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To Sam


well basically my stepdad takes everything out on me all the time and treats me so different to my little sister because she's his real daughter my dad is dead so i don't have a dad to speak to about anything. He always calls me names and i have started to believe what he's saying and its driving me insane. I try telling other members of my family and they just tell me not to be silly and he's not like that. He's hit me in the past and left marks but people still didn't believe me and am getting to a point where i can't handle it anymore. I don't know what to do, because soon as i say something trying to defend myself he ends up hitting me.
Ask Sam


Hi there,

I’m really pleased you decided to share with me what’s been happening for you at home. From what you’ve said, you’re feeling unwanted by your stepdad, the names he calls you are starting to really upset you and affect your self-esteem.

Unfortunately, sometimes a child and a step-parent have difficulties forming close relationships. However, no one has a right to physically or emotionally hurt you. What your stepdad is doing is wrong and I’d like you to remember that it’s not your fault. He should be treating you with respect, not hurting and criticising you.

You haven’t mentioned what he calls you but perhaps it would help to write a list of all the positive qualities you have noticed about yourself, and anything that other family and friends have mentioned. When you feel yourself believing what he says, take a look at your list to encourage yourself to remember that what he says is not true.

You’ve talked about not being able to handle it anymore. It concerns me that no one is helping you with your stepdad, or giving you some emotional support. You were really brave to tell members of your family what he has been doing, so I am disappointed they have not taken you seriously. Unfortunately sometimes you have to tell people many times before they listen to you and give the support you deserve. I wonder if you could talk to anyone else in your family, or a family friend? Remember you can always talk confidentially to a ChildLine counsellor about what’s happening.

You said that you stepdad has left marks on you before. This is physical abuse and it is definitely not OK. I wonder if you have ever needed to visit the doctor because of your stepdad hurting you? If you did go, you could tell the doctor or nurse what your stepdad has been doing. Doctors and nurses have a duty of care to you, so would want to help change things at home. Teachers also have a duty of care, so if you were to talk to someone at school, they would have a responsibility to make sure you are safe at home.

I’d like you to remember that you can ring 999 if you ever feel in danger. The police are there to help keep you safe, and would be the quickest way of getting urgent help if you needed it.

ChildLine is a safe place to let out your feelings about what’s happening at home. One place you can do that is on the message boards. Reading what other young people have done to get the violence to stop, and cope with their feelings might be an extra source of strength for you. You might also like to watch the new video about physical abuse.

The ChildLine counsellors are here to support you through your feelings, and talk through your options. You can contact them on 0800 1111, through a 1-2-1 chat, or by using the ChildLine email service.

Take care,


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