Learning When To Leave Because Of Stepchild is never easy.
Marrying into an already established family is never easy, even on the best of days.
As the ‘outsider’, you’re bound to ruffle a lot of feathers as you try to cement your status in your new family.
At times it can become impossible to be a good step-parent or spouse no matter how hard you try.
So if you’ve been wondering when to leave because of stepchild,
Here are all the things you should keep into consideration.
Related: How to deal with manipulative step daughter
What To Do When Stepchild Has Issues With You
Your stepchild may be an angel to everyone else, but also make your life miserable at every turn.
They may be rude, disrespectful, and even pretend you don’t exist.
Even if you’re very nice to them, they may still see you as the enemy.
It can be because they miss having their real [parents together and it may feel like you are trying to replace them.
They may also see you as the reason that their family fell apart, and will be very resentful of your presence in their house.
As a step-parent and an authority figure, it is up to you to figure out a way to make your new family work for you.
One thing you can do is give your stepchild time to get used to you and the new family dynamic.
You can also make sure that you spend time with them doing things that they enjoy so you start to create new memories together.
In addition, make sure that your stepchild understands that you wish to build a relationship with them without replacing their biological parent.
Related: When Your Child Says Hurtful Things To You! 3 Powerful Responses
When To Leave Because Of Stepchild?
However, there are some things that your stepchild can do that may mean that you may have to leave that home and marriage.
In addition, constantly dealing with them alone can be mentally and physically taxing, which can also negatively affect your marriage. This includes:
Telling lies and manipulating the truth in order to make your spouse and others not trust you.
If they are doing something wrong on purpose and refuse to be disciplined by you.
During this time, your stepchild’s parent may even defend them because of feeling guilty about breaking the family apart.
In addition to being very defensive, they may not take too kindly to anyone saying anything bad about their child.
When your stepchild acts very nice when your spouse is around and is the opposite when you’re alone.
This is done as a way to pit you against each other so that you constantly fight about it and the marriage ends.
7 Signs You Should leave Because of Stepchild
We strongly believe family is worth fighting for, and that most common problems with stepchildren can be rectified. However, there can be deal breakers. Below are clear signs that it’s time to leave a relationship because of your stepchild’s actions.
1. They Repeatedly Hurt Your Biological Child
No matter how much you love your stepchild and their biological parents, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of your own kid. If you notice that your stepchild hurts them physically or psychologically, it may be time to call it quits.
There should be no room for bullying in a blended family (or any other family). So, at first try to discipline them for their actions before having a long conversation. If that doesn’t work, try therapy, and if it continues, you have no choice but to take your own child and leave.
2. They are Emotionally Manipulative
You may not recognize it at first but your stepchild may be manipulating your emotions. If you find that you get inexplicable bouts of guilt and sadness every time you interact with them, then you may be a victim of their manipulation. This doesn’t only happen with adult stepchildren. Kids are capable of such too.
So, how can you tell when your stepchild is toying with your emotions? Here are some of the cliché sentences that may indicate something is amiss:
- “My real mom lets me do it”
- “My biological father said you are a bad person”
- “You don’t love me”
- “You are wicked” (every time they don’t get their way)
- “You hurt me” (when you clearly didn’t)
If you hear any of the above sentences or words that resemble them, you should never instantly decide they’re being manipulative. Instead, do some soul-searching to see if they have a point. If they don’t, talk to a therapist – they’re better at observing such negative behaviors.
If you realize that they’re manipulating you, it may be time to leave the situation for good.
3. You Feel You May Be in Danger
Adult stepchildren are fully aware of their actions. Hence, you have every right to feel threatened or unsafe due to their actions. It’s normal for you two to disagree, but when an adult male or female threatens to harm you, it becomes a more serious issue and you should walk away.
Also, they don’t have to be vocal about their intentions for you to feel endangered. It could be their actions, tone of voice when speaking to you, or dark demeanor.
No matter what, if you feel like they might harm you or your loved one, give them space – even if it means your relationship with the parent has to end.
4. They Constantly Lie Against You
You’ve worked hard to build a reputation and several good relationships over the years. So, the last thing you want is for your stepchild to gradually ruin both aspects of your life with deliberate falsehoods.
They might accuse you of being mean or abusive, and treating them worse than your own children. We’ve even heard of cases where the child accuses the step parent of cheating on their spouse.
In cases where it’s your word against theirs, you might find yourself facing some judgment. Society tends to see children as innocent (and indeed most of them are), which will make it difficult for you to make your case.
The result is that your blended family members start to hate you, your relationship with your partner becomes strained, and your overall reputation takes a dive because people see you as a bad person.
In such a case, there’s really nothing else you can do but to walk out of the toxic environment.
5. They are Too Stubborn
As an adult and parent, all your children should listen to you, and you have every right to discipline those who don’t. It becomes a problem when your stepchild (or any child for that matter) flaunts your rules and refuses to be disciplined.
The situation becomes tricky at that point because you wouldn’t want to do or say anything that comes across as malicious. At the same time, you want to have some control over your children.
You can try to talk to your spouse about their stubbornness. They know their kid more and may already have a working disciplinary system in place. Be careful not to make it seem like you want them to handle the child themselves. All you need from them are ideas and pointers.
If that approach fails and you begin to notice a strain in your spousal relationship because of the issue, it might be a good time to consider leaving because of the stepchild.
6. Your Mental Health is Suffering
Having constant problems with your stepchild can take its toll on your mental health, causing you to feel at least one of the following negative emotions:
Anger and Frustration
You may start to feel some resentment towards your stepchild because of how they treated you in the past. This feeling of anger may sometimes seep into the relationship between you and your spouse.
You may also experience a depletion in your confidence as you try harder and harder to be a good parent to your stepchild. This will only cause you to make mistakes.
If you continue to suffer emotionally, it may be difficult to take your life back.
7. You are Trying Way Harder than Your Spouse
Marriage requires effort from both parties and so does parenting. If you’re the only partner trying to be a good co parent to your stepchild and your spouse isn’t nearly as invested, you should consider leaving.
Ways to Fix Step-Child Problems
Your stepchild may be giving you a hard time, but if the situation hasn’t risen to the stages we mentioned above, there’s hope. You can try to fix your parent-child relationship with the following solutions:
Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your stepchild to figure out their issues. They may be going through some emotional trauma that’s causing them to react negatively towards you and others.
Examine yourself to figure out what you feel when your step-kid acts a specific way and why you feel it. You could gain insights that will help you to control your own emotions and make better decisions.
Respect for Each Other
You can set household rules for every member of the family and what should happen when someone breaks them. Include your stepchildren while doing this to show that you respect their opinions. You should also be ready to apologize when you do something wrong.
Be Friendly to the Biological Parent
It’s vital to maintain a healthy relationship with the child’s biological mom or dad. Never badmouth the ex-wife or ex-husband in the presence of the child, and always be ready to involve them in decisions that matter.
Hire a Family Therapist
Going to therapy could save you from a world of toxic behavior. So, don’t hesitate to see a counselor before things get out of hand. Sometimes, it’s the stepchild who needs help, and hiring a licensed professional may be the best option. Even if the entire household ends up in family counseling, it will be worth it.
Involve Your Spouse
Sometimes, all you need is to have your partner on your side. Try to bring them into the loop on the current situation. They may have no idea how bad things are, and telling them is the right decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 3 main issues common with a blended family?
The three most common problems that people encounter in blended family dynamics are:
- Problems adjusting to a new married life
- Strained relationships with stepchildren
- Differences in ideas and lifestyle
Is it normal to not like your stepchild?
You can’t force yourself to like someone. Hence, it’s normal to not like your stepchild. However, you should focus your efforts on treating them with respect and compassion.
What is mini wife syndrome?
The mini wife syndrome is a condition in which a stepchild acts like she is the mother even more than the actual female spouse in the blended family. The stepparent is inexplicably viewed with jealousy and resentment.
For all these issues, it is recommended that you see a licensed therapist as a family.
They will be able to get to the root cause of your stepchild’s horrible behavior and help to navigate through this big change in the family.
You’ll also be able to work through any other issues that once had you wondering when to leave because of stepchild.
Once you all open yourselves up to the process, you can now start living your best family life together.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.