13 Oct
The Jealous Step Daughter

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have been in my step daughter’s life since she was 3 1/2. I married her dad when she was 9. She is now 12. My husband has shared custody and she is with us exactly half the time.

I never noticed any jealousy from her until we got married. I always thought it was cute and funny, but kinda thought she would grow out of some of it by now. I get under the eyelid glares when she is hugging him and she practically knocks me over to be next to him. She constantly reminds me that he is her dad and I don’t know him like she does. She is as tall as me now (5’6″) and sits in his lap to watch TV but gets up and leaves the room if I come in.

I’m starting to feel uncomfortable in my own home, but I feel guilty for feeling this way. I’ve brought it up to my husband, but basically the kid can do no wrong. I feel things are getting worse between us and I fear for the teen years. What should I do?


The Odd Girl Out


Dear Odd Girl Out,

Things can always get a little sticky between step children and step parents. In her eyes, the day you and your husband got married, you probably went from cool, fun girlfriend who buys her stuff to permanent wife who is trying to steal her daddy forever.   It’s a tough situation but you need to take action right away because if she glares at you at twelve, she’ll probably have a website called “The Wicked Step-Monster” by the time she’s 15.

First of all, have a real conversation with your husband.   Tell him how much you love your step daughter but that you feel she is competing with you instead of connecting.   Try not to say anything that will make him defensive – this is his 5′ 6″ little girl after all! Tell him that you sense some resentment from her and that you want to be closer as a family.

I would suggest a visit to a family therapist, so everyone can put their feelings on the table in an emotionally safe environment and then move forward. Or maybe you and your husband need to go to a therapist first – someone who can help him see that there is a real issue going on here.   Because you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable in your own home.

Make sure your step daughter knows how much you love her. Make a serious effort to spend time with her. Show her the upside of a step mom. Take her to the movies, a special mani-pedi or to a cool new restaurant. I would avoid activities where sharp objects are involved like archery or a rifle range.   I would also seek out other step moms, either online or in real life. Find out what worked for them in trying to bond with their step children.

But definitely stop this madness of fighting over your husband. I can always send over my husband if you need another one around there. That offer is good anytime.

Good luck to you and let us know how it goes.


Kelcey, TMH

8 Responses to “The Jealous Step Daughter”


Comment by Skygirl77.

I’m the 4th wife of a man with 3 kids; 2 boys by the 1st wife, 1 girl by the 3rd. Like the writer, things were pretty much hunky-dory till we announced our impending marriage. Maybe because their dad had had other girlfriends before me, the kids figured I was just another “flavor of the month” and therefore no (imagined) threat to their happy kingdom.

But once we got engaged, then married, their gloves came off … and so too did the masks. The youngest boy, by then 15, suddenly became daddy’s little shadow and a fixture in his lap and at his side. Foolishly, I allowed this, going so at as to leave our home for hours on end so as to give this child (a teen actually) the time he so obviously craved with his father.

BIG MISTAKE!! In the end, my absences were used against me as if I wasn’t interested in time with my husband if the kids were visiting (untrue), and a lack of compassion as a stepmom (also untrue). It wasn’t till 3 or 4 yrs later I learned to speak my mind (with my husband) and create some boundaries and house rules.

You must not let a child run your marriage or your home. If allowed to, the balance of power may shift in her favor for good. Get to a therapist and get it all out on the table. Your family needs some help in establishing boundaries and understanding roles. There is no time to lose.


Comment by Becky (Princess Mikkimoto).

Great advice Kelcey! This family needs some big time help and therapy. Something else is going on here.


Comment by Plano Mom.

Boy this one was way too familiar. I too am wife #4. Met when she was 3, married when she was 6. She did the compete for Daddy when she was 12 too. But just from this note, it sure seems very different. For mine, it was occasional “make Daddy choose” kind of thing. This letter seems way more like targeted animosity and competition. One very important difference (again just from the note) was that my husband was very careful and deliberate about asserting his relationship with me as his wife. Daughter may get hugs and sitting on lap, but wife gets the same amount or more attention. Make wife and marriage important, and it doesn’t matter what the children do.


Comment by Kimberly.

This is all great advice!


Comment by Leigh Ann.

I agree with Plano Mom (and everyone else). I’m not a step parent, nor do i have step parents, but one thing a friends told me about her own parents has really stuck with me. She said that no matter how horrible she thought they were as parents, their marriage was always solid, and it was always clear to her that nothing she could do would ever shake that foundation. Kids crave stability, and since her mom and dad are divorced, enforcing stability between the step mom and dad, and the unit as a whole, might help her cope with her jealousy. Therapy is a great idea.


Comment by Mestiza.

I got married December 2011. I am from Colombia and I am living in Denmark since December 2012, where my husband is from. I have a step daughter 7 years old. We cant understand each other because of the language issue. I am still waiting for my residence permit to get a good language training. Although I am doing online training, but it is not the same. But despite this, when I get together with her we both have a good time and enjoy life and getting to know eachother and get use to each other. Despite all these adventure together, she is jelous when I approach Daddy, pushing Daddy to feel guilty. Daddy sometimes getting in to situations where he dont know what to think or to do, so he just decide to spend time whole day with his daughter ignoring I am around. If I try to join-inn, I am – most of the time just ignored by both; or otherwise I am acuse by Daddy that I am trying to steal away his attention from her, and his little one just start to feel unconfortable – and instead of being ask in a kind way to let all of us get together, she just start to get treated like a victim of the situation and I like the bad one, who probably getting in the mids to bring uncomfortness.
I decided to stay away all by self the most of the time that I can when she is around, because I realize she have not being explained or told very well who I am in her Dad life, and tis is Daddy task anyway!
But when I decide to stay away I simple appear to be selfish and acting weard according to My husband…
I have told my husband that he change completely from being a husband to be somebody I dont really know when his daugter is around… I am totally ignore unless I am doing something he consider completely weard and unusual, like ignoring them as well… or just focusing on doing other things… Well sometime when I am feeling so lonely, I call backhome in colombia and talk and laugh and enjoy listening to my family, and he sometimes think this is acting weird.
I never being in a situation like this before, and I dont have a child of my own. And I think that my marriage life need a little more strenght, we only have one month and a couple of days living together, and if we dont overcome these small things now – then it will get worst later…

I think these are things I need to work on:

– Get closer to my stepdaughter, and make her my friend. Learn how to talk with her in her language.
– Tell my husband everytime he is hurting me and making me feel less and unconfortable in my own home.
– Show my husband affect and approach to him despite her attitude towards the situation.
– Get some new friends here, so I dont have to depend on only having them here.

Regard him:
– I think nobody is more important than anyone here. I am his wife, she is his daughter, and both of us deserve the same attention, love and careness. Non worth more than the other.
– He can easily tell me whenever he need to spend time alone with his kid and I will surely understand and accept that / and for sure find something else to do, or else where to be.
– He should work on making a family environment for us all, not division.
What I dont like from her:
– I have the perception that she is doing a lot of things when Dad is around to have him thinking greatness of her. Well I have expirienced twice that she approach that I dont manage the language to blame me for things that she have done… And honestly I didnt like that at all. – It happens that Daddy went out for shopping and bring fruits… And she brought a watermelon to me while I was sitting in the livingroom to ask me to get it cut (I may not know the language but I understand signs). So I got it cut for her, but it seems she didnt like it so she didnt eat it… And this is one of the things Daddy dont really like (when the food get waste). So when he realizes that the watermelon was there without eaten, he asked who was wasting the food like that – I told him “Your daughter requested it but she leave it there unfinished”. So he asked her why did she request to have it then she didnt eat it… And then she replaid, I didnt ask for it at all. And he believe her – he say that it was probably a mistake of me, because I dont understand the language anyway.

The other thing is that when Daddy is around she is the sweetest little one, but when Dad is out she can act really rude. Once I was vacuim cleaning the hall an the living room, Dad left out to do a diligence and she was playing in her room. Inmidately Dad left, she left the room and get in the mids of what I was doingwalking all over… I was very patient and I dont know how to tell her she is keeping me behind walking all over while I trying to get things done. Then the last thing she did is that she went to the living room and sit in the middle of the floor, because she suddenly needed to play there… When I approach that spot to vacuim, I say to her excuse twice and makeing sign with my hands that she should go atleast to the sofa… but she refuse to move – so I just did what I could and procede. Because I jave the impression she was trying to make me angry, but thank God I didnt.

But I didnt not telll her father anything neither becasue, his daughter is an angel in his sight and she really know exactly how to play this role when he is around.

So thats my story…
If someone can give and input you are welcome to do so.

Meztiza Colombiana


Comment by This is MY opinion.

Mestiza, You are not alone. I deal with crazy things like this in my relationship with my boyfriend of 3 years. He has 2 daughters 7 and 14 and I have a daughter 11. It is very hard being a step mom iam 28 years old and he is 32. His oldest still hangs on him but not like she used to. I mean when me and him would be laying on couch watching Tv I would get up to goto bathroom I walk back in she would be in my spot with his arms around her rather he was awake or not. When we first got together me my daughter him and his oldest would lay in bed sometimes to watch movies as a family and he would turn his back to me to hug up on her at this time she was 11. He didn’t seem like he wanted to get to know me only be with his daughter but I stuck through it. Then his now 7 year old daughter has been living with us for over past year and now she is worse. She always follow dad hold his hand sit on his lap standing in the store she stands really close infront of him sticks her butt out close to his front area he also when she is standing close in front of him he pulls her closer to him or reaches over her to get to things in far distance. When we sit on couch he puts his hand on her side of upper thigh like he does mine or on top of her thigh like he does mine. If we are watching Tv she snuggles up close to him and if his arm isn’t around her or on her some way or another she grabs his hand and places it on her or around her waste. If he is tired he will lay on bed on his back eyes closed she comes in and jumps on him and straddles him. When I’m talking she loves to interrupt constantly. When I dress up she runs into he room changes puts her hair up with earrings and makeup as soon as dad sees her he says how pretty she looks always when he sees her and hardly ever compliments me. Even when I’m not looking for a compliment he says iam and to get over myself. His kids never do any wrong especially when I go to correct them and my daughter oh boy! She is not a perfect angel but even though she a lot of the times sticks to herself when she does do something wrong oh man, is she such a terrorist to him! He has made his daughters so clingy especially his youngest one. He already had those times with oldest daughter until I pointed out she has hit puberty and is a young woman he has slowed down but also I told him attention is great for kids but when you have to touch (affectionate) them like a lot like you do your own girlfriend or sometimes more why do you need a girlfriend? Or I would say well now seems your setting your girls up for their teenage years now they will know how a man is supposed to touch them. Which has backed him off of his oldest but now his youngest like I said earlier has gotten more difficult. Hey I love my little Girl but I’m sorry I was raised differently and I love my parents very very much and don’t feel because their hands weren’t all over me made them bad parents. Trust me his oldest hormones are going crazy now, younger age then what mine did but I do blame that on dad for teaching his little girl how a man should be touching her. Trust me I bonded with my dad by spending time with him having fun NOT spending time with him with his hands on me, period. This may be an out of line post but one day another step mom will see this post and see she is not alone. If you ask why I stay it is because I DO love him and dealing with the bs should be proof enough. Call me jealous call me what you will. But remember men while your busy treating your daughters like they do no wrong and ignore your spouse because your child comes first always and needs the most of your attention and is jealous and needy and takes up all of your time and leaves no time for who is supposed to be your backbone and your left all Alone because now she has grown up and you lost every good woman in your life due to you were scared your little girl would abandon you which she will anyways for a boy toy. All in all don’t forget who your old lady is and what she does for you and your children everyday. The pain and loneliness she has endored oh and the sacrifices she had made to help make a family. A family to me is woman, man and kids nothing more nothing less.
Thank you!


Comment by sue.

I can relate to so much of this. My stepdaughter and I get on well. But so much of the time there are things she does that make me feel like you have all described. Such as jumping in my spot, being all over her father, like cuddling him sat on his lap to a point where I feel awkward, kissing him on the cheek a million times in a row whilst sraped all over him like you might kiss a boyfriend on the cheek or a tiny baby perhaps but probably not even that much. She keeps cuddling him and saying ‘my daddy’ whilst looking at me, passive agressive I feel. Glowering at me but in a jokey way when she does. Telling me it is daddy’s sofa and there isn’t room for me, at this point I would expect him to jump in and say that is rude like he would with his son but he doesn’t. Normally he is affectionate twoards me and seeks me out for a cuddle too and I am able to ingore the rest of it but this visit he hasn’t and I feel lonely as hell. In fact this visit she has spent more time cuddling him in our bed than I have and that hasn’t been for very long so far as I know. Feel darned depressed.

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