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stepdaughter tug of war

Posted by stepmomof4 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 24, 09 at 18:23

My stepdaughter's father and I have been together for 10 years. We have 50% custody. The kids go back and forth every two weeks. Recently my 14-year-old step daughter has been showing unpleasant signs of adolescence. She has "friended" her mom on facebook, but not me. We get along reasonably well, in fact pretty well, most of the time. it hurts me that she has chosen her mom over me. Recently she has putup a new photo with the expensive haircut I took her to get. How do I get past this? Is it important enough to worry about? There are also intermittent power struggles that I know will get worse with time. Any advice?

Thanks in advance.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

She chose her Mom over her StepMom and you're surprised? (Why?)

She put up a photo of herself after a great new haircut and you're hurt? (Because you paid for the haircut? You mean she was supposed to say "See what my StepMom got me?")

Sorry Lady, but based on what you've said, you seem to be way off base...

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

"Recently my 14-year-old step daughter has been showing unpleasant signs of adolescence."

In what ways because explanation didn't follow, and I don't see anything unpleasant about the rest of your post. Give us something to understand her behaviors that are unpleasant, please.

"She has "friended" her mom on facebook, but not me. We get along reasonably well, in fact pretty well, most of the time. it hurts me that she has chosen her mom over me."

It's possible if not probably you're jumping to conclusions, or at least you don't give us any details. Perhaps her mom asked her to. Did you ask before this happened and she said "no" to make you feel she chose her mom over you? Or, perhaps she and her mom discussed Facebook. Did you and she ever talk about Facebook before this happened to make her know you have an account and you'd like to "friend" her? Maybe her mom had something on Facebook that she wanted her daughter to see or vice versa. Have you ever sent SD any emails? Do you know how Facebook works?

"Recently she has putup a new photo with the expensive haircut I took her to get."

May I please ask you to explain your complaints. She wanted her mom and all her "friends" to see her picture......with the haircut that you got her. What is the problem with that? What is the rest of this story?

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

I agree. I would not have wanted my steps to choose me over their Mom. Not right unless the woman is beating the girl or something equally bad.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

treating this as though it's for real...

This isn't a power struggle unless you make it one;

it's just growing up, at least on her part.

On your part, it looks an awful lot like narcissism & entitlement.

First thing that bugs me, & I'm not a bio-mom but merely a former stepmom, is your statement that "we" have 50% custody.

No, you don't.

Her mother & father each have 50%.

Get out of her Facebook,
get over the haircut (she can't have her picture taken *without* it),
& acknowledge that adolescence & independence are desireable stages of growth that have nothing to do with you & everything to do with this girl's development & maturation.

Adolescence, Facebook, cute haircuts, expressing independence, are about *her*;
She isn't growing into "unpleasant signs of adolescence" & "intemittant power struggles" just to defy you.

She's just growing.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

I can feel your pain... to a point. I helped raise my DH's youngest daughter full time for 10 years and I would be hurt and frustrated when she would put BM on a pedestal, mainly because BM gave her very little time and attention once she came to live with us... I let it go, because I always wanted SD to have a great relationship with her Mom, but it was not easy to see BM getting credit when it wasn't due her!

I don't think you should be upset about the photo... It sounds like it was a great haircut and she was excited to share it. As hard as it may seem, sometimes, the sk's (and bio-kids) really don't appreciate what we do for them or how hard we try. We can't change that, but we also can't bury our heads in the sand or hide from them when we've been chosen to help raise them.

It must be especially hard for you since there is split custody. That's got to make being the SM an even harder job because of the shuffling back and forth, not being on the same page a lot of the time. I truly feel for you!

Your SD is only 14. The power struggles will increase, not only with you, but with Dad & BM too. This is just the tip of the iceburg, my dear. The best thing you can do is be there for SD when she needs you, don't hesitate to tell her if she upsets you by treating you badly (we all have to know what the boundaries are!) and don't, PLEASE, don't try to compete with BM... You will always end up losing that battle... Hang in there!

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

I am completely new here and came here for help and I cannot believe how the majority of you treated me. I feel like I walked into an ambush.


Thank you. You gave me essentially what I came here for: empathy and yes a touch of sympathy with some gentle advice. You are wonderful. I am also "poppingrays" lol.

(FYI for ten years BM has been fairly cool and easy for us to work with. It was her idea to split custody.)

My concern is that my SD hurt my feelings, knows it, and doesn't seem to care. She has always been such a sweet kid. We have had a good to very good relationship since she was four. I mentioned the haircut because she knows how she got it, and loves it. I did it for her to make her happy! I just don't understand how she can suddenly turn on me. I guess I suspect someone is influencing her, but that is not in her best interest, to teach her how to be mean?

Yes it is very difficult to go back and forth every two weeks, for everyone involved, but it is important that we have them (and their mom too for that matter) long enough to have an influence. We and BM have drastically different lifestyles, and the kids are amazing in their ability to adapt (as if they had a choice). I don't think it so surprising to expect to be treated equally to her mom, because I have been all along, until this. I think that is why it hurts.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

She got a haircut, loves it, and knows how she got it --

This is all good. So you're just hurt/upset that she didn't thank you publically for paying for it on her Facebook page? (And you consider that 'turning on you'?) If that's not it, please clarify... (And for what it's worth, I don't think many kids would have included a note giving credit for a haircut -- that's just not normal. And as a kid, she probably expects the adult she's with to pay for her haircut. So no major gratitude needed...)

" I don't think it so surprising to expect to be treated equally to her mom, because I have been all along, until this."

That would be very rare, indeed. It happens, sometimes, but as some have said, generally just when BioMom has left a lot to be desired in the parenting department.

Your original post said "her father and I have been together for 10 years" which to me, implies that you have not been married all of those years. So really, you haven't been her SM all of those years -- so in all likelihood, you didn't even start "parenting" her until she was 6 or so.

That simply doesn't make you "equal to Mom" in any sense of the word.
You could be a wonderful asset to her. You could love her deeply and be someone she loves deeply in return. But you're not Mom. This is a simple fact -- not a cruel taunt.

IMO, Sylvia nailed it:

"On your part, it looks an awful lot like narcissism & entitlement."

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Hi there,

My DH has had custody of my SD since she was 5 - she is 14 now. She saw (until very recently) her BM EOW from Thursday to Monday. I have always treated her as my own, and she has treated me as a mom. She calls me mom most of the time, and in the past few years started telling me I am more of a mom than her BM will ever be.
All that said - her mom is still her mom. She will always be number one. I may do everything that her mom doesn't and more, but at the end of the day our bond, though incredibly strong, is not as strong as the one she was born with to her mom.

I won't say that hasn't caused me much pain . . . it's not easy to see someone on a pedestal who you would like to beat to the ground. All you can do is stop viewing it as a competition and let it be what it is - two woman who have important roles in the life of a young lady. A SM and a BM are like apples and oranges - you really can't compare them, or expect them to be equal. Stop trying to be the apple and be the best orange you can be . . even when your SD seems to only want an apple.

14 years girls will hurt feelings and think nothing of it. It's in their nature - if you can get them to see past their own nose for an hour of the day that's a bonus. I don't say that to excuse the behavior, but so you know it's likely not directed at you. It's good to tell her she hurt you and why, but from a teaching-you-to-be-a-better-person stand point, not a flying-off-the-handle-because-you-hurt-me one. But, you also have to not take everything as a personal affront. Posting a pic of a new haircut and not giving you credit for it is not a battle. I'm responsible for every cut my SD gets, and she's never made a point of that to anyone. If I act like her mom and that's a mom thing to do, why should I get 'credit' for it?

On the Facebook subject, is it possible her mom didn't want her to be your friend too, as she didn't want those two 'worlds' to converge? I hesitated to accept my SD's friend request for that very reason - her mom had already accepted. Maybe SD doesn't want to be 'in the middle' like that? Perhaps her friends post things she doesn't think mom will be upset by, but you and dad would? There could be many reasons, but you'll never know if you don't ask. So ask reasonably and offhand - "Hey SD, I noticed you are fb friends with your mom now. I'd like to be your friend as well, if that wouldn't be uncomfortable or put you in a bad spot. What do you think?" If she says no, you just have to accpt it. To dwell or fume will get you no where.

Being a step mom - with the emphisis on mom - isn't easy. You really have to learn to grow a thick shell, and look at everything with 'is this a personal attack on me, or an I over-sentsitive' eyes. BM's get hurt by their kids too, so if you want to be equal you have to expect some of that. You can't be a mom but want special recognition because you aren't really the mom.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war


Poppin and JNM have skids with less than fully functioning moms. Not the same as you. But even they realize your expectations are too high.

I would not recommend asking SD to friend you. She may feel compelled to accept and feel pressured. I would suggest that as you think the mom has been reasonable, if she gets feedback that SM is pressuring SD for more relationship, that may change.

Many of the SMs here talk about how SKIds should respect them. Respect implies that SM occupies a position of power. Don't abuse it. You can not make someone be a friend.

As to the person with adolescent problems, I dont think it is your SD.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

I spoke to my stepdaughter last night and she just forgot to add me to Facebook. She has added me now. I have been accused of being too sensitive in the past. My feelings were hurt for nothing.

Her mother and father and I all go to school conferences together. We went to see a psychologist together about one of the kids. We get along well and are generally on the same page on kid issues. We are lucky and yes, we are rare.

Judging by all of the attitude I have found on this page, I am not suprised there is melodrama in your relationships.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

wow. Count my melodramatic attitude out for offering any more advice.

When even you admit you made a stink over nothing, coming down on us for telling you what was, gasp, the truth is pretty lame.

Sorry to have tried to help.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Yeah, JNM -- Sure explains all of our own melodrama... Guess she nailed us ;-)

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

how immature...a child didn't add you to facebook and you are upset. too funny. she posts her pic with haircut, so what...

sounds like someone else has adolesecent problem, but it sure isn't SD.....

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Ahhh, FD -- But she's 'sensitive'...

Clearly, she somehow thinks SD's actions had something to do with her - some ulterior motive or intentional slight - when actually SD was just posting a picture!

That's not 'sensitive', that's narcissistic. Assuming SD's actions were about her, when it's highly unlikely SD even gave her a thought -- (unless of course, SD has learned that it's always about StepMom?)

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Hi there...

Okay I'm new here. This is my first, and certainly not my last, post...

I am going to stick my neck out and say for my first time reading all of your posts here I think you were very accusatory and unduly harsh on the poster above (stepmomof4)

Whats up with that?

Seriously, you all attacked her accused her of being immature, insulted her and basically pulled a mini lynch mob type response on her.

Are we all in this step parenting thing TOGETHER or what???

I dont know, but it seems to me that we come here for SUPPORT and a little guidance and perspective, and not to be BELITTLED and insulted. That is really rude and out of line.

Anyway, I trust you ladies have been here a long time, have great advice to share, plenty of nuggets of wisdom and alot to offer...instead of sharing all that good stuff you attack the poor woman.

Im not saying your "bad people" or whatever but seriously the tone of this thread is horrible.

Come on now...totally uncalled for...lets cut this woman a break. Being a step mom is hard enough. This is a support forum correct?

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Geez, fetbuzzy, what exactly do you expect when someone pops in with such little info and then comes back and says 'oops, I over reacted and had my nose out of joint for nothing'?

We got "Recently my 14-year-old step daughter has been showing unpleasant signs of adolescence. She has "friended" her mom on facebook, but not me."--nothing else to go on which indicated the 'unpleasant signs' was nothing more than the child selected her mother over her stepmother.

Then next was "Recently she has putup a new photo with the expensive haircut I took her to get. How do I get past this? Is it important enough to worry about?"---no, unless there is additional info given here, from what has been stated there is nothing to 'get past' nor is it anything to 'worry about'.

Followed by "In what ways because explanation didn't follow, and I don't see anything unpleasant about the rest of your post. Give us something to understand her behaviors that are unpleasant, please" and "It's possible if not probably you're jumping to conclusions, or at least you don't give us any details"--all reasonable statements based on what little was originally posted.

And when comes back to give a bit more "I am completely new here and came here for help and I cannot believe how the majority of you treated me. I feel like I walked into an ambush", indicating the big bad ladies are just mean. No, 'advice' was being given on what little was posted.

Did you really expect all to say "oh, my gosh, that ungrateful SK and to treat her wonderful SM in such a manner is just awful"? I'm certainly glad no one here did, as then OP comes back with (giggle, giggle) "it was all just a mistake" and "Ive been acused at times of being too sensitive". Bingo! I think that about covers it.

And Sylvia is correct when she states much of it is a simple fact that SD is growing up. Both BM and SM are going to find the child changing and broadening her 'world' from here on out. She's a teen now, those very scary and exciting years. She's a lucky girl in that she has two woman who love her and look out for her and she's in the years where she needs both love, understanding and guidence.

The follow up post with "My concern is that my SD hurt my feelings, knows it, and doesn't seem to care. She has always been such a sweet kid" is what caught my attention. Comes to find out it was much to do over nothing, yet OP was ready to blame SD for chosing sides and suddenly becoming an uncaring person.

Something SM is going to have to work on if she expects SD to stay a sweet and caring child who thinks she has two mature grown women to turn to in her up and coming difficult teen years.

And finally came "There are also intermittent power struggles that I know will get worse with time. Any advice? "---only example given in post is the child posted a photo of herself on a page the child had added birthmom to as a friend. Advice? Just what kind of advice did OP expect or even want?

One response "Sorry Lady, but based on what you've said, you seem to be way off base..."---yeah, based on what was posted a real problem was not being presented.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

We're not bad folks Fetbuzzy -

But for the record, let me step right up and acknowledge that on this thread, I was probably the nastiest -- I admit that. Of course, I don't think I'm a nasty person, and I don't think most of the other posters here do either -- since they've seen numerous posts from me over the years, most of which are far from nasty. But not these responses. So why? What was it about this post that brought out my claws?

Because for the first ten years of my adult life, I was married to a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and he made my life He!! in hundreds of little ways. And the key hallmark of a narcissist is that "it's all about them". If I wore my blue dress instead of my green dress, I was trying to piss him off because I knew he liked the green dress better. If I didn't show off the new watch he bought me to all of my friends then I was an ungrateful b!tch and he'd wasted his money. If I wanted to go to this restaurant instead of that one, I was trying to undermine his career because he was cultivating the maitre d' at that restaurant to greet him by name. I could never simply "feel like eating seafood" -- it all somehow revolved around him.

The original post -- with SD's friending her Mom on Facebook being interpreted as a slap in the face, and SD's posing a picture of her new haircut but not including a "thanks to our sponsor" message -- Well, those sentiments were far too familiar to me. Even the OP's statement that she "expects to be treated equal to Mom" -- Doesn't anyone else consider that a bit presumptuous and entitled?

And has the OP ever even backed down from her interpretation? Sure, she admitted she was sometimes accused of being 'too sensitive' -- That's easy enough to do - it's not even a flaw to be sensitive! But what the OP has NOT admitted was that her interpretation of the 'problem' simply wasn't logical. Does it really make any sense to assume that because one person has been friended that everyone else is liked less? How many teens thank their parents publically on their Facebook pages for paying for a haircut?

If SD is a normal kid, then NONE of those actions could reasonably be interpreted to be "slaps in the face" to her StepMom. Yet that's how StepMom saw it -- It was all about her.

So yeah - that's why my responses were nasty.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

sweeby, you were married mother!

She was the star of everybody's show, & woe betide the husband or child who "defied" her.

& defiance was hard to avoid, consisting as it often did, as you say, of wearing a green dress or not wanting seafood.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

fetbuzzy, I wonder if you are like her, expecting the world to revolve around you and expecting only admiring/glowing/self-affirming approval of everything you say and do. I wonder because you included me in the lynch mob when I made no accusations or attack. I asked her to please better explain the problems she was citing because I didn't and still don't find any in her post. I wasn't "unduly" anything, belittling nor insulting. Yet you repeatedly stated "you all" so you included me as if you can't tell the difference in my response and your criticism of some of the other responses. Actually, I don't see anything wrong with any of the responses and find them all quite accurate, unless a person only wants self-approving replies. In that case, maybe they should stay curled up in their own little world and never stick their heads out on the internet.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Sweeby you make me smile today. Even when you get feisty you still bother to explain where you're coming from :-)

I was a bit surprised to see another side to you, but hey; I agree with you completely! You are always honest in your answers and you give good advice, and this time it's no different. OP's post did seem a bit narcissistic, let's be honest.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

stepmomof4 - I really hope these people have not scared you away from this sight. You had an emotion so strong that you decided to come onto a public forum to "vent" about it. I'm so glad your situation worked out the way it did. Your victory makes me smile!

Sometimes it's the really small stuff that we let get to us in a big way. I happen to be "too sensitive" at times, as well! It sounds like you have a great SD, unfortunately she is going through the muck and mire of her teen years... Just keep the love on her and you'll make it through!

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

"fetbuzzy, I wonder if you are like her"

or if you *are* her.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

LOL The same occurred to me after I posted that, so I checked but the posters are at opposites ends of the country.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war


You got me so wrong. I am so at a loss as to where to begin, or if any of you even care if I do. The world does not revolve around me. You have no idea how wrong that is.

I have a grown 27 year old daughter, so I do know a little about teen aged girls. My daughter was a biological error. I was told I could not have kids and did not use birth control. I should never have become a Mother. I knew it. I do the best I can and with my SD, I have two, I have a bond that I never had with my daughter. We actually have a lot in common as people, which my daughter and I never did, and still don't. I am doing this parenting thing knowing it is not in my nature and knowing they really need what I have to offer if I can get my stuff together enough to offer it the way they can receive it.

Seeing her Mother and her older sister manipulate her into not liking me, was what I imagined was happening, which is what my own Mother (read "psycho") did with my own daughter, was rather a button for me. We all have buttons. I apparently blundered into a lot of yours.

Whatever. I guess if I were to sum it up, I definitely should have given those of you who were interested, more information, but I also feel that I was not given a chance and was labeled narcissistic and other lovely things so early on... why? I know someone with NPD as well. I can even see how that can be an interpretation of my first post, in a truly cursory way.

Let's say my first post was vague because I was scared of talking publicly about such a heartfelt issue, but felt I had no choice.

Thanks a million fetbuzzy, and again poppingrays. Be glad to know you both.


RE: stepdaughter tug of war

This is actually a pretty good group StepMomof4 --

And as I admitted in my last thread -- you pressed my hot button. I'm sorry if I totally misread you, because if I did, my response was equally all-wrong.

Let me suggest that you let your user name quietly fade away and just rejoin GardenWeb under another name. Then add a bit more information to your original posts so we don't jump to conclusions again and give us another try. We'll happily give you another try.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war


I am sorry for all the pain in your life. It couldn't been easy for you. There are a lot of moms and daughters who arent trying to be manipulative. I am going to try and say this in the calmest way, but you might want to consider counseling. IMHO, many kids get more difficult as teens. The facebook thing, no matter how it ended, was minor. IMHO, you need someone you can bounce things off of.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

...I am sorry you don't have a good relationship wiht your own daughter but it is never too late. I am sorry you have no bond with your daughter and maybe that's where your pain comes from: maybe you are a bit jealous that your SD's BM has that bond wiht her daughter.

i wonder if you can do something to build a bond wiht your daughter, does she know how you feel? Sometimes unless i tell to my DD directly how i feel, she has no clue.

your statement "my daughter is biological error" makes me very sad. I have never heard any mother saying that about her children, my mom got pregnant wiht me and my brother accidentally, but I would be heart broken to know that she would call us "biological errors". I hope you seek counselling. even if she is 27, it is not too late. I think what SD posts on facebook is the least of your worries.

These gals aren't bad


I don't post too often, but I peek in here on a fairly regular basis. I can see why you felt hit by a train, but the posters who offended you are truly some of the most level-headed, fair-minded gals. They nearly always offer very well thought and good advice. I think you all made bad first impressions on one another. I hope you give them another chance.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war-toSMo4-hold on, don't leave!

stepmom of 4,

When I first posted here back in winter of 2008, I was very upset that my adult skids, particularly my SS29, was not being very considerate of my DS7 then 6 years old. He was being treated for cancer and I won't elaborate on that now as I have posted extensively on it. FYI, you can look up posts for everyone here for their history and just general info.

As a newbie, I received a MIXED bag at best of feedback and advice. I felt that the bio-moms here were very harsh and protective of the step-kids and the SM's were more understanding but still it was a tough load of feedback. As I posted more, explained more and even in this virtual environment, got to know the people and they got to know me, it all got better and easier. The bio-moms know the other side of the fence and it's good to hear that reality.

It sounds to me like you are trying hard to have a good relationship with your step-daughter. She is now a teen, is feeling her way emotionally, developing a closer relationship with her mother and drifting from you a bit. I'm sure it feels unfair to you but kids, bio or step, by definition are not necessarily thinking about any parents feelings, bio, step, man in the moon.

she is "friending" bio mom on Facebook probably because that is what she is trying to make of her BM, a friend. You sound more like the real parent to me. Either way, don't sweat it, as the girl gets older, she will recognize who really did what, who really parented her and who really loved. It might be both of you in different ways.

On the pic with the expensive haircut you paid for, I feel your pain on that one! I once bought a new pair of expensive sneakers for my SS who was a teen at the time and he showed off the sneakers while NEVER acknowledging I bought them. BTW, my own DS7 does the same thing.

The group here can be very helpful although really to the point. It will take 1/2 a mo to get used to how they speak and you'll get used to the various personalities too. Hang In!

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Dear LA mom,

Where was anything said that indicated that SMo4s SD mom was not a "real Parent"? Was it becasue mom didnt tell her kid she was a biological accident?

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

I agree with KKNY, nothing in OP's posts indicates that BM is not a good or real parent and that SM is the one who does all the parenting. SMof4s never said that. lamom, you are being very unfair. You either misread original posts or are deliberatelly unfair to bioparents. You assumption is unfair. Would you like people to assume that you are not a real parent to your son without any basis or proof for it? I don't think so.

RE: stepdaughter tug of war

Thanks for the kind words and I will hang in, though I won't rejoin with another name. Those that treat me civilly, having heard the whole story, are well worth knowing.


Thank you for taking the time to give such a thoughtful response! I appreciate more than you know the comment about my sincerity. Yes I am very sincere about wanting to have a good relationship with her. You are right, it is difficult to be friends with your children if you are a good parent, in fact nearly impossible.


I understand people who are BM's thinking all BM's are good mothers. There is a natural bias. People are people and we all are better at different things. Some people are damaged by their own childhoods, for example, and have a difficult time with parenting. Some people should not have children. Some people choose not to.

My daughter was a biological mistake, perhaps 'medical' is a better word. I am sorry if this offended some of you but it is a fact, and no I have never even called her that until I typed it in your forum and would never say it to her face, if I ever happened to see her. I was married, 18 years old and I had a Copper 7 IUD. I got Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and nearly died. The doctor said my uterus was too scarred to carry a child and I could not have any. This was devastating to hear at 18. I did not use birth control and got pregnant. I did not want to have a child so young, and was not sure I wanted one at all. I was too young to be a parent and was a single Mom by the time I was 19. Her father was damaged as a child, as an adult was alcoholic and abusive. I was a competent mother, but did not bond with her, and was still looking for myself, and dragging her along.

I think it helps to have the perspective of how my poor parenting affected my daughter as well as how my parents affected me, in order to know how important parenting is. Grandparents all have this perspective. It helps to be a better parent to have a second chance.

I could easily criticize my SD's BM and her parenting. I have things I need to work on too, but she clearly loves her children and I think does her best.

peace <3


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