A Stepmom's Struggle

photo by Peter Greste

"Can my husband and I ever agree on my stepdaughter?" an anonymous mom asks. I almost wish she wasn't anonymous because the reality is that being a stepparent can be tough--no need to hide, there are lots of us in that situation.


In this case, the stepmom has been in her stepdaughter's life since she was four. The child is 10 now, but is at times extremely disrespectful. Her father is rarely around because of work, so the majority of the time the person in the 10-year-old's life is her stepmother. The problem is, when it comes to punishment (this time it was three weeks in her room) the dad always intervenes on behalf of his daughter and completely disempowers his wife. Now the stepmom is at her wits' end.

In blended families, many times the children (not to mention the adults) have a lot of suppressed feelings. As a stepmom myself, I'd suggest two things: One, an honest-heart to-heart with hubby about how his behavior makes you feel--and about his true feelings too. And two: a family talk with the stepchild to get to the root of the disrespect. Sometimes communicating when things are calm makes all the difference. If you are a stepmom and need to compare notes, get advice or just have a place to scream (!) CafeMom has a ton of great stepmom groups to check out like Help for Stepmoms and Stepmom Struggles. Best of luck, anonymous. Are there any other stepmoms out there who have an idea how this stepmom feels?

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