17 answers

16 Year Old Son & Stepdad That Don't Get Along*** PLEASE I NEED HELP!***

This is very humiliating but I just don't know what else to do, or anyone else to ask. My son & my husband are constantly verbally fighting each other. My 16 yr old son always seems to do the wrong things (skipping school, smoking, lying, etc). BUT he is STILL MY SON. And my husband, who I married till death do us part.. I am so tired of the constant battle between the two of them. My son threatened my husband tonight with weapons. My son ran away & my husband wants to have him arrested. I just don't know what to do anymore. They both have my heart. And my heart is breaking.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I don't have this problem, but I know a lady who does and she got a close friend of hers to get close to her son by being his friend and she found out that the problem was her husband being too hard on her son. Good luck!

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Firstly, I was your son at one point. I am now a 31 year old Mother of 2 beautiful children and my parents have so much guilt for choosing spouses over me, time and time again!! I am certainly not at all saying that you did but I will tell you, not many step-parents can love a child like their own flesh and blood and they tend to encourage you to be against your child. I will tell you, it sounds like your child is a normal teenager that is rebelling against not feeling loved. Having a divorced family is very difficult on the children and now that my family and I have healed we all agree that my parents were so focused on their new marriages and did not realize how hard it was for us to accept. STand up for you child and put your foot down to your husband. If he can learn to love your child by you demanding that he realize that he is like any other teenager that is trying to figure it all out. Dont make your son feel that your husband is more important than him. I respect the fact that you love your husband and that should not change but you can put your foot down and possibly get counceling for all of you together. Let your son know separately that you love him very very much and that you are not choosing your husband over him but that he has to realize that you love two people that cant seem to get along. ASk him how he thinks the situation can be rectified. Ask your husband as well. Ask them to be in your shoes. I feel for you. It is a tough situation to be in when you love them both. But I did all those things too, skipping school, smoking and I threatened my step-father once when he hit my Mom. But I did all the other things like skipping school and smoking and drinking just to get attention because I felt lost in the shuffle of my parents life. Both my Mother and Father still to this day have so much guilt I dont know if they will ever get over but I have told them time and time again, that Im over it and I know they were only human but my sister has not forgiven them. We all get along wonderfully now but not my sister. My parents are no longer married to any of the people they were married to back then. So in the long run it wasnt worth losing a relationship with my sister over and almost losing mine. Your children are your blood. If your husband truly loves you he will help you work this thing out but he is a grown man and your son is not.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

OK honey some of this may be VERY VERY hard to take.

You Said: My 16 yr old son always seems to do the wrong things (skipping school, smoking, lying, etc). BUT he is STILL MY SON. Yes he IS your son and as such YOU much be the primary disciplinarian. Skipping School, smoking and lying are all bad things and must be punished. You can't take sides between them but you MUST take sides between right and wrong.

Unfortunately you are doing what most re-married mothers do with overlooking their behavior out of misplaced guilt. Guilt over a divorce or their child getting a new step parent. Whatever the reason for your remarrying (there are many and you do not need to feel guilty over re-marrying.) If YOU don't stand up for what is right then your son is learning to guilt you into all kinds of things.

There must be consequences for breaking the rules OR the law. the threat with a weapon is BREAKING THE LAW. At 16 he is still a juvenile and will be treated as such by the court system but you CANNOT overlook and brush away these actions. Threats will always escalate into more than threats. Threats will always escalate into more than threats. It is never OK for one person to threaten another.

Your son is probably still reeling inside from the move, and his father being out of his life (whether death or divorce both are hard on son's to be without their dad) and he is needing help to work through these problems. He may feel that he is not importnant to you and you do need to make sure that he know that HE is the #1 in your life.

At the very least there should be some counseling for this young man. In my opinion something more is going on in this young man that is in deseprate need of help. I beleive that a neutral 3rd person could make great strides with the whole familial relationship. If not a therapist then a mediator or religious leader.

Maybe I sound mean but in my line of work I see so much of this that it is heart breaking.

My husband is my daughter's step dad and I make a huge point of her and I haveing a "mommy - daughter" day. We shop, go to the movies, and have pedicures. We do this at least once a month and then do movie night (at home) once a week. It let's her know that even though her step dad is in our lives SHE still is my heart. I have 4 step kids (we have 5 total) and they have known from the VERY beginning that I have no intention of taking their mother's place. I am super supprotive of all of them and make no bones about it. We sit and TALK one on one at least a couple of times a week and I keep up with what is going on in their lives. My stepdaughter comes to me with problems with friends at school and boyfriends and we discuss things so that she looks at the pros and cons of her decisions before she makes them. Each of my kids (yes all of them) know that there are consequences for poor behavior and it is across the board for them all. The most important thing I have learned is that when something upsets either myself or my husband we step out for 30 minutes so that we can handle it with our brains and not out emotions.

Good luck dear.

2 moms found this helpful

There are a lot of factors that is behind the reason this is all happening. I know this because I watched my dad and my step brother do the same thing. Is your son used to being the 'man' of the house? If so, then he sees your hubby invading that spot. Did you move to SC because of your hubby? Your son may resent him for taking him away from his friends in Ohio. You need to talk to your son, alone to find out why he is acting the way he is. If he won't talk to you then you need to set something up with a consoler at school or private practice. Get family counsuling too so all 3 of you can learn how to talk to eachother instead of yelling or acting out. If you try to pull the tough love on him or have him arrested, it will only get worse. I've seen it first hand.

1 mom found this helpful

Your first responsibility is to your son. He is desperately trying to tell you something, and at that age they don't just come out and say, "Mom, I'm having a problem." His behavior is indicating that he needs more attention from the adults in his family. I can't imagine having to choose between my husband and my child, but there are times that it is necessary. And this is one of those times. When you find your son, reassure him that he is a very important part of your life, and that you love him more than anything in the world. Also, try to get him into some counseling. It might help him to have a neutral person to talk to on neutral ground. Something is going on in your son's life that is really bothering him, and his acting out is his way of expressing it. I pray you will find him soon, not through having him arrested, but that he will come home. Please keep us updated.

1 mom found this helpful

I have been in the shoes of your son. my mother remarried when i was three and supposedly things were great between my step dad and i before they had a child together. i was sent to live with my grandmother when i was eleven because my brother was autistic and my mother could not handle two children. don't give up on your son!!! don't let your husband make choices for you that could potentially hurt your relationship with your son. let your husband know that you value his opinion but it is utimately your decision because he is your child. let your son know that you love him and maybe couseling would be good for the two of you. after you get your differences settled then i would have your husband brought in so that they could can settle their differences. my mother chose my step dad over me and we do NOT have a relationship now. don't give up! if you work on it now, it can change for the better! good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I know this must be hard. If you son will tell you why he is acting this way or why doesn't he like his new father. What about the real father? No one can replace or fill his dad's shoes in a way that only he could see. So us our husband it great. And to our children he could be someone who had taken their mom and their not at home dad place. Walk in your son's shoes. Your new husband fighting w. him will only make your son dislike him more. When a man marrys a women he marrys the kids too. I have both my parents and I would hate for someone to take either ones places. Toby Keith has a song Whose that man living my life. that always gets to me . How long have you been married? Just be patient. You have a new love and companion. And you son really doesn't

I grew up with a stepmother, whom I did not get along with, and a stepfather, whom I did not respect. I am not sure how your previous marriage ended, but if it was a turbulent divorce, it has a lot to do with your sons behavior. I understand where your husband is coming from, he wants your son to grow up to be responsible. However, you need to talk to him about the way he handles the situations with your 16 year old. Your 16 year old is still a child, although he doesn't think so. You will also need to talk to your son and explain to him what you as his mother expect of him, do this calmly. Tell him what the consequences are and that you hope he can act like an adult and make the correct choices. I read the response where they suggested to emancipate your son and make him be a adult, I strongly disagree. If my stepfather had done this to me, we would not have the wonderful relationship we have today. Because he never gave up on me and always showed me and told me how much he loves me, I have a better relationship with him than my mother or biological father. Being a child from a broken home, I saw my father and my brother go through this same problem, and my father did not handle it very well. When I was 16 I was a trouble maker in my mother and stepfathers house. I would like to help and talk to you more, my e-mail address is ____@____.com if you would like to discuss this situation a little more. My prayers are with you.


God Bless you in all your endeavors. Having recently moved to a new state, I feel your son is trying to fit in as far as skipping school and smoking. It is an unfortunate situation that our children will do the things they do in the name of "peer pressure." Help him adjust. Get him involved in something, a club, a hobby or passion, a sport. He needs something to define himself now, especially at 16. Do it now before it's too late. Maybe an after-school job doing something he is interested in, volunteer at the aquarium or something that defines him and his new surroundings. I wish you the very best. I know your heart is breaking and you love your husband and son very much. You must help your son now. Quick question ~ was he this type of kid before you moved? (constant battle with your husband?)

Hi S.
Wow does this ever bring back memories. I was a single mom until my son reached the age of 16. I then got married. My husband and my son fought like cats and dogs. My son acted out with all types of behaviors similar to what your son has. The problem was that my son hated change and he didnt like the fact that my attention was not always with him. Unfortunately, we ended in a divorce. (not my sons faoult). After several years of being single I learned to talk to my son again. He finally told me it wasnt that he didnt like my husband, but that I didnt focus my time with him as I did before I was married. Now I am married to a wonderful man who loves my son. (We are older). However, even though my son is older he still holds a bit of resentment toward my husband. But they seem to deal with each other very well these days. I actually told my son that I needed someone to love and had no intentions of calling my marriage quits. He was taken back a bit, but I feel he understands me more now.
My advice to you is get your son some help. He needs to learn to voice his opinions in a positive manner. But dont forget that your hubby also needs to look at where you son is coming from as well.
I remember the pain and agnony of feeling torn..and its no fun. But do yourself a favor S., get the help you need soon. It will tear you apart if you dont and that makes life even harder.
My thoughts are with you and your family!!

I don't have this problem, but I know a lady who does and she got a close friend of hers to get close to her son by being his friend and she found out that the problem was her husband being too hard on her son. Good luck!

Hi S....so sorry for the situation.
My opinion is that your son is screaming for more love/attention from you. Did the marriage to his stepfather happen too fast? Did he have time to adjust to the idea of sharing his mom with another man? My parents are divorced and I know that if my mother would have gotten married again (while I was still living with her) I would have hated it. It's like having a stranger in the house.
I know you have the right to be happy again, but doing it at the expense of your child will not make you happy...I would give him the priority over your husband in any way possible, at least until he feels like his not an accessory to his mother's life (did you ask what are his feelings about the whole thing? What did he tell you?). It may be just me, but NO ONE is more important than my child, much less a man (and I love my husband, mind it). Our children are forever, men...well we don't know after all, do we? i would definitely help this young man go back on track with his life, and only a mom's love can do that. If your husband really loves you, he'll step back and wait. You are not going anywhere, are you?

I don't know how long you lived in Ohio but I will assume most of your 16 yr old son's life so he's bound to have lots of feelings from a move. A move is a very big thing leaving friends, maybe family behind learning to fit into a new school and a family unit not sure if you just married or what but he's had a lot of life changes. Society now excepts children to just go with the flow when parents get divorced and those parents meet new people and marry. As far as stress factors that can make a child act out divorce, death and moving are the top 3 just like for adults. I'm not saying your son is right in his behavior but consider this it may not be abnormal. You kept saying your husband so I will assume he's not the young mans father. Is there a chance you can have assistance from his father?? I don't think I would have him arrested just yet honestly. Give him a chance to come home figure out counseling for the family or a choice for him to live with another family member during this time. You don't want to loose your child just yet to the dark side of our society just yet part of being a parent is difficult times your man maybe your husband and you are in the middle if you do have him arrested your parenting won't stop there and be prepared you will also have to go to court and well it would also be a great chance to turn him over to the wonderful life criminals to learn as a newbie great criminal traits, you may think oh it will change him well if you want him to change it will but it may not be for the better.; If he were my son I'd get counseling for the family lay out his choice's if he doesn't want those then I'd have papers drawn up to amancipate him into being own his own and an adult so that you and your husband have no financial or parental liabilities, I'd still get counseling because change is change and you may need someone to talk to that has no relation as friend or family to the situation. I've lived as a child before I became an adult I watched friends of mine in this situations some families supportive some not. I also have 17 years in the Criminal Division of a court in Ohio, I hope that you don't just let go. I don't know if your husband now is not bringing on some of this I can say that my husband had a few too many step dads and they aren't always right. Does this man have any children of his own?? You may need to examine both sides of the story another thing is not to go with the adult just because they are an adult. One thing my husband always said was he disliked his mother handing over all parental duties to her new men and making him have an instant daddy and the new instant daddy not respecting that my husband already had a daddy. You are his birth mother and you should always have more say over all situations this other man was brought into the picture by you and a piece of paper you married him not your son. Sorry this is what my husband has told me on his point of view with his mother and it's very much the same as I heard growing up as a child when my friends had parents that divorced. I never experienced this first hand my parents stayed married 50 plus years and have passed away. My prayers will be with you.

When i read your story felt very sad for you as I am currently going throught with it now.. i also dont have the perfect answer or good advice to give you but just dont feel humilated or guilty about what is going on with you and your family as in every family there is conflicts. Reading all the advise below there are good advices about always letting your child know that you love him no matter what.. My heart is also breaking dealing with this at my home..but i have good friends that will hear me out when i am down and when my son is down too ..i am happy to know that he has good support with my friends for anything that he needs.. dont think you are the only one going through this..and will be praying for both of our families for peace and resolution.


My heart goes out to you. I am in a combined family as well. My husband and I have been married for 7 years,.... and I now have 10 and 13 year old boys whom the eldest (13) adores my husband more so than his own father and the other who two years ago asked to move to his fathers home because he hated my husband and his strict way to live. I felt as though I had to choose between them, but over time and little by little I have seen that my son who left our home, is remembering all the good stuff we do that balances our rules and chores. Slowly he is showing me regret that he ever left to begin with. It has been an agonizing journey and I have cried over it many times. There is no love greater than the one we have for our kids, hang in there, be strong, find your center place within your heart and hang on to that. Lead by example and stick to your values, and hopefully he will come around.
Your son is going through a lot at that age. Try to make some time with him alone, if you know anyone he looks up too --outside the family he good visit from time to time, maybe that would be a good starting point to get him away and release some feelings little by little.

We all seem to have busy lifestyles these days and a family is a unit --no matter who the biological father is,.. your husband is the man of the house. As long as your husband is not acting in a manner that would considered abusive, my feelings are to stand beside your husband.

Whatever you do, please get Christian counselling for your family. You don't ever want to risk your family's safety.

There are wonderful books on boundaries by Dr. Cloud and Townsend. They are Christian authors, have wonderful sound advice and easy reading.

When I married my wonderful husband he told my 15 year old that she was to old to have a new dad but he would love to be her "friend" and they have the best relationship and she is 37! Now her "friend" is her father and Grandpa.

A move is very hard on any family. Are you connected to a church in your area yet? I will be praying for you.

Family counseling! Your son sounds like a typical 16-year-old but the weapon thing might be taking it a little far... How long has your husband been in your life/ your family. i.e. Has he been step-dad since your son's been little or is this a relatively new arrangement? I wonder if this is a turf war... Keep a vigilant eye on your son. He may be exhibiting dangerous behavior. It sounds like, from the little you've said, your husband is reacting rationally. (but, perhaps he never had the chance to really KNOW your son and bond with him?) If my 16-year-old threatened me with a weapon and ran away, I'd be calling the police too. It may be what saves your son. 16 year old boys are little chemistry experiments -- all the hormones churning, life experience and wisdom lacking, everything seems SO important, impulse control is nearly impossible -- it's not too shocking to see so many become lunatics for a few years. I'm guessing, if you've done the mothering thing right (and you seem like you have), he'll be one of the most lovely people you've ever known by the time he hits 25. Good luck -- I think your family could really benefit from the time spent with a family counselor.

I have been in your son's shoes.

My question to you is , is your husband steping too far out tying to be your sons father. That was a constant battle between my self and my step dad. Your husband needs to back off, he is not your son's father. If he wants to be involved with him let him try to be his friend. I would have responded much better if my own step father would have done less berating and judging and just tried to get to know me.

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