Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Step parenting struggles

Community Member

I feel like im in a losing battle every day i wake up a headache is sure there to greet me.

I feel guilty with my emotions towards my SD (9yrs old.) I'm resenting her, I dont enjoy her in my home/life, I feel she is a burden and an unwanted weight im carrying around. Iv been in a relationship with her dad now for 3 yrs and we share a son together.

I have 2 other children ( 10yr F and 8 yr B)

For the past 3 yrs we have had DHHS come an go in our lives due to certain things that have happened with my SD and bio-mum. Everytime i have been the one to pull her in with us to try protect her an give her a good decent life, but my SD always ends up treating me bad, fights, picks on my son (sadly he is now doing the same back), does inappropriate things, disrespectful, careless, shows no empathy and now is protecting her mother as she does no wrong in her eyes. I tell my SD she is always to love her bio-mum but to achknowlege wrong behavior an not to follow. It seems no matter what i do, it never seems to help. I have gotten her support services an physiologist, I have always shown compassion/empathy for the trouble she has gone threw. Iv created structure/stability/respect which she will always rebel against as she has always had free reins at her bio-mum. Her mentality is adults can do as they please so why can't she, or if she pushes me enough ill give up or sometimes she has even said she just likes making me mad. She cannot go back to her bio-mum, even sadder her bio- mum shows now interest in her own daughter.

Her father trys to help when ever he can, he is great support an respects everything i have/do for her.

My mental state is weakening and iv even contimplated breaking up with my spouse so i dont have the worry/drama or stress anymore. I love my spouse so much but sadly the only thing thats preventing me is our son as i dont want him to miss out on an amazing father.

I need help with coaping threw this, I know the worst is still to come, but i don't know if I'm stronger enough to deal with much more.

4 Replies 4

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Wonder593,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for reaching out. While I'm not a parent or step-parent, I thought I would jump in anyway just to give you a quick welcome to the community.

I also want to note and commend you on your strength and resilience here, because it does not sound easy and her behaviour sounds both awful and hurtful. While you haven't mentioned your spouse yet, I wonder how he's supporting you in this or what he's doing to respond?

Creating an environment with structure and stability is so important, and safe. While I was reading your post I wonder if maybe that's exactly why you've become the 'target' - because you have become someone who is safe and maybe even predictable, which is something she doesn't seem like she's had with her bio-mum. Even the comment how she 'likes making you mad' - while it must be the hardest thing to hear I think maybe it's because this is one thing that she has control over.

While you also mentioned getting her some support with a psychologist, have you ever thought about having one for yourself? I know therapy has helped me immensely which is why I recommend it, but just having that space to offload and permission to feel what you feel without guilt could be so helpful.

I hope this helps a little,


Thankyou for you warm welcome to the forum. It's very hard reaching out as i dont want to come across the wrong way or look to be disrespectful to her.

It has been very hard with her, there are very little days where things are going positive. Don't get me wrong she has made progress and I see the difference in certain areas but it takes two seconds for it all to come undone most days.

My partner supports me in the decisions we make in order for her best interest, we shares discipline, shares talking and explinations when needed, we work as a team and never question one another in front of any child. We may share disagreements but that's disgusted behind closed doors untill we are on the same page or reach a mutual decition. We honestly work so well together parenting.

I do believe what you have said in me being the "target" as im the one who will generally have the last say. She is safe here and sometimes I see her venting and just unloading on me because at the end of it all, I still talk, I still tell her i love her and I can see the hurt in her. She definitely doesnt like the fact things don't go her way, or if she cannot get away with something, nothing is ever left in addressed and she doesnt like having to take responsibility for her actions.

I have thought about getting some help for myself to coap, a year ago I was on anti-depressents while she was under my roof just to stop the heart populations and shakes of her presents. But i hated being on them. She left here to go live back with her mother and I come straight off them and felt amazing, but circumstances changed again an she is back here but taking tablets is not how I want to get threw this. Talking about it is a huge start, and i think in time ill get to a councillor myself.

I don't know what im looking for here, I guess I'm just seeing if others have gone threw simular, if they had tried certain things and its worked etc.

Im currently a little lost in the next steps being so mentally drained within it all.

Hi, welcome

I've been a step dad twice in two separate relationships and my daughters had two separate step mums.

I've expereiced difficulties with all those relationships in two areas- 1/ jealousy from the child towards me or jealousy from me wanting more time with my partner 2/ not being on the same page in terms of discipline.

Thankfully you have the latter sorted- believe me, that is a gift.

In my first step parent role (30 years ago now) the boy was 2 years old and his possessiveness of his mum was unbearable...but understandable. We only had a relationship after he was sound asleep and even then 2 hours later he'd wake up and want to get between us with no help from his mother to get him back to bed etc.

The second time was with a 14yo boy that was more full of conflict and rejected most of my kind advances towards him.

Then another partner had my daughters as step children and I felt the reversal of all that drama. So both sides of the step parent world is hurtful and demanding.

It was so bad that once I split with the last lady I vowed I'd not have a defacto relationship again. Yet, my best friend a lady with no children and indeed close to my daughters, I'd end up marrying and she is "mum" to my eldest so I got it right but there is no complex relationships to sort out.

I suppose my main message is that I believe step parent situations rarely work out in harmony. A lot depends on the parent, step parent and childs personality and how much contact and harmony is present with the natural parent. For this reason Romantic Thiefs recommendation to get your own psychologist is a master stroke because you'd be amazed at the number of suggestions others can make that can improve the situation.

Eg. My 14yo step son when angry would throw things around. I took the advice that it was his action not mine so not to worry about preventing the problem. One day my step son was angry at me and threw his jumper onto the roof of our then two story house. I ignored him. When his mother arrived she wanted an explaination from me. I suggested she ask her son for one because I didnt throw the jumper on the roof. She wanted to pin me down on the subject somehow but couldnt. Eventually she asked me to retrieve it with a long ladder. I refused as it was high and dangerous. Days later my step son asked me very nicely to help get the jumper back. We worked as a team, him holding the ladder and securing it with ropes- I got it down.

A professional is good value


Hi Wonder573,

It's great to hear back from you, and of course - there's no judgement here. You really are doing the best you can and it makes sense you feel the way that you do.

I'm so glad that your partner is working well with you - I can't imagine that it's easy but it sounds like you're on the same page together. If you're usually the one that gets the final say, what happens if your partner were to get the final say with your SD?

Yeah that's completely understandable - sometimes people decide to change meds (especially with bad side effects), some decide not to be on them at all. I think my suggestion more so is just having a person there to have a chat with, to offload and get some advice. While we can all hound you with questions, therapists can get a better understanding of your dynamic and how to help. So reaching out does not mean you have to take any tablets at all.

I hope this helps. I'm glad TonyWK jumped in as well (hi!)