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Common Complaints

of Stepmothers

  1. Everyone in his life comes before me.

  2. He expects me to treat his kids as if they were my own children; I am not their mother.

  3. I want a child of my own and he’s had enough.

  4. When his ex calls he jumps at her commands. She has more influence than I do in our marriage.

  5. My money goes to support this family because all his money goes to his ex and children.

  6. His ex never says thank you for all the things I do to care for her children.

  7. His children treat me like a maid; I’m expected to do everything their mother would do for them but I don’t get any respect or appreciation.

  8. My husband thinks that buying his kids stuff or entertaining them is parenting.

  9. Guilt runs his relationship with his children.

  10. I think I’m becoming a cruel stepmother.

  11. When his children come over we have no sex life; he expects me to be kind to his kids, cook for the, and accompany them on outings, and then when we go to bed he is too guilty or ‘wimped out’ to make love to me… and he wonders why I’m in a bad mood.

  12. All his kids can say is “Buy me this, drive me, do this for me…”

  13. We disagree completely on discipline.

  14. I work hard all week and then he expects me to be there for them on the weekends; this is my time to unwind.

  15. Sometimes he expects me to put my life on hold to babysit his kids.

  16. I want to come first in his life.

Common Complains Reference: Lofas, J. (2004). Stepparenting; everything you need to know to make it work. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp. 

Are you a Stepmom or thinking of becoming one?

Being a stepmom can be hard, especially given that images of the evil stepmother are prevalent in folklore and stepchildren who ‘go after’ the new stepmother are depicted in movies.


At the other extreme is the mythical Brady Bunch where everyone gets along (just like a first family) from the very beginning. It is unrealistic to expect your stepfamily to mirror the Brady Bunch from day one. Bonds that develop naturally in a first family take substantially more time to develop in stepfamilies; and forethought needs to be given to how these bonds will be established and then nurtured.

Marrying a man who has children from a previous relationship brings with it extra ‘stuff’ as you will potentially be placed in a parental role without the accolades of being the biological mother. In essence you may feel as though you do all the work with none of the glory.


Do you fear dealing with his ‘ex’ for as long as the children are under 18 years of age, and potentially long afterwards? How will his finances be divided up; will there be any funds left over for you and him to enjoy? What about your money, will it be placed towards caring for his children since his is tied up in alimony payments?

Each of these questions can make becoming a stepmom daunting, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And although your efforts may go unnoticed which could result in you feeling unappreciated and unsure of the role you play in your stepfamily, stepmothers are in the unique position of becoming an ‘intimate outsider’ (as referred to by Dr. Patricia Papernow) as you may become the one adult in your stepchild’s life whom he and she feels comfortable confiding in. This is a special relationship that the biological parent is unable to fulfill.

Although being a stepmom has its difficulties, it can be a very rewarding relationship. Sometimes strengthening relationships with stepchildren starts with strengthening the relationship you have with yourself and your partner. If you share some of these common stepmom complaints, contact us so we can start making your experience ‘in step’ a successful one!

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Common Complaints

of Stepfathers

  1. Here she is all alone with her kids, I come along to put things in some order and they all reject me.

  2. I can’t teach them what they need to learn from a man because she doesn’t support me.

  3. She always jumps to the kids’ defense when I correct them.

  4. She says I’m too tough; kids who misbehave need someone to be tough with them.

  5. I give her kids the gift of my time and no one says thank you.

  6. They’re fresh, don’t help her and never, unless I raise my voice, listen to me.

  7. A man needs to be an authority figure in the home; I feel like the houseboy.

  8. It’s her house, the kids were there before me and they let me know that.

  9. My wife treats me like an outsider when it comes to the kids.

  10.  They need a man around here, and she and they won’t let me be one.

  11. I buy the kids stuff and they rarely say thank you.

  12. She is too busy with her job and her kids for me.

  13. There is so much tension in the house when the kids are here.

  14. I love her so much when we’re alone and her kids are at their father’s house.

  15. People write about the plight of the stepmother. What about the stepfather? Who acknowledges what I am feeling?

  16. I feel like a third wheel when I’m with her and her kids.

Common Complaints Reference: Lofas, J. (2004). Stepparenting; everything you need to know to make it work. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp. 

Feeling forgotten as a Stepdad?

Just as being a stepmom can be hard, so too can being a stepdad. While it is easy to recall stories depicting stepmothers, the plight of the stepfather is often overlooked. Needless to say, resources for stepdads are minimal compared to those available for stepmothers.


This lack of attention placed on the role of the stepfather can lead many men to feel ‘left out’ and misunderstood. While this is an unfortunate reality, men may end up thinking they’re alone and that no one cares about what he is experiencing.

No man should have to walk this path alone. With her extensive training in stepfamily dynamics, Christina Roach can offer supportive guidance and coaching to men in their journey in, or becoming, a stepfather.  Step-parenting, and yes – stepfathering, can be rewarding. If you share some of these common complaints of stepdads, contact us and see how our services can be beneficial to you, as well as to your relationship.

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Common Complaints of Stepchildren

  1. I want my old family back.

  2. Nobody has enough time for me.

  3. I don’t know what they want from me.

  4. I’m angry and I don’t know why.

  5. Dad is busy with his new family.

  6. It’s boring over at my Dad’s house.

  7. It’s wonderful at my Dad’s house. I wish I could live with Dad.

  8. I miss my Dad.

  9. Dad and I have a great time, except for ‘her’.

  10. He gives more to her and her kids than he gives to us.

  11. He never thought about s when he moved.

  12. Dad left Mom, but he really left me.

  13. There must be something wrong with me.

  14. Mom is wonderful, but her boyfriend is awful.

  15. She’s always paying attention to him and not me.

  16. She lets him tell us what to do.

  17. They go away together and leave us alone.

  18. She has always done things for me, and now he says she spoils me.

  19. She lets him say awful things about me.

  20. I don’t want to say hello to him.

  21. I wish he weren’t here.

  22. We were doing fine without him. Why do we need him now?

  23. It’s not fair…

  24. I don’t know where I belong.

  25. They will never know how hard it is to visit Mom/Dad.

  26. They get upset when I tell them about the good time I had when I visit. 

  27. Mom never has enough money. 

  28. Dad is always complaining about how much money he gives mom. I feel like it is all my faulty. 

Common Complaints Reference: Lofas, J. (2004). Stepparenting; everything you need to know to make it work. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp. Some quotes from Success for Steps.

Is your mom or dad remarrying?

Do you not like your new stepparent?

Guess What… You don’t have to like your new stepparent! Just as each of us is brought up to treat others as we would like to be treated, it is everyone’s duty in a stepfamily to treat each other with respect. This isn’t always easy, especially if you feel you are not being listened to or that everyone is blaming you.

Stepfamilies are just like a sports team, everyone has an important role to play. Sometimes what position you hold is confusing to figure out. Again, if you think no one cares about what you think, this may feel next to impossible. Christina wants to hear your side and help your voice be heard in your family. Ask your parent to contact me and together we can work to help the adults in your life understand you and what you're experiencing in your stepfamily.

Common Complaints of Single Mothers with Custody

  1. I have all the daily burdens and then he gets the kids every other weekend and takes them on great vacations with his girlfriend.

  2. I feel that I have too much responsibility with not enough money to handle it.

  3. When the kids visit him he plays with them. He is the classic Disneyland Dad.

  4. The kids are treated like princes and princesses. They never have to help.

  5. My living standard has plummeted as his continues to increase.

  6. The children are my responsibility. He does so little to discipline or guide them.

  7. His payments are late, yet he expects me to have the kids well dressed and on time when he wants them.

  8. Why shouldn’t I bad-mouth him to the kids? They deserve to know how awful he is.

  9. I hardly have time to date, and who wants a woman with kids?

  10. He married this young thing and the kids say they can’t stand her.

  11. Who is she to tell my children what to do?

  12. I would never talk to her.

  13. He hasn’t got a good word to say about all those years I raised our children.

  14. We have very little contact. He picks them up and honks the horn.

Common Complaints of

Divorced Fathers

  1. She knew I had children when she married me, so why does she act this way now?

  2. In so much of what she says to the children there is an edge of nastiness in her voice.

  3. She acts more like a child than they do.

  4. She wants a baby and she can’t even handle my children.

  5. She’s obsessed by everything my former wife does.

  6. Will she ever understand how hard it is on a man to lose his children?

  7. Will she ever know how haunted I am by the guilt of not being there?

  8. How can she expect me to discipline them when I see then so little?

  9. I’m afraid they will go and never come back if I start punishing them.

  10. She sees things they do that I never see.

  11. Sometimes I think she is looking to find the worst in them.

  12. Of course my ex has control over me; she controls my children.

  13. My ex makes me out to be the monster in front of the children.

  14. My money can never go far enough. Nor is it ever in the right place.

  15. Sometimes I get so hurt by her leaving all day when my kids are here.

Common Complaints of Single Mothers and Divorced Dads Reference: Lofas, J. (2004). Stepparenting; everything you need to know to make it work. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp. Some quotes from Success for Steps.

Divorce causes a family system to rupture.

While a lot of focus is placed on stepparents, biological parents also experience strain when transitioning into, and living within, stepfamily life.


Success for Steps® and Christina Roach believe it is important to acknowledge these experiences, along with those of stepparents and stepchildren. Even though many biological parents do not choose to be in a stepfamily, the remarriage of their former spouse forces them into certain ‘step’ relationships. And even when a biological parent remarries they often find themselves in a tug-a-war between their new spouse and their kids, feeling that no matter what they do they can't make either happy. 

If you find yourself experiencing any of these common complaints you should know that you are not alone. These complaints are the remnants of the stepfamily architecture and are not the result of any one individual. If you find yourself having trouble adjusting to your new family dynamics, are overcome with anger and increased irritability, contact us to see how you may benefit from our services.

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