My finace has been part of my son's life ever since he was born, but we never started getting serious until about a year ago, so my son has just had from 2009 to 2011. My fiance's name is Sam, and my son's name is Aiden. Sam loves Aiden like he's his own...that's never been an issue, and Aiden's biological father has never been in the picture. Aiden will be 3yrs old at the end of April.
For the last year Aiden has acted as if to say he doesn't want Sam. He won't use his manners towards him, won't acknowledge Sam when he asks him a question, won't tell Sam when he has to use the potty, or when he's gone poop like he does with me and other family members, won't say "i love you" back after Sam says it, and recently has stopped calling Sam "dad". Sam has tried to keep calm in some situations, other's he's blown up and yelled at him and i always intercept in some way to calm them both down, but i don't know what to do anymore. Sam is convinced Aiden hates him, but i know that's not the case because Aiden does miss Sam when he's not around, and asks where he went...but when Sam comes home, all that goes out the door and he goes back to ignoring him and/or acting out.
I've googled step parenting advice sites to see what they have to say, but everything i find is on divorced families/remarrying parents...whereas that doesn't help in my situation because neither me or Sam have been married before, and Aiden's never had a father figure other than Sam to compare to.
If anyone has any advice, I'm all eyes/ears. Ladies, if you have a man in your life that is going through or has gone through what Sam and Aiden are, ask them to respond to this. Sam is in this relationship for the long haul, and we both want him and Aiden to have a healthy relationship, and i want a healthy family, so any and all help would be great :)
I actually just read a blog post by a dad going through something similar: http://moms.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/07/8207532-dads-view-my-daughters-the-apple-of-my-eye-so-why-isnt-the-feeling-always-mutual
It seems to be a pretty common phase for toddlers. How long has it been going on -- does it feel like more than a phase? Is it off and on or consistent? Maybe you could create a standing daddy-bonding activity once a week, doing something your son likes to do and would look forward to... like a swimming class or trip to a special playground or store.
Hang in there, I'm sure it's frustrating for all of you! But it's probably about your toddler's natural limit-testing behavior, and not due to any lack of love between them.
I second the weekly one on one time idea. Does he act like you described when Sam and he are out in public together? When my kids were that age, they had so many trying behaviors, and I started having "special time" with each of them once a week because it gave me a chance to experience them *not* throwing tantrums or fighting with each other for a while.
My ex is the only dad my oldest daughter knows. They have had a lot of problems, but I think this is a totally different situation, and it might give you some perspective. My ex is not the most mature guy in the world, and he really didn't know how to be with a toddler at all. If she cried he would make fun of her or just get outright mad. His complete lack of knowledge about children and parenting was a big problem, and the fact that she wasn't his made it a lot worse, I think. He was/is much more understanding with our other kids.
This doesn't sound like your situation at all, so I'm willing to bet the problems they're having are not about Sam being the step parent. It sounds to me like they have a good bond, and Aiden is doing the "I only want Mommy" thing. Hopefully Sam is able to express himself consistently to Aiden about how he expects to be treated, without yelling. There's no reason to let rudeness fly.
Step mom to Malakie, Cameron , and Aurelia
Sometimes kids go through a phase where they have a strong preference for one parent over the other, it's normal. It's easy to think it has something to do with the parent being a step, but it's not always the case. One on one time is a good idea, and it's important that Sam try not to take it personally. It probably means a lot less than it seems to now, but if he lets it get to him and it shows, it could affect their relationship longer than it needs to.
When DD was 4 she started saying "You're not my real mom!!" every time she was mad at me for a few weeks... the first few times it really upset me, but I AM her 'real' biological mother. Once she impact wore off, my response became simply "I am too!" and to carry on with whatever was going on. If she'd said that to her (step) dad instead of me, we might have thought there was some major issue going on with her, when in reality she thought she'd just found a neat little button to push.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.
Thank you everyone, it means alot to us...and we'll definately be trying the one-on-one thing between Sam and Aiden. I hope things change soon...
I'm leaving this thread open for any other suggestions that may help too, just know that everything everyone has said has boosted my confidence that things will be ok. :)
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