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Dealing with Disrespectful Stepchildren

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 16 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Dealing With Disrespectful Stepchildren

It can be very hard for a parent to deal with their disrespectful children, but even harder for stepparents, who may not feel that they have the authority to change the way that their stepchildren behave. Allowing kids to be disrespectful, though, isn’t doing them any favours, as all children need to understand the importance of treating others with care and respect. Once a home environment of less than stellar child behaviour has been established, it can be hard to turn it around – but it is not impossible.

Establishing Reasonable Boundaries for Stepchildren

Every household needs rules. Society operates on a system of behavioural guidelines and one of the most important tasks of parents is to prepare their children to become well-functioning members of society, and that training begins in the home. Teaching children to speak and behave in a manner that honours other people helps them to understand appropriate behaviour as well as gives them a base of self-respect and good impulse control.

Children can and should be encouraged to express their emotions, but it is important that they learn to do so without hurting others. Disrespectful back-talking, refusal to comply with house rules, or selfish expectations are all examples of habits that children can easily acquire if their parents and stepparents do not show them that these behaviours will not be tolerated. Kids need to have a clear idea of what is expected of them and they must also be made aware of the consequences, should they choose to behave otherwise.

Enlisting the Help of your Spouse

Stepparents who have the support of their spouses have a much better chance of getting the stepchildren to treat them with respect and comply with house rules than those whose spouses fail to stand up and make their positions clear. Especially in the beginning, kids may be more inclined to take direction from their natural parent, rather than from a stepparent, who they may view as an unwelcome intruder. The adults in the home need to decide together on a set of behavioural guidelines for the children and then present them together, sending the message that obstinate or disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated by either parent.

Setting Limits and Respectful Discipline

Teaching kids to be respectful requires that they be disciplined in a kind and respectful manner. It is unreasonable to expect that parents and stepparents can utilise harsh methods of discipline and then have children who do not emulate this type of behaviour. Kids may learn a bit from listening to a line-list of rules, but they are more heavily influenced by observing the important adults in their lives. Gentle, yet firm guidance will help kids to understand that they do not need to behave in disrespectful ways in order to be noticed and understood.

Breaking Through when Stepchildren are Stubborn

Some children seem determined to be defiant, despite the efforts of their parents and stepparents to garner their cooperation. Wild or disrespectful behaviour can be symptomatic of a variety of conditions, so if a parent finds that their children are out of control or disrespectful in more than one area of their lives (for example, they act out at home and at school), they may want to seek the advice of their GP to see of their child may be suffering from an undiagnosed behaviour disorder. Teachers and school officials may find it difficult to deal with kids who aren’t able to control their behaviour, so seeking input from children’s teachers can be invaluable. Effective treatment is available once an accurate diagnosis has been made, so parents should not delay in seeking help if they feel that their children’s disrespectful behaviour may be the result of a physical or emotional condition.

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What would you do if a stepson tells you you are not a family and you will never be, we are married for 3 years, treated the kids like my own but it is frustrating to feel that after what you have done ,it seemed that the relationship is failing. What is the best move. They are 5. The youngest is 15 and he was the one who said it.
Ea - 16-Aug-17 @ 10:45 PM
@J R - I can understand the way you feel but the last thing you want to do is snap. You've obviously been living under the same roof as him prior to marriage, so what's changed. Is it that you feel you have more say on how he should behave now you are married? You don't say how old he is either, if he is old enough to leave home maybe this should be broached. Have you actually triedsitting down man-to-man and talking to him and/or trying to resolve the issue as a family in a family meeting? I know it sounds a bit naff, but family meetings can be great for airing the issues each member of the family has. But it needs to be kept under control. Step families often need patience and a great deal of tolerance. Teenage kids can be a nightmare for their parents and step parents can be much less tolerant of their annoying ways than biological parents. Talking is the only way forward.
NickyP** - 7-Aug-17 @ 11:50 AM
Lesson. She actually went out with her mom today and I always contact her mom when I have s issue because she always listens to her despite how she doesn't see her. Her mom told me she had a talk with her and she came home and continued the res of her chores without being asked and even came to me respectfully telling me her mom will see her again on Wednesday. I get confused with her because she knows what she's supposed to do by now but won't do it and say she forgot but when her mom would talk to her or see her which is once or twice a month or every other month to a couple months, she'll listen to her instead.
Krist - 7-Aug-17 @ 11:41 AM
Her father was a single father but lived with his parents who helped him up until I came around because she was always with me. Her attitude started changing when she was 7/8 because we reinforced rules on her. We all used to live with her grandparents and she would talk back to them constantly. They would ask her to get them water she would reply with "why" or "no" and when they would tell her she can't do something she would do it anyway. She would also take purses and jewlery from her grandmother and say it's "hers". I thought it was a typical kid until it became a routine and I would see her grandparents start to get upset. She kept that going until she was 9. When we would try to punish her she would cry and her grandfather would tell her "it's okay don't do it again" and tell us "no It's okay she won't do it again she's smart" but she would repeat the cycle. We bought a house 2 years ago and she moved in with us as she didn't have a choice because her father. She would sleep over her grandparents every weekend and sometimes the whole summer break. Her grandparents just got on board with punishments 2 years ago because we decided to get her a phone and she was doing things at her age she shouldn't. We would take it away for some time then give it back and she would secretly do it again. We just recently took her phone almost 3 months ago because she continued to go against the rules. I let her use my phone when she wants to speak to a friend or family member. The only thing I'm trying to teach her is to respect me by listening and teach her cleanliness since she got her period to help mold her into the young lady she's becoming. She washes her dish other than she puts out dog in the yard when she is asked even though her father told her she has to every night before bed because I do it throughout the day. When I would ask her to help clean the table after dinner she would Say okay but would end up going upstairs in her room and I would give her the benefit of the doubt to do it but when I would ask if she cleaned the table she would say no I would tell her "okay Miss make sure you clean it before bed" she'll reply back with "okay" but she would never clean it and when I would ask why she would say she forgot. This is a constant issue of her saying she forgets so I ask her if she remembers things from when she was in kindergarten/3rd grade she would tell me a story and I would reply "you remember stuff from that many years ago? You have good memory" she'll say "I know" and smile then we would talk about more things from her being in school and I would reply "you remember those things but you don't remember to clean your room? You've been living here for two years" she'll nod her head and get quiet. Her father and aunt suggested to take everything away that she was playing with or doing when she was supposed to do her chores and don't give it back until that many days or weeks she decided to not do her chores to teach her a le
Krist - 7-Aug-17 @ 11:34 AM
PART 2 What to do about all of this depends on what exactly is your goal here because you might have to prioritize. If your goal is the clean room you’ll have to take a different approach than to expect her to ‘do as she is told’ because this has been going on for two years and she has two years’ worth of experience on how powerless you are to actually consistently reinforce this point. Do it together, stay with her and supervise, immediately send her to do it when you notice she has skipped the chore and keep after her until it's done are all viable options. As long as you stay calm and in control, they might take some of your time but remember “All is expected of her is sweep her floor and make sure it's organized. That's not a lot.” And in exchange, you don’t have the long talks which don’t lead to anything but more frustration and tears anyway. _________________________________________________________________________ If your goal is to teach her to follow rules, pick something easier than her room to start with, preferably an everyday thing that should be done when you are there to ask her to do it. Empty the dishwasher, take out the garbage, water the plants, sweep the kitchen floor after the evening meal...Explain that this is her chore but be there to remind her until it becomes a routine. If she tells you no then you know you have a real problem. Otherwise, give her a chance to show that she can follow orders and rebuild your relationship. Give it a few months then sit down and talk about the room. Expect resistance and be prepared to negotiate: can you start with just picking up her clothes (it’s the thing that bothered me the most)? Agree that if she doesn’t they will not be washed/ironed and she’ll have to wear what you choose? My one cheeky bugger resorted to taking down his uniform and only his uniform for a whole year because that’s the only thing he absolutely needed ironed (got into 6th form after that: no more uniform). Did I mention that he is an identical twin with his brother who folds his towel at a 90-degree angle and keeps his room to show room standard? Same parents, same parenting methods, genetically identical kids.... _________________________________________________________________________ As to the hygiene part: “At this point, I just feel as though she is just lazy or doesn't care about her hygiene” She has already answered this question and I quote “my step daughter replied saying …she doesn't care if she smells it doesn't bother her.” The hygiene thing has been taken away from her and is no longer hers so she doesn’t care about it anymore than she cares about cleaning her room. The part where she ‘gets excited when we go girl shopping’ is encouraging: despite what she says she does actually care. If you can find a way to give her back the ownership over her personal hygiene there’s a good chance you’ll have one less battle on your hands.
cyanna - 7-Aug-17 @ 12:04 AM
PART 1 I’ve been re-reading your posts to see if I can understand this better _________________________________________________________________________You say you have raised her since she was 6, but then you also say that she was so used to getting away with everything when she was younger. When has the change in attitude towards her not following rules happen? Is this what’s going on now: trying to get her to follow rules for the first time? ______________________________________________________________________About reinforcing the rules: you say that “we even taped her chore days and list on herwall where she can see it and we also explain the consequences.” What are the consequences? Is it the writing lines thing? _____________________________________________________ __________________If the answer to both of the above is yes, then one of the problems is that “her father and I ALWAYS have long talks when she doesn't listen”. If you have explained the consequences all that needs doing is to implement them. Unless you implement the consequences immediately and every single time, then punishment is hit and miss and she’ll take her chances. The problem with punishments is that you’re going to run out of them: day one of not cleaning you take her phone away, day 2 you take the TV, day 3 she is grounded for X number of days. That’s the first week. What do you plan to do for the next week and the one after that? Add more no TV or grounded days? Remember what happened when you took her phone away? She just found something else to do. She’ll live without the TV. And for how long are you going to ground her if you keep adding days: weeks? months? This is going to fall just because of the way life is: she’ll go to her mums or her grandparents or the three of you will have something planned and you’ll have to make an exception. That in parenting reality is a check-mate. _________________________________________________________________________It gets worse: what happens if she then one day cleans her room? You’ll have little choice but to give her back one of the things you took away. Say you are super strict and demand that she cleans the room twice in a row before she gets anything back. Same difference. She already knows what makes you tick – her cleaning her room and her tears – and now you give her a tool to play on that like a violin: clean if she wants something, don’t clean if she doesn’t care or decides she’ll just see how far you’ll take this.
@cyanna - 6-Aug-17 @ 11:55 PM
I'm debating on that. If she's punished properly the writing doesn't need to be done.
Krist - 6-Aug-17 @ 4:59 PM
ok so you punish her. are you going to stick with the writing pages?
cyanna - 6-Aug-17 @ 8:18 AM
@Cyanna- First condolences on losing your mother that must've been very hard to deal with. I totally agree that you are trying to help out. I've asked her aunt, her mom and some of my friends who are mothers as well and they all say the same thing is to take everything away and punish her. I do compliment her and also ask her what lotions she likes and her personal input on clothes, accessories etc. I've also been encouraging her about it's nice to smell good and she agrees and even gets excited when we go girl shopping but still doesn't take those steps for her hygiene. A couple of her friends have their periods as well but their mothers don't have a issue in that department. It's just super stressful trying to teach her and keep repeating myself. I feel as though she doesn't respect me and is rebelling because she was so used to getting away with everything when she was younger. As soon as she drew tears what she did prior was forgotten and she would repeat the process. She did admit she doesn't like to shower and At this point I just feel as though she is just lazy or doesn't care about her hygiene. Someone she is close to came to me and Said she was telling my step daughter she hates sweating and she doesn't like to smell that she loves smelling good and using deodorant and my step daughter replied saying she doesn't like deodorant and she doesn't care if she smells it doesn't bother her that person replied back saying you'll get teased in school we're girls you should want to smell good and she replied I don't care if I get teased it doesn't bother me. So I'm just lost, stressed and confused because I only want the best for her but it seems as though she doesn't care about anything except doing the opposite of what she is told. I'm the reason why her mom actually is in her life now and she's been seeing her once or twice a month since last summer.
Krist - 5-Aug-17 @ 9:38 PM
@PART 23. She has a premature puberty. Many girls do nowadays but it doesn't make it easier to deal with the hormones and the bodily changes when they are only ten or eleven. How many of her friends have hit puberty? Being in the minority will again increase her insecurity.******************************************************The fact that she ignores her personal hygiene as soon as she knows she is not under surveillance is a really bad sign. That is either her rebelling by neglecting herself or the whole issue of personal hygiene has become about other people rather than about her. I don't know of any other way to repair this than by doing everything you can to build up her self-image in a positive way. When she has showered tell her how nice she smells, when she has washed her hair tell her how nice it looks, when she makes an effort to dress up tell her how pretty she is. Do not tell her to wash her hair so it looks nice: that implies that in that moment it doesn't. Do tell her that generally speaking regularly washing one's hair keeps it shiny and soft but put up with allowing her to make that choice for herself. Same with the showering. At this point I would even go so far as to suggest introducing her to intim hygiene wipes. Gently. Show her what they are, by all means point out that they are more expensive than a shower and that she will need to dispose of them discreetly (don't make them sound disgusting but rather on the same level as not wanting anyone else see her naked) but that they are an option. It will give her a choice about her own body care, giving some power back to her. **************************************************************This is long enough now and I wish we could have a proper conversation than me pontificating about, but please believe that my intentions are to be helpful and offer an alternative point of view.
cyanna - 5-Aug-17 @ 9:15 PM
@Krist: you are right, I didn't clean the house when I was eight. I actually hardly did any chores until my mom died and I had the same way of raising my children. Age ten they did get chores but they got to choose (emptying the garbage, emptying the dishwasher and cutting the grass were the three I didn't have to worry about anymore). Their rooms were not chores. I explained that it was their personal space and thier responsibility to look after them. No stale food or they had to deal with the issue immediately, but otherwise we grew into handing over responsibility for their own space little by little. Total success with one of them and a matter of choosing my battles with the other two. With those two when I put my foot down and made it a rule that if they wanted clean clothes they had to bring them to the laundry room before I started doing the washing, they ended up doing their own laundry.Otherwise threatening that if they don't clean their rooms I will, worked better than any punishments, but that is when they were a little older (14-15) and didn't want mom to mess up with their stuff. **************Back to your step daughterAs I freely admitted, I lost on the clean room battle with two of my own children, but surf around the web a little and you will find that this is probably the one battle that most parents struggle with. And from all the surfing I did in my time, the only one that seemed to give some sort of consistent result was when the parent kept being involved. Threatening to clean the rooms myself was not an original idea, going to their rooms with them before bed time and making them tidy the room before they go to bed is another that seems to work while they are around your daughter's age. A once a week clean up seems to work for some althoug the room is messy the rest of the week so I assume this is not what you are looking for. *************************************************************************************You also have the personal hygiene issue and I think that is a separte one. You might not realize it, but your argument that she needs to wash every day becasue she has her period implies that having her period makes her permanently dirty (or she'd only have to was on the days when she is bleeding). That is a terrible message to give especially since she has quite a few issues to deal with, such as.******************************************************1. She is your step. She might not tell you that, but she knows it and on some level she will always be insecure about your feelings for her.*******************************************2. Her bio mom is not too keen on having regular contact with her. That must hurt and add to her insecurity.*******************************************************************************3. She has a premature puberty. Many girls do nowadays but it doesn't make it easier to deal with the hormones and the bodily changes when they are only ten or eleven. How many of her
cyanna - 5-Aug-17 @ 9:13 PM
@Cyana- She's turning 12 in two months she's not 10. She never played with toys prior she only decides to play with them only on those days she is to clean her room other than that she watches tv. All is expected of her is sweep her floor and make sure it's organized. That's not a lot. I don't know how you grew up but I've been cleaning the whole house since I was 8. I take it as if she can write adult stories and speak how she wants she can do a simple rule as cleaning her room. She listens to her mother who she barely sees or knows when it comes to doing chores but will make any excuse when it comes to being home. She is expected to shower everyday because she's had her period for 2 years. Her own grandparents didn't even know she wasn't showering because they work during the day where her older teenage cousin would watch her. They tell her she has to shower everyday. She's very mature and smart for her age. Before she ever played with toys she was constantly on her phone then it was taken away due to her trying to act like an adult on it. I decided to not be on top of her because when I was it was the same story, she cried her eyes out 2 months ago saying she listens to me so I gave her the space. When her own mother asks her why she didn't listen she says she doesn't know but she texted her friends before she doesn't feel like doing them. So your answer is yes I expect a 11 year old to sweep her floor and make sure her room is organized. If my 6 year old niece helps do laundry and cleans then so can a 11 year old
Krist - 5-Aug-17 @ 7:04 PM
@Krist: do you seriously expect a ten or eleven-year-old to do that all by themselves? It's never going to happen. Discipline needs to be taught, it's not a natural state of affairs and with children and pre-teens the more you fight the harder they resist. You can very well explain what is expected but then it is up to the adults around her to tell her to go do the chores. As you have noticed constant punishment leads nowhere and you just end up in a situation where they just become a way of life. Example: "On those days she is supposed to clean her room she plays with her toys and watches tv when she was told CHORES FIRST." Of course she does, she's ten! It's up to you and her dad to interrupt the playing or TV watching and insist she starts cleaning her room. You might even need to help to begin with: ie she picks up her toys and lundry, you make the bed. She dusts, you vacumm. At the very least you need to come back and supervise because she will, at least at first, go back to playing as soon as you turned your back. Cleanliness is a little different. There again if it has become a battle ground it is more difficult than to instill good habits. "As far as showering she will shower everyday at home but when we allow her to go to her grandparents for a week or two every other week during summer break she won't shower for days, brush her teeth, nor change her clothes." This is her rebelion against what she perceives as your high-handed intrusion and criticism of her very intimate and very personal space. Is she getting complimented on her hygiene or rewarded even if it's just a well done when she has done her chores? Even if she has only done them after being reminded and supervised, a good word will go a long way to reinforce positive behaviour. Finally it's the matter of setting realistic goals. If you expect any child of any age to spontaneously clean their room every other day, you are in for a long term bitter disappointment. In real life most of them will need prompting until they move out of the house!
cyanna - 5-Aug-17 @ 5:37 PM
Hello I just came across this post. My step daughter is 11, she'll be 12 in a couple months. I've been raising her since she was 6. She would see her mom on and off from 2 now. The longest she went with out seeing her was almost 4 years until I spoke to her mother who has two other children about seeing her more and it's been once a month maybe twice a month since she turned 10 so therefore I am the main care taker. Since she was 10 she's been told to clean her room 3 days a week, brush her teeth when she wakes up and goes to bed and most importantly shower EVERYDAY. On those days she is supposed to clean her room she plays with her toys and watches tv when she was told CHORES FIRST and has the habit of saying "I forgot". Her, her father and I ALWAYS have long talks when she doesn't listen and tell her she will be punished because she doesn't listen. We usually make her write a page describing why she didn't listen and clean her room, brush her teeth and what she was doing that was more important. It's the SAME EXACT story EVERY TIME she doesn't follow rules. I tried cutting days off but she still doesn't listen. We always tell her NO TV OR TOYS BEFORE CHORES we even taped her chore days and list on her wall where she can see it and we also explain the consequences. She still doesn't listen and proceeds to do what she wants then cries when we tell her write a page explaining why she didn't listen. I tried doing the opposite but still no luck. As far as showering she will shower everyday at home but when we allow her to go to her grandparents for a week or two every other week during summer break she won't shower for days, brush her teeth, nor change her clothes. I explain to her she's a girl and she needs to be clean especially since she has her period already. She always says she "forgets" in the hygiene section also. Do you have any tips or advice about going about this? My next step was to take everything away, no tv and no other privileges as in going out and having fun. I've only been making her write a paper for the past year every time she doesn't listen but still no difference she continues to do what she wants.
Krist - 5-Aug-17 @ 12:38 PM
My wife and I have been Married for 8 months now prior to this we shared a home with her two sons. The oldest of the two had been getting fed bad (false) information about me from his father and shows me no respect in the home. He does not speak to me and he pretty much alienates me every chance he gets. I have brought this to the attention of my wife and she has pretty much been like well she has addressed it but she cannot make him speak to me. I personally feel as though I'm gonna snap and cause this disrespectful sob some bodily harm if this continues. Am I wrong for feeling this way
J R - 4-Aug-17 @ 11:36 PM
@P - the good thing is at least you are still together....you've obviously managed to weather the storm. Maybe you should be the testament for hanging in there and coming out the other side!
Yvonne70 - 10-Jul-17 @ 3:08 PM
Worried Step mom - Your Question:
My husband and I have been married almost 3 years. He has 6 children, and I have two. His three oldest children and my youngest live with us. His three younger children live with their mom in another state 24 hrs away. His oldest daughter is 17, she lives with us. Shes never been close to her mom so when she turned 14 she came to live with her dad. Her dad and I got married about a year later. My step daughter and I have always gotten along well, unless I ask her to do a chore. I think most all kids hate chores so I havent put much thought into her attitude about it. Lately, her attitude has gotten worse. She's very disrespectful towards me. Backtalk has gotten really bad with her and its not just towards me. Shes gotten in trouble for talking back to her dad, grandparents, etc. Shes been very bossy towards her younger cousins as well. We had a heated discussion where she's tried to tell me what she was not going to do. I usually think most of her outburst is typical teenage behavior but its getting worse. Her attitude makes it very difficult to be around her. I need some advice please!!

Our Response:
In additional to the advice in the article, I have included a link here which should help you further. The fact you have always had a good relationship is your foundation for continuing this. But as the article says, 'it doesn't mean that there is anything more serious going on than the natural process of becoming an adult.' I hope this helps.
BeingAStepParent - 10-Jul-17 @ 10:02 AM
My husband and I have been married almost 3 years. He has 6 children, and I have two. His three oldest children and my youngest live with us. His three younger children live with their mom in another state 24 hrs away. His oldest daughter is 17, she lives with us. Shes never been close to her mom so when she turned 14 she came to live with her dad. Her dad and I got married about a year later. My step daughter and I have always gotten along well, unless I ask her to do a chore. I think most all kids hate chores so I havent put much thought into her attitude about it. Lately, her attitude has gotten worse. She's very disrespectful towards me. Backtalk has gotten really bad with her and its not just towards me. Shes gotten in trouble for talking back to her dad, grandparents, etc. Shes been very bossy towards her younger cousins as well. We had a heated discussion where she's tried to tell me what she was not going to do. I usually think most of her outburst is typical teenage behavior but its getting worse. Her attitude makes it very difficult to be around her. I need some advice please!!
Worried Step mom - 9-Jul-17 @ 1:56 AM
I have been with my husband 24 years and he had 6 kids when we met, all grown up now.It was the biggest mistake I have ever made taking on someone with so many kids my advice: walk away!!!
P - 8-Jul-17 @ 8:01 PM
@It's me - yours doesn't sound a happy house :(
Mouse - 7-Jul-17 @ 3:46 PM
@Penny~Miller - you only have a few years to go and they will all be off your hands and have flown the nest. If you love your husband hang on in there you haven't got long to go.
mum2 - 6-Jul-17 @ 11:49 AM
I have 2 stepkids, 14 yr old girl, 16 yr old boy...the 14 yr now lives with her sister. They are consistently disrespectful and Dad says nothing. When I've had enuf to the point of being enraged, he fights with me and defends them. It's a constant battle with Pot in My Home, lying, sneaking and starting trouble but Dad jumps on me like I'm equally to blame. He is a precious man but his kids are driving me nuts and now his older children are shunning me bcuz of the lies and exaggeration. Dad just sits there and does nothing...sometimes he talks to them about it but there are rarely if ever any repercussions for their behavior. I try I try I try to love and exert discipline but it's getting to be too much without his support. This is My home and as an adult, I have a right to a level of respect. The 14 year old plans to come back but im gettimg very tired and bitter with her and really just dont want her back here with the games. The 16 yr old is barely hanging in there. I have given my Man an ultimatum to discipline his kids and express to them they will show respect and he can support me in my request or they can all leave which rips my heart out bcuz I love him dearly. I love them too but the constant chaos and drama and games and lies and disrespect and drugs and everything else is getting to be too much.
Penny~Miller - 4-Jul-17 @ 5:35 PM
@Mandy - I think I'd stay living apart. The main thing is I imagine you do not want to put your daughter in a situation where she is fearful of the man in your life. Carry on the relationship, but I'd opt for keeping your kids to the resepctive parents! Beth.
LizsLot - 26-Jun-17 @ 3:07 PM
Failing stepmom - Your Question:
So after reading through several post, I realize that I don't have it as bad as some others out there. My husband and I have been married for 3 years. We have a good relationship with his boys mom and husband. The boys are 7 and 12. Up until this past few months we have all had a good working relationship. I make sure that I give the boys plenty of one on one time with their dad and make sure that we are doing lost of activities as a family. The 12 year old has started backing talking every time he is asked to do something. He lashes out argerly with mean words at his brother and myself. I feel at a loss because the only thing I can do is repeat myself until he does what he is told or his father steps in. I am failing as a stepmom because when he doesn't listen to me and talks over me I raise my voice. I know it is stupid and wrong to engage in arguing with him but I do not feel I have a voice in any other way. Any advice on how to handle this stage as a step mom, who doesn't have her own children so already feels left out of the mom groups and doesn't have any friends who are stepmoms. I feel at a complete loss.

Our Response:
Have a look at my answer to Cin below. When you feel you are failing, it's time to adopt a different strategy. By what you say, it not personal to you as your stepson is lashing out at his brother and I'm sure he'll begin to lash out at his father too (if he is going through a typical teenage strop). However, this shouldn't condone his behaviour - but it does require a different tack. Talking to your husband and the boys' mum so you are all on the same page should also help. If you come at this as a united front, then this should help show consistency in your approaches. Good luck - this situation sounds like it is retrievable, you just need to think around it a bit more.
BeingAStepParent - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:01 PM
Cin - Your Question:
I've been in a relationship with my boy-friend for almost 2 years now. He has a 14 year old daughter that treats me with disrespect. The only time she actually respects me is when she wants something or needs a ride somewhere. We've been in arguments to where she calls me names which includes the "C" word that ends with "T" and every disrespectful name you could possibly imagine. She's pulled my hair while driving as well as punch, kick, bite, and has even thrown an ashtray to my head. She spit in my face more than I can count. She lies to other family members telling them that I mis-treat her. I have some video footage to have as evidence to the outrageously horrible things she's done and continue to do to me. What's makes it even worse is her father not disciplining her for things that she has and continues to do to me. The maximum punishment she receives is getting her phone and electronics taken away and is sent to her room. In her room, she kicks the wall and/or windows all the whole screaming profanities from the top her lungs. After things subsides, she has the ordasity to come downstairs and apologize. Not in a sympathy apologetic way, but with attitude and smirk. Clearly, she's gotten away with her rants and her dad did absolutely nothing. I am at my end. I don't know what else to do. The only solution I can think of is to cut all ties with this family and forever be rid of her. Help.

Our Response:
Have you tried to sit down and talk to her personally? Have you thought about applying reverse psychology? If you are experiencing difficulty in communication the first step to ensuring reverse psychology works for you is to acknowledge the other person’s point of view. This means remaining calm and controlled no matter how difficult the situation gets. You need to be able to demonstrate how in control of your emotions you are so that the other person is able to see you have their needs in mind. By suggesting that you are putting someone else’s needs first you will create a reaction that stimulates interaction and communication, and will mean that your needs are considered also. Reverse psychology can be used successfully in difficult relationships that include some form of power struggle. This does not, however, mean pretending or lying in order to get your own way. Using reverse psychology techniques enables you to influence by suggestion, which means that the other person will become more willing to prove a point or act out of character in order to do as you want. Reverse psychology works effectively with people who possess a pattern of behaviour because it is relatively simple to spot potential thought and expression. Individuals who thrive on proving a point will naturally want to do the opposite of what you suggest which makes it easy to use reverse psychology techniques for your benefit. However you choose to develop your psychology skills, it is important that you do so for the benefit of all. Using reverse psychology in a negative way can be seen as being manipulative and controlling, and very few people will welcome the development of relationships with a person who uses psychology techniques to get their own way. Understanding the importance of mutual expression and exchange will provide many openings for increased communication, and this method of establishing and accepting situations and solutions is far better than having to persuade someone to change their mind to suit your needs. Ensure you show respect for another’s needs and you will have your own needs met more readily. I hope this helps.
BeingAStepParent - 26-Jun-17 @ 9:55 AM
I am engaged to a man that I have known my entire life. We both have children with other people. I have 1 daughter who is 5 and he has 2 boys with two different moms 7 & almost 3. The 7 year old only comes around once in a while because he lives out of town but the 2 year old is twice a week and every second weekend. I have my daughter 2 on 2 off and every second weekend. My daughter is petrified of my fiancé. He takes no interest in her, he has yelled at her for crying when she is hurt. He only comes around after she is in bed. As for his 2 year old. He is constantly giving me attitude telling me to go home or that I am not allowed to be there. He random punches me and gets always with it all. His dad just says who cares he is two. The way I see it is 2 or not he should be show discipline and shown how to treat elders with reapect. I feel he is spoiled and my fiancé encourages the behaviour and tells me to grow up. I don't know what to do anymore. I love my fiancé but I am not about to let a 2 year old tell me I am not wanted and I am not about to let my fiancé disrespect my child. HELP
Mandy - 26-Jun-17 @ 3:43 AM
Hi I'm a step mother of a 10 year old girl and have been having issues with her constantly lying and now totally defying me. Her dad and I were together for 2years before she came to us full time but wad with us every other weekend. She came to. Us fulltime cause her mother couldn't be bothered anymore. I get no support from her father but instead get accused of picking on her. I ran a tight ship when my own 2 kids were younger and om doing the same thing with her. Obey the house rules,listern to what I say,respect me and my house.
It's me - 25-Jun-17 @ 11:34 AM
So after reading through several post, I realize that I don't have it as bad as some others out there. My husband and I have been married for 3 years. We have a good relationship with his boys mom and husband. The boys are 7 and 12. Up until this past few months we have all had a good working relationship. I make sure that I give the boys plenty of one on one time with their dad and make sure that we are doing lost of activities as a family. The 12 year old has started backing talking every time he is asked to do something. He lashes out argerly with mean words at his brother and myself. I feel at a loss because the only thing I can do is repeat myself until he does what he is told or his father steps in. I am failing as a stepmom because when he doesn't listen to me and talks over me I raise my voice. I know it is stupid and wrong to engage in arguing with him but I do not feel I have a voice in any other way. Any advice on how to handle this stage as a step mom, who doesn't have her own children so already feels left out of the mom groups and doesn't have any friends who are stepmoms. I feel at a complete loss.
Failing stepmom - 25-Jun-17 @ 4:34 AM
I've been in a relationship with my boy-friend for almost 2 years now. He has a 14 year old daughter that treats me with disrespect. The only time she actually respects me is when she wants something or needs a ride somewhere. We've been in arguments to where she calls me names which includes the "C" word that ends with "T" and every disrespectful name you could possibly imagine. She's pulled my hair while driving as well as punch, kick, bite, and has even thrown an ashtray to my head. She spit in my face more than I can count. She lies to other family members telling them that I mis-treat her. I have some video footage to have as evidence to the outrageously horrible things she's done and continue to do to me. What's makes it even worse is her father not disciplining her for things that she has and continues to do to me. The maximum punishment she receives is getting her phone and electronics taken away and is sent to her room. In her room, she kicks the wall and/or windows all the whole screaming profanities from the top her lungs. After things subsides, she has the ordasity to come downstairs and apologize. Not in a sympathy apologetic way, but with attitude and smirk. Clearly, she's gotten away with her rants and her dad did absolutely nothing. I am at my end. I don't know what else to do. The only solution I can think of is to cut all ties with this family and forever be rid of her. Help..
Cin - 23-Jun-17 @ 4:04 AM
Debs1972 - Your Question:
I would love some help with my step daughter who I have now established seriously hates me. I have sole care for her along with her father. Her real mom died when she was 2. I came into her life when she was just three, and have been her mum for now 3 years and she nearly now 7. She does nothing she is told. Her dad and I include her in everything we do. She is the only child at home. ( we both have adult children but they have all gone off to work and uni) She's a highly intelligent child and she can be very loving. The dark side of her came this weekend when she returned from a sleep over where there was a cat. I'm extremely allergic to cats and have suffered anaphylaxis from being near one in the past. Step daughter was asked by daddy to change her clothes because makes mummy ill. By this time my eyes already itching and sneezing had begun and just beginning to feel my lips blister. She got changed and came into the kitchen where I was cooking. She asked me what I was doing and I told her I was cooking. She then asked me if I was still breathing. Obviously I was so I said yes. She said. 'Daddy says you stop breathing when you have been near a cat'. She then proceeded to wipe her hands and clothes all over me. Then she asked me again if I was going to stop breathing. I didn't rise to this but was extremely hurt by the look on her face. She then started to chew loudly in my face ( I don't like bad eating habits and she knows this) She showed me the contents of her mouth. I didn't actually know what to do. She is very strong willed. I have wondered all weekend what to do - and short of leaving ( which isn't really an option as I love my husband too much) then somehow I have to nip this behaviour in the bud. Do I carry on as normally explaining that what she did was not very nice. Or do I just ignore the behaviour and put it down to 'yet another challenging episode'. There's been so many now- she makes it very difficult for me to like her.

Our Response:
I wonder if you can cast your mind back to your own children when they were small - did they ever do anything to deliberately annoy you? I can recall my own child often being very destructive, obstructive and challenging and sometimes outright nasty. There are times in life that we do not like our own children. 'I might love you, but I don't like you very much at this moment because of your actions', was a phrase I would occasionally use for this type of behaviour. However, why is it we take it on the nose with our own children - but we seem to find it so much more offensive when a step-child behaves in this way? Your step-child is behaving normally and pushing the boundaries. Perhaps, as she is growing and beginning to understand life more she has begun to grasp that her mother has died and what that actually means. The fact you say she can be very loving means she obviously cares for you, so hopefully you will not take this too much to heart. On another note and in practical terms, you say she had just returned from a sleepover. Sleepovers can bring out the worst in kids as apart from being overtired and tetchy, they have also been with other children and this can bring out the wild/disobedient side in them. Stick with it and try and not take these slights to heart. It's not the first and it will not be the last and as a result you may have to try to develop a slightly thicker skin.
BeingAStepParent - 13-Jun-17 @ 10:53 AM
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