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Can't seem to love my stepson

happy mom's picture

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 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.

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

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 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

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

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.


happy mom's picture

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.

skye22's picture

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 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 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'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

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 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

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!" 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

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 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

SMIT's picture

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!


Anonymous's picture

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

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

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 have the right mindset here. It sounds like you both grew up and learned to respect/appreciate one another.

Anonymous's picture

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

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

and it pissed me 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'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 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

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.


im so sad!'s picture

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

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

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

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.

Stepping Out's picture

this is completely the norm as far as i can see. it usually takes a 3rd party to point out what a brat some kids can be because bio parents are usually, and rightfully so, looking for the best in their kids and do not see the bad as easily as others. i have a ss and sd, no biokids, mom gets to see some positive things from them,they're nice to her sometimes (when they want something, usually) so that sort of balances out some of their crap. BUT, i see nothing positive from them because each interaction is them talking back to me when i say a word to them, even if it's "HI". 14 and 13, mind you, and can't lock a door when they leave? can't turn off a light? (obviously not the extent of their actions) yes, these are some minor things, but they can be overlooked by mom because they actually talk to her....but hey, if you aren't going to listen to me, you sure as heck are still going to respect me, otherwise we have another issue. like i said, i see nothing good from them (and mom admits it) so it makes it all that much harder to accept the crap. hard to take the good with the bad when all experiences are bad. i just wonder how mom expects them to go from not being able to find their own bookbags to being responsible enough to drive in 2 years. like it's just going to 'happen'????
by the way, they live with us full time, no CS, no real visits, so i'm filling a major role, not just being a stand-in as permitted.

Anonymous's picture

Me and my husband are newly wed's but have been together altogether a year and a half, in the beginning my step son and me had a good relationship but i think this is where i messed up... i was more his friend when i shouldn't of when i'm in the room with him i can literally feel the hate he has for me inside him...which really hurts cuz i do love him, this boy is not what i would call normal i have three kids and they have had two other step dad's besides this one and never once did my kids act as this boy does to me, he is so disrespectful, tells my bio kids that he hates them and that this is his home. doesn't let them touch nothing and what's worse he plays his bio mom and bio dad against each other, he's manipulative, deceitful , and constantly lies...he acts like he hates the world everytime he comes here and it always has to be about him... my husband has tried to correct him about his behavior and i'm at the end of my rope i haven't done nothing to my step son and i'm here to say i won't be treated like this much longer if something doesn't give soon , i guarentee my hand will give right across his ass

Someone Who Cares's picture

How old is your stepson?

You say that initially you had a good relationship with him. You were a friend to him. Well, don't beat yourself up over that. You are not his mother. You simply tried to be nice to him, as you should. There's no shame in that.

Then you say he is not what you would call "normal". What does that mean? You mention your 3 children and the fact that they didn't have problems with their stepfathers. Well, here's the deal...your kids are who they are. Your SS is who he is. It sounds like he is fearful of losing his father to you and your children, and he is acting out with hostility. Don't condone the behavior. Instead try to understand how he feels.

You're in a tough position and so is he. You as the frustrated stepmom and him as the scared, angry little boy. You need to realize that people adapt to situations differently. Your children might not have difficulty adapting to change, especially if they have had stepfathers before your husband. He on the other hand sounds like he is feeling insecure. If he has never had to share his dad with another woman and her children, it is understandable that there will be feelings of insecurity and jealousy. That is completely normal!!! His behavior is textbook in cases where the bioparents are estranged. Now being a child of divorce AND a stepdaughter myself, I will honestly say that I never did the things you say your SS does.

Remember that the only person you can control is YOU. How you react to his bad behavior will determine the situation. If he won't listen when your husband tries to correct him, that is anger showing. Please consider this: suppose your kids had resented their previous stepfathers or even your new husband? Would you be willing to talk with them about it or would you simply say that they were being "deceitful and manipulative"? Children don't think like we do. They see things differently. They react differently. Sometimes they react disrespectfully but this is the reason you should never attempt to parent another person's children. Set boundaries for acceptable behavior, be respectful to them, and expect that in return. You shouldn't be his friend but you also shouldn't try to be his mom.

Respect should be earned on both sides. No one is entitled to it. Here's my perspective...adults shouldn't demand respect by virtue of being older. It is about give and take. Children have feelings too and while they *should* respect you, you should respect them too. Trust and respect are very important in all relationships. It is vital for your SS to feel like he can trust and respect you. I'm sure he doesn't "hate" you. It sounds as if there are definitely issues that cause him to behave the way he does and you shouldn't blame yourself or him.

Now your last comment bothers me. You're upset, sure. You have no business wanting to hit somebody else's child. No matter how disrespectful or annoying he might be, that is unacceptable. Would you like it if your husband wanted to lash out at your children if they behaved badly? You DO NOT have to tolerate disrespect in your home but leave the discipline to your husband. Do not put your hands on another woman's child. I know you didn't actually do this, but please be rational. If you hit him and he tells his mother about it, you will have to deal with her reaction. She might possibly take your husband to court if that happens and claim that he allowed you to abuse their son.

Someone Who Cares's picture

I know you're frustrated. Remember that these are teenagers...they will push your buttons! You stated that you have no biokids of your own. Were you ever a stepkid yourself?

Instead of being critical of how their biomom has raised them, look at ways in which YOU can be a positive influence in their lives. This doesn't mean being a disciplinarian or a parent. It simply means setting good examples. Now if they're disrespectful to you (rude, swearing, etc.) without good reason, you need to let them know firmly that you won't have it. You could say: "I did not disrespect you so please do not disrespect me". Don't raise your voice or lose your cool. Stay in control and show that you mean business.

Respect should be earned on both sides. You sound like you really care about them but you just don't know what to do. Just try to avoid conflict, don't be critical of their mom, set boundaries for acceptable behavior and understand that the teen years are often a challenge.

Someone Who Cares's picture

I don't know you or your stepson but what I'm seeing here is resentment towards a child. You're being unfair. He is 7 years old and sometimes seven-year-old children misbehave. I notice that you compare your bioboys to your stepson more than once. Now while it is natural to feel a bit more biased towards your own kids, it isn't fair to him. The fact that you posted this means that you realize that there's a problem and it isn't ALL his fault.

He is who he is. Your bioboys are who they are. Instead of worrying that he's too "soft", why not see him as sensitive? Is that so terrible? Your wife's parenting skills might be different from yours but that doesn't mean she is a bad mother. Don't expect him to be like your children. He has his own feelings, interests, personality. Please check yourself and rethink your attitude toward this child. He is your stepson, whether you like it or not. He will always be your wife's son. This is a fact that you have to live with. Some of his behaviors might irritate you, but you are the adult here. You have control over your reactions and you are capable of more mature behavior than a little boy of 7.

I'm not saying you are the "bad/evil stepdad" at all. Trust me, I have one of those. He was cruel, abusive, and unkind. He still is. Thankfully, I'm now in my 20's and I've survived the shit that he dished out. It sounds like you care about this little boy and you're frustrated by how his parents have raised him. You never know how he'll turn out later...give him the benefit of the doubt. Who he is at 7 might not be who he is at 10, 12, or 17 years old. If you have ever been a stepchild, you will realize that sometimes it is difficult. He might have just as much trouble accepting you as you do accepting him.

Avoiding him is not helpful. The only time I recommend doing that is if you have a tendency to say hurtful things. Analyze your own behavior: do you treat your own kids differently or better than you treat him? Do you raise your voice at him? Do you shout or curse at him? Do you constantly demand a certain type of behavior and then become angry when he doesn't listen or do what you say? Are you always complaining to his mom? Do you ever show him affection? Do you ever say positive things about him? These might indicate that maybe you aren't ready to be a step-parent.

It is work and it is challenging but you need to realize that you are the adult. When you enter into a relationship with someone who has a child from a previous relationship, you have to be aware that new responsibilities and circumstances come with that. It is part of the whole deal. Resenting a child will not make him or her go away. If your wife isn't willing to work with you on this, you need to talk with your SS and do it in a firm BUT kind manner. Discipline doesn't mean belittling him or calling him a whiner.

Stepmomintexas's picture

Just wondering how things have come along since you posted on this forum several years ago. I'm just in the crux of adjusting to being a newlywed with a 4 year old stepson that drives me nutty and has causes an extreme amount of stress in our relationship from the beginning. I love my husband and do not wish to divorce him, but honestly, if he told me we were getting full custody of his son, I'd walk out as soon as I could. For me, it's a deal breaker. He has no clue on how to parent and I do my best to help but oftentimes, feel he resents or feels I don't care enough nor want to help him with his obligation. We have entered marriage counseling and the counselor totally agrees that he had his child with this other person and they are the ones who should rejoice in their parenthood and not place the burden or responsibility on their new spouses. He's accepted it half-heartedly but refuses to fully absorb it. Oh well...just venting some. Hopefully your issues got worked out! Smile

NadiaPatrice's picture

This sounds like torture for you. You should go to counseling with your wife about your stepson because this will make you not want to be in your own home.

klinder180's picture

Welcome to the club. I did not make it out whole, but welcome anyway.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

One of her twin ten year old boys still sucks his thumb and carries around a blanket.

Little boy voice, uh huh.

I never saw such temper tantrums as when he would try to put on his socks of a morning. Thirty minute tantrums. Several times I had to pick them up and carry them out to the car so they would go to school.

Temper tantrums at my mothers house? Oh yeah, since cartoons are on why should they follow rules?

Three hour temper tantrums -- the one in May over whether or not the episode of Supernatural was the season finale or not, culminated in me and my daughter getting kicked out to go stay in a hotel that night. I moved out shortly after that and went through a 3 month painful break up.

Respect has to be at the bedrock of every relationship. They are his parents though -- you are (no matter how long you are there) a step parent. Someone who may hope ot love him as much as your own children one day. Someone who can be a role model, but when it comes down to it you are just a step parent.

My advice is that you and your wife go to counseling now -- try to get on the same page on parenting skills and communication. I read a lot of the same frustrations that I had with my situation in your post. My ex gf wasn't and didn't want to change. I told her and the boys so many times that this was hurting my daughter. I have to wonder if they were looking for ways to intentionally hurt me and so were they bad kids? Was my ex gf any better for allowing them to continue to hurt me and my daughter for three years?

I asked her to consider taking them in for an evaluation for ODD -- which mainly determines if there are more medical problems and helps the parents determine what to do -- the answer was "No, they are fine."

Good luck, I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.


Onandon's picture

Thanks, Kevin.

I really appreciated your perspective.

Sorry about your ordeal. I can only imagine the 3-hour tantrums. Not on MY watch, buddy. That kind of behavior simply wasn't (MUST NOT BE) tolerated.

I don't know what to think about how some parents just hit a brick wall when thinking about the long-term effects of their actions (or lack thereof). I don't (never will) have it all worked out, but my father raised 4 strapping boys who have adjusted well, more or less. I've changed (hopefully improved upon) some aspects from how he and my mom did things. Add in a nasty divorce, a few lean years as I tried to get my sh** together. But overall, I think my bioboys have the raw "stuff" they need to get along. I'm not done, of course, but they're on the right path.

I think you're spot on about the counseling. She's open to that sort of thing, but, honestly, I don't know HOW you turn around YEARS of this sort of pandering and coddling. It's a mindset; a religion of sorts. No consequences for this unmistakable disrespect (other than "love" and "helping him cope" with the "the whole situation"). You know, "taking the long view" of things. Seeing "the bigger picture." "This is my one shot of raising him the way I think is best."

**insert sounds of me wretching**

And, you're right, too. Reduced to the simplest terms, I'm just a step parent. Still, it's like watching this threesome slowly drown -- all the while assuring me they can swim. I don't walk around much feeling helpless and powerless (don't much believe in those concepts), but I suppose it comes down to waxing philosophic and making peace with 'accepting the things I cannot change, changing what I can, and having the wisdom to know the difference.'

And, for the record, I'm *glad* you know now what you didn't then. It's no accident you chose to respond to my epic missive. And you did so because you could. It certainly helped me.

For whatever it's worth, I'm certain it's better the way it went for you. For everyone. The same for me, really. It's SUPPOSED to be like this. Nobody said I'd have to like it.

Many thanks. Cheers!


Jade's picture

I am a Mum in a similar situation.
My stepson is a complete brat, his father refuses to do anything about it.
Its destroying our relationship at the moment. And, to be perfectly honest, I dont know if I have any romantic feelings for the man at all anymore.
I, too, after years of trying to turn this into a positive situation, have spent the past year looking for ways to avoid my stepson.

I had a military upbringing, and am fairly strong on discipline.
I am very affectionate with my kids, but they are expected to behave appropriately, and with respect to other people and possessions.

But still, I cant bring myself to hug my stepson. It just doesnt seem right.

And most of all, the isolation, the fact that there is hardly anybody I can talk about this to, is driving me nutty.

So please, If you are interested in talking to me, my email is

Mon's picture

Hi everyone
I have being with my husband for 9 years.He has a 10 year old that lives in Mexico with his mum.This year he is staying with us in ireland and i find it really hard.We have a son together he is 7 and autistic and he is being affected by my stepson presence.They have to share a room as we live in a two bedroom apartment and my son finds this really hard.I get up somedays with the feeling of wanting him gone.I cant fake what i dont feel and sometimes i feel he knows i dont love him.My son is falling back in school and therapies because is really hard for him to adapt to changes.
My husband and his ex plan this year and i wasnt going to say no to my husband.If only i knew then how this is affecting my son...
My husband wanted to spend a year with his son but he gets home from work at 7 and his son bedtime is 8 so i spend all day with him.
Its really putting me down,i dont know what to do.I want him to go back to his mum so we can go back to our lifes and my son goes back to his routine.i want my life back.Help

Ebony and ivory...trouble in paradise's picture

I've been dating his father for two yrs now and it's been 3 yrs since his divorce. We will be married in 8 months and the child has been living with us for one yr now. I do not like him, he annoys me, I believe he's ADHD. He is whiny and I feel nothing for him. I like him because I love his father. I have children ages 7; 14 & 15, I love kids but do not feel love for this child.

In the beginning it was the child lying on me and disrespecting me. My soon to be inlaws are not happy about me being black and the stepson's mother is racist. I know they fill the child's head up with stuff.

Six months ago I asked my fiancee to move out and take his son with him....I could not pretend to act as if it was going to work out with his son. I try to be nice but the sight of the child irritates me.

The child's mother is an unproductive member of society. She cannot afford to take care of herself and sees the child here and there so he has to live with us.

I cannot force myself to spend quality time with him because his personality is very different. I have 12 neices/nephews and have never dealt with someone like this child. I love my fiancee and wish the stepson would move out with his mother. Any advice?

Dani76's picture

I have a similar problem. I'm white and my stepson is black. His biomom is either in jail or drunk, she doesnt work and he lives with us. I have a 9 year old. My stepson is 15 years old and is so resentful for his father and I being together. He says very hurtful things to me about white people and then acts as if it is a joke. We are a very happy family but this child is very mean. I can't stand to be in the same room as him. He lies and is very needy of attention. In the beginning I was able to give him love, affection, and attention but now he is so disrespectful. He is night and day when his dad is around and makes me look like the biggest liar. I don't know what to do.

sixxnguns's picture

to love your didn't give birth to him so I wouldn't expect you to love him...I could never, and probably will never, love my stepson. I have my own child who I love more than life itself, and I know I could never love someone else's child like that. Plus he's a spoiled, over codded brat who is selfish and everything is about him him him!! And it really doesn't help that my boyfriend tends to parent out of guilt cause everyone feels SO sorry for this kid...He's had such a rough time going through a divorce that happened a year ago....maybe I sound mean or insensitive but I'm sick of everyone drooling over the golden child and treating mine like she's a rotten egg....just ticks me off

My last nerve's picture

I begin dating my husband almost 4 years ago. In the beginning, his two kids lived in a different state, so of course why would I be worried? I don't have any kids of my own but I have several nephews that I've helped raised. So I thought I knew kids. Anyway. While my husband and I are still dating a couple of years ago, he sends for his 2 girls to stay with him over the summer. Right off things are tough. I'm a girly girly and these girls are rough-looking teenage kids... anyway the oldest one is the worst. she lied on me several times and totally disrespects me. Her father works horrible hours and is often on the road, so while he's knocked out from working a 16 hour shift, she was caught twice, once by me and once by her boyfriend's mom, sneaking out of the house- past curfew. imagine that one. so anyway. They come back the next year for the funeral of my hubbie's father... and they stay for the following school year. My hubbie and I started having some problems and his daughter picks up on it. She starts dropping very bold hints about him not coming home on time or staying out all night. Basically telling me that he's cheating on me with a neighbor of ours. and to top that, she becomes friends with that woman! So, now fast foward a year. I'm now officially married to my hubbie, and she is still with us. Her mom forced her younger sister to return home. But the oldest one is 18 and refuses to go. I've been very straight with my stepdaughter and told her that she made the decision to stay with us, so she'd better mind her ways. So she has been better lately, but I still cannot stand this girl. In the beginning I had no problems with her, but after lying to me and about me. well, that was one thing, but then she does the classic broken home routine - I just want to be with my father. she was acting like he was HER boyfriend or something. My family spent a holiday with us and could not believe the way she was acting! In the beginning, I kept my distance from the kids and tried to let them spend as much time as possible with my hubbie and to his credit, he is supportive of me and stops them whenever they cross the line. Now, she tries to hug on me and give me those little pats on the back but I am very cold towards her. After what my husband's older daughter has done to me in the past, I just don't trust her anymore and I want her out of my home. But she REFUSES to leave. I get the feeling that her mother only allowed her to stay on the off chance that this might forced me and my husband to break up. His oldest daughter graduates from high school soon and plans to stay here all summer before going off in the late fall. My hubbie and I eloped over a wkend last year so that we could properly purchase a new home together. Its now coming up on our 1st year anniversary and we still haven't had anytime together alone. I've made several requests of my husband to send his kids back to their mother for at least a couple of weeks so that we can spend some time together as newlyweds but he doesn't get it. and its driving me mad. I detest seeing this girl's face every morning now and I feel somewhat bad because I know in her own way she is trying but everything she does is like a major problem with me. I mean she had a problem with me telling her to wash dishes by hand. Everything I tell her is But, Daddy said this. Urgh! What am I supposed to do? I want to start having kids of my own, but watching how she acts towards our dogs, yelling at them and kicking them when noone's looking... I don't trust her around any kids that I would have.

Angel's picture

my step child" is such a fantasy way to look at things. No one needs to LOVVVVVE their stepchildren. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE BEST BUDS EITHER. Don't hug them if you don't want to either. Respect (which is learned), admiration (which is earned) and concern (which is human) would be a more feasible outcome. Love would be nice, but it is not required nor necessary for a happy step family. All of this takes time & certain basics have to be in place (before the re-marriage) for the process not to hurt. For basic starters for some of this to flow as easily as possible you need to start with 4 rational unselfish adults that all have jobs & are not leaching off of each other-------if this prerequisite is not there, I'd run for the hills!

SHuff's picture

I have an 8 year-old stepson whom I can not stand. I have lived with his father for 5 1/2 years and we have been married for two of those. For the last three years or so my stepson has become a rude brat and I'm not sure what to do. My husband and I always butt heads about the situation. He thinks that since our son is only at our house every other weekend that he should not punish him, but allow him to act/do/say/have whatever he wants. I, on the other hand, think the situation is getting out of control. He is so very disrepectful of my husband and myself. He calls us both names, does not listen, and screams, cries, and pouts when we tell him to do ANYTHING.

I have endometriosis and I have been unable to have children of my own. When I met my husband and stepson I thought this was my chance to have a child to care for, nurture, and love. At this point, I can hardly stand to look at him. I do not want this child in my home. I do not want this child to speak to me. I do not want this child. I have tried to talk to my husband so many times, yet he will not listen to a word I say. Honestly, for the last three years I have been warning my husband. I have told him over and over again that if he doesn't put his foot down and whip this kid's ass that he will regret it. And WE do.

My stepson's actions are running and ruining my life. For example: It is New Year's Eve. We had planned all week long to go downtown to 'Opening Night' (it's like NYC, but in OKC). So, at 11:00 I wake my stepson up, who is sleeping on the couch, and tell him to get his shoes on. I asked him about five times. Then my husband starts asking him. Soon it turns to demanding, then begging. After ten or so minutes of this ridiculous behavior I tell my husband that his begging had not worked for the last ten minutes, nor would it be working in twenty or thirty minutes. I told my husband that he needed to be a man and put his foot down and whip his ass. So, to make an even longer story short, I have spent the night alone and pissed, and without celebrating or even getting a New Year's kiss from my husband. And all because of a child that I can not stand and do not even want to look at ever again.

Honestly, this is to the point where I am willing to absolutely give up my husband just to no longer have to be in the same room with this child ever again.

My New Year's Resolution: Keep this kid from causing me to get divorced.

Sarah Jane's picture

I have a 6 year old step son that I just can't like. He is violent and very misbehaved and my own son will no longer come over when he is around. He has burnt my 8 year old so many times that I don't blame him. His mother doesn't see an issue with his behavior. He threatened to have his grandmother shot the other night for making him go to bed. Again I say HE IS 6! My husband is only the part time parent and with the mother not doing anything to help the situation he gets worse and worse. he knows he will not get in any real trouble. I am pregnant and am worried about my unborn child around this kid. I am tempted to tell my husband I don't want this kid around until he gets under control. He is mean to my animals and the last thing I want is for him to hurt me or my stomach. Any suggestions?

sixxnguns's picture

and nothing is getting done than call CPS..sometimes they'll do "services required" and the parent HAS to get the child help or they'll get the courts involved. If he doesn't get help he's going to hurt someone and it would be better to call someone who can investigate and get him help. Before my daughter was diagnosed with Oppositinal Defiant Disorder I was at a loss, She was too young to be diagnosed and I went to Social Services MYSELF to ask for help. And they signed me up for a parent aide program...and it helped me a great deal..

at the end's picture

I have a 7 year old step son who is also violent. He threatened to kill his father, steal his money and poke his eyes out. He gets mad and knocks over chairs, breaks and throws stuff, is mean to our dog and tells his 2 year old brother to say bad things. My husband lets him get away with a lot and does not enforce punishment on him. I know how you feel and it is very hard when all parents of this child do not work together.

Debbie's picture

I have been married for 4 years. My stepson who is 18 years old,has been living with us the whole time. I also have a daughter who also lives with us. Kevin has 2 other younger children that live with the bio mom. We see the younger 2 every other weekend. They tell me that their mom is somewhat mean and that they live a military life with her. They arrive clean and pretty well mannered. I love them and they seem to like me. On the other hand, the son that lives with us has hardly uttered a sentence to me in these last four years. He has recently started to yell at me if I correct him. My husband states that he knows that this boy is mean and selfish, and has tried to correct him, but the kid will not comply. I often hear the two of them arguing at the tops of their voices. Frankly, the stepson scares myself and my daughter with his tantrums. He is very loud with throwing things when he doesn't get his way. He will be graduating from high school this June and is supposed to move out, but the bio mom states that she will not take him back and that he should continue to live with us indefinitely. He is not allowed to eat at our table due to daily tantrums, banging on my table, ruining everyone else's dinner, and we have even set him up downstairs in a finished basement with his own room, kitchen and bath. I cook, clean even his basement at times and make sure that he has eaten. My husband is now angry with me because I decided to take a few days a week off without cooking or cleaning. I work full time and wind up with about 50 dollars a week after pitching in for bills. If I don't do as my husband and his son say, I am dogshit! I married a wonderful man after being a single mother for 16 years! I honestly did not know how bad this would get. It gets worse and worse everytime I say the "wrong" thing. Even our marriage counselor tells my husband that he must correct this child, but he won't/can't do it. I see my husband is not happy, and I am not happy anymore. We realize that the step son along with the bio mom have tried to sabatoge our marriage, but we have run out of gas. I am ready to leave the marriage, but I have some hope for the future without this boy in our lives. Yes, we have tried to take the boy for counseling, had him tested for drugs, etc. No one sees anything wrong with him! Had to vent, Debbie

ashley's picture

Hi everyone... I'm Ashley! I'm 20 years old and I have been married since October 2007! I have a stepson that is 4 Years old and I have been around him since he was 2. He has always been an awful child since they day I met him.. but, if you met his mother and my husbands mother and sister you could see exactly why! (if you know what I am saying)... lets jut put it this way we have the child every other weekend and my whole entire family when they see u pulling up with him..they want us to leave and I have told my husband that! My mother in law love my husbands son's mother... and I have been through so much with all of this even before we have got married and I have told my husband the way I felt before we got married! So I am just going to try to make a short story as quick as I possibly can... My stepson mother got married like 2 or 3 weeks after we did and hadn't even been dating that long... well his mother has a party for her at her house and invites us but, my husbands mother forces us to go talk to them and acts like we are not their the rest of the time. Then they have a going aways present for her and they all go out to eat and with the ppl. me and my husband hang out with and they all go in and by her a present... to make a long story short.. they end up getting a divorce a month later..(i think she just got married b/c we did.. but whatever)... She had my stepson saying he hated me at 3 years old.. I have been through so much with my mother in law and my stepsons mother till I about can't take it anymore and to top it off e were at my mother in laws house last Saturday night for her birthday and she tell me that the picture on me and my Husbands Myspace that I look like my Husbands sons mother and i need to take it off because ppl. are going to think that its her and my husband..and goes on and on about in front of her friends! I felt like nobody!... but, me and my husband recently got an apartment and we don't have much in it but, what we do have I appreciate very much!...and my stepson jumps on furniture and tears stuff off my chairs and is disrespectful to everyone! and my husband just is like well... we only get him every other weekend so there is no point in getting on to him...but when i do get on to him he looks at his daddy!! he even hollers at my on mother!! oh and the child doesn't eat anything but hot dogs and pizza and looks unhealthy! I NEED HELP!!!I CAN'T STAND THIS CHILD!!!

Deedee's picture

My partner and I have been together for about a year. He has two children from his first marriage and a stepson from a second short marriage. The stepson's mother is an alcoholic, and the marriage broke up due to her infidelity. Her son is almost 15 years old and is getting increasingly insolent with both his stepfather and I. He does not pickup after himself, clear up his dishes, or help around the house in any way. When he comes home from school he drops his backpack in the hall and sits in front of the computer and plays Diablo and Rune whatever. He does not speak unless he wants something and does not even turn around when he is spoken to. His stepfather is mostly deaf due to work and the boy will not look at his dad when he talks and snaps at him. He is very rude to me when he bothers to speak to me. His table manners are terrible and I have to continually remind him to put his plate in the dishwasher or hold his fork so it doesnt scrape along the plate.
He is 14 years old and I'm sure he's acting out against me. When I ask him to do something he will call his grandmother and she will come and take him away.
Another issue I have a real problem with is when he is supposed to be with us he may just not show up and my partner has to call around looking for him. The boy will have decided to go to his friends house or the beach or stay with his mother and not thought to have phoned his stepfather. My partner does not feel this is an issue but to me this is the height of disrespect.
His father seems almost afraid to reprimand him and I have a real problem with this kid because, of course, he does not respond to me at all and when he is disobedient to his stepfather it makes me angry.
I have no idea what to do. My partner does not want to discuss it and gets upset when I try to talk about this problem. Thankfully the boy is not around very much but when he is, I just hate the air.
Should I just ignore him? He'll be 16 soon and probably we wont see him at all after that.

Want2love's picture

I have an eleven year old stepson. I have been in his life since he was 2. His mother gave over her parental rights to be with the man she cheated on my SS's father (my husband) with. That is when I came along. The BM does get the child a lot during the summer, during school once a week, and then every other weekend. I believe the mother feels guilty for running out on her son so she spoils the child rotten.

My husband and I try to discipline him. He obviously has no rules when he's with his mom. He argues with me when I get on to him. He told his seven year old sister (my daugher) that he wished she and the younger sister had never been born. He's mean to them in other ways. He won't sleep in his own bed. I've been fighting back feelings of dislike towards my ss. I resent having to work so hard with him, because his BM spoils him. I am to the point that I wish he would just go live with his mother since he just wants to fight with us. I don't want to give up on him. I want to love him, but it is so much more peaceful at our house when he isn't there. I feel bad for feeling this way.

My husband would be hurt if his son ever decided to live with his BM full time, and he would be angry with me if he knew I felt this way. My husband has felt jealous of any of the time he's had to give up when his son is with his step dad and mom. I've prayed for strength and wisdom. He's the child and I'm the adult, right? So why can't I be stronger?

Michele's picture

Hello I have a 13 old step son, he lives a couple of hours away so we don't get him often, my problem is he doesn't act his age, he just started getting his own breakfast and still asks my husband what to wear, he announces he has brushed his teeth, just this like that, that a younger kid dose, he comes to are house dirty and is over weight, my husband doesn't see any of this and when i confront him on my thoughts/feelings/concerns he tells me it's not for me to worry about, i feel uncomfortable in my own house at times when he is here. I tell him to use regular plates and cups but he ignores me and uses our toddlers, he knows his actions are immature around me but when my husbands around, he talks like a baby and everything. Any thoughts or people in the same situation?

stepmom929's picture

I know all of these posts are pretty old, I'm wondering if any of you are still dealing with these issues, or if anyone else is??
I am comforted by a few people saying that you aren't obligated to LOVE your ss....I have a ss6 and I can't seem to let him into my heart. The thing is he lives with us fill time, sees his bm for just 1 month in the summer and a few times here and there, but she lives far away and really isn't a part of his daily life at it still normal/okay that I don't love him?? He's a great kid and I know he loves me, but I am just so numb to him. When he wants to hug/be affectionate it makes me cringe....I have no idea why I feel this way. He's lived with us full time for almost 2 years now and it's not getting any better. Of course I do fake it and I think I'm fooling him and everyone else, but why can't a feeling of love for this kid come naturally to me? I feel so guilty and can't talk to anyone about how I feel....everyone says my ss is SO lucky to have such a wonderful sm like me... How do I handle this?

WhatToDo...WhatToDo's picture

I have a 10 year old soon to be ss, and I am in therapy because of how INSANE his mere presence drives me!! I LOVE my fiance, we are getting married soon, but I can NOT shake these terrible feelings. The sight of him makes my skin crawl. His BM is out of her mind, and treats him like he's 3, and her parents are just as bad. Everone tells me "Its not his fault, he's just a kid" I GET THAT...but I cant help it...there is something about this kid that I CAN NOT stand. He's creepy. He talks to himself, spends too damn much time in the bathroom...I cant stand seeing him eat...and I really dont know what to do. I LOVE my fiance SO SO much- but what can I do? I cant tell him how I feel! He would say "love it or leave it" or something...I'm stuck in this shit situation. We have a beautiful house, and all and all a great life- its just this kid every other weekend RUINS it for me. Sad I dont resent him, or anything, I just DONT like him, and I dont think I ever will. What's worse, is that he LOVES ME! I am never EVER mean to him, and I always am nice to him, I dont let these feeling show- but everytime he's around, I simply want to RUN for the HILLS! I will be nice, and turn around and make a face or something...UGHHH...I'm so glad I found this website.

stepmom929's picture

Believe me, I completely understand and also share your feelings. I'm sorry I didn't see your post earlier. I hear everyone around me telling me what a great kid my stepson is and I just can't get past my negative feelings. I am not mean to him either, but I am beginning to wonder if and when he'll start to see through me...My ss6 lives with us, so there is literally nowhere to hide. It's been 2 years and no bond has formed between us. I am working on figuring out how to at least not feel angry with him, I need to learn to tolerate's so hard though.....I'm pregnant now and one of the reasons I can't wait to have this baby is so that I'll have something else to focus my attention on!! If you are still a member of this site contact me! I'd love to check in and see how you're doing...

MommytoPreciousBabyBoy's picture

Are you still out there I need to talk to someone? I'm in the middle of a weekend "ruin" (as you put it) with my husbands son here. He asked to come a day early and I'm falling apart. Oh please help.

sarahsmommy77's picture

Stepmom929 and What to do...your life is my life! I thought I was the only one out there. I have a 10 year old SS who I just do not like. He lives with us full time so there isn't anywhere to hide for sure. I just tolerate him basically. I don't say much to him ever. I am nice, but only when I have to talk to him, do I do this.

929...I just had a baby girl and it is lovely to have someone to focus my attention on for sure and gives me a very good reason to not just "hang" around SS in the evenings and weekends. I also am so glad I have her b/c I know what a "real parent" feels when they love their child. There is no way I could EVER feel this way about SS.

He doesn't really "do" anything necessarily, he is just creepy and wierd. His latest thing is he wears cologne his mother gave to him and it literally makes me sick to my stomach. It gets on his clothes (that I have to wash) and makes everyone elses clothes smell like it when they go through the wash. Not even detergent can get it out. Ick!!!! I went to wrap my baby girl in her towel the other day and smelled it and instantly pulled her out of the towel.

I am not sure why I don't like him. We have had issues for sure where he has lied, wrecked things in my home, and he is generally lazy as all get out, but he certainly doesn't fit the mold of some of the horror stories I see on here. I just am not comfortable around him and I am not sure I ever will be.

stop talking about ur mom!'s picture

I have a seven year old step son who always talks about his mom and his life with her. How can I nicely tell him to stop talking about his mom all the time? It is driving me crazy!!!! I don't want to be rude to the kid, but sometimes I just feel like telling him that I could care less about his mom! I would like advice on a tactful way to do this. Thank you.

Lolabee's picture

Hi - My husband wants to take a vacation with me and his 17 year old son this summer. He doesn't live with us. Since we've been together (4 years), he has really pulled away from his dad. Things are just starting to get better where he actually answers my husbands calls and is coming at least once a month on the weekends to visit. My SS is not the friendliest kid. He's very shy. He barely talks to me at all. I don't think he hates my but I think he resents me because him and his dad did alot of fun things together before I came along. His parents were never married and split up when he was a baby so I don't think he wants them to be together or anything like that. Anyway - I am nervous that this vacation will be terribly awkward. Is it wrong for me to feel that we should not all (me, husband, and SS) sleep in the same room on this vacation? I feel he is too old for that and we all need some privacy.

JadeS's picture

Ok so I've been reading all these posts and feel like crying! All this time I was thinking that there was something wrong with ME. I feel like my stomach is roughting from guilt. I cant stand my stepson. Just looking at him upsets me. I tried so hard initially to like him. I would cook homemade meals for him, which he never liked and when his Father asked him to thank me for dinner he would say no, I didn't like it so I don't have to say thank you. He purposely destroys my daughters toys, draws on walls, sticks candy to walls, and is just rude and ugly. I do mean ugly. sorry it's the truth! I've bought him gift for his birthday and he'll peak in the bag and say I don't want it and won't even take it out. He is so rude to me and his Father won't disipline him because he thinks the boy is "slow". I told my dh that being "slow" doesn't make someone rude and mean. I don't know how much longer I can live like this. We get him every other weekend and wednesday nights. I dread him being in my home. Which was my home before we got married and now is our home... I think that makes it harder for me. I feel like I've worked hard to get my own home and now this kid comes over and completley disrespects it and I can't do anything about it. If I could rewind I wouldn't have married my dh. I hate that I feel like that already, but I can't stand his kid and I'm sure that hurts him to know that. It isn't fair to any of us. BUT now we have a little girl together whom is the joy in my life and also the tie that holds us all together.. for better or worse. BLAH!

Thanks for sharing everyone. We are not wicked step parents, we just have wicked step kids whom lack the discipline they really need.

buttercup123's picture

It's hardly surprising given that you don't have a lot of interaction with him. I don't think that you should worry too much as long as you treat him with respect. You don't chose who you love.

losinghopeTN's picture

Im happy for you and jealous at the same time. Ive got a 17 yr old step son.His mom and I got married when he was 10. Since he's turned 17 he's gotten worse with how he treats me. He now won't speak to me, he lies about me when Im not around to his mom to make her think Im cheating on her when Im actually at church. I try to to speak first he walks off. I walk into his room to talk to him and he pretends like Im not there. I try to set up counseling so we can work on the issue and the counselor gave up because my step son refused to talk to him after several visits. Im at my wits end with him and dont know what to do next. His counselor told me that Im not his real parent so just sit back and dont worry about. He's not my concern. I think the counselor was an idiot. I the one he runs to when he needs money. Im the one who buys his clothes, fixes his car and all his other needs. Im the one he went when he was little when he was sick, when his grandfather died, etc.

Why should I live my life feeling used and abused in my own home?

ys33Megan's picture

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hanitized1's picture

I am a BM of 2 children, a 13year old son and a 7 year old daughter. I have 2 stepsons for the last year who we have one week on one week off, 11 and 8 who I treat like my own and care about tremendously. The 11 year old and I seem to get along quite well, I think he is a great kid and I do feel like we could have a good bond at some point except for the fact that his Mom talks about me like Im the devil or something ever since day 1. The 8 year old however is a totally different story. He has NOT liked me since day 1 and was not happy when his Dad and I got married nor was he happy when his Mom got married recently either. He wont let me get close to him at all. He doesn't even like to sit next to me! If I try to even pat him on the head he cringes? If I have to put a bandaid on him it seems so uncomfortable. We play basketball and video games together and have fun and he talks to me all the time, but there is always this "wall" there and I don't know how to break it without making him uncomfortable? I am a very huggy Mom and the 11 year old well give me hugs sometimes but there is no way the 8 year old would ever do that. He ignores me if his BM is anywhere close by and I just feel like we will never have a relationship at all. So the only kind of relationship I get is the evil Stepmom telling him to be respectful and do his homework and be responsible and so on, but the caring, loving there for him when he needs it Mom he wont let me be. Im not trying to replace his Mom and I have never said anything mean about her nor will I. My Husband says I should have a heart to heart talk with him and show some emotion with how it makes me feel and explain things to him, but it just seems like it would be so uncomfortable for both of us and he would probably just go tell his Mom and twist things into making her think Im trying to take her place. He gets along really well with my Daughter who is 7 but wont talk to her when the BM is around either..its weird and my Daughter doesn't understand it at all. I am a very active stepmom and do everything with and for them that I do with my own. Its much harder then I thought it would be for sure. Any suggestions?

confused ma's picture

It keeps me up at night sometimes knowing how I really feel in my head about my ss. He is only five and I have been with his father since he was two. I used to play with him and change his diaper when he had an accident, but now everything he does irks me. He still sucks his thumb, carries around a blanket and soils himself. I know that all of this is not his fault, but i just have this stomach-turning feeling when he does them. Also, he cries and whines more than our 2-year old and talks on the same level as she. I have read about ways to help him with his issues, but somehow I know even if he doesn't do these things any more I will still not love him the way I love our daughter. I cannot imagine trying to wipe his butt now, I want to gag at the thought, but i used to do it! I love my husband more than anything but he is so soft with the child I feel as though our daughter is being singled out. he is quick to discipline her and very rarely does any reprimanding for my ss's disobedience. I will put our daughter in line myself, if she is being a brat, I am not one to stray from punishment but i don't think it is right to treat one child more strict than the other. My husband says he doesn't want to be hard on him when he is only here every other week. I disagree. His mother and I have never been on good terms, and nothing has changed there. so why do I suddenly feel this way??