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June 22, 2022

Question from a stepdad: I feel my stepdaughter does not like me.


I feel my stepdaughter does not like me. She doesn’t acknowledge me and sometimes will go a whole day without looking at me or talking to me. She’s 13 and is quite mature for their age. I feel like she doesn’t want me here and that upsets me as it’s my home as well. Is this normal for a stepchild to do this?




Adjusting to a new stepfamily may take some time. You and your stepdaughter may not click straight away.


This is very normal and common within new stepfamilies. Some children become very overwhelmed with all these changes and new people in their lives.


There are so many elements that your stepdaughter is experiencing. She may feel abandoned after the parents split up. She may be thinking that she now must compete with you for her dad’s attention and love.


She may feel nervous and uncomfortable with the family dynamics constantly shifting and changing. Whilst this is all going on for your stepdaughter you’re feeling rejected and not liked. It might be that your stepdaughter is just so preoccupied with their own emotions that they haven’t had time to get to know you yet.


To establish yourself as a step mum takes time. Take time to get to know them and be empathetic. Take an interest in their hobbies and encourage your stepdaughter to spend time with their dad on their own and with the three of you altogether.


Show your stepdaughter that you are no threat to the relationship she has with her dad. 


But also, you need to take of yourself, and self-care should be important for you. I would suggest talking to your partner about how you feel. Maybe your partner could sit down with his daughter and explain that you’re not there to replace the biological mum and you all need to respect one another and be kind to each other.


Small steps, kindness and patience will help to build a bond with your stepdaughter. I hope this helps and you find the advice useful.