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How can I help my stepdaughter to realise that her father does love her?

I have been married for 3 years, have a 3 yo son and a 13yo stepdaughter that doesn't live with us, but who we genuinely love to spend time with.

Problem is, she's just said that she no longer wants to see us and feels that her father is a stranger to her, didn't spend any time with her when she was little and spends too much time with our son when she's visiting.

Due to many things, the mother of my stepdaughter made it hard for my husband to spend much time with his daughter when she was little, and though she believes it was my husband's choice, it wasn't. But we can't tell her that as it would be too painful for her and she wouldn't believe it.

We are going to make a concerted and sustained effort for stepdaughter to have time with just her father. I am wondering if counseling might help as well.

I was wondering if anyone has worked through similar problems and if so, what did they find useful to cope with it all??


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Asked by anonymous_mum at 5:48 AM on Jul. 2, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (8)
  • Maybe have a daddy daughter day once a week when or something depending on how long she visits, if she is only there for a day maybe make that day for her and her dad. Maybe only them going to the movies, or dinner. If you guys have a amusment park maybe that will work for a day together for them. Just remember 13 is a rough age for kids.

    Answer by vgiron at 6:06 AM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • To me honestly it sounds like the mother had a huge influence on her thinking like that of her father. My parents split when I was 4 years old so I got a good taste of being a stepdaughter and I did just that too. First off she's 13....she's going through the changes so you seriously have to tap into what SHE likes to do and have her father make it HER idea to do it with him and then all will work out. It will take time. Counseling is always good but again she's 13...good luck with anything at that age. What I would do is when she comes over have something or several things through out her visit jut be for her and her dad and not about you and the other child. Per say, they can cook together, play a board game, go to the store together. Dad has to realize that she is a growing the girl thing with her :)! Good luck and you stick in there you are doing just fine..

    Answer by Bugsmommy1908 at 6:27 AM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • My DH is in the same situation. He has 3 daughters from a first marriage and see's little of them. when we were married he even said that he thought that he could reach his daughters through me. I told him that it's his responsiblity not mine and he needs to continue to reach out to them and contact them no mater how hard their rejection is. Eventually they'll come around and realize how much he cares for them. The only time we hear from them is when they want money for things. THis is very hurtful to him. praying for you too.

    Answer by 3kidsatonce at 2:22 PM on Jul. 2, 2009

  • Thankyou all so much for you answers, they're very helpful and I really appreciate it :)

    DH is going down to see his DD today and talk about what happened and her obvious hurt over the whole situation. I hope that he can get some time with DD away from BM as I feel that she'll shut DH down if he tries to let DD know just how hard it was (and how awful BM's family were) for him when DD was younger. I've chosen to stay home with DS as I feel that our presence would cause tension and after all, it's between DH and his DD, not me. :)

    I'll let you know how it all goes :)

    Thankyou :)

    Answer by anonymous_mum at 9:08 PM on Jul. 5, 2009

  • Sadly, there isn't much you can say to a 13 yo that will sink in and make sense. And how do you know that her mother hasn't told her it's all because dad had better things to do. I don't mean to sound negative but that is what I think. Your best bet, is to just start from right now and do your best to show her you love her and want her around.

    Answer by emtmom847 at 7:47 PM on Jul. 8, 2009

  • Thankyou emtmom847, I agree with you regarding the BM, I definitely think that she has said something of the sort as this behavior has "come out of the blue" for me and DH.

    DH went down to see his DD last week and they had a god time, but didn't talk about the "issue". I understand why they didn't as they're both not great at communicating and DH wouldn't have known how to broach the subject, but at least they got to spend some time together with just the two of them.

    Hopefully, she'll come down here next school holidays. If she does, our DS and myself will go stay elsewhere to ensure SD had time with just her and DH, especially since BM said SD is starting to resent our son (her half brother) and my instinct is to protect him. Not that SD would say anything mean to him as he's only 3 1/2, but am not taking chances.

    Answer by anonymous_mum at 2:51 AM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • Continued
    I also feel that since no-one else has commented on SD's behaviour, that it's been left to me to express (as kindly as possible) our hurt at her behaviour and that whilst we understand it, there are better ways to let us know she wants some time with her father/ wants to get to know him better.

    DH and his family also haven't said much to SD as they are also scared that if they express their displeasure at her actions that she won't want to see them again.

    When I see her next, and we're in a private place, I might bring up with SD just how much her actions did hurt. It'll depend on how things are at the time. I'm also going to "distance" myself and DS a little bit because what she did, did hurt me quite deeply, I know that I'm not her mother (or her father!) and I've never pretended to be, but I've done everything that's in my power to make her comfortable and to have it rejected was uncomfortable.

    Answer by anonymous_mum at 2:59 AM on Jul. 12, 2009

  • I also feel that if no-one lets her know how much her actions hurt, and that there's a better way to deal with problems, then she'll feel that she can do this type of behaviour again (i.e not talking to her dad and letting the problem go "nuclear" instead of talking to us/ her dad about it). It's not a good strategy for coping with the things life throws at you.

    I also want to let her know that if she wants her dad to get to know her and put some effort it, then she needs to do the same and get to know her dad and put some effort in as well, after all any relationship is based on 2 people, & it goes 2 ways it's not just a 1way thing (like I think BM has been saying that it is).

    Fingers crossed it will all work out

    I can't thank everyone enough for their responses and thoughts, it's given me some things to think about & it's great to know I'm not alone in dealing with Step Family problems :)


    Answer by anonymous_mum at 3:13 AM on Jul. 12, 2009

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