Jump to content
Mental Support Community

help with step child taking over?


Recommended Posts

Wow! Am I ever to pleased to have found this site! What I feel is almost "ashamed" to be written and I shake as I write this. I'm so afraid of being "found out"! In my life, it's just not ok to feel less than sympathic to our situation. And sympathic I am not!

I deal with a 6 year old that visits only every other weekend. I have known him since he was 3.5. It was fine in the beginning. Really almost too fine....we blended families (I have two kids) without much fuss, though my oldest child resented it! We "got" over it and life was ok. But then things started to change, slowly at first and I'm afraid to admit has now become the full fledge snowball effect!

I am terribly resentful that life seizes to exist every other weekend. It's like having an out of town guest that we have to cater to everytime he's here. I am terribly angry that everytime he arrives, my husband exits! Emotionally, physically, spirtually until that child leaves. It's simply not fair!

I am told that I should be compassionate; that I should understand what it's like to not have a father for two weeks and how hard it is to rekindle a relationship when you only have 6 days a month to do it in. I am told that I am reacting to a six year old's behavior and that I should be the adult. I am told that I am wrong. Simply put.

I hear all of that and try to change but the anger built up is down right scary! To say that I hate a six year old makes me sad. But it's the truth. I hate the fact that he steals ALL attention and makes it so that the rest of the family is left on the side lines. I hate that he simply can't share his father and becomes so needy that my darling husband caters to it! But maybe my husband isn't so darling if he is willing to let this happen?

I've talked, cried, screamed, pleaded and have finally resolved to silence about the issue. The child comes and no one talks. Not a freakin word! So bad that when I enter the room, the 6 year old stops a sentence until I leave. My husband doesn't know what to do but please the boy so when he comes now a damn ticker tape parade insues! It's as if he knows that to get me out of the way insures all attention on him.

Don't get me wrong ladies, my hubby is really trying to "fix" this.....but fight after fight results from his visits and always results in his son "winning" as my husband and I go our seperate ways while he's here! Just this morning, he was leaving and my husband made him say goodbye. He was standing like a dog at the door facing the wall and said "bye!" never moving! It inflicked a small tidal wave of rage and I relpied "See ya, thanks for the LOVELY weekend!" Damnit....I am childish! My oldest son was even more mature as he just simply said nothing!

Please help this anger. I don't want to spend the rest of my life this way. I just simply can't see out of this mess!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ASchwartz

Hi Help101,

Welcome to our community. I hope you find to be as helpful and full of support as your possibly can.

First, you have nothing to apologize about with regard to your husband's child. In fact and in my opinion, your husband needs to take better care to not shut you out when the child comes over alternate weekends. The two of you are the adults and need to be in charge. If the 6 year old senses that he is in charge and can dominate your husband's attention he then becomes too powerful and that is not good for any child.

Your husband and his child should not be talking in any room alone and without you. You should all be together and he needs to make sure of that. The child needs to know that there is this other adult (you) that he must respect.

It seems to me that, at present, you are making very legitimate complaints to your husband but, I suspect, that he does not know what to do about it. That is why I suggest that all three of you be together all weekend and not allow the child to come between the two of you.

What do others think??

Link to comment
Share on other sites


do you think it might be possible that you are taking some anger you have with your husband (feeling out of control because of the way he handles--or doesn't handle--this situation) and projecting it onto the 6-year old since you don't have to see him everyday? sometimes it is easier to carry around resentment toward someone we do not live with, even if the primary conflict is with someone in our own home.

If you think this might be accurate, it could be helpful to see if your husband would be open to sitting down with you on neutral territory, such as with a counselor, minister or therapist, so you could both speak constructively about your individual frustrations.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

It's a confusing world that we live in.

We are ment to simply love children - but some are not easy to love.

Adults are ment to be responsible - but sometimes that's difficult.

I don't know what the answer is - but in this senario - I feel for the child (which is easy for me to say as I don't live with him once a fortnight).

Please - for heavens sake - sort this out somehow.

The world does not need yet another mental health patient - which is how this boy will end up - because he's six. He doesn't understand a thing that's going on in his life. They are not his choices. To help yourself - you need to help him.

This doesn't mean giving in to him. This means being firm but supportive.

Sorry - I know it's not easy. But I garantee it's 20 times harder for a small child.

Being made to say goodbye - probably knowing it would get the sort of responce that it did - probably cost him the last shred of dignaty that he had.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Help101.

Well, I can completely empathize. Not too long ago (although it feels like ages), I actually bought a house for a single Dad I fell in love with.

Luckily, (very luckily) I was able to sell it, but it just goes to show how much it can run your life. I bought the house for the little boy, really. I was thinking I would save them, and that, of course, because I'm only human, turned into resentment. Big time. I, too, had trouble reconciling why I resented the little boy who was at first so dear to me. It made me feel unmotherly and mean...which is not me at all.

Anyway, just know you're not alone with these feelings.:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ASchwartz

Hi 101,

Are you still with us? It seems as though we have not heard from you in a while and I was wondering how things are going for you and if any of our advice made sense or helped???

Allan :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I can definitely sympathize!

I'm step-parent to a young woman, and it's the same thing!

When she's around I cease to exist, this girl gets control of everything, and I'm like some phantom from another dimension. I'm not an attention craver, and I did everything I could to support this kid through her adolescence, but yeah. I finally gave up because of course I can only lose in this situation. I don't see her at all any more, but I feel really bad about the situation. She's always been spoiled and worshipped her whole life, and I think she's kind of a narcissist. She behaves always as though she's on a stage, and everyone loves her.... but to me she's dismissive and worse. People see her at her best and assume I'm just the "jealous evil stepmother". Gimme a break!

I think the problem stemmed from the war her parents had for her love and attention. Her father would kowtow to her in everything, seek and "need" her all the time. Now the pattern is established and though the girl is an adult now with a life of her own (thank God) he still craves her attention.

I got to the point where I just said "I can't live like this" and created a boundary. So I'm kind of a pariah on some accounts, which is of course no fun.

Your stepchild is only 6... there is time for you and your husband to change the pattern.

My husband is the "Divide and conquer" type. I wish he'd try at least to fix this situation, but I think he actually LIKES it on some level. It's been very hurtful to me.

Oh well! We know they're "only children" and we do our best, but it usually seems the biggest problem is the original parent not standing up to the kid's bad behavior. They don't want to risk losing the kid to their ex.


Edited by JaneE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! I cant even believe what I am reading here. Honestly I cant. There is a 6 YEAR OLD CHILD involved here. This CHILD gets a whole 4 days each month to spend with his father. His new wife and 2 other children (That aren't even his) get the remaining 27 days to spend with this man. And this becomes a major problem?

This child DESERVES his fathers time, love and attention. Not only does he deserve it, he also needs it, wants it and requires it. That little boy has done nothing wrong. The marriage of his parents dissolved and that was NOT his fault. Dad Re married and that was NOT his fault - yet he is being punished for it?

If the tables were turned - how would you feel towards the woman who treated YOUR children the way you are treating another womans child?

There is nothing wrong with this child - the problem is with an adult who feels threatened by an innocent little boy. Can you imagine being 6 years old and loving your father so much that you are willing to be treated poorly, ignored, openly ostracized, and emotionally scarred in order to continue to see him?

And what happens when the child continues to grow up and the hate and resentment continue and the boy makes the decision that he is just no longer willing to be emotionally abused and mis treated every other weekend of his life - and ceases to visit his father?

When the husbands bitterness and sadness of loosing his only child because of his 2nd wifes hatred and selfishness finds you both in divorce court - You will have successfully, permanently, negatively affected the lives of 3 very innocent children and 2 adults.

But maybe THEN the child will want to re connect with his father and this man will be able to be a positive impact in the life of his only son. Or maybe not. Maybe you are slowing ensuring that your husband will not be a part of his sons life; with or without you in the picture.

Please, for the sake of everyone involved try to embrace this child. Hold him, read to him, cook with him, laugh with him, honor him. Treat him like ANY 6 year old child needs and deserves to be treated - with love, understanding, guidance and compassion.

He is not manipulating anything. He is six years old for Gods sakes! He is afraid to finish a sentence in your presence? you are single handedly destroying this innocent child. his self confidence and self esteem as well as his relationship with the only father he will ever have.

Young children, teens and young adults commit suicide every day of the week. You may not like or love this little boy, but he means the world to some people. One of those people is your husband.

He is not a threat. If you truly believe that he is a threat please work out your issues so that there can be a stable, loving, nurturing environment for him to visit his father in - 4 lousy days a month. He is just a little boy that is only trying to spend what little time he has with his only father.

Its obvious you dont like or love this child - but if you love or even slightly respect your husband allow him to have his son in his life, in his heart and in his arms for 4 Goddammed days a month.

And yes I had a step son too. It doesnt have to be difficult. It doesnt have to be a battle. It doesnt have to be painful and destructive.

It can be rich and rewarding life changing and amazing. But in the absence of selflessness, nothing can truly be rewarding - not even self.

Next time he comes to visit can you please make it a point to do something with him. Maybe even sit and color. Just the two of you. Tell him what a wonderful job he has done and hang it on the wall and admire it together.

Tussle his hair and call him "cutie" Tickle him. Ask for his help in setting the table. Start new. Put everything else behind you and just begin new. Forgive him forgive yourself and start a beautiful, rewarding relationship with the son of your husband.

Stop treating him as an intruder and begin to embrace him like the member of the family that he is. You may be pleasantly surprised that in time HE will also change. Everyone deserves love gentlessness and acceptance.

Dont let the bitterness and jealousy destroy all of you. Right now it is not too late. Given enough time though this will become a situation that can no longer be fixed. It will not be able to be UN done. All the damage will be done and the aft6ermath will not be pretty and regrets will still remain a dime a dozen.

Edited by Nuckin-Futs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heehee! The step parent never gets any sympathy, never! We are always the bad-guys.

I agree it would be great if she could just reach out to this boy, tussle his hair, call him cute and all that... maybe he feels disapproved of. Kids always blame themselves on some level, and yes, he is only 6! I think this situation could be turned around, though not without the husband's help.

I'm no clinician, but I'd say get some books on step-parenting, and if you can *definitely* see a therapist! These are not uncommon problems or anything, there have to be tools and coping strategies, real solutions out there. I wish I could afford a therapist!! In any conversation with any average person, in any discussion of this topic I've seen, I find the step-parent is immediately demonized no matter what, which really doesn't help. It's not an easy situation.

The kid may be an introverted type. I was and a lot of people judged me negatively for it when I was little, maybe they thought I didn't like them when I was really secretly craving approval. Personalities are always at play, whether someone is 6, 16, or 66.

Maybe she sees his attitude towards her as hostile when he's really only afraid.

My guess is it's easier if you are naturally compatible with your stepchild's personality type, but it you're not... it's really really tough! I only had the one girl to deal with during her adolescence, but we had nothing in common and I really never could find many ways to connect with her. I was shy and well-behaved as a teen and she was rebellious, promiscuous and hard, so it's not like I could say to her "yes I remember what it was like". ^^;;

I basically just kept out of the way, and kept my mouth shut and my head down! I only lost that ability after she became an adult, moved out for a couple of years, then had to move back in for a short time. I was expecting a fellow adult but got the same heedless brat! I will do my best to support and tolerate a misguided child, but a poorly-behaved adult in my house better watch out!! I wasn't able to keep my mouth shut any more, oops. She hasn't forgiven me (how dare the unworthy comment on the exalted?), but I think someday she might understand? Then again maybe not! XD

Anyway. I hope we hear from more frustrated step-parents, and also those who managed to work it out!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I can absolutely, without a doubt, feel your pain.

I became engaged to a man with an (at the time) 17 year old, who is now 18, and making our lives a living.. Well you know.

I knew about my fiance's son, but he lived with his mother at the time, but once he turned 18, he had another "episode" at his mom's, mom couldn't take him anymore and told my fiance if he didn't take his son, his son would be, well, homeless. What could we do, but take him in?

Junior was diagnosed with Bipolar and ADHD. He has been in Juvenile detention more times than I care to admit. He refuses to take his meds. He did ask for them at one point, we bought them, and we know (without a doubt) he was using them to get other forms of "self medication" and not taking them.

Junior has been very busy manipulating. He tells me one thing while his dad is at work (dad works third shift) and tells his dad something totally different the next morning.. Junior has caused many fights in this home, and recently tried to start an argument between his mother and I. Junior also steals from us.

We tried to establish rules and boundaries in this home, but Junior has successfully taken each one of those apart. His dad is tired of dealing with him already, and I am at my breaking point. Dad is now taking anti-depressants himself, and I am wondering how long it will be before I need them.

We just do not know how to deal with this. About a week ago (after Junior tried to start a fight between his mother and I) Junior lost the battle, and then decided the same day to move out, telling his father this grand story about how he knew what he needed to do to get his life on track, yada yada yada. He has no job (he wont even look), he is still in High School and facing a very large fine (he thinks his father will pay). His father did not fight him, and allowed him to go. It's sad to say, but neither of us were upset. Of course we were worried about what might happen, but I truly felt he would be back.

One week later, he called his dad, and his dad agreed to allow him back in. No, this was not discussed, I was simply informed. I didn't realize I had only been informed until the next day.... When it hit me "He wasn't asking for your input, he was telling you.." Yes, that did sting.

I do not know how to deal with this. I am so angry at this kid for the problems he has caused, and the hurt feelings. I am so angry in fact I can not even talk, let alone look at Junior. I know that's not good or healthy for anyone, but I am afraid of what will come out if I open my mouth. Instead of this being the happiest time of his fathers and my life (the impending wedding) it is one of the most frustrating and anger filled time of my life. I do not feel like there is a relationship here, I feel as if I am the housekeeper, and cook. This 18 year old is in charge of this house.

I love his dad very much, and I understand the child is not the father. I will stick with this man.. But how do I deal with his kid?

I keep hearing "Well, he has Bipolar, how do you expect him to act?" I think that's an excuse, and is doing this kid no good. He has Bipolar, and in my mind that explains a lot, but that is no excuse for bad behavior, especially when you know it, and you do nothing about it.

I wanted to help Junior. I love his father very much. But I have come to the realization I can not help someone who does not want it. I am convinced Junior enjoys his life as it is. But, how do I keep this household together until he finally moves out, without losing my mind (or my relationship) in the process?

I understand where this woman is coming from. Its frustrating and (speaking for myself) infuriating. When you get involved with someone you think it is a 50/50 deal, but in situations like this, its not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Guest ASchwartz

Hi Everone,

It is sad but true that the step parent never gets any sympathy. In fact, think about it: So many children's stories, Hansel and Gretel, etc, deal with the evil step parent. Cindarella's step mother and step sisters are all evil. Yes, the step parent is often viewed as evil, selfish and even murderous.

Yet, it is also true that it is very difficult to be in a situation where a child of divorce comes to visit eithe every other weekend or every weekend. It is an intrusion for everyone and extremely difficult.

Part of what makes it difficult is the fact that children are very intuitive and sense how to come between adults, play them against one another, and cause general chaos.

This notion that children are all wonderful and swell and that parents are supposed to love them unconditionally is nonsense. Every human being who has children and loves them also harbors frustration, anger and resentment against them, from time to time.

What did the late commedian say, so very long ago, "Anyone who hates dogs and chldren can't be all bad" Well, it's partially and only sometimes true. All of us have to be careful not to judge others.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...