Posted in Behavior, Blended Families, Teenagers

My Step-daughter makes me anxious

I've been married to my husband for 9 years. He has had full and sole custody of his daughter since 2005 when she was about 2.5. Her mom lived 3 states away. I met him in 2007 and we were married in 2009. As loving as she could be, she was also very defiant and had a lot of problems with anger, lying, etc. Actually all this talk of family separation makes me wonder if this transition from only mom from birth to only dad caused a lot of harm. I was not the best stepmother especially since I had no clue what I was doing. Now this girl is 15. Her mom moved back to our state about 4 years ago and she still bbn barely sees her or her siblings. I try to connect with her, but at this point her distrust of me and her dad is so deep. Her dad is very authoritarian so I never really have a say with discipline or how we raise her. We have 2 other kids and I have taken the reigns with them and see how many mistakes we made with her. It's so tense in our home. On the few occasions she does go to her mom's it's this huge relief for me. I hate if my husband isn't home and she is. She has all this attitude and the contempt for us is palpable. Her quips get under my skin fast and I have often blown up on her, then I feel terrible. I try to talk to her but that attitude cuts me and I get hurt then I get defensive. I just want her out of my home. I relate a lot with the movie Frozen because I feel like I do so much damage to her. I just don't have the patience and my constant anxiety is just worn me out. I know we need to pull her closer and shower her with love, but she's so untrusting. Her dad blames her for her behaviour and won't take the first steps to help us all heal... he expects this wounded 15 year old to do it. I need help and I don't know what to do.

  • Anonymous
    Aug 03, 2018

    Family therapy. The father needs to stop the authoritarian parenting. If she's all ready defiant that is only going to push her away more. You need to listen to her and find out why she's doing the things she does. She should probably go to therapy individually too. I know a lot of people will say your the step mom and should leave it to her father, but as a child with two sets of parents, I disagree. You need to be a united front. Make decisions together. Follow through on those decisions. If she gets an attitude with you he needs to back you up and vice versa. You need to control your anger and be patient. Going from just mom to just dad is a huge leap, especially since it was never addressed. When that happened, she should have been seeing a therapist as a child. Being a step parent isn't easy, especially when you're thrown into the role. She's 15. Of you start working on things now you can repair that relationship. If you give up on her now, you'll be lucky to see her once she's an adult.

  • Marsha
    Aug 03, 2018

    My 16 year old has so much attitude and anger from issues with her father. We’ve been divorced since she was about 5. I believe so much of her behavior focuses on her self esteem (lack of it) and she’s super sensitive. My suggestion, since you can really only control yourself, is to see where she is vulnerable and try to connect with her in that area. Maybe she loves to draw - so try to go to an art class or show. Something like that. I have learned with my 16 year old, to listen to her - and give her all my attention when I am doing so.

  • wonder mommy
    Aug 03, 2018

    This sounds like me. Me being your stepdaughter. I hated my father because I felt abandoned by him and his love when to my stepmother who I felt didn’t love me either. Your stepdaughter is a child. Keep trying to understand where the anger she has is coming from. The fact your asking for advice means you do care. Don’t stop caring, keep trying. Try to get her father involved. Don’t outcast her. It’s probably already what she thinks she is feeling.