Advice for Stepmother in a Tough Spot

By Dr. Robert Wallace

April 22, 2019 5 min read

DR. WALLACE: I read your column regularly, and I'm appalled at the number of letters and emails you receive from teens who dislike their stepparents. Their slander is nothing short of an evil vendetta.

I am a stepmother. My husband's wife died due to an illness, and I never met her. I try to do my very best, but my stepchild is constantly finding ways to keep our family in an uproar over what I do or don't do. My stepchild treats me like I'm invisible in my own home.

I work hard to make her home comfortable and never forget a birthday or a special occasion. The "thank you" always goes to my husband and never to me.

My stepchild can dislike me, but that will never bring back a deceased mother, nor will the family ever be "like it once was." It's a sad reality that life moves on and there is little that can be done but to do one's best going forward — and that is indeed what I strive to do each and every day. Am I unreasonable to be frustrated? Or should this be my "cross to bear," as I voluntarily signed up for this?

Your thoughts on this matter will be appreciated. — Slighted stepmother, via email

SLIGHTED STEPMOTHER: Being a stepparent can be a very difficult task, especially if the preparation did not include all family members discussing how to welcome the new stepparent into the family. It's your husband's responsibility to do whatever is necessary to seek to reduce the friction between you and your stepchild. Successful families share love, compassion and honesty, and no one should act like a family member is invisible! I agree that your situation is indeed difficult. Start by sitting down with your husband and telling him what you've told me here. Then ask him for his assistance in addressing this issue openly with his child. All children react differently to loss, and unfortunately, your situation is now a difficult one. Seek first to clear the air within the family with your husband's help.

If this does not bring at least some improvement over a reasonable period of time, I would then suggest professional counseling for your family.


GIRLS: Are you interested in learning how to work in the computer sciences industry, but you're concerned this field is dominated by men and that your chances to succeed may be slim? This may have been quite true in the past, but things are changing rapidly in this industry these days. There are many resources available for teen girls, and even pre-teen girls, who may be interested in evaluating potential career paths in this field.

One particular resource that has recently come to my attention is the website, which provides summer classes, an immersion program and several great resources for young ladies of all ages who are interested in this growing and vital field. Job prospects are strong in this industry, with excellent opportunities to earn a good salary and build job security.

According to business magazine Fast Company, job market analytics firm Burning Glass "found that there were as many as 7 million job openings in 2015 in occupations that required coding skills. They also found that programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average," according to a 2016 article. "This last finding is the result of researchers broadening the scope of their analysis to include coding skills across five major job categories:

— Information Technology (IT) worker.

— Data Analysts.

— Artists and designers.

— Engineers.

— Scientists."

Now in 2019, the demand for these types of jobs continues to rise, as technology plays an increasingly important role in business and commerce across all industries. Young ladies (and the adults who care about young ladies) may want to consider these dynamic learning and training opportunities for those who might be interested. This field is growing and expanding day by day, and girls who are exposed to the possibilities at a young age will have another good option to consider when the time to start a career comes around.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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