How to deal with my negative husband not loving his stepchildren

by Ginny

I remarried 10 years ago and brought 2 children with me. I had a 3rd child with my 2nd husband. This husband is negative, critical and unforgiving by nature of his upbringing. So, when my oldest 2 children made mistakes he hasn't learned to forgive them and keep loving them. They are teenagers by now and have not felt his love for many years. I have asked him to give them attention or at least talk to them. He starts off with good intentions, but it doesn't last, even my kids can see his lack of effort. In addition, my youngest is developing low self esteem from all the negative statements and thinks his Dad is always mad at him. I have sent him advice articles from the internet hoping that he'll read them and try to do better, but I don't know if he really reads them or not. Help, I don't know what else to do.

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Aug 06, 2008
confidence building for your kids
by: Catherine,

Hi Ginny,

Is your husband willing to go to counseling to work through his past and to let go of some of his negativity?

If he isn't, then I think your next best bet is to work on building the self esteem in your kids. Even if your husband does go to counseling, you'll need to work on this one. Get them to see that his attitude towards them is not a reflection on how good they are or how much they're loved. That it's just the way he sees the world. Your kids will need to develop a very strong sense of self so that they don't start taking their hurt and anger out on themselves.

It's so very hurtful and confusing growing up with a father like you describe so they really need to see that it has nothing to do with them and how good or nice or smart they are. It's just him. Otherwise, the damage they're sustaining right now is going to last a lifetime and will most likely also affect their future relationships. They'll also end up constantly trying to gain approval from others when really the one person they want approval from is their father / step father which they can never get.

Concentrate on your kids. Also, pay attention to your own thoughts and make sure that you haven't started to feel negative about things as well. Having a negative person in the family can really rub off on the other family members. You're going to have to be strong to maintain your own positive self. Also, make sure that your own self esteem hasn't been battered by living with a negative person day in and day out. You may need to work on your own confidence levels as well.

Sep 16, 2008
trying to love them
by: Anonymous

Im a stepparent as well i have 3 from a previous marriage and he has 2.I do the same thing he does. I try but it is hard. I think I'm going through the same thing as your husband. I may not be correct but in my case it's really not the children, but us. It has become a habit for him to take out any aggretion he has on them. I haven't figured out how to correct the habit myself I just know I need to change because I don't want the kids to suffer.We ( your husband and I) have good intentions but just don't know were to start. I think he should go to someone to talk, then you go with him it might be deeper than you think!

Sep 16, 2008
Very good points
by: Catherine,

Thanks for adding your thoughts from personal experience. I think what you're saying is very true. His actions could easily be a symptom of his frustration with the relationship as well as other things. Maybe if they did take the time to work on their relationship then the problems with the kids might disappear.

Very good points. Especially the part about how you have good intentions but because you just don't know what to do, it doesn't always come across that way. Thanks for your honesty. You've added a tremendous amount to this discussion.

Oct 27, 2011
I think I'm in the same boat

I feel like my stepchildren dispise me because of my actions..It's not that I don't like them, I very much want a fair happy blended family..but when my husband treats his "own" children from his previous relationship different from my children or our's puts a load on my shoulders and it continues to build until someday when I just can't carry it anymore and it suddenly falls apart..and I always point out he has to be the one to make change..not the children..he should be a fair and loving father to all our kids..he shouldn't treat "his" better than's just not right..I honestly think we need couselling but don't know where to find it..I hope you and your family get help before the children end up feeling to blame for everything..

Jun 18, 2016
Re-marital/Semi-Blended Family Issues
by: Anonymous

I am re-married. I have two kids and my husband has three. I widowed and he's divorced. Things were a bit rough when we started, but we loved each other. I thought his actions was because of the bad circumstances surrounding his divorce. He treats his kids better than mine. His kids does not live with us, so I've been trying to understand his plight. I've however experienced continuous verbal abuse. When ever we have a disagreement or argument, he stops speaking to my kids. His relationship with my daughter is better than that with my son. He is very condescending and very negative to my son. If I tell him something about the kids, he always has to talk about how his kids did it and better, not actually using the words better.

He's very picky. If my kids take a snack, he ask why they taking another snack, even though they asked and I said yes. Why are they taking two packs of juice for school. He missed our daughters grad. I recorded her singing and played it for him and he criticized it.

He has quite a number of female friends and the some of relationships are questionable. He is very insensitive to my feelings. The tumultuous relationship is having a negative effect on the children. I have to talk to them and pray for them continously.

His kids have been bossy whenever they visit. I had to put a stop to it. He discusses my children with his. My children took his name and that was a problem for one of his kids in particular even though it was done three years after him discussing it with them and they seemingly agreeing.

We've decided (the children and I), to kill him and his kids with kindness and be the best us and not become him in the process.

Aug 01, 2018
I wanna give up
by: Anonymous

I have 3 children my husband has 2. My kids have done some wrong to him,and he knows about my past. There is not a day that goes by that I don't hear about my past, or how useless my kids are. My kids are adults, he doesn't allow them at the house or he will call the police. I am at wits end
I'm ready to throw the towel in finally. He says he's not happy. I see it everyday... help

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