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Why Does My Step-Daughter Ignore Me?

    Developing a bond with stepchildren is demanding and challenging. A child will always have a natural bond with a biological parent.  Though the emotions may not show on the surface, most children struggle to accept step-parents.

    Some children feel that being loyal to a step-parent is being disloyal to a genetic parent. Your step-daughter can ignore you even if the relationship with the biological father or mother is strained.  In a step family setting, it is common for children to ignore loving step-parents.

    Is It Intentional for Your Step-Daughter to Ignore You?

    Even though step family relationships are complicated, a majority of step parents are kind and care about the whole family. It is probably none of your fault if your step-daughter ignores you.

    Biological bonds between parents and children are solid and hard to break. Your step-daughter finds it hard to love you both equally. Sometimes, children are unable to handle overwhelming emotions, and the easy way is to ignore them. Your step-daughter may be feeling that loving you is equivalent to not loving the genetic parent.  Your spouse’s daughter may be intentionally ignoring you to show solidarity with the birth parent.

    Is It Just a Rejection or Jealousy When Your Step-Daughter Ignores You?

    It becomes difficult to accept you if your step-daughter has spent months or years with a biological parent. Children develop a strong relationship with single or post-divorce parents, which makes it hard to adjust to a step-parent.

    An adolescent teen girl will tend to be close to a genetic father. However, a preadolescent girl will often copy the character and attitude of the mother. A possessive stepchild may view you as an intruder in the family.  Your intimate relationship with your spouse can trigger feelings of jealousy in your step-daughter.

    How Do You Deal with a Step-Daughter Who Ignores You?

    Parenting is not only challenging but can be demanding and time-consuming.  Single parenting is twice as tough, and most single custodians tend to adapt to permissive parenting.  Children in this family set up may experience warmth but lack control.

    Your step-daughter may find it hard adapting to authoritative parenting.  You may be rejected, but with time children respond well to consistency, warmth, and high-level supervision.  This means that you should not let the little things pass, even though it may anger step-daughter.

    Request your spouse to normalize behavior, scheduling, and respect. Sometimes biological parents tend to show low levels of control for fear of hurting a child’s emotions. It is wise to let your spouse take the lead in enforcing these crucial aspects of life.

    What Can Go Wrong if Your Step-Daughter Ignores You?

    If your step-daughter isn’t attentive to your instructions, other previously attentive children can soon start copying the bad behavior. 

    Constant rejection by your step-daughter can make parenting other siblings difficult.  If you let some bad behavior pass on one child, other children may think you are biased.

    Lack of respect from your step-daughter can affect your relationship with your spouse. You may feel overwhelmed with responsibility if your spouse doesn’t handle your step child’s behavior.  Sometimes your partner may feel that disciplining your step-daughter can ruin an intimate daughter-parent relationship.

    Your step-daughter may develop extreme emotions that can affect other aspects of life. If your step-daughter rejects you for fear of betraying the genetic parent, feelings of hatred can develop.

    When to Seek Help for Your Stepdaughter Who Ignores You

    Sometimes your step-daughter may become hostile to you and other siblings. It is worrisome if your spouse does not let you talk about it or discuss the subject.

    It is worrying if your step-daughter’s biological parents start to use your step-daughter to hurt you. Sometimes, your spouse’s ex-partner can interfere in your relationship by unnecessarily calling or commenting on your parenting skills. You need to seek professional advice if these situations make you feel unsafe.


    Parenting an adolescent step-daughter is challenging. Most children can pick up anger emotions from a genetic parent and pass it on to a step-parent.  This can create an emotional conflict between you and your step-daughter. A possessive and jealous step-daughter can feel that paying attention to you is a betrayal to the genetic parent.  Sometimes, you may be rejected due to previous permissive parenting. Your daughter can reject you for trying to normalize behavior and respect. 

    Even so, it is best to let your spouse handle the situation and reinforce authoritative parenting. Sometimes children resist this approach but eventually warm up to it. Most children want to feel the warmth and assertive leadership in a family setup.

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