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stepmom treats my daughter unfairly

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am a mom of a 3 year old daughter. My stepmother treats my daughter differently than her 6 year old grandson. A little background- Dad married SM when I was 12 and my stepsister was 14. There's always been unfairness in our family. SM has always idiolized her daughter, and treated me differently so its no surprise she treats my daughter differently. Growing up SM pretty much ignored me and would go on and on telling me what a fabulous daughter she had. I love my dad, but growing up I hated going to visit him cause of my SM and stepsis. I have always been very close to my mom who raised me, and my stepmother has always been very jealous and threatened by that. Things improoved when I grew up and SM and I became closer, or so I thought. She became more openly affectionate towards me and told me she cared about me, which she never did when I was younger.

I thought things were going well. My mom and stepmom get along fine now, whereas they used to hate each other. I included my stepmom in my wedding and even made my stepsister who I am not that close to a bridesmaid. My stepsister(not married) had a baby before me. So when my daughter was born I was fine with my daughter calling SM Nanny just like her grandson does. Dad shows no favortism towards my stepsister's son or my daughter. My dad has always been so fair at treating both stepsis and me the same and the two grandkids the same. I hate it that SM can not do the same. SM at Xmas always gives her grandson more presents than my daughter, and she's more affectionate with him. SM has a shrine of pictures of her grandson, but only about 2 of my daughter. I worry that as my daughter grows older she'll see the favortism. I remember how hurt I was growing up when SM favored my stepsister. Now my daughter also has my mom and my MIL for grandmothers who are her biograndmothers. I don't know why I get so upset that my daughter's stepgrandmother isn't that interested in her. But it really hurts.
post #2 of 14
Do you think she might feel her grandson needs more since he has no father in his life and her daughter is struggling where as your child has your at least three grandparents (your mom, dad and his parents) and this grandson probobly only has sm?

I think that "fair" is an overrated concept.

And as a skid myself I must say I know my sm's bio kids are treated differently than me, but shouldn't they be? They are her kids!

I understand the hurt emotions of a child you are talking about. I really do but now you are an adult so lets look at that kid stuff as an adult. Your mom and your sm did not get along. I am willing to bet you were not friendly to your sm since I have no doubt you were loyal to your mom in thier "fued". So is it surprising she was more close to her own daughter who probobly loved her unconditionally- something you I am sure never offered (I know I never offered unconditional love to my sm).

And now as an adult you all found some peace with each other but this having a kid thing raises all our own personal child issues and we replay them. So now you are replaying your hurt feelings as a child on your child.

Here is the truth though- I was a stepgrandchild and honestly I always knew my stepgrandparents favored their bio grandkids but so what? I mean it made sense! I was a stepgrandkid! Still they were kind to me and caring and I was closer to them than my real bio grandparents. And speaking of grandparents and how much they matter to a kid- I never knew my father's folks and my mother's parents were awuful people who never treated me nice. So what? It didn't scar me. I was maybe sad that I didn't have storybook grandparents. But I was fine and I lived.

The love of bio parents is what matters not grandparents. Your child will be fine so long as you don't remind or point out the difference to your kid. If your kid ever notices you might point out to them that stepsister's child only has nanna to care for her while yoru kid has all these other grandparents so she has to do a bit more. If you act like it is no big deal THEY won't know it is a big deal.

In the meantime what if you as an adult talk to your father and sm about the issue. You can offer more pictures of your child and note that you don't see very many of them up at the house. You can ask that they wait to have the other grandkid open the "extra" gifts until after you leave to prevent hard feelings and temper tantrums. You can even ask her what is up.

Another thing to remember is the age of the kids can really matter. My father is more interested in kids as they learn to talk so he is much more attentive to my skids and my oldest child than the baby. When it was just my skids and my baby I would worry that he liked my skids better but as my kid learned to talk and got "interesting" my dad has shown him the same attention. I realize now it is him- he just relates better to older kids. My sm btw seems to enjoy babies more than older kids. What is intereting for me is I know I also enjoy older kids more than babies too.

OK So I hope I have given you some things to think about.

I think it is hard as a parent to manage the emotional stuff that comes out of the woodwork about our own parenting and childhood when we become parents.
post #3 of 14
from what you describe, it seems that there are overt signs of favoritism which could affect your dd later. if that were my child, i think i would limit her exposure to it, or possibly speak to my dad about it.
why does the stepsis's dd get more gifts at xmas? kids notice that and it is hurtful. i wouldnt want my child feeling that, regardless. can you speak to your dad about the inequity and explain in a rational manner that you just dont want your dd to feel as you did growing up?
do you have to celebrate holidays with them the same as your ssis? i would try to say "we are going to moms on taht date, or to your dh's". that way, your dd wont see the inequities in gifts when she is there.
i woudl try to suppress any anger when discussing it but you do have your mom and MIL and that will be enough for your dd long term. if stepmom cant see the problem, then perhaps you can just limit the opportunity for the 2 kids to be together. why is that so bad? seems like your dd has a large enough family to lead a happy life.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
SM favoring her grandson over my daughter has started since her birth. When SM's grandson was born SM was of course up at the hospital seeing him and my stepsister. She quilted a beautiful quilt for her grandson. She didn't do that when my daughter was born.

When I was pregnant I went through a very difficult pregnancy and had to go on bed rest for the last 2 months of my pregnancy. When I had my daughter I had to have a C-section. I spent several days in the hospital and then was recovering from the C-section at home. SM didn't come to the hospital after I gave birth to see me or my daughter, yet she was up at the hospital when her grandson was born practically 24 hours a day. My husband had called my dad to tell him that I was having a C-section. Dad came, but SM didn't. SM never called me either to see how I was doing.

I understand that I can not give SM unconditional love. Thats unnatural when you come into a family as a teenager. However I thought with my daughter things would be different since SM has known her since birth. But I think I just have to realize that SM is not a person I can count on. I have my mom and dad, and at least they care and adore my daughter.
post #5 of 14
your pg is about you and not your daughter.

And staying away from the birth- my bet is your mom was there? So you really wanted that confusion and difficulty of mom and sm together there at that time? I think it was a kindness for her to let it be about you and not your mom and sm's drama.

I think it is unrealistic for you to expect your sm to be like a mom to you or to your kids when you were never a daughter to her.

Would you have treated her like a mom in the delivery room if she had come?

I think you are right that you do need to update your expecatations. I think your sm may well be a person you can count on but she can't be a parent to you when you don't want that or need that. You have two parents. She is your sm. A step parent's relationship isn't the same as a bio parent's relationship. There are cases where the sm gets the kid at birth and raises them and then it can be but not when she gets the kids as teens and mom is active in your life.

Stop beating her up and accept her and yourself for what you are. A step daughter and a sm. That can be a wonderful relationship but only once you stop trying to make it be something it can't be.

You are not her daughter. You are her stepdaughter and it sounds like she is an attentive and caring STEPmom.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 


I realize that she is my STEPmom, and not my mother. However I would welcome her to be more involved. I would have been fine with SM in the delivery room with my mom and my husband and I. I even told her so. She gets along fine with my mom, so I never understood why she didn't come to see my daughter after she was born and pretty much didn't even aknowledge the birth of my daughter. She doesn't come to my daughter's birthday parties. I know my mom is present at these events but there's no issues between them, so I don't see the big deal. My dad treats my stepsister and her son as if they were his own, and I do not think its right that my sm doesn't do the same even if I have a mom. I think she could be just as much a grandma to my daughter as my mom and MIL are but chooses not to. I'm sure my daughter will pick up on that as she grows older. SM takes grandson everywhere and spoils him, but has never offered to take my daughter places. So if she wants to act that way fine. But when my daughter gets older I'm sure it'll be no surprise to her that my daughter will have no bond with her, and she created that situation by favoring one child over the other.
post #7 of 14
as i said earlier, i would just try to limit the contact between your SM and dd in order to protect your dd from getting hurt feelings.
she has your mom and MIL and your dad can always be involved at your house, right?
try to accept things as they are and not push things, which will prob. make them worse. its your SM's loss, kwim?
post #8 of 14
there is no issue between your mom and sm that you know of.

But you said that you were quite cold to her as a child and you said that your mom and sm were quite nasty with each other.

I think that there could be more than you know going on. Have you ever apologized for how you treated her as a child?

I suport limiting contact as well though it sounds like she is doing that for you and also talking to her (as I originally said) and your father would be a good adult first step.
post #9 of 14
i didnt see where the OP said she was cold to the SM. i read where teh SM was rather cold to HER.

and although there are times when children should apologize, i dont think a child shoud have to apologize for beign a stepchild. and i say this having a dsd that is very difficult to deal with for me. the SM is still the adult when sc are still children.

i do think contactg should be limited at her dad's home though b/c of the discrepancy in pix, etc. that could affect a child.
post #10 of 14
Wow, in our family it's been kind of the opposite. I have two stepsisters, and one of them has 2 sons. My sister's daughter was the first granddaughter, and stepmom definitely dotes on her disproportionately to the boys (hasn't had as much opportunity w/ DD because we live out of state). For his part, my dad (who has three daughters and now 2 stepdaughters) does a lot more with his wife's grandsons. It all has more to do with gendered favoritism than with step- or bio-relationship.

We have issues with my dad, but stepmom is wonderful.
post #11 of 14
Bethanne - it sounds to me like you have some very valid desires when it comes to your SM. I know from personal experience that step-parents CAN be awesome grandparents, so I don't think you're asking for something unreasonable. If your SM is unwilling to accept your dd as part of the family, then that's her loss and I would have to agree with Aisraeltax and limit contact - or focus more effort on the bond you have with other family members. I don't like excluding family in most cases, but sometimes you need to draw a line when it comes to your kids. There's no reason to take your dd somewhere she isn't treated fairly when she obviously has many other family memebers who love and cherish her.
Personally, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for your sm - she knew you were part of the package when she married your dad, by now (I assume quite a few years later) she should be treating you and your own as part of the family, not overtly ignoring major events in your life and the life of your dd.

I hope you can find a balance and a place of peace in your relationship with SM.
post #12 of 14
I am a stepchild. My step mom treated my sister and I horribly growing up. I still can barely stand to look at her today.

If she treated my son in any way that would make him feel bad I would immediately cease contact w/ her and probably my dad. There is no way in hell I will allow my son to feel a fraction of the way that woman made me feel.

Fortunately, she treats DS well. I am sure she shows her real grandkids more favor but it is kinda a non-issue because I rarely see my step-siblings.

It is probably my decades of bitterness talking but I say protect your daughter, she won't understand why grandma loves the other kids more. For me that would be limiting contact.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 


thanks for the responses. I think I will limit contact with SM. For instance not spending holidays with dad & SM where SM is giving more presents and affection to her grandson, while ignoring my daughter. I am close to my dad and I know he'll always be a part of my life. He loves my daughter. He'll come to events in my daughter's life without SM and that is fine by me. It at least shows me that my dad cares even if his wife doesn't. I really think Dad is a better person. He can show the same love to my daughter as he does for SM's grandson, but she is so immature that she can not do the same.
post #14 of 14
Have you tried talking to her about your feelings?

Its possible she may be stepping off 'cause she thinks you want it that way.

I'm sorry you're dealing with this. My mother tries to favour one of my kids (my first, with my ex) and simply ignores my s-kids and other bio kids. I understand the pain you're feeling.
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