S.K. asks from Mojave, CA on August 30, 2011
Awkwardness with Step-son
Two years ago we learned about some inappropriate advances/touching between my step-son and my older daughter. He initiated it and it continued for 2 years without our knowledge. My daughter finally said something 2 yrs ago when she was having personal issues at the time, When we found out, he was sent to live with his mom immediately. Since then, things have never been the same in our family. My step-son and my older daughter don't speak. I think my husband resents my older daughter for uncovering what happened. He denies resentment but my older daughter feels it sometimes. My husband wants to have him around occasionally but I have another daughter in the home too. After a few recent visits (2 to our home), she told me she doesn't feel comfortable with her step-brother coming to our house. She stayed away from him and had minimal conversation with him when he was here. (Our older daughter doesn't live with us anymore which is why he came over.) He has never done anything to our younger daughter but she is uncomfortable around him and said it feels awkward. when he is around. She was the one who told me what happened when her older sisted confided in her. I told my husband today and he seems sad. and I think he may be angry. I think he thought that if my older daughter wasn't here it would be okay for him to come over. I think he wants to try to pretend things are normal but they just are not. :( It makes me sad that this has torn our family apart and I just don't think there is any way to fix it. My younger daughter is in counseling for other issues so she really doesn't need any added stress in her life right now. MY step-son feels like he was blamed for everything and is resentful towards how we handled the situation (by making him move out). I just want to get other parents feed back to see if you think we are doing the right thing by not allowing him to come here and hang out.
So What Happened?™
to add to this: the two kids were 13 at the time (they are the same age), it was his idea but she never stopped it until she was 15. We didn't discover this until they were 17 and thats when he left. They are both now 19. The younger daughter is 15 now. My 15 yr old has brought it up in counseling which is why I told my husband his son cant come over anymore. I have gotten counseling for it on my own and the counselor said he should not be allowed to live with us and visits should always be supervised if my daughter was there. My step-son went to counseling when it first happened, but not now. I don't think he accepts responsibility for what happened. He says its her fault too. My husband is just in denial - doesn't like to talk about it and won't go to counseling for it. I think he's embarassed. ****** added 8/31/11 - I wanted to add that this all didn't come to light until after we noticed a change in my older daughter's emotional health - she was depressed, cutting herself, isolating herself from the family unit, hating her step-brother etc... She doesn't like to talk about it - not then and not now. I can't force counseling on her now as she is an adult and no longer lives in my home. The story was he manipulated her into doing stuff she eventually felt remorse for. She never said anything for fear it would cause a divorce between my husband and I. It sounds like many of you think she is to blame too, but thats the same as saying that date rape is consensual since the girl was a willing participant on the date. Sometimes coercion comes in the mask of manipulation and fear of consequence and shame. That fear and shame obviously caused her trauma which led to her depression and self-mutilation (cutting). Maybe I didn't give as much information/details as I should have because I too have a hard time with this whole thing. I do blame my step-son for what happened. We were a family - all living under the same roof - from the time we got married. I raised him. I resent that he initiated this "idea" that it was okay to experiment with his step-sister as a way to alleviate his uncontrollable hormones. I'm sorry I just needed to add more to the story so you all had a better picture of what all happened. Thanks for your insight.
J.W. answers from St. Louis on August 30, 2011
Okay this is a rather strange story but really what did the boy do wrong? They are not related he apparently was attracted to her and I guess since she did nothing she was attracted to him. Then they broke up and you all cast him away. I am actually more concerned for his mental well being than that of your daughters. He didn't do anything wrong, it isn't wrong to be attracted to girls that are not related to you yet he was punished and your daughter was let off with nothing. That is a really strange message to send to either of them.
Has it occurred it is your reaction and not the act that is causing your younger daughter stress. Perhaps she is attracted to him who knows.
I just read your what happened: After reading that YOU are the problem, not your step son. Your younger daughter's therapist said he should not come into the house because of what she said. Here is why it is wrong, your younger daughter has been manipulated into believing he is dangerous by YOUR words and actions. You are causing your entire family this grief all because of some distorted view of reality. You need help!!! If I could contact your husband I would tell him to leave you for the sake of the relationship with his son which was unfairly damaged by you. That is not the actions of a loving wife or caring step mom. You took your daughter's side to the extreme.
Just because you had the power to completely remove her ex boyfriend from the situation to make life easier on her doesn't mean it was the right thing to do. You were wrong, you need to make it right! What was done to that boy was soooo wrong and that you continue to blame him and say his father is wrong, in denial, and embarrassed is way wrong! He is not any of those things. In the cold light of day he has realized just how wrong the actions you pushed on him were!
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E.T. answers from Albuquerque on August 30, 2011
It sounds like two thirteen year olds made some bad choices. One made a bad choice first and the other was a willing participant... Which mean she made bad choices too. Then one of the children was kicked out of the house. And the other didn't have consequences.
Maybe I'm reading it wrong but it sure sounds like you're blaming your stepson a bit unfairly. And why would your younger daughter be worried about your step son? A thirteen year old messing around with another isn't a child molester. It's a kid who made a bad choice.
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M.C. answers from Cincinnati on August 30, 2011
I may have interpreted you wrong, so if so, I apologize. I read this as you saying your 13 your old step son made a first move on your 13 year old daughter. Together, they continued with "inappropriate touching" for 2 years before they broke it off. Two years after that you find out and kick him out. Was he really doing this against her will? If not, why is he the one getting kicked out and made to stay away from his father? If this "inappropriate" behavior was committed with mutual consent, why is he the bad guy and your daughter the innocent? They were the same age. One should not just assume he was an aggressor and she a victim. If this was mutual, I feel bad for the boy.
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L.M. answers from Dover on August 30, 2011
You are in a tough spot, as is your husband. He stood up for your daughter and kicked his son out but it's his son so naturally he wants to have him around. Your younger daughter definately feels weird because she knows both what he did was wrong and she was the one who told. If he's never made inappropiate advances towards the younger daughter, I think you should allow your stepson in your home when you or your husband can supervise any/all interaction between him and your daughter or schedule it for when your daughter isn't there.
You don't say how old any of the children were when this happened or how old they are now...I do think that makes a difference. As does, the circumstances...did he iniate and then they had an ongoing relationship? Did he force something on her? Threaten her? Has your stepson been in therapy, shown remorse, etc?
That being said, the mom in me screams "I wouldn't want him around my daughter" but the parent in me understands your husband "but he's my son".
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S.B. answers from Houston on August 30, 2011
Sounds like your whole family needs to be in counseling. I have mixed feelings about this and I know I come across insensative and I certainly don't want to. Did anyone talk to the son? What was his side of the story? I am struggling with this one so I can't imagine what ya'll went through. This is just sad all the way around. You don't mention the ages of the kids when this happened and how old they are now. My heart goes out to you and your family. Seek counseling immediately.
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S.T. answers from Kansas City on August 30, 2011
you say she didnt "stop it until she was 15"...that statement makes it sound as if it was consensual and when they broke up she was angry and wanted to get him in trouble. Do you know for certain he was molesting or raping her? did she seem upset when he came for his visits? was there changes in her bahavior, outbursts, tantrums, fights etc, anything indicitive of her being molested?
I dont mean to blow off the situation, I was molested by my stepsister from the time I was 5 until 7 so I know the horrors of things like that. It is just somewhat unclear in your explination.
and regardless of what happened, that is his son, and as a mom you should know that the love we have for our children know no boundaries, he of course would not like what happened but that is his child as well and of course he misses him. so I dont think you should be upset by your husband wanting to see his child. good luck with everything.
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on August 30, 2011
Your Husband needs Counseling.
That step-son needs Therapy.
NEVER should that boy be around your children/daughter or any child.
What was done about it, legally?
Is everything documented?
Your Husband is in denial.
Your step-son has NOT... owned up to his 'crime.' Nor does he take responsibility for it.
That is not good.
And, there is NO conclusive evidence, that he has changed.
Things like this... do not just go away.
I would not let him back in my house.
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J.J. answers from San Francisco on August 31, 2011
I can't imagine how difficult this situation is for everyone involved. I was molested by my brother when I was 10 years old and he was 14. It took me 3 years to tell my parents about it. It sounds like your daughter was the victim and it is good you have taken the steps to help her heal. However, your step-son was also a child. How long should he have to pay for this? You need to forgive him. It took me many years and a lot of life experience to forgive my brother but it's possible. Everyone's reactions to the situation sound very understandable. But you must work through this to heal your family.
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