My Husband Hates His Step-daughter...

This is kind of weird to write, seeing that most entries are about step-parents who hate their step kids, but I am the wife and mother who feels caught between my child and new husband. 

I married my second husband last year in October and he and I have a good relationship...although, in the last 8 or 9 months, he's admitted to having a hatred for kids in general and has a low tolerance level for my daughter, who is 7, when she gets into her moods, like a normal 7 year old does...there is a power struggle, which has become less lately, and I am hopeful that it will eventually pass.  My daughter talks about my husband like he's a pain to have around and has told me on several occasions that she doesn't want him here with us, and has challenged him many times to his face and becomes defiant.  He in turn lashes out and says hurtful things at times, which grates on her nerves, and then he just ignores her...they just don't get along sometimes, and she discredits him, and he impunes her, saying she'll grow up to be some brainless nitwit who takes everything for's really just him venting. 

I feel caught in between because I feel like the "mediator" for those two, who fight like kids husband is not very paternal at all, and it's a struggle for him to play with or be around kids.  He's had bad experiences in his family and has seen what a disappointment kids can be at times and what a struggle it is to care for them and it just turns him off completely.  He had a vasectomy last year in April, which I supported, but he by all indications at that time said he wanted to be a family with me and my daughter(who he views as a "package deal" but kinda wishes it wasn't that way).  He feels horrible for having feelings like this, but that's just the way he is, and I understand not all people like kids...but I wish he hadn't proposed to me without really thinking this through.

He dropped a bomb on me 3 weeks ago saying he feels it would be best for us to go our seperate ways(I couldn't believe he was saying this), and that he thinks my daughter and I would be "better off without him".  He really hates kids that much, but still cares deeply about me and my daughter, saying he'd probably drive by her school wondering how she is, and wonder what I'm doing if we did divorce.  We talked things through and he did a 180 by saying he'd do anything for me, including going out of his "comfort zone" to try to learn to be a better step-parent, but he's doing this for me, and sometimes I wish I had a man who really did love kids, and wanted to be around my daughter and played with her more, instead of over-extending himself to try and be civil and interactive...I know he's trying, but it's a real strain for him too.  There's also the element of physical/emotional attraction involved...a man who truly loves kids and can be a good provider is a real turn on to me, but lately our sex life has become so bland because he just isn't interested in being creative, at least to get me kind of just get straight to the point, and women need more finessing, but if the woman is truly attracted to you in a primal way, then it makes it a lot easier.  I have found myself even thinking about how much "better" sex was with my ex-boyfriend.  The only reason he and I broke up was because he had trouble with smoking pot, and I gave him 3 chances, and he was "out"...otherwise, when he'd be off it, he really attracted me because he was very good with my daughter and was a very generous soul.  He just needed to grow a "backbone" and get his crap together, and keep it together...I knew him pretty darn well, and we dated for almost a year and a half before I had to pull the trigger.   

My present husband just kind of tolerates my daughter or gets really negative about her and it's sort of rubbed off on me a little to where I find I have not been able to enjoy my daughter like I used to before my husband came into our lives because I know she can be difficult, but that's because she has a like/hate relationship with my husband.  Kids can tell when the adults are faking, and they know if you like kids or not, and I think she picks up on his dislike for kids with him.

Is all this just normal, and will the adjustment take a lot more time, or, as I have thought of recently, is it just not going to work if he really doesn't want to be around kids?  Also, he and I make a nice living together, and he's the only man I've met who is actually stable...we have goals in mind together, but my daughter has to factor in our lives as well...I told him that I will always choose my daughter first, so he has to get over it if I give her the preferential attention.  He has many good qualities as well, otherwise I wouldn't have married him.  Has anyone else ever felt caught in the middle like this with a husband/wife that hates kids?? 

Kellanna Kellanna
8 Responses Jun 2, 2009

Oh yes! I have one like him at home. But my daughter is grown now. I stayed with him. But if I would have the chance to do it over, I would have divorced him YEARS ago. Being in the middle made me emotionally sick for a long time trying to make it work, picking up the emotional slack he couldn't give her. He always yelled and never could give her positive feedback. Only acknowledged what she did wrong, not what she did right. With me too and still today 21 years later he is still that way. I had become immune to it and just shut down. We now have 2 beautiful grandchildren and she moved back home for a year. It was a nightmare. All the memories from the years she was little came back. I did some major internal growing this last year. It changed for me the better. For him? Not so pretty. I don't know what's going to happen with our 20 year marriage, but I wasted many many years, because I shut down so long ago. I could just slap myself all day long for staying and feel a tremendous amount of guilt towards my daughter. She deserved better. She counted on me and I failed as a mother. Needless to say, she chose to go back to her husband in order to get the hell out of here. It was emotionally damaging those kids. Verbally he is a real piece of crap. There is so much to tell that I don't have the time right now. But all I can tell you is, watch it closely. If you feel he can't be the parent you need him to be for your little girl, get out. Get out before she has permanent damage from it. Not being good enough is what she will get from it and I promise you, it will cripple her emotionally for life and she will never will be on her own two feet because she has no self esteem. Words are poison if you hear it over and over again. Good luck to you. I wish they had sites like these when I was young and naive,

wow that is how it is with my husband and my doughter the problem is we have 2 chirldren and he spends all his time with the boys and none with my doughter we are fighing so bad at he moment becouse of how he treats her she treats him bad aswell she plays up shockingly but she is doing that for attetion becouse she never gets any from him unless he is yelling at her calling her names and being so negative about her saying really nasty things to her and she is 7 so she is having attidude and all that stuff a 7 year old gose through he dosent dosent lay of for anything she gets in troble for everything even the things that are not worth going of at them about it has really affected our relationship and i dont know what to do we are going to family counsaling but i really dont know if that will work out becouse he is so negative he dosent look at her with any bit of postiveaty at all everything she dose everything she asked for she gets into troble for it she is lashing out becouse she feels so hurt by him and if i try and tell him any of this we get into a fight so if he gose into the shrinks office and tells him that she dose this and she dose that but dosent say what he dose then what how will it ever get resolved what can i do i love my husband i love my doughter i am stuck in the middel of a war between them is taking a toll on us and what kids say at school and my doughter coming saying it she cops it i just dont know what to do at all i am lost and its nice to see that i am not alone in this fight

I am surprised and shocked that anyone, especialy a mother, (being a mother of an 8 yr old girl that has been through a divorce right along with me), could possibly think that a young child ( And YES, seven is VERY young) has even a concept of "control issues" . Did it occur to you that when a child acts out- especially when they are that young- there is a deeper issue than whether or not your hubby is dealing with the situation properly? That perhaps, being as her birth father rarely sees her she feels abandoned by the most important male in her life and finds it hard to trust? Or that you are blaming a seven year old for making your relationship difficult when emotional neglect seems to have no consequence "she will still pull the usual control issue crap on him and he is learning how to diffuse the situation better instead of letting it get to him how disrespectful she can be." ? Whatever the issue is, your daughter should be your first priority and concern. Your daughter has suffered a great loss and that has consequences. Forcing any relationship on a child that has dealt with such a loss before they're ready will have consequences years down the road. If you choose to ignore that fact, you are choosing to ignore the fact that this inability to cope may cost you not only your marriage, but also your daughter. And I should know. I have an 8 yr old little girl that never sees her real father, and have been in that exact situation. And so help me, if anyone EVER called her a twit they'd be out the door so fast their head would spin. As a PARENT, it is our job to recognize when our children need help.

Thank you to princess4ever01 for your encouragement and experience. <br />
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No, I don't think everyone will agree with my feelings and tell me what I want to hear, however, if I feel they have misjudged me and made wrong assumptions then I will make things clear, especially if they throw insults my way. lol I don't think of that as "immature" as lottaluvin puts it, but as standing up for yourself...but if people want to call it immature then they can...can't stop 'em from thinking what they think...nor can they stop me from disagreeing with them. Texas said some very harsh disparaging things which I feel were uncalled for, so if you can dish it out then take it too. <br />
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Anyway, back to the matter at hand, my daughter may be feeling confused at the new arrangement, and as Mr. M put it, we are all trying to figure out where we belong in this new arrangement which can be unsettling, especially for a child, but if we keep on the right track things will smooth out eventually. I'm not making excuses for my husband...just trying to understand and be empathetic, after all it's quite an adjustment for everyone, not just my daughter. He is an adult responsible for his own decisions and actions and I have made it clear that he'd better make up his mind and act on it because I don't want to play games and linger in uncertainty. He didn't show signs of not liking kids...he just responded to the normal feelings of stress that occur when you have a child that's going through difficulty. It was like a disturbing revelation to him that he just doesn't really like kids...I mean, who really does like kids when they're throwing tantrums anyway? But, it's all part of the "power struggle" which I feel caught in the middle of, although a lot less lately because I think it's getting better...they are adjusting to each other a lot more amicably with a better understanding of each other...all fine tuning in time. And no, I'm not in "denial" can see clearly what is happening as I am living it firsthand. <br />
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I'm not dependent on him financially...I always find a way to sustain. But, we really do have a nice life, and I don't mean mere material things. I like what redflame wrote about how after my daughter is of age and leaves the nest all my husband and I will have is each leave eventually, as they should to grow up, but my husband and I have each other for life after the parenting job is over. <br />
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I think kids are way too pampered these days and given way too much and are made to be the "victims" all the time, but in reality, they are a lot more resilient than we think they are, and if we don't coddle them but expect them to pull their weight in the family arrangement then I think they will benefit from is just that way, things won't always go the way you want it to, but you can make the best of whatever situation you may be in and appreciate the good things that come from it. People are not always going to bend their back to make you happy...sometimes you just have to do your part to make things work out for the benefit of everyone involved, as a team. I assure her of my love in many ways, but I also want for her to realize that my happiness is important also, and that she cannot monopolize everything and make life miserable for everyone else just because she's unhappy....she really has no basis to be so unhappy because she has so much to be thankful for, yet she insists on control issues just because she can. Not acceptable. So, yes, I want everyone to get along, but no, I will not tolerate a child who shows no respect for those responsible for her, regardless of whether they are her parents or step-parents. Her natural father rarely comes to see her as he is quite the flake and she knows that her step-dad is more of a father to her than her real dad is...she sees this clearly, and doesn't want to live with her dad...she doesn't even like her dad very much as she puts it. Yet, as hard as my husband tries to be nice, fair and reasonable with her, she will still pull the usual control issue crap on him and he is learning how to diffuse the situation better instead of letting it get to him how disrespectful she can be. All new territory, and he doubts himself, not his love and care for her and me. <br />
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I have gleaned some good things from this discussion forum from redflame, Mr. M, drachirhk and princess4ever01. That's what this is all about and I thank you all for your sincere suggestions and insight.

I was in a similiar situation as you hon so I feel for ya! I think everyone made some valid points here and of course we all have "opinions"-take it as that, just "opinions" hon. Bottom line is you have to decide what is best or you your daughter and this marriage. Mr Meauggie(did I spell that right?) was absolutely insightful on the response he gave. Even I got somethings out of that(so thank you Mr. M).<br />
I would suggest counseling, start off with marriage counseling and ifyou feel like you need more, go on your own as well. Pareting classes also can be extremely beneficial if you and husband are willing and open. I have 7 of my own kids and raised 2 step daughters 22 years ago until i left their abusive dad and have been a big part of my boyfriends kids lives(he has 5, all teenagers) for 3 years. I love kids with all my heart and know first hand how stressful it can be. <br />
You have to put yourself first hon, to be a good mom, wife, friend ect. Take time for you. I agree that you must have respect in your home and it is a parents responsibility to see that is happening on both parts. Allow your daughter to see that she is important to you, first and foremost and that your hubby is an extention. But if you arent careful, things can spiral out of control very quickly and all you may be left with is resentment and a very unhappy child. You mentioned she can be this something new? Before you and hubby married? Maybe considering getting her some counseling as well. It could be normal adjustment to a step dad and having to share her mommys love and attention. It could be stress. Love your daughter, keep her first and reassured that she is the most important thing in your life. If this marriage is still there because you dont want to struggle alone and lose the benefits of nice things you have(I stayed for those reasons-lasted only short time before I realized I needed better and material things arent as imporant as stability for me and my kids) then sit back and think hard about your life. I hope this has helped some! I hope I have not come across as judgemental-I wish you and your family the best of luck! P. S. I will keep you in my prayers! If you ever need a friend, feel free to email me

Kellanna,<br />
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You shouldn't be so quick to disparage Texas' comments. She has some very valid points. You said yourself you wished he had thought his feelings through before proposing to you..but I don't understand...Did you think things through before accepting his proposal? You are not without blame here...People ALWAYS show signs of their true selves. It's up to us to recognize the red flags. This man HAD to have shown his negative attitude toward your daughter before you married him. You probably just chose to ignore it. You seem to be making excuses for his behavior and it's completely unacceptable. Allowing this man to call your daughter names is NOT putting her first. Your in denial. This man is completly selfish and self-centered and your just catering to him. I understand you deserve happiness. I was a single mother myself for a lot of years before I got married...but not at the expense of your daughter's misery. You obviously know something is not right with the man because your thinking about your ex boyfriend. I'm not trying to insult you but from your posts you appear to be very immature. You don't like something someone says and you just go off on them. Grow up! what? did you think everyone on here was just going to tell you what you wanted to hear? Listen, Men come and go..No man is worth losing your child over..It would be one thing if she was an adult and they didn't get along...but she is just a little girl and she needs you to be strong for her....I think your husband is just using your daughter as an excuse..If she weren't there, he would probably find something else to have a problem with. Love yourself enough to know you and your daughter deserve better...

Thanks to everyone else who shared their insight on this situation, excluding Texas818 who doesn't know what she's talking about because she's not in this kind of situation and likes to throw insults rather than insight. <br />
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I really appreciated mrmeauggie's suggestions...I can tell you know what you are talking about and I see the value in your suggestions for my husband...yes, he does tend to lash out verbally about my daughter, but not in front of her..he says those things in our private discussions, not to her face. I didn't make that clear, so I guess it would be construed that he is verbally abusive towards her, which he is not...he just has concerns that she'll end up being a "brainless nitwit" because she is kind of, how would I say...stubborn to a fault and a bit dense in a way that if you told her not to jump off a cliff, she probably would do it just because you told her not to...and that's exasperating. She's been quite challenging lately, and he's seeing firsthand how difficult it can be to be a parent, which he is completely new to...but he is trying his best, and I give him credit for that. <br />
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Yes, thank you mrmeauggie, I do need to not look at those so called "greener pastures" because really they are not "greener", it's just an illusion, and I know that my life would not be better that way. I realized that the day after I had that thought, but had to go through the emotion anyway. <br />
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Thanks for all your encouragement. For those that only want to throw insults, don't bother. This forum is for encouragement and support, not degradation, and if you have nothing good to say, then you should go to the bar and say it, because this is not the place for it.

Texas818, this post was to ask for help from people who have felt caught in the middle, which you apparently have not felt because your situation is different, hence you shouldn't be commenting on this because you have no real experience in this, only insults for things you don't understand. You don't have the whole story and make far too many assumptions and allegations that befits someone who doesn't seem to be very mature. Yes, my husband and I met before we got silly for you to think we didn't, just because you are angry for some reason you make these allegations to indicate stupidity on our part...not very SMART on your part. And, yes, my husband and I discussed this before we got married, but he realized as time went on and the challenges of parenting presented themselves, which he is new to, that he really prefers not to have kids, BUT, he is in a situation, and I've reminded him of this, where he DOES have a kid, and he needs to learn to be a parent now, however that process unfolds. He is trying, and he loves and cares about the both of us, but he does have a hard time dealing with his feelings. <br />
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I do not put a man before my child...contrary, I am very clear that my child comes first, BUT, we are a family now and we all have to learn to get along together because we wouldn't have all that we have if we were not together, as a unit. My daughter needs to realize this also, and yes, the kid comes first, BUT, kids need to learn to adjust also and not be spoiled brats just because they don't get their way. Indulging them and enabling them to lash out and act inappropriate only teaches them to not respect their elders and to take things for granted. <br />
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As for your comment that "I don't deserve her"...keep that one to yourself crazy ***** have no basis to say that. You are not the "mother of the earth" to make such assumptions about other mothers like this. When I say I have had a harder time enjoying her I meant that the downside of parenting has been getting to me more lately, not that I HATE my own daughter!! Again, you and your crazy assumptions...I have been trying to spend more time with her in playful ways to get that feeling back because it's been a hard road lately with her throwing tantrums and being miserable just because she have no idea how my daugther can be so don't judge. <br />
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I married a man that by all indications liked kids and wanted to be in my and my daughters life, but is going through the same challenges that most new parents go through, learning tolerance, patience, and how to overcome challenges that kids's like a mirror put to your face at times and either you fix the flaws, or you break the mirror...he's learning to "fix the flaws" and it's not easy...but I feel caught in the middle because I love them both and want for them to get along. I guess only time will smooth things out eventually. Here's something I've learned from all my relationships with people from Texas...they have REALLY BIG MOUTHS so I don't take what they say seriously, but I had to set things straight here because there's no way I would tolerate this kind of ignorance on my posting...