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Parenting Stepchildren/neediness of stepdaughter


Laura wrote at 2010-08-16 02:19:51
Oh Mrs. Susan!

 I literally came to tears reading this post of yours. I think we might have the same step-daughter! No, but really, you described my step-daughter to the tee. I've been with my husband now (& his daughter) for five years. I love him to death, but he is exactly like your husband in a sense that he is so used to how she acts that not only does it not phase him, but when I come to him to talk it's to the point now that he thinks I'm looking for something with her! Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. All I know is that I'm not the only person who sees it, and I think that's the only thing that keeps me from literally going crazy! I have to admit you are better of a person than me, because honestly (& don't think I'm a bad person!) but I think that there is no hope for her and I. She has the complete opposite personality than I do, so much that I can't get myself to even want to come home if I know she's there. For example of some of the things she does that makes me want to go mad, is one time we went on a family trip and during photo moments of just little things like a historic monument, etc. she had to be in EVERY one of them! Even if I told her I wanted to get a picture of it by itself, she would still find a way in the pic. She writes songs/stories (which are replicas of songs/moments on the radio & tv) and when we have friends over or just even watching tv she feels she needs to put on a show with this. A couple times is fine, but I mean this is everytime she is here without exaggeration. We have her exactly 50% of the time, and her mom (which I do get along with)treats her very well too which I think adds to all this because she tells her and even myself that she "thinks it's so dag-gum cute when she acts like that." The child sneaks in her sisters room when we go to bed every night because she's afraid to sleep alone! She stills sucks her thumb! And our biggest issue yet is that she has to be in adult conversations where she has no place! We have two friends that come over occasionally and when they do, she has to sit right there with us (if not trying to sit on there laps!!! Yeah, that's another issue she can't stop hanging all over people!) When I tell her something to do, it is never out of hatred or spite like she assumes, when she goes running back to her dad and mom. Simple things like "hey can you put your bowl of cereal up after you're done with it" are considered hate crimes to her. But I have to admit it does take about 2-4 times before it actually happens! So anyways, I really appreciate your post because just knowing that I'm not the only person in a situation like ours, is so great! Well, not really! But, it is reasurring that I'm not just making this up in my head, that other people have the same problem. I don't hate the child by all means, I'm just tired. And as crappy as it seems, I just think that's her personality type, and there's no changing it, just dealing with it a day at a time. Right!?

J.R. wrote at 2013-03-04 14:55:07
I read your post and can totally relate. I am a step parent to 3 children and mother to 3 biological child. My husband’s middle daughter is constantly in need of attention and will throw the whole household into chaos if she does not get her way. I am constantly researching how to handle this situation because I, like you, and a solitary person. My children grew up with me that way so they don't demand my constant attention. I really think her neediness stems from lack of self-esteem because her biological mother was not a mother to her. Although she is 12 she acts much more akin to my 7 year old. I hate to admit it but her behavior irritates me to the point I want to scream at her. But I also know that I have been put into her life to show her how to have a healthy relationship. When I get overwhelmed by her I just point blank say I need some alone time now and go to my room. If she beats at the door or throws a fit I stay in there longer until she learns to respect this boundary I will continue to do it, for my own health. I also label her behavior for her, when she is being self centered I tell her that she is not thinking of others and treating them the way she wants. When she does something I know she would throw a fit about to one of the other child, i.e. borrow clothes etc.. I tell her to look at the situation and think how she would react and feel. Remember you cannot make her treat you differently, but you can show her how you expect to be treated. If your cup isn't full you cannot fill hers. Take care of yourself first and foremost.

My husband won't outright admit she drains you of your energy and gets upset when I say she is suffocating me, but I notice he keeps his space too when he doesn't have the energy for her. This is all about boundaries. My step daughter is developmentally delayed in this area of her life, it sometimes help me to think of her as a toddler- what would I do?

I hope this helps in some way…I realize most of it is just babbling. Your situation is just so similar to mine. Best of luck!

Blingy wrote at 2013-11-04 16:24:30
I also have the same stepdaughter. She is 11 now. I have been in her life since 1 1/2 yrs old. She is very needy and clingy. She would rather someone entertain her all the time then try to find something to do on her own. She tries to get into our adult conversations but I do not allow it. Problem is my husband feels bad for her when she is in her room. I have explained to  him that, that is what kids her age do. They like being in their room. Well she has picked up on that he feels sorry for her being in her room and will act bored so he will find something for her to do. There are other issues too but just wondering has anyone taken their step daughter to counseling? and if so what was the diagnosis?  

Grace wrote at 2016-03-17 06:54:30
Oh, thank goodness!  I have felt so alone in being in a very similar situation.  I've had a stepdaughter for a little over a year now, but she completely drains me with all her attention-seeking and clinginess.  Her father keeps telling me it's just her personality, but that feels unfair to me - it's just her lot in life to be insecure every second that other people are in her presence?  The physical clinginess is really weird to me, too.  She's 6 now, and I feel like it's getting worse.  I'm about to start seeing a counselor about it.  She sees a therapist, too, as does her sister.  I just hope I'm still giving my own daughter what she needs through all this.  Thanks for posting this and letting me know I'm not alone!  Nobody else seems to understand, and I'm constantly feeling guilty and like the evil stepmother.

Parenting Stepchildren

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J.L. Slipak


Over the last 19 years, I have been researching the issue of stepparenting/stepchildren and living life as a blended family. I have 4 stepchildren. I am available to answer any questions regarding parenting a stepchild/stepchildren and will base my answers using my own personal experience with 4 of my own. I'm an advocate for children with special needs and have worked in the legal area of Family Law and Civil Law for 7 years. I'm a published writer of this subject. I have dealt with many issues including: dealing with the biological parent, eating disorders, relationships between siblings, education, access, etc. I can offer support, personal opinions and resources based on research I've used while writing about these subjects. Don't ask me any questions that you have the answers for already. Make sure you include all information pertaining to the question at hand, as I base my answers on what you've sent me. Remember, this is just my opinion and nothing else. As I am using this information for research, DO NOT SET YOUR QUESTION TO PRIVATE. I am not your personal counselor. This site is meant to help others in similar situations by being able to read those experiences and seeing my suggestions. I will most likely send your question to the "pool" if you do wish to remain a private emailer in order to allow another expert a chance to address your concerns. I wish all stepparents great success with their perspective lives. Remember it takes a lot to step in when others have stepped out. I encourage Bioparents to stop fighting with stepparents and start working with them as a team.


Living with stepchildren is incredibly difficult; being a stepparent has always been sterotyped under the Cinderella persona. The wicked stepmother, overbearing and cruel... Often times, the reality of the situation is completely different. Stepparents are expected to step in when the bioparent steps out, then are criticized and attacked when they try their best to be a good "fill-in" for the bioparent. Stepchildren are often the ones who are cruel and difficult, filled with issues surrounding their bioparent's divorce and resentment towards the "intruder" in their lives. No one truly knows how hard it is to be a stepparent, except another stepparent.

BFA, working towards my Masters. Stepparent of 4 stepchildren.Bioparent of two, all inclusive of two special needs children: one down syndrome; the other ODD/ADD.

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