I Can't Get Along With My StepSon... Help

Alyssa - posted on 05/20/2014 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I'm having a hard time getting along with my step son. He's only 2 1/2... I have a 3 year old fulltime and we get my step son every other week. When it is our week to have him, my son and him fight constantly. My son has been socialized and was never babied. I don't have respect for his birth mom because I don't know how she could raise him like that. He wore onsies till he was 2, she swore he was starting to potty train (would drop him off in a diaper and a onsie) She dropped him off soaked in urine and his nails were super long. Ears were so gross.... My husband feels the need to tell her about hair cuts... i dont understand why she needs to know and get pictures... This post is making me sound selfish... Do other step moms have these issues? These issues are causing a lot of problems with my marriage. Please help

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/21/2014

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Everyone's given you great advice. I'll add a couple more things, to emphasize.

1) YOU are the adult, the kid is 2.5 years old. You need to recognize that, and realize (Especially if you have a 3 year old) that his behaviours are normal in areas such as potty training. Most boys aren't ready for that until around 3.

2) You need to separate your feelings towards the mother from the feelings about the child. Calling him a shithead because you don't agree with his mother's methods is NOT being that "great stepmother" that you claim to be. If you cannot have patience and LOVE that child, you are NOT being a 'great stepmother', you're being an average caregiver. Sorry if that hurts, but LOOK at your behaviour, and your responses here. You're NOT separating the child's actions from the mother's. It's going to bite you in the ass in the long run.

3) this is a site for advice. If someone's been in a step situation for 12 years, or 20, they're going to look on it in a different way than someone such as yourself who's only been at it a short time.

4) Let the petty bickering be between the parents. Stay out of it, and love the child. If you cannot, then perhaps it's time to reconsider whether or not the family is for you. If you still think it is, then counseling is an important step, and an immediately needed one.

5) your stepson can sense your dislike of him. Don't create a monster. Learn how to adjust and give this child LOVE, not a facsimile. It's not fair to either of you to fake it.

Tanya - posted on 05/21/2014

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Alyssa, I think it's normal not to love your stepson the same way you love your child...I can never love another child the way I love my daughter. EVER!!! It doesn't mean your in a the wrong relationship... I doubt people love their stepchildren the same way they love their children. I mean they may love them but not like their own blood. And if they say they do love them the same way...well...I think they are trying to bluff... people have said they don't even love their own blood children the same...they say you love every child differently...

Anyways, I think you are doing great...Ex might be a pain in the ass...step son might act up...but he says I love you to you...that seriously tells me a lot. You will be the one he looks up too. Keep strong!

Ivette - posted on 05/22/2014

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hello , well i am a step mom of two and have a baby of my own
they live with me and my husband and its not easy , the boy is 5 n i had him sense he was 2 going on 3 and his a headful , the older he gets the more head acks i get but i got to remind myself that he wont b this age for ever, i try to get close to him and when he get me mad i let him know after i have had some time to myself y i am upset and he understand its ...
i set down and talk to my husband , asked what dose he expect from me when it come to his kids and he reply a mom , so i told him i need him to meet me half way when it come to disaplen ,
bobby went threw this little face a few months where he would let me know i wasnt his mom and he didnt wnant to listen to me .. it hurt but i had to suck it up n explain to him that i am not here to replace his mom but that she wasnt around and as a person with a heart i wanted to give him a mothers love , n he stop
i have had to disaplen myself too bc i found my going back and forth with a 5 year old alot and remind myself that some thing are worth letting go ....
i make them understand that thier are rules here at the house and they need to fallow them or thier consaquenses having dad on myside helps
but sometimes i pore a glass of white wine and sit in my room n take a deep breath and do it alover again the next day

Ariana - posted on 05/21/2014

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Don't make it about who's a better parent. His mother is his mother forever and that's just the way it is.

You have to remember you don't love a kid because of their behavior. Which sounds weird but kids are going to behave the way they are, and you can only try to alter their behavior.

If you think about a child negatively and start putting them in that box, whether consciously or not, you're reinforcing that. My kid was a terrible toddler and I used to get frustrated to but I read some stuff and I started telling him how great he was, and I took him to swim classes and to the park and things for fun. Which sometimes ended in disaster but I had to learn different parenting skills to deal with that.

It's harder when people are unsupportive around you and you end up being the odd man out since technically they're the parents. It sounds like you and your husband need to talk things out. Have you tried to talk to him about counceling yet?

This really sounds like a problem that has to do with the adults more than the actual child. If you think and act positively, even if you have to force it at first, it will change the way you act. Get a pad of paper and write down 3 positive things about your stepson, try to do it twice, once in the morning and once at night, even if he's not there. Try to catch him being good and tell him about it, make it something you have to actually write down. It'll seem really really stupid at first and you'll feel weird about it but it's like, a way to change the way your brain is thinking about him.

I mean if it doesn't work the worst thing that'll happen is you'll have written out a bunch of positive stuff about a child I mean that's not the worst thing in the world...

Otherwise I would try to get counceling with your husband to get you two on the same page and hopefully able to deal with his ex in a way that suits both of you, whatever that is.

In terms of haircut stuff once again I think you're outwardly upset about this stuff but really it's more about why are we bothering thinking about her when she doesn't seem to care? Well you I thindon't have to care, but the husband wants it to happen so just let it happen. And it's her child if she wants a photo of his haircut give it to him. It's a petty argument and I think you know that. Do you really care about the hair? Seriously? No. That's an excuse that has other stuff underneath. Leave things like that out of it, it's about the kid and the discipline things that are probably what's bothering you.

I hope some of this can actually be helpful! It's hard to deal with this stuff but If you listen I think we're all saying the same things. You aren't really upset with the two year old but the adults and that is the relationship that needs to be fixed. Change the way you think about the two year old and you'll change the way you act towards him.

Good luck!

Ariana - posted on 05/20/2014

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It's understandable to feel negativity towards someone who's causing stress. My son is a high energy child so I know sometimes even with him I have to force myself not to get upset so it's always harder with another persons child.

I used to be an assistant daycare worker and I had to deal with kids with annoying behaviors/attitudes. If there was a kid most the daycare workers complained about I would try to find someone about the kid I liked ANYTHING their laugh, something they like, whatever. I would try to go out of my way to be nice to them or find positive things to say to them. It sounds silly but you don't realize how little people praise annoying children and also how effective positive praise really is.

With my own son who is very high energy I remind myself that I'm training him. When I discipline yes part of it is because my kids acting out but part of it is because as an adult I am helping him become a better person.

You may never feel the same way for him as you do your bioson but just fake it. Force yourself to at least ACT like you like him just as much. Make yourself give him 3 positive comments for every 1 negative one. It forces you to look at the kid positively.

Marriage counseling can be great and will get you and your husband on the same page in terms of discipline. It shouldn't be all you disciplining and teaching but you and your husband doing that.

Do all you can and force yourself to be positive and fake it until you feel the same way (or not). It's okay to not like him the same way. If you can separate his negative behaviors from him as a person you'll start to like him a lot more. Just remember he didn't ask for any of this. If you're frustrated with him imagine how difficult it is for him when he's getting bounced to different homes with very different expectations.

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Sarah - posted on 08/07/2014

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I have been married for 4 years and I have 2 older children from a previous marriage my step son was 8 at this time, we had only been married for 6 months when he started to misbehave, he lives with us full time and his biological mother doesn't have a lot to do with him but I was always there at home, everything for him and the other children, I have a disabled son so I'm his carer at home so it's not that we were never there for him as we were , anyway 6 months and thing are wrong, he started to lie and say that I was nasty to him I was so shocked but my husband was very protective of him as his first wife just left them so it was just them two for a long time, my husband started to ignore me and I then felt alone, I had given up my own home and up rooted my son who doesn't really like change to be with my husband and step son so I was confused, it got to the point were my step son was rude, cheeky, even giving me dirty looks saying horrible things to me whilst my husband wasn't around and once my husband was back he was like mum do you want or need anything doing, he played his part really well and all my husband could see was me moaning about him and he couldn't understand why, this went on for ages until until one day when I had enough and broke down and was just about to leave at that point my step son was 11 so I think staying and putting up with that for 3 years was good, my anger was extreme to the point were I told my husband everything his son was doing and had a go at my step son in front of my husband too, he had been telling my husband that I was the one being rude, and cheeky and that I wouldn't do or help him in any way which was a load of lies, at this point because I had done this in front of them my step son slipped up and said things to me which he didn't think my husband heard and that's when my husband realised that it was his son lying and not me but it had already put strain on our marriage, my step son admitted that I hadn't done any if those things, we are still together but I don't think it will ever change as he still does some of those things just not as bad but my husband can see at least 80% of it which is a bonus! our marriage is ok but when you feel like your fighting everyday just for that day to be normal it takes it out if you, I will do anything for my step son even today after all of that, I'm hoping that things get better I'm most probely deluding myself but it's worth trying, believe it or not my stepson is not speaking to me today as I'm writing this but never mind, my heart goes out to anyone who is a step parent, I think it's one of the biggest challenges in the world, keep your head up and keep smiling don't let them beat you, :)

Alyssa - posted on 05/22/2014

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I love my Husband and I'm not going to give up on this when I can make changes. Thank you for your advise. I'll be contacting marriage counselors in my area.

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2014

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Tanya, she didn't say that she doesn't love him the way she would love her own child. She called him a shit head and she is getting angry at him for little things he does that are normal for his age because she doesn't like the mother. That's not acceptable.

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2014

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Ok, a year ago he was 1 1/2. Of course he couldn't say much.

You need to stop focusing on how much better you are than the bio mum. This is not a competition. This is about doing the best you can for the child regardless of the circumstances. Right now, you posts are about how you are the better parent. Maybe you are! That's great. But what you have to do is stop believing the biological mother has no say.

Also, if you don't have any emotional connection with this child and feel you have to fake it....maybe you need to rethink whether you are in the right relationship. Ask yourself how fair this is on a 2 1/2 year old child. It won't get easier (and I tell you that from the perspective of a 12 year step mother.).

Just the fact that you called a 2 1/2 year old a shit head speaks volumes. I don't need to say much else there. Just reflect on it.

Alyssa - posted on 05/21/2014

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I'm all about consistency when it comes to certain things like when its time for lunch and nap and I rotate milk juice and water. When I get told no they get timeout, basic discipline. I read my step son books and teach him all sorts of stuff. I can't get over the fact that I'm the only one teaching him how to behave properly. While his bio parents talk about how he can say go blue I'm teaching him what blue looks like. As his mom said "step moms ain't shit" well that's exactly how I'm starting to feel even though I'm raising him to be a good respectful person. A year ago he could only say mommy. And now he tells me he loves me. But i can't get along with him in the sense I don't feel that emotional connect with him, I don't like having to fake it everyday. I asked for help because I'm 23 years old and my mother died when I was 16 so reaching out to other moms was my first step into talking to someone. How do I take my negative feelings towards his mom and not label him a shit head. There is a question. I'm in a hole and I'm asking for advice on how to get out. And I still disagree with the hair cut stuff. If my husband and I decide to give him a Mohawk I'll give him one I don't feel his bio mom gets a say in it. What happens at her house stays there what happens in our house stays in our house. They have 50/50 custody and no, hair cuts aren't in the agreement.

What age do kids stop shoving their mouths so full they start gaging? Learn to drink from a cup correctly? Stop taking their clothes off during nap time/bedtime and pooping everywhere? (This stuff should not make me mad because he is a little kid) (these are just some of the things that make me angry that shouldn't)

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2014

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Aside from the fact you didn't actually answer any of my questions with a direct answer when we all know questions are about clarification.

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2014

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No, this website is about giving advice. And I gave it. This website is not about blowing smoke up your ass.

The mother doesn't HAVE to tell dad that she gave the child a hair cut unless it was in the court orders. If your husband feels he has to tell her if he does it, then that's great. But she doesn't have to.If your partner doesn't have court orders, then maybe he should.

You said nothing about your step son acting out, only your negativity towards the mother.

As I said, YOU are the adult in the relationship with your step son. Act like it. It isn't your step son's fault his mother is not a great parent. So DON'T take this out on your step son.

Why do her feelings matter? Because no matter what you think, she will always be his mother and that will always matter to him. You need to have respect for that, whether you have respect for her or not. How you feel about her is irrelevant to your relationship with him.

Your question was about why you can't get along with your step-son. Not once have you given any indication of an instance where you don't get along with him, only negative bitching about his mother. So please, if you post a question with a heading asking why you can't get along with your step-son, expect a negative reaction like "well, why are you blaming the child for his mothers piss poor parenting, because that's just NOT ok". Anyone who gives you a different response is not thinking of that poor TWO AND A HALF YEAR OLD you decided you can't get along with because you can't step up as the adult in that relationship and get past who the mother of the child is and how much you dislike her.

Alyssa - posted on 05/21/2014

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Jodi isn't this website about being positive? Take your negative self somewhere else. Sorry I didn't explain things clearer maybe if you read the comments it'd help you understand better and to clarify about the hair cut thing. About serveral months ago my stepsons birth mom gave him hair cuts by herself and never told my husband. We could tell because his hair was just getting shorter (looked terrible). When we have him and we think he needs a hair cut I take him to my friend to get it done but my husband feels the need to tell his birth mom before hand and send her pictures. Its irritating knowing he's ok to walk on egg shells to not hurt her feelings. She constantly lies and moves why do her feelings matter honestly? And yes my step son acting out shouldn't bother me like it does and I will be talking to someone about it. At least I'm woman enough to admit my feelings.

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2014

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Um, aren't YOU the adult in this relationship? And you can't "get along with" a 2 1/2 year old......

Yes, your post makes you come across as quite selfish. Why does he have to be potty training at age 2? Why does she have to get the hair cuts? I don't get the big deal there.

And why, if the problem is the issues you have stated here, is it the child's fault? I'm not seeing where you don't "get along" with the child. You clearly don't get along with the mother, but the child? This has nothing to do with the relationship between you and the child. That should be separate from how you feel about the mother, and if you aren't capable of that, then maybe you shouldn't have taken on the role of step mother.

Alyssa - posted on 05/20/2014

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Thank you for you advice. I'm not sure why I feel the way I do. Maybe it is my husband. While him and his ex talk about hair cuts and preschool I'm teaching him how to talk, I'm potty training him, I'm disciplining, I'm a great step mom. I just can't seem to find that love for him I have for my son. Do other step parents feel this way? I beat myself up for it all the time (mentally, emotionally). Sometimes i get so upset i want to give up. Marriage Counseling is a great idea.

Ariana - posted on 05/20/2014

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I think a big mistake is to say you aren't getting along with your stepson as that implies that somehow he's doing something wrong. He is not doing anything wrong, he is a child. No matter how much he may or may not fight with your child they are both just toddlers and your job as an adult is to train them to act the right way, and not judge them based on how they've been raised so far.

As far as issues with the mom go for hair cuts and pictures those are arguments you really don't need to have. If his hair is to long or she wants photos of it that's her right. If you didn't want someone cutting your childs hair that's your right as his mother and no one else has any say, other than his father of course. But if he isn't getting the kids hair cut leave it.

In terms of being soaked in urine or lacking proper hygiene that's another issue entirely as that's borderline neglectful. Any instances of that you should write down the date and incident in some sort of folder or log and if things happen. These are things your husband should be talking to his ex about and he should expect his son to not be brought to him like that.

You have to stop looking at how he's raised at her house or what she's doing as you have no control over that, it's up to your husband to discuss those things. You deal with the way the child acts in your home and get your husband to be on the same page with you.

Try to not automatically blame the other child, if he's having trouble with your son take this as an opportunity to teach both your son and your step-son the right way to act. Guess what, if there are issues going on your son will also have to learn how to be mature and deal with different types of people, it isn't only your step-son who will have to learn how to act differently. It can be a learning experience for everyone.

So instead of being mad at your step-son, even if he is acting out (as any toddler in that situation I imagine would) take it as an opportunity to help teach him how to act and help your son learn to deal with different people.

Can you and your husband go to a marriage councelor? It sounds like the issue is more to do with him then your stepson as your stepson is only 2 1/2, none of this could possibly be his fault even if he is the one acting out.

Tanya - posted on 05/20/2014

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The way it sounds, I think this baby needs a parent and be loved... and unfortunately it has to be you.. It's so sad his mother dropped him off at your house like that...Imagine how he feels all dirty.

You're with him 75% ...

His misbehaves because he doesn't have a good figure in his life... but you are a good figure!

Michelle - posted on 05/20/2014

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It's his problem if he doesn't like you for pointing out he needs to be a parent.
I once had a boyfriend say he hated my 3yo, I quickly sent him packing. Just be careful about what you say about a child and getting along. He's only a baby, you shouldn't really be saying that about such a young child.
If you set boundaries and stick to them with each child there shouldn't be too many problems. I have had merged household and it can work.

Alyssa - posted on 05/20/2014

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We have talked a ton and things are getting better, but he works over nights so I'm with the boys 75% of the time. He's only awake and home for about 4 hours a day so I have to take this on on my own (it feels like). My Husband has definitely changed his parenting ways sense I came into his life. But I don't want him to end up not liking me because of it.

Michelle - posted on 05/20/2014

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For starters, what is his Father doing?
There has to be rules in your house and his Father is the one that has to set them and enforce them.
You need to step back and get your husband to step up and be a Father. He can't leave things up to you to enforce.

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