Help! Son vs.Stepdad. And mom's caught in the middle

Bryanne - posted on 06/11/2015 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My husband complains about everything my 14 year old son does. My son is from a previous marriage along with my other son which is 10. My husband has a 10 year old son also from a previous marriage.

My boys have chores, and I give more responsibility to the oldest. He does his chores, then he gets to hang out with friends, fish, etc. I set limits and boundaries though. I'm what you would call, a little over protective when it comes to what the boys do.

My husband thinks my son is supposed to walk a straight and narrow line and acts like a drill Sargent to him. Picks on him for every little thing. From going outside to play, from forgetting to throw a piece of paper away in his room. Then tattles on him to me like some kid on the playground. He does treat my younger son like this, but not near as bad. I do teach responsibility, respect, and i expect my kids to behave. and am very big on that. But it's almost like my husband wants to see my son in trouble or grounded. Like he pushes him so much that he will hate even living with me and want to go live with his dad. Sometimes I wonder if that's what my husband is trying to do. But it's confusing. Because sometimes I see them together like big buddies. And I just wonder if my husband is playing an act.

I love my boys, and refuse to let someone push them out the door. My kids like the joint custody arrangements their father and I share, but I don't want them hating to come home. They've always liked my husband, and he does lots of fun things with them. But the older my son gets, the harder he is on him. And he really is a good kid. He makes good grades, is very active in school functions, very outgoing, and a very loving child. Everytime I try to talk to my husband about this, it starts a huge argument that could last for days. When I punish my kids, I do appreciate him backing me up. But the drill sargent, then tattelling to me about it has got to stop.

What can I do with my husband that I love dearly to keep my kids from hating him?

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/13/2015

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Jenn, your husband needs to commit to counseling. He also needs to educate himself about bipolar disorder, because trying to 'man him up' isn't the proper approach to a bipolar situation.
If he cannot commit to change, then, in order to keep ALL of your kids in a good mental state, he will need to separate himself and pay support, commit to either partial custody or visitation. If he can change, and stay committed, then there's no problem, but if not, your first responsibility is to your kids. Not an adult who can't pull his head far enough out of his ass to see that he's NOT being a productive parent to any of them.

Duse1 - posted on 06/12/2015

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yes I agree you need counseling.. and I have something similar,, My husband died when my oldest was 14 and my youngest only 3,, These are the boundaries I set for a man I met nearly three years later.. (He turned out to be a good Dad for the last Two) of my five,,BUT,, I told him he could help with the younger three,, they needed a dad still.. but my oldest two were too old to be told what to do by him.. that they had a father with different rules that we agreed on,, and even though he was no longer here,, he still already instilled values and guidelines with my help that I would still continue to enforce.. So in a sense I was the only one that could say a word about discipline where they were concerned.. He agreed and was only their friend. He did let me know if he felt something was wrong and I listened and took that into consideration.. But that was the extent of it.. All my children respected him for that.. There has to be rules for the husband as well as the child if he chooses to behave this way.. He is not being an adult by tattling on his Step son ,, He in fact is making an enemy,, and you are stuck in the middle.. I am not going to say this is right or wrong.. just that I could never live this way.. and I would of had total crazy in my house if I had not put down rules first.. I know your's is a bit different,, but really even harder for you.. cause I am sure your EX will not tolerate his son being bullied for long.. and then we have even more complications. and you just don't need that.. You need to talk to your new Husband.. tell him your concerns, tell him you want to be fair to him ,, AND Will ALWAYS be fair to your Son.. and make sure to say MY son.. I did.. You are the Parent after all.. your New mate has NOT been there long enough to Say he deserves that title,.. and my man I have now did a good job of helping me with my youngest,,yet respecting my oldest,, and still we had trouble now and then.. But I stood firm on being the only parental control for my oldest two.. it worked wonders.. was not easy,, but it worked.. Seek professional help too.. don't just go by my words or anyone else s.. this is your life.. only you know for sure what you can tolerate or not.. Go for it.. be happy.. but be happy with the love of your children.. cause let me tell you.. that love will be with you till your dying day.. My husband God bless his soul could not.. But my children will be there for a long time.. My man of right now, we are good.. but not like my kids.. my kids are by my side through thick and thin.. never forget that.. I am glad I took the stand that I did.. My kids are healthy loving and in good relationships.. I have three Grandchildren.. I have been blessed,, Always remember your blessings.. and live life to it's fullest.. cause one never knows when you will loose another,, I never thought I could loose my husband at only age 33 but I did.. But I was not going to loose my kids too. .. HOLD TIGHT this won't be easy.. but I can you are strong.. or you would not seek help

Amaze - posted on 06/12/2015

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This is such an important issue that you may need to insist on family counseling. Do you think your husband will be open to that?

Amaze0707

Louise - posted on 06/11/2015

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If I were you, I would go and see a Family Therapist with my husband regarding all the issues you are harbouring. Your comments prompt me to think that perhaps your husband is jealous of 'YOUR LOVE' for your sons. Maybe your husband does not like to share you with them? Maybe your sons remind your husband of your ex-husband and that somehow bothers him emotionally. Your husband may not even be aware of the reasons WHY he is so harsh on your son (s)? Or perhaps, he really does want your boys to go and live with their dad? Whatever the reason, I personally would not tolerate my husband to treat my sons in such an unloving way. If you love your husband so much, then get him some help or else your marriage will not last, because you will someday be forced to choose between your sons happiness or your own. Your job is to PROTECT your children no matter what. If your husband loves you as much as you say you love him, then he should be willing to seek Professional Help to resolve your issues and give you some peace of mind regarding the way he treats them. God bless you all.

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Duse1 - posted on 06/14/2015

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WOW Jenn you are what is the word. A rock stuck between a Hard Spot, This is so much more complicated then my own story. I have children with disorders similar to your son's.. My own Mate has Bipolar disorder. I will tell you this. When ever I was critical of what he should do or not do concerning his disorder, it only got worse. He is a Great man and my kids respect him, but sometimes I wonder if it is because I respect them all and they know they should respect him in response. You can not keep letting your husband bombard your son with all these things to do and not to do.. For one the very medicine you put him on has caused much of his weight problems. My man before he started taking that depression meds for his bipolar was very skinny and healthy. So I sometimes wonder why we started those meds to begin with. The problems your son has are not easy for him or you. but to concentrate on his weight, when he clearly is crying out because of his depressions is not helping the main problem which is his mental disorder.. help him with that first.. seek counseling about his mental disorders, one that truly help and keep seeking and then see where the weight goes.. I think once he is happier and feeling total love, he will then drop the weight.. OH yeah and try and adjust his meds.. Those Doctors of his know those meds contribute to his weight gain..push them to find something different that does not cause the weight problem so much..I know, How about your Husband doing the research.. tell him to do something that might really help if he says he's only trying to toughen him up. All he is doing is tearing him down. The poor boy already knows he has a weight problem believe me.. tell him his weight does not matter, we are going to work on what makes him happy. and Food is not it.. do things with him that is both entertaining and healthful .. Tell Husband to take him places that they both can do. A sport they both like, and can do together.. But make them do it together, you take the other children and leave them at it.. If NOT if you do not trust your husband enough to take care of him the right way. Then you do it. and finally tell him. I will be his guidance you just take a back seat and let me see what I can do. He is clearly only judging and insulting your son. So if he does not want to help. Tell him to leave him alone.. If he softens up and says he wants to help the right way.. then let him.. and see if their relationship will strengthen and later even help your son.. My son told me something once after I finally got with the Man I have now. The only one I met after his Dad's Passing willing to take on five kids.. No wonder I found out later, He also had lost his Father at the same age as my son..age three, only he got one bad Step Dad after another,, the abuse was terrible, but he survived, Bipolar and all to come along and help raise my Three year old into a nice young man of 20. Well one time NO I won't lie several times he ran away, had a bipolar moment, he thought he was not good enough, thought he was bad for our children. Want to know what my then 6 year old son said to me once.. Mom Go get my Dad, I know he's different. But a Boy Needs a Dad, just take my word for it mom I need a Dad.. So what did I do.. I went and Got that Man back even though I had some misgivings.. Guess What My son Was right.. I am not telling you to get rid of your husband,, never never.. I am saying you are the Lioness... SO Start roaring.. Stand up tell your husband what you want from him.. Tell him you want him to help you with this son, that is just as dear and precious as the rest.. As much as we hate it..we are the middle person.. or as my deceased Husband told my kids once when he was sent to their room to punish them.. He called me the Captain of the Ship..he was just the XO carrying out my orders.. LOL>. Man he always cracked me up with that one.. But unfortunately he was right. For you see, my oldest son that was later diagnosed with Epilepsy, OCD and Autism.. His own father did not understand him.. they what is the word Clashed with one another.. Well there came a time when a counselor told me I had two choices.. Either I let them bond more and let my husband take over more of the parent rearing.. or I step in tell my husband to concentrate on the other children and I would be the sole discipline for the oldest.. .. Well I finally did this.. one time when they were about to have another fight.. I looked at both of them,, knew they were putting me in the middle.. Shut my eyes.. said out loud.. you two go ahead kill each other I don't care.. I am tired and going to bed.. Now remember this was when my husband was still alive, and my son was nearly 14 years old (His Flesh and Blood).. in fact my Husband passed away about 5 months after this.. Guess what happened.. They both looked at each other,, everything got quiet and they parted friends.. I guess with out an audience it was not worth it.. LOL

I will tell you also, sometimes Men don't handle disorders very well. especially if it is anything mental they just can't grasp it.. My son had only been diagnosed with Epilepsy at that time.. and I think my husband was having a hard time handling it.. having a child with a problem.. So even though some of this story might not make any sense to you.. or might not relate to you at all. I tell my life stories hoping they help other's.. NOT because I did things the right way.. or found what works.. Only because I think telling you these things might help further the cause.. help you in some way.. Take from it what helps you.. don't do what I did.. but think..am I being put in the middle.. they need an audience.. and then think.. does my husband truly love his Step son.. is he helping or hindering.. Then say.. well I am about to find out. Cause this Mother Lion is a fighter and NO one is going to step all over my cub.. After all I am all he has to become a healthy happy adult,,in society.. If my husband wants to help with that,,he can.. but I am the one who decides.. and really that is the way it has been since the beginning of time.. I truly believe that even the cave men had very little to do with the rearing of the child.. If they can't understand,,and help.. butt out. LOL.. Well there you have it.. I am nuts and this might or might not help.. But it couldn't hurt either, cause frankly sounds like things are getting bad or you would not be showing concern.. I think you are right in asking and seeking help... make sure it is help for all .. but first I say help the son.. he's clearly having trouble with his Bipolar disorder.. He wants to be what ever it is your husband wants him to be.. Believe me I know.. My man has been trying to please me for years.. at his own frustration.. when really I think him fine the way he is.. .. Someone just please tell him you love him just the way he is.. might not work.. but what if it does.. and then have fun with him.. I think if my Significant Other had of had even one step father that told him that and did not hit and abuse him.. he might have turned out more confident and secure in our own relationship.. in a sense your husband could do a Great deal of good to make this young man a Happy Healthy loving father and husband someday.. or he could bomb and make things worse.. .. You will know, which.. if the latter.. Take back the reins. you can.. only you can do this.. HUGSSS Good luck.. Saying a pray

Jenn - posted on 06/13/2015

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I didn't mean to hijack your page. I agree with the others, that counseling (family counseling, specifically) is your best bet.

Jenn - posted on 06/13/2015

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You all are such good advice givers... I have a similar issue. My current husband adopted my 3 children and then we had 2 more together, my oldest has bipolar disorder and is a handful on his good days. I always told myself that the kids came first and if any man didn't treat my kids right they'd be out the door, etc. etc. Well, my husband is very hard on my oldest boy and is always saying it's because he "wants to help him." And because he's trying to "man him up," but when it comes to our youngest two, there is a different standard and the kids all know it. They know that dad's biological kids are his favorites, even though he's been around since they were babies. I can't just kick out the man, it's not as simple as I always thought, I would be taking away my other children's father. But we have also gone through years of counseling to no avail. My husband thinks it's my son's fault, or more likely, the bipolar and ODD. He is medicated. My son has one year left in school now, and things are getting very sticky because he has let his weight get out of control and it worries my husband and me, but my husband won't stop lecturing and picking at him about his every choice of food, drink and exercise (or lack thereof). I don't know what to do. I want my son to be healthy, I don't want to drive him away, and I don't want him to think that I've chosen dad over him. I'm so stressed about it.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/11/2015

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Then attempt counseling. If he refuses, you have your answer

Bryanne - posted on 06/11/2015

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Thanks Shawnn. I did forget to mention we've only been married for 3 months. Dated 4 years, and lived together 3. So it seems to have gotten worse. My husband says if he cannot punish the way he wants, then there's no use being in this marriage. These are the responses I get from him when I try and discuss.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/11/2015

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There IS no caught in the middle when your subsequent husband is deliberately targeting your children for things that he's letting slide with his own, and there is no way to keep them from disliking him, as they should, because he's not adult enough to be a step parent.
He can attend counseling to try to figure out why he singles out your children, and your children should be in counseling to help them handle the feelings he's instilling in them by his unfair treatment.
Have to say, though, that if I had a second husband who was treating my kid like crap, I'd dump the asshole and protect my kid, since that's my first responsibility.

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