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Needing advice, please help!...

djb0128's picture

Hi. New to this site and need some input or advice..

I'm married with 2 stepchildren, a boy and girl and we have a child of our own and have been together for 5 years. My stepchildren have different mothers and are close in age. I get along pretty well with his daughter.. My stepson is almost 10 and I am having and extremely difficult time with him and don't know what to do!!! He is ridiculously rude to me and has no respect for me. He doesn't listen to anything I say and always has this condescending attitude about him like everything I'm saying is stupid and ridiculous. He talks back to me all the time and questions and argues with me about anything I say and I'm really struggling with how to deal with this. Before I get bombarded with negative responses let me say that I do understand that I play a part in the way I am treated by him. Honestly, I try to avoid him any time I am able and I know I am not as friendly with him as I should be...I get it that if I made a bigger effort to be friends with him then maybe that might happen. It's hard to be friends with someone like that. This is not a new thing. I have had trouble with him since since his dad and I moved in together 4 years ago. I'm not sure how to discipline him other than to tell him to go to his room. I ask his dad for help in this matter but he feels that if he talks to him enough that maybe eventually the point will get across to him that he should not behave this way. When i suggest punishments like taking things away like not letting him play on the computer or taking toys away from him or something, my husband makes me feel guilty because he says he doesn't want him to see his time at our house negatively (we get them every weekend). When my husband agrees to a punishment like having him help with yard work or something, he does not follow through.

We get into a lot of arguments because of all this and it is very tolling on our relationship. I feel horrible for putting my husband in a situation where he feels torn between his wife and his son and believe me, I have tried everything i can think of over the last few years. I have tried the nice, friendly approach to things with talking and reward kind of system and spending time with him but that turned out not to work because it was taken advantage of and wouldn't do anything without getting something in return. I've had many heart to heart conversations with him making sure to let him know that I do care about him and that I don't let him play on the computer all day or watch TV all day or whatever to be mean, but because because it's not good for him and that I take his toys away or have him go to his room not to be mean but to help him learn right from wrong. I've tried to explain how it hurts my feelings when he acts like that to me and have asked him how I can do things differently to help the situation. For a while, all I get back is eye rolls and laughing. I've tried a more stern approach but that only make him more resentful and doesn't help at all. I understand that he's just getting to that age where this stuff happens. My husband points out that he doesn't to it to only me, that he acts like that with everyone, but i don't entirely agree. He doesn't go to the extreme with everyone else that he does with me. Please keep in mind that I have never had to take part or responsibility in the well being of a teen or preteen, but I myself being that age once know that it comes with the territory. It feels different in my situation though because he is so difficult with me primarily, as well as from a step parent perspective, where I feel I don't have the opportunity or right as a step parent to handle things as I would my own child in the sense of perhaps being a little more stern and following through with the rules and consequences of being disrespectful to your parents. Because of this, I rely on his parents to teach him right from wrong, but my husband is very hesitant about everything that might make him unhappy and his mother is also very difficult to deal with, often sending him to relatives or friends houses to lessen the burden and responsibility of her 5 children. She is unemployed and single and quite frankly a bad influence on him in my opinion.

It is also very difficult because my biological son is 4. He looks up to his big brother and is very impressionable. He is a very nice and well behaved kid overall. He sees that his big brother does not listen to me so he's getting the impression that he doesn't need to either. Above everything, I do not want my son to see me talked back to, argued with and questioned about everything by his big brother and go on thinking that it's ok. He copies everything his big brother does and I am finding that lately, I get a lot of the same comments and responses that I would from my step son.

I feel stuck and unsure how to help this situation. I feel like I am putting my husband in the same position by maybe making him feel like he has to choose a side or something. However, as his wife I don't think it is too much to ask for him to be more concerned about his wife being disrespected, especially in our home in front of our son. I don't know what to do. It is becoming much more difficult to be around my stepson each time I see him. I know I start to resent him and he can sense it and see it and it makes the situation worse. I'm an adult and he's 9 and maybe I should have a better handle on the situation and not take it so personal or have some better way to deal with it or something, and it's easy to say all that but more difficult to accomplish it. I was fully aware that he had kids when we started seeing each other. I made a commitment to him knowing that I would have some part in their lives and assumed that not everything is perfect and I would probably face some difficulty at some point. After all, I had a step father growing up and know that it's not easy having a step parent either...but I never expected it to be such a difficult thing to go through not only for myself but for my husband and I also.

If you've taken time to read all this, I appreciate you reading all my venting. If you have some words of wisdom, or ideas that might help me, please, please let me know. I'm at the end of my rope on this and I'm afraid of the affects it might have or is having on my family. please help!

Orange County Ca's picture

Your solution is in the article I've linked below. Listen this kid isn't your responsibility or problem. Stop trying to be his mother. He has one. Even if he didn't have one without your husbands backing you're helpless. Let go. Regardless of how he turns out you won't get the credit but if you keep interfering you could get some of the blame if he turns out bad. Just let him go.

If your bio-son starts to show the same traits or asks why the older kid gets away with stuff explain it all truthfully. His parents don't care enough about him to teach him the proper way of living. But you (your son) are different and special to me and I am not going to let you act that way. Age appropriate language of course.

Now read this whole article. Implement this program and let this boy go. A million kids are being raised in the U.S. today without your help. Almost every one of them will turn out just fine. Let this kid join that group. Send me a private message if you have more questions as I don't normally revisit questions I've answered:

Auberry2's picture

I am sorry. I don't have any good advice, but I know how you feel. My SS6 is a heathen with me, the biggest frustration I have is that almost everyone else on the planet thinks he is an angel. I will say this, as much as I care about SS6, and as much pressure as I have had put on me to be a mommy to him, I have had to make the choice to disengage at least partially to save my own sanity. I no.longer try to be as involved, I leave school and sports and everything to DH. The only place I still stick my nose in is when he is blatantly disrespectful to me and then I do give time outs. I worked in child care for many years and my kids at the Daycare weren't allowed to be disrespectful to me without a consequence, and I don't believe SS6 should be allowed to either. As a disclaimer, DH is totally on board with this.

It is hard not to take it personally, I know it is for me, and I don't have any mind blowing advice, but in the dark lonely world that steppparenting can be, you aren't alone.

Step-Volgirl's picture

You say. "my husband makes me feel guilty because he says he doesn't want him to see his time at our house negatively (we get them every weekend). When my husband agrees to a punishment like having him help with yard work or something, he does not follow through."

To me, it sounds like your DH is the biggest problem. Your SS knows he can get away with everything because your DH is too worried about being a friend than a parent. Kids need discipline and structure and boundaries. You DESERVE respect in your own home. I'm all for disengaging and I agree that it works in some cases, but when the Skid's behavior is that disrespectful towards an adult and/or that behavior is being copied by your bio-kid, then it needs to stop ASAP. If your DH won't do it, then you have 3 options:
1 - Take your DS and leave - permanantly
2 - Take your DS and leave - just for SS's visits
3 - Take matters into your own hands.