My daughter is biased against her stepdaughter...how can I help?
07/15/2010 at 14:46 PM

My situation is somewhat different. My daughter and son in law got married 4 years ago after knowing each other since they were kids. They were each married to others and had their own kids, then got married and had 2 together. His daughter was 6 when they got married...her mother died. My daughter seemed to love the girl at first but now her hostility toward her is obvious. My son in law calls my daughter's 4 children from her first marriage his kids, not his stepkids. My daughter will not even allow anyone to mention their natural father (he disappeared after the divorce. At the same time, she labels his daughter as her stepdaughter, yet her kids as his...getting very angry if anyone suggests they are his stepkids. She doesn't show the girl (she is now 10)much affection or love, while being estremely affectionate and supportive of her own kids and the kids they have together. She gives her over the top punishments and chores, says she is stupid and always suspects her of the worst, accusing her of really outrageous things that we have never seen her do. She never compliments the child to anyone, even saying she finds her "ugly". I don't know if she says it to the child directly or not , as I have not seen that. But even her children have told us that their mom is mean to her. Its hard to ignore that. This child is not only well behaved and quiet, she constantly offers to do extra housework and give her things to the other kids in order to please my daughter. We love all of these children, including this girl; equally and unconditionally and consider all of them our grandchildren. My daughter insists she does not mistreat this girl but we see direct and indirect evidence of it on a regular basis. She is losing patience with me bringing it up about it. They were in counseling, but I think its been erratic. This is breaking our hearts...we know it has to be damaging this little girl's self esteem. What can we do to help without overstepping our bounds or being seen as interfering? Any help would be greatly appreciated.