happy mom's picture

Can't seem to love my stepson

I hope I'm not the only feeling this way. It's been 6 yrs now that stepson is in my life and for some reason, I can't love this child. We see him 8 times a month and for some reason I can't interact with this child all the time or love him the way I would love my nieces and nephews or like my daughter. Is it because I don't have a good standing relationship with his biomom? Does that have an effect on my feelings & behavior towards this child? Or maybe because this child hardly interacts with me, not even a "hello" from him when he sees me. It's like he avoids me most of the time? It's really bothering me, your input would really help. Thanks.

Anonymous's picture

We had to teach manners

We had to teach my step children manners when my husband and I got together. I ask my husband to teach them that when they walk into a room, you speak to everybody and then go about your way. He might be avoiding you because he is not sure what to do or say. That really helped my kids by telling them exactly what we expected out of them, after that it really hasnt been a problem, if it does happen, my husband usually tells them to come back and speak, they say they are sorry and will start laughing or something. The first hello seemed to break the ice. I always say, Hello, did you have a good time? That is usually all it takes and they are more comfortable. I do not have a good relationship with my kids mom either and it does effect you but you have to remember...its not the childrens fault all this is happening. Mine usually get uncomfortable after staying with their mom. I figure she is bashing us, but I dont know that.

SusieB's picture

Step son is awful!

My husband has 2 sons from his previous marriage. His eleven year old is just awful. He is helplessly mean to my 7 year old. He threatens him, scares him, holds him down and hurts him. We have now made a rule that they can not be alone together because of this. His son is with us one week on, one week off. My husband says his on has "issues" and is "vulnerable". He says he can't completely just crack down on him for fear he wont want to come over anymore. His son has been caught in numerous lies, stolen my son's things, gets into trouble at school constantly, etc. I am at my wits end. I don't know what to do. He is like Eddie Haskel! So manipulative. I feel as though I am sacrificing my son for my marriage. Advice?

MsBird's picture

Re: Stepson is awful

I can completely relate. I love my husband and our two children together, but I can't love my stepson. His mother and I have had words in the past. I feel somehow his mother has convinced him that I'm reason his mother is not with his father. He comes every summer, every other Thanksgiving/Christmas, and Spring Break. Honestly, after the first 2 weeks in the summer I'm ready for him to go home. He and my eldest child who is female argue constantly. The other evening we were visiting friends. We asked one our friends children to tell our children it was time to go. My step-son says she's Molly's mother not mine. The child says well your mom and your step-mom says its time to go. He also flipped my infant child in the air in a way that could have broke both of her arms. He laughed as if it was funny. I was ready to give my child to her father and tan his hide for putting her in danger. I look forward to his departure this weekend.

hannah's picture

hey i have the same problem

hey i have the same problem when the kids come home from their mothers house the oldest which is 12 always seems more distant but in the middle of the week we become closer i believe it is due to he feels liike he will betray his mother to be colse to me becasue i was that exact age when my parent were divorced and i was afraid to get close to any spouse for fear of upsetting my mother

virginia's picture

No its not just you

My stepson and stepdaughter were the same way until my husband sat them down and explained manners to them. He did it this way so that they did not feel like I was being forced on them...What he told them was that when they go somewheres or see someone that they know, they are to speak and then go about their business. After awhile it has become a habit for them to speak to everyone and if they dont dad will tell them to come back and speak, they will just laugh and say sorry. You deserve the same respect (if not more repect) than anybody else. Yes it might be because you dont have a good relationship with his mom, when my kids were uncomfortable when they came back I figured she was bashing us and they were having different emotions about coming home. They were fine after we got the initial hellos and how was your trip behind us. Hang in there. You never know what he is hearing on the other end.

Dawn's picture

I don't know what it is....

but I always feel like there is kind of a wall up between my stepson and myself. We interact all of the time. I mean, he lives here most of the time but there is always something that won't let us get close. I am sure it is my problem and not his. I think you're right and it does have a lot to do with the biomom. I don't know if it is the fact that I know that I will always be second best to biomom in stepson's eyes or what. Like I said, it is by problem and I have to figure out a way to get over it or deal with it.

However, I do still try to treat him like I would my own child. We do fun things together like sports, shopping, getting ice cream, etc. but I have a hesitation with the huggy and kissy part. We do hugs at bedtime and that is about it. Of course my family was and still isn't a very huggy and kissy kind of family so that may be a part of it.

Dawn

happy mom's picture

A wall between us...

Dawn, you got it right on the dot. "A wall" that is what I feel, like a wall between my stepson and I. I do try to be nice to him and have fun w/him but it's rare that he is with me alone. He prefers to be his dad. I think this wall thing will always be in our relationship because of the situation. Don't know what his biomom feeds him about me but I already accepted the fact that he and I will not be close. Thanks for all your inputs, it helps me deal with reality of it that I can't please everyone.

-happy mom

skye22's picture

I totally feel this way! My

I totally feel this way! My stepson is six and I have been around him since he was a year old but it seems as he gets older the wall gets higher. When he was younger it was easy, now its strange. We don't say I love you or hug or kiss very often and when we do its weird. I puuls away so I just kind of gave up. I don't want to force him into anything. But I do feel singled out. Like last week we had a t ball game. His mom is the coach and asked me to help becasue the other coach didn't show I did of course. But my ss refused to talk to me. He asked like I didn;t exist. Which I should be used to. He is very active in sports year round. Basically every week we attend a game and a practice. I have never missed one. So anyways my husband, I, his parents (the grandparents and great grandparents? attended the game. Afterward, my ss came over and hugged everyone but me. My husband directed him to give me a hug to and he ran the other way. WHat a slap in the face. I have helped raise this child since he was a baby. Why does he treat me this way?

Anonymous's picture

I am 14 and a stepchild, I

I am 14 and a stepchild, I felt the way your son did for a little bit, I think your ss doesn't know how to interact with you and that's why he does the things he does. Sit down with him and try to talk to him about it calmly and see what happens!

Someone Who Cares's picture

I'm very sorry, Skye. That

I'm very sorry, Skye. That incident hurt you deeply because this is a child you had formed a bond with. I know you're probably asking yourself why this would happen after all these years.

Well, children change. I know this post is a year late but what you said touched me. Perhaps someone (not necessarily his biomom) has told him something? Children tend to react differently if their minds have been poisoned. I know you're upset and confused. Continue to be loving toward him even if he pulls away. Remember that he is only a little boy and he is still the child that you loved since birth. He will come around. Be patient. You should tell him gently that he hurt your feelings by not talking to you or hugging you, but you still love him very much.

Both stepparents AND stepchildren have a difficult time of it...

CanAnyoneHelp's picture

I can't stomach my stepson and he's not a bad kid.

I've been reading the stories of folks who don't like their stepson because he's trouble. I can't stomach mine, and he's not a bad kid.

My husband and I have been married for 7 years. It's so bad that I've considered leaving my husband, taking my two teenage sons and moving back in with my ex - who I have no desire to reunite with.

It's a long story. When my husband and I started dating, I did my best to help him. He was sneaky and lied to his mother about me "trying to be his mother". I wasn't.

About a year into our marriage, I wrote BM a letter because she continued to try to run our lives when her son was with his father. My husband would get really upset with her, but, not confront her. I would have to deal with his griping. Anyway, I told her I couldn't live with her running my life, and that she should let her ex have some freedom with his son while he was with us. My husband's mother told me that BM would be really mad. She had been running the show for years and no one had stood up to her.

BM announced that I was no longer welcome in her home (she was dating another member of my husband's family at the time). I thought - how does she think she can get away with this. My husband said to me, "I told you what she was like."

Two years went by, and my husband continued to interact with her - dropping off and picking up his son. I was not invited anywhere. I continued to treat her son kindly when he was at our place. I started to feel repulsed everytime I saw the boy. After two and a half years, I realized I couldn't take it any more. I talked to my mother-in-law... told her that this would never happen in my family... and told my husband that he wasn't standing up for me.

BM apologized, but I can't seem to get rid of this feeling toward the kid. I don't trust him, and I care to be around him. He moved in with us for a few months a couple years ago and I almost moved out.

I hardly see him any more... my husband spends a day with him about twice a month. I don't want him in my home.

It is creating tension between my husband and I. He says he wants us to be a family. He says he loves me, and I will always come first... but, I'm afraid he'll hate me for not liking his son...someday.

How can I get feelings for this boy? Especially when I don't want to?

billiejean's picture

can anyone help

I can relate to how you feel. I have 12 year old stepson that lives out of state. We do not have him that often and when we do I have an attitude I cannot shake. I simply do not like being around him and resent him being in my home. There have been alot of conflicts that his mother continually stirs up. I have had the late night phone calls where I am being verbally attacked. It is difficult to separate the dislike for the ex and the child at times. He is old enough to where he tends to carry an attitude when he is at my house. He calls his mom or vice versa alot and I feel like my personal and homelife is being reported to the ex which infuriates me cause I consider myself a private person. I have set some pretty extreme boundaries for my husband when it comes to his visitation. For example: We get him day after xmas. He is supposed to be returned day before school starts around Jan 6th. I told my husband I want him to go home on Sun 30th. I have two days off work that week and do not want to spend my vacation time surrounded by tension, especially in my own home. Same goes in summer..........not more than two weeks......we've tried longer and has been disaster. My husband backs me and sometimes I worry if he will end up resenting me or worse. I did marry for better or for worse but at same time I did not bring the problems to our marriage my husband did. There are two exes and three stepkids, two grown. Both exex are lunatics and have stirred up problems from day one. I have one child and an ex husband that butts out and my husband has great relationship with my son, probably more so than his natural children. Probably wouldnt be that way if my ex husband continually kept trouble stirred up which would in turn effect my son's attitude towards his step dad. Maybe it is a woman thing. In my case the ex wives cannot just live and let live and butt out. Miserary loves company and I refuse to let them control my home from a distance even if that is at their child's expense. Hang in there and you might try just being cordial but indifferent. Try to plan some time for yourself when stepson is around. This has worked for me at times even if I resent feeling like I have to be away from my own home to avoid the tension. After few days my husband is usually ready for our homelife to resume as normal and with stepson around that has been impossible. I encourage my husband to take his son and do "boy stuff" together outside the house too.

A nonymous's picture

The way you are treating the

The way you are treating the child could end up biting you in the end. That boy is always going to be his father's son. You are the wife, not to mention an adult. The only thing I see you doing is further damaging the relationship the father and son currently have and in the end your take the chance that your husband could start to resent you.

People need to be more careful in the battles the choose...the older a child gets the harder the battles get so I suggest trying to have as much patience as you can now and really get ready for some rough times.

Sita Tara's picture

My wall came later

When I met SD she was nine, and had many many issues. She knew BM was doing crazy things, didn't understand why. SD had been lacking in mom/daughter closeness for so long, I often felt smothered and ended up peeling her off at times. Still I never complained then b/c I considered myself lucky. I knew how bad it would be if she hated my presence in her dad's life instead.

Then we fought for and won custody. I think we all had delusions of grandeur as to what it would mean for us. DH and I thought SD would settle down and feel genuinely happy. But the psychologist warned us that BM's negative influence might actually increase. B/c now we have full say in all decisions, BM is absolved of all parental decisions. BM tells SD "Well...if you wouldn't have chosen your dad's I would have let you...but now you went and gave him all the control so I can't help you out..." SD forgets that one of the main reasons we got custody was BM vetoed anything and everything SD wanted to do (sports, theatre, etc) We were limited to teams that practiced/played on Thur-Sun when she was here.

SD and I both have a wall up now. I try to bring it down, make myself vulnerable to SD so she can see how I really feel. This does work. But then I have to go back to being the parent and SD's wall goes back up. She calls BM constantly and they talk like they're both 12 (well, BM is pretty self absorbed like a teen.) I chose to continue to relate like a parent to SD, so who is she going to gravitate toward?

Plus SD is getting in trouble at school again for saying/writing mean things about other students, which she gets from BM who bonds with her by making fun of people (not just us- BM's patients at work, strangers on the street, etc.) DH and I don't tolerate that so SD is getting melodramatic about it and saying, "I can only be myself at my mom's!" Ummm...no. SD just absorbs whatever personality she thinks is cool at any given moment, so she can only be like her mom at her mom's house.

Ugh. The wall is huge, my DH has one for my SS as well. We can blame the BMs all we want, but in the end the kids are just too immature emotionally to get their being manipulated. And even if they aren't they still aren't comfortable taking responsiblility for their actions/feelings. They are more comfortable saying, "You don't act like my mom and dad, therefore I don't like you," then realizing that every relationship is fifty/fifty. My son is not at all encouraged to disrespect us by his dad and SM, but BS does it none the less. He blames us for his teenage angst, rather than work on becoming a happy person.

Peace, love, and red wine

Amy N's picture

The wall

My eight year old step son knew his biomom the first year and a half of his life then biomom lost 100% of all rights to him. I've been in his life since he was two and a full time figure in his life for last four years. I love him dearly, and I know he loves me, but there is absolutely a wall between us. Out in public and in front of friends (outside of the family) he calls me mom. In private and in front of close family he calls me Amy. I get the playful tickle snuggles, but not the close loved filled ones. When he yell's mom save me from daddies ruff housing, I come running and he says not you Amy I mean my real mom. Dad backs me up by saying "you don't know your mom, and will never know her so quit treating Amy like shit and go to your room." I hope one day the wall will fall, but for now I feel like he only loves me when it benefits him, and lets me love him as he see fits. I just tell him when it hurts my feelings.

Nise's picture

I completely understand

I completely understand where you are coming from, though I have to be honest in that I do love the girls with all my heart b/c I see them as part of my husband and he is my WORLD….so I call them “my baby’s babies…” (I’m sure it helps that they are still very young) But regarding the relationship with the biomom placing a “taint” on the way you view your step child, I definitely know that feeling, your not the only one feeling that way and I would go as far as saying that it is human nature b/c you automatically associate the child with her….I think Virginia gave great advice in that you (and more importantly your husband) have to establish a modicum of respect, especially in your house…after the respect is established, the two of you can learn to love each other

Make a GREAT Day!

SMIT's picture

Maybe you already love him and just don't know it...

Hang in there, Happy Mom. More of us understand what you're going through than you know.

You're not alone and you're not crazy or awful, either. I've gotten past it, thank goodness, but I had a time when I almost resented my little SS for looking too much like his mommy. How insane is THAT?! The kid can't help genetics, but I'd look at him and only see my husband with his ex-wife and their former life together.

Please, read Nise's advice carefully--she's very wise to look at the stepkids as her "baby's babies." I loved my SS instantly when I met him a year and a half ago, then things changed as he grew out of his toddler stage and started to push me away a bit and get more "into" his mommy. Something, though, made me remind myself that he's NOT JUST HERS, he's my husband's. He's a part of my husband and I love him becuase my husband loves him so much. It really helps when you can remind yourself of that.

It's hard to dislike the ex-wife and like the child, I know. But, it's not the kid's fault who his parents are. He needs good adults who love him, support him, and teach him. I'm sure you're a good influence in your SS's life and he loves you, too. Maybe you and SS don't yet realize that you love each other or just how you love each other, but it will come. You're in my prayers!

SMIT

Anonymous's picture

I am glad to see I am not alone

I am glad to see I am not the only one to feel this way. My problem is with the fact that I have no respect for the mother of my sss. She hangs around with drug dealers and takes her kids to their house, she is a drug user and would prefer to have a nanny raise her children while she does not work. My husband is dramatically different then he was before I met him, the children represent the former lifestyle. it is something I am working on getting over.

Anonymous's picture

No respect

Look, you may have no respect for your stepchildren's mother and that is ok. I am 14 and my stepmom has none for my mom becasue of things she has done in the past. My stepmother handles it well, she speaks to her only if she must and does not talk to her otherwise but is also descent when she sees her.

Granny's picture

Step Sons do grow up

I have had a step son for 17 years. We have been though alot. I also always saw his mother when I looked at him. My mother in law did not help me in loving him either. She always catered to him and left my children out... Went on for years. This past year we actually grew alot closer. He realized that I was not an enemy and I realized that he is not his mother. We spend alot of time together now and we talk about things. Things that he can't talk to his mom about and some that he is not talking with anybody with. I would say that he is one of my own. He is leaving for college in August and he wants me and his dad to take him not his mom. He asked me to teach him how to do laundry and to cook and other everyday things that a mom would/should teach their children. My point is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel they grow up and become their own people. If you are not mean and you talk to them like people while growing up it will reward you in the long run. Hang in there. There is hope....

Someone Who Cares's picture

I LOVE your attitude! You

I LOVE your attitude! You have the right mindset here. It sounds like you both grew up and learned to respect/appreciate one another.

Anonymous's picture

My Step son says my daughter and I are mean to him??

We get a call from biomom last night and my step son is with her and he is crying his eyes out saying we my daughter and I are mean to him so his dad tried to find out what rhe problem is and all he could say say is we are mean and we treat him different. I have no idea what he was talking about he tells us he likes being here and wants to be here more. So we my daughter and I get chewed out by DAd I was so mad I yelled and got very defensive.

Anonymous's picture

Crying son

I am 14 and have stepparents, I feel the very way your stepson does sometimes but I mainly keep it to myself becasue of the close relationship I have with my stepparents. To make him feel better try and start conversations more, be nice, don't tease or make fun of and don't try and push buttons you know he doesn't like pushed and try to find time to spend with him alone like going to the movies!

sixxnguns's picture

I got blamed for this recently

and it pissed me off....my SS goes to mom's house and tells her I'm mean to him...why? because I'm the ONLY one who doesn't cater to him and his wants...I'm strict unlike everyone else who he's around and I'm sure not going to change my ways because his mommy thinks I'm mean...this woman would rather be buddies with her kid than teach him what he needs to know to be a normal human being...his idea of a good dinner is ramen noodles and chicken nuggets...thats what mom feeds him every week at her house...it's stupid and funny at the same time...I hope she gets sick of catering to him one day and finds out what kind of hole she's digging herself..anyway, I confronted him about it..I don't abuse the kid, I rarely get involved with his life except when he's disrespecting his father or acting like a complete idiot and manipulating..don't let him manipulate!

Anonymous's picture

I'm not alone!

I am struggling with this issue myself. I am married to a WONDERFUL man that happens to be the father of an 8 year old. I am the mother of a great 9 year old boy as well. We have been married almost 3 years, and my relationship with my stepson is getting worse and worse. I am truly depressed b/c I don't know how to fix it. His personality and my son's personality are so night and day different, and I don't know how to handle him. He is SO disrespectful of me.. talks back to everything that I say, and doesn't listen to anything I tell him until his Father tells him to do it. He ignores me when I am around, and even if I ask him a question, he won't answer me. I feel like I don't even belong in my own home sometimes.
The 4 of us went on a vacation this summer to Orlando Fl. Was supposed to be a GREAT time.. except for the fact that my husband and stepson held hands the ENTIRE time, and walked 25 feet ahead of my son and I, even after pointing it out to them. The vacation was miserable for me.. it was a THEM and US vacation, and I hated it. I feel as if my stepson is so manipulative, and I am to the point where I don't like him. That's HORRIBLE and I don't know how to fix it.. So pray for me.. and help me learn how to get the respect I deserve!!

Onandon's picture

I get it. Hubby needs to get it, too.

Hi. Thought I'd take a moment to respond to your greif and stress-laden post.

It sounds to me like your husband has to play his "Man-of-The-House" card and sit his son down and tell him how it is. Namely, that this is MY wife and YOUR Stepmom -- you don't have to like it, but you have to honor it, and the way I expect you to do it is...(insert clear expectations and appropriate consequences for disobedience here).

I heard someone once say that we need to distinguish between "childlike behavior" and "willful disobedience," the latter being what we admonish and reprimand, being mindful to "break the WILL, not the SPIRIT."

Sounds like your SS has anger and resentment -- which is normal and understandable -- but he is NOT allowed to talk or behave disrespectfully to you. Period.

You can start to turn this around by using forceful phrases like "Don't talk to me that way, I don't like it!" (and then turn and walk away). "Don't ignore me. I don't like it. When I ask you a question I expect an answer. Answer my question.". See if you can work with your hubby to get to a counselor together -- the issue (like my own) is really between you and your husband (and possibly the biomom).

I totally get the vacation fiasco. Frankly, that's squarely in your husband's lap. He needs to set the tone for how he expects his wife to be treated. He has to totally endorse you in front of his (and your) son. Set the tone, then keep it consistent. The situation will turn around when he unconditionally edifies you to his son.

I wish you the very best.

=D

im so sad!'s picture

I loved your response to

I loved your response to "I'm not alone". Although, what if the husband won't sit the ss down in front of the sm to enforce the whole attitude, disrespect problem? If you can't answer this, hopefully someone reading this will. I too have a wonderful relationship with a wonderful man; however his son is killing me. I can't deal with his attitude problem!!! His father won't back me up, he says he will but would rather not hurt his sons feelings than to make a scene about "manners". In my ss defense, his mother has all but written him off. My ss lives with us full time. i have 2 children from a previous marriage (10 and 13). My ss is 14. My husband allows his son to drive (doesn't have a permit or drivers license), allows him to stay out til the wee hours of the morning, takes his word for it when he says he is somewhere (WHEN I KNOW HE ISNT), he is rude and extremely disrespectful to me and my family...WHAT DO I DO??? When I try to talk to him he walk away because I suppose he feels he is too cool for me and doesn't need me. I have tried to discuss his issues with my husband and he says he talked to him about it and he won't act like that again. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! He still has yet to apologize fora rude outburst before he went to school when I simply said I hope you have a great day. I'm at the point of throwing away a great relationahip because of this kid!!!

not so happy step mom's picture

17 year old ss driving a wedge between his father and me

I hope someone can help me try to figure out what to do. I've been with my ss's father for four years, but knew my ss for about three years before I met his father/my husband. All was well between our four children -- who have been living in different parts of the county -- my husband and my children, and between his children and me. That is until this past January. My ss (17) refused to return to his mother's house after his Christmas visit with us and has been here ever since. I'm not the perfect mom by any stretch of the imagination, but my two boys (15 and 17)are well behaved, stay out of trouble, make good choices, are polite, although they are teenagers and are far from perfect. My oldest has a pretty good relationship with my husband, but my husband doesn't like my 15-year old; or rather I should say he doesn't respect him. All in all we had a very happy home until my ss arrived. When he got here he was out of control, going to a nearby big city three nights a week to go to headbanger shows, staying out all night on the weekends, smoking pot and I don't know what all else. After a month of arguing about it, I finally convinced my husband that M had to abide by the same rules as my children. He chose to move in here, and so he has to live within the same structures that I have in place for my two. After that, things settled down for a while. There have been many small issues that have come up, so many that it has gotten to the point where the accumulated mass of these has pushed me to where I despise my ss. It came to a head yesterday, and I don't know what to do. My husband and I honestly never had a cross word with each other until M arrived, and yesterday we had the first fight we've ever had -- and all of it is because of M. The first of the proverbial three blows came when I discovered that he has been eavesdropping on private conversations between my son and me and then whining to his father about what he overheard (which had absolutely nothing to do with M). The second blow was when I discovered that he has been making fun of and ridiculing my son behind his back. And the final blow was when I discovered yesterday that he is spying on my son at school (and has even gotten his friends to join in) and then "reporting" what he sees to his father. He does things to me like passively/aggressively blow off small things I ask him to do -- which are the exact same things I ask my children to do. His father won't help him understand that these things aren't optional, that they are part of us all pitching in. I guess my point here is that I know I am extremely angry and resentful that he is here. I never asked for him to be here, and I certainly wasn't asked if it was okay for him to move in permanently. Neither were my children. My quandary is how can I get through all of this anger, resentment, tension, etc. I cringe when he comes in the door and I breathe a sigh of relief when he leaves. My husband and I aren't speaking, and my heart is breaking. I know that I'm the adult, but some of the responsibility lies with M. He's not a small child, but will be 18 in November. I appreciate any words of wisdom.

Shopaholic's picture

To Have love or not to have love

I feel the way you do sometimes, and mainly it is because of BM, it has nothing to do with manners or respect my SS has both because I have pretty much raised him, we had him since he was a 1 yr old. I believe it is his age and also because I can not stand BM and he being the product of that relationship and not to mention that the older he gets the more I see representation of her no matter how much I try to fix his personality when he visits with her (we have custody)and comes back from her house there are little glimpses of her coming out in what he says and acts and I just can't stand it, so I usually fix myself a drink and go my own way and ignore it until he has a while to realize where he is at and figure himself out. It is hard but you will find your way and what will work for you, good luck!

Onandon's picture

I Feel Resentment vs. Love for My Stepson

Upfront apologies for the long post. I'm a newbie, but I'm really glad to read I'm not alone. I'm a divorced and remarried BioDad of two boys, 14 and 12. My SS is 7 and has irritated me almost from first contact. GRR! Permission to speak freely?

Three years ago, when I first met and fell in love with his mom (now my wife of 9 months), I distinctly remember his lack of manners and self-centeredness. Perhaps more disturbing to me was that his biomom (BM) and biodad (BD) were nearly oblivious to this behavior until I mentioned it. Hello? You mean you haven't noticed that your kid is a snotty brat? They’ve since made strides in correcting his demeanor, but “follow through” is not their strong point.

The incessant interrupting while she is on the phone or his consistent failure to notice or acknowledge that two or more others are conversing and he must wait his turn to speak, his demanding tones, his whininess -- all of this has culminated into me feeling resentful that I am consistently the “bad/evil stepdad” when I correct him from sassing his mom, not cleaning up after himself, asking in a “big boy” voice vs. that whiddle boy voyce dat demands, “Mo macawoney!”, whining about this being the worst day of his life because there’s no one to play with (I’m telling you, it’s near pathological!). He MUST be entertained – a new toy, a new video, a new game, etc. or else he makes himself (and his mother) miserable.

I feel like, since BM and BD never want to deny his lust for being catered to, to risk hurting his po widdle feelings (you should just HEAR him when he has to have his hair washed! OMG! It’s like he’s being tortured…***thinking …hrrrmmm…’torture’***… just/kidding!). So his BM and BD don’t force him to do things that are uncomfortable for him (or them). He’s growing up “soft,” if you take my meaning.

He FREAKS if there’s the tiniest bug in the room, stays in the car for an hour if he sees a fly on the window or butterflies on the grass, and cries when I tell/encourage him that these are harmless. “Buuttt whaaaat iiiifff theyyy’re nnnoooottt? Yoouu haaavve toooo carrrryyy meeee innnn!!!” I tell him I’m NOT going to carry him because ants and butterflies won’t hurt him. No matter, he cries at this cruel treatment and at the mere hint of not getting his way… UUURRRRGGGGGHHHH!!! I leave him in the car until he has to pee so bad that he runs in the house. Though I check on him from the house, frankly (it’s just us talking, right?) I wouldn’t mind it if he stayed in the car all night.

I don’t expect (or want) Rambo Jr., mind you. I’m no sports geek, super jock or gear head, etc. My two bioboys (though FAR from perfect) are fairly “normal” in that they respond age-appropriately to the stuff of life: scraped knees, changes in meal plans, reciprocating manners, raindrops falling on your head, etc. This child just doesn’t have these basics, and, if history is my guide, won’t get them from his bioparents.

My wife and I have serious discussions regarding this. She feels by “meeting him at his level” she’s doing what she needs for him, including not correcting his ill-manners, his self-centeredness (she’ll stop a conversation with me whenever he interrupts, without correcting him). My view is that without natural consequences (such as early bedtime/no privileges for crazed or disrespectful behavior, wait your turn to talk or go to your room, etc.) he’ll learn that he and his needs always come first and must be met OR ELSE! Here’s another tell-tale clue: You know those little clues us parents get that our kid is kinda okay? Like, “Johnny can come over ANY time. He’s SUCH a nice, polite kid! A PLEASURE to have over!” My SS NEVER gets those comments from parents. In contrast, (and not meaning to boast) I CONSTANTLY get compliments on my biosons’ demeanor, in their presence or privately.

I mean, I see this as SO BASIC – to expect and reinforce respectful, age-appropriate behavior. I just don’t get how his BM and BD don’t/can’t/won’t see this. Is this simply a parenting style issue? If I try to be as stern with my SS as I was/am to my biokids, my wife often intervenes to "rephrase" and “soften” the admonishment to her baby. I know she’s being his mom, but I fear she’s setting him (and me, for that matter) up for a world of disappointment and frustration.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t like his and his bioparents’ behavior. I don’t understand how you can let your kid grow up for 6+ years without teaching him to say “please” and “thank you” or “excuse me” and to keep your lips closed when you eat, etc. Further, I resent having to be the disciplinarian to his “Doing-That-Will-Make-Him-Hate-Us” set of bioparents. As a result, I find myself actively thinking of ways NOT to interact with or see him the days or evenings he stays with us. I mean, it's not his fault, right? He's not behaving this way to intentionally P*** me off. Is it because he's not "my own"? Why do I find it so hard to love and accept him?

I truly love my wife, but it's difficult to view this as an opportunity to impart my parenting style to my SS when I'm derailed or contradicted so frequently. This issue is in no way confrontational between my wife and I, but I wonder whether or not it's possible to have so much rancor for her child and still maintain a healthy relationship with her? Especially since (and this makes me feel even worse) she has genuine connection and love for MY kids. Can anyone else relate? Your comments and feedback are welcome.