November 24, 2008,
K.H. asks from Arlington, TX on November 22, 2008
My Toddler Step Son Doesn't Seem like Me Anymore
I have a 2 1/2 year old step son (i've been in his life since he was 15 months old) who my husband and i get every other weekend. My husband and I had a baby boy in September. Lately, I feel like my step son resents me and as silly as it sounds he is mean to me. He gets upset if I sit in "his" seat, won't share things with me, and mostly just ignores my existence as well as his baby brother's. It used to not be like this but it seems that the older he gets the more he starts to realize "who" i am.. the step mom. I have gone above and beyond for him and to make him know that I care for him. I even watched him for a month out of the summer (I am a teacher so I have the summers off). During the summer, we seemed a lot closer but he would occasionally do things to me that he would not dare do to daddy. He is very much a daddy's boy and loves daddy's attention when we have him
When I tell my husband how I feel he gets very upset and says that it will be like that until I ignore it or stop thinking that way. He thinks it's all in my head but I totally disagree.
It is to the point where I don't get excited when we have anymore like I used to because I feel like the wicked step mom. I know that things would be different with the new baby around but I just thought he would jealous. But he doesn't act jealous unless his grandma has the baby. And I almost get happy when he gets jealous bc it actaully shows that he acknowleges his brother.
I know that he is in the "me me me" stage but honestly, I am the only person that he acts this way to. It stresses me out and I feel like I have to walk on egg shells when he is here because everything I do is wrong in his eyes. Which causes my husband to feel stressed bc he can tell I am stressed.
I just want us to have a great relationship bc I really care about him.. but right now I don't know how to make it work or how to just let things be how they are.
S.S. answers from Wichita Falls on November 23, 2008
My youngest son will be 3 in January, and he is a turd. I'd be convinced he didn't like me anymore if I paid any attention to the fact that he seems to get pure joy out of causing me physical pain. I too am the only person he does this to - he is an angel to daycare staff, can be a turd to his brother and sister but they do it back, doesn't try it with his daddy. There are times he is an angel too - but most of those are when he is sleeping or sick. He is rough and tumble, and I am not - so he tries to rough and tumble me, and I don't do it back... which ticks him off.
I'd give it up for a while on the whole "acknowledging his brother" thing... mainly because you're creating an issue that doesn't exist, and doesn't need to be there for the sake of your marriage.
Here's how that goes down; your pregnancy hormones make you uber sensitive to everything, and you want everyone - including a self absorbed two year old - to be overjoyed at this thing in your belly that you and his daddy both seem to be paying more attention to than him.
Then it comes out - and rather than being able to treat it like a toy that could stand up to some boy playing, he can only be 'nice to it'... and you and his daddy just think it's great, to him - it's got the same relevance as a squid - he can't play with it. But you get upset because he doesn't 'love' it, and you think he's 'bad' and he gets unhappy... and feels like everyone loves the squid more than him.
So you start feeling like the wicked step mother because of these hormones, and the normal developmental stages of a boy and the fact that he is your "STEP" son - as opposed to your real son; and you start putting things up to your husband as he treats his son better or differently or has different expectations for in comparison to the son you share.
And then it's his son versus your son.
And then he'll have them both every other weekend, with their new stepmom... and that sucks, from what I understand.
My husband had children from his first marriage when we met, and his ex wife is the daughter of satan - she did everything she could to convince those babies that I was a harlot who made their daddy leave them, despite the fact that she had a string of live ins between the days before he left (yes, really) and the day the divorce finalized - and he and I met the month before everything finalized (and his children met me 6 or 8 months later than that)... we went through the usual getting to know you things (they were 4 and 6) - and we married a year later. When I got pregnant, my dd was thrilled - my ds (7) was worried that he was going to be usurped. His mom told them both that their dad wouldn't want them anymore after he had another kid. It took six months to debunk that myth and - by the time the baby was 1, he was everyone's baby. Between the first and second, our oldest went through some more stuff with meeting his biological dad (not my husband), and anger issues - and decided not to come over anymore for awhile. We let it happen. Invite him regularly, but don't force anything... he's started coming back around, mainly to see his little brothers - but also to spend time with his dad, and to get help with his homework from me (because he still thinks he can't love me and please his mom at the same time). Our 11 year old is more a girl at heart - she enjoys being a big sister, although she still runs into some mom house - dad house issues with different rules and expectations. It is what it is - and what it's not is a love issue. Don't let it become one.
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C.R. answers from Dallas on November 22, 2008
Well I'm a mom of two boys. The eldest is 4 and the youngest is 2. I think that you are valid in feeling what you are seeing but I'm not too sure if it's the correct reason. You are putting alot onto a 2 1/2 year old. I'm sure it's difficult for him adjusting to his family situation and being two is not fun anyway! ") For you to have the feeling that his is 'mean' to you sounds heavy coming from such a young child. I think your taking it too personal because your a step mom. What if you took a look at it without you being the step mom? Just be yourself and don't worry so much about whether or not he accepts you or not. Kids can sense stress in us adults and can act out in their behavior. Your sensitive about it and he feels it from you. Relax. He doesn't have to like you now, he's two!
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J.G. answers from Dallas on November 23, 2008
Try making him more involved. Let him help you with chores or changing the baby. At two years old a child really wants to feel that they are in control. Give him the opportunity to be the “big brother”. Take him for a walk and let him push the baby’s stroller. Show him that he is in control of some things.
You can’t let him get away with being outright mean. Call him out when he does something you do not approve of, you don’t have to punish him, but tell him you notice and don’t approve and daddy would not approve either. Give balance by over praise when he does something you do approve of.
Two year olds are testing their limits, that is why it is called the “terrible twos”. Show him the limits and give him ways to prove himself and make the right decisions.
C.H. answers from Dallas on November 24, 2008
When my husband and I got together my stepson was 2 1/2 also. He is now 9 and I am still dealing with that kind of stuff but only because his mother is the one who put in his head that if he is close to me than it will hurt her. He even has lived with us since he was 3 almost 4 too. Maybe if you have your husband talk with his son and have him show him that it is ok to be close to you than he will ease up. Also I have a 2 1/2 yr old and she is very much mine mine mine right now maybe he will grow out of it in time. Like everyone else said maybe if you include him in more of the big brother roles it might help also. If you ever need to talk about anything because i have been through it feel free to pm me. Hope this helps.
K.Y. answers from Dallas on November 23, 2008
My sons are 3 and 18 months. Boys can just be rough. They don't mean to hurt, but if he is like my son tackling is about his favorite activity. Sometimes I feel like they see me as a jungle gym :) They are more like this with me than with their daddy, probably because they are around me more (dh works longer hours). The extra stress could be from having a new baby as well as an active toddler. At this age kids favorite words are mine and no. It is hard for a 2 year old to adjust to a new baby, especially when he is split between houses. Try not to take it personaly, he is just discovering his independence. Praise him when he is being good or sharing and give him little chores to help with the baby. We bought our older son a little book about being a big brother that helped a lot and also refer to the baby as our baby so he feels more included. Some days my boys want me and some days it is all about daddy, so that is normal. Hang in there and just try to keep it all in perspective.
R. answers from Dallas on November 22, 2008
I have a 3 yr. old DS and he doesn't want me to sit in his chair, kiss him or nothing...I think it's just boy. I just ignore him...you know, kiss him when I want, hug him all the time and tell him that I love him when he's upset. You should not let a 2 yr. old determine your happiness. Just ignore these behaviors and treat him like you always have-he is acting this way for a response and when he doesn't get one he will stop.