Do Stepchildren Cause Divorce?

Last updated on October 7th, 2022 at 07:20 am

When you marry someone who already has children, you will need to welcome them to the family. The unfortunate reality is that stepchildren can ruin a marriage and be the cause of a divorce.

While the biological parent would love the child, the step parent is not obliged to do so. This can cause friction in the family.

Some step children do not adjust well to such a marriage and be the cause of fights between the couple. This can affect the relationship and may very well end up in a divorce.

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How to make a marriage work with stepchildren?

When there are stepchildren in a marriage, the stepparent needs to put a lot of effort to make the marriage work. There are many things the stepparent has to do to deal with the stepchildren better.

  • It is important to make the marriage the top priority. Giving more time to the marriage will strengthen the relationship. Other things will follow.
  • You need to give some time for the family. The entire family should spend time together. This will help in improving the bonding.
  • The stepparent needs to show love to the stepchildren. There are different ways to do it. Make sure the children know you love them and demonstrate it to them.
  • It is not easy for stepparents to be accepted by stepchildren. In such a situation, keep showing love and affection. This will help in the long run.
  • Try to connect with the stepchild. Find out what they like and show interest in their likes and hobbies. This can help in strengthening the relationship.
  • All kids in the family (whether yours or the spouse’s) need to be treated the same. This is vital to ensure a good bonding.
  • Be careful with the words you use. Words can be more damaging than action.
  • Patience and commitment are important to make a marriage with stepchildren work.

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Marriage problems because of stepchildren


Marriage problems are common. This happens in every marriage. But when there are stepchildren in the marriage, then there are a different set of problems that can arise.

You need to be aware of the common problems that can crop up because of stepchildren:

  • It is natural for stepchildren to dislike the stepparent. This can sour relationships in the family.
  • It is also natural that the parent defends their child while the stepparent tries to discipline. This is a major cause of conflicts that can impact a marriage with stepchildren.
  • When both spouses have children of their own, conflict can be expected. The two set of children may dislike each other and fight. This can lead to fight between the parents.
  • There can also be financial issues involved. The stepparent has to take care of the stepchildren while balancing home finances. Sometimes, this can lead to conflicts.
  • The stepchild may resent the stepparent and hope that the biological parents would reunite. This is another problem that could prevent a normal relationship from developing.
  • The stepchildren would naturally be upset and frustrated at having to adjust to new circumstances. They tend to blame the stepparent for this and may take out their frustration on the stepparent.
  • The stepchild’s parent could feel guilt for having separated the child from its biological parent. To overcome the guilt, they may end up pampering the child or giving it too much power. This can cause discipline issues leading to fights.

I want to leave my husband because of his daughter

It is a well-known fact that daughters love their fathers more than their mothers. When there is a divorce and the daughter stays with the father this can affect the father’s future spouse.

The daughter is likely to resent the father’s second marriage. The daughter would probably refuse to get along with the stepmother and make life difficult.

While younger children may gradually learn to get along, older children can be problematic. If you have a stepdaughter who dislikes you, then the situation can become hellish.

In fact, the situation can be so bad, that it may affect your relationship with your spouse. The spouse is likely to support his daughter whenever there is any disagreement or conflict.

Fathers are also unlikely to allow their daughters to be disciplined by stepmothers. The situation can quickly turn ugly and may even lead to the relationship failing.

If you face such a situation, then you may want to leave your husband because of problems adjusting with the daughter. To avoid this situation, you would want to clarify the situation in advance.

When you are marrying someone with a daughter, you need to have a heart-to-heart talk with the child before the marriage. This will help you understand the situation clearly.

If it is clear that the daughter will never accept you, then this fact has to be discussed with your future spouse. Both of you can set boundaries to ensure no problems occur.

If you are already married and facing problems with a stepdaughter, you may want to meet a counselor or family therapist. Such a therapy can help clarify issues and break down the walls of mistrust.

Instead of walking out of a marriage because of problems with a stepdaughter, it is better to try and fix the problem.

When a step parent hates the stepchild

A stepparent hating a stepchild is not surprising. When you want to marry someone, you would not be interested in getting baggage from their past.

While most stepparents try to get along with stepchildren, it may not work out always. There is always resentment from the stepchild.

There may be so much of rancor that the stepparent starts hating the stepchild. If you are in this situation, then here are a few things you can do to deal with your stepchild:

  • Your marriage is likely to last for a lifetime. The child would be with you for a few years after which they would go their way. Learn to adjust with them for a few years.
  • Most importantly, remember that you are the adult, and you are dealing with a kid. You need to be behave maturely while handling the situation.
  • If you are involved in a fight, then avoiding harsh response. Try to handle the situation calmly without raising your voice.
  • Get the help of your spouse in trying to build a strong relationship with the stepchild. When you get to know the child well, hate can slowly turn into acceptance.
  • Whether you like it or not, you are now a parent albeit a stepparent. Try to do your duty as a parent with responsibility and without worrying about the results.

What is stepchild syndrome?

Stepchild syndrome is where there is conflict within a marriage because of stepchildren. When you get into a marriage with someone who already has children, adjusting with the step children is definitely going to be a problem.

You need to make things clear before the marriage. Handling financial issues well can be the key to prevent this problem.

Toxic stepchildren


The term toxic stepchildren refers to stepchildren who hate their stepparents. If you find yourself in such a situation, you need to deal with the toxic stepchildren.

Take the help of your spouse to try and build a relationship with the children. Show affection from your side and you may be able to win over the children gradually.

Be fair with the step kids and avoid responding with anger. Give them some distance and ultimately you may be able to win them over.

FAQs related to do stepchildren cause divorce

The FAQ’s and answers below would help you with information on stepchildren and divorce.

Can step kids break a marriage?

Step kids do not break a marriage. The marriage can be broken because of conflicts due to the step kids.

Some step kids may be toxic enough to try and break the marriage. But in general, the problem is not with the kids but with the adults.

What do you do when your step child is ruining your marriage?

When the step child is deliberately trying to ruin your marriage, you need to talk it out with your spouse. Take the spouse’s help to rectify the situation.

If needed, take the help of a family therapist to try and set things right.

Is it normal to not like your stepchild?

It is difficult for any person to accept someone else’s child as their own. So, disliking a stepchild is natural.

But as a stepparent, you need to try to set aside your likes and dislikes. You have got into the marriage for your spouse.

For the spouse’s sake, try your best to get along with the stepchild.

What do you do when you hate your stepchild?

If you hate your stepchild, then it is difficult to convert the hate into love. If you cannot bring yourself to love the child, at least try for acceptance.

Accept that the child is part of your life. As a stepparent, you have a responsibility. Fulfill it and take the support of your spouse to do it.

Above all, remember that the child will be with you for a few years. So, learn to adjust.

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