Free Press Journal

Hard being a step-parent


My husband’s daughter is almost 30 years old. We are retired and she has just spent two weeks with us. We paid for her flights, collected her from the airport, took her out several times, took her to the shopping mall, took her on day trips and paid for  everything. During the two weeks she did not help out in any way, not even to wash a pot. She’d been with us one week and I was getting fed up of her constantly being on her mobile phone, texting friends, when we were sitting at the table eating the meals I’d prepared. I asked her to put the phone down while we had dinner and she went mad, becoming very abusive towards me. My husband just watched and never said a word to her and would just let her carry on being disrespectful towards me. She didn’t apologise until she was about to get in the car to go back to the airport a week later. I’m so hurt, not only by his daughter’s behaviour, but by the fact my husband just let her get away with it. This is now causing arguments and friction between us, and a rift in our 20-year relationship.

It can be very hard being a step-parent. Anybody in your place would be fuming with anger. I don’t think it’s too much to ask her to put her phone away at the table. When it’s your own child you can have a row about it and then it’s forgotten about, but when it’s step-kids it can be more complicated. She may be still acting out and may be affected by her parents divorce. What your husband needs to learn is that he’s not doing her any favours by allowing her to talk to you like that. And backing you up and telling her to stop being disrespectful and swearing, won’t make her stop loving him. It’s important for you and your husband to take a united stance, otherwise she’ll keep trying to divide and conquer. Don’t let it get to the point where your marriage is in tatters – part of me thinks she’d like that because she’d get Daddy to herself! And explain to your husband that unless it’s sorted out, you won’t want her coming to stay and it’ll cause a big obstacle in your family.