Contemplating Divorce Due to Stepchild – Help!

Is your stepchild ruining your marriage? Has it gotten to the point where you are contemplating divorce due to a stepchild? When you or your spouse are not properly addressing the behavior of a stepchild, it can get out of control. Sometimes it gets bad enough where someone calls it quits.

Divorce is not something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. So if your stepchild has pushed you to the level where you are contemplating divorce, something has gone seriously wrong.

There are a few common reasons you have found yourself in this situation. There are a lot of factors at play so there is no one size fits all answer but there are things you can do to put cope with your stepchild better.

There is a point in which you may want to call it quits due to a stepchild but that is only the answer in extreme circumstances. Learning to cope with your stepchild is typically the best course of action, especially if they are the only reason you are contemplating divorce.

Why Has the Stepchild Pushed you Towards Divorce?

The first step is identifying why the stepchild has gotten you to contemplate divorce. Chances are you already know why. Here are the most common reasons stepchildren cause divorce and how to handle them.

1. Stepchild’s Behavior

The most common reason stepchildren cause divorce is because of their behavior. If you “inherited” a child with very bad behavior, it can cause a lot of tension in your family.

We all know some children are just out of control. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to marry someone with a troubled child it can really wear away at your relationship with your partner. Dealing with a difficult child adds stress to both you and your partner’s life.

Sometimes their behavior is so bad it actually convinces someone to leave the relationship. This is certainly the case when a child is physically or emotionally abusive to one or both parents. There is a line you need to draw to protect your own mental health and only you can decide where that line is.

There are many things that decide if a child’s behavior has crossed the line. Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself to really measure if your stepchild’s behavior is affecting your mental health:

  • How much time do I spend thinking about the child’s behavior?
  • How often do me and my spouse talk about the child’s behavior?
  • Is the stepchild disrespectful towards me or my partner?

These questions should help you identify if your child’s behavior is the reason for you considering divorce.

How to Address Stepchild’s Behavior

This can be tricky from the stepparent’s perspective. Usually, especially in newer marriages, I suggest leaving the disciplining of the child to their biological parent. Now the issue arises when the biological parent has let this behavior happen for too long. The child may be accustomed to this behavior.

Depending on their age, breaking bad habits in children can be quite difficult. The trick is to have a family rules and consequence chart that’s actually enforced.

The rules of the household and consequences for breaking those rules should be clear and agreed upon.

2. Manipulation From Stepchildren

Another reason couples contemplate divorce due to stepchildren is that the stepchild could be manipulating. This could be doing real damage to your relationship with your partner.

In some cases, children will actually lie about their stepparent in order to cause a rift between their biological parent and their new partner.

Don’t allow this behavior to happen. Get on the same page with your partner and take action to prevent this kind of behavior in the future.

The common theme here is that you and your partner work together to correct the behavior of your stepchild.

When you entered this marriage, you gained an additional child whether you like it or not. Time to step up and start parenting that child as if they were one of your own. It won’t be easy but it’s required.

If you don’t feel like you are up for the task, share that with your partner. This child is probably the most important person in their life and they deserve to be kept in the loop.

3. Partner’s Priorities

Unfortunately, most couples don’t have the priorities conversation before they get married. This causes them to be in a situation where they feel like their partner is prioritizing their child over them.

The reality is, this is what they should be doing. Your partner could just be doing their job as a parent and putting their child first. If anything this should increase your admiration for your partner.

Being in a relationship with someone that has their priorities straight is actually rare. If you are one of those people that think you should be number 1 in your partner’s life, you need to reevaluate. Especially if they have children.

This is most common in relationships when one member doesn’t have children and the other does. It’s difficult to understand how important children become to you until you have some of your own.

The critical detail is that you are sharing these concerns with your partner. Share with them what is bothering you and why. Focus on how you feel using “I feel” statements rather than accusatory statements like “You are doing XYZ” This will cause them to go on the defensive.

Also, be sure to listen. Listen as to why your partner feels the way they do. How do they feel about your relationship and more importantly the family dynamic with the child?

Communication has saved many more marriages than you may think.

Contemplating Divorce Due to Stepchild

Final Thoughts – Divorce Due to Stepchild

Being in a situation in which your stepchild has driven you to thoughts of divorce can be scary. You feel powerless and are worried about ending a relationship with someone you love.

Be sure you are communicating with your partner. You guys should have an open dialogue about your feelings and emotions.

Not all communication is created equal. When talking with your partner, find somewhere quiet. Share your emotions clearly and without accusations. Attacking their child is the last thing you want to do. Chances are this will immediately put them on the defensive.

Giving up on your marriage is a serious decision you should not take lightly.