StepFather Vs. Son

Updated on January 07, 2011
E.P. asks from Dallas, TX
15 answers

I have been with my husband for 6 years. My son is 12 and is a SWEET boy. I think my husband is too hard on him as well as OUR 4 yr old daughter.

Like last night, my son was on the couch w/a certain pillow (we have 2 of the same pillows) I gave my son that pillow and when my husband came home from work he took the pillow from my sons head and was gripping to me as he was walking upstairs about all the lights that were left on in a few rooms. My husband has not really seen my son in the past month because he stays w/my parents down the street alot. So is it just me or is he just mean?

Another excample: ever since I can remember he has yelled and cussed at my daughter if she gets her hands dirty while she is eating. I ask him why he reacts that way and he says he just cant stand for her hands to be dirty. So of course we fight about that too. Most of our fights are over the kids.

It's like when my son is around EVERYTHING is a BIG deal and he is very short fused with my daughter too.

I feel like if things don't change between him and my kiddos then we will have to go our own way!

Do you have any suggestions or comments for me. I need all the advise I can get.

I love my kids and they come first! So when he acts like that we get into a big fight (verbal). I'm just tired of walking on egg shells when it comes to my kids and I've had about enough! Here lately I have tried to talk to him about his behavior and he turns it into a fight.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone! We have talked about it and we will work it out...We will see how this vaction works out. He said he is aware he needs to change and will work on it!!!

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

It sounds like your husband is very angry and depressed. I would talk to him when he is in a good mood; hopefully he has those times, and see why he is always so angry. I also think family counseling would be a good idea. There is no excuse for him to be cursing at your 4 year old, or your 12 year old, or you!! Walking on egg shells is no way to live your life. You children also have a very bad example of what a relationship should be like. Maybe when he comes home and acts like that you can CAMLY tell him that you can tell he has had a bad day and you and your kids are going to go down to your parents house for an hour or so. This might give him sometime to relax and keep your kids out of a stressful situation. I pray things get better for your family.


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answers from Dallas on

your husband is verbally abusive. you can stay with him if you want, but you are teaching both of your children that it's OK to be treated that way. be very careful...

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answers from Dallas on

Ok-here's a tough question - did you marry the right man who is having a tough time right now? Or did you marry the wrong man to try to make things better for you and your babies and it's not working out? I ask this question because I'm a step-kid 3 times over - mom kept trying to find someone to take care of her - it didn't work out, and it's VERY tough when that happens.

That said, everyone has posted good suggestions. Family therapy, specifically geared toward blended families, would the the way to go if your husband is open to it. He sounds depressed, angry, and it seems like he has control issues (the dirty hand thing is over the top - that's what little kids do - it's their job (LOL)). Men have a very hard time dealing with things when they don't have much control over them - he may need some individual therapy for his own issues as well. But the goal is to make you all a strong family unit.

If he isn't willing to help make things better, you may have to go your separate ways. You are the safe harbor for your kids. The familiar situation is not necessarily the best one - leaving may be the best thing you could do for them if things are truely not working out, and if the relationships are hurtful - which it sounds like they are right now. The control issue scares me because they can escalate into the physical very easily.

Perhaps you could take some "grown-up time" together to see what's going on. Worst case, if you have family in the area, perhaps they can help if you do need to leave. You're on the right track trying to help him, but you must help yourself and your babies to be safe and secure. Good luck.

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answers from McAllen on

Hi E., I think there are several things that could be going on here. One being that maybe your husband feels ignored because you always take up for the kids. Men are babies and need attention, most of the time more attention than kids do. Another thing is that maybe he's trying to show his dominance to your son, to show him who's boss. Another scenario could be that he's just not happy with his life/job. I think that you should try to calmly talk to him and see if you can get out what's bothering him. If you can't get anything out, see if he'll go to a counselor or get on some pills, if not then you might wanna think about kicking him to the curb. If you are giving him his share of attention and it couldn't be that he feels ignored then it must just be him and life is too short to be miserable. Your son should not have to go down the street to get away from your husband, he should feel comfortable in his own home. Your husband has some issues and he needs to get em fixed soon for your kids' sake. I'll be praying that everything gets worked out.

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answers from Dallas on

Hello Eliyah,

You've gotten great replies here already and I just want to add my 2 cents. There's no reason to be mean to kids and you are right for not wanting your children to be verbally abused. I don't know what you have tried. Please bear w/ me if what I am about to suggest sounds a bit like pampering him and it might be hard for you to do right now but it may bring some good results.

Besides recommending that you pray about it. I'll concentrate in a couple of ideas you can try to see if things change a little and then you can talk with your husband when things are a bit less emotionally charged.

Make some chamomile tea for your husband (as long as he's not allergic to ragweeds) if he likes ice tea... put it in the fridge. get some lavender oil and sort of hijack him the second he gets home and rub his neck and shoulders. Have some nice soothing music on when he arrives. and without really telling your kids, figure out a way to be out of sight for a few minutes when he arrives.

Another way is to just wait for him outside and have him sit with you for a couple of minutes (don't forget the tea) and the lavender oil on you.

I think there is such a thing as "male PMS." I do know there is definitely a difference. Every few months I have to make sure my husband drinks a cup of chamomile tea.

a cup of tea before bedtime will help too.
You can also put 5-10 drops of lavender oil on a paper towel or a tissue and put it in your bedroom. the air will be nicely infused and you both will sleep better. if he says anything, tell him that's for you. (wink, wink) you can also put some lavender oil around during dinner time, breakfast time, etc. try it for a few days.

now, let's think... when you want to change a toddler's behavior, what's the main thing we do... redirection... yes, change the activity... so here is your challenge, how can you re-direct your husband for a few days in order to avoid some confrontation. it could be that your husband has "residual" anger from something that happened days before (a.k.a. holding a bit of a grudge) and he's not even realizing it.

Another thing you can try is to find an activity you all can do that's sort of guaranteed to end on a positive note. playing uno cards? something simple that won't take too long.

I know it's a long message and you'll have to be sneaky. but I think it would be better than asking him why is he so grumpy. Now, enjoy the lavender oil too. I don't recommend candles because most have artificial scents and w/ kids in the's a safety issue too.

I think mothers have are sensitive when it comes to the way others treat our children (and I think that's the way it should be!) and guys are not as diplomatic as we would like them to be.
God bless you and help you! ~C.~

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answers from Abilene on

I would suggest family therapy for y'all. I can't imagine how torn you must feel and how bad your kiddos feel for "daddy" to act like that.

It sounds like your hubby has some pretty deep issues and maybe just isn't good with kids. He shouldn't react in the ways that he does though.

Best of luck!

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answers from Dallas on

I am sorry to hear that you are going through this with the man you love. Have you tried going to therapy together? Also try to speak to someone in your church they are usually very helpful. It sounds like he is very angry and maybe it is out of being unhappy or it could be something else. You have a child together and I think before you throw in the towel you need to try to work things out. Now I am not telling you to stay with this man if he is verbally abusive you should probably move out asap and if you both are willing to work on the realationship then you do. If he is not willing to work things out then you can leave the realationship knowing you did everything you could to save it. You are the protector of your children and you don't want them growing up in a home were they think yelling is normal and they feel like they are not loved by their father. They both will think this is the way a family should be and when they start their own family they will act the same way which is not want you want for them. I will be praying for you and your family.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that maybe it's not time to leave. I don't really understand what happened with the pillow. Cussing at children is unacceptable. Your husband sounds a bit like mine, though. He was in the Air Force for 8 years, and went through some pretty serious situations. He was treated for PTSD when he got out, but it's always going to be a factor for him. We have talked extensively about his anger issues, when he wasn't angry, and he's really worked on it. He's become more aware of how it affects people around him, and rarely yells anymore.

Does your husband have other signs of depression? I take Lexapro for anxiety, and have been off of it for a week now because of insurance mixups. (I should have a prescription at the pharmacy today to pick up - just in time for my in-laws' arrival.) I can tell you that I have been very impatient with my husband and my kids this week. My temper has been short, everything irritates me, and nothing is "no big deal". We're all struggling through it, knowing that once I get my happy pills back I'll be back to normal, but it's been a big reminder of how much that medication does for me. Would he be open to trying that? I'm not always up for our society's quickness to take medication for everything, but he might be more willing to try that than therapy. And, if the Lexapro works, he may not need the therapy. When I first started taking it, I realized how furrowed my brow had been all the time.

I didn't mean for this to turn into a sales pitch for Lexapro. I'm just acutely aware of its effects on me, and it sounds like your husband is generally unhappy. Treat that, and the rest will be resolved.

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answers from Dallas on

No, it is not just you, HE IS MEAN!!!!
"As long as you can remember he yells and cusses at your four year old", I am not sure how long your memory is, but that just is WRONG!!!! Unless you plan on walking on egg shells all the time, sitting in the dark, leaving your son at the grandparents, and putting gloves on the four year old, you need to take some kind of action. It is your job to protect your children. Actually it is his job too, but with his track record, he should have been fired from that job when he started terrorizing your kids.
Get out and get some help.

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answers from Dallas on

If my stepfather treated me the way he seems to treat your son, I would live elsewhere, too. Your husband seems like a selfish man who has no respect for your children or you. He, also, seems to have an anger issue. Maybe he had a rough childhood(?), but that doesn't give him the right to take it out on 2 children. If your kids come first, then I wouldn't tolerate this type of behavior toward them at all, ever. I would send him packing if he refused counseling for himself, the two of you and your family. It sounds as if your husband is somehow jealous of your son and sees him as some sort of threat, so he takes it out on him by being a bully, so he can prove to himself he is stronger and tougher. I believe if you allow this type of behavior to continue and you continue to argue in front of your kids, they are only going to be hurt emotionally, besides have a terrible model of what a marriage should be. Do you want your son to treat his wife this way? Do you want your daughter to take this kind of behavior from her husband? I know it is alot to put on you, but some one has to step up and it has to be you. You love your children and I know you will do what is best for them and their future. God bless!!

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answers from Dallas on

I think you may consider that it is not the kids but something else and he uses the kids as an excuse to whine and fight. It sounds to me like he is unhappy and doesn't know what to do. I would suggest that you try marriage counseling to get your relationship on even ground before you tackle things about the kids. I hardly think that a 4 year olds hands being dirty is enough to cuss and scream at her about.
I think that I would have already had enough. But I am curious that you put your kids first and that you say you love them. When was the last time you put him first? Or said that you love him? I was just wondering if he is getting all his needs met, or does he feel he is in competition with the kids over your love and affection? Or that you always take their sides. Now, this in no-way excuses his behaviour or actions towards the kids. But if you really do choose the kids and he knows it, exactly what is he getting out of the relationship? Certainly he isn't coming first, but maybe second or third. And know matter what they do, he might think that you will always defend them even when there is a legitimate reason for the discipline. I would just say there is more to the story than what you have said on-line. I would think that if you truly thought it was abusive you wouldn't stay and would have no qualms about leaving. Or if your husband can't talk to you in reasonable tones to work on the underlying problem then I would think that he wouldn't go to counseling because he wouldn't think there was a problem to begin with. But you say he turns it into a fight when you try to talk to him. Is he anticipating that you will already choose the kids over his feelings? Or that you are accusing him? Or not approaching with the attempt to find teh real problem only to attack him for dealing with the kids? I was just think something needs to stop the cycle and that is you and how you deal with him. I would suggest a book called "The proper care and feeding of husbands" by Dr. L. Schlessinger. It would give you some ideas about dealing with your husband to diffuse the situation. Then maybe he will open up about what is really bothering him. I would suspect that he is only using the kids as an exscuse of some sort. After all, we all fight over the socks on the floor, but we all know that the real reason has little to do with the socks on the floor.
Good luck,

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answers from Minneapolis on

I can relate to this in so many ways and i need help with this issue also.
I have a 4 yr old son about to turn 5 who is a sweetheart and a fiance who is just so crabby all the time. I am pregnant and staying in his parents house until we find employment. I am deeply bothered by his anger towards my son when he makes mistakes. My son cries after being yelled at by him. I tell my son "don't worry son mommy loves you" "you don't need to cry" And i dont want to start an argument and raise my voice in front of him. my fiance calls him a crybaby CONSTANTLY. I just cant stand this anymore. And i am about up to my boiling point to where i am going to say "KEEP YOUR DAMN HANDS OFF MY SON! WERE LEAVING!" But i dont want to leave. I need help on how to consult him on getting himself anger managment or therapy. It saddens me to live like this and to see that others are living like this also. I feel so trapped.


answers from San Francisco on

I'm having the same problem. I
am going to have to choose my son first. I'm tired of being the one who takes all of the grief for their conflicts and i'm sick of walking on eggshells as well. We women get sold on the notion that boys need a man in their lives, but sometimes it's just not worth it.



answers from Dallas on

I think you are doing right by standing up for your children but there has got to be a reason for his actions.God gave you his children to take care of and you need to see what his deep seed for his actions are before he makes you choose between them.


answers from Dallas on

IT sounds like you ave already got the best advice! If he as always been like this he will always be that way. Another question you need to ask yourself is why do you allow it.Do you want your children to treat there loved ones that way.An they will treat you that way when they get older or for your son very soon. Trust me they learn what they live in.You didn't say why your son stays at your folks but I would ask myself why would he want to live where he is verbaly abused an if you alow it you are as much at fault as your husband.
If that is the reason he stays at your folks!He may one day ask you why you stayed in this relationship an chose your husband over your son an daughter.I really am being honest with you. You will look back later an ask yourself why, life is to short for this kind of treatment. Suggest to your husband you both get counseling an if he says know then get it for yourself an your children. They deserve better than what they are getting from there dad an so do you!I know this is like carma it has away to come back to bite you.It may slso be a deeper issuse than just this for your husband !
M. H.

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