S.M. asks from Bargersville, IN on July 28, 2009
What to Do with a Jealous Stepson
Alright, my husband and I have been married for nearly a year, and he has an 8 year old son. He does not live with us full time, but he comes over frequently. Here lately, he has become extremely jealous of his father and I showing any kind of affection toward one another at all. When we are holding hands he comes between us. When I am sitting next to my husband, my stepson will take my seat as soon as I get up, and according to him we ARE NOT allowed to kiss AT ALL. Not even when he isnt around. Of course I am not going to let an 8 yr old tell me what to do, but I am unsure how to deal with this. He gets so upset and throws major fits and cries all the time. He tells me that for every kiss I give my husband, I have to give him one too. The other day he counted 55. (I didnt really kiss my husband that many times) :) WE have tried to sit him down and explain that a relationship between his father and I, and him and I are two different things. He tells us it is unfair and he storms off crying. He wont even let us be in a room without him being in there because he doesnt want us to kiss. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. I am at a complete loss on this one.
M.P. answers from Cleveland on July 29, 2009
Having had a similar experience I can only suggest what worked for us. We discovered that the child was feeling displaced. Children do not understand the difference between child and adult love. They onle understand the feeling of being loved. We explained to the child that no one woulod ever replace her in our lives, that now she was loved twice as much and not less. She would always be a piece of her Daddy's heart and not one thing in life would ever change that. It took time, lots of reassurance but eventually the jealousness wore off.
1 mom found this helpful
B.S. answers from Cincinnati on July 29, 2009
JMO, but it sounds like there is something else going on with him- probably at his mother's house. I definitely think more needs done, like therapy. He has issues that you probably are not going to be able to resolve yourselves. I don't agree that you and your husband should stop showing affection while he's around...
K.O. answers from Indianapolis on July 29, 2009
He's 8 years old & your not mom!!!! In his mind, mom & dad should be together period. You don't know what his mom has told him or even said about his dad. Best bet, just hang in there; do some things special with just him & dad's not allowed at all. Keep showing the boy that you love him & it will slowly dawn on him that he now has 2 moms!!!! Sit everyone down (including the ex) & make some ground rules; even to what the boy should call you (like mummy2 or even mumsie) there are videos out there that might help as well. Ask for them at the bookstore. Maybe even go as far as seeing a therapist as a family (ex included)to help with the situation. Remember you are trying to meld two families into one. Good luck.
B.R. answers from Columbus on July 28, 2009
It's understandable. Limit your public displays of affection in front of him for a while. It's going to take time. Think of it from his perspective. He didn't choose you. His dad did. He's going to be fiercely loyal to his mom. He feels betrayed, confused, and insecure. Don't force it, but offer to hold his hand or spend time with him without his dad. Make cookies or garden or play Nintendo or something with him. He needs to develop a relationship with you. And that takes time and shared experiences...and trust. Be patient. Good luck.
L.S. answers from Dayton on July 29, 2009
I know that you must be frustrated. Being a step parent myself, I can empathize with you. I think your husband needs to sit his son down, have a long talk about this, make rules to stop this behavior, have consequences for those rules, and follow through. That little boy is running your house right now and it needs to stop. I would also have your husband maybe spend one evening (more often) with him doing something that gives him a little one on one attention, because attention is what he's trying to get right now.
Best of luck!
J.H. answers from Columbus on July 29, 2009
I can't say that I necessarily agree with the other responders. I don't think that you need to stop displaying affection for your husband. That is a good lesson for children to learn... that people that are married LOVE each other. It does sound like he is jealous though. Perhaps you can increase your physical affection for him. My children will often come between my husband and I if we are hugging or kissing. They say "break up the party". So we grab them and have them join in the hug and then kiss them all. When you sit on the couch, let him sit between you and you can all hold hands. He may just be craving someone loving him the way that you and your husband love each other. Divorce is a difficult thing. Children often fear that if their parents fell out of love with each other, they might fall out of the live with them too. Increasing your affection and time with him might just let him know that instead of losing his Dad, he is gaining another person that loves him!
G.H. answers from Cincinnati on July 29, 2009
Sounds like he just wants more attention from you and reassurance that you have accepted him as your "son". He may also have a crush on you. Maybe spend some one-on-one time with him doing some of his favorite activities. You could also have his father spend time doing some "male bonding".
M.B. answers from Lafayette on August 01, 2009
Awe! =) My (biological) kids do this sometimes, too. I just think he's crying out for good, positive, loving attention. I'm not even suggesting that you're not giving him attention -- there could be something going on at his mom's, with his friends, etc. Just be patient and loving & try to see if he opens up eventually. And go ahead & kiss his dad -- then, give him a kiss, too! It'll be a goofy game before long. :)
Good luck! God bless!