mackbraden's picture

12 yr. old girl jealous of her stepmother...HELP!!

I have a 12 yr. old stepdaughter. I've been so sensitive and careful to give she and her dad their own private time together, but to also try to develop a relationship with her as well. I've taken her for special outtings with just me and her, even at the exclusion of my biological daughter, to try to form a bond with her. Taken her for manicures, pedicures, hairstylings, professional bra fittings; I've been extremely careful to be completely equal in gift giving at Christmas with gifts for all the children. She lives with her bio. mom but is with us about 3 days a week.
Recently, she's started exhibiting extreme jealous behavior. Insisting on riding in the front between us on long trips, insisting she gets car sick, even though when it's just me, her, and my children, she rides in the back willingly. Jokingly asking her dad who is prettier, me or some actress on t.v. Even insisting on sleeping with us on one visit when my children were gone to their father's. However, today, she jokingly engaged in a conversation whereby she asked her dad who he loved more, me or her. He told her he loved us both the same. She insisted that NO, he had to love her more than me. He thought she was kidding, and said yeah, he loved her more, to which she responded, "ha ha ha ha , see, he loves me more." She also grabbed his hand as he was rubbing my foot and said, you can rub her foot, but you wont' tickle my foot? As he was leaving for work and trying to kiss me goodbye, she grabbed his arm and DEMANDED, "Let's GO, daddy!" as he was taking her back home to her bio. mother on his way home. Pulling him away from me as he was trying to kiss me goodbye.
My husband at this point realized she was extremely jealous, something he has not realized up until this point. She climbs in his lap, crawls up next to him on the couch to lie in his arms. All of which is fine with me, but if he tries to demonstrate any affection to me at all, she interjects herself to demand his attention.
I've said nothing so far, but I can see much trouble ahead. Her behavior is bizarre for a 12 year old and even my daughter noticed it today and commented on it. My husband noticed it as well and it concerned him too. I told him he needed to address the behavior before it began to cause trouble.
I just don't know if he can or will because of how father's are when their children visit part time. They are often reluctant to say or do anything for fear of angering the child or making it not as appealing as home with their mother.
PLEASE ADVISE! I love my husband dearly and have tried very hard to make his daughter feel very much a part of our family since she does not live with us full time, and have tried hard to develop a relationship with her because I too was a step-daughter whose stepmother did NOT like me. So, I am extra sensitive to be inclusive and loving to this child, almost overboard sometimes at the expense of my own children. But, I now realize this has to stop.

tamz's picture

Well if you realize this problem needs to be addressed then gat a plan.

I also have a step-daughter and I just went to dinner last night with one of my best friends and she too has a step-daughter. We all have similar jealousy isses.

The first thing you should do is realize that we all (not just the daughters) have feelings of jealousy. So be careful to ask yourself if you are being reasonable in EACH situation.

The next thing I have learned is to NOT avoid issues when they come up. For example, when behavior seems innappropriate (like your step-daughter saying "let go daddy")you should both stop IN THAT MOMENT and address the issue. HER DAD should stop and explain that he wants to kiss you goodbye and that you are special to him. He should tell her that she is special to him and he is glad he has both of you. Just don't ignore issues as they come up, they are a lot harder to address later.

Second, her dad should not tell her he loves her more. This causes jealousy on your part and it's not a good message to give a daughter. He should explain that she is his favorite 12 year old girl and you are his favorite lady. He should show respect to you in front of his daughter because this is a demonstration of what she should expect from a partner when she is grown. He should tell her that you are more beautiful than any movie star when she asks and he should always demonstrate respect toward you. This is in his daughters best interest as well as his marriage.

Be patient with this girl, after all, we know that almost all daughters feel these feelings of jealousy. A 12 year old is too young to recognize why she feels this way much less try to change it. YOU have to be the adult and address the issue head on with an understanding of what is happening. If your husband recognizes the problem then you are one step ahead of many step-mothers.

Good luck to all of you!!!

acitez's picture

You may want to have your activities focus on things that are more age-appropriate, less appearance oriented. My daughter likes animals, books, climbing trees, skiing, drawing, being in plays, baking cookies. She's 12. I just wonder what your step-daughter is interested in apart from cosmetology.

luckybunnie's picture

She is crying out for attention and feels loss. She needs him to reinforce his love for her and remove her doubts. Dont focus on beauty but on what makes her unique and appreciate her for her qualities instead of trying to beautify her. He needs to put a serious effort into reasuring her he will always be there for her and love her no matter what. You dont need to to it, he does!

jenny_mom_of 4's picture
jenny_mom_of 4

I feel for you that's for sure. I have been in your shoes it was 10 years ago and my step-daughter lived with us so some of the dynamics were different, but she was so jealous of the relationship her dad & I had. I know now looking back that the best thing I could have done was been a mature adult about it. Although I never lashed out at her in my mind I was just as jealous of her & her schemes to drive a wedge between me & my husband. The anger & resentment built up also as time went on. Of course I didn't see my own faults at the time & justified my own feelings of jealousy.

I tried all sorts of things as you have to make my step-daughter feel loved & included in the family. Bottom line was that she didn't need another mom, didn't want me as a mom at that time, and felt completely threatened of me. There is such a huge difference in the love for a child & a love for a spouse. A girl feels that difference & wonders why doesn't my dad love me that way...why this women and not me or my mom. It's not your fault & you're trying to do all the right things. In time she will accept you and in the mean time her dad needs to have a talk about the difference in unconditional love & being in love & assure her that you will never take her place nor will she ever take yours.

I have talked to my now 19 year old step daughter & apologized for my selfishness & insensitivity when we first became a family. It was one of the hardest things for me to admit to myself and then to her. Only by the grace of God was I able to do this. Our relationship is getting stronger as she becomes an adult & I'm sure will be even better when she becomes a mother herself.

I hope my story gives you hope. Good luck & God bless your family.