Step-mother tired of being treated like “step-monster” —–

by Rod Smith

READER QUESTION: “Thank for the column ‘the seven essentials before marrying someone with children.’ Last February I married a very loving man but it’s been a challenge. We have a 5 month old boy and my husband has two older sons (20 and 17) who were kicked of their mother’s and have lived with their dad for the past two years. The boys think they can run all over me because they have lived at their dad’s house longer than me. I get a lot of sarcasm. I am just sick and tired of being treated like a ‘step monster.’ I am nothing but nice to those boys all the time and I try to show them love and care, but they think daddy is it and step mom and baby brother are just along for the ride. It really makes me mad that they have such bad attitudes toward me. Should I just start acting unloving to them like they are to me or should I keep trying to be nice even though I am getting slapped in the face by them all the time?” (letter shortened)

ROD’S REPLY: I’d suggest you married a loving man who is intimidated by his two older sons. It is time for dad to step up for step mom.

31 Comments to “Step-mother tired of being treated like “step-monster” —–”

  1. Agree, time for your husband to stand up for you and if need be, these two boys might need to get the boot from him as well. They are guests in your home, you are not the guest.
    You should continue to be nice to them, however that does not mean that you should allow them to walk all over you.
    It is critical that you and your husband are on the same page on how to handle this.

  2. I completely empathize. My partner and I share a home that we bought together in July ’05’ with her little girl of 9 at the time. A year later her 13 year old son, now 14 who has been living with his father for the last five years asked if he could move in with us because he was failing school and wanted our “help”.. what a mistake. He ADHD with what I would consider oppositional defiant behaviors. He passive aggressively challenges me when I call him on his crap. He stares at me, says nothing as if I’m supposed to back down. This little terrorist has taken over home, is still failing school (failed twice so far- 14 in the 6th grade) and his mother has told me that she would move out instead of have him move back to his dads… Knowing his behavior before hand since he used to just visit twice monthly, I asked her specifically if there was a chance she would ever let him move in if he asked. She was adament and told me “no”. I should have never agreed to let this kid of hers move in. Kids like this will ruin a relationship in a heartbeat.

  3. I married a wonderful man with a very spoiled child.How was I to know that before marriage it took us all living together before I saw the habits and attitude. My step son has made some changes in the year his dad and I have been married,BUT it’s me that made most the changes just to keep my marriage in harmony. Most the time I feel as if I live in my husband and his son home. Theres’ very little control I have with this child (13) Yet my husband expects me to help him with with his son. I have already raised 3 children of my own I think I know a little about children.Yet I still have little say in the home. By me lowering my epectations of the child …..ok, truthful no epectations from the child. THis helped calm the home chaos but my inner storm still brews. The man I married is worth the sacrafic, the child is with us only a few more years. My husband forever. So which is worth the fight for you?

  4. You are telling my story. My husband and I have been married two years and I have three sons from a previous marriage. My step son is 14 years old going on 40. He tries to run our household while my husband is working nights. He has stolen many items from my sons, kicked my beloved dog in the face, bullied my sons, told my in-laws that I do nothing around the house and accused me of taking his clothes! This has caused many arguments between my husband and myself. Sometimes I just want out of the whole situation. He goes to his mother’s house on the weekends and I find myself dreading when he’ll make his return. I tried to be nice and patient, but I can’t take his attitude anymore. I have never disciplined him. I leave that to my husband. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do? He and his father argue over his treatment of me and I’m afraid if their relationship becomes strained my husband will resent me possibly. Should I stay or should I go?

  5. i know that the guy i am living with had a son but when we moved in i did not think he would be living there full time and the mom see him every other weekend and i can see that i dad goes easy on him and thats ok with the dad and when i try to say something i’m the bad guy he has told his dad and grandma that i am mean and the thing is i just dont let him get away with stuff like his dad and everyone else i have 3 kids and mine know that i dont let them get away with stuff. but the man i am with does not see that his son in running the dads life and not the other way around i have been going throw this for 3 years and i dont know what to do any more please help.

  6. OK.. I’m seeing this from the “opposite” side… my kids, ages 12 and 13, are with their father for the summer in another state. “Dad” has his fiance and her 18 and 10 year-old daughters lare living in our old home now in anticipation of their upcoming marriage. “Step-mom” has raised a son to adulthood also. My 13 year-old son is ADHD and on meds – he’s also anxiety ridden. He’s a handfull I admit, but he is “handle-able” when you take the time to know him and understand why he does things sometimes. His dad never did that and his stepmother is making a mess at trying to do so. They’re trying nothing but strong-arm tactics which do not work. My new husband made a wonderful effort this past year to observe and figure out my son and has been an awesome step father to both my kids. They are well disciplined at home and although have the occassional issue, for the most part have settled in well. I’m counting the days until I get them back as my daughter has called me in tears about the stepmother’s treatment of her brother. It’s heart wrenching from this end. I totally agree that in all your cases “dad” needs to step in and create a respectful structure in your homes. Outside of that, you must get family counseling!!! It sounds to me like most of these relationships are now nothing more than “territory wars”. I wish my ex would take control, but instead, he’s sitting back and expecting “mom” to run the children – just like when we were married. They need to get spines.

  7. I’m there with all the step moms. I have a significant other who i’ve been with for over 3 years. We decided to come together and purchase a home. He as two 12 and 14 year old boys. He has them 50% of the time from Sunday through Wednesday. We are having the same problems with the dad not taking responsibility for the actions of his boys. I have a 5 year old son as well. He does not have any rules or boundaries for the boys and pretty much let them do what ever they want around the house. Since he doesn’t punish them for things that they do, when i attemp to, i get told that i’m medding and that, “he didn’t ask me to discipline them.” We have one of the son who as asberger’s and is a real handful. The dad know that he should keep up with him but refuses to, as it’s too much work. We battle about having the boys do basic house hold chores. They don’t clean their room, they get food and soda stains on the carpet even though there is a rule out there for no food in the rooms. They talk back to the dad rudely and I as well. It’s very frustrating when dad just sit’s there and do nothing. What is a step mom to do? Dad does not discipline at all. I’ve been raised by a mother who has taught me that kid need certain responsabilities to grow up to be mature adults. These boys don’t have any limits, no rules, no accountability. The biological mother doesn’t help the situation either. I think she tells them to not get close to the step mom. It’s not in my face, but i can feel that they are afraid to get to know me. I feel like the other ladies like I’m the guest in my own home and it sucks. The mom is not happy about the devorce and encourage her kids to call her about issues that goes on in our home. It’s a mess. We made it past a year in April and I’m truly at my wits end. I like the suggestion from one of the other writers to just not have any expectations for them at all just to keep the peace. It’s very hard to see them going down a path with no direction. Why are fathers so damn passive when it comes to disciplining their kids. It’s hard for a step mom as a mom to sit there and do nothing. That’s why we are mothers, we care and nurture and make sure our kids are raised the right way. Some dads who are passive, lazy, gullible and don’t care to discipline their kids are very sad people. What is wrong with these dads? What they think their kids won’t love them if they put their foot down? I don’t know. I don’t know what to do at this point. I will buy some books on and try not to get so involved. I will keep them at arms distance and see what happens.

    • My boyfriend is the same way with his 8 year old boy. No discipline, so then i have to discipline them, but who`s the bad guy after that? Of course, me. Then the mom says that I`m trying to take over and trying to be the ”mom”, but I need some rules in my house.
      In your case, I`d do the same thing, but I know, these dads are scared that their kids won`t like them if they really punish them. It`s really hard to understand the way they think. And I`m the same, I just can`t sit there and say nothing, I just can`t.

  8. “What they think their kids won’t love them if they put their foot down?”

    That is EXACTLY it! I have had many conversations with my husband about discipline, but it always comes down to fear of losing the child to the other parent. It happened with his older son who will not visit us anymore because we would not let him run things in our home. Now the fear is compounded with the younger son because he is VERY afraid of losing him as well. It makes for a very unhappy visit everytime he comes. I am about to the point where I will lay down the discipline and not care if I am not liked just to have order in the house. My husband doesn’t want that because he wants us (stepson and I) to get along, but I think he will have a choice to make: either he will discipline him in our home, or I will. I think it should be him, but I have to do what’s best for the family, not just the one child.

  9. Ok. In defense of step-kids everywhere. Step-children are not guests in the step-mothers household. The children were there first and should be welcomed into the household. In the eyes of the step-child, they are not at fault for this mess. They did not have a choice in this situation, but were thrown into it. Their lives have been completely disrupted. Divorce is a selfish thing on the part of the parents. However, this does not mean that they are allowed to run the house, but they need love and kindness from their step-parents.

    As a step-child, I felt very unwelcome in my father’s house in an already difficult situation. I have not been allowed to have a good relationship with my father, although I have tried everything I can think of to try. I really feel that a lot of step-parents have little respect for their step-children and feel jealous about their wife/husband spending time with their children. Children really need to know that both of their parents will be there for them, although they do not live in the same household. They need their step-parents to respect and support this relationship.

    Unfortunately, in my experience, this problem often occurs with the step-mother. A wise decision for a step-mother is to leave the discipline to the father for a time, until they have established a caring relationship with their step-child. A relationship involving a lot of love and trust. They need to know their step-parent will allow them to feel comfortable as part of the family and not be excluded because they are not their children. They need to be careful to not come between the child having a good relationship with their biological parent. They need to realize that the child just wants to feel loved and cared for by all. This requires a lot of patience and understanding.

    Another tip: Don’t discuss discipline in front of the children. If you don’t agree, you need to find a place to discuss how you are going to handle the situation without the child and maintain a united front. Please don’t be cruel though. Be careful about what you say. You can really hurt these kids.

  10. Well, I have dated my now husband for eight years. and we have just Celebrated our one year anniversary, )and i didnt think we would make it!)It was all wonderful and THEN we got married and I moved in. he has custody of three kids, a boy 19, and two girls 15/17 years old. It has been chaos. I thought I knew these kids but Im telling you, marriage can change Everything. I have been verbally assaulted, we both have, and now phsyically assaulted by his 15 year old. Last week the police were called bc I had to push her back and off of me, she is my size and the first time she attacked me, my husband was home to pull her off me. this time he wasnt. After she said , I hate you and I will MAKE you leave !!
    WHAT is saving my marriage and has turned my husband and I into best freinds again? a team/ the whoo hoo couple, Even with all this chaos?
    A counsellor, BOTH OF YOU GO, ask the kids to go, ours said No way, now one is going but the aggressive 15 yo will not -yet- but she will, hopefully. YOU CAN DO THIS. the love you have for your man, it doesnt have to be this awful environment, get a counsellor and GO and TALK and reconnect and learn to be a team, you can do this you absolutely can do this and pull your family back together and you know what if you can help the kids heal, great, if you cant, or if they are unwilling to heal, at least you BOTH will know you pulled toghether as a team, I blamed my man, cried, moved out ,moved back in, told the kids im not ever going anywhere without my man again and we were in counselling to fig out how to help them, and help US be happy, It can be done, im telling you, in three visits, ive gone from Leaving and beleiving nothing can be done, to having code words, like “south” for they are flying the coop soon, and crying TOGETHER on the edge of the bed when we are overwhelmed instead of me sleepin on the floor or my study.
    no one said it would be easy, I NEVER KNEW IT WOULD BE SO HARd, or vicious, or mean, or awful!! but it can be so WOW for the both of you, get a counsellor , see her , weve only been three times and its soo amazing, what we walk out fo there with. WE are a team again, I know WHY I married him, he reemmbers why he married me, we are making it!

  11. I can’t beleive all these storys are sooo much the same as mine. I have a 13 year old stepson ADHD his mom gave him up she can’t handle him anymore so now my husband and I have him and my husband can’t handle him ether. He treats me just awful he take my stuff and my husband says no he didn’t . Like alot of other storys I feel like I am living in there house. I have only been married for 3 mo. when we were living together his son lived with his mom. Now I have the evil child. He hurts my dogs he hurts me mentally and his father stand by and says nothing. oh yes and the kid has no friends so he never leaves the house isen’t that just great. Where can anyone go for help?

  12. It is unbeliavable as i feel I am living out a similar script. I am simply not in charge of my own home and my husband seems unwilling to discipline his three children who are my step children. it is difficult loving step children when all you get is disrespect and disapproval.

  13. It is interesting on how you step-mothers all have found a commonality with each other, on how you cannot deal with your spouse’s children. I am flabbergasted on how some of you claim to try and ‘love’ them. You are just pulling the same farce my step mother is playing. My father and my mother had a divorce when I was young, and my mother was diagnosed with paronoid schizophrenia and i haven’t seen her since I was little, and some what recently my father married another women and they were married for a good amount of time. Then my father died of liver cancer and so currently I am living with a step-mother who is completely on par with you people. She claims that she “loves” me. Alright, you married the man you love and his kids came along, ok, now just try and live with them. If you do, your just going to end up complaining on some message board to similar women that are just like you. (I edited spelling and inappropriate language: Rod Smith)

  14. WOW..Kevin…that is unfair and untrue. Not every situation is the same. I am “STEPMOM” to 3 kids whom I love very much. My relationship IS different than with my other 2 children. I am not their mom and don’t pretend to be. I DO, however, try to be a stable, loving mother-like figure to them. And my husband, like so many others mentioned in this, is also VERY passive when it comes to punishment and keeping them in line while they are here. I do not discipline unless I have no other choice. And even then I explain to them what they’ve done wrong and why it won’t be tolerated.
    It doesn’t always work…and I get disrespected and evil glances. Their biological mother is no help to us or to the children. She herself is very unstable, manipulative, selfish and very uncaring of any situation unless it deals directly with her. Since day one she has tried to turn the kids against me the best she could (ex. told them I was a lesbian, a drug user, a whore, that I ruined their life and took their home and dad away..etc…etc.) And my stepchildren do suffer by her hands..she has been abusive verbally and physically to them and refuses any accountability. We stepparents are always left out in the rain…always blamed…always the first to write off by any and all who stand on the other side. I’m not saying all are perfect, wonderful people…but the same can be said for all the biological parents of these children, too. The best any of us can ever do is love them and say “we tried.” I have a long road ahead with mine..they are 13, 12 and 11…and the best I may be able to say when my time with them as an adult to a child is over..chances are, will be “I tried….”

  15. Thanks, Lori: this is a wonderful contribution to the continued discussion.

    Rod Smith

  16. Wow – Well how do you handle older teenagers who basically have no respect for you and tell you to F*&(k off and call you the B word all the time just because you say something like – clean up your room, clean up your mess in the kitchen. Oh by the way – they live under the roof we provide (remember that children!)They are very verbally abusive even in the presence of their baby sibling. I tell them not to curse in my home (I am the step-parent) It’s amazing how things change when the ring goes on the finger in regards to the kids. They speak to their dad like this as well – its to a point I want nothing to do with them and I hate having that feeling. It seems like the only way to have peace is to kiss their butt which I am not about to do – I am the adult here – I should think that I have a say in my own home, but it feels like I am a guest. My home doesn’t feel like my home which is sad. Whether or not the kids were their (which they lived with their mother) first is not an issue. They should have respect enough to refrain from such language when you ask them to. We have things stolen, things broken all because they can’t control themselves in our home. It seems to me “mom” decided she was finished with dealing with this all the time (don’t blame her a bit – but wonder at times how she raised them because of their total lack of respect) I do not think they even like their father at all – just a place to crash. Its hard because I do love them, but right now at this point in time – I would not choose them as a friend and the stress it pulls on my husband and I (we don’t fight unless its about them) I almost feel like I should just leave. I get stressed everytime I am around them because you just don’t know what is going to happen next. I feel like I’m taking the eggshell walk. Husband is at wits end – so what do you do?

  17. A stepmother is not supposed to replace a mother in anyway. They are a bedwarmer first and a babysitter second. Stepmothers need to have their stepchildren’s bio mother take care of their child and see how angry they get at the thought of some other “person” deciding anything for the child. Including medical care, schooling,conversation and when the Bio mom can see her child . Would you expect a hired babysitter to decide all, in essence that’s what it is. The only reason steps “love” someone else’s child is to stay in the good graces of the person they really want.
    Stop pretending that it wouldn’t hurt you if someone did the same to you and your child! You are not to judge a bio Mom unless you want her to take your child and do the same.

  18. Geesh, I’ve never read so much patriarchal gender role guilt in all my life,

    so I’m going to just come out and say it. It needs to be said,

    for one, God help ANY kid who ever would jump me, because jail or not, I’d be taking care of that one really quick, don’t care if its my own or stepchildren, YOU DON’T PUT UP WITH THAT KIND OF DISRESPECT, PERIOD.

    Going to counselor, great…What does the KID learn? The problem I see in a lot of these posts, is not the stepmother or even the father, its the total lack of RESPECT FOR ADULTS, that these kids have, doesn’t Matter if you aren’t the biomom or biodad, in your home,

    ESPECIALLY WHEN THERE ARE OTHER CHILDREN, then basic rules should be set and complied to, no ands, ors, or buts.

    And this waiting for the father/or mother to Do something, This is 2008, not 12th century, if Women aren’t expected to take that kind of Abuse from a man, then why take it from children/or stepchildren?

    Look I’m not saying they have to like you, or that you should be trying to replace the mom, but when it comes to rules and respect, then, oh Hell yea, there is NO way, I would put up with that, and I don’t. I am a stepmother and a custodial mother, the problem is, if the stepchildren can call you names and destroy you home and even hit you, what do you think YOUR kids are going to do, seeing these examples?

    AND if the spouse doesn’t back you up on this, GET OUT. Its an abusive marriage, doesn’t matter if he/she wants to be good guy, when its in Those extremes, you are better off leaving because it goes way beyond the relationship issue between spouse/ex, etc., This gets into a development that was probably going on Way before you entered in, of total lack of leadership and discipline, and all the kissing ass and bending over backwards, isn’t going to change it,


    And what happens, when They grow up and God forbid, They have kids?

    NO, in our home, it IS my home too, my KID’s home, when the stepkids come to visit, its OUR home, not their bio-moms, and its OUR RULES HERE, they abide by, if they don’t like it, they don’t have to come over, its really simple.

    I don’t and never have gone out of my way to be their ‘mother’, I’m not their mother, I’m their father’s spouse…I’m MY kid’s mother [and yes, my obligation IS to them first–I don’t allow Them to be disrespectful to him or to ANY OTHER ADULT for that matter, and it always seems,

    women will sacrifice Even their own kid’s welfare, to make up for the slack for them men, Stop it. He’s a an adult–if He isn’t willing to step up to the plate and enforce some Boundaries, he doesn’t respect YOU enough then, and Thats the problem…

    if HE doesn’t respect you, his kids won’t either. Its not “LOOOVE’ that is key here, its RESPECT,

    if I ask the kids [mine or his] to do something, and they were to smart off–there would be consequences, if my husband didn’t back me up,

    I’d be out the door. In a heartbeat. I’m tough, because I learned the HARD WAY,

    the problem is, when your kids get a certain age and they’ve witnessed how other kids have gotten by with murder, they will do the same exact thing…Then what? And guess what, when YOUR kids act out, the Law will hold YOU responsible and accountable, so, you had better know, really quick, what your kids view in the environment, especially those double standards, will come back to bite you in the ass,

    its not something to skirt around with, and in my opinion, is should be Mandatory that there is a discipline and parenting plan for any new marrieds, especially if there are other children from priors involved, and that plan should include all parties…

    the problem isn’t just the vindictive ex or the slacking husband, no, its the refusal to hold kids accountable for bad and obnoxious behavior, doesn’t matter how confused they are, ITS NO EXCUSE TO BE ABUSIVE TO ADULTS, PERIOD.

    Especially to women, it just unnerves me, how women are expected to just put up with this crap, for the sake of the man,

    no wonder we have perpetuating problems with domestic violence and youth crime and child abuse.

    The next time your stepdaughter jumps you, Call the Police, and PRESS CHARGES, if HE don’t like it, too bad. And I’d even go as far as to call CPS, they didn’t learn that type of disrespect and violence from nowhere…

    parents and stepparents won’t ever have rights until they insist on them. Not saying you should be a tyrant or a bully or abusive yourself [and I don’t condone that, nor condone the playing favorites to your kids and being resentful to stepkids],

    I offered friendship to my stepkids, didn’t push it, but I made sure, from the very get go, like me or not, I don’t care, but you Will respect me, and I made sure, the ex knew this too,

    I was single parent for seven years, I don’t take b.s. from anyone…

    but you see, when you Set those boundaries, you have to mean it, and you have to be willing to walk out fi thats what it takes.

    And I found, when you do that, set those personal boundaries [reasonable boundaries, like, asking someone to pick up their room, and they call you a B, oh Hell no…you aren’t a maid or a piece of trash, DON’T TAKE THAT CRAP, from Anyone],


    But when you set those boundaries and Mean them, you’d be surprised, at how well they work, and the spouse will get on board because they know you mean business.

    My thing is this, I can’t ‘fix’ all that is wrong in their family, etc., and I never tried, I’m not out to win favor or the best mother of year award, its patriarchal and misogynist anyway, but I do offer friendship and supportive role, to both spouse and ex, and to the kids,

    but don’t take advantage of it and don’t think, that I won’t do what I need to do, to assure that our home, is one on harmony and respect, for my kid’s as well. What goes on in their home, is their business, etc., but, when it comes to the kids living in the home you are in charge of, then YOU have the responsibility to maintain some clear and precise boundaries and expectations from All who live there, even if only on the weekend. To not do this,

    is unfair and in my opinion, Abusive to the kids living in your home. IF my kids go to another home, family or not, they are expected to be respectful and abide by the rules in that home, [unless its abusive or an infringement on their rights, etc., but they are still to be respectful],

    I expect the same from others as well.

    The problem I see on so many of these discussions is the lack of boundaries and respect for those boundaries and this outdated martyr role for stepparents,

    it doesn’t help the kids, if anything it only promotes insecurity in them, and it sure as hell doesn’t do anything good for the marriage.

    Just because you are a stepparent, does in no way mean, they have license to disrespect you, trash your home, call you names, disrupt your family, and if the Ex is manipulating this, I’d set her straight [or him] real quick, no matter what laws say. The issues between them, need to be worked out between them,

    not by wrecking your only refuge, your home and your family. And it doesn’t matter if they are three or 17, one shouldn’t have to be the biomom or father, to get decent respect BECAUSE YOU ARE, A HUMAN BEING,

    not some trash or emotional punching bag…so stop allowing it. Just be firm, straight up, mean business, don’t engage in the nonsense, and,

    if they still call you names, etc., then, hey, pack their bags, send them home, and let them know, don’t come back until you learn how to behave. And if the spouse doesn’t back you up,

    then, you pack your bags/kid’s bags, and get out. You’ AND your kids, are better off, without that.

    Speaking from experience….and want to know something,

    my two oldest stepkids, both grown, have a good relationship with me, and they talk to me, more than they talk to their biomom or father…

    go figure

  19. Tasha:

    Thanks for writing. Please watch your language on this site even if you use abbreviations!

    I edited your writing to make it suitable for all ages.


  20. AMEN SISTER!!!!

  21. Here is my situation, I Moved in with my fiance 7 yrs ago and at the time his son was 3 yrs old and a very sweet child with no rules or boundries etc, he was allowed to stay up extremely late and play video games and watch tv and sometimes it was till the middle of the night. Well ,When his son had to get on a bed time schedule for pre-school this is when everything seemed to go down hill because my step-son seemed to think that it was my fault that he had to get to bed early etc.

    By The time the child was 4 yrs old he was showing aggression towards me by giving me the fist if i put him in the corner for saying mean things to me such as I HATE YOU. I Would tell his dad about his behavior but it was never dealt with and so now I have an 12 yr old on my hands who also has ADHD and Opposional Defiant Disorder.
    I Just call it B.R.A.T!
    If my Step-son back talks I will warn him that if he does it that he will be grounded My Fiance seems to think that I am to harsh on my step-son because if his son does back talk after i warn him then I will follow through with him being grounded.
    But my fiance will tell his son that he has this amount of time to do whatever and if he’s not done that “whatever” will happened but after the 15 mins is up and the kids chore isn’t done (we time him because he will take three hours to wash dinner dishes if we let him)
    his dad will walk into the kitchen and no dishes will be done and then my fiance will give him more time and then the OR ELSE comes into play again and still the chore will be one and then yet another threat and then two or three hours later My Fiance don’t follow through with his punishment.
    That is where I am different from my fiance. I Follow through with what I say because I Know that the kid need’s to learn that there is reprocusions for his actions and defiance.

    My Step-son Talks mean to me all the time and I tell him everyday that if he didn’t have such a bad atitude and if he didn’t back talk then we would get along fine and we do once in a blue moon and that is when he wants something and so he’ll be good for that “DAY” or until after he gets what he wants.
    My step-son knows that I have a huge pet peeve about manners at the dinner table and that includes no burping out loud,farting,crackling his knuckles at the table and no elbows on the table and lately my step-son will look right at me and do these things at the table and will will stare me down as if he is really trying to get a rise out of me and I have been trying to ignore him and I have been hoping that his father would do something about it but nothing is ever done about it and if i say something to the kid then I hear from my fiance “will the both of you knock it off” and that he is so sick and tired of the Bull everyday and so I always say to my fiance “then do something about him” he my fiance will say ” No, You Knock it Off”, Your Always Nagging him” or something to that effect.
    My Fiance only hears apart of mine and my step-son’s “bickering” because My step-son will mumble comments to me under his breath like if I go into his room to check to see if its cleaned up inwhich it never is then my step son will tell me to get out of his room and not to touch his stuff and if I say “SHUSH” to him after him saying something sassy to me my step-son will say “SHUSH NOTHING” and that its his room and he don’t have to clean it or do anything because its his room. I can Not tell My Fiance even half of the things that his son’s says because my fiance gets annoyed with me and acts like i should be ignoring everything that his son is doing and saying.
    We have a 4 yr old and I am teaching him manners and I make sure that he remembers is manners and lately when my 4 yr old burps, His Brother will say to him infront of me” “When you Burp, don’t say excuse me” and I half to step in and tell my 4 yr old You always use your manners and say excuse me and do not listen to your brother and that i know is confusing my 4 yr old.
    I am so at my wits end with my step child. EVERYDAY it is a Battle and I am the one who has to take the abuse and try not to blow up but I am always to blame because he will say I am mean and my fiance will say that I am to harsh but he does not see what his son is like behind his back because he talks to sweet and plays the victim to his father but when he walks past me i get an evil look.
    I have actually asked my fiance to watch my movie “THE GOOD SON” because the way that the bad kid in that movie manipulates his parents and even his doctors and grandparents is EXACTLY the Stunt that my step-son Pulls with his father, grandmother and his psych doctors and they do not and never will see it or understand what I am going through because they can only and only want to see the sweet child that he used to be when he was 3yrs old and younger.


  22. WOW !!!! How about this one for ya … step-daughter, 32 almost 33 years old, married and lives far, far away……….. okay, she still calls often ( which that is fine) however when she comes it is always an issue of she wants her dad ( my husband) her mom and his ex-inlaws to go out and eat and such………. however, I am to sit back take it and shut up !!!! Not to mention that she has e mailed me in the past ONLY to tell me how much her dad as NOT ever been there for her and at the very LEAST twice a year she calls him for money and not just hundreds…………. go up from that and he does just what she asks, I just keep my mouth shut ! NEVER shown him the e mails that I have received from her to spare his feelings now I am tired of it all !!!!!
    She is grown, has a life of her own and since she married someone who canNOT the provider of THEIR house hold it should NOT be us. I do believe in helping others, but enough is enough. Just for the record………. when I met her dad, he had been divorced for a long time and her mom moved out of state with “her boss” that she was working for while married to NOW MY husband……….
    comment on this one please

  23. too me it seems like a YOU never win situation when you are a step parent because the child comes first and the child can NEVER be wrong in the parent (s) eyes and so if any “step parent” says anything negetive about the child regaurdless how yound or old, we will always be seen as the EVIL or as My “Fiance” calls me and he does internet searches under the Title “WICKED STEP-PARENT”.
    I Put The word “FIANCE” in quotes because he said that “we will not” get married until his son and I get along and in other words he wants me to look the other way when his son “orders” me around and TELLS me that he isn’t doing his chores and that HE can talk to me anyway he wants too because DADDY isn’t going to do anything about it. yep that is true his father won’t do ANYTHING about it, BUT i will NOT put up with it either from NO ONE but my OWN parents.
    I am 40 yrs old and I Think that NO 12 yr old has ANY right telling any adult what to do .

    I HATE being a so called Step-parent.
    its making my life a living hell and I am so miserable because I AM ALWAYS the One to BLAME for EVERYTHING.!

    in my opinion, unless for married to a saint and your step child is an angel then DO NOT GET INVOLVED! and for all of the people out there who have relationship and their family is GREAT well then

    It must be a MIRACLE!

  24. I’d suggest both “daddy” and “stepmother” do a little growing up before walking down the aisle. When a forty-year-old writes like an angry twelve year old might write, I can only wonder what’s going on in the home! Stop fighting. Get some distance. If you hate it before you’re married you most certainly won’t find it too attractive once you are.

  25. Wow. I am married to a man who has two tfive year old win daughters from a previous relationship. The girls live with us. Mom isn’t really in the picture. She moved a few states away to feed her drug habit and live with her junkie boyfriend. She calls maybe twice a month.

    I have been heavily involved with the girls since they were three. We have NONE of these porblems. I guess it may have to do with the age of the children involved. When they are younger it seems to be easier to form relationships with them. The older kids seem to have more resistence to the “new guy/gal” on the block and then you have ithese typep of issues.

    I don’t think any minor should be calling the shots in any home. Period. The adults have to have control or there will be anarchy. The Bio Parent needs to lay down rules and boundaries. This being said, the Step Parent will undoubtably HAVE to be the adult sometimes. Dad can’t always be home and the kids can’t run her over. They wouldn’t stmpede a teacher or coach so why should they be free to do so to a step parent?

    The couple should agree on a course of action and stick to it. It should be fair and firm with everyones best interest in mind. I also agree that there must be a united front. Even if the adults disagree they must appear united when it comes to discipline. Boundaries and mutual respect is a requirement. Even if the children do not like the step parent or vise versa there has to be respect.

    With a new child being involved this should go double. The rules must apply to EVERY child. If the step mother tells her bio child “no” the step children shouldn’t be shocked when they are told “no”.

    I also found the Bedwarmer baby sitter statement very offensive. People tend to be very hard on step parents. In the case of custodial step mothers the case is almost always that the biomom has ditched her kids for one reason or another. Either for her new boyfriend, or because she is a mental case or because she “just couldn’t handle them” anymore. It’s funny that alot of the step kids who complain about the custodial step mother has no complaints about the bio mother who dumped them. Maybe there is some misplaced anger there.

    I recommend counseling.

  26. What great feedback from everyone. Being fairly new to the non-biological female (not stepmother) I am ready to walk away. 40 something, Married 2 yrs, never had children of my own but now have an almost 15yr old daughter from my husbands previous marriage. Problem is there had never been any rules, chores or anything. The daughter and her mother pretty much make all the calls and threaten him when he does not make it happen. Even to the point when she was 12 she let a boy “finger her” When consequences were threatened the mother stated my daughter would never do this, kids are just jealous of her because she is so popular, she is never going to come over to stay with you again. You get the picture. When I have suggested minimal chores instead of just handing her money for showing up, she cries “my mother never makes me do anything” She tells her father, “this is the way it is going to be”. I don’t think kids get it today. Heaven help both us and them when they actually have to show up to a job and do something and then only get maybe $10 bucks and hour. My fear is she will never be able to be a responsible adult and will always be calling dad for money, a car a down payment on a house. And if push comes to shove, just cry. Tears do nothing to me. What happened to parents? I seriously need help or I will end up hating everyone – including myself and my husband. How did a teenager get so much power? We are all doomed and will someday be waiting to pay for groceries as the checkout person emails all their bffs!

  27. I have read through many of the replies and think that there is a lot of great advice within all of the war stories. We must all remember the the kids did not choose this. We adults did.

    And we have to act as adults. We did not go into this blind.

    I have three girls. Two with my first wife and one with my second. My oldest and my wife do not get along, although she gets along with my middle one. she now is telling me that she does not want her to visit at all. My oldest is not comfortable coming to my place because of her.

    My advice to step moms is that you had a choice and you should do your best. My advice to dads is that you should remember that your children did not choose this life style, but you should not let lax parenting ruin your second marriage. My advice to children in this boat is to do your best to ride it out. Eventually your parents will grow up.

  28. Reply to Rod E. Smith, MSMFT, on October 12th, 2008 at 7:23 pm Said:

    “I’d suggest both ‘daddy’ and ‘stepmother’ do a little growing up before walking down the aisle. When a forty-year-old writes like an angry twelve year old might write, I can only wonder what’s going on in the home! Stop fighting. Get some distance. If you hate it before you’re married you most certainly won’t find it too attractive once you are.”

    I ma sorry if my post made me seem very juvenile But I felt like I had to post my fiance’s son’s exact words in order for people to know what I am going through.

    You are Right. We, both Step_mother “Monster” and DADDY do need to grow up and I am trying hard too but its so very hard to do when I am always the bad person and all that I want To do is scream and Run Away and I can’t because I know that neither choices are right.

    I decided that I am Not going to get married because of the fact that you mentioned, “If you hate it before you’re married you most certainly won’t find it too attractive once you are.”

    But I do have to stay in the relationship Only for my 4 yr old, I have no family or friends where I Live (I moved here where I live now from a state that is about 1,000 miles away) and all My 4 yr old knows is what he has here and he loves his father very much and I can not hurt him so I have to deal with the suffering for my 4 yr old.

    Things have got worst though, The step child threathen to kill me (not to my face but while he was venting in another room) and I told his father about it and his father decided that it’s not true that his son would not say something such as that and that I am making something out of nothing. Maybe I am, I don’t know, But I can (assure) you that I do not have a sound sleep anymore.

  29. I’m currently living with my fiance and his two daughters (11 and 13). Their mom moved out of state right after the divorce. They would have had joint custody if she stayed however she chose to move away to her new boyfriend and have a new baby. Despite everything the girls have gone through, they have always treated me with respect. They are such sweet open hearted individuals that I really look up to. I wouldnt have been able to handle it if my mom moved away from me at that age. There are times when they act up and frustrate both their dad and I but its really just normal stuff all kids do.

    For all step parents, the fact that you are even there willing to be part of the family and show love to the kids is something very special in its own. That takes a special someone. But yet, “evil stepmom or dad” are always under constant stcrutiny from the ones who really made “the choice” to be a parent but arent around?? Step parents should get a medal for everything they have to endure.

  30. My daughter is living with her fiance. He has a nine year old daughter from a previous marriage. the girl has no respect for my daughter. She and Brian argue about caring for samantha. Now his daughter wants to live with her dad because her mom who does not work yells at her all the time, she is already living with them 3-4 nights a week. Brian and my daughter have a 1 year old and one on the way. He expects her to take samanthe to and from school and all of her activites while taking care of two babies. She can not do this. He has told my daughter that he will always put his daughter first over her. go figure. Is my daughter legally responsible for doing this.?

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