You are here

Love my step son but kind of think I don’t like him

Bib93's picture

My husband and I have been together for a little over a year now. I love my husband very very much but starting to have trouble with parenting views at the moment.

Together we have 3 children. My main issue is his 5 year old son. He’s incredibly smart but from my assessment, he’s very emotionally immature. His tantrums are out of control and it’s starting to feel like full on dread when our weekend with the kids comes up. 

Lately he has been doing something new. When he asks for anything, for example a cup of juice, I have it poured into a cup handing it to him and he will continue to ask his dad for juice. Almost like I’m invisible. One day he wouldn’t let me hold his coat because he said his daddy needed to hold it. Prior to this month, these type of situations never came up. What is the root of all this? I’m worried and weirdly kind of hurt. I’ve talked to my husband about it and he denies any sort of manipulation or retaliation on his son’s behalf. Saying he isn’t capable of those kind of behaviors at his age. Was it something I did? Something his mom told him? I really don’t know. Seeing this crack worries me about the future. I love him but don’t like this little guy. 

MrsStepMom's picture

If he was older I’d lean more toward manipulation, but also you say he is very mature. Maybe ask him “Timmy why don’t you want the juice I’m handing you!”  Maybe he just says “I want it from daddy” or maybe he says “daddy does it with bubbles because he shakes it first”. I don’t know but it’s possible he’s just having a moment of clinging to daddy. Even if he was your bio child these times would happen. Many mothers write to advice columns about their children doing exactly this for a time. Dear Wendy write about her son going through a daddy phase that devastated her but how it eventually turned back to mommy only. 

tog redux's picture

And how does DH react? Does he say, "Timmy (we've named him Timmy!), stop ignoring SM. She has the juice right there."


Bib93's picture

Laughing about Timmy! Yes he has had several side convos about it because it very obvious and strange. The one thing I should have mentioned is that “Timmy” told my husband that his biological mom told him that only his mommy or daddy should help him. I’d like to think she was referencing Timmy not asking Biological mom’s boyfriend for help and he took this extremely literally. Just exasperating. But disengaging could be helpful. I have 2 other children that need me all the time so it’s not like I’m just jonesing to refill juice and all the other things that moms get asked to do. 

2nd wives club's picture

Why is your DH allowing  this?

At age 5, Timmy is still young enough to "change course", but if Timmy was older I would be advising disengagement. If DH doesn't correct this soon, it's going to get ugly. 

Bib93's picture

It definitely has the potential to get bad. He addresses it with Timmy every time it happens. So I think he is making the effort. He even punished him with a “strike” which is taking money away from him with our allowance system.

There’s definitely a parenting power struggle between BM and us. And that could be way more info than you guys care to read! But I do agree it needs to keep being addressed as soon as the behavior is seen/heard. I am feeling so supported by you guys taking the time to post. Thank you very very much! 

MrsStepMom's picture

Ugh i don’t get why BMs do this. She is just making her own life harder. My mom appreciated my step mom helping out, watching me in a child care emergency, doing fun things with me. As bad as our BM is at least she appreciates me caring for her son. 

Rags's picture

I would guess BM manipulation.  

As for response, he accepts the juice from you or .. he does not get any juice. 

He accepts help putting on hsi coat from you, or ... he is cold.

And he says thank you.

I would disagree that there is a parenting power struggle between BM and your side.  She gets no say in how parenting or anyhting else is done in your home.   Just as you get no say in how parenting or anything else is done in her home.   What is ciritical is that the standards of reasonable behavior in your home are consistent and that he is subject to those standards from the second he arrives until the second he leaves.  Regardless of what flies or does not fly in BM's world.   

"You know the rules in this home.  The rules in your mother's home are for your mother's home."

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Jcksjj's picture

Well as far as capability it really depends on the kid. My 8 year old has just this year developed the skills necessary to manipulate that SD had at 4.5 (Luckily hes not using them in the same way). Unless hes really shy towards you for some reason it sounds like the same crap I dealt with from my SD for a long time. I'd say it started after we had been together for about a year also. Nothing could come from me, it had to be from mom or dad. Treats were rejected because "its not what mommy would buy." Tantrums were thrown because I threw away an old half eaten carrot in her snack bag from her moms house the week before and put a fresh snack in. I have a few blogs specifically about these things...buying her things and she sticks her nose up at it and comes back with a "better version from BM house. Ordered pizza once and she sat there and picked at it with her nose in the air and then when DH came home and gave them the leftovers for supper it was oh thank you so much daddy I love pizza so so so much! Disengaging some was the only solution for me. Trying to win them over just backfires.

TwoOfUs's picture

There's no manipulation. It's actually incredibly common for young kids to prefer one parent over the other for various reasons and at various times even in intact families. My sister has three boys and all three went through an "only mommy can do it" phase when they were toddlers. It's annoying...because their mommy didn't want to change every diaper, pour every drink, and cut up every meal. 

It's even more natural for a young kid to prefer a bio-parent to a stepparent. That doesn't mean he gets his way necessarily...just that it's not an odd development. 

Jcksjj's picture

Yeah that's normal at 2 to 3...not 5. I think you have to see body language and hear the tone of voice etc to be able to tell a little more what's going on but my SD definitely did and still does this years later to "put me in my place" 

Bib93's picture

It is such a relief to know that this is more common than I thought. Of the 3 kids we have, he’s definitely the one child that requires the most work, patience, and attention. The main take away for me (besides how kind you all are to take the time to comment) is accepting the behavior for what it is-  he is an young 5- but making sure he is aware that when he is in our/my home he will listen, respect, and recognize me as an adult authority figure. My husband was great this weekend reinforcing this issue and making sure he is aware that we have this little boy’s number Wink it’s a comfort to know my husband has my back. In the long run if he always prefers his dad, I not only understand that but I can be just fine with it. What I want to make sure is very clear is that there’s a level of respect he will need to maintain with me in order to co-exist peacefully.