12-16-2020 03:02 AM - last edited on 10-01-2021 12:57 PM by Emily-RO
I literally cannot stand my 14 year old stepson! His father and I married 3 years ago. I have a 9 year old son from a previous marriage, and we have a 7-month old daughter together. Stepson was alright in the beginning when his dad and I were just dating and I didn't have to deal with him in my home every other weekend, but since my husband and I got married and joined households, I DREAD the weekends we have him. His presence in my home feels like an intruder. It is not that he is a "bad" kid. He is very aggressive in nature and is sneaky. He's also been caught doing some naughty (adult) things with girls already. He does try to be respectful toward me, but when he is around, the entire weekend is centered around him. He also lives with his mother 1.5 hours from where we live, so we spend much of the weekends he is here shuffling him back-and-forth and it is such an inconvenience. My husband hasn't helped the relationship with stepson either, in fact, I feel like he has made me resent stepson more. My husband consistently complains if we do not include his son in EVERYTHING we do. Recently, I wanted to have family pictures made, but it wasn't our weekend with stepson, and my husband was so bothered by this that he threatened divorce because he told me I was selfish for not arranging pictures on a weekend his son was here. We have to take him on every vacation we go on. If we don't, my husband sulks like a baby for days about it. It is even gotten so bad where if I get up and make my biological son a bowl of cereal and don't do exactly the same for his son, my husband will pitch a fit in front of the kids telling me "If you can't do it for both of the boys, don't do it for just your son!" But my son is only 9, stepson is 14 and should be able to do those things for himself. Another example, I mailed out Christmas cards this year and addressed them from myself, my husband, my son and our daughter. This caused another huge fight because my husband was baffled I wouldn't include my stepson on the greeting. Hello! It is starting to cause serious rifts in my marriage, and I hate that because I love my husband very much, and aside from these issues, we really have a great marriage. However, I don't know how to shift my feelings about this kid. I find myself just going through the motions on our weekends with him and praying that when he turns sixteen in a couple of years and is driving that he will decide to no longer come every other weekend. Am I wrong? I feel like just because I fell in love with his Dad doesn't mean I automatically have to love him too. I do have to be kind and decent to him, which I am, but I do not feel like I should have to act toward him how I act to my biological children.
12-16-2020 01:58 PM - last edited on 10-01-2021 12:59 PM by Emily-RO
Unfortunately, I understand. I came into my step kids lives early on. My stepson was 3 and step daughter was 6. I always got annoyed with step son because he would follow his dad everywhere. It was just annoying. And we got them all the time. Literally, more than their mother. She would send him with no underwear on, no shoes, etc... So, I took them in and did everything fairly. As they got a little older, we basically got a phone call to come get em, she couldn't feed them, an be we never sent them back. (She didn't put up a fight). Because of her, he failed 1st grade. How's that even happen? As he got older, he struggled in school. I helped all the time! I wanted him to succeed. However, these last 3 years have been hard. He's now 17. He smokes pot ALL DAY LONG. Not in my home, cause I refuse that! He's dropped out of school. ( mind you, I recently washed my hands of him). Once he quit caring & it seemed like I was the only one putting in effort, I was done. I quit caring about his outcome. I did know early on, this would happen. Since school is virtual, and I have 4 biological kids to also help, I just stopped caring. He refused to do the work (I even offered to do the hard stuff for him! ). So we always explained to our children we cannot allow them to be bums. At 18, you're either going to continue your education or work. My 17 year old daughter has worked since she could, has kept her 1st job, has graduated early, etc. (She did just turn 18 & also just had a baby) but she went back to work after 3 weeks & practically raises her child alone. Has goals, morals, respect. He has none of the above. He won't learn basic life skills like how to cook, he barely cleans up his mess after using the microwave! Still leaves dirty clothes on floor in bathroom after the shower. He knows my expectations. When I'm around, he doesn't really talk much, but recently he met a girl. He's toxic with her. Side note, I dont like kids company in my house. I just don't. They don't pick up after themselves, they're loud, & my kids are enough. Having more stresses me out. His girlfriend was over & they were arguing. When things got heated, I snapped. I already told him she needed to leave by 1pm. Here it is 2pm & y'all are getting loud and almost physical. I started yelling for her to get the **** out my house. She was a little disrespectful but nothing major. Once she got out, things got worse. He went down to the laundry room where his dad was, and was talking smack about it & disrespected me to his father (I still don't know what was said to this day). Any how, things got physical. My step son came in the house & told me I needed to go get his dad, and that he was going to go **** him up. My daughter and I were so confused. What just happened? So we're trying to hold him back (he's 6'2 & 220lbs- I'm guessing- he's huge! ) he basically was dragging us. In the meantime he had a wooden board he was going to hit his father with. So instead of trying to hold him back, I ran down to laundry room and shut his father inside so my step son couldn't hurt him. After awhile they were arguing outside & I said I was going to go call the cops. (I really wasn't going to unless it got physical again). A tenant must've called because they came. To attempt to shorten this novel, they did nothing. They said we can't kick him out cause he's not 18 and/or emancipated. We still told him to get out & even told his sister to take him away from here. His biological sister & him are close so i figured she would take him with her to her house (nope! ). I told her to take him to his mother. Since he wants to mimic her behavior, he can go live with her. She refused him as well. So back he was stuck with us. All this because i said his little girlfriend wasn't allowed back over. Two days later, i was so scared he was going to hurt us, she ended up back over, although out of sight. About a week later, they argue again in public. This time the landlord saw it. At this point, he doesn't ever want her here. I was so scared my step son was going to hurt the landlord. We work as the only managers at a very small extended stay motel. There's a house built onto the end of the property in which we live. If the landlord wanted, he could kick us out. We'd be homeless & jobless. At this point, his father and i want him gone! He filed out 1 application (that my daughter did for him because he said he needs help *eye roll*). He must've assumed he had it in the bag, again, he has to life skills & refuses to learn them. I wouldn't hire him. He doesn't dress like a person wanting a job and he leaves his hair a mess. He looks like a thug and tries so hard to be one although he was not raised that way at all. We are out of options. We don't know our rights, we don't know how to file emancipation (it all says it is to get out of paying child support- nothing to do with unruly children). We can wait until he's 18 *another eye roll* but then what? He doesn't have anywhere to go, no income, nothing! So i waste my time away from my children filling out random applications, just to get him out! So i understand completely. The one thing i would say in your situation though, is switch roles. What if he treated your son the exact same way you treat his? Not saying you're doing anything wrong, just merely saying "think about that". What if you only got your son on weekends. What if your hubby wanted family pictures & did it with out your son? What if he only made his child snacks & didn't ask your son if he wanted any? It would hurt because of the luv you feel for your son. Children do absord all behavior. They see what we're doing. Even if they don't say anything or act differently. Just a simple thought. Then ask yourself, where do you see all of you in 5 years? Is it worth it? Or do you despise him so much, it's making you willing to leave for good? Hubby won't stop caring and babying his son quite possibly because he feels like he owes his son. I know my hubby does. He thinks he owes his kids cause their mom is so crappy. She never calls them, holidays, b-days, EVER.
12-16-2020 02:51 PM
Hi @aprilrnga ,
It sounds like a really difficult situation for you, your husband and your stepson to navigate - establishing a blended family can be really challenging. I'm hearing that those difficulties are starting to cause issues in your relationship with your husband, I'm wondering if the two of you have ever tried seeing a counsellor together to work through some of these concerns? Sometimes it can help a lot to have a neutral third party involved, especially when emotions are running high.
It looks like you're in the USA, is that right? We are an Australian service so unfortunately our local support options won't be suitable - I did find this service that looks like it could be useful if you ever feel like it would help to talk to someone
We also have some great resources on the ReachOut Parents page on navigating the dynamics of a blended family and building those relationships - you can have a look at those here , they include videos from other families sharing their experiences.
On your weekends with your stepson, I'm wondering if you have any activities that you enjoy doing as a family? Does your stepson spend much time one on one with his Dad? I'm wondering if it might be helpful to focus on some activities that can help you to bond as a family unit, while also giving your stepson some alone time with his dad. I do think that @OutOfOptions makes a good point about how much children can absorb people's behaviour and attitudes towards them, and I imagine if your husband feels like his son isn't been treated fairly, it would make him feel really protective and defensive towards his son.
@OutOfOptions thanks so much for sharing your experiences here, it sounds like you and your family have been faced with some incredibly challenging circumstances, and I can hear how much you've done to try and support your stepson. It looks like you are also in the USA - I'm sorry but I'm not overly familiar with the law there around emancipation and what that looks like for a young person. Were the police able to give you any suggestions about any support services that might be able to help your stepson? Is your stepson interested in doing any further education, like community college?
08-30-2021 02:46 PM - last edited on 08-30-2021 02:53 PM by Janine-RO
Hi April! I was just reading your forum regarding your stepson and it sounds exactly how I feel. It almost was too similar. Stepson’s age, the sneaky weird vibe, his mother also loves 1.5 hrs away, we have a 15month old and I DREAD when we have him. Me and my husband also have a lot of the same arguments. I would love to connect with you if you would be open to it. It would be so nice to talk to someone that knows how I feel. Most just don’t understand and make sure feel like a terrible person for your feelings. It’s hard. Anyways..
08-30-2021 04:54 PM
First of all, I wanted to say that I think it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge what you're feeling and to reach out for support - thank you for trusting us with what you're going through.
It's not uncommon for people to find it hard to manage relationship dynamics with their step children, but I think it's really helpful to talk about it and to seek input from others.
I guess in every area of life we will face relationships with people we just don't 'click' with easily.
Added to that, children can often have more challenging behaviour when they've been through distressing events like parental separation, or when they have disrupted attachment.
It doesn't make you a terrible person to find things hard, it makes you honest.
There are some great resources and suggestions in Janine's post above - I hope there is something that helps you to find ways to connect more with your husband's son.
09-26-2021 04:26 PM
09-26-2021 04:35 PM - last edited on 09-27-2021 10:09 AM by Philippa-RO
I 100% feel the same way. We have a 15mo old and I am newly pregnant but sometimes as sad as it seems I feel like it would still be easier to do it by myself than to have to keep dealing with his son coming over for long periods of time. It’s such a hard situation and I always tell people if I could go back in time I would have never dated a man with a child. I am just not cut out for it. I also feel like it got worse when I had my own kids. I hope you find some sort of happy medium especially with the new babe. I am also so sorry you are going through this, know you are not alone nor are you a terrible person for feeling that way.
09-26-2021 09:57 PM
09-29-2021 10:31 PM - last edited on 10-01-2021 01:00 PM by Emily-RO
You're right-- it is just plain hard. I wish I could say my feelings have improved since I initially posted this a year ago (or longer), but sadly, they haven't. Just this morning I was laying in bed talking to my husband about summer vacation plans. I asked him if he would be willing to go on vacation this year just me, him, and our daughter. I hate going on vacations with his son because he influences my biological son to act out of character. This past Summer on vacation with all of the kids, Stepson was walking down the beach strip throwing up gang signs to all the passing cars, with my younger son right beside him. He could have gotten them hurt! On the same vacation, we spent the last two days disciplining him because we got his phone (that his mother provides) and found text messages where he was asking a friend for marijuana edibles. I get it, he is 14, and teenagers will be teenagers, but my 10-year old biological son does not need to be around such behavior. I told my husband, I'd be willing to leave my biological son with my mom while we go on vacation so hubby wasn't offended that we take my son but not his, he still wasn't in agreement. He said family vacations are for the family, and we can't leave the boys out. I tried to explain to him that going on vacations under those circumstances aren't a vacation for me-- that I'd rather just stay home than plan vacation, spend a lot of money, to go and have to do deal with the same crap per the usual with the stepson. This kid just sucks the life out of me!
I'd love to connect with you further. Maybe we could be a support system to one another.
09-29-2021 10:35 PM
Thank you for your reply. Relationships in general with anyone in this life are tricky, in my experience. With a friendship that doesn't "click" though, you can just reserve your right to walk away. It sucks to be stuck in relationships with people and there is nothing you can do about it but grin and bear it.
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