Need help now?

StepDaughter acting out

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Casual scribe

StepDaughter acting out

I am super concerned as I've found out my stepdaughter is not behaving at her other parents place and it sounded like she is not behaving in school. My partner has been alienated for a while due to withholding (have been doing legal things but it's a process and with the last lawyer not forthcoming and uncommunicative it's taken longer than normal as we tried self-rep but overwhelming him and I). I went to an end-of-school event with child family member and whilst other parent talking with family members, I overheard all this. I've grown concerned as I have known the child for 4 years (known of her since birth though due to connection with family) and she confided in me why she does XYZ behaviours, is there anything I can do as a concerned step-parent or do I just need to stand by and watch as this fun-loving smart well behaved yet confident good girl becomes frustrated and acts out to the point she is not doing well in home or school.


 I've been in child life since about 7, I believe the reason I have had so much success with parenting her is that I get down to her level, according to her, I'm the only parent that actually parents the way she has seen others do. According to child, her father is not a yeller but the mother is and it frightens her and sometimes it's so much she tunes out, I yelled at her once at the start when I took the stepparent role a little more seriously and she shut down so I apologised, told her I was frustrated that she was not listening and to find me when she wanted to talk from then on I got on her level so I am not standing over her (another of her fears with other parent) and I calmly state what I need as a "parent" from her in the moment.

Prolific scribe

Re: StepDaughter acting out

Hey there @StepMumm4 ,

Thank you for opening up and sharing this with the ReachOut Community. It sounds like you have a special bond with your stepdaughter and the last thing you want is for her to be seen as misbehaving for others, including at school.

I read that she has confided in you and shared with you what's happening for her at the moment. Is this something you can speak to your partner about and hopefully it can be brought up to the child's other parent? I recognise that this may be difficult.

It's so important that our young people feel safe in their home environment. As a parent, is your partner able to contact your stepdaughter's school and have a chat with them? There may be supports your stepdaughter is able to access at school such as from the wellbeing officer etc.

I read you are concerned right now. We encourage you to keep open those lines of communication and hope things get better soon. Growing up is certainly not easy. But it sounds like your step daughter is so lucky to have you.

I'll also send you an email shortly.

Casual scribe

Re: StepDaughter acting out

It's very difficult, the other parent is high conflict, legal processes have and are being sought due to breaches of court.

I believe we do unfortunately the other parent is also emotionally abusive which I am unsure if I can put in the hows/whys with court cases but it makes me super concerned for my eldest as she describes it and also youngest stepchild as what if they're going through it too.

He has tried to contact school but high conflict issues have occurred and he is nervous to do anymore until court.

Re: StepDaughter acting out

Hi @StepMumm4 

I hear how difficult it is for you at the moment managing not only the situation with your stepdaughter but also the court and legal processes. You are showing a lot of resilience and care in wanting to be there to support your family and your concern really shines through. We are going to send you an email shortly to check-in, so keep an eye out for that.