Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Im not sure what to do.

I'm 13 and my step mum and my dad have been married 3 years. My step mum favourites my brothers and sisters and makes me feel like I am not important, and tells my siblings to do mean things like mess up my room.

I'm not sure if it's jealousy because me and my dad are very close and she seems to get angry at me if he does something nice for me like buy me stuff.

It upsets me because she would be the only mother figure that I have had, I've never met my real mum. If I have I really don't remember it.

Please help me :(

Ask Sam


Hi there,

You have done really well to get in touch and tell me about what is going on at home. I can see the way your stepmum treats you is making you feel really upset.

It’s normal for all families to have times when they find it hard to get along. Being part of a stepfamily can be particularly hard, as you all have to take time to get to know each other and settle into a routine. But it’s never okay for a parent or stepparent to deliberately encourage brothers and sisters to be unkind to each other. Home should be a place where you feel safe and secure, not somewhere where you feel bullied or unimportant. No one has the right to make you feel this way.

You say you are not sure if your stepmum acts like this because she’s jealous of the relationship you have with your dad. Even if you are right, that doesn’t make it okay for her to be unpleasant to you. You have every right to have a really great relationship with your dad. That shouldn’t stop him from having a positive relationship with your stepmum too. I wonder if you think she would be willing to listen if you tried talking to her, or even writing her a letter about how she makes you feel. You’ve said that you are close to your dad, so maybe you could talk to him about how you are finding things at home with your stepmum, and see if he could help.

It sounds like you find it particularly hard because you miss having a mother figure in your life. I get the sense that you feel pretty sad that you’ve never met your real mum. It’s not unusual to feel down about losing someone who would have been a big part of our lives, even if we never actually met them. You haven’t told me where your mum is now, or whether you can talk to your dad about her. It might be that there’s nothing your dad can do practically to take away those feelings of sadness, but sometimes just talking through how we feel can help make feelings less painful.

If you feel unable to talk to your dad, maybe there is another adult in the family that you could ask to help you, even your favourite teacher could be an option. You could also take a look at the home and families message board for more support and advice. You are always welcome to talk to a ChildLine counsellor by logging on for a 1-2-1 chat, emailing or by calling for free on 0800 1111.

Take care,


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