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Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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My children dont like the way my step daughter behaves,she

Customer Question

My children don't like the way my step daughter behaves,she is constantly getting them in trouble when i am not about,she lies and makes up storys down to saying adults are lying when they tell me how she has been behaving, Her dad(my husband) genrally sticks up for her as i feel he thinks people are picking on her and can't see how she actually is. how can all the people around her be lying????? she hardlt talks to me when i ask her why she is behaving this way and does she like getting people in trouble. she also thinks and continiously makes it clear she is very much more intelligent then her siblings, if they are reading or doing homework she will tell them they are wrong and that she knows the correct way etc. She has just resently got the main part in the christmas play and because of the way she was telling all the others including friends that she was better then them because they where only sining and she had the main part i couldnt be pleased for her, only angry. when i raised the issue to my husband about her being so big headed and that if she continues down this path she will adventually be bullied he said well let her face the consiquences. she was horroble to our babysitters daughter about the play the other day and my daughter asked her to stop and she continued. my daughter flicked out her arm to point at her'stop it' and caught her in the face . with this the babysitter told my daughter off, my daughter screamed and said how she hated my stepdaughter and that she was always getting her in trouble when she was the one who always started it.I told my daughter to be more careful in future and that hitting out dosent help matters and she cried and said she didnt mean to catch her. which i do belive. I try to talk to my husband about how she is but get no where. when he is not around i get told everything that has gone on while im not here but he says its not true and that they all exadurate but agian why? and how can they all be lying ive nevcer had this before ????? i am tempted to put up camera :)
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mina replied 5 years ago.



what you are describing sounds like a serious siblings rivalry the least. It is clear from your description, that even if it appears that your step daughter is creating all the problems in the home, she is the person with the most needs at the moment. All these behaviors you described show uncertainty, feelings of inferiority and she cannot control her frustration. On the other hand, her dad seems to chose to ignore/deny this behavior as he probably feels that by denying this, it will pass. Can you please give me some more information for the family life. Your husband's ex wife, circumstances of divorce, age of both girls and how long she has been behaving like this?





Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She has been living with me since she was 1 1/2 she is now 6 the same age as my youngest daughter i also an 8 year old girl and to boys aged 12 and 15. She was fine when she 1st came apart from odd behaviour, for instance she would sit fixed on the tele even if u stood in front of it she would look through u. she also seemed like she was depressed with very unusaul mood swings, what would make her laugh one minute would make her vry the next. i put it down to the split between her parents so comforted her as i would my own. i and my family have always treated her like one of ours. she started not talking to me at around the age of 3 , i would ask her something and she would stare and sometimes cry, i put that down to the fact the oi was the only one who said no to her, everyone in her life would give her everything she wanted. If she didnt want her lunch it would be replaced with sweets etc there was no disipline at i say her behaviour has got worse,she is very sly in her ways, she will be horrible to the other children behind ur back so that it looks like it was them she then lies about it all. whats upsetting is that she seems to not be bothered at all by her actions, she will quite happly sit and let someone take the blame for somthing she has done, no matter how much they cry. which really upsets me as i bring them up to stick by each other no matter what. when i'm not around she will constantly go to her dad and tell tales,which annoys him and in turn makes the others angry. My eldest daughter got on alright with her and would always stick by her when the others bite back until last week when she upset her and got her in trouble twice. there is always a drama about everything in the house nothing is black and white and when u get to the bottom of it all 9 times out of 10 it is her. she no longer sees her mum,this has been since april this year and was the choose of her mother not ours. although, im not going to lie and say i mind because i dont think this helped my stepdaughter at all anyway,when she did see her as in was very inconstitant. my partner will very rarely say anything about her behaviour but when my children say or do anything wrong he is straight on to the which gets my back up. Which means they get away with things because im angry that she never gets punished. she also wets herself and sometimes poos herself when we are out, when asked why she says she dosent know why, which is what she says to alot of things. i have given her everything for the past 5 years and its though she dosent like me at all. she will be having fun with the kids in a room or her dad and when i enter she will stop, she never joins in when we play fight she goes to her room if i cosy up with the others in my bed and watch a film, but if her dads there she will join in??? i find her behaviour hurtful and very strange. if i was looking in from the outside i would think i was abusing her. its driving me to a deep depression as i dont know what to do anymore. i took her to a councillior once when she was around 4 and they said it was because she couldnt talk properly she couldnt comunicate. i thought this was rubbish as i could understand what she was saying and so could her dad.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

just realised u want some background info, not really sure what u need but here goes, she shares a room with her 2 sisters as her 2 elder brothers needed there own space at the time there father and i seperated, she has regular contact with her ganmother(my husbands mother) My children see there dad every weekend. i am a carer and work 4 days a week and my partner works nights at a local supermarket and is also a retained fireman.he comes in i go out lol. we have a dog and 3 cats which the children have shared responsibility for, feeding etc. she is a very bright young lady so needs little help with homework but gets the same amount of time spent with her as the others only she seems to want alot more???? hope this helps a bit

Expert:  Mina replied 5 years ago.

thank you for this information. There are quite a few interesting points that I picked up form what you mentioned. First of all, her relationship with her mother is very disrupted and from your description it has always been. This alone can have a devastating effect on a child, creating very low self esteem, feeling rejected and unwanted. Children tend to self blame if parents split or if there is no contact with the parents. So I would be certain that a lot of her issues stem from this very difficult relationship. Now, it is also understandable that she is finding difficult to trust you and form a relationship with you as you are representing the mother figure to her. She has been hurt before, and this attitude of hers may be a way of defending herself against feeling hurt again. Obviously all this if it happens, it is experienced by her in a unconscious level. Her behavior could have a purpose as all behaviors have. First to attract attention and secondly to challenge you to see how much you can take from her. This way she may feel that she will see the depth of your love. In a way, she could be testing you to see if she can trust you emotionally.

The other important thing that I picked up is that both you and your husband seem to split the children between you, yours and mine and this is quite evident in your words. Be sure that all children will pick this as they grow up and they will feel hurt. Yours because they will never feel your husband's children and his because she will never feel that she is part of her own family. This is an issue that you need to address with your husband. You need to review your behaviors, your approach and both to be honest between you about your feelings.

You could not easily deal with this by yourself. You need your husband to be on board with any changes in your approach with your step daughter. I would strongly recommend that you and your husband saw a Child Psychologist/ therapist together. This could benefit you greatly by understanding and gaining more insight into your step daughter's emotional world and suggest ways of approaching her and building a good relationship. Your husband would need to be involved as his role would be crucial into helping you build this bond. A psychologist would also help you then draft a behavioral intervention plan that you would both need to follow with regards XXXXX XXXXX step daughter's challenging behavior.

I would encourage you to give this the proper importance as you and your husband can change things around for her with the proper guidance.

I hope this helps

All the best in your efforts


Edited by Mina on 11/16/2010 at 8:33 PM EST
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The thing is i do understand why she gets the way she does but i don't know what i can do to make things better for her as i've tried everything and she throws it back in my face. she knows that i love her and that she can come to me about anything as i constantly tell her, i love all my kids and as far as i am concerned she is as much mine as the rest of them xx i put things the way i did as it was the only way i could discribe what was going on but i also know that my partner and i do divide the children. i don't mean to i just get frastrated with him sometimes because he never disiplines her but always will mine for silly things. I don't think anyone understands how it hurts me that she is this way to me,i don't mean to turn it around on to me but it does really upset me that she is this way when i have done everything in my power to make her feel safe,secure,loved and everything else that goes with beiong a mum. i feel excausted emotionly, i just don't know what to do??
Expert:  Mina replied 5 years ago.

Hello again,


I do understand what you are saying. However, as I stated at my previous posts, this does not seem as something that you can deal with on your own. Your husband needs to be actively involved in looking at the approach and dynamics of relationships. This is best done through a child psychologist who could assess the situation, give you a better understanding of it and suggest a different approach or intervention plan.


Therefore, what you can do is find a local child psychologist and visit him with your husband. i am sure that you will find great benefit in that and learn ways to manage certain behaviors better and cope within your role.


I hope everything works out for you

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