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I need advice on a difficult stepchild!

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (8 October 2017) 6 Answers - (Newest, 9 October 2017)
A female Ireland age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Hi all, I could really do with some advice on a difficult stepchild. I've been with my partner 2 years and I'm pregnant with my first. He has a 5 year old son from a previous relationship. At the beginning of the relationship he had great time for me and used love being around me but all that has changed. He's rude to me all of the time. Anytime I open my mouth he says I'm talking to my dad not you. And if I turn up for outings with them both he says I thought it was me and you dad. Every time he makes comments like this it hurts me a little more each time. And I know I'm a horrible person but I don't even want him around me anymore. He won't even speak to me wen he's around. I'm full of anxiety of what's going to happen when my son is born in January. I realize he is only 5 and I know I'm the adult. I feel bad enough as it is. I just don't know wat to do. Yesterday I told him be careful of the cars on the road and he said I'll listen to what my mam and dad tell me. Not you. I just want to be respected in my own home. Anytime I do something for him I dont even get a thank you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 October 2017):

My advice as I have been in a somewhat similar circumstance is give it time.

Don't put up with the really rude behaviour (but mostly ask dad to correct it in front of all of you, you can't always correct every single rude thing because sadly sometimes that would take all day).

With that being said, there is going to be a lot of jealousy of you right now (you are taking some of the attention away that the boy usually gets from his dad AND you are bringing a new sibling into the world who will further divide the attention).

You are his rival for his father's attention-- for now. A And also an indirect rival to his mother (for now in his mind). Things change over time, and there will come a day that he wants to be comforted in YOUR arms, wants YOU to read him a story, etc. Believe me, even though it doesn't sound likely at the moment, be patient and I almost guarantee those days will arrive, maybe sooner than you think. There are stages, there are ups and downs. It isn't an easy thing, but stay patient and forgiving of him. Stay kind even when he isn't. You will have good days and bad days but wait it out...things DO change. Maybe mom will get a boyfriend some day and then the little guy will be running to YOU for more attention. Or other reasons. He will come around eventually. Involve him in getting excited for the baby, and teach him things like what kind of care the baby will need...try to get him excited, or play more games with him.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (8 October 2017):

Honeypie agony auntYou need to sit down with your partner and if possible with the boy's mother. Establish RULES and BOUNDARIES. And the KID needs to be told by his dad (and/or his mother) that he needs to listen to you as well.

While his behavior is not really THAT strange for a 5-year-old, it NEEDS to be nipped in the bud.

And while I don't believe a 5-year-old should dictate ANYTHING AT ALL! maybe suggest your partner spends some 1-on-1 with him as well. And not just all the fun stuff.

I think if this has escalated recently it might have to do with the new baby. Most kids believe that when their parents split up they WILL eventually get back together. Now with a new baby on the way the little fella is realizing that maybe mom and dad won't get back together and HE blames you. Because for a 5-year-old... that is logic.

Talk with your partner, be in step. Work together on this. (and don't call him difficult to your partner, he really isn't.. he is 5.)

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (8 October 2017):

chigirl agony auntWell, if it was me, I'd start raising this little brat. You're a parent to him as well. Don't let him dictate who he listens to or not. He's the child, you're the adult, and you are in charge of him just like his parents are. There's no such things as a child only having to listen to and be respectful to their biological parents. He's testing you. Stand up to the test and begin acting like a parent. I guess he's only bossing you around because you let him.

I even parent my boyfriends niece and nephew, and we've just dated for 9 months. I've barely met them on a few occasions, but I tell them how to behave when Im around. Once they were jumping on the sofa, and I told them they're not allowed and to sit nicely. They asked me back "says who?!" and I said "auntie said that", referring to myself. I got the reply "you're not our aunt", and I said "true enough, you can call me auntie or just by my name", and the conversation was over. They still had to stop jumping in the sofa.

I don't give a crap whether a child is mine or not. When kids are around me, I am the adult, and they need to follow my instructions. Granted, I have done substitute teaching and worked at a bowling alley filled with childrens birthday parties. I am used to the thought of "it takes a village to raise a child". When the kid is at YOUR house, you decide, even if you're not it's mother. You are his step-mother. You're just as much his authority.

He's just testing to see how far you will let him push you. Your own kid will do the same in due time. Understand that he's not trying to be cruel, but he needs to know that you have boundaries and that he can rely on you to be a stable and well-grounded adult who he can depend on. Children test adults like this, its part of growing up and not to be taken personally. But lay down the law and be firm.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (8 October 2017):

I meant to say:

"You're portraying him as a problem-child."

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (8 October 2017):

Hey, you're just being extra sensitive, because of the pregnancy hormones. Remember now; he's only a child, my dear!

His father isn't paying him enough attention. It's not you he's upset with; it's his dad. A boy needs time and activities with just him and his dad. I'm sorry to hurt any feelings; but I've got to say this, or it will not register with you. Apparently his dad doesn't get it either; although the child is speaking loud and clear.

You're hogging-up and dominating all of his father's time. You're constantly inserting yourself; and making yourself the center of attention, while competing with a child for affection and attention. If a child is astute enough to notice, and articulate it. It must be so. Children are brutally honest; and this child is intelligent enough to speak his mind, and tell you exactly what is wrong. You're betraying him as a problem-child. That is most unfair. If anything, he is a boy being neglected by his father.

You're being a wedge between them. Maybe not consciously; but the child isn't seeing it that way. I think he's right.

He wants his dad to do things for and with him. He's tired of you forcing yourself into his life; he's a only little kid. He has a mom, and what he wants now is his dad.

I'm sorry to be so blunt. I am very protective of kids, women, and elderly folk. They so often seem to be pushed around a lot; and sometimes they need people to understand and be more considerate of them.

I know you're trying to fit the young man into your life, and be his other-mother; but I think he has made it clear to you that his father is not putting in enough time with him.

Boys and dads form a very special bond. He's letting you know he's had all the mothering he needs; and now he needs his dad to step-up. Please try to understand.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 October 2017):

It's time, before baby comes along to set down some ground rules .. he is 5 and some of this attitude I feel could be stemming from a resentful ex mother not the child himself


You tell your husband to be so ..enough is enough .. there will be rules in the family home ( plus the baby being born I take is to his father ? So it isn't your son sorry but the family baby - you need to grow up here a lil )

The rules will be respect, and your partner will tell his son this at the kitchen table with you present .. that you all love him .. even his mum .. you don't want to be his mum, but you need to be the responsible person as he is still a baby even at 5 years of age .. you want him and his baby bro to get along and that family is important to you all .

So there respect .. your the adult .. what you say goes .. he gets three chances , like at football .. get some card and mark up two yellow and one red .. so you say nope you can't do this and he does it .. you give him the yellow card or his dad does .. and when the red card comes .. he gets time out .. its that simple .

Daddy also needs to say .. look we are a family .. a big family your mum included . And When I see you . ( he inserts your name will be there ) do your going to have to get used to it and then he says let's all go do whatever .. you ignore his face whining his stinky attitude .. everything .. you just smile through it .

You also includ him in the birth of this baby .. this bay doesn't replace him, he is big boy getting .. he will need to teach the baby; so so much like crawling and walking and talking .. done right this will work .. exclude this child and you are asking for years of trouble .

So first thing have a serious talk with hubby to be . Then a gentler no nonsense talk with his son - your partner needs to let his son mother know what's going on and this won't be tolerated ..

He is only a young boy himself a baby .. he will be missing his dad and the dynamics of that relationships .. there a new baby on the way and the world as he knows it is going to shift once more .. put yourself in his lil shoes ..

You sound like a lovely lass who just needs to see this is a big family unit whether you like it or not . You bought into it

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