Guilty Parent - FamilyEducation
Guilty Parent
09/03/2007 at 17:44 PM

My husbands daughter moved in with us about nine months ago. We also have two younger daughters together. Unfortunetly I feel my husband suffers from divorced Dad guilt.

He has been divorced for 11years, and his ex wife remarried right way. We have been together for 8 years, so its not like the divorce is fresh.

When she first moved in , i was understanding to his "friend" approach, but the lack of structure and disappline led to a lot of problems during the school year. Now that the summer is over and school is beginning I need some advise as to how to handle his lack of parenting. Any time I try to talk about it, he is very defensive. We are both  very disapplined with our two little girls, and I sence they see the difference in how my husband treats his oldest child. I dont want our girls to see thier older sister acting out and think its ok.

How do I handle this situation with out being the wicked step mom? and without offending my husband?

I am in the same situation as you are ,my husband has always had custody of his daughter and we married when she was five years is  not dependable , and has little to do with her daughter in the past years.I always felt my husband felt sorry for his daughter (because of the divorce, and a mom that just does'nt care).Discipline has not been what it should have been, and she was able to do things and get away with things much easier.At 18, she is out of control. We hope she graduates,and we are trying to set her up with some kind of schooling.She is disrespectful, lies and we have had problems with her drinking.My husband now has to look back and wish he had been more strict and more in control. Your step-daughter is only 8 years old. If you think it will help, show this to your husband.I too, have younger children, and they are watching everything!My best advice is to treat your step-daughter just like your other two kids.If you and your husband can work together as a team. when your daughter becomes a teenager,she will know she will have to answer to the two of you.I wish you the best of luck.


Sorry if I mis- informed you, she is 16years old now. She already sees that we are not on the same parenting page and that my husband will not disapline her, if fear of making her mad. She uses it to her advantage. She barely talks to me, and only asks my husband for things. I find out after he has said yes, and the decision is already made. She doesnt even call our home phone number, she only calls his cell if she needs something. Yes, we have already dealt with the lying, skipping school, drinking. And because there is no consequinces from my husband, she will continue to do it.  

When I try to talk about it, he gets defensive and says that I dont care about her best interest, and I am just trying to control her becasue I am not her bio-mom.

I really fear she is headed down the wrong road. This world is not a nice place to children who have had no structure or sense of responsibility. I cant seem to make my husband understand that we only have 2 more years to mold her into an adult. And to teach her that in the real world you can just do whatever you want without consequences and being accountable.

Did your husband have the attitude that its his child and he will make the decisions about her?


What I would suggest is letting the other two children get away with something that bothers him. Like for instance, if my stepson sometimes smarts off, which bothers his father more than me. If your other two children do something that he would normally punish them for reward them without making it obvious. I am not sure how old your kids are, but just have a toy or something and give it to them at that time. My spouse and I have two children each from previous relationships. We also each have sole custody of them. Before me he lived with his parents so his mother took over the role of their mother. Because of this we spend atleast one night a week over there visiting. His mother will baby his daughter, but none of the other children. His daughter will come in screaming and commanding attention when the adults are talking, just to say that she likes her doll. If the other children do that they get scolded. So one day his daughter did that and I scolded her, then when one of the other children did it I gave them a sucker. She didn't like that. After I sent the child to the kitchen with the sucker, their grandmother asked why I would reward them. I said that if Lulu (his daughter) could be rewarded by letting her come in screaming when the other children get scolded, then why shouldn't the other kids get rewarded for doing the same thing. Now, it's a little different in my case. My spouse fully supports me. However, I am constantly at war with his mother, because she feels I took away her kids.   


Have u ever felt that u owe your stepchild the world because the bio-mom is irresponsible? I married a man with 2 kids whose mom decided to go find herself. The children were at the time 6,7. Now believe me I had a project in front of me. I gave birth to my son when the step kids were 9,10. The father felt guilty that his older kids were abandoned.However,I treated them like my own kids. My mother in law enetered the picture at some time and destroyed everything I had built. The step kids thought that the world owed the.My son was picking up habits which I didnt agree with,my health due to stress was collapsing and do u know what I did? I told me husband..its time for me to move out for my health and my son who at the age of 5 had become a nervous wreck because the step kids wouldnt stop bothering him. I told him we are not breaking up, I just need my space to bring up my child,I owe it to him. I explained to him I felt like a guest in my own home. I presently live 1 block down the road with my son. I am relaxed and happy. I see my husband every day and we dont argue anymore. He lives with his two kids now 17  and 18.I gave them my best 10 years and now I must find patience to bring up my kid. 



I give you SO much credit! Good for you!


That sounds like the way to go! Bless you Lizabetta!