Communication with stepchildren is important.

How to Deal With Stepchildren You Cannot Tolerate

by Amy Sutton

Becoming a stepmom can be a difficult journey for anyone. It can be especially hard if you are a stepmom to a toddler or preschooler you cannot tolerate. Maybe he was trying to act out his frustration to this change by hiding your keys or flushing your favorite piece of jewelry down the toilet? When a family blends into a stepfamily, it is not always a smooth process, and what works for one family may not work for another. It is crucial that you and your spouse work as a team dealing with stepchildren that are being disrespectful or unruly. While being a stepmom can be frustrating at times, with some work it can be turned into a fulfilling experience.

Start by slowly getting to know your stepchildren better. This will take some time, so don't try to rush it. With toddlers this may happen more easily, but preschoolers may need extra time to get to know you better and trust you.

Create an amicable relationship with your husband's ex-spouse if that is possible. When the children see you openly communicating and working with their mother, it can make a big difference.

Put your stepchildren's needs first, and give them space. This will show them that you care about them. If they cry for their mom, try to calm them down and take them to her if that is possible. Don't be hurt when they don't want to spend that time with you. Young children just need their mom sometimes, but someday they will feel like they need you, too.

Show your young stepchildren love and affection without smothering them. Get down on the floor with them and do activities they enjoy to show them you are making an effort, but don't push too hard if they turn you down.

Communicate with your spouse openly about your feelings. It is important that he knows how you feel and that you make decisions about parenting together as a team. This is an important part of learning to tolerate your stepchildren.

Work with your spouse to create house rules and explain them to the kids. Stay consistent and work together to enforce them. It would be beneficial to meet with the other parent to set up similar rules so that the children have the same rules to follow wherever they are staying. While this may not be realistic for a toddler, it is a good idea to do this for preschool-age children.

Schedule some family counseling if things between you and your stepchildren don't seem to be improving over time. Counseling is an important tool in bringing the family together to share feelings openly and work through any issues that remain.


  • Remember, it may take some time to develop love for a stepchild. Be patient and keep working at a positive relationship.
  • Stand your ground when it comes to making a preschooler show you respect. Without respect, there is little room for the relationship to grow.

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