You are here:

Parenting Stepchildren/7 year old daughter hates my new husband


QUESTION: I married my husband in June of this year. I have 2 daughters, 12 and 7, he has a 14 year old daughter. My ex husband and I share joint custody of our 2 girls and my ex and I have a great relationship as co-parents. For the 2 years that I was single after my divorce, my now 7 year old daughter and I shared a room and a bed. After I got married and we moved into a bigger house, both of my girls share a room. My 7 year old hates my new husband! Every time he comes home and gives me a kiss or a hug, she huffs and puffs and from that point on, she is glued to my side. If he kisses me, she wants me to kiss her. She will occasionally stand in between us when he tries to hug me. If he makes any comment about how much he loves me, she gives him the look of death! Every 5 minutes she is telling me that she loves me and if I don't answer her right away she gets very upset. I currently have her in counseling, but it is still very early on and I guess I'm just getting impatient because her appointments are 2 weeks apart, and nothing positive is happening yet. I know that this is frustrating for me, I can only imagine how he feels. Both of the older girls have had no problem adjusting to the marriage and the blending of 2 families. Can you give any insite please?

ANSWER: Hello Kristi,

Thanks for writing in and trusting me to help you!

Your daughter is clearly having a hard time adjusting after being so intimately close with you before your remarriage. You are doing the right thing by having her in counseling so that she can have a safe place to work on sorting out her feelings.

Therapy takes time to work, and it is indeed a process. Since it is so very early in the process of counseling, it is likely that your daughter is still getting to know , like and to trust her therapist, key components to revealing your inner most secrets and to reach the point of healing.

At home, you can help your daughter by assuring her that your heart is big enough to hold love for the whole family. You can also help her by spending some one on one time with her. The one on one time can be as simple as playing a game at home, like dress up or checkers. You can go for a walk just the two of you, or have a movie night together.

Remarriage is an adjustment for everyone, and for some kids, it takes a little more time and attention to figure out your new "place" in this new "life".

Best wishes to you and to your family....  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Do you think she would benefit by spending one on one time with my husband? Do you think it helps or hurts the situation when he gets on to her for her behavior. (ex. not doing what I told her to do, not listening to me)  He generally stays out of it when I am dealing with her, but sometimes he steps in when it is going nowhere fast. She always listens to him, but I'm not sure if it helps the situation.   Thank you again for your time and expertise.

Hi Kristi,

Rule of thumb with discipline and stepchildren is to let the biological parent handle it. It is great that your husband wants to support you when your daughter is being defiant. However, he can best assist by taking an "outside" look at the situation, and perhaps suggesting some alternative means of discipline than you are currently doing. You should be the only person to enforce the rules, when you are available to do so,  with your daughter. Your spouse can also serve as a sounding board when you are frustrated with your daughter. Having him lead on discipline or "step in" is hurting their relationship and not helping it.

Your husband could offer to do some activities with your daughter. Take it slow and easy though. She may reject him initially which can be painful to him. So prepare him ahead of time for the "no" he will likely receive to his invitations. Encourage him not to retaliate against her in words, attitude or demeanor. He could start with small things that she likes to do such as playing games with her at home. Short times together, when she is ready to be receptive, and consistency will be key as he introduces himself to her in a new way, and they begin to relate to one another differently.

I hope this helps you further... take care

Parenting Stepchildren

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


KaRae' Carey, PhD


I can answer questions that pertain to challenges stepparents face, as well as challenges with adjustment and integration of the stepfamily. I can answer questions about psychological, emotional, and social changes that affect adults and children in stepfamilies. I can answer questions that have to do with the emotional and psychological impact of stepfamilies pertaining to child support, visitation, or divorce.


I am a stepmother to one boy and one girl. I have been in their lives since they were about 8 years old. I have first-hand "real life" experience with 'baby mama drama' and strains in marriage due to the complications and challenge that being a new stepmother presented. Bio: Inspired and motivated by her experiences as both a stepdaughter and stepmother of two children, Dr. Carey founded the Triangle Stepfamily Institute and is committed to empowering stepfamilies. She has first-hand experience both personally and professionally, with the difficulties people may experience when adjusting to stepfamily life. Dr. Carey believes that with the right support, and armed with knowledge, living harmoniously within a stepfamily is possible. She has dedicated countless hours to understanding the delicate functioning of the stepfamily and has produced several articles related to stepfamily relationships and functioning. Dr. Carey has studied with research pioneers and clinical leaders in the field of stepfamily life. She has also conducted independent research about stepfamilies with a focus on the concerns of the stepmother. She has also earned certification as a stepfamily counselor. Dr. Carey has also earned seven specialty certifications. Dr. Carey’s specialty certifications include being a nationally certified professional counselor, an accredited clinical supervisor, a credentialed distance counselor, board certified health services professional, school guidance counselor, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and a certified stepfamily counselor. For more information on services, or to request Dr. Carey for counseling, interviews, or speaking opportunities, please contact her through her web site, or by calling 919-454-7857.

National Association of Professional Women American Counseling Association Licensed Professional Counselors Association of North Carolina

Publications, expert author

Oakland University, Rochester, MI Ph.D. in Counselor Education 2009 Dissertation: “The Experience of the African American Stepmother: An Exploratory Investigation ” Honors: Dissertation nominated for 2010 Outstanding Humanistic Dissertation Award Cognate Concentrations: Child and Adolescent Mental Health & School Guidance Counseling Major Advisor: Robert Fink, PhD Madonna University, Livonia, MI M.S. in Clinical Psychology 2002 Madonna University, Livonia, MI B.S. Psychology 2000 Cartified Stepfamily Counselor, Stepfamily Foundation, 2011 • Licensed Professional Counselor, State of North Carolina, (6893) • National Certified Counselor, NBCC, (234907) • Credentialed Distance Counselor, CCE, (966) • Approved Clinical Supervisor, CCE, (ACS01058) • Board Certified Health Services Professional, CCE, (1472) • Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist- Provisional- State of North Carolina • Licensed Bachelor of Social Work, State of Michigan, (6802084095) • Limited Licensed Psychologist, State of Michigan, (6301012018) • Social Worker Registration, State of Michigan, (6803075415) • School Counselor license (K-12), State of Michigan, (SC000554) • School Counselor license (K-12), State of North Carolina, (XXXXX2200)

Awards and Honors
•Kappa Gamma Pi, National Catholic College Honor Society, inducted 2000 •Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, inducted 2005 •Robert Brown Memorial Fund Scholarship, 2005

Past/Present Clients
Step family members, children, adults, teens

©2016 All rights reserved.