Sign up for the Dr. Phil Newsletter
Twitter Facebook YouTube


Being a stepparent is one of the most difficult roles any adult will ever assume. If you are a stepparent, you deal with many frustrations and rewards each day that are unique. How is your relationship with your stepchild? What have you learned about blending a family? Share your story.
Replied By: kmlantz on May 10, 2015, 8:45PM
I've been married for 20 years now, at the time my husband and I first got together, I had three children and he had two. They were 10, 8, 6, 3, and 2, his boys were the oldest ones and then I had two daughters and a son. We then decided to have a baby together, which we had a little boy. We had full custody of all of our children and seldom did we have weekends off or any holidays or summer vacation time off. They were with us all the time, and I think that actually made our life easier to adjust as a family. I always loved and do love my step son's. When asked how many kids I have, I say six. The older boys are now 32 and not quite 30. My oldest son asked me to stand up with him at his wedding, best man/woman. I was in the delivery room when the second oldest son was born. I also danced the mother/son dance with him at his wedding. All 6 of our kids consider themselves brothers and sisters. All the grandkids play together and I just recently quit a full time job so that I can stay home with them. There were hard times but the rewards and work and love have truly been paid back to me!! Especially as I sit and play and rock and kiss on my grandbabies. If you marry a person with children, you better make sure you are capable of loving their children. Trust me, it is the best part. And as hard as it may be, don't bad mouth their other parent. They shouldn't feel guilty for loving them. At times it is hard...
Replied By: cmariebrewer75 on Feb 20, 2015, 11:54AM
Being a stepmom for the first time has been very hard on me. My stepdaughter is almost 20 and REFUSES to respect me. I have gone out of my way to be nice to her but things have escalated to violence. I have returned to therapy after almost 6 years of being able to deal with things and stress in my life. Her father and i have known each other for 34 years. We got married in march of last year. I understnad that for the last 16 years its been her and her dad and grandma. I have gone out of my way to please her i went as far as to let her use my vehicle(dad and i had gotten one as a gift from my parents as a wedding/christmas gift). It was on loan not hers to run the gas out of and come to dad and i for the money for gas. She was also told that she had to seek and maintain employment(something she has not done) in order to use the vehicle. I finally jusst gave her the vehicle so i didnt have to keep paying for gas for it. She thinks its ok to come to our house and makes messes and not have to clean them up because she doesnt live with us. She also loves to throw my past in my face. I made some not so good decisions in the past and she just cant let them go. She even told her dad in a text message that when im gone in a year dont call her because she wont be there to pick up the pieces. Well needless to say im still here and the disrespect is blatant. what can i do?
Replied By: stepma2redhead on Dec 24, 2014, 8:43AM - In reply to airmanswife
I appreciate that you are questioning it yourself and not to the child. I had been in my step daughters life since she was three and we were married when she was six. My son was born shortly after and so when we had our first Valentine's day I was feeling very loving and agog with new family joy. I signed the card mom without a thought, and then put in parenthesis that it would be okay if she called me mom, because it occured to me after that it might be odd to her. I knew it made her feel wierd, even though she had called me mom in the past.
Her mother hit the roof. She told anyone and everyone that would listen how aweful I was. I did feel bad about making my stepdaughter feel uncomfortable, but I never felt bad about wanting to me like a mom to her. It's five years later and we still fight about it. I can only appologize so much for signing that card. It began the long list of things I do wrong, and set mom against stepmom in my stepdaughters eyes. 
I can see the guilt in her when we get along. I need to love her and yet it is a problem. Please accept the love this woman is offering your child. Please don't make her feel she needs to choose. 
I remember telling "mom" shortly after the conversation that I didn't realize it was such a big deal, because I called friends mom's "mom" and that I was so sorry. I still get yelled at by my stepdaughter for that card, and I know her friends call her mom, mom. Don't be that mom. Just know that being a mom is super important and if you need to talk to the stepmom about it, let her know what she has taken on with that title.
Replied By: garbell on Dec 7, 2014, 11:59PM
My partner and I have been together for nearly 11 years. We have 3 children, 19 year old son, 16 year old daughter and 9 year old daughter. I picked up early on that my partner was moody and would let you know when he wasnt happy by making life uncomfortable at home. Our first two children are from my previous marriage.

It was not until our youngest daughter was born that I noticed how different he treated our son. The older our son got the more he "bullied" my son, usually passive aggressive behaviour or sarcasm aimed at him.

Two weeks ago he lashed out at my son and headbutted him. It took physical restraint to get him away from my son. Afterwards he was remorseful and disappointed in himself, yet I dont see any real remorse, his apology was pitiful. He apparently does not "remember" hitting our son. He does have a lot of excuses for his behaviour and I am obviously happy to go along with it as I avoid confrontation. 

My son smokes "marijuana" which we both know knew about. My son has and is always respectful to his stepfather, always listens and responds in kind. Yet his stepfather gives him no eye contact, two or three word replies, or does not speak to him at all. I feel my son smokes marijuana to dull the emotions he is feeling.

My son knows that his stepfather smoked marijuana for a long time (9 years) in the backyard "shed", yet my partner likes to think that he is all high and mighty now because he stopped smoking last year. Ive had this battle it seems like forever with the marijuana issue.  I dont know what to do, actually I probably do know yet lack the courage. my mind is saying to forgive my partner and help him through this (counselling/therapy) and then its saying why are you staying leave and let him sort it out by himself.

Before anyone tells me "how stupid" "spineless" I am, am one of the first to be opinionated on "weak parenting".  Its harder when its our own life. My youngest daughter adores her dad and I know my older two would prefer if  their stepdad could stay happy and calm or left completely.

Replied By: ashlymills on Dec 2, 2014, 10:55AM
Hello all,

My nameis ashly. I am a recent dr phil fan but I have written the show for help. I am hoping up here I can find the support that is lacking everywhere else.  My step son, who knows me as mom, as several nehavior problems and is currently in therapeutic foster care.  We have been dealing with these problems for years now but the treatmemt and hospitals because he started showing harm to my now 14 month old daughter.  We have begged for help, pleaded, wrote news stations, lawyers, senators, etc. Because there has been no help and when I myself found hospitals we were reported to social srvices.  Its extremely hard....I am constantly put down by everyone because I am his step mom...yet I am the one talking to doctors, hospitals, teachers, etc.   I now feel like I am stuck in the middle between using all my energy to help him which u have done since day one, to making sure my daughter is safe.  He is onky eight years old, lies, punches himself in the face, punches others, kicks throws, and has learned from the hosoitals cussing. He has threatened to kill everyone at school just because he was in the principles office.  I am terrified everyday of what he will do next, who he will hurt,  his safety, and the safety of my very innocent daughter.  S.s. has treated this as our fault, the schools have fkat out lied despite paperwork to prove them kying, and it has been suggested over and over that this is happening because I am step mom and just dont wont to deal w is hard, scary, and we have no idea what to do anhmore.
Replied By: amyjanssen1 on Nov 5, 2014, 8:53AM
i find it disgusting that the mom is only concerned with being defensive regarding her daughter getting burned, and that they need to take her to the dr. for an infection.  she can't even admit that she probably misread that one and it makes you wonder what else she missing in her parenting.
Replied By: deewee66 on Nov 1, 2014, 10:56AM
Step parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done. I love my husband, and his children, but if I'd known then what I know now, I wouldn't have married anyone with kids. I've no children of my own, so I was so excited to finally have 3 children to love, but boy was I clueless about the challenges that come with being a step parent!

Hanging in there until these kids are I'm praying that the constant, daily, challenges will ease up.
Replied By: judithw on Jun 30, 2014, 8:39PM
Hi Dr Phill,

This step  parent needs to be done! The Mother needs to protect her children! NO man is worth putting her kids thru abuse! Obviously he has gone thru councelling and it has not registered with him! The mother needs to put her kids !st! I know this is a repeat show so hopefuly by now these 2 kids are with mom and step dad is out of their lives.

I made the hard choice to put an abusive step dad out of my kids life years ago, and it was the right decision for my children! I Could i have ignored the problems and said "we are ok when the kids are not in the mix" ?  yes but at what cost?  .. The kids come 1st!!!  and if he cant see it he needs to go!!! This mom needs to wake up!! She is more at faut than him at this point! She knows better!!

I am happy to report after getting rid of the problem (stepdad) my children have become wonderful young adults. one is a high school teacher and the other an ICU Nurse .. I could not be more proud of them and my decision years ago!!!!!

Thanks for listening, have a good summer, Judy

Replied By: stepmom74 on May 12, 2014, 12:04PM
I am a step mom to a 12 year old girl.  My husband and I have her 50% of the time and her mother has her 50% of the time.  I have decided to have breast augmentation surgery and my husband and I are torn on how or if we should tell his daughter or not.  Any advice?  We already deal with the mother's jealousy over me and the fact that she speaks poorly of both of us in front of her daughter.  At 12 his daughter is already dealing with the typical body issues, girls gossiping and teasing each other, etc.  I do not want to give her any reason to feel like she should not be comfortable in her own body.  I would really appreciate hearing from anyone who may have been through this same type of situation.  Thank you.
Replied By: katfishhutch on Dec 16, 2013, 4:14PM
My husband and I have custody of his 6 year old little girl.  We have been married since April 2011. I also have 2 kids, girl 12 and boy 9. it is very hard blending our families . We are working very hard to make this work. we have a few issues. Our 6 year old girl lies a lot and she has also told me and her father she would like for us to get a divorce. she had the school call family children services on me as well said that I beat her. She has came home and told us that her mom has put a taser gun to her has a gun next to her in the seat of the car, and done mean things as well. In October my 6 year old girl was tell my 9 year old boy how to have sex. Well let me just say I lost it. I was lost for words. The other day she stole money from my older girl and put it in her little bank and lied about taken it. The same day she also told my older child that my son little friend (a girl) slapped him. which did not even happen. so when we talked to our little girl she said she hears voices and they tell her to do this. I will speak to her and she will walk by and not even act like she hears me. So I have been trying to get the school to test her hearing. The day she stole the money and lied about my son and his friend she then told me she can hear me just fine. that she just did not wont to answer me... WHAT DO I DO!!!!
Showing 1-10 of total 43 Comments