We Have Full Custody of My Stepson and I Don't Know How to Be a Full Time Mom!

Updated on March 11, 2007
E.F. asks from Grove City, OH
11 answers

My husband and I got married last year and I've known my stepson for six years. He's ten now and going through an argueing stage. He used to listen and come to me for everything but now it's like I'm the mean stepmom. He's been struggling in school and we just moved to a different school district last year so he acts miserable sometimes. He only sees his mom every other weekend. When he gets back heignores me and doesn't even acknowledge that I'm around. I'm getting very frustrated and when I talk to my husband he get's upset with me. I need to be on the same level with my husband and understand my stepson. Please help!

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So What Happened?

Everything seemed to get better and my husband and I were on the same page. Recentley we decided to get him tested for some learning disabilities and possible ADHD. He's been struggling in school forever. The teacher also recommended it because he just was having so many problems paying attention and not getting school work done. So, we just got the test results back and he's right at his grade level but it does look like he has ADHD. So, we now have to go to a psychologist and be for sure.

More Answers



answers from Lima on

WOW!!!! These responses are overwhelmingly helpful. I am a 27 yr. old stepmom of a 16 yr. old who lives with us full time, and has since he was 10 yrs. old. His mom lives in NC and does not participate in his life unless it is convenient for her. So, fortunately I don't have to deal with her often, it is sad that she has not shown care for her own flesh and blood tho.

I can not give any further advice than what has already been written, amazing help! Thank you ladies. To know that I am not alone, and to read these responses is a beautiful thing.

We have had our mountains and climb and our peaceful, connecting moments, but everyday is a new roller coaster ride with a teenage stepson, especially with me being younger.
I have to say I am truly blessed that my stepson is such a blessed brother to my two toddlers, ages 3 and 5. They are so close and he is SO good with them. Heck, they listen to him more than they do us sometimes.

Best of luck, hang in there. Stand your ground, give as much respect as you desire, altho it is hard. Step motherhood is just as rewarding as your own. To know that God put him in my path for a reason and that I may be the only true guidance he has in life allows me to not mind being the "evil" stepmother. It is a rough job, but someone has to do it =)



answers from Cincinnati on

I went through the exact situation with my stepdaughter. Number one, you and your husband need to talk and be on the same page with discipline. Never go to your husband when your upset with your stepson. For awhile, my husband took over the discipline and he was able to see what I was going through. After a while of me just stepping back, I went to my stepdaughter, one on one, and asked her why she felt the way she did. I asked her several other questions about the change in her behavior and if I had done something to cause it. It ended up that she was going through a tough time in a new environment and a new schedule. When kids have to get used to a new routine, they change completely. Especially in the 10-12 age group. My stepdaughter was going through the preteen syndrome anyway, but moving just added to the stress. Just keep the lines of communication open with your son and husband and it will work out. He may just be having a difficult time adjusting to the new routine. Good luck.



answers from Cincinnati on

I don't have step-children, but I do have an 11 year old boy. So I can tell you, it's not just you b/c you're a stepmom. Boys ignore their birth mom's too. Boys relate to their dad's on a whole different level. And, he must be upset right now, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. He's too young -- this is where all the parents need to come in to teach him what are the appropriate reactions to his emotions -- and validate his emotions.

I would also suggest, have a little one-on-one with your son, it's amazing how much an honest conversation goes w/tweens. Do it while you're doing another activity, such as playing a board game, or maybe even grocery shopping. Take him with you and have him help you plan the week's meals.

Good luck, raising tweens isn't easy - it takes a lot of patience and some child psychology.



answers from Cincinnati on

First of all if there is a rift between you and the ex or she holds a grudge against you for, lets see, being a younger woman, or such. Then you need to squash that or she will continue to bash you to the child and the child will resent you. If you get along fine with this woman and have good communication they that is not the issue. You also need to look at what kind of mother she is. If she is not a good parent herself it will show through this childs actions.

Dont go to the man, especially if he gets an attitude himself. You need to stand up for being what part of the family you are and demand respect, but you will only get it if you give it. Even to a child this is important. Be an involved parent. Now that doesnt mean be nosy, just be there for him at school events and sports, or whatever he may do.

How you are treated should not be an option. Nip it in the butt now or as he gets into his teens it will get worse. I have a zero tolerance rule in my house and this goes for my fiance's four year old. Im the disciplinarian in this house. If someone does not want to respect me, my house, or the rules of the house. When they come to me for something the answer is no. No matter what it is, from the cookie jar to the hanging with the friends outside. If you husband doesn not stand by your decisions and assertiveness then you have more issues at hand. He does not respect you, nor your authority to be part of the parenting process, and you may not want to have children by him.

Being a mom is neither new or old. We all have it in us. Young or Old you will always question yourself as a parent. There is no book that has all the rules or answers. Just remember the simplest rule of all. It is either right or wrong. We learn it as a child. Your old enough to know the difference and most of the time you will feel the difference.

And Never ever feel like you are "the mean stepmother". If keeping your child or stepchild on the right track makes you feel like you are being mean. Get over it. You are parenting a child, something that most people are not doing today and why we have so much juvenile delinquency running rampat. Just make sure with the hand of discipline is followed by the hand of love.



answers from Youngstown on

E., it's common what you're experiencing with your stepson. I have 3. When my husband & I got together, their ages were 8,6&5. Our relationship started out simular to yours, but without the full custody. When a child realizes you're a permanent fixture in they're lives, they go through changes. thoughts of they're 'real' mom being replaced & also worry that, maybe you, too, will not be there in the morning when he wakes up.

Two things very important that you must do: do not change how you interact with him, don't try to overcompensate or 'win him over'. Be as consistant as you can, reasure him that the changes in his life are positive ones & you & his father willdo everything you can to keep it that way. Secondly, you & hubby must be on the same page. If there are disagreeances, work them out away from the litle one. He needs to listen to you & understand where you're coming from. Try a roll reversal conversation & tell him it's hard to do your 'mom job' without his support. Supporting you has nothing to do with agreeing with you & he must allow you to own your feelings on the situation.

Here's a hard question... how do you & the bio-mom get along?
It is &, at the same time, isn't important. If you can have a 'friendship'- great - if not, at least try to be courtious. Never let anyone, or youself, pit you against bio-mom. No matter what sort of person she is, she'll win in the little boys mind. My problems started with the bio-mom after we got married. She was the one with replacement issues &went as far as telling our lawyer (yes, it came down to lawyers), that she'd rather see my husband misserable than her children happy.

Get a game plan together with Hubby. Make house rules & stick to them. Have you heard this yet - 'well.my mom said' or 'mom let's me'? If not you will & it'll make you nuts. Find activities just for the 3 of you. Once Hubby understands, things will become smoother.

All my boys are grown now, 21,19,&18. Hang in there, being 'mom' is hard & wonderful all at the same time.

Good Luck & keep writing! We're here for you! Peace ~ M.



answers from Lima on

I have two stepchildren who's mom talks bad about me. What you need to do if you have to is get mean and basically "go on strike". Let you stepson, and your husband, know that you will not be treated like this. Let THEM know that if they want your help in getting through the day, that each one is going to have to treat you with the respect that a mother deserves. Kindly let your stepson know that you sympathize with the struggles that he is going through, but that this is your home and, whether he likes it or not, there is a certain way that you will be treated. If you have to put up a set of rules (like the nannies do on TV) then do that. Let your husband know that he is suppose to love you and help you through life, not get bad when you ask for help. Show your family that you mean what you are saying and that you are not going to back down. This is called "tough love"



answers from Columbus on

First of all welcome to the thankless club of Stepmoms! Been married 4 years and had previous 5yrs getting to know each other. I disagree with not talking to your husband.If you two aren't on the same page and have each others support then a wedge is put between you and you WILL be divorced. You'll not feel loved, trusted, and respected by your husband because you aren't like minded about family issues. If you have children with this man it will be more stressful than a delight. We should all be delighted to be married and have a family. He'll feel you're sneeking around him & don't respect him as well. So get a calm moment to talk and pick your words wisely. Emphasize your love for both of them and why you are concerned.

For the reason you now of custody of your stepson could also be the problem besides the other changes in his life. Kids get a rejected feeling like they aren't good enough for THEIR parents to want them. It's nothing personal towards you so just be there when he ask you. Plus he could be trying to get his parents back together in his mind. Another reason you and husband need to be on same page.This also lets him know he is not in charge of the situation. If he can segregate you than just maybe you'll leave and mom & dad will realize they made a mistake. Your husband needs to talk to him seperately,later with his mother,and then with you to reassure him this arrangement is for his benefit because you all love him enough to do the best for him.Hopefully,God willing, the ex-, is reasonable and will help renforce this . If not, you still have your husband's love & support and that's most important.As much as we all love our children, they grow up and start thier own lives. They learn what is acceptable loving behavior by our example.

We're a blended family doing our best to blend in harmony. I pray you recieve the words of wisdom and patience as this transition continues.



answers from Toledo on

Could it be that he is having trouble transitioning to the new school? This sometimes can cause some disturbed behavior.
Also if it is worse when he comes back from his moms then chances are his mom might talk bad about you, causing him to regress in a relationship with you. If this is the case simply remind him that you love him and you try to do stuff for him but that he still needs to listen to you. If his mom is talking bad about you then this is a difficult thing for him because it gets confusing... he likes you but feels like he isn't supposed to. Like I said just give him reminders that you care and you are happy when he is there with his dad and you.
Hope this helps!



answers from Cleveland on

I agree w/ alot of the Steps here. It is quite thankless at times, and hard for EVERYONE to adjust to. What I did...first try to get on the same page w/ Dad, and make sure that he "gets it". Guys don't always understand the importance of these things. You need to understand that he'd be doing alot of this anyway cuz of his age! I had known my step-son since he was 2 1/2 and he came to live w/ [email protected]____.com's a great kid and we had ALWAYS been very close...until he moved in. It got progressively worse until he decided at 15, to go live w/ his maternal grandparents in another state. One thing that we overlooked and not too many people touched on though. Are you sure that there are no mental issue w/ him. Lots of issues from early childhood rear their ugly heads @ the onset of puberty. Don't be alarmist, but don't rule it out either. So many things would've been different if we knew then what we know now. Also especially w/ boys alot of issues (Borderline Personality Disorder, Manic Depressive, etc.) seem like a simple behavioral problem. but trust me on this one; if that is the case no amout of 'normal' punishments/consequences will work! The best bet is to be as one w/ your hubby. If that doesn't work, try a short vacation! You don't want your son to know you're on strike,but make sure Hubby knows! Sometimes brute force is the only way w/ men! lol Good luck w/ everything!! Keep your chin up and NEVER take it personally!!



answers from Dayton on

Hi,I to was a young step mother. I feel what you are going through with your stepson is pretty normal! One thing for sure is you and your husband do need to get one the same page,if you are anything like i was i was approching him with my concerns when i was angery if you are stop that will get you nowhere,he feels that he has to defend his son talk when things are good then he will listen. After you agree on the issues then do the same with your stepson, sit him down tell him you love him and you are trying really hard that you don't want to come across to him as being the evil stepmom,but you are new at this,just like it is new to him having two moms,and that your going to need his help, tell him that if he feels that you are being unfair to tell you and you two can discuss it,see he feels that if he is nice to you or likes you then he is betraying his mom!!!!Being a step parent is'nt very rewarding in the begining your rewards will come later when he is older, there were times where i hated my stepdaughter she is now 26 and we are very close....just remember to pick your battles carefully,let the miner things go. I could really go on and on so i tryed to make this short hope it helps!



answers from Toledo on

Hello E.. I completly understand. I am also 25 with a 10 y/o step-son who acts the same way towards me. I agree that your husband needs to be on the same page as you and your husband needs to see how you are being treated. I agree that it will only get worse over time; to what extent is hard to tell, but you can't live the next 8-9 years being treated horribly in your own home. I also think the age diff could be an issue; he might not see you as a parent b/c you are so young. I think he needs to start respecting you as a mom and your husband needs to have a good long talk with him about it. Best of luck!

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