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Question
Posted by: KZN | 2009-01-14

Step-son

Hi,
I have been married for 2 months. My husband has 2 children - a 20 year old daughter and a 16 year old son who he has custody of. I have a wonderful relationship with the daughter. The son is a challenge. He has just stormed out of our house to stay with his mom until school starts. We caught him drinking and approached him in a very calm manner. When he tried to storm out of the room I was standing in the door and he became aggressive to me and grabbed and pushed me. At this stage I began to shout at him to take his hands off me. I was wrong to lose control but I was scared because he' s a strapping young man.

We support the children fully and his mother doesn' t pay us anything. My husband has done the best he could on his own, but he failed in meeting the children' s emotional needs. He' s really trying to correct this.

I feel resentful that I am a prisoner in my own home and all my time, energy and money goes towards them but I feel unappreciated and constantly criticised by my step-son. My step-son rules the roost and has a terrible temper. He' s always shouting and I have tried to put in fair boundaries (with my husband) but it' s just not working.

I want to make this work, but I' m afraid of this boy. I want to provide him with a good future (which he won' t get with his mom) and give him some sound life principles and love.

I just don' t know what to do. I' m very scared that this will damage my relationship with my husband and don' t want to put him in the position where he has to choose. How can I make this work?

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Our expert says:
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16-ywar-old's tend to be a challenge, whatever the other family circumstances. And where there has been a divorce, providing an opportunity to play one parent off against another, few of them can resist the temptation to do so. IS it practicalm to get together with the mom, and agree to a shared set of rules and principles, so he would receive the same advice, same penalties, same expectations, whether he's with his mom or dad ? and maybe some marriage counselling sessions for you and his dad, would enable you to make a more effective joint plan for providing the kid with disci[line while he lives with you. Kids work on a highly effective divide and rule tactic, and if we organize so as not to get divided, we dont't get ruled by them.

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