Skip to main content

How To Be A Good Step-Parent and Stepmom

Being a Good Stepparent is Possible!

When I became a step parent almost 20 years ago, someone forget to give me a new owners manual on navigating step parenting and how to survive a blended family. And when I say blended it's definitely a blended mix, because not only are there 2 people in a love relationship (the new couple) but there are the children, who may or may not like the idea of having another parent on board: Then there are also the past significant others, who also may or may not be happy at the thought of you not only sleeping with their significant ex but also parenting their children.

It's quite an adventure, to say the least, and in the spirit of having been there and done that, I offer up a few good tips in how to be a good step-parent (or at least try!)

Can You Be a Good Step Parent?

Love in relationships can be nurtured.

Love in relationships can be nurtured.

Some Rules of Engagement in Step Parenting

First of all, remember that you are entering into an already made family. Even if the "real" mother/father of the children is or isn't in the picture now, they were at one point, and a relationship has already been established, whether good or bad.

Your new step children may be wildly ecstatic at having you as the new step-parent, or they might look at a you as the newest adversary on the block.

The significant exes may be feel the same about you, and all kinds of complications can arise if you don't keep a level head. After all, YOU are the one that has decided to come into this scenario, for better or worse, so don't come in expecting to save the day or start a whole new family. There are already certain ties established so you might as well get used to that fact!

So to make smoother sailing for your new step parenting role:

1. Accept that you are coming into already established relationships, whether good or bad, and prepare yourself for the consequences of that. Parents who have divorced or lost a parent can bring LOTS of emotional baggage into a new relationship, and so can the kids.

2. When you ARE feeling adversarial remember that old saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer? This can apply here too, even though you may feel that you are the adversary try to keep all lines of communication open as humanly possible, as this will help not only the children thrive but establish boundaries for better relationships down the road.

3. NEVER AND I REPEAT NEVER, put the other parent down in front of your step-kids. This can put them in the position of feeling like they have to "PICK" who's best, and this is NEVER a good thing to do. EVER. This is their other parent, and they probably love their parent, and hatred or dislike between parents can cause IRREVOCABLE HARM. Putting kids in the middle is NEVER a good thing to do anyway, in any type of situation!

4. Listen to your step kids and to their dreams and goals. Most likely they just want to be able to know that's it's OK to be themselves, that you are there for the long haul and that you care about them now - and that you care about their future. (If you don't like this part you shouldn't have signed up for the job!) If you are not willing to be a parent to this child and help them in their life and to be a productive member of society, you might want to rethink if step-parenting is even the right role for you.

5. Try, and I say try, because this is sometimes a hard thing to do, NOT to show favoritism to your own children and/or children that may come in the future. Make sure that your stepchild knows that they are a loved and valued member of the family, and that they are not "Second Best".

6. Never ever "triangulate" between your spouse and the stepchild. Triangulation is a twisted relationship where 3 are involved, usually the parents and the stepchild. All kinds of manipulative and destructive behavior can occur when the child/ and or parents pit one against the other. Always keep in mind, that there is the relationship between you and your spouse without the child, the relationship between the real parent and the child without you, and the relationship between the stepchild and you, without the parent. Establishing these separate and distinct relationships early on can help you maintain proper boundaries and to remember that 3's a crowd when it comes to relationship differences.Yes you can have fun as a family but when it comes to differences NEVER EVER argue these out in front of the kids. Kids are smart and can pick up on indecision and loopholes, and before you know it it can and will be used against you!

Impossible You Say?

You may be faced with a situation that you feel is just flat out impossible to repair- that either the step-kids, the step parent or parent is just out of control, and that nothing you say or do seems to be right.

This is the time to step back out of the ring and re-access what is happening. Perhaps this is time for YOU to go get counseling. Even if they don't want to go to counseling go for yourself! It's very important to get wise advice on handling step parenting issues BEFORE they break up the family. Many things can be worked through, even the most difficult, if you are really committed to sticking it out with your step-family. And if you are faithful and stick it out, working through these problems will even strengthen the ties that once seemed impossible!

Being a good step-parent is not only possible but can be one of the most rewarding things you can do as a person. Raising and caring for someone else's child is no easy task - but it can be done, with insight and perseverance!

(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer, mother and step-mother)


Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 31, 2014:

Dear Hockeygal26, I really feel for your situation. It sounds like your fiancé did not have a very active role in the 18 years old life before her mother "dropped" her off at your door. Sounds like he doesn't really know to how to handle his new found responsibility but you know what, she isn't yours or his "responsibility"....even though she is only 18 she is now an adult and making "adult like" decisions like getting pregnant. I would not give up your relationship with your fiancé, I would sit down with him and decide how much both of you are willing to help the 18 year old and to what extent...if that be money, help baby-siting for her to get a job at some point, providing a listening ear if she asks....chances are when the baby comes she may do a whole lot of growing up (hopefully) Don't let her bad choices ruin your life or your relationship - she is an adult and needs to start making better decisions and the only one that can make that happen is her. It might mean her going to live in a shelter (which btw many shelters offer a lot of help - childcare, job search, schooling, help finding a place, sometimes deposits even) She sounds pretty immature and she is only 18 - and she has still lots of growing up to do - but it's not your responsibility to change her decisions. I would get a good book on setting boundaries with "adult" children and go from there. Things may turn out better than you think, it's all about those boundaries, I wish you the best of luck and feel free to stop by and post anytime :-)

Hockeygal26 on May 31, 2014:

Scroll to Continue

Please help. I don't want to be a statistic of a failed relationship due to step children. My fiancé and I have lived together for 3 years. We hopefully will be married in the fall. I have 2 younger children now 9 and 12 from a previous marriage. My fiancé is active in their care and parenting. We present as a united front and have the same goals of parenting with my children. My fiancé is not seen as a replacement for their father but understand he is a parental figure. The problem enlies with his youngest child. She just turned 18. She was living with her mother and was removed from her high school for violence. My fiancé had a more distant role with her. The best way I can describe it it was more like he is her friend. Nothing was done about her violent tendencies or behavior. She did not attend school and when I mentioned to have her come live with us. He told me no because it interfered in relationships with her friends. We lived in a different down about 40 miles away. Her mother remarried in the summer of 2013 and dropped her off at our front door. She was enrolled in a home school program but it wasn't be monitored and she was left to her own devices. Needless to say she wasn't doing the school work. She didn't have a job. My fiancé was just giving her money for gas and cigarettes. She didn't help with any chores around the house. I asked my fiancé for some type of consistency in regards to child responsibilities as it is expected from him me as well that my kids do household chores, go to school do homework and show respect to the adults of the house. It was at this time my older daughter was saying well if she doesn't have to go to school and do chores why do I. Essentially she was asking why she had to do the right things when my fiances daughter didn't and was essentially getting everything handed to her. My fiancé did attempt to get his daughter to do some school work but then after a week of this he allowed her to shack up with friends . She would return long enough (1 day) to do an hour of school work to get her gas money, car registration and insurance paid for and her cigarette money. My fiancé allowed her to smoke telling me she was addicted to cigarettes at 17. Regardless one day she turned 18 and left. He would meet her once a week to give her money. Now she has no high school education, no job and is pregnant. She is due in a few months. She is staying with whom we think is the father who is 17 or with friends. I don't know because I feel I can't believe either party. My fiancé included. When it comes to this child he tells me one thing but does another. I've stayed in the background. I sat with her before she was pregnant while she was living with us and tried to help her figure out how to finish high school and get into college. I took her to an advisor at a local college to try and help get her on tract as well. This wasn't forced she asked me. I bought her a new computer so that she could complete her schooling. I took the excuse I'm uncomfortable using your computer away. Now this. I'm not sure what to do. I love my fiancé but I don't want my young children thinking it's ok not to finish high school get pregnant and live off the hard working tax payer. Because with my fiance's pregnant daughter that's what is happening. There is no plan. There is no remorse for her mistake. I fear for the unborn child, but I feel like there is nothing I can do.Every time the situation is mentioned there is an argument. Please help. If my feelings are wrong please tell me.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 13, 2013:

@Don) So sorry to hear that Don. Sounds like you've had some really bad experiences.

Don on April 26, 2013:

If anyone asked me about being a step-parent, I would give a resounding DON'T!!! You are in a no win situation. Yoou'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't. The "step" part is because they will step all over you and use you when they need or want something. I am 63 now and had no children of my own. I's love to divorce these leeches. I know I sound harsh, but I've put up with this for over 30 years. I've learned, but a little too late!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 21, 2012:

@Jay) Thanks for reading and I'm glad the hub helped you. Teenagers are a strange breed - I raised 3 of them (now adult men)...sometimes it's hard to figure out why they do things they do. Have you asked her why she doesn't call you Dad anymore? Maybe this could open up a conversation...maybe she's feeling some guilt towards her own dad that died (just speculating here?) You could bring it up nonchalantly, even jokingly...see what her response is. I know it probably hurts that she's not calling you dad right now, but I wouldn't take it too personally. My step son went through a period as a teen that he didn't call me mom anymore either. Now he's 32 and always calls me mom... Let me know how things go and good luck!

JayMarquez on September 21, 2012:

I took some time to read your deal on step-parenting and actually learned a few new things that I will keep in mind and remember....however I am dealing with a situation that I have never in my life of 36 yrs, have I had to deal with and I am a little confused on what or how to deal with it cause I am feeling kinda awkward. I just turned 36 this past August and have been with this woman whom is 42 and has two beautiful girls that are twins and both 13 yrs old; they're both kinda mentally challenged and one is in a wheelchair with spina bifida....anyway, I have been with this woman for a year and a couple of months now, her name is Shawna and the two girls' names are Hope and Heather. Well here recently Heather asked her mother if she had to call me dad and her mother told her no, that it's perfectly up to her...their real father passed away 5 or so yrs ago and from what she has told me was never around to help her because he was a drunk...anyhow, for all this time they both would call me dad on their own, and now Heather all of a sudden doesn't want to call me dad anymore and I don't understand why?? Hopie in the wheelchair still calls me dad and that means a lot to me since I have been their for them all since day one that we and Shawna got together...I don't understand what or how to deal with this...I still love them both equally and always will...I'm confused Dorsi...can you help me?

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 19, 2012:

@renee) Did they have a long and close relationship - the son and her ex-boyfriend? Perhaps she feels it is an important relationship? Do you live far from his son?

renee' on March 19, 2012:

My husbands ex-wife sends their son to her ex-boyfriends house on the weekends to visit. My husband only gets to see his son 2 months in the summer. I find this odd, what are your thoughts?

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 15, 2012:

@SJW) Could it be that they are trying to give their grand-daughter that mom figure since they know their daughter cannot play that role now? Can you ask them so you don't wonder? It could be something very benign. As for calling you mom, I see no problem with that. My stepson is 31 now and calls me mom still, even though he is close to his real mom too. I consider it an honor!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 15, 2012:

@Ann) I am really to sorry to hear this. Most "kids" are not ready to be on their own when they are 18. Especially nowadays! As long as he stays in school, or gets a job (or both) and remains respectful, I personally see no reason to push him out. I would have a good heart to heart talk with your husband if you can.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 15, 2012:

@courtney) Weird you would bring this up. Cutting hair seems to bring out the worst in people sometimes. I had a boyfriend that cut my sons hair when I was gone and wow was I mad! He had curly hair though and he cut off all the curls!

Then I tried to cut my grand-daughters hair out of her eyes a few months ago (bangs too) and my son had a fit!

At this point, yes I would just apologize and say you never meant to start a huge problem...and the boy, well he LET you cut his hair (it's not like he's a baby and had no choice) I think dad needs to talk to him about being respectful to you. Kids can and will manipulate situations - especially smart ones!

@Anon) That's very sad. I hate to hear stuff like that.

@sunkentreasure) That is SO beautiful and even more so because it applies to ALL children, whether "blood" or not!

SJW on March 12, 2012:

I am engaged to a widower. We have been together for 3 years and his daughter was 3 and a half when we started dating, soon to be 7. We have been living together for over a year, engaged for 8 months. We operate as a family unit very well and she and I are very close at this point. So I have been her primary female role model for her memorable past.

Recently, his former in-laws have been acting strange toward her. They have been referring to me as 'mom' even writing it on a st. Patrick's day card. They no longer call their daughter her mom and refer to her by first name. Is this something that we need to worry about? Is this normal? The relationship between the in-laws and my fiancé has been ruined through events before and since their daughter's death.

My soon to be step-daughter has informed us that once we are married is when she will decide what to call me. As of now I am still refered to by my first name by her. She will slip every once in a while and call me mama.

This is very concering for us....

Ann on March 11, 2012:

This has been very interesting to read-I married a man with 2 kids from 2 previous relationships, and I myself have a 17 yr old son who lives with us. My husbands kids 12 and 20 do not live with us. My husband has said that once my son graduates from HighSchool that it will be time for him to move out-I don't agree and don't see that it's his right to give that time line. I'm confused and not sure how to take this-I know he's not joking-he's never cared much for my son.



Bless your children with the power of prayer

Celebrate their uniqueness

Feed them encouragement and inspiration

and let them feel they are greatly loved.

Teach your children the beauty of kindness

Enrich them with the wonders of nature

Fill their hearts with joyful melody

and always be their friend.

Clothe your children in goodness

Make their world full of nice surprises

Help them to follow their dreams

and thank God they came into your life.

© Bernard Levine

Anon on March 09, 2012:

I feel sorry for my stepdad. He really doesn't know what he has got himself into. He'll wake up one day with all his possessions gone and an empty back account. She'll screw him over just like she has done to everyone else. Parenting is the last thing he's got to worry about ha.

courtney on March 09, 2012:

Thanks for writing this blog, I actually am hoping that my husband will forward #3 & #5 (I think) to his Ex. Everyone has gotten along and been respectfuluntil I trimmed my s-son's bangs. Note that my relationship with his mother has been extraordinary and really a wonderful example of making peace for their son, my step son. I even attend her girlfriend Christmas get together, almost too much for me, but I do it to keep the peace and be an example for my s-son (8 y.o). My four year relationship with him is wonderful as well, no complaints.

Upon my husband's arrival to drop him off with the ex, his son ran up to his mother to tell her 'courtney cut my hair.' Mind you, I was not there and the bangs were below his eyes. Well, aside from the word exchange, she had her son call his dad and say, mom wants to talk to you're and handed the phone to his mother. She then told my husband, tell courtney dong ever cut his hair again!' Then the conversation escalated further.

I sincerely felt bad for trimming his bangs and certainly didn't mean any harm. So I told my husband I would apologize.

Now, I'm facing the damage from her having her son call for her and then saying what she said with him present in the car.

I made my husband aware of this issue and he said something to his ex, but I think something needs to be said to their son as well. He is very smart and it makes me so upset that this happened with no clean up and I'm the only one that will suffer the consequences of disrespect from my s-son. He is a very smart little boy.

Shouldn't this be addressed, and How?

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 08, 2012:

@jerrell) Thank you so much for posting. It sounds like you are working hard at being a good step-parent. I know it's hard but keep up the good work and keep those lines of communication open. That is so important.

Jerrell on March 03, 2012:

I have a fiancé and we plan on getting married she has a daughter of 2 yrs she is wonderful but being a step parent is hard and i knew that coming into this.Rules and things like that are a trouble i love both of them to death and i would protect them with my life I have a son of my own from a previous marriage I can't see him though and it hurts but I have her and i love her like she was my own child being accepted by her is hard but i know in the end it will be rewarding i try to be the best father and the best man for my woman I know that i will make mistakes and that I have to make mistakes but since they both allow me to make mistakes and fix them I know it is alright and we will be fine I love both of them and to me she is my daughter whether I am the biological or not it doesn't matter to me all that matters is that I am here and that I can make a positive impact on her life I teach her things shapes,numbers,letters, I try to be as encouraging as possible even though sometimes I can be negative I want what's best for the both of them and if I can be that best for them then I will. Being a step parent is so hard fustrating and though we don't do this all the time we both know the only way we are going to make it is that we continue to always communicate I get mad at her because she says i am to strict or shes mad because i said that she is too laxed i tell her what i been through as a child how i was raised so that she can get an understanding why i feel like i shouldn't tolerate certain things and she tells me hers but i know we will be alright she crys all the time lol but its alright most of the time but its just those few times when I just want to get away from the crying. I try to be understanding and she feels like i don't care a lot of times but I know there are somethings that i have to work on to; like i don't get easily excited about things or i don't show emotions a lot I explained to her this is how i am but i think i could be better at it like when she comes around me and jumps on me she has to remind me to be excited to see her when i am deep down inside it is just it doesn't come out I love them both i love like she came from me but hell she is my daughter whether a paternity test says so or not.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 14, 2012:

YW Kea:)

kea on February 12, 2012:

Thank you..great advice:-)

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 10, 2012:

@kea) Oh boy Kea I can feel for you. Sounds like the 14 yo is manipulating everyone - and I think you need to put a stop to it as far as yourself is concerned. You can't control what she posts, says to others, etc but you can control how you react. I would recommend the book Boundaries with Teenagers. I would not stop her from having a relationship with her little brother but I would make sure you have boundaries and limits in place when she visits with him and you. Try not to get caught up in any "sick triangles". I know it's hard.

kea on February 06, 2012:

I have been with my boyfriend for almost 5 years now, I would have thought by now his 14 yr old daughter from his first marriage would have accepted me??My fiancé has a 14yr old from his first marriage, which there marriage was anything but perfect..and a 7 yr old daughter from his 2nd marriage..So I am dealing with two ex wives..that are not nice, they are very vindictive.They have to make everything hard and their way(even with court paperwork) my fiancé does not want to argue with them so he gives them there way every time.His 7 yr old daughter loves me but her mom is the one who left him and their family 5 years ago, took 1 1/2 years to divorce him and won't date or move on to this day?? The problem is my fiance's 14yr old..she will not let go..of that 2nd ex-wife-her first step mom..she comes over every weekend, everything is fine, until she leaves she gets ear fulls from her mom and talks to her ex step-mom and all hell breaks loose..she hates me then she likes me??I have done so much for her shopping, concerts, expressed my love,devotion and had personal conversations with her, most of all shown respect to her..everything I can think of to make her at least like me??Last week the final straw for me came out, she had her mom call the police on us at 1pm in the afternoon right before her mom picked her up, over a small argument..then went home got on facebook and told my family we were not getting married and we are just dating??We have been living together for 4 yrs, have a two yr old boy together and got engaged new years eve like a year ago..I posted on her comment and started a semi argument then she posted an i love letter to all her immediate and step-mom..the step-mom letter was to my fiance's 2nd ex wife(right for me to read it..saying you will always be my stepmom...) was basically a slap in the face to my fiancé called her at home and asked her about her letter..she hung up on him, then she went back on facebook and typed me 10 messages, with every name in the book and every put down possible, it literally broke my heart..she then ended it with, she was done with me and her ex-step mom will always be her step-mom not me??WTF did I do??I am so stressed/sad/ fiancé and I talked to his mom about the 14yr old's behavior and she said"she's just being a 14yr old get over it"I asked her basically to have it come from someone else other than her dad and I like maybe her that the behavior is unacceptable, she said she wont do that because it's just her age talking, that upset me, if no one says anything the teenager thinks it's okay to do what she is doing, Anyway then went home and responded to an i love you grandma letter on facebook that the 14yr old sent to her..basically including grandma into the little game and grandma fed right into it basically telling the 14 yr old what she was doing to me/how she is treating me is okay:-(I don't understand??Should I be upset with grandma for not at least telling her to back off of me and show some respect??I know they say kill with kindness but she has literally disrespected me in every way..she has called me a f'd up mom, stupid bi*h..a lot of very mean do I face that??What do I do about these ex wives that are smiling in accomplishment right now/while I am crying and losing sleep??I want to marry this man, and I know he wants to marry me, what do we do??One more thing..I have been telling the 14yr old she won't see her baby brother anymore,(she's been claiming the only reason she comes over is for the baby??/In which she tries to tell us how to be parents/spies on everything we are doing to her mom)..I feel that if she doesn't want a marriage/family and can't accept me or respect me..then she doesn't respect her little brother and accept that I am his mom, so then she doesn't need to see him, if that's her behavior choice??Am I right to do that or no?? I honestly just don't know what to do??Please Help??

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 29, 2012:

@katedavies) He may have some learning difficulties and unfortunately these things don't always come out until they enter school. Unfortunately you can't make mom follow through with the program, but the best you can do is keep open communication and hopefully she will come around at some point. I know it's hard but you can only do your part when you have him, and if this goes to mediation or court, this is something I would bring up. Best of luck. There are forums on the internet for all stages of children - maybe you might find a support group on there or even in your own area?

katedavies on January 27, 2012:

hi, just wondering if you could give me some advice. I've been with my partner for two years, his adorable son was two and a half when we met, he's is such a lovely little boy. The thing which concerns me is that at the age of four and a half he really doesn't talk much, he lives with his mother and unfortunately we only see him a whole wk end but each fort night, he was still in nappies at the age of three and a half, his currently waiting on a letter to come so he can go to speech therapy which i'm hoping will help him develop. he attends pre-school and upon attending the parents evening my partner was told that his son is finding it difficult in most of the learning, to help him develop the teacher gave a blank book in which he asked for the parents to document what the boy is learning, I noticed though that although my partner only has him a short period of time he encourages his son to learn a lot, he stuck to the same thing such as writing his name so as his son would not be confused,then when the wk end came around for him to have his son. the mother didn't hand over the book but the following fort night she rang my partner saying when he collects his son could he learn him more whilst in his care. when me and my partner checked his book to see if he was progressing we noticed that in the whole month that had passed his mother only sat and helped him to draw four shapes, I really haven't spoke to his mother so I really cant judge but once again the book hasn't been with him when he's arrived. I feel as though my partners son doesn't get much interaction at home he has a 15 month old step brother and still to this day when asked his brothers name he replies either saying " brother " or he doesn't know, how could I talk to my partner about the situation and encourage him to speak with his sons mother,my boyfriend tends to keep his mouth shut to keep the peace but this is his son and I feel he should want the best for him,his sons mother actually stopped my partner having access to his son when she found out he was in a relationship although she was engaged at the time, I was the one to get in touch with a family solicitors as I felt that his son needed his father in his life and my partner needed his son also, its all getting me really upset as it feels as though all the effort me and my partner go to to make the learning fun an keep his son interested is then just going nowhere as his mother doesn't seem interested, what can we do any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 20, 2012:

@Mark) I understand and it must be tough, especially since you don't have children of your own to draw experience from. Sounds like you really want things to work out though - have you thought about an online support group for step-dads with no kids? That way you could talk with others in your same position. Just a thought and best of luck!

Mark on January 18, 2012:

My girlfriend and I have been together for a year now and we recently moved in together. She has two children; a 4 year old son and a 13 year old daughter. I'm having a hard time establishing any sort of relationship with the kids and it's starting to cause friction between us. I have no children and really didn't know what to expect. The kids are great and my girlfriend is a wonderful, loving mom. I love her and really want this to work, but I'm having a real hard time adjusting and I feel like our relationship is suffering. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 16, 2012:

@Susi) I am SO sorry to hear this. I wonder if she holds some type of resentment of her "real" mother dying and is projecting it onto you? It's just a thought. I hope in time that there will be a breakthrough where you can get to talk to her about her real feelings here. Hang in there, I believe in time there will be restoration but I know it's hard right now. Do you have a counselor you can talk to about this?

Susi on January 14, 2012:

I am a step mom. I married a widower with 3 small children, their ages were 5,6,and 10. I had already raised two children who were now adults living on their own. I loved and raised those children like they were my own. When the youngest one turned 18, she turned on me. She told me I was a failure as a mom, which nearly killed me. She recently got married and wouldn't let me help with her wedding. She calls her mom in law, mom now and I am not included into her life. My step daughter was a great kid, she graduated from high school with honor, she was in band and she also did dual enrollment in college. She was a great teenager, hardly ever argued, always called and let us know where she was, helped around the house. Then she met her now husband, and his family, and changed on a dime. I am not sure what I did, there were no arguments or anything. Why would my step daughter all of a sudden change. I feel like I am going through a death and mourning the loss of my daughter. I have stepped back and let her live her life, thinking she would come around, but now she is telling everyone I don't care about her. I am at a loss, no matter what I do it is wrong. I am ready to throw in the towel. I am so confused.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 10, 2012:

Thanks for the info on the upcoming step parent show!

Step Parent Casting on January 10, 2012:

CASTING: Step Families Who Are Looking For Advice For A New TV Series. Email pics, names & ages of all family members, paragraph describing everyone & contact info!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 02, 2012:

@Lily) Sounds like a little insecurity over his own relationships with his daughters (and perhaps a tad of jealousy perhaps?) That was my first thought...

Lily on December 30, 2011:

I am a stepparent of ll years and we have 3 wonderful girls -25,22,17. The problem recently is that my husband is being very negative and lacks the belief in my daughter unlike his own two. It is frustrating. I have spoken to him about it and have gotten nowhere. She is really a good kid...honour student, holds a part time job, doesn't go out partying, etc

He also seems frustrated that I have a really strong relationship with his own daughters...they call and text with more than him. It wasn't easy but the time and effort has been worth it.

Any thoughts

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 28, 2011:

@JLR) No you are not being ridiculous. And unfortunately if dad does not respect you chances are his son won't either. He will follow by example. Is your husband open to couples/parenting counseling? That would help a lot if you two get some help first then you can come up with ways to parent the child together instead of things being one-sided. Let me know how things go.

JLR24 on December 27, 2011:

I have been dating my boyfiend for four years. He has a 7 year old who I have been a "mother" figure to for the past four years, he even calls me "mommy" however, I have problems (majorrr) getting him to listen to me and respect me (along with his father). I always thought his father would stand behing me...I am not being obsurd with my requests, I was just raised to respect my elders, ask permission, and be respectful, none of which I receive from both child or father. I atleast thought the father would be on my side, since we are in a relationship, I do understant that blood is thicker than water, but when it comes to a seven year old respecting an adult I think there are some rules that need to be put into place. Am I being completely rediculous? I need some advice please!!!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 23, 2011:

@mother of 2) Such a hard situation. I so understand. My room-mate is going through a similar situation with her own son. It's very hard because it's the kids that are so confused and hurt by parents that drop in and out of their life. Are there any court orders in effect right now? I ask because this is important.

mother of 2 on December 23, 2011:

well i never done this before but here I go. I have been with my husband for 8 years and he was actually my first love we went to prom and everything i moved away he went into the army married and had a hansome little boy. he went to war to come home to a divorce and had to fight for custody i moved in and my little bear was just turned two his ex moved away and there i was a new mother and a lover /counsler and it was hard at first not having any kids of my own. my husband was also going through an emotional mightmare of war and not understand why his ex left him but i hung in there listened to everything and we got through it then my little bear started to call me mommy his bio mother was in his life about 8 weeks out of the year so really i was a mom to him and it took a while to let him call me that even now my son and i are close we also have a five year old boy together. the kicker is for all these years his bio mom has made promise after promise to drop him has never sent him anything in the mail to him and and only calls on his birthday or when it is time for her visitation and then everytime she trys to screw us over and she has started not to get him everytime she can she lies to him and keeps his hopes up then tells him a day or two before that she cant get tickets this has caused him to lash out on me when this happens or he stays to himself I know i have nothing to do with this but some advice on how to talk to her she is very manipulative and trys to turn everything around on me. i know my son is very smart and sees what is going on here but also very hurt and i cant take watching her do this to him anymore. she didn't get him for christmas this year and probably wont send anything for him either help me i need to know what to do with her and how to not let her actions affect my baby cause he doesn't deserve this

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 20, 2011:

@Mandy) There is nothing wrong with making that decision as far as I am concerned. And if you change your mind, sit down with your husband and have the rules of the house, written down and agreed upon with the consequences of breaking them too.

@jnic) hmmmm...that is not good that he is acting out at such a young age. Is there any way you can get into some counseling with him? Thats my first thought.

jnicjohn on December 10, 2011:


My 2 1/2 year old stepson thinks I hit his mother and yell at her. His father is the one who actually hit her about a year ago in front of the boy,and usually tries to argue with her when he picks our son up for visits. Within the past couple of days, he has begun to throw fits whenever her and I hug. And has become defiant to my discipline. I haven't been in his life for very long, but I fear he is confusing the negativity from his father with me. I don't want to throw his father under the bus because that goes against my parenting morals, although I am certain that is not recipricated on his fathers behalf. Should we tell him that his father is the person he remembers hitting his mom?

Mandy B. on December 07, 2011:

I been married for 11 years. I have a 18 years old stepdaugther. After 3 years of marriage my husband and I had a son who now is 8. She lives with her mother. We all used to get along. Her mom also remarried and has 2 boys 10 and 7 years old. When my stepdaughter turn 18 she had a boyfriend and was giving her mom a REALLY hard time so the mom decided that she (her daughter) needed to move with us.

I talk to my husband I told him that I didn't think it was fair with us after her mom was the one that had educated her with her believes, many that I don't agree with.

I told her mom that she was welcome in my house at any time but I was not ready to live 24/7 with a teenager that had such a different believes from me.

I felt a little selfish but I didn't want that example for my son. Did I make the right choice?

I am sorry if there is any grammar mistakes but I am Spanish.

Thanks for your help

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 01, 2011:

@Elizabeth) Oh no Elizabeth, that is horrible and abusive. I am sorry. Wow.

Elizabeth on November 29, 2011:

Is good for a step mom to complaint to her family about her step kids specially when there has been already a broken marriage and the kids have suffered a lot and left behind by their mother, is it nice for the step mom to say the children are son of bitches and whores and bastards????

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 04, 2011:

@Oh Hope you sound like a beautiful woman with a wonderful spirit. It is so sad when parents do not put their children's lives first and use them to manipulate other people. It just makes me sick. You cannot change her or their family but you can continue to be the sweet loving step-mother that you are.

My motto in life? To be a "PEEP" which means to be a:

P- Peacekeeper

E- Example

E- Encourager

P- Person of integrity

Continue to be you and maybe those "PEEP" words will help you. It has helped me A lot. Thanks for reading and come back anytime and let me know how things are going.

Hope on November 03, 2011:

This is a great hub.. Im 34 years old..I have a long story but i will try to shorten it. Met my now husband on blind date and we knew each other from high school it was so sweet.. in a small town i knew his ex wife also but not well she was always rude in school but i had heard she was a strong christian and thought she changed some... i was wrong.. I date him for almost 3 months befor i met his kids. my now husband and i were both divorsed from the same type A personality. I had no children i am unable to so I really felt like God put us togther for a reason. I am a elem art teacher and love fun with kids!! I meet his two boys ages 9 and 5 the 1st time i took to theme park. Me and the 9 year old hit it off he hugged and loved on me from the 1st step. The 5 year old was very shy and stayed close to his dad. The devorice was bad and my husband only got boys on every other weekend and when she said it was ok or needed to use us to go out dateing but if we asked her for the boys she would say no. She sent them over to stay with us for the 1st time with not one thing but what they had on. No toys no nothing. She said we just have to buy everything they need to stay. Her mother came into our apt one night and told me and her ex son in law she could not recognize us in public because we had not repented of our sin and got married befor he moved in with me. Mewile her daughter was sleeping around town... i left my own place crying because she would not get out of my apt or my face. the next year is a rollercoster for the boys and us. she drug them around and used them to manipuliate my husband. We were in and out of court trying to get the boys more. They both wanted to be with us more by this point. She would do things like pick them up early and drag them out crying and I made brownies with them and she picked them up early and I sent them with the boys to eat later and the older boy said later she dummped the brownies out on side of road. She also told the older one she does not want to hear anything about your dad and Hope but especialy Hope. He did not understand that at 10 years old. She hated me and still does and i do not know if i will ever understand. After 2 years she married a man with 7 kids and they had a baby together. so now 10 kids all together and at 1st the boys hated it well the older one still does ( he wants to live with us but he does not want to hurt his real mom) but the younger one now 8 likes having the other kids to play with. My husband and I married after 3 years togther( my choice) my family was not happy.. probley still not happy, my mom was a step mom and my step sisters gave her lot of problems and they do not talk. But my stepboys love me so... they were so happy we got married111 they tell me i beautful and wonderfull and they fight over who gets to set next to me on the coutch. The oldest now 13 always saying he cant live with out me :) We still only get them every other weekend but we make every min count and extra special! I do have a lot of hurt I love the boys like i would children of my own and i scrifice everything for them and my husband!! After 4 years she still will not actknowage my exsitance and will not look at me or say Hi. Her mom and dad a preacher, just now spoke to me again but only when she is not around. i just know in my heart the boys need me and I know that love conquers all and God has amazing plans for us and i will keep smiling and loving them no matter what. Oh just in last few months the younger boy 8, has been missing his mom more and has asked not to come over or go home early... it breaks my heart but it is always after she calls and he finds out she is home with out all other 7 step kids so he must be needing her attention. I never let any thing bad show I always stay positive infront of them... some times i just have to go for a drive.. to let hurt feelings go. I try to keep Hope for a better relationship with everyone for the boys sake. I need any and all advice!!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 31, 2011:

@chief) Thanks for reading and I agree whole-hardheartedly.

@Concerned) I am so sorry. I can feel your pain. One of the things that my daughter in law has started doing with their step family is not allowing gifts and material things to be given to just one child. (she has a daughter by a former husband) Once in a while is OK but when it one child is favored continually over another it WILL start big problems. If your stepson is coming home with too many "goodies" I would tell him those things need to stay at moms house. And I feel your pain about the ex thing. Just remember it's you and your husbands relationship that is number #1. The rest of the family will follow suit. The more united front the two of you show the harder it will be for exes to interfere. You can work through this - read up on "triangulation" in relationships. It will help you see what it going on.

concerned on October 30, 2011:

I am a mother to a 7yr old little girl and step mother to a 10 yr old boy. the father and i have been together for 3 yrs. engaged over christmas married by the middle of the year. I used to get along with the Mother and mother in law. Now the mother has recently divorced after only a year. Her and the mother in law have recently decided they no longer like me. The mother claims my step son is depressed and needs more one on one time and feels that he is treated unfairly at our house. we have him 50% of the time and we treat him just as we do my daughter. I know that a lot of my step sons problem is the fact that the mother and mother in law baby him and dote on him constantly but Im just not that person. I am trying to raise them with responcibilty and respect. He has now started ignoring every word my daughter says unless hes correcting her on something. he brings things they buy him home to brag about. He does anything he can to upset her and I when I step in his father gets mad at me and says things like no wonder he doesn't like it here. Im at witts end. I know the mother and mother in law are behind this trying to split us up and have my step son making it as hard as can because he is my husbands weak spot. It just stinks that this sweet little boy I use to adore has become such a monster and I cant breathe until the weeks hes at his mothers. Im tired of walking on egg shells but my husband is afraid of confontation for the drama it will start so its now to the point to where I cant even talk to him. Its one big bottled up mess. help!

chiefmomofficer from Massachusetts on October 30, 2011:

Excellent advice! Having gone through this myself, your words really hit home. It's definitely not easy, but do-able. Just takes extra thought, effort, and time.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 25, 2011:

@Trying hard) I'm sorry to hear about the bullying. That's definitely not good. Sounds look it could be some jealousy towards her too (possibly). I would recommend some family counseling. If that's not possible then try joining an online group for step-parenting and get involved there. It can be very helpful. I think you can work through this.

Trying Hard on October 24, 2011:

Hi Hub

Thanks for the article with this I have realized one of the few mistakes I had made in the past. I have a daughter of 6 and a step son of 10 years old,my boyfriend (divorced 2009) and I live together with both our kids for about a year now. The problem started with my stepson some how bullying my daughter whenever I wasn't around(stern look, face pulling and pushing around) Well as she is a softy she always ended up crying and leaving it at that. When i started noticing these things I spoke to him and also informed his father(my boyfriend) about it. He got scolded at and for a few months we could see change but recently it has started again and this time i am ignored or sometimes not even greeted. He at times visits his mom who lives in the same town as we do and i feel or has noticed after these visits that things just gets worse. I love my stepson but am not prepared to stoop down to a child that has no respects level as this not only affects me but my daughter much more. All this is new to me and I have shed tears for this. Please advice me on how to tackle this I'm out of hope. Thanks

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 22, 2011:

@Confused and Hurt) I know it's hard but I think making the same rules and structure for all of them is key. I know you are trying to give the stepkids a break but I think that is going to work against you. If they are all subject to the same treatment then they can't say you treat one differently than the other. This will also stop your own kids from possibly getting hurt that you are treating the step kids differently. A good step parent book would be great to have on hand. You know, all kids think we are unfair at times or say we "hate" them or treat them differently. They can learn to manipulate parents very well I'll tell ya.

Confused and Hurt on October 20, 2011:

Nice article. It was what I needed to read. I am mother of 4 and stepmother to 2. They moved in with us in August and it has been turmoil. The 8 year old stepson just told my husband "I hate him." I am more leniant on them than my own kids and am very hurt he has manipulated the situation this way. It puts my husband in a hard place. And i don't like when we disagree. Any advice, besides me getting counseling to help me deal and grow a bond with my stepkids without neglecting my own. Thanks

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 18, 2011:

@Hopetocome) I understand how you feel. Somehow it feels like stepson is doing some manipulation with you. Kids are smart and learn to act certain ways to try to get their way. I would urge you to get some family counseling

before he gets older and this pattern gets worse. It's good that you are on good terms with the mom and SD. *you can also find a stepparent group on the web where you talk more at length about your issues. Best of luck.

Hopetocome on October 17, 2011:

Hello Dorsi,

Thank you for your article. It is impressive how the topic and concerns are still the same since you wrote the article 2 years ago.

I am a step mom too to an 8 year old boy. His Dad and I come from the same culture and country and we share lots of similar values. We both want him to grow up like his Dad, although we respect the culture of his Mom,whom I am in good terms with. When I first married his Dad, I did my best to make him feel comfortable around me, and be friends more than an adult kid relationship. although sometimes I have to be an adult with him. I do everything that a mom could do for her own child.. I had a step mom too and I wished I had valuable time with her, so I am trying to do whatever I can to build good childhood memories for him with me.

My S son started acting strange, he would not listen to me, he would instead try to call his Dad to make sure he has to do what I asked. He would call me mean, and walk away if I am talking to him. When his Dad and I are playing with him, he would push me away. He started even complaining about how many hugs and goodbye kisses I get from his Dad. The only reaction I have when things turn bad is to give him his own space and go do something else. It is still frustrating when I see him coming to me only because he knows I am the only person who can do him favors and have fun with when nobody is around. He even knows that his own Mom doesn't play with him like I do. My husband is very aware of his kid's behaviors, but we don't talk about it. I don't like it when my S son is disrespectful and he can easily get away with it, I would not tolerate that my own kid treats me like that. If we talk to him he would cry to get us stop, he even didn't want to come to our house once saying that I am mean to him and I am trying to discipline him and he doesn't like that. He has a step dad and he doesn't act with him like that. His S dad doesn't talk much, and he 's busy. His mom would not allow him to act like that with her boyfriend , and the boy cares about his mom getting mad, but it upsets me when he doesn't care about his Dad's emotions. My husband and I get along so well. and I am afraid that my S son's behaviors remain like that or even get worse as he grows up or when we get kids.I hope this will not shake my marriage life. I love my Step son so much and I care about him more. It upsets me when I do all my best and he would just treat me with disrespect when he has no need of me.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 07, 2011:

@eve) Are you doing"too much" for these kids in the effort for them to accept you? If so I would rethink that. How old are the kids?

@Ena) I think talking to the mom in a non adversial way would be great. The better you can all get along and be on the same page, the better.If the kids welfare is put first (hopefully) by all parties, things will be a lot smoother. And yes there is no reason to discuss past adult relationships. Sounds like things will work out. I wouldn't think too far ahead and worry about the future too much at this point. I would work on establishing good boundaries and limits at this point. Communication is important.

@Gwen) I think things will be OK. You want to love and accept him and that is the foundation of a great relationship.

Gwen on October 06, 2011:

Thanks for writing this. I am in a serious relationship with a man who wife died tragically when the child was very toddler. Now the child is 5yrs old and I'm metting the child for the first time (so nervous). I don't want to fall into the evil step mother or ruin the 1st impression. I am in this relationship for the long haul and I really... I just want him to love me as much as I am going to love this little guy.

Ena on October 06, 2011:

Hi Dorsi,

I'm in a bit of an unfamiliar boat, as in I don't know what to do because I've never been in the need to do it. Okay so here is my story... My boyfriend and I will will be married by next summer, I'm moving to Europe to be with him in December. He has a son who is 18 months old, he is the sweetest little boy I've seen in a very long time. He is well behaved and has been raised well so far. He lives with his mother, who my boyfriend thinks will spoil the child, I can already see on the child that he has the "gets what he wants" attitude. My bf and his ex wife are divorced and have been for about a year. I love children and I know that I will never differ my own children from my step-son, after all, he is my husbands child. I'm just scared that his mother will turn him against me, I'm scared that when his dad and I have children that his mother will turn him against them...

I've never even exchanged a word with him mom but I did get an evil stare from her when I was in the car one day with my fater-in-law, she did ask a mutual friend of ours who I was and what my boyfriends intensions were with me, etc... I don't want this to turn crazy and bad. I know what I have to do... the child will never be a problem if I can deal with his mother, she will be the one turning him against me, I know it... I was wondering if you though if it would be a good idea for me to sit down with the boy's mom and talk to her? I think if I became at least some what friends that she woouldnt cause a problem between her son and I. What I'd ask is: when your child is over at our place, how would you like me to parent him if his dad isn't home? Are there certain activities that he like? How much TV do you allow him to watch? etc...

But before I ask those thing I'd obviously have to start off with something less directed to the child. I do not wish to talk about my relationship with her ex husband, but ahhh I just don't know what to do, I just know that I have to be good with her before the boy even thinks about opening up to accept me as his step-mom... he isn't even 2 years old, so it shouldn't be too hard but I don't know, again, I've never been it this kind of boat. I'm just scared that the child will one day think taht I came between his parents and that that is the reason why they arnt together... and of course it;s not true, they were divorced long before I even met my boyfriend... please tell me what I should do if you know...

Thank you so much for you help and your time,


eve on October 04, 2011:

great HUB Dorsi

im 31 stepmom for a yr now at first we got along great but now its more like we r alw ays fighting. i also fight withh my fiancé cus i do everything for them and don't feel appriciated. not once have i had brkfast in bed or roses or they made the effort to make me feel special am i doing the rt thing by staying or should i just get out of this situation?

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 30, 2011:

@Ewb) Sorry to hear about your stress but the good news is he is so young and workable! I would think about getting some good books about step-parenting and dive in. I think there is a lot of hope for you! There are also online groups for step-parents with forums and good advice. Good luck!

Ewb on September 30, 2011:

My step son lives with us full time as his mum died when he was two, he is now nearly 4. I have two girls aged 3 and 6. I am struggling with bonding with him as he is 100% for his dad and is (due to his circumstances) a very spoilt needy child. He got overly spoilt when his mum died and is now reverting back to acting like a 2 year old to get what he wants. I sound cruel but he is infact a brat.

I feel guilty on my two girls as they don't have any special sister time coz the dynamics of the three of them destroys this. My partner works and so I'm suddenly the main carer for a spoilt little boy who doesn't listen and hates me. Help!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 23, 2011:

Smom) You sounds like a wonderful loving stepmother. Your stepson is fortunate. Thank you for reading.

@Case) I would strongly urge you to find a good support group for step-parents. There are possibly some in your local area, and if not try online. It sounds like you can work through this. It sounds like the kids are trying to divide and conquer, which kids will try to do if they see division in a relationship. I think you can get through this if you and your husband make a united front. If he's not willing then you need to make appropriate boundaries for yourself. Good luck.

Case on September 22, 2011:

Hi i just read this and i thought maybe you could help me too?

Im 26 years old and Ive been with my fiancé for 2 years i have no kids of my own. His boys have been living with us for a year and i cant take them. They are 7 & 8. They drive me nuts and i feel evil because i feel better when they go to their mother. They don't live with her cause she is useless. I love their father so much and i feel so guilty for snapping and being in a bad mood with him. I cant help it. They don't care about anything. Im sad or angry all the time when they are with us. Which is making huge strain on our relationship. Ive told him, but he just seems to take their side saying "they are only kids" but when i was younger, if i did any of the stuff they get away with i would have gotten a hiding. They rule the house. I don't know what to do anymore. Im scared to tell him what im really feeling in fear that he will leave me. Is is better that he does? Ill always come 3rd. I have a suspicion that deep down they are good boys, i just haven't seen it and its breaking my heart. My house it like a war-zone, with them screaming and performing if they don't get their way. I dread going home. I try to discipline them, they listen to me. But when he tells them to do something they just look at him like he's stupid. He's so laid back and im not. I was brought up differently i guess. :(

Please help!

Smom on September 20, 2011:


I have been a stepmom since I was 21. And with the husband since I was 19 and his son just turn 6 a month before we met. Thanks be to God and thank u for being God into this forum... I have been praying for my stepson. He loved me when he was young, he is now 17. He is not mean or disrespectful. I love him with all my heart as I do my own kids. We have him 50% of the time...I'm very sad when he says an extra night at his mom's or doesn't make it to a family event... My husband doesn't understand how I feel, I feel like he doesn't care... but being a man they get less emotional about things. I use my heart too much when it comes to my step son... I have always treated my stepson better than my kids. Instead of my mind... And my husband has no stepkids... I need help with my our heart hurts

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 16, 2011:

@Kary) I don't think you are a bad person at all. There is nothing wrong with wanting to live with your husband alone. Since she is 20, I would sit down as a family and come to an agreement on how long you are willing to help her by letting her live with you. Otherwise she may end staying for many years. Good luck.

Kary on September 16, 2011:

I am a step parent I am with my husband since his child was 2 years old, she was always mean to me, I wonder many times if I should continue with my relationship or not, I did not have kids because we were always having problems with my husband due to his child, we moved to another country when she was 12, when we went to our country to visit our family she was really impolite with me, not even say hello to me, suddenly she changed when she was about 18 and she asked me to forgive her, which I did, but i think it was because she wanted to come to live with us in this country, so she did, she is 20 years old leaving in my house, I have no time with my husband anymore, she is always with us and does not help around the house, but she always smile and talk to me in a nice tone which she never did before, I told her that I am tired of her no helping out and did not in a bad tone, I also said that it was a big change in my life to have her in my house now and that at least she should help more, she agreed to help, but the environment is very tense, my husband is acting different with me, I think I am hurting him, I do not know what to do, I what to live only with my husband i do not want her here, do you think I am a bad person, please help me.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 11, 2011:

@nursemom) What a wonderful attitude you have. I think you will be a wonderful stepmom and it sounds like you have a great start. Your stepson and fiancé are very lucky to have you in their lives!

nursemom on September 08, 2011:

Glad to hear words of wisdom from you here. Will be a step mom soon at age 24 (presently childless) to my fiance's wonderful gradeschool son. I just so love my s-son and view this new life as a blessing as he expressed his love to me too. I am just grateful for all the learning i got from this hub, especially our role as step parents.

I believe it not that easy but It's also not an accident why God brought my fiancé with me.. to be someone there to love them, complete a home, and create a positive influence in their lives for God's glory.

Be blessed and be cool! :)

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on August 22, 2011:

@Clara) Sorry to hear about your troubles but hang in there. Remember she is about to be a teenager too. Sounds like also some typical teen behavior. Stick to your rules and consequences and continue to love her. Have you thought about getting into a step-parent support group here on the internet? Support is important. Good luck and let me know how things are going!

Clara on August 19, 2011:

Wow, I though I was the only one that had these problems. I have tried being the loving step mom, doing things with her etc. But she has no respect for me at all and continually argues about everything to the point that I don't talk much anymore. She argues with her dad to. At 12 years old she seems impossible. She refuses to even brush her teeth or bath. I have tried explaining nicely about hygiene and why we do these things but it does not sink in. I am at the point of running away from this whole relationship. She spends her holidays with us 3 times a year for 2 months at a time. It is extremely disruptive and unsettling. I dread her coming. I was thinking of not being around during these times as I get into a depressive state and cant wait for her to leave. I have honestly tried my best but I sit at a cross road now and just don't know where to turn.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 25, 2011:

@Sinea) That was an excellent idea Sinea. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the 32 years of marriage. It's nice to hear happy stories like yours.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on May 20, 2011:

Rather than competing with their "real mom" I had the kids call me by my first name. Recently, after 32 years of marriage, they and their children (my grandchildren!) call me their mom and grandma. Takes time. Be patient and love them unconditionally.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 21, 2011:

Kristi) Umm tough one, Sounds like she is testing your boundaries. I would talk to her about this and let her know this is not acceptable and may result in her not having some of those "perks" when dad is not around. Consequences. And of course talk to dad about this.

Some good words to use to diffuse a fight are "never the less" and "regardless". When she wants to argue after you have asked her to do something use these words. Worked wonders with my kids eventually because they HATED those words!!

Kristi on March 21, 2011:

I am in a little bit of an opposite position, his 11 yearold daughter will do somewhat of what I ask when her dad is not home, but when he is home she will not do anything I ask and is always a fight? Help please!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 28, 2011:

@Joseph) Good for you. I'll look forward to reading!

JosephRanseth on January 28, 2011:

Great hub Dorsi, thanks for putting the effort into writing it. I'm moving into the role of step dad now myself... I don't know exactly what I'm doing, but the kids gave me a list of things to be a good step dad, I posted them at :) (Funny, I know... I'm working on the serious ones, lol)

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 09, 2010:

liza) It's amazing how some kids can become so good at the art of manipulation, especially when it comes to being in a step-family. As long as you know you are doing the right things for your stepson don't fall into that trap that you are "acting differently" towards him. Kids like to use this to play parents against each other. Have you considered getting counseling for yourself to start out with? It can be very helpful just to vent! Let me know how things go!

liza on December 09, 2010:

this is very good page..i am in the same situation and currently having problems with with son because he acts different with his father is at the house but he doesn't do what he is supposed to do when his father is not around which is almost the case since he works 2jobs..and then when i remind him of his chores he doesn't do it, and he would complain that I don't treat him the same with my two can u treat him the same when u discipline him he acts like his grown up and then would want to u to buy things for him when he needs it, drive at the point of just moving out of the house...

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 13, 2010:

bewilderednbroken) Thank you so much for reading and seeking help. I am honored that you would ask my opinion on this. I am not a professional but have certainly been there and done that. With that said I think there is hope for you and your blended family. Teenagers can be difficult even in "biological" families, and my husband and have have now been married 21 years. My sons are now 24, 25 and his son is 30. It has not been easy. The fact that you don't have kids also makes it more challenging for you. It sounds like you ware really looking for answers and I would say to get yourself some counseling to sort out your feelings. Try to find a support group online dealing with step-family issues, and get some support with this. The kids are almost grown, and in time you and your girlfriend will be alone together(hopefully the kids don't linger at home too long) and what happens now will determine your relationship with all of them in the future.My stepson and I had some really bad years,and I didn't think we would ever get through it. Now we have a wonderful relationship. It didn't happen overnight though. He is now 30 and so respectful to me and loving, and the relationships between my sons and their stepdad have also started to be healed. I think it's worth trying to get some help before you "throw in the towel" but then of course I am an optimist and believe that all things can be worked through will willing parties. You sound willing and I wish you the best of luck. Also feel free to email me through HubPages or comment here and let me know how things are going.

bewilderednbroken on November 13, 2010:

hello Dorsi, ok so this is the first time i have ever written (or is it blogging?) on any type of site like this so please bare with me.... i am having some major issues with trying to live with my girlfriend and her two children.. i am a male 42 years old.. she is 43 w a 17 year old girl and a soon to be 16 year old boy. i had a vasectomy when i was 25 because i could barely take care of myself let alone children.. i knew it would be a HUGE responsibility... that i never wanted to partake in.. but low and behold i fell in love with a GREAT woman who just so happen to have 2 children.. ok i thought.. i am older now... i'm established in life.. she's fantastic.. i can do this.. well it has been about 21 months since i moved in.. and i am feeling completely overwhelmed, helpless, and segregated.. i was ill-equipped to deal with all of the unforseen drama, added responsibility and "family dynamics" that leave me shaking my head and wondering why anyone would put themselves through all of this.. and now i am stuck (mind you this is the way i am feeling... not necessarily the reality) here due to some financial issues.. every time i open my mouth around the teen daughter i am stared at with daggers.. no matter what i say or do.. i help out around the house, i spend money on food and household things(not to mention that i give $600 a month to my girlfriend).. i help out with the boys homework, i am trying my best to do the right things but i cant seem to say anything about any issues i have with the kids without it becoming a GIGANTIC argument with my girlfriend.. she doesn't want to hear it.. it means(in her mind) that i am saying she is a bad parent... wich is not the case... at least thats not what i am trying to say... but that is all she is hearing.. and to be completely honest hear i am not far from throwing in the towel completely.. i am failing miserably.. and its only getting progressively worse.. it weighs on my mind constantly and i cant think of a day in the last year that i didn't spend some time trying to tip-toe my way out of some issue that was created by either myself(due to a mis-understanding) or by me just recognizing that what just happened was not acceptable to me... and voicing my opinion about it.. am i supposed to live in a house where everything i do or say gets under-cut and pushed aside just because im the new kid on the block?.. i am a resonable man.. and fairly intelligent.. but it is uncomfortable to say the least trying to live under these conditions.. i feel as though i have made a BIG mistake.. and although i love my girlfriend i don't think i can remain here.. in your professional opinion.. do you think there is any hope for this situation or should i make like a tree? thanx for your time. bewilderednbroken

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 28, 2010:

bojanglesk8) Thanks,being a good step-parent is something near and dear to my heart. Now my stepson has a step-daughter also! I think what he has learned with us will help him be a better step-dad too.

bojanglesk8 on October 28, 2010:

Good Hub.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 30, 2010:

Marie) Thanks for coming by, reading and asking for advice. I think it's good that you voiced your concerns with your fiancé. I'd let him know that you are committed to working through things with him. I think Dad is probably going through an adjustment himself. Is there anyway you can talk to a counselor about this? Sometimes there are counselors that work on a sliding scale. This way you can work on yourself and your feelings, and get down to the root of the problem.

The 11 year old is also going through a new life having both her dad and a new step figure parent in her life. There is a lot of adjusting. If weekends are really tough and you need a break that might be a good time to get yourself out, take in a movie or do something that you enjoy. Let dad and daughter spend some time together while you take care of yourself too. Being a step parent/parent is work!

Hope this helps and come back and let me know how things are going!

Marie on September 30, 2010:

I'm 26 have been with my Fiancé for nearly 5 years we got engaged a couple months ago. When we started dating his daughter (now 11years old) wasn't in his life (which is a long story) I was very supportive when 2 years ago she became part of his life again.

Now I hate to admitt but am not one to shelter my self from reality... She drives me nuts! It sounds horrible! The weekends we have her i get in a bad mood and snappy. This is not me and not how I want to act. I just don't know how to deal with her! I know I choose this, I want to be different I just don't know how. I know I am the adult, I need to understand and put on a happy face and be playful.. I feel so guilty for how I really feel and how I know I act.

I admitted this to my fiancé yesterday, telling him I know how I act and I just need to figure it out. He has never let on that he noticed my attitude or anything before but he told me how much it hurts him in response to my conversation. It hurt but I needed to hear that too, that makes me want to figure it out all the more.

HELP! Any advice?

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 26, 2010:

Amber) You sound like an amazing woman yourself. You are setting such a good example for these boys, your husband and everyone involved in the family. So glad to hear of your success. There can never be too much love to give out, whether it's to biological children or stepkids. They all need love.

Thanks for coming by!

amberjones21 from Pensacola, FL on September 25, 2010:

Thanks so much for posting this hub. As a step parent to two amazing, smart boys I know it can be challenging at times. I could never regret taking on this role as their step-mom and I love them just as much as my own children.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on July 15, 2010:

An update on our "step" blended family - we now have a "step" grand-daughter who we adore, and 2 of our sons (1 his, ! mine) have children now. One is 19 months old and the other 3 months old. All the "uncles" and "aunts", although not related by "blood", love them all the same. It takes time and patience but love wins over in the end - it's not just about blood lines!!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 20, 2010:

Thanks everyone for stopping by and reading about step-parenting.

onon) Sorry for your bad experiences but there are success stories. It's a difficult road sometimes.

onon on March 20, 2010:

don't do it its not worth the heartache

cbris52 on February 24, 2010:

Great hub and great information!

Ryan Clinton from on February 14, 2010:

Truly solid advice. Take a minute to read my "horrible sepchildren " I know you will appreciate the humor. Best wishes.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 24, 2010:

Thanks everyone for the kind comments and I'm glad the step parenting hub has been helpful for you. There is no magic answer but patience, kindness and understanding for all parties involved...

Tammie D on December 27, 2009:

thank you for the husband and I have been marreid for 11 years and 2 months ago he found out he has a 19yr old daughter...we have had so many ups an downs and I just don't know how to act and sometimes I feels so completely hopeless..I know other peole have a situation much worse...I just don't know where to go...I know counseling for me will be the next step.

thank you

SCBOY on December 19, 2009:

well im preety sure to be a good step parent for a teenage would be to keep your mouth shut. and for a small kid would be to step in and me a parental figure

cjniya on November 09, 2009:

One of the hardest tasks in the world could be the one as being a good step parents. There are so many folk stories, fairy tales or novels tell the mass that step parents are all bad, they would torture their step children as much as possible and it seems like they are the senior members of the poisoned witches association and wear the invisible bloody lanyard on which write the name of the association.

Once I thought that if I love my step children from the bottom of my heart and devote for them wholeheartedly, they would feel my love and treat me as their original mother. But it turned out that I was wrong. I feel like as soon as I enter the door of my husband’s house, his two daughters have made up their mind to drive me out of their house. Everything there seems belong to me not, I am only a stranger in that house. Every night when we have dinner together, they will try their best to raise their father’s attention and prevent me to talk with their father everywhere with them. Soon after our wedding, as we came back from the honey moon, his little daughter, my step-daughter finds every excuse to sleep with us. I even do not have the private time and space.

No matter what I do, I could never do it better than their original mother. And in their eyes, I am the one who destroyed their family. Their parents divorced not because they did not love each other anymore, but because of my attendance. I did not even know their father at that time but I have to bear their bad tempers and their criticism. I try my best to please them, I make their favorite biscuits, I cool their favorite dishes and when they want to buy clothes, I would chose the best one for them. If I had my own original children, I could not treat them better than I treat my step daughters. But they just do not accept me. I do not know what is wrong with me. Maybe the only mistake I have is being a step mother.

Emma on May 01, 2009:

I'm a step-parent. Or at least I behave as one. My fiancé and I are not married. We live together. I'm 30. The kids are 16 and 14. My husband to be is 47. His ex believes I'm too young to be a carer of the children. The title of "step-mother" I can see that may be difficult for the children to swallow. And I'm happy with however they view me - sister, Aunt, step mother, friend, enemy...... as long as we respect one another. However, I certainly feel I'm old enough to help guide them through the the intricacies of life. Would you agree? Do you think my age is detrimental to their up-bringing. I respect that with age you learn a great deal but also you learn a great deal from life experience and in all honesty I'm fairly enriched in life experience - some good, some bad. I have learnt that age has little reflection on capability. Capability comes from learning or for some instict. By the time my mother was 30 I was 13 (only a year younger than my step son), it was not detrimental to me. I'm a succesful business woman who has travelled the world and has a close and loving relationship with her, my father, sister and feel for the most part like a well balanced person. The focus on my age is something I'm struggling with - it is after all alien to me and I could do with an alternative perspective to help sympathise with how their real mother might be feeling. Their real mother has made no efforts to learn "who" I am and understand that my age really does not reflect my maturity or wisdom. I have offered many olive branches as I think she would feel more comfortable if she truly knew who I was. Things have worsened of late and their mother feels the son of 14 should not be spending time with me alone due to my age. She says it is "sexually" confusing for him. Do you really think that is an issue?

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on April 09, 2009:

Step parenting can be very difficult. My step-son, whom I raised, is about to become a step-dad himself. Hopefully he has learned some of the things not to do when step-parenting. Any parenting job is hard, and step-parenting is no different.

ALLorNothing on March 08, 2009:

The father of my children are going on 7 years together. I have a daughter from a previous relationship. He always treated her well and she loves him. I have been noticing lately that he has been showing favoritism to his children. When he want to go shopping, he'll ask me the sizes of his children, when looking for winter coats for all the children, he paid for coats for his children. This is not the way we have done things in the past. I have brought up this behavior to him, let him know that it's not right, I don't approve of it and let him know that he will be the one losing if he cannot treat all children fair. I am prepared to let him go and move out of the state if necessary. I don't want to hurt our biological children, but I will not keep allowing him to exclude my daughter. The last time I mentioned to him about his behavior, he got all upset and was yelling, and accusing me of accusing him, but I know he reactd that way because I told him the truth. He's been staying away lately, but now he thinks he can work his way back in, without addressing and fixing his behavior. I feel very uncomfortable and wish he could be a man and fix his own short comings. I know the future holds nothing for us if things don't change now. I really don't want to take my children away and leave them fatherless. I also cannot allow my daughter to be singled out, excluded, although she does not know it, because financially I provide for her. When I go shopping, I go shopping for all children. But he has been very petty and childish lately only interested in what "his children" need. I know it's not right, but if he does not change this, my children will be fatherless. That is the only solution I can come up with. All or nothing. Please comment with healthy advice. He is not open to getting counseling either.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 11, 2009:

Gosh Dee that's a tough one. I think that since she is now an adult now, the best thing to do is to let her decide if she wants to have a relationship with her biological dad or not. It may go well or may end up being a complete disaster, which you can't say until they get to know one another. I know one thing, we both know who her "real dad" is, and the biological dad can never change that special bond between your husband and daughter.

Let me know how it goes!

Dee on February 11, 2009:

I have been married for sixteen years and my daughter was two when I married. My husband has been the only father she has ever known. He's sent to private school, bought her a car, he is scraping to put her through college. Althought he has flaws he is a very consistent dad. He even adopted her to give her his last name. Her biological dad found my daughters cell phone number through a long lost relative and he called her after 19 years and now he wants a relationship with her and I don't know what to do. Any advice?

pariprashneno from Kolkata, India on December 22, 2008:

Good piece of information in this hub with a positive outlook towards the life. I personally cannot even think about being a step-mom or to get a step-dad for my kids but this approach is accepted by me.

Soulflow on November 12, 2008:

Helllllooooooooo! Mother wow ima 25 yr old dam near step parent and that was a lot of helpful information. Especially right now, wooh its crazy over here. I love you and keep up the good work!

coffeesnob on November 11, 2008:

Step parenting is not easy - you wrote well and said well. 19 years ago I married a family of 4. Knowing my husband to be had three kids was a challenge, but I was in love with him and knew that I could find room to love the three kids. His kids were 5, 7 and 16 and my daughter then was 12. We had our struggles, victories and losses. Even after the kids move on into adulthood things still can come up - you just deal with all of it with love in mind and as you said, don't bail out when the going gets tough. It does create strength! Thanks four your insight

Related Articles