“My Blended Family Won’t Blend!” What to Do When Your Stepkids Disrespect You

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Over the years, many parents in blended families have come to me to talk about the subject of disrespect. In some cases, their stepkids didn’t respect them, and in others, their biological child did not respect their new spouse.

The truth is a child may never respect his stepparent, but he does have to know that he can’t get away with being rude or obnoxious to them. The only way to achieve the desired behavior is to be certain you and your spouse are united in making sure that your kids treat you with respect.

Lay Down the Ground Rules from the Start

If you haven’t done so already, sit down with the kids in your blended family and lay out some ground rules. Start by saying, “In our family now, this is what a parent is.” And, “In our family now, these are the expectations on every child.” I recommend that you tell your stepkids from the beginning, “You don’t have to call me Mommy, but you have to be respectful and follow my directions.” And both adults need to do this with all the children in the family.

What if Your Stepkids Disrespect You?

Naturally, stepparents become very upset when their stepchildren are disrespectful to them. I’ve had parents come to me in difficult situations where the kids were really being rude or obnoxious, saying things like, “You’re not my father, I don’t have to listen to you!” Let me be clear: parents have to be careful, because once that kind of behavior gets entrenched, it’s very difficult to stop. By being rude, kids protect themselves—and they train adults what not to ask of them and what not to expect of them.

The answer here is that you and your partner have to decide ahead of time how the kids in the family will talk to each parent. You set the expectations together, and then you remain consistent; you hold each child accountable.

Here’s an example. If one of your stepkids says, “You’re not my mom; I don’t have to do what you say!” You can say, “No, I’m not your mother, but you have to do your homework anyway.” Or, “We’re not talking about me being your father. We’re talking about when you’re going to start your homework.”

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Now, the consequences for that kind of behavior should be swift and clear. The kids in the family should know that if they disrespect their stepmother or stepfather, they will lose their cell phone privileges for the rest of the night, for example. In other words, there should be no tolerance for that kind of disrespect. When it comes down to it, both adults work hard for the family, both adults are struggling, both adults are making sacrifices—so the rule is that the kids have to treat them both with respect. They don’t have to call them Mom or Dad unless they want to, but they have to be respectful.

Don’t try to read your stepchild’s mind

Know that as a parent or stepparent, you cannot read your stepchild’s mind. In other words, if this child doesn’t like you telling him what to do but he does it anyway, don’t challenge him on what he’s thinking. Don’t worry if he’s giving you “that look.” When you tell him to go do his chores, if he does them whether he likes it or not, that should be enough. So, don’t try to read kids’ minds to determine if they really don’t want to do something, or if they really don’t like you. You have to let that go until everybody gets to know each other.

Here’s the bottom line: if you carry yourself with respect, kids will find things to like about you. This is because kids want to like people that they respect. Know that he or she may never get over the loss of his mother or father, or that of his original family. But there’s nothing you as a stepparent can do about that besides accept it and avoid getting into fights about it.

When You’re Parenting, They’re All Your Kids

Some parents wonder how they can be fair while still maintaining the trust of their biological child. Know that it’s natural to feel a stronger connection to your own child, a special love for and commitment to them.

But in a blended family, you have to keep those thoughts in a separate compartment from parenting. Understand that when you’re parenting, they’re all your kids. And believe me, they’re all watching the way you behave yourself, the kind of role model you are, and the kinds of things you do. So when the kids are acting out and the television is taken away for the evening as a consequence, it’s not taken from the biological kids or the non-biological kids—you don’t get into those distinctions. It’s taken away from all the kids. And so it also becomes, “When we’re going to the zoo, we’re all going to the zoo—the whole family.” Or “When we’re watching a movie, we’re all watching a movie.”

You’ll always feel that special connection with your biological child, don’t get me wrong. But part of the thing that you’ll struggle with, sometimes every day, is that you have to treat these kids the same. Don’t worry that you will lose that connection with your biological kid by doing so—that will never happen. There may be anger, there may be disappointment, there may be separation, but that connection is there by nature.

When Your Child Challenges You

Often in blended families, it’s very common for the biological kids to challenge their birth parents. They’ll accuse them of being unfair, or say things like, “You’re treating them better than me.” Or, “He treats his kids better than you treat us.” And you might also hear, “He treats his kids better than he treats us.” And parents have to work very closely together to solve those problems.

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When your child comes to you and says something unfair happened, the kind of question you have to ask is, “If I was there, what would I have seen?” So, let’s say your child says, “Today she treated her kids better than us.” The question you have to ask is not, “How did you feel,” or “What happened,” because those things get distorted. Rather, parents should be asking the investigative question: “If I was there, what would I have seen?”

Let’s say the answer is, “You would have seen her give three cookies to her kids and two cookies to us.” That’s something they can see, not what they felt. So find out what they saw, what they heard, what was done. That’s the most effective way to investigate these kinds of statements. That’s also one of my key questions when parents tell me their kids are acting out at home. One of the things I used to ask them in my office was, “If I was there, what would I have seen?” And then they’ll say, “You’d have seen my son punching a hole in the wall and threatening his sister and calling his brother names.” I want to know what I would have seen there because that’s how I can investigate what they need to do differently.

So again, you’re asking for facts now. It’s the parent’s job to say, “Okay, I’ll look into it,” and then talk to the other parent in private.

Structure Time to Do Things Together: Establish a “Family Day”

If you want to come together as a family, I think you have to make rules about doing things together. So you can make the rule, “On Wednesday nights we all watch a video.” This rule is in place whether the kids like it or not. Let them know that if they refuse to watch the video, then they will lose their electronics for the rest of the night. But the deal is, “We all watch a video. We all go to the zoo. We all go to the beach. We all go to the park.” Don’t overdo it, especially with teenagers. But doing one activity as a family per week, not including church, can be helpful in this kind of situation. Sit together in the living room eating popcorn and watching a DVD. Or go to the park together, go to the beach and find seashells. Whatever it is, find one thing a week to do together.

By the way, I say don’t overdo it with teens because developmentally, their job is to start to break away. So we just want them to participate without being abusive, disrespectful or nasty. If one of your kids is 17 and doesn’t want to go along, let them bring a friend. But the rule is, “You’re going with us.”

Instituting a family day gives kids the message that “This is important to us, and it’s so important we’re going to make it happen.” They learn that you do things as a family and that you respect each other when you’re doing them. With younger kids, having a night where you just play board games is really fun. Older kids may resist it at first, but younger kids will love it. If you start when they’re small, that becomes part of their expectations for family night—and it also becomes their way of understanding how families operate.

Empower the Children in Your Family to Express Themselves

One last word about kids: children have to be empowered to express what they feel and think, and those thoughts and feelings have to be accepted at face value. When two adults decide to blend their families, kids have no choice. They can feel powerless, threatened and overwhelmed. The idea is to give them appropriate ways to express themselves so they don’t have to act out their feelings behaviorally. This doesn’t mean they get to make decisions about how the family will run, but they should certainly have input in an appropriate way.

This input is usually best received by the child’s birth parent. If you try to do a family meeting without getting the input first, it’s very likely that people will get defensive or feel threatened. But if birth parents can talk to their kids about their concerns, it is much easier to work them out, and it’s much easier for the two adults to come to an agreement. So the idea is not to squelch kids, the idea is to set up a situation where they can express their feelings safely and appropriately.

Remember, no rule or situation has to last forever. Before you put any new plan into place, I recommend that you sit down with your kids and ask these questions:

  • How will we know this is working?
  • How will we know something isn’t working?
  • What will we do if something works?
  • What will we do if something doesn’t work?

If you analyze the decisions you make this way, you’ll always have the ability to measure if you’re accomplishing what you sought to do, as well as change what you’re doing if necessary.

One of the key things that a blended family needs is two adults who are mature; you’ve really got to grow up as a parent. It’s hard to see your stepchild when they come back from a holiday with their other set of parents, and they have better presents than you gave them, or when they’re bragging about the things they did together—or when they’re sad about the things they used to do before their original family split up. But you’ve got to be able to handle that. Without a doubt you may have feelings about it, but you have to have mature ways of dealing with those emotions. So, if you’re hurt or frustrated—and it’s normal and human to be hurt, frustrated and confused in this situation—you need to be able to talk to your partner or call your friends. If you need professional help, go to a counselor. The main thing is, you need to be able to work toward accepting the situation and not trying to control it. It’s not that you shouldn’t feel things—it’s the way you deal with the things you feel that is important.

Related content:
“My Blended Family Won’t Blend—Help!”: How You and Your Spouse Can Get on the Same Page
Stepchildren Making You Crazy? 5 Ways to Manage Conflict in Blended Families

About

James Lehman, who dedicated his life to behaviorally troubled youth, created The Total Transformation®, The Complete Guide to Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™, from a place of professional and personal experience. Having had severe behavioral problems himself as a child, he was inspired to focus on behavioral management professionally. Together with his wife, Janet Lehman, he developed an approach to managing children and teens that challenges them to solve their own problems without hiding behind disrespectful, obnoxious or abusive behavior. Empowering Parents now brings this insightful and impactful program directly to homes around the globe.

Comments (53)
  • Mame
    My step daughters are spoiled. They dont understand needs and wants. My husband caters to them and they throw a fit. He gives in. He took my credit card and put 500 on it in one day for one kid. He wanted to discuss it in front of theMore kids . We have a budget and he goes behind my back and buys them whatever they want. They have no manners chores or discipline. I get after them they tell their mom and I'm the bad person? Their teenagers what do I do?
  • John

    I have been co parenting two step children for 19 years. My stepdaughter does whatever she can to cause trouble for my partner and I. She opens a window the.n leaves the house later Tells him I did it when I wasn’t even home. She tells me she hates him that she is using him to get her education paid for. I said nothing. She parties, skips class he has blow ups with her. She gets mad at him and does things to create tension between him and I. We found a joint on the floor one afternoon he asked her claimed it was my sons who hadn’t been to our house in two weeks. She hid her brothers cell phone in my dresser then we were all looking for it it was ringing in my drawer. She damaged my vehicle and was supposed to pay for the 700.00 in repairs she did not. She constantly lies to her father and he accepts it. If I say anything it becomes “ you dont like her “. I explained to my partner what she has done he accepts and says she is just resentful because her mothers not with her. Her mother visits and she arranged to be away at a sleepover. So that holds no water. She was given a car as a grad gift and refused to pay the insurance. Last wi tee she wrote it off while we were away on holidays and used his vehicle for two weeks he asked her if she had used it without asking she denied it. Later it came out she had used to travel 400 200 miles away. She blamed me when she moved out because I said everyone had to help with cooking she was 21 by then. So she moved out said it was because of me using her as a slave. None of the other kids had issues. Moving in with her boyfriend she convinced her father to buy them a condo . 9 months later she tells the bf she is going to commit suicide if he goes to work. He left her w

    She moved out of the apartment and we got stuck dealing with

    Selling it at Christmas last year. This year due to COVID we did not do Thanksgiving, her response to her father on hearing we were not doing a get together was “ it’s just because HE doesn’t want to have to cook” meaning me her step dad. I. At ,y wits end we do our best to stay clear of each other but lately she is stirring the pot again with lies. She stays away from her father because of me she tells him, but lately she is spending time with him because her and the new BF want him to give them a down payment for a house. I try not to get involved but ,y partner asks me what I think I say it’s up to him but remember we lost money on the condo when she moved out so be careful. So far he is saying no to her but she is guilting him pretty good. Do I speak up or sit back and wait for the inevitable issues? A worn out stepdad!

  • Nicole
    I have been with my partner for 5yrs now. Here has 3 girls & I have 1 son. Throughout the entire time we have been together, his youngest daughter who is now 17 continuously disrespects & lies about me to her mom & dad. She is downright mean to myMore son who is now 11 & also does other unspeakable things to her sisters. I get told I'm wrong or should have handled it differently if I say anything about how she acts. My partner now argues with me because I have chosen to distance myself to avoid the hurt she continues to cause. He insists that she's sorry for all her continuous actions towards everyone but she doesn't seem to have any repercussions for any of the damage she has caused. She is now in regular therapy & has been put on prozac for her moods. My partner is now arguing with me because I have been keeping distance between myself & her. And that if I can't accept & support his daughter that I'm not a good fit for him any longer. I have tried for the past 5yrs to get this kid to accept us, bent over backwards even. I feel like we as a supposed family should be defended more instead of coddling her feelings so much. I don't know what to do at this point. I'm tired of trying to be accepted & tired of the treatment.
  • Burnt out!

    I am engaged to a father of 4. I have 2 from a previous marriage where I was left widowed at age 28. His kids are 4, 6, 7, 8. My two are 6 & 7. He has sole custody and the children have lived with us for 2 months. When we would get them every other weekend, I couldn't wait for them to leave. Now, they're not. Before they moved in, they were never on a routine, consistent schedule, or taught manners. They are very spoiled and disrespectful. My two are starting to be fresh and talk back. I have explained the rules in a family meeting style.

    We eat at the table every meal, clean up is rough because they want to play. The 3 girls share a bed room, as well as the 3 boys. They only clean up when I get so angry and yell.

    I upset my fiance because he says, they see how I am acting and shut down. If they know it makes me angry, they should listen. He stands up for them sometimes and shuts me down as a partner parent.

    I barely smile and I'm so upset in my home. I love their father, but cant live so angry all the time. We start family group therapy (just the kids) next week. I see a counselor as well.

    Their biological mother tells them things about me and their dad that aren't true to turn the kids on us. It was a rough year this year and we want to make changes to make it better, but I'm clueless on what to do.

    We have order and consistancy in our home, but his children do not obey me. I cried in front of the 8 year old because she said, "everything was fine until you came back home". I am so hurt when I'm the one providing for the kids, having my two kids share their rooms, and being disrespected. I'm burnt out!!

  • Frazzledmum

    I live with my partner and my two children. Last year his teenage daughter came to live with us. It's been horrific. She has been spoilt and spent 6 years in boarding school. Her mother slates my character and has told her daughter that I am the cause of their marriage breakdown.

    My step daughters behaviour has been appalling. She often looks at me like I'm something she stepped in and often ignores my existence. She even told her father that she wanted him to move out with her....whilst constantly telling him he abandoned her, doesn't love her etc. It is clear that she has been influenced by her mither, but life is almost untenable.

    My daughter especially is really struggling and is showing huge signs if anxiety.

    My step daughter has never had rules or boundaries and my partner has been made to believe her emotional blackmail, so refuses to accept that this is any more than normal teenage behaviour....even when she tells him to f off.

    Whilst the article was interesting, I'm starting to think our situation is beyond being able to be mended.

    • i_want_to_run_away

      I live n a similar situation. I was never told back in December that he was moving her here for good. She has been to a "rehab" which obvi didn't work, did not respect her own mother or anything around her from what I gather, manipulating, and continually lies to her father (and myself) where I want to knock some sense into him bc he looks like a fool. When I catch her in her BS she talks to me as if I'm beneath her, has texted me a nasty long message, has a fowl mouth, and could really give 2 sh***. I see that whatever she tells her father is golden and I am just an outsider. Oh and I forgot to mention that she is 17. She has pulled this talking back nonsense since 2012 where she yelled at me and slammed the door in my face and my "husband" did not flinch. Recently we had another episode and although with my own eyes I saw the lie, what she said was golden and he took her shopping and handed her back her car keys. I just don't get it. I have 3 children of my own (2 in college 1 in high school) and they can't understand why this continually happens. As you stated she as well has no rules or boundaries. Not only did she play both of her parents like a fiddle she has now added me to her band. Im not sure I can handle the stress much longer. I know that my marriage is suffering because of this. He tends to shut me off when things go south whether with his other children or if its happening in our home. It seems as long as she's not fighting with him, nothing or no-one else matters.

      Since we are blended I treat everyone equal. in this case, its him and his 3 and me and my 3. Will there be a light at the end of this long twisty dark tunnel?

  • About to Get Married
    I am about to marry my fiance who has 3 kids from his previous marriage. They are 13, 10 and 8. My daughter is 7. His kids are now living full-time with their Mother in a different city and they come home for visits. Prior toMore that, they were with him full-time for 4 years. Since they have been with their Mother since September I have noticed changes in their attitude towards my daughter and also in their behaviors. They are a lot more aggressive towards each other (they now hit/kick each other and yell) and they often gang up on my daughter when they are arguing. My daughter sees the kids as her true brothers and sisters - she doesn't know any different and she is thrilled to be part of a family (I've been a single mother since she's born with no involvement from her bio Dad at all). His kids used to feel the same and now I believe their Mother is telling them otherwise. They are now referring to her as their step-sister and I caught the 13 year old telling my daughter that she is not their blood and different than them. I feel like my daughter is trying so hard to fit in and I'm feeling sad for her that she is getting rejected and treated differently. My fiance has talked to the kids about this but there has been no change since. I'm seriously considering walking away from this possible marriage before it gets worse. I'm so conflicted. :-(
  • Mamabear
    I have a ten year old daughter who previously lived with her paternal grandparents before moving in with me and my partner four months ago. When she was living with her grandparents and visiting us on weekends she got along extremely well with my partner but after moving in withMore us (at the same time we all moved into a new house together) things have changed. He and I went through a difficult patch in our relationship for a while after the move and there was a lot of unpleasantness and arguing. Unfortunately my daughter witnessed one particularly nasty fight between us where hurtful things were said and since then she has been angry with him. She has told me that she doesn't like him and doesn't want him to live in the house with us and often uses her dislike towards him as an excuse for acting out. She is extremely disrespectful to both of us - back talk, refusing to do what she is told, avoiding going to bed because she doesn't want me to spend any time with him and then ending up tired and crabby in the mornings. It has been extremely frustrating and has put a lot of strain on us. Then I discovered the Empowering Parents website and read through a few of the articles on dealing with this sort of behaviour. As soon as I started putting the advice I discovered into practice things started to improve - just by maintaining my composure, sticking strictly to the routine in place and not allowing her to pull me off the real topic with distracting tactics. When she is rude or obstinate I no longer chastise her or get upset, but rather firmly remind her that she needs to remember her manners and that talking to us that way is not acceptable. She realises her mistake, apologises and instantly makes an effort to be more respectful and considerate. The difference is remarkable! It is still a lot of work as she often strays off the right path, but as long as I am patient and don't react emotionally (at all - not even a little teeny tiny bit) it is quick and easy to bring her back around. The only thing I have found frustrating is that I have to be quite rigid and not let my guard down or make any allowances because if I do she slips right back into negative habits and tries her luck. She is a very intelligent child and quite advanced for her age in terms of her cognitive ability, but she struggles emotionally which puts us in an unbalanced state that can be difficult to even out. I want to help her overcome her anger and resentment towards my partner and get back to some semblance (at least) of their previous positive relationship. He is really making an effort with her and we are working through the issues in our relationship as well (with a counselor) so it isn't just words. My question is: Is it just a matter of being consistent and patient so that she can work through it in her own way and time? Is there anything else that we can do from our side? I have read through part 1 and part 2 of the blended family articles and I am trying to implement the advice into our daily life but my partner is having a difficult time. He has an 18 year old son from his previous marriage who has never given him any trouble - certainly nothing close to what my daughter is doing - so he doesn't know how to handle it and gets upset by her lashing out at him. Understandably so - she can be hurtful when she wants to. How can I help him to stop taking it personally without seeming like I am being insensitive?
    • Cristy

      I'm not sure how long ago you posted this response... However, I'm dealing with the exact same situation. My daughter is 10 years old and unfortunately, lost her father to cancer when she was 1.

      We moved to MA about 5 years ago to live with my now fiancé and his daughter who is 1 year younger.

      My daughter used to be so sweet, and now she is acting out everyday. I'm not sure if it's her new friends, youtube, etc...

      She has a phone, which I only allow her to use on non-school nights, but I have taken that away all together, which has escalated her attitude towards me. She has no respect for me and doesn't listen to anything I ask her to do.

      It's causing major issues in my relationship with my fiancé and I'm scared our relationship is going to end.

      She talks to a therapist, but it's not helping, because she is not honest with the therapist and she has this I don't care attitude towards everything.

      I'm lost and I don't know what to do...

      • Chicago In The Country
        Hi Cristy. I dont know how long you posted this, but one thing I've learned is that all behavior is communication. Your daughter is reaching out to you. Being able to connect with them to get them talking is key. Spend time with her. WithMore my stepdaughter, who also has many emotional issues, it was understanding her frustration in people not understanding her. Also, she didn't have enough time with her dad. On a side note, the very core of our home needs to be one of stability. When we are all on the same page, we have somewhere to work from. Our relationship with Jesus is what not only centers us, but gives us strength we don't have by ourselves, and wisdom.
  • Div
    My step daughter has been in my life since she was two years old. Her father had full custody and mother had left and moved to another state. I have two children from a previous spouse. She is now 14 and living with her mother who has been in fourMore relationships over the years and just recently got re married. There are two new children 1year old and 6 month old. In Feb my husband adopted my children and since then she has been seperating herself from dad.... How can this be affecting her? What should we do?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear your concern for your stepdaughter, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. It sounds like your stepdaughter has experienced a lot of change recently with her mother’s remarriage, new siblings and your husband adopting your children. It’s not uncommon for kids in blendedMore families to experience hurt and confusion about their role in the new family configurations. Teens sometimes lack the skills to appropriately manage these emotions and respond by withdrawing. At this point, it could be helpful for your husband to spend some one-on-one time with your stepdaughter so they can focus on their individual relationship with each other, as suggested in Blended Family? The 5 Secrets of Effective Stepparenting. I recognize how difficult this must be for all of you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • saj2012
    I have a 5 yr old daughter and my partner has a yr old daughter. we are also pregnant with our first child together. my daughter has autism spectrum disorder. we have my step daughter every for night for 4 days. my partners ex has been extremely difficult toMore deal with when trying to communicate between the parent's there's a lot of hostility about the new pregnancy even though they've been separated for 5 yrs. as the mother has a lot of issues trying to deal with that we seem to be struggling to maintain a household when my step daughter comes here. as we have a structured household for my 5yr old we have clear and simple rules about listening and behaviours. my step daughter has been acting out by blaming my daughter for everything she does. my step daughter makes a mess on the floor she will blame my daughter for it. she has broken many of my daughter's toys and then refuses to let my daughter share her toys. she speaks badly to myself and my daughter and has on several occasions tried to hurt my tummy knowing that there is a baby in there. she does not like sharing the attention with my daughter when we are talking or playing. I am not allowed to play with both of them only my step daughter or she breaks toys or has a tantrum. I have given her time outs when my partner is at work i havetried asking her why she felt it was ok to break the toys i have taken toys away when she has continued to do the wrong thing but it is clear there is no real discipline at her mother's home who has complained sitting her on the bed no longer works. my partner has tried to talk to her and find out how she is feeling and the behaviours do not stop when he is at home as he has pulled her up several times for talking to my daughter or myself disrespectfully or the other things she has done with me. and has disciplined her the same way as i have but instead of it making any difference she finds more destructive behaviours like making holes in the walls ripping books to answer our attempts. when she goes home my partner then gets abusive messages from his ex about my daughter never leaving her alone (even though my daughter hardly played with her even while I was playing with them) so it was all her fault or it was mine because my step daughter tells her I am always mean to her. how can we combat the problem of respect when it is being fuelled by my step daughter's mother as well?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Parenting in a blended family can be challenging under the best of circumstances, and it’s even more difficult when the two households have different expectations and rules. You’re not alone in dealing with this. In situations like this, it can be useful to focus on where you haveMore control. You and your partner are the ones in charge when your stepdaughter is with you, and can hold your stepdaughter accountable to following the same rules you already have in place for your daughter. Even though it would be helpful if there were consistent rules in both households, you cannot make the rules at her mother’s house, or have her mother behave respectfully toward you. You can only control how you choose to respond to these actions. You might find additional tips in What to Do When Your Ex Undermines Your Authority. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Jerome
    I married to this older woman an I been in her kids life for about 7 or 8 years now I have tried to be a good father figure in these kids life but it seems like it is not working an I'm tired now log the disrespect the backMore talk an etc. I am a man of God but also old school what shall I do
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Parenting in a blended family can be quite challenging, even under the best of circumstances, so you are not alone in feeling frustrated and tired of disrespectful behavior. In general, it tends to be more effective when the stepparent takes on more of a supportive role and focuses onMore developing a relationship with the children, while the biological parent takes on more of a disciplinarian role and enforces the house rules. You might find more helpful tips in Blended Family? The 5 Secrets of Effective Stepparenting. I recognize how tough this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
  • SecretSuzy
    I have a 9 year old step child who is disabled. The child is confined to a chair and his parents use that disability as an excuse to baby him. Since his father and I married he has been noting but disrespectful. He sticks his tongue out at me, heMore throws things at me, if i go near him he tries to bite me (even walking by he will grab me and try to bite me), he has hurt MY children by hitting them, pulling their hair etc. We had to sell our vehicle and get a larger one so no one would be sitting near him because I dont want my kids getting hurt.Any time I say anything in reference to his actions Im always told hes disabled and cant help it, or hes a 10 year old kid and Im being immature but allowing a KID to upset me, or that my husband cant do anything about it cause his mother has him 5 days a week and he only has him two days, or my husband says he doesnt want his son punished on the only two days he gets with his kid. This problem has caused such a strain on my marriage that myself and my children even moved out of the house for 3 months. My husband promised it would change but since I have been back nothing is different. Its the same old ignorance and disrespect along with the same old excuses. ts sometimes even turned around on my kids because they dont keep a spotless room or because they get a little mouthy. But I punish my children. He does not. I am at my whits end and this is my last attempt to try and save my family and my marriage. Please help me.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the issues you are facing with your husband, as well as the abusive way your stepchild is treating you and your children. At this point, I encourage you to talk with your husband in private during a calm time, and try to getMore on the same page in terms of standard house rules for everyone as mentioned in the first article in this series. If you’re having difficulty coming to an agreement on rules, it can be helpful to involve a neutral third-party, such as a marriage-family counselor, who can help you to look at your options and create a plan to move forward. If you’re interested in locating this type of support in your area, try the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is a service which connects people with resources available in their community. I hear what a tough situation this must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Erica

    I'm am mid divorce and so is my partner. We have known each other for many years and we both have custody of our children. In the end we are both so sensitive and defensive about our kids that it may be ruining everything. It is really the only BIG fights we have. Help please. Mine are 11 & 8 his is 3....

    Now I k ow 3 is tough he blames mine for his bad behavior I'm feeling overwhelmed but really do respect and love this man what do I do?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. Parenting differences are a common source of conflict in many relationships, and these disagreements can be even greater in a blended family. You are not alone in experiencing this. At this point, it might be helpful to talk privately with your partner during aMore calm time, and try to find some common ground. If you haven’t already done so, there are some great tips on how to do this in the first article in this series. In addition, sometimes involving a neutral third-party, such as a marriage-family counselor with experience in blended families, can be beneficial as s/he can help you to get on the same page, and make a plan to move forward. If you are not currently working with anyone, you might try contacting the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is an information and referral service which connects people with resources in their community. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Eugenia Hamilton

    I have been married for almost one year. My husband and I have 4 kids but none together. I have 2 boys age's 12 and 8. My husband have 2 girls age's 12 and 4. Now my 2 boys live with us and my husband has temporary custody of the 4 year old. When the 4 year old came to live with us it was like starting over from scratch. From discipline to learning ABC's. Her mom wasn't raising her and you could tell. Of course she had to get used to me but she has been with us for 4 1/2 months and I don't think she will get used to me as far as taking care of her in her mothers absence. Sometimes she listen and other times she can be a little rude. I have to remind her who is in charge. I also caught her telling her dad that she wants my husband to "love" her mommy. I was a little upset about that. Also my youngest son is having a bit of a rough time with her being here because he thinks she is taking his place. I explain to him that I'm only helping my husband with her and I'm not trying to be her mother.

    Now my oldest step daughter is another story. I experienced some disrespect from her as far as not speaking to myself or my children when she come to visit for the weekend. Now I have expressed this to my husband and he talked to her about it but it's still happening with my children, as I don't want them to feel uncomfortable in their own home but I also don't want to make it seem like I'm picking on my stepdaughter so I'm kind of nervous about having the same conversation with my husband again. Sometimes all of this drama cause issues in my marriage. I have no idea what to do. My happiness and my children happiness is what's important to me first. PLEASE HELP!!

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Blending families together can be challenging even under the best of circumstances, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. Parenting issues and conflict between kids and stepparents are quite common, so you are not alone in dealing with this. It’s great that you have beenMore able to talk with your husband about your concerns, and he was able to follow up with his daughter. I understand your reluctance to bring it up again with your husband since you have already talked about it with him. At the same time, effectively parenting together requires ongoing communication between you, as outlined in the first article in this series. Sometimes, it can be useful to involve a neutral third party, such as a counselor, who can help you to find common ground and develop a plan to move forward together as a family. For assistance locating this kind of support, and other resources in your area, try contacting the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is a service which connects people with resources available in their community. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Lorraine

    Living with stepchildren can be tough when there is an absence of mutual respect. I don't have any kids but I'm a stepmother to a 16 year old girl and she is under her father's custody. At first, she was so nice to me. We got along really well. She always shared her sentiments with me but not with her father. I took care of her by telling her father what she would need- from lunches, clothes, vitamins. However, her treatment towards me changed. She began seeing me as a rival. I understand the kid's situation. She has been affected of her parents divorce. She was only five then. Deprived of her mom's love and attention and now her father remarried. No matter how many times I gave her advices about facing the reality, moving forward and not dwelling on the dark past coz it won't lead her to a brighter path, she still acts as if she was pitiful. Always angry, depressed and acts as if she has nothing. Short-tempered, attention-seeker, only wants sympathy, empathy but never listens. Coz of her attitude, our relationship gradually became worst. Coz of her temper, she loses her respect to me. She nags at me, nitpicks everything I do like how, when I should do things in the house. In other words, she was treating me like her housemaid. She beats the house in front of me, screams and stomps her feet. I let her dad knew about it and we talked to her.I only asked her for respect. I never treated her that way. I never even bother her to help me with the chores. But it didn't stop there. She keeps treating me with disrespect. She wants change. She told me once that now her father is married again, she lost everything. I understand her but I cant tolerate her rudeness at all. My husband said to find a common ground with her. We don't have to have the same interest to get along. All I asked was respect. The kid and I never have any conversations that dont lead to arguments. I never argue with her but she does. A know-it-all kid. Understandable.

    To cut it short, I know it's already long. My husband and I get along really well and we never fought. Because of the girl's behavior, we consider asking for professional help for the kid. The toxic girl is poisoning me and killing my marriage with her father. I feel sorry for the kid, want to help her but not helping herself. She is making my life like a hell. Afraid that I might not be able to control myself next time she disrespects me and physically hurt her by slapping her face, I filed for divorce. I told my husband that I want to be at peace. I'll protect my sanity and protect your daughter. I know it's like a battle I can never win coz blood is thicker than water. He is torn between us. He said he wanted to protect both me and his daughter. That he needs me in raising his daughter to be a better and happier girl. The case is still on going but I'm still living with them. The girl has learned to control her attitude now and trying to reach out to me nicely since she has witnessed how it has affected her dad. Stressed, would always skip meals and irritable. I felt sorry for my husband, too. I know I'm a bit selfish coz all I care is my happines and leave my husband heartbroken. We are trying to work things out but I'm still worried and scared that what if it will happen again. I can't bear rudeness and sadness. I've been a happy-go-lucky person and always want to have a harmonious relationship with people around me and a peaceful and happy life but I can't achieve it when the other person around me doesn't want me to be happy and being disrespectful. I told both my husband and stepdaughter that no matter how much I love the person and no matter how much I value marriage, if sadness outweighs happiness and if the people around me bring out the worst in me, I'd rather leave. I know my worth and I respect myself.

  • At wits end

    Hi I've been divorced for 6 years and have been with my partner 4 years now. I have 3 kids 1 girl 16 2 boys 15 and 12 . My partner has a boy 12 and a girl 14. I used to have 50/50 custody with their mother up until 7 months ago when she moved interstate . This put massive pressure on my partner and my kids as she had to take them on full time and they miss their mum a lot .Generally the kids get along ok apart from the early days there were a few tiffs which we took personally and it created tension between us but we learnt to not take much notice and move on . My kids attitude towards my partner however has been trying to say the least and she is at wits end as to what more she can do to gain there respect and she blames me a lot for taking a different approach by pulling them aside and talking through their attitude which obviously I admit got us no where. This allowed them to play me and to manipulate the whole situation by acting out whenever they liked towards my partner in subtle and also blatantly obvious ways .I did punish them although my partner thought they were light and inconsistent I also demanded apologies to her by them which were promised were delivered but

    not convincing or from the heart. I admit I am very torn as I have protected the kids from a lot of hurt of the divorce and I thought it was another cry for help but also my partner whom I love deeply has been hurt bad in the process. We have also both felt held over a barrel by the kids threats to live with their mother and it has definitely affected the way I parent but also our relationship. My partner is treated like a nobody in the house and is only acknowledged when she addresses them or they have something they want or some where they want to be and even then I've found out they have been blunt and rude about it .This has been going on for too long now and obviously I blame myself as their parent not nipping it in the bud and pussyfooting around it all and I'm trying new strategies to knock it on the head but I fear it may be too late and too much hurt for her to go on dealing with . Do you have any advice to show both sides I am deadly serious about making this work as recently I have limited sport and taken phones for disrespecting me which I also notice a lot and have noticed her kids disrespect towards her too . This is a cry for help hopefully you can cheers.

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Blending families together can be difficult at times, even under the best of circumstances, and I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with your children, and the way they are treating your partner. The first step will be to talk with your partner privately during aMore calm time, and try to find some common ground. During this conversation, I encourage you to develop some standard house rules which apply to everyone. The biological parent should take the lead in presenting and enforcing these rules with their children. I hear your concern that it might be too late for your relationship with your partner. Sometimes, it can be useful to include a neutral third-party, such as a marriage-family counselor, who can help you to come to an agreement and develop a plan to move forward. For assistance finding this type of support in your area, try visiting Family Relationships Online. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you right now, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Jollgerl
    My stepchildren are 14 and 12 years old.  I have no biological children but treat them very well.  We do a lot of activities as a family and my husband and I have chores that they are expected to do every weekend they are here. The problem we have isMore when the children are with their mother.  She is very vindictive, jealous and comes from a completely different moral background.  Their mother encourages them to call me all kind of vulgar names including to but not limited to the "b" word.  Any suggestions on how to handle this?   It's hard to stay don't do what your mother tells you to.  The children are caught in the middle most times as their parents will not communicate (mother's reluctance not father's)
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Jollgerl I’m sorry to hear about the name-calling and disrespectful behavior you are experiencing with your stepchildren on their visits.  I hear your concern about their mother’s behavior and the instructions she is giving them before visits.  The truth is, all of us are surrounded by numerous influences, both positiveMore and negative, every day, and we are each responsible for our own behavior.  Even though their mother might be influencing them, in the end your stepchildren are responsible for their choices and actions.  As outlined in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-after-divorce-9-ways-to-parent-on-your-own-terms/, you and your husband are the ones in charge when they are with you, and you have the ability to set and enforce your own house rules.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • Seipati Reginah
    My boyfriend has a son and he is 5 years, my boyfriend loves his son that he let's him do anything even wrong things, so he is desrepecting all of us and even insult his father. I love my boyfriend so much but I can't live like this
  • wikiyblue7603
    I have 2 stepson, and one is 15yrs old. The younger one is good, but the 15yr old hates me so much that he always needs to have an excuse to get away from me or to try to make me the bad guy. For instance, just this past week,More he has his own cellphone, well, his mom bought it, and whenever he is over at our house, he disobeys the house rules of that no child or 18 and under without a job/not contributing to the household be on any electronics before 12 noon unless his mom calls/texts. He argues that it's important that he has his phone on him at all times because he has to be on his Snapchat account or he loses his "Streaks," whatever that may be, and that our rules don't apply to him because his mom bought the phone. He decides to call someone and make an excuse that his mom's mom is picking him up to go shopping and will stay with her til he feels like coming back. He tells me that his dad already knows about it, and he did, but he didn't tell me about it til his mom's mom was already in front of the house for him. This always happens when his dad is at work, so he feels that he could do anything he wants when his dad isn't home so I can't do anything about it. His mom confronts his dad that he should be able to be on his phone whenever he wants because she paid for it, but that's just not the point. There are rules in our house that everyone has to follow, and his dad clearly told his mom. His mom yelled at his dad that our rules are bull****. So his son decided that he will come back sometime after the new year 2017 to visit again and probably thinking his dad talked with me to make sure our rules won't apply to him. He'll be getting a surprise that our rules do not change because of this incident. His son's mom does not have rules in her house. She's called me numerous ugly names in front of the kids and their dad, she's blamed me for things that she's done when I wasn't even in their lives nor their dad's life yet, and she's blamed me for her cheating. Really? So, I feel like my husband's older son will never like me ever. Maybe it's because he's been so corrupted by his mom his whole life and he will be loyal to her no matter how much she destroys his life? My husband's younger son has been living with us for the past 2yrs. He's 11yrs old. But he has been trying to change because his mom has neglected him and never really was a Mom to him. His mom has sent him to a mental hospital a few yrs ago because she could not handle him. Then, 2yrs ago, she took my husband to court because she wanted him to stay with us temporarily for 6mo. Judge said that she cannot be allowed to treat any child to move around like this so the judge gave her a choice of staying with us for no more than 2mo (which is considered temporary) or permanently. I'm actually happy he's here with us because he now has a better chance of a better life. When the older son is over, I try to treat him as equal as possible with the younger son and my own 2 children, but he just won't have none of it. He doesn't know it but whenever he'said disrespectful and disregards everything I say, I feel heartbroken because I've tried to love him the best I can. I don't know if he sees how much better and different our family's lifestyle is compared to his mom's. I just don't know what to do anymore. Anyone have suggestions?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      wikiyblue7603 I hear how much you care about your stepsons, even with the troubled relationship you have with their mom and the 15 year old.  I'm glad that you're here.  While it is ideal when everyone gets along with each other, and all the co-parents support one another and followMore the same rules, this is not always the case.  In the end, you cannot make your stepsons' mom agree with your rules or parent the same way you do.  You also cannot make your 15 year old see his situation from your perspective or feel a certain way about you.  You can only control the rules of your house, and your own actions.  It's great that you and your husband are on the same page, and have standard house rules for everyone in your house.  This is helpful in creating consistency and structure for everyone in the family.  You might find additional helpful information in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/stepchildren-making-you-crazy-5-ways-to-manage-conflict-in-blended-families/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • TCMJTCMJ
    Adult step children are impossible. I'm giving up. I've never done anything but show them love and respect and they exclude me and my daughter from their lives over and over again (like a wedding next week) I'm at the end of my rope. Their dad is the love ofMore my life but I can't live like this much longer.
    • Avvelenata
      Dear TCM. I agree with you wholeheartedly. . I get very tired of endless advice about trying all the time. Sometimes you simply don''t WANT to blend with disrespectful Adults Skids that always make you feel like the outsider and always take every opportunity to undermine your rightful place inMore the home. Sometimes these children are simply Very Jealous, insecure Brats. Who wants those sort of people in your Life!
  • Michelle weissman
    I'm having a problem with the new parent and child I married. It's becoming child goes to bio dad after step mom "me" says no and getting his way. I'm I wrong to say the parent and step parent need to stick together communicate and have each others back. ThenMore if there is an disagreement you never correct the other parent in front of the child? Help it's becoming a problem. I need to know as a step parent my husband has my back no matter what. When it comes to parenting rules and respect. It worries me I heard a comment tonight my new husband said I need to "watch myself when it comes to him and his child". It was I told the child no ice cream because he didn't clean his plate. Then he asked dad and dad said yes. End the end he didn't get ice cream but now I feel now I'm not in a solid relationship to be raising a child that I'm not allowed to help raise. Or have a husband who has my back. :-(
  • Step parent never again

    I tell you what. Being a step parent is one of the hardest things I've ever done!! I was married to a drinking sbusive husband for over 15 years. Left and almost raised my kids by myself while putting myself through college full time and working 3 jobs -- THAT was easier than being a step parent!! I have 3 awesome respectful loving responsible kids. My steps not so much. Their dad refused and refused to be the enforcer. My step daughter is now 21 with 2 kids which she kept from us for over 2.5 years! She has called me every name in the book and yes plainly told me I'm not her mother. More than once! The sad reality is that he never stood up to her for me. She's been trying to seperate us since she was about 13 years old. Even allowed to go to lunch with them or dinner "as long as I didn't go". We had custody of her kids when the special needs kid woke up in the middle of the night with a broken femur. The only ppl gone wrre the parents and neither knew what happened. He can't walk talk or feed himself -- until me. We had never met the 10 month old then stepped up to take custody of them. Had them for almost a year. Now she still plays games with her boys who love their nana so very much! Her dad still won't tell her like it is! She even stated to me that she wishes she'd not let us into their lives. Now mind you if this wrre MY children, even at 21, I'd bust their $&&. My kids like myself was raised to be respectful. That's why they've all graduated college and paid for their own cars and are responsible. His, nope. Not so much but she's not afraid to ask me for money. Anyhow, there are no words for how hurtful this is. I pray for this girl daily. She's preggo again via trapping a guy lied about birth control and I'm telling you, I just wonder how much more a person can and is supposed to take!! You get emotionally invested, grand kids, and those things aren't easily corrected!!

    Step parent -- NEVER AGAIN!!

    • TCMJTCMJ
      Step parent never again My husband feels like it's not his problem that his adult children make my daughter and I feel like we're outsiders. If my teenaged daughter treated them like they were invisible the way they do us, I'd enforce to her that is a childish thing toMore do. not to mention MEAN. Yet, these young adult women would not even acknowledge the wedding of their dad and me last year (and they basically ignored my daughter and I and acted like a clique we were not part of). It is a terrible memory and I wish I knew it would be so hard...I never would have done this. I feel like Ive taken a "daddy" from 3 small children, not 3 grown women.
      • Dabriri
        I feel the same way ! I have a baby with my boyfriend and he has 2 18 year Olds and 1 17 year old. 2 snobby girls and his boy. They make me feel invisible and they don't see me as part of the family. TheRe only nice whenMore they want rides. They live with me and there always calling my bf ex "there only stepmom" on the phone and hanging out and posting on social media "hanging with my stepmom" I hate that I have to deal with them. But I guess it's part of our relationship. There never gunna accept me I just hate that I have to deal with it every day. I understand you so much it sucks!!
      • Step parent never again

        TCMJTCMJ Step parent never again No one knows but someone who has been through this before how hurtful and damaging it is to your marriage! It's a constant battle -- of the mind, the heart, the soul, your emotions, for yourself -- it's just not worth it! Let me tell you, it's just not worth it! Just yesterday we got into yet another arguement over his GROWN irresponsible daughter. Thing is, HE AGREES SHES lame and don't take care of her kids and plays games with them us and uses them as pawns... the story goes on and on -- but he refuses to even tell her because he's afraid he will offend her... it's not even that he loves her, he's just afraid. ......... I'm speechless totally speechless! It's common sense to me ----- it's the same thing as being an enabler!! EXACT SAME THING! 

        Yes TCMJTCMJ -- I hurt for you! With you and no amount of prayer has fixed this --- I'm emotionally WORN SLICK OUT! Heaven help us!

  • brendonn

    I have 2 step daughters, 17yrs and 18 yrs, both are Asian and have been in New Zealand for almost 10yrs. Their mother is one of the hardest working woman I have ever meet, and done everything for her children. It is obvious that she was over compensating for the lack of a male influence. She also has a son who is 24yrs old and has basically been the minder and example for the younger girls as she had to work so hard to provide for them all.

    Enter the Stepfather, I had previously bought up 3 children of my own, who have all left home and living adult lives prior to my appointment as the stepfather. When I first arrived on the seen the children where 8yrs younger than now and adapted to my fathering style and the financial stability I bought to the family. I quickly realised that the oldest daughter was very demanding and requested everything to be bought to her liking, eg. all kinds of Asian treats, coca cola and a lot of comfort type foods. The oldest son was attending the end of his high school year and spent every hour from after school to late night playing computer games on line with his friends. He had his computer set up in the living room close to the internet connection and commanded that everyone be mindfull he was trying to achieve some kind of result? This was the first big alarm bell to go off. He was babysitting his sisters and displaying a commanding control of selfishness to a high degree. The girls feared his retaliation if they didn't conform. The first thing I did when I had lived there a while was to move them into a better home, but his mother insisted he have his computer in a prominent position again, the living room. I fought this to be changed which caused some friction in our relationship, the golden boy couldn't be shifted. This example basically took away any authority I was going to have. Eventually I just put my foot down and gave the ultimatum , do you guys want me here or not. My answer was that I am not leaving a relationship with your mother because you guys cant conform to normal behaviour patterns. I am not leaving because of snotty nose , spoilt kids . So since then it has been a hell of a ride, but their mother deserves better, only the youngest of the children lifts a finger to help around the house, the other two just ignore me most of the time unless they need money for something substantial. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and their mother is a great woman to have survived this and we both look forwards to then all moving on very soon....... So sorry kids you picked the wrong stepdad to play with!

  • KWood

    An Update...I had my StepDaughter's Boyfriend move out.This was my Wifes idea,aything to please her Daughter,he was to be here for 1 week as he was looking for a Room to Rent but that week lasted 2 Months.Every time I brought it up to my Wife she would ignore me,she didnt want to hear it.Finally I couldnt take it anymore,Two lazy Young Adults getting up at Noon and doing Zero around the House.I already blew my cork when I found them sleeping together.I brought her up with Morales and Respect,what happened?Well when I asked him to leave my Daughter mouthed off to me and said "We arent Family" and has yet to apologize or even talk to me which is fine as she can be annoying and only talks to me when she wants something.Her Boyfriend told me in confidence that She Hates Me.Always saying bad things about me.Im a retired Law Enforcement Officer and knew He was telling me the truth.

    Its very sad as the only losing party is my Stepdaughter.Im considering taking out the College Tuition I saved for 12 Years for her,"we arent family" as well as have her pay her own Auto Insurance,we arent family.

    I hope and pray her Boyfriend gets an apartment as Im sure she will leave,the Tension is so thick around the House as my Wife took Her side!!She threw me under the Bus to be the Bad Guy,no problem as my Love for her has long been gone,she "mooches" of of me as she makes a good salary owning her own business yet doesnt contribute to the house other than food.

    I told Her too she can leave if she didnt like it as I dont need Her either.Ive been Independent my whole Life and dont deserve this.They both have had the best of everything,Cars,Beautiful Home and I also cook.On top of that Im Totally Disabled and still would rather be alone than live in a hostile environment where its Me against Them.12 Years of wasting my life,soon I will resolve this.One Day at a Time......

  • KWood
    I have a 18 Year Old Stepdaughter,actually I consider Her my own...until this past Year.Since turning 18 in February 2016 she feels "Entitled" and "Her Grace" feels she is the Star of the Show.She will think nothing of walking into the Room and starting a Conversation and in a DemandingMore Way wants to be heard.On the other hand she never listens to what We have to say and when given a chore or a Yes or No to a question she will walk out of the Room very angry and Badmouth Me behind my back.Talk about Lazy,for 12 Years she has had to do some Chores to me are nothing like Empty the Dishwasher Daily,its a never ending Battle as the Dishes will stay there all Week,same goes for Her Clothing,she has a Pile from 2-3 Weeks and then "stuffs"everything into the Top Loader using the "Quick Wash" feature,yet the clothes will stay in there overnight.Always uses the Toaster Oven,its a $400.00 Model as Im a Cook,and will always cook or heat something without Tin Foil on the Rack so the gooey cheese or whatever spills onto the Elements and I smell something Burning,not just that but will Heat in the Microwave and said Toaster Oven and leave the Room which could cause a Fire.I thought i taught Her well but she dosnt get these Traits from Myself or Her Mother.She has a New Car Mommy bought and I Insure,My Car is always in the Garage so when I/We go out she gets upset because We dont call her to let Her know because she has to walk 12 feet back to the car.I could go on and on but the Kids of today have Zero Respect for others Items and are Demanding,want everything Yesterday without having to Pay or Work for it.I blame my Wife as she never has been persistent and always overlooks these things,of course She too didnt Buy these things.My Daughter has Broke 3 Ice Makers to date as she constantly Chews Ice,yes the Dentist told her to Stop as she has hairline fractures in her teeth.I grew up in a 800 sqft Home with 1 Bath and 4 Kids,She is just One in a 3000 sqft Home with 4 Baths,my Wife often says "Imagine if We had 2 or 3?" No,I cant imagine as I dont have Children but worked my life in a Juvy Center with a 300 Kid Population and never was I disrespected,harmed or talked back to.I Retired as I broke up a fight leaving me with multiple Back and Neck Injuries.This is why I ask her to take care of the Dishwasher as I cant bend down,anyway Im a Strong Believer in Karma so I hope she will one day realize what she has put me through,always wanting but never ever giving.Her World is Top Priority.18 and the Mentality of a 10 year old.At 18 I was a Manager Trainee of a large Credit Union,bought my First Home at 19 and was Hired by the Government to oversee Juvy's,I hated Banking but I never forgot where i came from which was/is a Dysfunctional Family which I havent seen in over 30 years as they are totally opposite of Me,I never ever asked my Parents for a Nickel but bought them everything,I guess for there Love which never came but I cant change that.I wish them no harm or Ill but under this Roof I feel no respect nor do I feel Appreciated,but its OK as I own everything and can pull the Rug out anytime from Pre-Nup to everything in my Name,i worked Hard for it and no one else is entitled to it although they feel this way.When Im dead then they can have a Party,until then Im becoming more and more Distant.My Wife feels Her Family is priority over Me yet she forgets that they are ALL Citizens because of Me.So I will close by saying You cannot Change things overnight or sometimes Never but have to find the Peace in Your own Mind.
  • Kimberly0323
    I have a 7 year old stepson that I've known since he was 5. Both him and his sister have lived with us full time for two years now. Since their dad has full custody of them I am the stay at home parent because their dad goes to work.More He sees them off on the mornings and puts them on the bus but I'm there in the afternoons or all day on days off or weekends. The boy will not listen to me at all. I will say don't do that do this and he will take it upon himself to do whatever he wants. He doesn't look at me when I talk to him and gives me glares when I correct him or tell him to stop doing something. He has smart answers all the time. Doesn't do his homework or read properly. But when his dad is around or home he's a completely different person. He is polite, gives compliments to me, reads perfectly and doesn't disrespect his dad the way he does to me when he dad isn't there. Idk what to do. It's very frustrating. His dad has talked to him about it, he's been punished, he is grounded but he doesn't seem to care about it at all because he behavior doesn't improve at all. He sees a therapist every other week and goes to his moms every other weekend. He doesn't see me as an authority figure or like someone he needs to respect. He says he does like me and he has never told me or the therapist that he doesn't like me or doesn't want me around. He has toys that are waiting to be opened when he earns them so as to motivate him to behave. But nothing seems to work. I'm at the end of my rope...
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Kimberly0323 

      I hear you. 

      It can be so frustrating when your stepson acts one way with you, yet acts

      completely differently when his dad is around.  I’m glad to see that his

      dad has talked with him about this behavior, as presenting a united front to

      him is going to be one way to address this with him, and to demonstrate your

      authority in your household.  Another part of this will be to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-where-do-you-draw-the-line/, not his attitude or feelings.  In other

      words, give more attention as to whether he is following your directions

      instead of the glares or lack of eye contact.  You might find some

      additional tips in our article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-jekyll-and-hyde-child-targeted-behavior-problems/.  Please be sure to

      write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. 

      Take care.

      • Kimberly0323
        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Kimberly0323 Thank you for the help. I will read that article because it sounds like him. I just dont know how to not care about the glares and attitude.
      • majutsu_em
        Holy moley, I could have written this! Myself and my partner moved in together 18months ago (we've been together 5 years and known my stepson for 3years) My bio son has been fine, just a bit of cheek with my partner but it's soon delt with (he's 8, 9More in a couple of months and sees his bio dad every other weekend). However, my step son is a completely different story! He's 7 (8 next week, we had to go through court on advice of social services to protect him from his mum. He has lived with his dad all his life and doesn't see mum) and I honestly feel he resents me. His attitude towards me is horrendous, he doesn't listen or even look at me. I try my best to treat both my sons the same but it's very difficult. He does what he wants!!! He hits my bio son (which he says is for no reason he just wants too) on more then 5 different occasions. I do everything for both of them and my partner but it's becoming extremely difficult. My partner works away some weeks and honestly, I dread it as I know it's going to be a week from hell. I've tried rewards, punishment, encourage, star charts, pasta jar rewards. And he still speaks and treats me like absolute shit. We are aware he's behind with his speech and development (not helped by his grandmother who insists he can dress, feed himself). I'm exhausted by it all. We've already had to have a court case, move house twice and now this. I've suggested councillor for him as I'm worried about the impact of what's happened regarding his mum but his grandmother shouts me down and is very controlling. HELP!!!!
        • Darlene EP

          majutsu_em 

          I can understand your

          frustration. It does sound like you are in a pretty challenging situation with

          your stepson. I think it is best to try and not take your stepson’s behavior

          personally. I am sure it feels very personal, but in all likelihood it is probably

          more about faulty thinking and poor problem solving skills. A great article to

          check out for more on this is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/good-behavior-is-not-magic-its-a-skill-the-3-skills-every-child-needs-for-good-behavior/

          Also, like Rebecca mentioned,

          try and focus on whether your stepson is following through with something,

          rather than how he feels about it. If he is protesting and being mouthy about

          having to put away his clothes, ignore it. This will help to stop a power

          struggle before it starts, and he will be much more likely to comply. We wish

          you the best with this. Thank you for reaching out.

        • Kimberly0323

          majutsu_em funny how similar our situations are and i have felt so alone in all of this. I dont have kids of my own yet since he had kids already we cant afford to have a kid of my own. I have also tried reward charts, prizes, lottery tickets, new toys sitting where he can see them to stay motivated but nothing seems to work. I dread having to care for him on weekends when he doesn't have school to go to all day and dread Sundays when his dad is home and we are all together because I know he will be super fake to me. I dont know what else to do. his sister is polite and respectful so I have no issues with her. Its the boy who I dont know how much more I can take. Its causing so much stress between me and my husband that we have been growing further apart. we appear as a united front to the children but behind losed doors its not like that. my stepson resents me because he would rather be with his mom but he wont say that but I know its the truth. He is always staring at the calendar asking how many more days till he goes with his mom. emotionally im drained out. I have my own issues and I go to therapy myself and then I have this kid to deal with everyday. I too am exhausted by it all. He sees a therapist every other week. I dont know what else to do. the therapist wants to me to still give him things but I dont feel like he deserves it. He always sees me as the bad guy even though i do a lot for them and take them out places and try to get them to have fun things because I know when they were with their mom it didnt happen. but it all goes unnoticed and unappreciated. He could be grounded all day with me and be miserable and then the next day be grounded all day with his dad around it he looks and acts like he is having the best day ever. 

          i know Im not much help but at least maybe knowing you arent alone makes you feel a little better. I have always felt alone as a step parent. I have had a hard time adjusting and feeling like the outsider and a third wheel and my husband says its my fault. So i have always struggled with it. I alwasy thought maybe having a kid of my own and experiencing this whole parent hood might help me deal with things better and not feel left out. but I cant have one right now because I have to care for them. 

          I hope things get better for yo and your family!

          xoxo

  • Frustrated Dad

    Have a 9 year old step daughter that continuously challenges me, numerous times she has the "you're not a parent, I don't have to listen to you"

    Something simple as cleaning up her mess from dinner, playing with toys...she chooses to do something else, ignoring what I've asked of her.

    I have tried speaking to my wife about this, and she says it's my fault, that I haven't earned the respect from the child. She praises her child for acting this way because I haven't earned it.

    Some advice or insight to this would be great!

    • majutsu_em
      You need to both be a team and tackle your daughter's attitude together. Show your union and strength. Unfortunately, nothing will change if your partner is praising your daughter for such disrespectful behaviour
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Frustrated Dad 

      Thank you for reaching out.  It can be very difficult

      when you are not only hearing “You’re not my parent” from your stepchild, but

      also hearing the same from your spouse.  I encourage you to continue to

      talk with your wife privately during a calm time, in order to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/ and develop standard house rules for everyone to

      follow.  Sometimes, it can be useful to involve a neutral third party,

      such as a marriage/family counselor with experience working with blended families,

      to help you find common ground and develop a plan moving forward.  For

      assistance locating support in your area, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I

      recognize how tough this must be for you right now, and I hope that you will

      write back and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

  • Fedupwife
    Have a 27 year old step-son who is married and had 2 kids, he would lie about me to my husband back in his teenaged years, now her suppose to be grown , has started in again with a vengence and his wife is just as bad or worse thanMore he is. I've been good to them , helped them out. Sad to say they live in my house it's everyday . My step-son will call his dad tell him something just to try and just me and my husband into it. His wife too they told my husband I ransacked their room , took things from there, then verbally attacked them , when all i did was get 2 cookies for my grandson while I was their baby out of the crib. Can't take much more .. any advise
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Fedupwife 

      Living with adult children can be extremely difficult, and

      it can be even more difficult when they are being dishonest in an attempt to

      pit you and your husband against each other.  It’s going to be important

      for you and your husband to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/, and show a united front when these issues arise. 

      You and your husband might also consider https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/ with your stepson and his wife which outlines your

      expectations for their behavior while they are living with you.  I

      recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I wish you all the best

      moving forward.  Take care.

      • Gabrielle
        My stepson works in our family business ( my husband and I jointly own it) in recent times my stepson has started to address Me in a rude and obnoxious manner. If he were anyone else that worked there my response would be very swift, because he is related toMore my husband it is complicated. I don't know why he feels he can talk to me so rudely and as a result I don't want to see or talk to him at all . My problem is how to explain this to my husband ( lets face it blood is thicker than water) at suggestions?
        • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
          I hear you. It can be difficult enough to address disrespectful behavior from a stepchild, let alone a stepchild who also has the role of employee in your family business. I understand the additional complications due to your family dynamics. At this point, I recommend talking withMore your husband privately during a calm time about the obnoxious behavior you are experiencing with your stepson, and get on the same page with your next steps. In general, we recommend treating a child working in a family business in a similar way that you would treat any other employee. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
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