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I Hate My Stepdaughter

From the U.S.: I’m 20. I just got married but i hate my husbands daughter (4 years old). She is very spoiled and has a horrible attitude. She has extreme tantrums, doesnt listen, everytime we ask her to do something or to stop doing something she will reply by saying “no” or even yelling it.

My husband doesn’t discipline her, he doesnt spank her, never yells or tells her shes doing something wrong and the few times he does she doesnt listen and he just gives up and lets her do whatever she wants. He buys her everything she wants, he never says no to her.

She is also way too dependent on him, he cant even walk to the front lawn with out her throwing a huge tantrum, she can literally see him not leaving yet she will yell and cry. She cant fall asleep without him there; when he comes back to our room she will wake up and run to our room crying and forces herself on our bed to sleep with us. She is unbelievably disrespectful, she always answers by saying “what”, she has thrown a tantrum because she wanted a toy and when he finally gave in and gave it to her she replied with “yeah thats what I thought”.

She is so disrespectful, rude and violent. She will push and hit her 2 year old cousin, she wont share and jump on my husbands stomach, she will even smack hit him in the face.

I dont know what to do, i love my husband with all my heart but im at the point i dread when she comes over, just seeing her puts me in a bad mood. I hate seeing her, i hate when she speaks or touches me, i just hate her. I dont want to leave my husband but i dont know what to do.

Ive never been a kid person, but ive always been good with children, its just her attitude and how disrespectful, rude and needy she is.

I Hate My Stepdaughter

A.

You are talking about a 4 year old as if she is 20. She’s not. She is 4 and troubled and is doing the only thing she can do to let you know how much she is hurting. Tantrums and beligerence at her age are how kids communicate distress. She needs understanding. She needs structure and predictability. She needs a great deal of love.

Of course she is dependent on her dad. She knows he left her mother and deep inside she is afraid he will leave her, too. She needs to know that the adults in her life are trustworthy. Refusing to spank her or yell at her is a great start, but he — and you — need to know what to do instead about misbehavior.

Your problem is not with this little girl. Your problem is that you and your husband aren’t adequately prepared to be co-parents. In hindsight, it would have been helpful for you to see a parenting expert or a family therapist before you got married. But it is not too late to get your family on track.

Give up your “hatred” for this little girl and get busy. Hating her and calling her names (lazy, spoiled) won’t help. In fact, it will only make things worse. Learning some new skills will help.

Find a parent education group and/or a family therapist who can teach you and your husband how to work together as a parenting team. Your husband needs to learn how to step up to the task of being a dad. You need to learn skills for step-parenting. You both need to learn how to help the child heal and how to support each other while you do it.

While you wait for an appointment, get yourself some parenting books and do your “homework”. There are excellent books available that will help you understand your situation better and that will give you important information about how to make the three of you into a family.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Hate My Stepdaughter

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). I Hate My Stepdaughter. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/06/08/i-hate-my-stepdaughter/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Jun 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jun 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.