Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
My stepdaughter (who is 20 about to be 21 years old) pinched my daughter (age 7) under the arm and it has bruised badly. I asked my husband to deal with it, as he is the biological parent. I was shocked to hear him say that our seven year old daughter deserved it (she was pulling her step-sister’s hat off for fun and playing around with her).
This is the second time she has done something like this to hurt her younger sister; the last time the pinch led to bleeding. My husband supported his oldest back then too, and it almost cost us our marriage.
At this point I have demanded that my step-daughter not come over to the house, and I have told my husband that I do not support this behavior. I feel so alone with this situation.
Am I overreacting? How can I move past this?
Fed Up and Scared
Dear Fed Up:
Your husband disgusts me.
A parent’s number one job is to protect their offspring from harm in every way possible. A parent’s number two job is to raise their children to feel safe, valued and to teach them how to navigate the challenges of the world so they can be successful and accomplished on the other side.
Your trifling husband has failed at both.
There is no way in this world that a grown woman (which your step-daughter is) should be doing anything to a 7 year old baby that causes bruises and bleeding! Do you know how hard you have to pinch and pull skin to make it bleed like that?
What she is doing to your baby, and what your husband is condoning is straight out child abuse. What your husband is doing is supporting and encouraging the abuse of his 7 year old child. By not telling the older daughter her behavior was wrong, he is teaching the youngest that she has no protector in him and that he thinks her being hurt is good. She probably thinks her own father hates her…and I’m sure you’re wondering how he feels about you, too.
What a raggedy piece of shit you married!
What I suggest you do is do a little online research. Find a statute which identifies under your state law the behaviors which qualify as criminal child abuse. But don’t stop there! Also look at behaviors which constitute assault, child endangerment, parental neglect, and whatever else you can find that fits this situation.
Then print those statutes out and show them to your husband and his trifling ass daughter; email is perfect.
Tell them both that should any of those behaviors be exhibited towards your youngest daughter, you will be calling the cops to have one or both of them investigated and arrested. Let them know that you are not playing, and since it seems that the only adult in your youngest child’s life willing to protect her from harm is YOU, you gotta put on your Momma Bear claws and wear them proudly.
Something is seriously wrong with your step-daughter, because she is wayyyyyyy too old to have sibling rivalry. Who in the world with good sense would think doing something like that which hurts a little girl and leaves bruises is appropriate behavior?
Honey, you are a far better woman than I am. Cause seeing my little daughter crying and in pain from a case of child abuse, I would picked up the nearest blunt object and worn my step-daughters ass out with it. Then I would have told the bitch she best NOT bring her miserable ass back to any house I live in, or I will kill her.
I do not play when it comes to protecting the little ones.
Now, after you lay down the law, expect to get some push-back. They aren’t going to like you standing up to them. But you need to be resolute in action, and firm with your words. Tell them that they have both shown you a side that you don’t like at all and that you are forced to take steps to protect someone too small to protect herself.
My thinking is this: With your husband’s negative behavior towards his youngest, and his callous attitude about her being repeatedly attacked and wounded by his eldest daughter, the 7 year old will be in danger. If you divorce this man he will have visitation rights. He will also have his own house where his oldest daughter will feel free to come and go at will. Your baby will be totally without any protection should things deteriorate to the level where you and he split up. Bring your little girl home and you seeing the injuries after the fact is not going to work, because they can always claim she fell. You’ll have no proof that she didn’t.
With that in mind, I strongly suggest you get the little one into karate, judo or some kind of martial arts program right away. Knowing how to defend yourself from bullies and attackers is never a waste of time or money.
In closing, there is no excuse for an adult (which your step-daughter is since she’s over the age of 18) to commit injurious child abuse against her baby sister. If your youngest was getting on her nerves, why could she not open her mouth and tell her to stop, or seek out you or your husband to intervene? She could have also just got back in her car and slithered back into the hole she came out of.
Be sure to take pictures of the bruising and upload it for safekeeping to a cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive. Get the images off your phone, just in case you need them later. Putting them in the cloud, you can access them from anyplace there is an internet connection.
Please think every move through clearly before you do anything other than what I suggested here. You might even want to consult with a child abuse social worker, a police office, or talk the matter over with trained counselors on an abuse hotline to get even more information about the seriousness of your step-daughter’s behavior.
Category: Women's Issues