May 13, 2010,
T.L. asks from San Jose, CA on June 18, 2009
Husband and Step-daughter Don't Get Along
I need your help. I am looking for some advice and support from other Moms who are remarried. My husband (married 6 years together for 10) and my 14 year old daughter do not get along at all. My daughter is very much a teenage girl who can have a heart of gold and then be so extrememly selfish. My husband can also have a heart of gold and then be very strict. My exhusband and I share custody our daughter. My daughter and I butt heads a lot also. My husband and I have also have a 15 month old daughter together. I feel so torn when my husband and daughter fight. I can't support both of them and yet I feel like I have to pick a side. My daughter feels like I always take my husbands side and my husband feels like I always take my daughters side. After yet another argument my daughter called her father and had him come get her because she did not want to stay here at our house because of my husband. My husband is so angry right now that he doesn't want her here. I want my family to get along. I don't know how to fix this. They can both be so difficult. I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking that I didn't stand up for her. I don't want my husband to resent me either.
I do ask for only solutions and not judgements.
1 mom found this helpful
J.I. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I grew up in this situation and when I was 14 I hated my stepdad as well. So similar. My suggestion is to get a family counselor who can give insight to your husband on how to deal with a 14 year olds emotions and how to have the 14 year old deal with her emotions. There is no way to expect both to act like grown ups in a civilized manner. There are so many layers of emotions that the 14 year old is dealing with and doesn't have the skill set or knowledge to handle them correctly. It is said that the brain is not fully capable of dealing with these complexities until at least 18-20 ( I just took a child development course which was so enlighting). The husband is dealing with being a parent to someone else's kid who has no interest in being his daughter. Very tough for his position as well. I feel bad for my mom and her being in the middle too. I could have cared less at the time, because teenagers are still very selfish in their thoughts. So, I wish we had a mediator or a counselor to get us through those rough times. It wasn't until I was 19 and moved out of the house that my stepdad said he was proud of me, I cried, and we hugged..and my mom was shocked. They were in the process of getting a divorce ironically. The Dad becomes the hero in this story because he is separate from the day to day life in which you are dealing with and can come in and support the daughter. I wish you luck. Do know that overtime you will re-establish a good relationship with your daughter. My mom and I are great friends, but those years can seem like they'll last forever.
J. (Mom of a 7, 6, 3, and a newborn coming..:)
1 mom found this helpful
K.L. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
I actually live this scenario being the daughter in the situation. My mom’s fiancé lived with her and me with my daughter. He and I never saw eye to eye and I really did hate him. I felt like I could never talk to my mom because he would always input. Here is how I see it, he is not my father and I did respect him but I did not want him to tell me what I could or could not do. I was older and had two parents, I appreciated any friendly advice he gave me but never respected any lectures or discipline he tried put on me. I explained to my mom that I hated feeling like I could never talk to her. I did leave to my dad’s several times. My mom never really did anything about the situation and it got bad. I eventually left and joined the military but I will always resent my mom for taking his side. She is no longer with him now but she will always have me resenting her for that. I would suggest putting a boundary up with your husband and your daughter. When your daughter comes to you or something happens YOU talk to her and if your husband has an input talk to him about it in another room first. Then once you have decided what to do YOU talk to her further about it. Have him give advice but never let him talk down to her or disciplines her. She already has two parents to do that. I know it’s hard because it is his home but you don’t want to lose your daughter forever. It won’t be forever either, she’s almost grown.
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S.F. answers from Nashville on May 13, 2010
Hi I'm Sam, I'm 18 and Autistic. I'm in this scenario as we speak, in fact for years. My real father left my half brother, my sister, my mom and me alone when I was 2. My mom remarried once before she married my step dad when I was 5. From the get go I didn't like him but as I grew up I loved him. Then once I turned 13 we started resenting each other. Now we fight over tiny thing and he acts very demanding in my eyes. For example; On the weekends when I'm allowed to stay up, he shuts my internet off at 9:00 leaving me with nothing to do. He even went as far as threatening my cats that serve as my only companion since the school pushed me out due to poor counseling from the school. I've always resented my mom for backing my dad up and even threaten to go to Jobcorp. But now that I realize how hard it is to deal with two people you love, I feel bad for moms having to be torn between their husbands and children. I can't really say this is a solution or a judgment but...Thank you for opening my eyes to how bad my mom's got it. Now I realize why she locks her self up in her room when me and my dad would argue. Thank you T. L.
D.Z. answers from Yuba City on June 19, 2009
You have gotten some great responses and I hope you are encouraged by them. There is a class offered called "Smart Steps for Step-Families". It may be found at some churches, though it is not a 'churchy class'. It really helps give your family practical tools for dealing with each other in a positive manner. Learning to be a step-family is so difficult and your daughter needs you as much now as she did as a toddler. It can only help and you all can get the help you need instead of it coming from just one source through you. The baby will benefit too from seeing all of her famly get along. The website is www.stepfamilies.info/.
I was the step-daughter at that age and it was difficult in both households, I felt like I was 'visiting' both of my parents, with this 'outsider' taking my parent and I harboured resentments for years until I was able to let them go.
J.D. answers from Sacramento on June 19, 2009
I am in the same boat. I have two daugthers and one loved their step dad and the other just butt heads with him. I just called it like I saw it. Sometimes he was in the wrong and sometimes she was. I asked him not to discipline her and reminded him that it was my responsibility. More importantly, your ex cannnot be the go between. It all worked out and now the one that loved him now is mad at him and the one who butted heads with him thinks he walks on water. go figure.
Mother of four.
N.P. answers from Modesto on June 19, 2009
There is light at the end of the tunnel...... :O)
I took the time to read a few of your responses, and I agree with all of them! A couple of things I just thought I would "emphasize" for you:
1) She is 14. Girls can be awful and regretful at that age. The world DOES revolve around her, and will for another 5+ years :O) She won't understand or accept anything less than that.
2) Your husband is not her REAL dad. You may have heard those words already quite a bit lately, and she's right. Your husband can actually come out "smelling like roses" in this situation if he plays his cards right.
3) Give her some space. Try not to ask her to help you with your other daughter for awhile, and things like that. Once you've allowed her "the space" to be her own person, she will miss the simple things in your home. Life will be better for all when SHE is the one who wants to be a part of the family, not when she is forced :O)
That's it. If your husband can "bite his tongue" for a year and only be there when she needs someone as a "friend", then things will be alot easier for the 3 of you. I KNOW, I KNOW..... he is a parent in your home and she should respect that living under your roof! Yes, and no. She already has 2 parents that love her very much, and when you are 14...that's all you need, everyone else is just in the way and that is frustrating for her.
Remember, even though you've been together for 10 years, and her parents have moved on it doesn't change her dream of wishing you both could get back together. Even if she knows it's wrong for the both of you, that's what divorced kids dream of.......even if they have the most wonderful step-parents :O)
I know things will get better soon ;O)
M.S. answers from San Francisco on June 18, 2009
I am sorry that you have been put in the middle. Here is what I think you should do. First, sit down with both your husband and your daughter and tell them how you feel. That you have been put in the middle. Second, let them know that from now on they need to work it out between them and that your daughter can't run away from the issue and insist on her dad picking her up. It is unfair to involve you when your daughter is 15 years old and she is old enough to resolve conflict by herself. If your child was 5, I would think otherwise. Hold true to your word that you will stay out of it. The only way they will learn to interact and become civil is to do it on their own. If that doesn't work, then I would involve your ex husband into the conversation and ask him to not get involved either-- Good luck to you and your family!
M.W. answers from San Francisco on June 19, 2009
Any chance your daughter could live with her dad for awhile? that worked for me. Once my daughter saw that things weren't better somewhere else she became more tolerant of the stepfather. however i must say they never did like each other much. remember the kid was forced to come along with you into the marriage. they had no choice. good luck