DEAR DEIDRE: MY partner lets her kids from her previous relationship get away with murder but is strict, and sometimes mean, with our daughter.
Her kids are 13 and 15, and lazy and rude, yet she never tells them off – but shouts at our five-year-old if she even spills food down herself.
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I’m 48 and my partner is 39. We’ve lived together for six years and it feels like she cares more about her kids than me and our girl.
I try to be a good dad to them even though they’re not mine, but they don’t listen to me or do anything I ask. Their own dad has no contact with them.
This is making me miserable and affecting my sweet daughter, too.
She doesn’t sleep because her half-brothers stay up playing loud music in the next room.
My partner won’t make them turn off the music. She doesn’t get them to clean their rooms, either, and even lets them look at their phones while we eat.
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DEIDRE SAYS: Perhaps your partner is trying to compensate for her kids’ absent dad by being lax with them – although this is not an excuse.
If something doesn’t change, she will drive you away and your daughter will grow up to resent her. She’s not helping her boys, either, by refusing to control or punish them.
Please find a quiet moment to talk to her about how you feel.
Try to agree basic boundaries where you will both back each other up, and no phones at the table is a great start.
Being a stepfather is tricky. My support pack on Stepfamily Problems should help.
For more advice, contact familylives.org.uk (0808 800 2222).