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Question
Posted by: Christa | 2011-07-06

Stepfather and son problem

Hi,
I am married to my second husband and we have 3 children, a girl (9 months) and two boys aged five and nine. Our son of nine is from my previous marriage. He is a very quiet, intelligent boy. My husband is very strict with him and does not allow him certain things that he would allow our five year old. Toys will be bought for the youngest boy while nothing would be given to the eldest. My husband says that my son does not want to spend time with him and that is why he won''t do thing with or for him in return. What makes matters worse is that my mom in law lives with us and she is besotted with her own two grandchildren leaving our nine year old not included in certain things, just yesterday she bought a toy for our five year old and nothing for our other son.. They would speak to him in a ugly way and normally would have him in tears. He has his fathers last name whoch adds to the fact that he feels left out. Their actions are busy driving a wedge between the two boys. I just want a peacefull family life. We got married in 2005 when he was just 3 yeard old. He has contact with his dad but only sees him in December school holidays.
Please help!!!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

You know, I don't like hearing "my husband is very strict with him/her" - discipline should be fair and never excessive, and should be identical when administered by either parent, as they should be consistent about such things. And all the children in a family, regardles of who their biomom or biodad is, should be treated equally under the same set of reasonable rules and consequences.
From your description, your husband is being extremely childish, and punishin a child for not ( in his view ) loving him enough - while behaving in a way that would make it hard for any child to love him.
Similarly, your mother-in-law is behaving badly and unfairly, and should treat all the children equally, whether or not they contain her particular genes.
Family therapy, perhaps starting with marriage counselling, is really indicated before these two childish and selfish "adults" cause needless damage and sadness to a child who deserves none of this discrimination

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9
Our users say:
Posted by: An01 | 2011-07-07

I have no time for people like you - sorry but you are a terrible mom for allowing this to happen to your little boy!!!

Reply to An01
Posted by: wake up | 2011-07-06

it makes me angry to hear " they drive him to tears...buy the other one toys..." what are you doing when this happens? woman wake up...is your marriage to this man more important that the wellbeing of your child? if you cant take care of this child or you are afraid to put your foot down and demand this stops immediately...then let your child go stay with your ex husband. what you are doing now may damage the poor boy for life, raising a child who feels unloved because he has a different father. you are his mother, wake up and do something about this. This is abuse

Reply to wake up
Posted by: Laurei | 2011-07-06

@Melanie, I almost cried when I read your story too. My daughter was treated the same by my mother in law and even though it is her sons own daughter, she made no secret that she didnt like her. I woke up a little late to the fact, but nevertheless I did. I refuse to have any contact with my husbands family because they have continued the trend of treating her different to her brother and sister. I hope it wasnt too late, and reading your story made me realise I made the right decision. I am greatful when people put their experiences here, it teaches us a lot.

Reply to Laurei
Posted by: Bee | 2011-07-06

Please, please stop the abuse - its emotinal abuse. This will damage him, and take years and years to fix (if ever). 30 years ago, I was in the position your son is now, I speak from experience. Put him first! The damage a off-handish parent creates, is enormous and excruciating.

Reply to Bee
Posted by: Sympathy | 2011-07-06

So sorry to hear your problem. Your husband sounds like a bully with an inferiority complex A real bad combination..(Little wonder your intelligent son does not have anything in common with him !) He definitely needs help with his unpleasant attitude and I am just so sorry for your son, it must be awfully hurtful not to mention damaging to his self image. He really needs to grow up. Pity you never cottoned on to his attitude before you married him.

Reply to Sympathy
Posted by: Nomi | 2011-07-06

that is painful. The sad part is it will have long lasting negative effect on the child. If i were you, i''d choose my child over the damn marriage.

Reply to Nomi
Posted by: Melanie | 2011-07-06

Hi,

sorry I was re-reading and the last bit didn''t come out the way I meant it. What I meant is that your husband shouldn''t not have married you if he wasn''t prepared to love your son like his own. I don''t know the circumstances- maybe he was great with him before the other two were born, maybe he promised to change, etc. Either way, you don''t just decide to stop loving a child so he obviously didn''t love him from the beginning.

Reply to Melanie
Posted by: Melanie | 2011-07-06

Sound very similar to my own story, except it was my grandma spoiling my half sister and even my step brother more than me, her blood granddaughter (grandma bought my sister a pair of real diamond earring for no special reason, didn’ t even want to buy me a skirt that I liked during the same shopping trip. She didn’ t even want me to spend the weekends at her house the way my half sister did)! How did my mom and step dad resolve the issue? They told her that if she is not prepared to treat me the same way then she mustn’ t see ANYONE (and she was living with them for a while and they eventually kicked her out). Did it help? Not really, because there is always that thing in the back of your head asking why aren’ t you as good as your siblings, what makes you such a bad person, etc. It is horrible. If you do not get your son out of that situation, he will resent everyone INCLUDING you because he was forced into that situation and even though you are helping, he won’ t see that because he will only see that the situation was the same. I feel for him- the way my grandma treated me hurts badly and I am bitter about it. Do you want your son to feel the same? I don’ t think so, so you have to be prepared to take DRASTIC measures because trying to talk to your selfish and immature husband and his mom obviously isn’ t doing the trick. I know you don’ t want to stoop as low as them and start spoiling your son and not the other two- that will just make things worse. But if you don’ t want your sons self esteem to be damaged (if not already- the poor boy has been in this position for 6 years already) then you need to go for counseling and if your husband and his mother is not prepared to do that, then you need to move out. It will hurt your other two children greatly but maybe you could take them with you. You shouldn’ t have gotten married if your husband was not prepared to treat your son like his own.

Reply to Melanie
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-07-06

You know, I don't like hearing "my husband is very strict with him/her" - discipline should be fair and never excessive, and should be identical when administered by either parent, as they should be consistent about such things. And all the children in a family, regardles of who their biomom or biodad is, should be treated equally under the same set of reasonable rules and consequences.
From your description, your husband is being extremely childish, and punishin a child for not ( in his view ) loving him enough - while behaving in a way that would make it hard for any child to love him.
Similarly, your mother-in-law is behaving badly and unfairly, and should treat all the children equally, whether or not they contain her particular genes.
Family therapy, perhaps starting with marriage counselling, is really indicated before these two childish and selfish "adults" cause needless damage and sadness to a child who deserves none of this discrimination

Reply to cybershrink

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