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Stepchild problems Lock Rss

Is there anyone out there who has any suggestions on what to do about an 8 year old girl trying to split up a happy home?
My husband and i have tried everything and i am ready to give up, i feel like i am having a break down.
I have a beautiful 6 1/2 month old boy and she wants nothing to do with us, this has been going on for the past 3 years and i can't take it anymore.
Sometimes i feel that it would be easier if i left but thats what she wants and my husband, son and i are a happy family when she isn't around, but my husband can't just give up on her she is his daughter.
Please if anyone knows of anything, let me know

Rachel, NSW, Jakson 2yrs

Hi Rachel,

I would love to help if I can. Without knowing all sides of the story, I wouldn't be able to give you the best advice yet but we can possibly chat a few times so I can get a better picture on what has caused your stepchild to react this way.

If you are willing to inform me on some details, I can possibly help.

I have an 8 month old girl with another baby on the way in 8 months. Previous to my marriage a few years ago, I had dated a few mothers with young children. I was always the other guy in terms of fathering to them and would always have to watch myself. This is a very hard situation you and your husband are in but remember that you are adults and she is just 8 years old. She will come around depending on your direction and control of the situation.

How long has her mother been absent from her life?
Does she still see her mother?
Does her father communicate with her mother well enough to discuss this problem?
How long have you been in the picture?

There are a number of questions I will have to ask but not through this site as they will get too personal so I will give you and your husband my personal email address and you can contact me if you want.

Good luck

David, Joice and Little Monique

email: [email protected]

David, Sydney, 8 mth baby

its sad to hear you are having a bad problem with this. Although I'm not in your situation but maybe one day I will be as I'm now single with 3 children. May I ask does the father have contact with his daughter ? If he does, and is in another relationship himself. Does he have the same problem with her. I know its very hard to try work she would be like that but one suggestion have you tried letting her stay with her father for a while? If you have tried many things to try and work out why she is like this and still dont know what to do. Maybe have you ever thought about taking her to see a counciler as I have heard of a few freinds of my that have taken there children to one and its helped them understand whats happening to their child but I'm not saying it'll work for you but maybe its worth a try. For an eg. my inlaws youngest daughter started playing up merry hell at about 10yrs when they moved house and they couldn't work out why so they took her to see some one and found out that why she was the way she was all because at there old house a liitle girl that moved in there was going to get her vegie garden that her and her dad made. I know it sounds silly but to some children things that seem very little to us are a big deal for them.
I hope you can sort this out and what ever you decide to do will be right thing.

Hi Di,
Thanks for replying, the girl is my husbands daughter and she lives with her mother, we were going to take her to a councillor but her mother has said there is nothing with her, we think there is something she does'nt want us to find out.
We said she couldn't come over last weekend to see what would happen and so her mother said we will never see her again and now she won't even speak to her father so we can imagine what her mother has told her, she always lies to her daughter to make her hate her father.
We have just found out that she has been telling her daughter to call her step-father to be "dad" but she has always threatened the girl that if she ever called me mum then she would never see her father and i again.
The child is probably so scared by what her mother says that shes too frightened to have anything to do with us and thats why she plays up all the time because if she enjoys herself she gets punished.
Well, there isn't much we can do if she does'nt want to come over anymore, we are not going to force her too.
Thanks again for the reply.

Rachel, NSW, Jakson 2yrs

Oh boy I feel so for you both. Yes it sounds like her mother is saying nasty things to her and it makes things worse. I'm now single and the father of the children see's them when ever he can which is about every 5-6 weeks as he still lives in Victoria. Although we have our differences I never put him down to the children and never say things about him to other people while the children are around as thats very very wrong. One day your step daughter will know the real truth when she is old enuff to really under stand and the best way is to her still know that you both still love her no matter what she may say or do to you. But I really hope that every thinks works out for you both. Just a thought as well if you have a video camera, maybe you should film your selfs talking to her letting her know how you feel and whats been happening while she isnt there and then one day you can show her so she can know what was happening to all when she was younge. Its just an idea.

Good Luck Di
Hi David,
The girl lives with her mother, we only see her every 2nd weekend that is why it is so hard to understand why she is like this.
My husband tries to communicate with her mother but she is not interested in anything we have to say,
she knows something is going on with the child but when we try to find a way to help her she says there is nothing wrong with her.
My husband and i have been married for nearly 2 years but we have been together since she was 3, her mother on the other hand has had about 4 different guys come and go in that time all to whom she has fallen pregnant and either lost or terminated the pregnancy, but the guy she is with now she has 2 other girls with.
We used to get on great until she was 5 and she used to ask if she could call me mum so she was obviously happy and comfortable until her mother had her second child and she was'nt getting the attention anymore but i don't understand why she would react to us in that way.
Well anyway her mother will not let us see her or speak to her and the child has said she does'nt want to speak to her father so not much else can be done .
Thanks for trying

Rachel, NSW, Jakson 2yrs

Hi Rachel,

I feel now that I can comment without going over the line as you have opened up very well. Please remember though that I am taking what you have told me and going from that.

Don't ever give up on a child....!!!! Period. That is what the problem might be with the mother. It sounds like she is too angry at your husband for some reason to be fair with her own daughter and give her the chance to grow up knowing her father in a positive way. That is the most selfish thing a parent can do. I have had all sorts of experiences with previous girlfriends and friends who use their kids as pawns. They are more often than not very selfish people that never consider the problems they cause for others. Your stepchild will not benefit from you or your husband giving up on her at anytime. Especially now if the mother has an agenda to discredit the father in the daughters eyes.
Your stepchild is acting out because she probably thinks her father left her for you (her mothers doing probably) or doesn't love her anymore or did something bad to her mother.

There are a few things your family will have to do.

1. The father is going to have to spend time alone with his daughter when his visiting times are on for a few months. That means you and your newborn will not be invited under any circumstances. This will rekindle the lost relationship they once had. You and your babies existance should never be brought up until the daughter asks. This is harsh but it will work. The father should not badmouth her mom under any circumstance, even to defend himself. This is the biggest no no a parent can do. It will have the opposite affect and will only confuse the daughter into believing her mother more. He should not say anything but everytime he drops his daughter off, before her mother is visible, he should tell her she will always be his little girl and that he loves her so much and she should always come to him for any advice she needs, no matter what it is. This will get her thinking good things again and she will slowly start to see the real picture again. She will also realise that her dad is not the bad man. I would also suggest that the father invites the mother after a few times knowing she will decline. This will start to show the daughter that her father is not the bad guy her mother is portraying him out to be.

2. After a few months, and only if the daughter is interested can you be introduced again into the relationship. By then, your husband will have gained her confidence and trust again to be able to make her understand that he hasn't left her for anyone. You will need to be patient and trusting that she will come around eventualy. There should never be a bad word said about her mother by anyone as this will only make her want to defend her mom. Let nature take its course and her mom will eventually show her true colours one too many times.

3. When the daughter starts being interested in your lives again, always invite her to join you whenever wherever you go to show her she is as much a part of the family as your newborn. She is old enough to be honest with and communication all around will only benefit her. I have been there as a child in the same position and then as the other guy in a few relationships with mothers and children. I was always honest with the children without telling them the truth about their parents and found they were never threatened when I was with their mom. I also took it on the chin when a few would tell me they wanted their parents back together. This is part of being a kid. I actually admired one of the kids that said that to me because she felt close enough to me to let me know her true feelings. We were very close for a long time but when her mother and I were on our way out, her true loyalty was with her mom. That is how it should be. Whether she might have been spiteful at the time is not important. I always allowed her to speak her mind as long as she was polite and thought about what she was saying before she said it. She was 8 years old then.

4. You should rent some movies with the same problems she is facing and let her watch them because if she sees it happening to others, she might realise what it looks like on the other side.

5. Protect yourselves legally so the mother cannot take her away for good. I mean setup a hidden camera on those face to face occasions with the mother and record the telephone conversations. Who cares if it doesn't stand up in court. The proof will be there for all involved.

I hope this sheds some light for your family. It is really hard for kids to have to adjust and sometimes without wanting to, take sides. Don't ever ask her to choose between her parents. It's not fair.

Best of Luck


David, Sydney, 8 mth baby

I'm glad to haer there is a out there thats is willing to help give some advice as I take my hat off to you. You are so right in the way that you have to watsh what you say and do when it comes to your other partners as some people are very defensive whenit comes to there children. I hope you can give Ray some good advice.
Hi Rachel,

I am a stepchild but an older one. I do get along with my step mother but it took a fair few years to adjust. You just have to remember you will never be her mum. But just be there and all step kids try to break up there parents sooner or later some are just more persistent. Hang in there she will learn to appreciate you one day. It also could depend on what her mother says about you in front of her because if it's bad stuff you could find that a problem in itself.

Not all step children are bad and just remeber your the adult and not her. You have the upper hand.


mirabi 28/11/03

i also have a step mother and father. my father had nothing to do with me growing up. in 22 years he saw me twice i can remember. how good is that for a father. make sure the father of the daughter plays a huge part in her life. as i feel so empty. i feel it was something i did to make my father hate me and not want anything to do with me. i am a really insecure and depressed person. this all stems from my father. most step children hate the step mother/father as they are not their biological parent. theyreally want their real parents to get back together specially when they can remember their parents being together. my mother and her side always bad mouthed my father make sure you dont do that either.


Narelle, Eilish 5th june 2002 TTC since dec 2002

Hi Ray, I myself have been in this situation with my eldest child and found that by getting her some counselling helped her dramatically, i found that any relationship that i tried to establish wouldn't work as she kept playing her father and I against each other hoping that we may get back together but unfortunately for her that never happened.
If you are at your lowest and still are unable to come up with a solution may i suggest that you try with the counselling cause i found that to help and you might to. Try at her school first if that hits a dead end then try your local hospital if they can't help there are other alternatives out there that can help you. Hopefully this has helped you in someway i say don't give up on your daughter as agonising as it becomes cause she has issues that she needs to deal with aswell as yourself.

Goodluck and take care....

Joy...NSW...mum of 3G's

hi Ray.well I'm at the other end of the daughter is 8 also.(great age?NOT!!) her father and I seperated when she was only 2 and has been in and out of her life as he pleases.In this time I have re-married the most wonderful man(didnt know they could be this good!!) and we have a son-21months and a daughter-3months.she had been seeing him regulary and would come home such a different little girl.after a few hours she would be'normal' again.we couldnt get her to talk.then she decided out of the blue that she only wanted to go once a month.that only lasted a few months.just after xmas she rang him and said she didnt want to go at all,which ended in him abusing my husband and I.he is blaming us of corse.we have encouraged her to see him.he doesnt contact her at calls or cards for her b'day or xmas.he leaves the contacting up to her.we still dont know why her decision is this but she hasnt heard from him since xmas.we are unsure what to do.should we leave it up to her and she will work it out for herself??she seems happy with her decision and doesnt speak of it much.who knows.but other than this she is a bright and happy child and very comfortable in our family life.I am going to look in to counselling for her.I'm sure it will help her deal with her relationship with her father.
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