consequences if behavior is unacceptable. Kids need to know what's going to happen when rules are not followed. ..........
The world doesn't work that way and it's unfair to raise a kid to believe that it does. Maybe the stepfather needs something in his hands to say what type of punishment should be handed out when behavior gets out of line?

Such wonderful words of wisdom! I really believe this could be your ticket to a peaceful house....though it would take some time to enforce.

I recommend a book "Discipline that Lasts a Lifetime" by Dr. Ray Guarendi. Or any of his audio, or video tapes. Your library probably has them.


It is right around the age of 9 and 10 that a young girl starts to no longer listen to her parents, and starts to become very difficult to live with.

This stage peaks at the age of 13, then if this age has been handled properly, it subsides, your daughter's maturity will start to grow, and a workable relationship with proper communication can ensue again about the age of 15. This is just the natural flow of life for girls.

Girls of this age either have their daddy's wrapped around their fingers or are at terrible odds with them. Girls this age are very shrewd and learn quickly how they can control their environment. We as their parents are needing to be on top of this to raise them to be proper young adults who know how to treat others with respect.

It is natural for children to want their own way, and they will seek to get it using the ways with the best results. If one way doesn't work, they will try another.

You have noticed this, Page, with your 9 yr old already.

She "pushes all his buttons just to make him mad."

Obviously his "abuse" that you refer to, is not that hard on her...otherwise she would not push his buttons, she would avoid him in fear. Think about it.

Why does she do this?

She doesn't want to have to listen to him, so she is making him into a 'bad guy', and Page, you are asking him, your husband whom you hoped to spend the rest of your life with, who has fathered you two younger children, to leave over this.

Don't think she doesn't know this. This is an a lot of control you are inadvertantly placing in her hands. She now has control over your future, your husband's future, and the future of her siblings. But she doesn't fully grasp what this really means, she's not old enough to be able to.

Now I'm not trying to make her into some sort of insidious evil creature here. She does not know the consequences of her actions. Children that age cannot see beyond tomorrow very well. It's not that she wants your marriage to fail, Page, but she is discovering that with her actions she can control people and their emotions, which is right on the mark for her age. This is the age that we as parents need to teach them how to respect others at the expense of our own selfish wants.

She is putting you between a rock and a hard place.

The answer is not kicking your husband out, for your child will leave you in 10 short years Page. On the other hand your husband made a vow never to leave you. And you should not create a vacuum for your two younger children because your oldest chooses not to behave respectfully. The only reason you should kick your husband out, is if your child is being physically abused. All other abuse should be dealt with with intense counseling. If counseling doesn't work the first time, then try, try again. Counselors are different, and you may have to go to a few before you find one that is able to meet your family's needs.

Counseling is imperative at this time, Page.

Good luck.

You did ask for ALL opinions, lol 

Name: Chris | Date: Apr 4th, 2006 1:50 PM
that reminds me of a friend who once told me that it was as if his 13yr old daughter unzipped herself and out popped some horrid creature he did not know.

He once told his daughter "Who ARE you! And WHAT have you done with my DAUGHTER!!"

He told me this to prepare me with my own daughter who at the time was 10 and I was struggling.

When my daughter was 13, I was able to totally relate to what he told me. 

Name: lauren | Date: Apr 5th, 2006 8:30 PM
my dads has a new family and he dosent call me and dosent do stuff with me like dads are supose to do 

Name: charlie | Date: May 9th, 2006 6:08 PM
have you ever thought of what your daughter does behind your back, what she does before her stepfather submits her to 'abuse' as you call it? I agree with the person who wrote that the abuse isn't that bad or else she would be avoiding him, not winding him up!!
My mum remarried when I was 8, and to be honest I was very jelous. When they had a baby together when I was 9, I was inconsolable. I created trouble, did everything I could to make them argue. I only let my mum see the time when he was angry, not when I was winding him up!! I did everything I could to split them up amd to make them argue. Why?? not beacause he was ever nasty to me but because after I wasn't always the centre of attention like before. My mum would ask me what had happened and I would lie, she always believed me!!! Eventually they did split up when I was 14, all because of me. My mum spent all day crying, my sister didn't know what to do with herself and I was happy. Why?? beacause I had gotten what I wanted. Then 6 months llater I was trying to get them back together, my stepdad resented me but I could live with that, I loved him deep down and he was a great father. After 6 months of trying to get them back together I finally succeded saying that if they wanted I'd go to boarding school etc. My mum said yes I'd have to go but it was my stepdad Tony that said 'no way is my lil girl moving out'. I started crying, said I was sorry for everything and explained to my mum everything I had been doing to annoy him and boy did she get mad. She respected that I told her the truth and it made her realise that after years of her thinking that he was the bad guy, the bad guy was actually me. I still can't believe to this day the fact that he tells me he loves me every night before I go to bed after all I've put him through. He's the best dad in the world, it just took me a few years to see it. Everything was a result of my jeolosy. Don't LET your daughter do the same as I did, beacuse maybe your story wont have a happy ending like mine. Don't always blame the dad, blame the kid as well. 

Name: Nikita | Date: May 23rd, 2006 6:15 PM
Iam going thru the exact same thing, my daughter is 10. I don't know if I should deal with the situation or get rid of my husband. He's not abusive but he can be mean at times over small things and fault me for her behavior. I wonder if it would be fair for me to tell both of them to not communicate with the other. To keep the peace in the house. If you find a solution please let me know. Thanks 

Name: R U perfect yourself? | Date: May 23rd, 2006 8:03 PM
I guess it all depends on what marriage means to you. Did you marry with the intent of being a lifetime partner to a real human being, imperfections and all? Or is the 'until death do you part' bit only valid for those who marry perfect people with no faults? If marriage means the last one to you...sorry, then no one in the world will ever be really married. There are no perfect people. 

Name: laurevere | Date: Jul 29th, 2006 1:20 AM
Your daughter sees that she can manipulate your emotionally. My daughter did the same. One thing to be aware of, That is not his child and maybe she sees how he interacts with his own. The two of them need to have some alone time once or twice a week to re-establish her role as the ''BIG'' sister. If you do not do this now, you will have a divided house! Make her feel important and not pushed aside. She is "Jealous" and scared because she is losing her status. Give her another one and let her take charge with supervision. Let her tell you and have "HER" to write it down and show you what she can do, eventually she will tell you how she feels, its too early. So Dad, make some alone time and tell her how much you and mom NEED her help. Make sure she is not forgotten or abandoned or you will see her take it out on the little one. She is still a child Mom, treat her as one, do not let her manipulate your heart strings, stand firm but let her know, your husband, her dad loves her too. She has to stay in a child's place. I have been there and done that. Do not ask him to leave again, send her to her room, you two need to stand united!!!! 

Name: jackie | Date: Aug 9th, 2006 7:10 AM
hello my name is jackie i have a stepdad who butts in and
hears every word thinking that i dog my mother he need to
leave me alone i think about killing him or slapping him or
just yelling in his face but i am afraid to do that my mom
is taking his side and she says she is not taking anyones
side i do not trust her i do not like my stepdad he drives me
crazy and i cannot live with him my mom won't let stay with
anyone else because she loves me and she will miss me
if i was gone too long i will miss her too but not my stepdad
i wish he was not in the family i try to get along with him but
he is so dumb can any one tell me how to get him to butt
out of life and mind his own i cannot see how his mom
can put up with him i mean if she heard him yelling at me
telling me to shut up i will tell her to keep him in line
because my real dad's wife never bothers me i need
to get out and if he is trying to get rid of me then fine
will go i won't miss him but my mom and if he is
not going to treat me right i will tell him to go straight
to HELL sorry for my bad mouth but i can not take this

Name: jamberrt | Date: Aug 25th, 2006 4:06 AM
My husband and I were married 10 years when we adopted a 6 1/2 year old girl who had been through the worst things kids can live with.

For the longest time I'd tell my husband that she was scared of him because of her history and that he had to be the adult and just consistent and firmly loving.

Then I sat down with our daughter and told her that she had to learn to trust sometime and that nothing had happened in this home...that she was always safe. In fact, when my in-laws went away for a month, he told her that he was staying at grama's to give her space because she was scared and he wanted them to both have a break...she missed him!

They still argue and fight from time to time but you know what REALLY helped? First, I stay out of it! Second, they are required (YES required) to go on father/daughter dates regularly. We really try for once a week...walk to the park, cheap movie and coffee. It has to be fun but there has to be time to talk.

Nope, not perfect. Yep, super hard on our marriage. However, it's better than it was. And I work really hard on being grateful for the good times. 

Name: Annemarie | Date: Aug 29th, 2006 8:20 PM
I Cant believe I have found somebody with exactly the same situation as I have. My eldest is 12 from a previous relationship. My husband and I have been married 7 years and now have two boys together. At the beginning he adored my daughter and appeared to be the doting daddy, after we were married he adopted my daughter and all seemed happy for a while. Looking back everything went wrong when I became pregnant with our first son. He treats the boys and our dughter so differently it is obvious to everyone. He has no time for her, no interest in her, barely speaks to her. He comes in and hugs and kisses the boys but not her. Its so heartbreaking to watch as I know how much a child craves love from a daddy. She has started to have behavioural issues, she is so hard to handle and bullies her brothers so much. It is so obvious why this is but hard to explain this to the boys. I dont know what to do. I have gone to counselling with my husbanf 

Name: am | Date: Aug 29th, 2006 8:29 PM
Continued..... and the counsellor concludes really that he needs to change that he is effecting the whole family. We are so dysfunctiional its ridiculous. What is happening now is that she stays most of time with her granparents and doesn't come home which I find very upsetting but at least I know there she gets plenty of love and attention and feels secure which she really needs. It is just so wrong that really I have to live without my daughter because of his stupidity and inhumanity. This actually angers me as I write this down. Really what is happening is that I am getting used to the situation and her not being here when I shoulnt. Im not sure whats the right thing to do. Force her to be here where she is with me and her brothers but isnt really that happy or be with her granny who is 10minutes away and not lived with me. I fear the future and what way she will react as a teenager. I find now that she treats me like crap when my mum is there, maybe to show me thats shes mad at me for now sticking up for her more. I also find a little that I am a bit resentful of her and her bad behaviour.Wush there was a solution to this. I dont buy that crap that he didnt have a chance to bond, what do people do that cant have kids and adopt? 

Name: jackie | Date: Sep 10th, 2006 12:25 AM
my name is jackie i live in tennessee and i live with
my mom and stepdad and you see my mom married my stepdad when i was almost 7 years and my mom thinks i am jelouse of my stepdad well i am a litte but you see he is very overprotected and he makes me angy sometimes he does not like the way i treat my mom so what my mom is so nice i love her it is not his place to tell me how to talk to the way i want i mean mothers and daughters so ot gel along and then he does not like the way i don't mind her well i do i work around the house a lot and i get paid every month for allowence and then he gets on to me for screwing up and when he does he thinks i just cannot do it right can you help me if you can email at [email protected] please this is a private thing do not send any out to my state because i do not want my mom or him or both to know thank you
jackie from tennessee 

Name: seen it | Date: Oct 20th, 2006 7:11 AM
Give it time. YOur oldest is at a stage where hes not my daddy, and he knows it. In time they will both find a common ground. These years are tough, but in the end they will pay off. Dont give up on either one. Love and patience are your best friends 

Name: marija | Date: Oct 20th, 2006 11:57 AM
i have a blended family 2 stepkids 2 from a previous marriage and 4 together.
my advice to keeping harmony in the home
You MUST show a united front, both for your daughter and for your husband
If your daughter is pushing his buttons. Tell her to stop baiting him in front of your husband before he has time to react. (do not let him argue back)
If your husband is being childish and mean . Tell him to grow up in front of your daughter. (do not enter into an arguement with your daughter about ...'he always does this')
Make it clear to both of them that the argueing will not be tolerated.
If your husband is just using normal parenting discipline then step back make your child understand that she has to respect the heads of the house and the rules you all live under. If you interfere then she will see it as a win and will react the same way always.Take yourself out of being middle person
Most of all show the same behaviour to your child together...it shows your eldest that its not a favourites game.
wishing you all the happiness 

Name: momofshay | Date: Nov 13th, 2006 2:54 AM
I dont know either ....my child and my new husband dont get along either...all of these answers sound like my household but it is hard to know what the right thing to do is...I am looking for answers myself.
It is the kind of the thing to break up a marriage or hurt relationships with the child.. It is called a Rock and A hard place.. Hope things go good for you ......and all of us.. 

Name: Stephanie123 | Date: Nov 19th, 2006 2:10 AM
Spank them both! 

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