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My Stepkids Hate Me Because of Their Father

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From the U.S.: My stepkids don’t exactly hate me or their mother, but they say it and that we’re the worst anytime we put them in time out or ground them when they are being violent towards each other or us (which is encouraged by their birthfather). It just drives me up the wall knowing that they spy for him and his mother (who is the only one who actually uses his visitations because he’s too busy playing videogames and dating to actually spend time with them). They promote that when over there, the kids are totally in charge and that no one has to look out for them as well as money being more important than people or morals.

My fiancĂ© isn’t perfect and kinda lets them by with a lot because the court system where we live is highly corrupt and they know a lot of important people in our town so it’s next to impossible to fix a lot of these problems legally.

I’m just at the end of my rope and I just don’t want my stepkids hating me, but I don’t want their grades to continue dropping, them to keep disrespecting their mother and me, or grow up to be violent people or felons. Also they are having night terrors because he lets them (a 5 & 9 year old) watch zombie and Chucky movies and video games. And they are required to call his girlfriend mom while they are encouraged to ignore me because I’m not their parent because me and their mother are only engaged.

I just don’t want them to hate me, I don’t want the dad and his mother to win by brainwashing them and twisting their values. It’s just a bad situation all the way around.

My Stepkids Hate Me Because of Their Father

Answered by on -

A.

You are correct. This is a terrible situation for the children. Your fiance’s ex is more interested in making her miserable than in loving the children. It’s not at all good parenting to put kids in the middle of an old fight — which is exactly what he is doing. It’s unfortunate that the kids’ grandmother seems to be backing him up.

Sadly, there isn’t much you can do except to keep being yourself. As much as the kids may think they like the anarchy that exists at their Dad’s place, it isn’t healthy for them.

Do set clear rules at your place. Continue being kind but firm about how they are to treat you, their mother and each other.

There is no need to talk badly about their dad. That would only serve to keep the kids in the middle. Instead, focus on how things will be at your house. Don’t get involved in the fight about having them call you “dad”. Involve the children in coming up with a name for you that you all like.

The children may “hate’ you for giving them some structure and insisting on manners for the time being but they will come to appreciate you as they mature. Kids in situations like this usually do.

Meanwhile, I hope your fiance will have a talk with her divorce lawyer. If the kids’ father is hurting them psychologically, she may be able to get the divorce agreement modified so visits with their dad are supervised or more limited. Since the kids are having night terrors, the lawyer may advise that they be evaluated by a mental health counselor.

I wish you all well.
Dr. Marie

My Stepkids Hate Me Because of Their Father

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Stepkids Hate Me Because of Their Father. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/05/26/my-stepkids-hate-me-because-of-their-father/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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