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Community Member

I'm a 34yr old mum of 3 kids, 2 older kids from previous marriage and a new little one with my current partner.

My marriage was a complete shamble. He ended up being a horrible man who played video games and ignored me so after 7 years I finally walked away (our kids were 3yrs & 18months) at the time. I knew becoming a single mum with 2 little ones was going to be hard but it was the right decision. I raised my kids and in 2018 I met a guy who had a failed marriage also but no kids and we really hit it off, 4 years on and we have a 1yr old together but we are falling apart, unfortunately it all comes down to the way he 'step-parents' my older children. I am not overly strict at all - I have moments but I love watching kids just be kids and work out all the other stuff eventually. I find he constantly finds something wrong, it's becoming draining and mentally exhausting for me to watch. I try talking to him and explaining I don't want him to always focus on discipline and just relax,enjoy life/moments a bit more but nothing changes and now it's gotten to the point that his relationship with both children is dropping and his attitude is 'he tries but there's no point'. They are getting older now & just fight back most of the time which leads to fight after fight and im sick of being around it and/or in the middle of it. I'm frustrated because I love this man, more than I have loved anyone. he is a wonderful man, he works hard, he helps around the house & he just adores his little boy and gets involved with him with everything he can! It'll break my heart if one day I'll have to choose between my kids & my partner because I know I'll have to choose my kids but it hurts because my ex husband showed me what NOT to look for in a partner whereas he has such amazing qualities and that's hard to come by these days.

I've tried many things.. I've tried letting him be the disciplinarian and me trying to 'follow his lead' as other forums have suggested but that just doesn't work, I get too emotional when I don't like the way he parents. I've tried letting him take a step back from being the step dad but that hurts me and makes me think what's the point if he won't be a consistent step parent - I don't believe you can go from 100% involved to 0% involved and that be okay.

I'm at the end, I feel depressed and shit most days and when I hear an argument starting (daily) I feel like I just go further and further into my shell and lose myself just a little bit more. 😞

6 Replies 6

Community Member

Hi Rose Tattoo,

I totally understand where you are coming from. It is very hard to have a blended family and to see you child being parented in a way you possible don't want by a step-parent.

I have 2 children to my husband and we each have an older child with previous partners. I don't treat all my kids the same as they are all different.

I watch my husband let me take over or take the lead with our younger 2, but he has to take the lead with my eldest child and I find him to be particularly hard on her. He will not let me parent her and repeatedly tells me to stay out of it even though he may have asked me to intervene.

Im at a loss of what to do when he asks me to come and back him up and I just can't as I don't agree. We had a week where he would not let me go and put her to bed. She may be older but her momma bear still wants to give her cuddles and I still want to have a relationship with her. I feel that he is jeopardising that as she is getting older.

Its so hard to find a middle ground that suits everybody. I hope you find a way to work through it

Hi there, Rose Tattoo!

First of all thank you so much for choosing to join our community to join and reach out to, we are delighted to have you!

Prioritization in families can feel really horrible! even more so, perhaps, in mixed families. When it feels like someone important just doesn't 'get it' it can go beyond frustration into hurt and distress. We are very sorry to hear that you are enduring this with someone you value so sincerely, and who is otherwise so valuable to your healing and sense of wellbeing and has provided such healing in other areas of life.

Is there any possibility that he might consider looking at family therapy in a counselling setting? Looking at where he himself might be feeling isolated, incompetent or incapable might be of use. Would he be willing to look into having support while you explore this? Relationships Australia is possibly one of the very best services that explore this: consider their info here: https://relationships.org.au/

Encouraging supports for just the two of you as well can be useful and RA can also help out here, but don't hesitate to also reach out to your GP, and also to reach out to us here on 1300 22 4636 or click here to start a webchat.

Please don't hesitate to reach out - and thank you again for joining us!


Sophie M.    

Hello Speckles, after a separation or a divorce we hope to find another person to love and as much as they adore us, and all we want is for them to get on with our children/kids to encourage their development and respect, because as soon as this doesn't happen, then the r/lationship between the two of you may change completely.

The actual parent should have the final decision, unless the step parent agrees, then they too can join with the parent in telling the child/kid what they believe right.

If the step parent dominates and overpowers the parent then problems are going to become worse, unfortunately.

As Sophie has suggested r/lationship counselling may be an option, but please remember that if he agrees to comply, but this only lasts for a day or so then the kids need a parent to love them, not a step parent to dictate.

This may be difficult, especially when you love him, but he too has to be responsible for all the children/kids.

Please ask any questions you want to.

Best wishes.


Community Member

Thanks Geoff.

We separated at the end of last year and reconciled a few months later. Everything was supposed to be different and we were supposed to get counselling. but so far this hasn't happened. I left him in charge of finding a councillor as due to his job we would need to work a time around him. Im starting to feel that we are unable to get past this though as I have seen in other areas where I have an opinion that doesn't agree with him it is seen as attacking him.

I feel I am just putting my point across, I would like to move forward and be happy and all he seems to want to do is look back and dwell on the past.

My daughter is not a bad kid, however any time one of her siblings does anything wrong it is directly related to how she acts. All my kids are very different. It seems that most of the time me and my husband fight it is about how he treats her. I don't agree and someone has to be on her side. He is getting more and more aggressive with her and I wonder when or how it will end.

Hello Speckles, when a couple wants to get back together on the promise that counselling will be done, but it hasn't actually been organised as yet, could mean that you are only going back to where you were before, and then the same disagreements will once again come back.

I can't say for sure, but perhaps a couple could get back together after they have both had help with a therapist, then they will realise how to handle each situation as it arises.

As unfortunately, he is more aggressive with your daughter may cause her to have problems now and/or later on, but it's lovely you are trying to protect her, but please look after her as well as yourself.

Please take care.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion


I've been a step parent in tow previous relationships. First one the boy was 2-7yo, the next 2 kids 14 and 18yo and the 18yo had 2 babies thereon. Their mother was step mum to both my daughters for 10 years.

I'm of yhe view that the best step parent has the wonderful quality of "nurturing". They like all children and love them not for the reason that it will help their relationship but because they have genuine interest.

The 14yo was a boy. He ignored me until I bought a cheap car. I took him to the garage and said, "if you help me restore this car it will be yours to learn to drive in and yours to keep". I had his heart in my hand. He lost interest 12 month on but it served a purpose.

The 18yo had a baby. I bought a mobile cot so she could allow her baby to sleep in it at other places.

Tokenism is endeavour. But I never "parented" those children. I was an influential guide.

My partner of the 14 and 18yo was however, the step mum from he'll. Constantly irritated by my well behaved daughters. In a nutshell she was jealous and had I had the knowledge I have now would never have considered her at all. But I loved her!

My eldest daughter now 33 is left with mental scars from her dealing with her. Ptsd and anxiety. Very sad. My relationship with that lady lasted 10 years. In the end her drunken abuse of my youngest 14yo at the time was the last straw.

You having a young child to this man justifies family counselling. If he won't attend then go alone. But this toxicity cannot continue.