My Stepson and His Dad Are Causing a Strain on Our Relationship/family.

Updated on October 22, 2018
T.G. asks from Fredericksburg, TX
13 answers

I have 2 kids from a previous marriage my son 10, and daughter 8. I have a 1 yr old daughter together with my husband. My husband has a 7 yr old son from previous relationship, but the mother is not in his life at all, his son lives with his sister and her kids because before my husband mom was raising his son (complicated) but his mom passed and his sister took over. My husband sister lived with the mom. We have the other kids full time, and we get my stepson on the weekends, he has always had a hard time with me and his dad showing affection or just any attention his dad gives me. I have tried to stand back to make things easier and that didnt always work, I feel Im an adult and I should not have to not be they way a woman is supposed to be with her husband. More specifically he wants to sleep on top of his dad, gets mad throws full blown crazy fits if I sleep with his dad or his dad is in a room alone with me, to the point he is yelling at the top of his lungs and physically hitting his dad. I feel his dad doesnt do much because he feels guilty about not having him full time. Also, to be clear my husband family chooses for this arrangement to be this way where the stepson lives over there. My stepson calls over there his home. I dont want to leave this relationship but its making me so unhappy, my stepson goes out of his way to find me in the kitchen and say "are you sleeping with my dad?", I used to say no, now I say yes I always sleep with your dad he is my husband and then he goes running to his dad. Daddy are you sleeping with her or me? My husband says you, then he gets all happy, he is happy when we are disagreeing over this situation. Im fed up! My husband defense is always control your kids, but we are speaking about example cleaning the house. My 2 kids from my other marriage understand the difference between adult relationship and them being the children, they dont try to come between us.

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answers from Washington DC on

this is a husband problem, not a stepson problem. so right out of the gate i'm concerned with you blaming a confused 7 year old for being the troublemaker.

well, and a *you* problem.

if you had a stable household with strong parents and a thoughtful parenting philosophy there would be no reason for this clearly upset small boy to live elsewhere. the fact that you and your husband are pitted against each other with the little fellow as the catalyst does, however, indicate that maybe the poor little guy is better off where he is.

a little guy pitching fits over his dad actually makes a lot of sense when you see it from his perspective. his daddy has this new family, new wife, new baby, new stepkids, and he's feeling lost and desperate to make his place in his daddy's life.

yeah, it would be great if your husband would show firmness, patience, love and consistency when dealing with his sad, confused little boy.

it would be better yet if you would.

but instead of even trying to see things from a small child's perspective, it's all about how annoyed you are and how awful he is.

i suggest counseling for everybody.


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm a stepmother and I have a son with my husband, so I understand that stepkids and visitation on weekends can be stressful.

I think you are focused on the wrong things. You are more concerned with showing affection with your husband and being alone with him, You expect a 7 year old to accept how a woman is "supposed" to be with her husband. He has no frame of reference for this - he has a totally messed up living situation for his entire 7 years, and you want him to just get over it.

Look at it from his vantage point. His mother left him. His grandmother left him. His father left him to marry a woman with other children, and then had a new baby. He comes on weekends into an existing, functioning household. He doesn't fit in. His link there is his father, and his stepmother expects him to understand an adult relationship.

Your stepson should not be hitting his father or having tantrums, no question. But what the hell is your husband doing to give this boy some security? Why in the world does "the family" get to decide where this boy lives? What is wrong with your husband that he doesn't want his son with him? Why does your husband think it's okay to say "yes" and then "no" to this child? Why in the world are you and your husband allowing any child (especially this one) see disagreement and arguing? And by the way, your older children are learning how to have a solid marital arrangement from your behavior. Think that one over a bit.

Your husband and son need extensive therapy. Extensive. And you need to attend some of the sessions at the direction of the therapist to understand how to support this child and some sort of reunification with his father. How awful for this child to see his father with 2 stepchildren and the child's new half-sibling, and not be welcome or brought into the fold. If you folks don't get on top of this immediately, he's going to be damaged for life.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Ok, your husband is the father, so HE decides where is son lives, and it should be with him. Also, a 7 year old is not able to think about how a woman should be with a man, nor should he at this age. His world is a mess and he has been tossed about. He needs security. That is why he wants to sleep with his father. There is NOTHING wrong with this! Dad and son need to go to therapy together. Your part in this will come later. The first priority is the child having his needs met. If you think he is difficult at 7, wait until he is 13 or 18. This child should not be hitting and screaming; however, he lacks the tools necessary for him to handle his feelings and life situation right now. Forget about you for right now, and work with his father to get the child the help and security he needs. It's not that you don't matter or aren't important, it's just that this biological father-child relationship takes precedence right now.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Imagine what this little boy is going through - the death of his mother, not living with his dad, and not only a blended family, but his dad has a baby (huge amount of attention given) with the new stepmom. You can't blame him for being confused, hurt, angry and acting out.

Seven years old is a big developmental, maturity leap age for kids as well. Some kids get anxious (one of mine did) and some need a little extra help at this age. It's quite a common age for kids to regress. I have one that did and had none of this going on - we have a stable home life in comparison.

I would suggest being very patient, understanding, and stop putting expectations on the child.

Instead, let him have a lot of alone time with dad. You take the rest of the kids and let dad bond with his child. I don't know why the little boy can't live with you all (to me that's sad) however you say it's complicated. The rest of you - you, kids, new baby - get dad FULL time. He gets him limited time. He doesn't even get a real family member the rest of the time. He's lost his mommy.

I would suggest counseling because sounds like he's lost and hurt, and needs a lot of one on one time with dad. Maybe if he had it, he wouldn't need the nighttime bed sharing. Maybe a nightly routine would suffice, and a once a month sleepover/movie night would work instead.

I get you're frustrated and his behavior is upsetting - but don't compare him to your children because that's apples to oranges. He hasn't had the benefits yours have had. Cut him some slack. Your husband needs to step up with his son. You need to be more patient and understanding. Also - consider this living/visit arrangement may not be working. Switch things up to suit the boy as well as you. In the end, it will all be worth it. Counselors help with all this and would make the world of difference to you all. That would be my suggestion.

Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Your husband and son need a whole lot of therapy.
It sounds like Hubby hasn't really stepped up in the parenting department with his son.
Why was grandma and aunt raising his son?
Why wasn't Hubby raising him?
Poor kid was abandoned by both his parents so of course he has issues.
They need to bond and develop a healthy parent/child relationship.

At some point you also need to be part of the family therapy too.
Blending families is hard - you are going to have to grow a thicker skin to get though this.
Cut the kid a little slack.
He's a child so you need to be an adult.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like a bit of a mess. If I'm understanding this right, his son is only with you on the weekend, correct? So you have your husband to yourself 5 out of 7 nights. Personally that would be plenty of sex/intimacy for me, so I would be willing to let this go for now. The kid is 7 not 14, he doesn't have a mother and spends the rest of his time living with his cousins and aunt. Give him a break, this isn't going to last forever. If you can't do that and need more attention then maybe you don't have the patience to be a step parent.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You all need counseling. Imagine how it must feel for this boy to see his dad form a new family and live with some woman and her two kids and have a baby with her while he lives with is aunt. Sorry, but that's messed up. Whatever the circumstance were that led to this arrangement are in the past. Your husband is this child's only biological parent in his life and he needs to parent him full time. If he can parent your two children and the child you have together, he's got his act together enough to have his own son full time.

I suspect that once this poor kid doesn't feel like an outsider, he'll develop the sense of security he needs to function in a family.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Try handling with humor. When he objects to kissing, turn around and say, "I love you too".and give him a kiss on the cheek. When he sleeps with his Dad, you sleep somewhere else and tell him, I'll sleep where because both your Dad and I love you. Do things to help him feel special.

What you're doing now has created a power struggle. No one wins. Your husband and stepson seriously lose.

I suggest that you can change what you do but not what your husband and stepson do. You have war going on in your house. Yes, that will break up your relationship with your husband and your kids. So, you have a choice. Continue to be unhappy or join the "other side." Only you can stop the war.

Consider that you have his Dad. Your stepson is afraid you'll disrupt your stepson's tenuous relationship with his Dad. He's 7 and scared. You're an adult and scared. I suggest family counseling. I suggest you support your husband in trying to have a relationship with his son.

Because you mentioned your stepson lying on Dad and because you angrily insist the you're the wife, I wonder if sex is fueling this fight.'re not consciously thinking that. However, your insistent focus on the normal relationship of a wife and husband are clues to why you're focused on proving you have a right to intimacy but your stepson doesn't. Know that your stepson is not thinking about sex. He wants to feel secure in his Dad's love. I suggest that if you felt secure in your husbands love you wouldn't consider a 7 yo son a competitor.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Let the poor child sleep with his father!
He is 7 years old and just trying to bond with his father and clearly lacking attention and affection.

If the situation was flipped and your kids didn’t live with you and wanted this special time with you, won’t you give it?

The solution is for your husband to go spend his weekends with his son for quality one on one time.

When is the last time your husband actually spent alone time with his own son?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

This is a mess. First, your husband is the father and therefore HE decides where this child lives, which is with ya'll. That needs to be corrected ASAP. He is a part of the family unit not a visitor.

Second, he is so confused as to his place. He has no idea where he fits. He's having a power struggle with you and your husband isn't helping.

Your family needs therapy ASAP. There are a lot of dynamics going on and ya'll need help navigating them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Hi, I am also a stepmom who had to understand my role when it came to my husband and his teen son. I am also a mom of another teen boy so it was hard to understand for awhile.
I won't throw you under the bus for feeling irritated and frustrated with your 7 yr old stepsons behavior. I do not feel that you are acting in a selfish manner nor expecting this child to understand your relationship with his dad. Your husband needs to do a couple things. First he needs to tell his son that they sleep in 2 different rooms at night, but that he will spend special time with him in his room like reading books, telling stories, cuddle time etc. The boy really needs to feel emotionally and physically close with his dad. But also he needs to spend time with his son outside of the house too, just them. The boy needs to understand that its family time and then just him and daddy time. This is a confusing time for him at.the age of 7. You said the reason the boy doesn't live with his dad is complicated and that sounds like a good reason for therapy.
Try to empathize with the boy, maybe try talking with him to let him know that you love it when he can spend time with you and his dad but you understand they need their own time too.
I hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

First of all your husband is creating this situation. When a child throws a tantrum to get his own way, it needs to be stopped. Unfortunately, your husband caves every time. He needs to tell his son that a child should sleep in his own bed and a husband and wife sleep together. Daddy will hold him on his lap and read him a story and watch TV with him. But the boy has to sleep in his own bed. The child needs to understand that this is the way normal families work.
The main thing is stopping the tantrums, no child after 2 should be having tantrums. I understand the child's life is a horrible mess and this needs to be cleared up. The child should be living with his dad and family, this child is family too.
Do not let this child rule the household.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Wow, your husband is a HUGE part of the problem. He needs to be your husband in front of his son. He needs to tell his son, son, of course I sleep with my wife. T. and I are married and she is my wife and I am her husband. And I love her. And I want you to love her too. He should not give in because he feels guilty. He should parent his 7 year old the same way you parent all the kids...he should expect him to sleep in his own bed and work towards this EVERY night. He needs to be the one to step up and expect good behavior from his son. Now, I also feel for the 7 year old. Deep down he feels abandoned by his dad and obviously he feels very jealous. He is still so very young and has had a very troubled life and that's way too much for a 7 year old to handle. You should expect it to take a lot of time for him to feel secure again. My son was so hard at age 7...his personality was to rage about things and have huge fits when he didn't get his way. I highly recommend family therapy. We did this for 2 years and it was very helpful. The other thing both you and your husband need to do is work on bonding with his son. You especially. I can tell you don't feel close to him. Schedule special time with him doing something he likes. Ask him to show you his favorite game. Praise him. Show interest in what he likes and spend some time each week doing this with him. Your husband should make it a point to spend one on one time with him...take him to do special dad-son things together. Work on a project together. Practice sports together. Every week he needs to do this and help his son feel special and secure and loved. At one point I was so frustrated with my son I was not feeling close to him at all...he was such a pain...and this worked. We got close again. He taught me some of his favorite video games once a week and we'd play together. He's a teen now and I can tell he still feels very close to me... he shows me things on the computer, shares music with me, and talks to me about things going on in his life. Again, your husband needs to start being better about things...showing his son you are his wife yet at the same time he loves his son enough to expect him to do better. And you need to work on having a lot more patience for this poor little boy. It will take might take a couple years. Please call around and start doing some family therapy. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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