Stepdad with problems dealing with 19 year old Stepdaughter

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-01-2013
Stepdad with problems dealing with 19 year old Stepdaughter
Tue, 01-01-2013 - 10:22pm

I'm a 38yo guy who is engaged to an amazing woman with 2 kids.  The boy is 10, and the daughter is 19.  I'm having major issues dealing with the stepdaughter.  Not many problems with the boy.  I once had a 12 year old son of my own, but he passed away a few years ago due to a 5 year battle with Leukemia.  I'm pretty familiar with parenting of boys, but not so much with girls.  Especially 19 year old girls.

 My main problem with her is that she is battling depression, and it frustrates me because of all the sleeping, not contributing, and the complaining about anything that is not what she wants. To top it off her boyfriend comes into my house and basically does the same thing she does.  Just lays around, doesn't clean up after himself and hides in her room all day whenever he is here.  The depression stems from training for several years for a carreer (balet) that she will not be able to acheive due to problems with her joints.  I realize the sadness that comes with dealing with the death of her dreams, but it's difficult for me at the same time to deal with all the issues that come with it.  

Last night I went over the edge and screamed about my frustrations for about an hour while she listened from the other room.  I'm not really sure how to apply damage control right now because I know an appology is not really going to be accepted, and I don't blame her.  We were getting along pretty well for the last month, but the other night she overheard mom and I being intimate.  She flipped out and left and texted mom that we were "dipsh*ts".  It all went downhill from there because I just won't be called names in my own home by someone who does not contribute anything at all to anyone else or the household.  Then the yelling the night later because she texted me early in the morning that the boyfriend would be staying over.  Not asking, telling.   

Not really sure what to do.  She is mad at me, Mom is wondering if it's going to work and isn't very pleased, and I'm not sure how to make any of it better.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2011


That's a sticky situation to be in.  Is your sd seeking any professional help for her depression?  It sounds like she really could use some, it's not good to be hiding away from responsibities and avoiding the world.  Since she's living in your house, she needs to have greater respect for both of you.  I think her mom needs to give her a list of duties she's reponsible for or start making her pay rent.  She should also insist that she seeks help.  There is nothing wrong with requiring her boyfriend to follow the same rules when it comes to picking up after himself.  If she wants to be treated as an adult and have adult freedom, then give her the responsibilities as well.  Her text was way out of line as well, and her mom needs to tell her that.  Her mom should probably be the main adult dealing with her behavior, and she needs to stand her ground and do just that.  Right now it sounds like she's getting walked on all the time. 

Btw, so very sorry about your son :(



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010

  I sympathize with you and agree with the OP.  Your wife needs to be the adult who takes this DD in hand but, as a stepparent myself, I totally understand how you feel, but the opposite.  

I have 4 grown DDs, so have no connection or understanding of boys at all.  Dh has 3 sons and one DGS4 and I have a hard time understanding them at all, so tend to just stay quiet. His youngest who is 20 is living in my basement and suffer the same problems...constantly having to remind him to pick up his clothes, dirty dishes, etc...It's aggravating to say the least.  He ruined his life, car, etc...with drugs for 2 years, so he's 2 years behind where he should be.  He JUST graduated high school last May and can't work or go to school since he totaled his car and lost his license.  Every time I go in our basement and see him just laying on the couch, I want to scream.  It's SOOO frustrating.  I work full-time and to have someone just laying around my house whom I have no connection to (he was 16 when his father and I started dating) is beyond frustrating.  Does your DD19 have a father?  Unfortunately, DSS20's mother is mentally ill and lives in another state.  (Dh got custody when his son was only 4.)  Anyway, I used to go through dh to make his son do chores, but not anymore.  I go right to him and tell him what to expect.  As Dr. Phil says, after a kid is 18, he is a GUEST in his/her parents' home.  I'd like to say that to DSS20 because he's lucky his father took him back after doing drugs in our home more than once!  But, I keep my mouth shut.

Unfortunately, like you, my dh lost his temper a month ago when my DD27 and her SO were at our house.  They were in the basement and overheard him say some pretty rotten things about her & my other 3 DDs.  They are ages 21-28 and don't like him and he doesn't like them.  (Long story.)  And, when kids get to be adults, they can choose to either accept we stepparents or not and, right now, in my life, things aren't good BECAUSE he said the things he did.  He tried to apologize to DD27 3 times, but because she lives out of state, she ignored his phone calls. So, your wife has every right to be upset with you because, although we can forgive our own kids more quickly, stepparents have a harder time. 

Just're not alone.