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having issues with my son and DH (stepparent)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi. I'm new to this particular forum, but it's exactly what I need! I'll try to keep this as short as possible as I really need some advice. I have a DS, 10 y/o, from a previous marriage. DH and I have been married since DS was 7. When DH and I first met, he and DS were immediately attatched at the hip (very little actual contibution from his bio dad) and I was thrilled. After a while the new wore off and as DS is getting older, he has become less "loveable" in that little kid kind of way. Now we constantly argue about discipline, homeschooling, chores/lack of, attitude--basically everything regarding DS. I see DH as being too tough on him. I think he has higher expectations for DS than for himself. That really pisses me off. For example, he expects DS to keep all his messes cleaned up and to volunteer to help around the house frequently, neither of which does he do himself: ! When I try to explain that to him, he just gets madder and says I'm changing the focus to him rather that DS's various problems. He also speaks to him in a disrespectful way (such as demanding instead of asking for things) and DS has started to show disrespect also. When I suggest that he change first, he says that is ludicrous, that "he is the adult", yadda, yadda, yadda. Help!
post #2 of 8
I don't have an easy answer as to how he'll "get it"- but one day, probably, he will. I'd suggest you try asking him if he'd speak to his friends like that- his workmates like that- his brothers like that. That's what worked for me.
Occasionally my dh (stepdad) still sinks backwards and just yells and throws discipline around without thinking about the consequences- but more often these days he makes an effort to think before he acts.
post #3 of 8
Betsy,
My son is 9 and I have been with my DH since he was 4, so I would like to say it gets better, but it really hasn't. I am totally in the same boat as you, except my DH really yells alot and treats DS a lot different than his almost 2-year-old sister (his own child). I just don't know what to do either, so maybe someone will have some suggestions. My son is very strong willed and hyper and my DH sees him as rude, uncontrollable difficult and disrespectful. When we are both calm and we talk about it, he admits he needs to act differently, but then he just does the same thing the next time ds doesn't act exactly how he thinks he should. it's so frustrating!!
post #4 of 8
You know what? I don't get what you are saying. I mean sure we should role model for our kids but don't you find yourself being most irritated in your kids when you see them doing what you most dislike in yourself? I know I do!

I know my dh gets very irritated when our kids do things that he knows he doesn't do well. I think that is human nature...I think I heard that once:

"there is something about that guy I really hate about me"

I guess I would be pretty ticked off if instead of listening to my feedback my dh was turning it always onto what *I* do. I mean honestly we can all agree that he has flaws but does that really mean that your kids should have the same flaws? Do you really want to raise your son to be as lazy and unhelpful as your dh? I would think that the answer would be no.

I think it is very easy for us to dismiss our spouse as "being too hard" rather than listening to their input.

If he was here I would advise him to just stop giving his input as you two are clearly locked into a pattern where you are defensive of his "critisim" of your child and are becoming over protective in response (that is the looking at your dh's behavior instead of looking to see if he has a point about your boy). The real tragidy is that this is a terribly commen step situation and the kids end up getting the shaft because the bio parent will not dicipline or correct their bheavior (that does the kid NO favors) and the step gets painted as this super bad guy (also not helpful for the kid!).

Since it is you here I would say to stop defending your son and listen to your spouse. I am not saying he is right (what do I know?) but I am saying listen to him. Stop defending and deflecting and listen. Consider his input with an open mind. If he is a man you love and a person who cares about you and your son chances are he is offering it because he cares not becuase he just wants to be an ASS so consider it. It is easy as parents to be blind to our kid's flaws but that blindness prevents us from helping to shape them in a way that is useful. I always felt critisim was more useful than praise as it gave me something to work on.

If you think your dh is just a jerk who is always beating up on your son then I suggest you 86 this thing now. You are hte only one in your home who will defend your child. You owe it to him to protect him from an abusive step parent. You can start by telling your dh that you want him to disengagne totally from your kid. That will mean you ahve to do it all- but it will protect your child. If that doesn't work then I say quit the marriage (so long as you don't have mutual kids, if you do then you have to work harder to get this right for them.)

Btw your son is the right age to be acting out in general esp with those things your dh is mentioning and in particular he is the right age to start acting out against his same sex parent (your dh if his bio isn't on the scene and he is well bonded!) so it maybe that you are not experiencing (nor will you) what your dh is experiencing. It is also true that as a man, he has different insight into teenage male behavior than you do.
post #5 of 8
I'm just going to skip over that last post - I'm sure the poster meant it with the best of intentions but its delivery really clouded the message.

I don't have any advice but I did want to let you know that I understand how you feel. I too have a dh who expects ds to do things that he himself doesn't do (make the bed, put clothes in hamper, etc). I feel silly trying to enforce things that we don't even do. However, on the flip side - dh does have a voice in the matter. We try to meet half way on most things - and while neither of us "gets our way" I think we both walk away, at least, satisfied.
post #6 of 8
A very good family therapist that deals with step parenting issues all the time and has helped me out a lot has a firm rule about step parents. First of all she always puts the kids first. They are usually the ones caught in the middle. Also, she says the step parent should not parent his/her step kids. It's hard when they live with you but as a general rule the parent does the parenting/discipline. This does not mean the children should be rude and disrespectful of step parent but it's a place to start. There is much more to be said on the subject for different situations etc. but I would be writing forever. Try find someone to help you navigate through this situation with your dh.

Hope that helped. Good luck !
post #7 of 8
I am in a VERY similar situation.

I have found things slowly improved with talking about it afterwards, after something happened I wasn't happy with, because I used to step in and get in the middle and that was just bad, now I take as many deep breaths as I can and have developed some signals to my husband for when I want him to cool it, and we talk about it afterward, I try to take his input and be objective but it's hard.


I just kinda feel like I care about my son more than he does and have his interests more in mind than he does. I do think he is too hard nut I think alot of women think that about their child's bio fathers too if they are together. know what I mean.

It's hard.
post #8 of 8

who is in the right??

I have a 10 yr old daughter, my DH has a 12, 14 and 16 yr old boys. We have full custody of all. Married 1.5 yrs - has this been a hard year for us all - oh ya, but sometimes hard experiences make us better people and if there is one thing i want it is a hardworking, honest, dependable, loyal daughter. I think some people, especially women tend to look at the here and now and what is best for their young at this moment instead of what will be best for them in the long run. Before I got married i thought I had a little angel, and of course i still do - but I didnt "see" some things. I didnt see the "attitude", the whininess, how she would probably sell her soul for a piece of candy. hehe. I mean maybe I saw it, but I didnt "see" it. Anyway I do value my husbands advice, I think he is a good man, but if there is one thing i would change it is his delivery! I think too you are firmer with other children first, but to your own your kinder. Is firmer bad, these days most kids probably need firmer. Does my husband rinse his dish - no, but do we expect it from the kids - yes. My husband works hard and is a good provider. I guess the moral here is if your husband was being abusive you would know. If you are unsure than maybe you are just doing what mothers do - babying your baby????? Hope I made sense.
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