wondering101's picture

Husband treats daughter and stepdaughter different

Hi, I'm new here and just thought this might help me. My husband treats his daughter (12) and my daughter (soon to be 14) different. Don't get me wrong, he loves my daughter like his own, but it seems that everything she does or says is wrong to him! When it's just me and my daughter, she comes out of her room, laughs and jokes with me, when he's there, she stays in her room 95% of the time because I know she just doesn't want to get in trouble by him! What usually happens is the 2 girls will do the exact same thing, and my daughter gets in trouble and he doesn't say a word to his daughter. And if his daughter ever gets in trouble, he reprimands her in a very nice way.. the way it should be with my daughter! It's really just gotten out of hand lately, just stupid stuff that I know is driving my daughter crazy. She's even told me she doesn't understand how she gets in trouble and his daughter never does! So she sees what's happening... I just am at a loss of what to do. I stand up for my daughter infront of her, of course that causes fights between him and I. And his daughter is very sneaky, she acts totally different infront of him, than she does without him there! She knows what she's doing. I'm getting to a point where I don't know whether to just call his daughter out when she does stuff I know he would yell at my daughter for. He's very hard headed and obviously doesn't see what he's doing and doesn't want to see it in my opinion. Counseling is out of the question. I know he loves my daughter, but it's getting ridiculous. By the way, he's been in our lives since she was 7 years old. And his daughter does not live with us. If someone has been thru this and/or has advice, please help me, I'm at my wits end!!! Thank you in advance!

wondering101's picture

Sorry, I wrote the original post and left vital information out. My daughter's real Dad is not in her life. He's a drug addict and hasn't spoke with her or had any relationship with her in years.

acitez's picture

I wonder if part of the problem is that he wants his daughter's time with him to be free of conflict, and since your daughter is with you all the time that is not important to him. This has to be difficult.

tamz's picture

"Don't get me wrong, he loves my daughter like his own"

"What usually happens is the 2 girls will do the exact same thing, and my daughter gets in trouble and he doesn't say a word to his daughter."

It appears that he does not love your daughter lke he does his own. If he loved her like his own then he would treat her like his own. He probably loves your daughter, but it's not the same. Another issue is that his daughter does not live with you. He gives her more grace because he does not have to live with her actions all the time.

"I'm getting to a point where I don't know whether to just call his daughter out when she does stuff I know he would yell at my daughter for"

Be careful to deal with each child based on who she is and how she behaves. Don't start to "call his daughter out" if you are only doing it to prove a point. Keep each girl accountable for her OWN actions. If you have issue with his daughter however, do talk about it, but only based on her alone not in comparrison to your daughter. Treat each girl as an individual.

Talk with you husband about how you feel about your daughter spending so much time in her room. Talk to him about how he treats your daughter, but NOT in comparrison to his own. Just keep it about your daughter and express your concern.

Good Luck!!

wondering101's picture

Yes, I believe that part of the problem is that she's not there as often, and I understand that. He doesn't want their time to be with conflict. Even his sister said that when she noticed (without me saying a word) what was happening between the 2 girls, but just like she said, it's still shouldn't be happening. And I have brought it up to him as far as how he treats my daughter - not bringing up his daughter at all - but he doesn't see that he's doing it. Also, as far as me calling his daughter out, it would be on things that I would call my own daughter out on, I just haven't done it to his because I assume he would do it. Thank you for the response! It does help me!!

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

First of all, I wld speak to your husband. Tell him exactly how you feel and exactly how his actions are affecting your daughter. Ask him why he treats your daughter this way. Then tell your husband that his behavior is not ok, that it's directly hurting your daughter, and that things need to change.
Why do you say that counceling is out of the question? It wldn't hurt to try it. Also, maybe your husband shld spend more alone time w/ his daughter when she comes to visit. You can do the same w/ your daughter. I don't know if he feels resentment towards your daughter or what, but your husband shld not be making your daughter feel she is any less of a person than his daughter. You shld be the primary disciplinarian when it comes to your child. You are her mother. I don't agree that you shld defend your daughter in front of your husband or argue w/ him in her presence. You need to take your husband aside and talk to him privately.
Your daughter shld be your top priority. If you see she's being hurt, it's your job to protect her. If that means counceling for your family or being away from your husband, you need to do it. If you let your husband continue to mistreat your daughter, no matter how much you feel he loves her, it will affect her in the long run. The first step is getting your husband to accept that he needs help in dealing w/ his behavior towards your daughter. Hopefully he will realize this and become a better father figure to your daughter. It's unfortunate that your daughter doesn't have her bio dad in her life as it is. She doesn't need another negative male figure in her life. If your husband refuses therapy, you shld reconsider your relationship w/ him. You shld definitely get counceling for yourself and your daughter, however, not only for your present concerns, but also for the past issues w/ your daughter's bio dad. Good luck.

unknown's picture


You say his daughter does not live with him and this answers the question. In his eyes your daughter is like his own and he feels responsible for her. His daughter on the other hand is just like a guest who is visiting every once in a while and he does not carry the same responsibility he leaves it to her gaurdian. It might be of help when you will explain it to your daughter that he just does it out of love as he feels its his responsibility to show her or make her aware of what's right and what's wrong.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Being responsible doesn't constitute being mean. Both girls shld be treated equally. If one feels she is being treated unfairly, obviously something is wrong and needs to be addressed. And yes, dad has just as much responsibility, if not more, for his bio daughter. If he acts irresponsibly, don't you think he shld be held liable, God for bid something happens?
Maybe the bio daughter doesn't live w/ dad out of choice, or maybe he didn't get full custody for a reason. Maybe now he feels guilty, and he's showering this girl w/ affection, while his step-daughter is pushed to the side. Your guess is as good as mine. What you and I are saying is pure speculation. I'd like to know how dad treats his step-daughter when his bio daughter is not present. I think alone time w/ his daughter is key, and an explanation to his step-daughter may be necessary. I also think together time w/ the whole family is good. This way, no one feels left out, and no one feels like they have to fight for dad's attention. By no means shld anyone feel or be treated like a "guest" in the home. They are all family, and they all deserve equal and fair treatment.

tao's picture

I have a 17 year-old stepdaughter, who I really no longer want to be around. Everytime she comes over, she is MEAN to me and my 10 year old and her father. Her father does nothing. This behavior has gone on for years: turning on a ceiling fan when she was 13 & my daughter was 4 and breaking my daughters nose--ever apologized to me or my daughter, saying things like to "you aren't my real sister!"; taking advantage her father at every turn. Pretending I am not in the room; locking my daughter out of the room when my husband-without MY knowledge or permission-left my daughter in her care.

For years, I tried to reach out to her, understanding what it is like to be a step child and I tried to be patient. I have asked my husband to be a PARENT, I have suggested that she needs counseling(After she wouldn't return her father calls for 3 days(on the cell phone that he expressly pays for so he can keep in touch with her)when her g'mother died--and said she didn't know if she could make the funeral. Whenever I have made any suggestion, my husband has either said I was the one who needed counseling or said it was just a phase.

A year ago, I reached the conclusion that the best thing for me to do is to be absent as much as possible. This still has not worked because my husband says I am being petty because I do not want to be subjected to her. He is right that I resent and nag him about his daughter, now but that is a recent occurence BECAUSE HE HASN"T ADDRESSED THE PROBLEMS. The last time she came to the house, she used my computer without my permission and went on facebook and into my personal information. When I told her dad, he said I was making a big deal over nothing and questioned how I knew she saw my information. She and her father have a distant relationship and he says he can't correct her because she is 17 and she doesn't live with him. I love my husband, but he is totally in denial about how malicious and his daughter is. I feel like the only way I am not going to face a future with this horrible treatment by her and her father is to divorce him...ANY suggestions?

tao's picture

I wish I could give you a different perspective on what my husband and I did right--but I can't. My situation is very much like yours. My husband raised is son and there were many times I actually thought he was too hard on him--but with his daughter who doesn't live with us--he has no judgment or limits. Moreover, I am not allowed to reprimand her(without repercussions) in any way. My husband actually got on to me because I suggested that she put on her seatbelt. "We didn't have an accident." But my child is chided for forgetting things or leaving her shoes on the floor. "Next time I see this on the floor I am throwing it away!" He does show her affection, but it is not easy for him and she sees it. She sees how badly his daughter treats him and how good he treats her and she gets confused.

I have sistanced both of us from that relationship. I can't fix it and I won't subject her to it anymore... Don't make the same mistake I did...address it before it gets worse.

laity30's picture

I was looking at all the step parenting advice and what not. I come across your question OMG this is exactly what goes on in my house hold. Only I got boys 9 and 10 +3 more kids in the mix 4 boys one girl. The 9 year old is the only one not his. And the favortisim that goes on is really tearing us apart. the only thing is he sees his other son every day. I have tryed everything to try to make him see how bad it is but we just end up fighting. Did you find anything that has helped you with your daughter?

I only regestered cause of your post!