I don’t like my step son

And I don’t feel bad about it.  I did for quite some time, but I’ve had to reconcile myself to these feelings.  About 7 years ago I divorced.  I wasn’t opposed to remarriage.  I knew I wanted to spend my life with someone.  My only child was about to go off to college when I met the man I am now married to.  I had a set of requirements for my future man.  He was to have no small kids (or dysfunctional ones), he was to have more money than me, he had to have been married before and he couldn’t work at the same company  I do.  So I’ll go on the record now that I ignored all my own requirements.  My husband couldn’t check a box on my list.  However I love him very much.  I want to spend my life with him.  I decided not to let a kid (5 when we met) spoil my happiness for a lifetime.Fast forward to today.  He’s almost 11 and I can’t stand this child.  He has so many problems.  These problems are brought on by genetics, parenting style and perhaps so much more.  You see he has Asperger Syndrome or something close to it.  Yet his parents refuse to acknowledge or do anything about his problems.  Let me give you some examples of my step son’s behavior.  He doesn’t make eye contact with adults.  He doesn’t have a friend in the world.  As a matter of fact kids hate him and pick on him.  It’s terribly sad actually.  This child has no “normal” interests and can’t engage in a conversation with anyone.  He is a know it all.  He hates animals (I have 4 I adore).  He doesn’t have any hobbies.  He’s limited to playing video games, staring at tv or reading his favorite topic of the day. You might be reading this now and saying “why is she so mean”.  Why don’t I try to help?  I did try to help initially and for a long time.  I tried to make suggestions, arrange appointments, talk about the issues and so much more.  My husband completely ignored me and my ideas.  He’s a wonderful man in many ways, but we all have character flaws.  His character flaw is “denial”.  He can’t see things objectively; especially as it relates to someone he loves.  He buries his head in the sand until he just can’t breathe any longer.  After I gave up trying to help, I started ignoring the problems with my step son.  I heard what was going on, but just stepped back.  This has not proven to be a particularly helpful approach, as I just get frustrated and no one helps the child.  I now have resigned myself to being a positive person in my step son’s life.  However, I don’t take him to the doctor, reprimand him when he is bad, see that he has showers or take him on play dates.  I’m like a “border” in my own house when he is with us.  It sucks.  Now I’m starting to think about the years ahead … the teenage years.  What happens when this awful and neglected child becomes a teen?  He doesn’t identify with anyone.  He has no friends.  I live in fear of this.  I worked so hard to raise my son right.  This took sacrifice.  My step son has two parents unwilling or unable to parent effectively.  So I’ll have to go through the teen years with someone scary in my house?  I don’t think I’ll make it.  If they don’t get him some help or acknowledge his troubles somehow significantly, my marriage won’t survive.  It breaks my heart.  But it also hurts my head to bang it against the wall over and over again.  Step parenting sucks.  It really does.  The best laid plans have little chance of success.  You have no idea what you are getting into.  And I can’t blame the kid, but I do.  Mostly I blame the parents.  I won’t blame myself though for his flaws.  I blame myself for marrying someone so incapable of seeing his own child’s cries for help.  If you are considering step parenting, think long and hard.  Rarely is a love strong enough to overcome the horrible damage done to a child of divorce and neglectful parents.  Save yourself.  If we all took care of what we brought into this world and ourselves, the world would be a better place. 


Updating this post.  It is now 2013.  I divorced my husband mainly because of his son.  The sad part … I still love his dad.  The boy is almost 17 now.  He would be going to college soon.  Truth be told I wish I had stuck it out.  Reading this reminds me how miserable I was but I’m miserable now.  You have to decide what is right for you.

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124 thoughts on “I don’t like my step son

  1. Wow, I can completely understand your feelings here. I am in a slightly (and I use that word very lightly) similar situation. My husband and I have been married for almost 2 years. Most of our problems come from my husband and his refusal to let me handle step parenting situations. He constantly gets in the middle of his son and I. Not to mention I can feel the pain my stepson feels when his father doesn’t have time for him and his mother constantly doesn’t call him back (among other things). He can not focus on anything. He is in trouble at school constantly. He does things for negative attention. He is angry and lonely. When he gets attention he acts like he is on crack and it makes it very hard to be around. Because of the issues my husband and I have had since I moved in it has become a very tense and sad environment. My husband and I get into arguments all the time. He refuses to compromise on anything and when emotions come in to play, my husband turns off completely. I try and try and then lose it and start yelling which only complicates matters. We are seeing a marriage counselor, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I am so sad most days and distraught others. I long for the good times that are few and far between. I love my husband and my stepson, but wonder constantly if this will work out. But who really knows? THANK YOU for being so open in writing this post. There are people out there who understand your feelings and know you do not say those things out of hate, but rather despair. Take Care

  2. Heidi – thank you so much for affirming my feelings. I know there are some who will read my post and feel anger towards me. After all it is the adults that caused the situation here. I agree. I feel as sad as you do. I also know that being sad all the time doesn’t help me or anyone. Then I build that hard wall around me, allowing nothing or no one in. What’s the answer? I’m convinced there is no one size fits all. Sounds like you know that too. You never mentioned how old your SS is – do you mind telling me? Thanks for posting – I wish you all the best too. Step-parenting is one of the toughest things a person will ever have to do.

  3. I actually googled “I don’t like my stepchild” hoping to find someone dealing with the frustration of raising/but not raising a step-kid. I have a seven year old step daughter who for the last year I was trying to “bond” with, if not like a mom, then as a friend and now have totally given up on; I was exhausted and my husband was afraid his child was ruining our marriage, so he said, “Just stop; you don’t have to do this.” She, like the previous commentor’s step child, acts likes she’s on crack… when she’s not going around moaning like a bipoloar octegenarian. We share her half time with her mother and stepdad; so no matter what she learns or achieves while with us, they condition her to forget it all. I am equally frustrated with my step child and her mother (who is a gambling addict receiving child support-which just doesn’t make sense). Anyway, I’m glad that I’m not the only one. My brother’s wife thinks I’m a monster for disliking my step daughter and I was wondering if I really was that horrible.

  4. Hi Diane – I am so glad we connected. I have known for a while that I am not alone in my “shameful” feelings towards my sson. It doesn’t make you a monster; it makes you human. We can control our response to our feelings, but I’ve never found away to control my own thoughts. Giving up is always an option – sounds like you are doing so. However then you feel like your marriage is at risk. I sometimes wonder why my husband married me. He knew I didn’t like his son, but he wanted me just the same. Sometimes I find myself down this dark tunnel thinking it’s his fault for marrying me. How crazy is it? I am only hoping to survive. I look for happiness elsewhere. I have the same schedule you do with the sson – 50/50. When my sson is around I’m not. I spend those weekends with my friends & family, same for the week nights. I plan my work travel for when my sson is there. I am at the point now of hoping when he is 12 he asks to live with his mom FT. I’m ready to write out the child support check. Hang in there. If you love your husband and he is supportive, you might get through it. I wish I could say for sure but I’m still not certain I’ll make it. Thanks for connecting.

  5. I don’t like my wife’s foster child so reading all your comments is helpful. I’m at my wit’s end trying to cope.

    My wife knows I don’t like the child. We have great talks about how I feel. She has her moments to with the child yet feels she needs to be there as she doesn’t want to be another foster parent who has given up on the kid. Me? I’d send the kid back. I used to feel bad about this now I don’t.

    The child is FASD but won’t acknowledge it, now will her biological mom. Plus the child has other behavor issues.

    I’ve felt resentment from day one which was 4 years ago when the child was 13yrs old. The kid will only engage in conversation with me when my wife is there otherwise the kid barely acknowledges my presence or worse has yes or no answers for me. It’s so frustrating. I’ve encouraged, been patient, let things take its time yet I still feel I’m being punished every day by this kid.

    So now I plan my day so I’m not there when the child is there. When the child is there, it’s amazing how the child can suck the energy from a room.

    I can’t wait for the summer of 2008 when the child will be of age and can transition out and I can have a home and not a foster home.

    I wish there was a support group in my area. Does anyone know of other places on the web where I can get help and support in dealing with my frustrations?

    Thank you all for your comments and for having this blog!

  6. Hi Jaime – thanks for writing. Wow all that work for a foster child. I tell you that wife of yours is a saint. You might be the one person worse off than step-parents! The foster step parent … I can’t blame you for how you feel – it is just reality. You give me hope though. If you hung in there this long and see light at the end of the tunnel, I can too.

  7. Hi Leeney, your words resonate with me…”all that work for a foster child”. I do/have done so much yet get little in return. I’m told by other foster parents that this is how it is and to get used to it. Yes, I understand the child has gone through so much crap and that I need to understand more than normal. But, when I have lived with the child for 4 years, that the child can see I’m not a threat, still I’m treated with indiffernece.

    My wife has been the foster “mom” for 14 yrs. Yes, I think and she has been told many times that she is a saint. When I agreed to move in/marry 4 years ago, I had no idea really that in the future creating ‘family’ would become an ongoing struggle full of heartache. I would not recommend fostering to anyone unless you enjoy being treated like crap. Because that’s what one has to endure most of the time.

    I think a lot more should be done to reconcile foster children with their biological families. It really is shameful that this is not seen as important. Not doing so breeds resentment on both sides.

    After 4 yrs, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never receive any recognition from the child because I did one thing that the child did not like. I married the “mom”. The child has been emotionally punishing me from day one for doing this.

    Yes, I also agree and feel my role is worse than a step parent! I’ve found no help/understanding for being a foster step parent. It’s as if such support doesn’t exist. In the foster parent community we are told to keep everything confidential and not to talk to anyone outside of foster parenting about our problems. I have refused from day one and continue to talk about my problems because no-one I know has experienced this level of pain and heartache. Most people have no idea what fostering entails. I didn’t.

    I’m so glad I came across this site. I googled ‘I hate my foster child’ out of a whim and found you.

    From my experiences, I’ve come to realise that step parents need to focus on something postive outside of the family. This helps to keep onself grounded and balanced so that our self-esteem is nourished. We then can cope better with our family life.

    Thank you leeney for your comments.

  8. Jaime – I think some kids are a lost cause. I have had children in my life (not my sson) who are just past the point of being helped. Too much damage done long before. And reunited with the family is really the only option. Why should your life be made completely miserable. And it doesn’t sound like your wife is all that happy either.

    When I decided to marry my husband, I knew I didn’t want his son. I knew when he was around I wouldn’t want to be. But like you I didn’t anticipate how it sucks the life out of you (and your relationship) to be around such a difficult child. The house is always tense and really not a home. That is not something I want.

    My sson will likely leave our house one day and tell me he hates me. He certainly doesn’t like me and the feeling is mutual. It is sad. I have a friend who raised her husband’s daughter only to have her at 18 spit in her face and tell her she always hated her. The child is in her 20’s now and never looked back. She never thanked her step mom, still talks about her, will only speak to her dad, never apologized, etc. You would think that story alone would have taught me a lesson.

    I really never thought much about the plight of the foster parent. I assumed (wrongly maybe) foster parents are saints. They are people different than me for certain – that have endless patience. I guess we are all human.

    Find happiness where and when you can Jaime. I suspect the full extent of the damage this child has done won’t be known until they are long gone from your home. Everyone deserves to be happy. And if everyone took care of the life they brought into the world, the world would be a better place. It isn’t your “job” to make this child’s life complete at the cost of yours.

    • Why in the name of god did you marry the man, put the poor child out of his misery and go. He had no choice but to have you thrust on him, just go and get out of his life and let him have his childhood back.

  9. How sad =(. This poor child deserately needs help. You may not be his biological parent but you are an adult and his step mother. Why don’t you step up to the plate and help this poor boy, not only for him but for your own future. If your husband is in denial, too bad. This poor child has his whole life ahead of him and you’re worried about sparing your poor husbands feelings?? I understand that you’re in an awful predicament but if you don’t help him who will? My son has Aspergers and with help he is a different child now. Please do the right thing for everyone in your family and get the child some help. In the long run you will all be a lot happier. Good Luck.

  10. Mel – I’m surprised it took so long for someone to say what you have. The answer for me is that some people are too damaged, have been through too much to be able to “step up to the plate”. I am not the one to do it. You are obviously a good father. Your son is very lucky.

  11. Mel-“step up to the plate” is not that simple. A child has to want and accept help. When all a child does is push adults away, especially step parents, to “step up to the plate” is an immensely difficult thing to do. Do we risk further emotional damage to the child and ourselves because to “step up” could bring more damage than it’s worth. Leeney is right “horrible damage” has already been done early on in the son’s life.

  12. Thanks for the understanding and support Jaime. A damaged child is a difficult step-child. And it seems to me many kids of divorce have more issues than average, making it that much harder to be a step-parent. Sad.

  13. I feel so much better after reading these posts(at least someone out there understands what i’m going through. Step-parenting can be so hectic. I have a 6 year old stepson who stays with his mother,who often come and visit twicwe a month (over the weekends). My issues with him are, when his dad is around you can’t tell him to do anything. What annoys me the most his the father who keeps on saying “oh this one is still a child” to everything he does. A six year old that can’t even take his plate to the kitchen after the meal. I’m so sick of this child because i’m always the nasty one who says do this, do that. It can be so depressing.

    • I feel your pain, Ayaka. I am living with my fiance and her son, who has Asperger’s. He is 15 and doesn’t take plates to the kitchen. He leaves them sitting wherever he is, for his mom to pick up. Same for drinking glasses or water bottles. Sometimes his desk (where he spends half his day on his computer; the other half is spent in his bedroom) is covered with five or six unfinished water bottles plus a cup or two and some used tissues. How gross. And mom does absolutely nothing to get him to start cleaning up after himself. She just does it. And as I’ve said in my posts below, he never ever uses the words please or thank you with his mom. Just, “I want” or “I need” or “I’m starving” (which is never the case; the kid eats constantly and is severely overweight). And yes, I feel like the bad guy for suggesting some minor changes to his habits and life style; and I know I shouldn’t. I’m in a hell of a spot because I am reconsidering marriage due to having to live many many years, perhaps the rest of my life, with the step-son. I see this was posted almost seven years ago… how are things now? For your sake, I hope better.

  14. I stumbled onto your blog- and I am SO right with you- that entry could have been mine.

    Everything, everything- every tiny detail you wrote-

    I had my stepson from ages 9-13 and things had disintegrated so badly that I was considering divorce.

    I was rescued in the end by his paternal grandmother who is raising him now.
    He is 14 and so horrible.. but it’s not my concern any longer.

    We pay child support. The grandmother doesnt like me, but I would kiss her feet.

  15. Hi Caro – thank you so much for posting. You are so lucky. How did you get his grandmom to take him? I see nothing but bad things in the future. Divorce sometimes appears to be the only escape …

  16. Your situation is so very much like mine…except I have not married my fiance yet. We have been together for a bit over 2 years. I have been living here with him (we are next door neighbors) for a bit over a year now.

    He has 2 kids: a girl age 8 and a boy age 9. The boy’s mental age is around 4 or 5 years old however.

    He has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, specifically as having Asperger’s syndrome. I suspect there’s some slight mental retardation but the doctors have said he merely has a low IQ…is that what they call MR nowadays?

    I, too, googled to find your site here….I searched Hate Step Son Asperger. Yes I typed HATE & I’m only slightly ashamed. He isn’t my step son legally yet.

    Where to begin…He has the classic signs of a “serial killer” childhood. I am not kidding. Its called McDonald’s Triad. This child, I’ll call him Joe, has displayed 2 our of the 3 signs…bedwetting while awake past age 4, cruelty/harm to animals.

    Last summer I caught him choking his 11 month old kitten. The cat nearly died. The minute Joe saw me in the doorway he dropped the cat. Then he looked down at the floor…everything about his posture/behavior told me he knew exactly what he was doing to the cat.

    I was so stunned that I put him in the car and drove him to his Dad’s workplace. His Dad made excuses, saying Oh he didn’t mean to…he doesn’t know how to hurt anything. Baloney. And as proof: the VERY next night he did the EXACT same thing..I heard the cat “coughing,” came running down the hall, and bam…he was choking her again. His Dad refused to punish him and refused to tell Joe’s psychiatrist about it. I am not involved in his doctor’s appointments because I can no longer handle his Dad’s huge denial. His Dad has never been honest and up-front with Joe’s doctors regarding Joe’s behavior. And Joe is such a poor historian that he can barely convey a sensible idea most days.

    Joe creeps around the house all the time, sneaks up to the doorway of a room we are in, yet says nothing. Its creepy. I hate it.

    He talks about movies ALL the time. That’s ALL he talks about, its his “special interest.” Star Wars, Shrek, Cars, Batman, Godzilla. That is all I ever hear from him. He has the dialogue memorized. Yet his Dad thinks this is normal.

    He talks to himself, LOUDLY. He pees the bed while he’s awake and tries to hide the sheets. He admits he’s awake and says he’s too tired or too cold to go to the toilet to pee.

    He can’t shower by himself and he’s 8, nearly 9. He can’t trim his own fingernails. He has not a single friend.

    He’s being “mainstreamed” in public school here but most days teachers must place him in the teacher lounge because he disrupts class and will not follow rules/commands.

    He never makes eye contact and will try to carry on a conversation while standing, with his head turned away, 12 feet across the room.

    He can’t brush his own hair…he turns the brush backward. He can’t brush his own teeth…he chews on the brush instead. We explain and show how to do things OVER and over and OVER yet he can’t seem to learn.

    His sentences make no sense unless he’s talking about a movie he likes.

    He hits, kicks, and spits on kids often at school.

    He does not have an ounce of common sense. He won’t look both ways before crossing a street…even though we tell him this 10 times a day.

    We can’t have normal meals like a family because he chews up his food and spits it out on the plate if its not spaghettios. He has made me physically ill before with his table manners. He “cheeks” a huge bite and chews it for like 10 minutes.

    He will come out of his room dressed in shorts for school when its 19 degrees outside.

    We must tell him when to take a drink while eating or he chokes.

    He’s a HUGE know-it-all smart ass. Even though his knowledge is limited to his movies he still says “Guess what, you are wrong,” about most anything.

    We have to watch him or he fishes out poopy toilet tissue from the toilet, puts it in the trash, and then does not wash his hands.

    He has hidden his medications in his bedroom many times. He’s on antiseizure meds, antipsychotic meds, and meds for hyperactivity. We have to watch him take them now.

    Lots of times he just stands and stares at us and won’t even answer us.

    I could go on and on. His Dad believes in no punishment…even though this child is not mentally retarded and is in normal school.

    Honestly, the only reason I have not married my fiance yet is this child. I cannot imagine growing old with him living with us, his Dad doing everything for him. What kind of life would that be?

    He’s never going to drive and will probably never work…he already receives some type of disability payment from the government/state.

    His Mom is completely out of the picture…she left the state 4 years ago and left the kids behind…she has not seen them since and does not want to.

    My fiance has told me that before Joe was on meds, he bit his mom, often causing bleeding, and would pull off his diapers and poop in the floor like an animal.

    Ok I’m through venting here. Its been therapeutic. I enjoyed reading your post and I’m moved by it. Good luck.

  17. One last bit. His Dad is very lenient. He does not feel that spanking is okay. He does not feel grounding them to their room is okay. And anytime I tell them no, tell them to go to their rooms, or point out that they are lying, he later mentions to me that he feels this could be “verbal abuse.” We’ve talked long and hard about it. I do despise this sneaky weird social deviant of a child of his, but I’d never abuse/verbally abuse him. Yes, I have yelled at him before for dangerous things he’s done wrong.

    Joe’s doctor has said he has very poor impulse control…hence hurting the cat…hence wetting bed while awake, hence spitting out food on the table, hence digging through feces, and blah blah blah.

    Another thing that worries me is this: when the teenage testosterone kicks in…what then? Suppose he sees a pretty girl, has a big “impulse control” lapse, and rapes her?

    What if he keeps up the hitting of other kids…when he is bigger and stronger?

    We have already caught him looking up his little sister’s nightgown while they were playing in the floor. And he lurks around the bathroom door and knocks saying he has to go AFTER he sees one of us enter the bathroom. I’ve also awakened at night to find him standing over our bed, in the dead of night, staring at us. When asked what he’s doing he starts in a big memorized dialogue from a movie he likes. Its just crazy. I guess I should add that his father, other than his HUGE denial problem, is the sweetest most caring, sincere, man I’ve ever met. He has a good soul. That’s why I am still here in this relationship. But I don’t know what will become of this awful child.

  18. Hello Sasha – that is a chilling story. Please do yourself a favor now. NEVER marry this guy. It will only get worse as you are married. I feel for you. Your stories are frightening. You’ve done more than anyone can be expected to do already. Run as fast as you can!

  19. Part of me thinks you are right Leeney. But a part of me wants to stay….the 36 year old, no family, infertile, never had a child of my own part.

    Most of my adulthood I’ve been career driven, working overtime too often, coming home to an empty house. Now I’m infertile (advanced endometriosis) and nearing 40 with no family to speak of. So sometimes I think to myself that perhaps God sent me this family that needs me. After all, I am a nurse, who might be better equipped to deal with Aspergers?

    But now I have found that dealing with Autism and Aspergers has nothing to do with medical knowledge…its all about patience and sheer endurance ability.

    I’m now on 2 antidepressants and have not worked as a nurse since I moved in here next door. In many ways I was happier working & being alone perhaps. At the same time, my dream, my whole reason for existing has been, since childhood, to have children, a family. I never planned to have a career, it just sort of happened.

    These kids do need a mom and I do need kids. I don’t know. I have such mixed feelings sometimes and it scares me to think of cementing myself here with legal ties that marriage would bring.

    But I read about Aspergers weekly online…the future looks bleak for Joe. And he’s so loveless and thankless. He seems so cold, emotionless.

    Even as I type this I’m exasperated. Yesterday Joe hit one of the cats in the ribcage really hard. I saw it all. He sat on the floor by her and tickled her belly til she clawed his hand then he punched her ribcage in “retaliation.”

    I told my fiance that Joe should be grounded off Playstation games for the entire Thanksgiving break. Boy did that ever cause a blow up.

    He’s so in denial. Same old stuff: he didn’t do it intentionally. We can’t ground him if he didn’t do it on purpose. Blah blah blah.

    It is just amazing how steadfastly he defends this child’s awful behaviors. I think I am starting to just get to depressed and tired of the denial to deal with it much longer. I just don’t know what to do really.

    I feel a strange sort of comfort reading here about the problems other “step” parents have. I was starting to think I”M the atrocious one here for despising this little boy.

  20. Oh my God I’m sooooo glad I found you guys!!! You are keeping me from leaping off of the next bridge. I have a 5 year old step-daughter that we got from CPS 3 years ago. I was very hopeful on making things great for her until I realized that she was “possessed”. This is a child with NO emotional connection, she NEVER sleeps (like the previous lady I would wake up and she’d be standing over us looking crazy). My 14 yr old woke up one morning with slashes in his comforter after he upset her that day. She pulls her teeth out (that aren’t loose!), she self inflicts injuries on herself, she lies constantly, she wets and poops in the bed if you make her mad, she hurts the other kids in the house, she breaks up all of the kids things, she steals money and items out of my purse. I’ve never seen a child that seems like she is always role playing. There are never any true emotions in her other than rage!! We have a 3 year and she’s tried to throw him down the steps, she’s kicked him in the back so hard that he couldn’t breath, she’s smashed his hands in doors on purpose. And when you ask her why, she just says “becuase I’m not supposed to”. She masterbates in front of male company, she steals food and gorges until she vomits. And the list goes on and on. We took her to an intake hospital and that didn’t help because she’s so smart that she plays a role game. She’s sneaky so the people at the hospital thought that she was “cured”. No longer than 30 mins after arriving home she tried to beat the baby’s head with a bat. When she looks at you she looks through you (it very eerie). My husband is like the others where he is in TRUE DENIEL. When I tell him about what she does he just replies ” well I don’t know what you want me to do” and then just ignores everything. My concern is that this child is 5 what will she be doing by the time she reaches teen age? Will we have to worry about her killing us in our sleep. Also my husband won’t give her to her “crazy” mother because he doen’t want to pay child support!! But I feel like why am i having to suffer because the two parents refuse to recognize and help their child. I know that sounds mean, but I’m tired. I have not been able to sleep for almost 4 years because I have to watch her constantly. If she feels like we are asleep she roams the house destroying things. And there aren’t too many places to get help for her because they say she’s ONLY 5. But I promise you the mnd set of this child is far greater than 5. My family is falling apart, and whenever she’s out of the house the air is clear we all feel relieved, and I wish things would go back to the peace and happiness we had before, but now I feel trapped because there’s no where for her to go. I found this site because I typed in “my step-child is ruining my family” AND SHE IS!!!!!

  21. Hi Michelle – I’m so glad you found “us”. You have an incredibly difficult situation. I met someone on line in a similar situation as you. Her step daugther was a little older but very similar issues. Things have gotten better for her through the years which gives me hope. One thing that seemed to help was forcing the dad’s involvement. That’s easier said than done but I put it out there for you b/c I believe it is the birth parent’s responsibility to do what they can to address the problem. Have you thought about separating from your husband? That might make him sit up and take notice … I know that is very difficult but it would certainly open his eyes. I fear for you with all you’ve written. I think many of us have these kind so fears with mistreated and troubled step kids. I always say if everyone in the world took care of themselves and the children they brought into this world, the world would be a better place. And that doesn’t sound very hard to do. At least not to me. Hang in there. Do what is best for you and your kids.

  22. Hi- glad to see I’m not alone. My fiancee has a son (11) with serious issues. That is why I”m testing out living together before I could commit to these issues. I’ve never had childrne. He has Anxiety, depression, ADHD. He’s been spoiled and allowed to have his way. The child is 5, 5″ and close to 200 lbs. He threw a screaming tantrum last night and threated to commit sucicide. I’ve never dealt with anything like this and really want no parts of it. I’m not the parent. His dad messed this up. I need to take a step back- co habitate, be polite. He lives with my fiancee 24/7, which means there are times when he’s in my care for my fiancee’s 24 hr. shifts. I’m almost to my breaking point and don’t know what to do.

  23. No you are surely not alone. You seem like a smart lady and you’ve already answered your own questions/doubts. Marrying this guy would be signing yourself up for a lot of heartache. And it is heartache you didn’t create and are powerless to fix. I would say if you love this guy you keep on seeing him, even live with him if you can handle it. Marrying him … that’s something you should hold off on. I can tell you from my experience things actually can get worse.

  24. I’ve been married six years, have two small children by my wife, and a 15 year old stepson who has never seen his birth father. I can empathise completely with each of you; I know how wretched the situation can get. I have finally come to the realization that there is nothing that I can do to reverse any of his learned behaviors. He discovered at an early age that he can manipulate his mother and his grandparents by evoking a sympathy response by feigning depression (Yes, he has been clinically evaluated many times, and no, he is not suffering from depression. His counselors can’t stand him either, and keep re-referring him). And poor little “Johnnie” can do whatever he wants, as I am not permitted to reprimand him. What to do? Some online “Experts” have suggested that I am the only one to blame for my situation, because if I hadn’t married her, everything would be fine. Well, thank you very much for the 20/20 hindsight, all you Captain Obviouses. That kind of “wisdom” does not help any of us one bit. That would mean I also wouldn’t have my two wonderful little sons. So, what is the answer? I wish I knew. I just wish that once I could brag about something nice, or good, or even remotely thoughtful that my stepson has done. Instead, I get to go to Juvenile court, endure warranless searches by his probation officers, field calls from his teachers/the school district, listen to his unending rudeness and vulgarity, and to top it all off, watch it all being excused and rewarded, because he is poor “Johnnie.” Divorce may be a solution, but if I wasn’t there, who would protect the kids from him? The situation may suck, but it is still the situation, and I have to deal with it as best I can. I hope everyone thinking of entering a relationship like mine or the others described in these blogs learns by our examples, and has the forethought to look elsewhere for love. And to those who are “in it” like me, believe me, I feel your pain. Please stay strong.

  25. Hi Gibsonguy – thanks for posting. You poor guy. It is amazing what we are willing to put up with. I worry abotu your boys. How will they be “protected” from their step-brother? Is his example one they might follow? It must shake you to your core. You sound like a very sensible man. Will your wife kick this man-child of hers out when he is 18? Or perhaps he’ll leave willingly? Probably not if he is getting away with so much shit. I hope you too can stay strong for the boys who need you. I’m sorry for the mess you are in. Maybe your best hope is that he’ll leave in a few years … I hope so for your sake. Enjoy the holidays with your boys.

  26. Hello. Thank you so much for this site and for everyone who has posted. I am a divorced single father with two elementary-school-age daughters. I am in a relationship with a very nice woman who has an 8-year old son, whom I cannot stand. He has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and is already taking Prozac and Risperidal (sp?). I feel bad for him (and my girlfriend) but I’ve been waffling on further commitment because I have grave concerns about sharing a home with this boy, and after reading everyone’s stories, I am going to end this relationship and “look for love elsewhere” as gibsonguy put it. It is comforting (in a sad way, admittedly) to know that others have “been there” and are willing to share their experiences so that the rest of us can learn from them. Again, thank you! Good luck to everyone…

  27. Hello Andrew – I am gratified by your remarks. I know that may not sound quite right. However if this post and the comments helped you make the right decision, then I am glad I wrote them. You would be signing up for a hard time, not to mention what your own children would suffer through. You may always have feelings for this lady, but this problem would kill the love. It is almost guaranteed over time. Good luck to you … you are a wise man!

  28. Thankyou for your postings. I have been quetioning myself for a couple of years now, wondering if I really am a mean hateful person(stepmother). I have finally realized this week that it’s not me. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and my stepdaughter is 15. 15 going on 5, I should say. I believe strongly that she has Asperger’s and possible something more such as fragile X. This child makes no eye contact, does not initiate conversation, gives 1 or 2 word answers even to open ended questions and has a voice like a 3 year old. Her main interests are cartoons and drawing kittens and puppies. She does not deal with any type of change, thus her life’s work of kitty and puppy drawings are hanging in her room. About a year ago, I took the ones off of the outside of her door because I could not stand looking at them amymore. My husband’s interactions with her when she is her are very strange, they talk to eachother in baby voices having no real conversation to speak of, usually talking about what the dog may be thinking about. She has no facial expression, pretty much a blank stare, can not pick up on any social cue like a joke or tone of voice and just looks confused if I speak to her. My husband used to push me to help her with things like brushing her hair, feminine hygiene instruction and clothes shopping including bras as he feels her mother was lacking in doing these things. Gradually she has gotten better with bathing and changing clothes daily, she’s a sophomore and peer pressure must be helping. My husband states her mother (his ex) has always been in denial that there is a problem with her, but my husband won’t discuss it with me and becomes angry if I try to bring up such a thing and HE starts woofing and puppy talking to try to change the subject. She has difficulty with reading, writing, and math. Her mother works hours with her each day on her schoolwork to keep her mainstreamed. My husband runs his own successful business and he says his dream is for her to be hired into his business and one day take it over. He is a landscape contractor. She is 15 yrs old and the only thing I see her doing for him is collecting a paycheck for drawing Kitty pictures! I think she would be better off learning a vocation to help her be independent of him and make her own life. Her mother has millions so money is not the issue, I just don’t want this girl to grow up and out of Mom’s house and work for daddy and become our burden. This is not what I want for the rest of my life. I have a 17 year old daughter who is also uncomfortable with the 2 of them becuase of the unusual communication. I am ready to get my husband back to the marriage counselor for a reality check. I don’t think I have much to lose as this situation is driving me CRAZY!

  29. Hi Daisy – thank you so much for posting and adding to this valuable collection of experiences. I think you are the closest to my own experience I’ve heard. It all sounds so alarmingly similar. It is sad. I have become almost convinced step parenting is a no win situation. You can be thankful your SD is older, but I feel your pain when you think about her turning 18, working for your husband and becoming your problem for life. I am looking forward to my SS turning 12 and saying he wants to live with his mom FT and just visit with his dad. I have been vaguely holding onto this hope for years. It may be completely off the mark, but it keeps hope alive for me. I wish you the best of luck and don’t think there is a single crazy/mean or any other negative thing about you. You are human.

  30. You’re right Daisy, our stories are quite similar. Thankyou for your kind words of support. It is sad to hear you are resigned to step back and let all this unfold with no acknowledgement or cooperation from your SS parents to get him help. I am at the point where I can’t stay back anymore. You see, my daughter, my only child, was sent away for 2 years to a therapeutic boarding school due to drug and depression issues–this story is for another blog, but she is home now and disturbed by what is happening. My daughter will be 18 this month and clean for over 2 years. I can’t jeopardize her well being by ignoring this anymore. I confronted my husband (very harshly) the other night becuase for the 3rd time in a week he refused to talk about his daughter. We had a huge fight, he took his wedding band off and won’t bring his daughter here because she is “intimidated” by me and my daughter. He says he talked to his ex wife about his daughter’s feelings–which he won’t discuss with me–and he’s planning accordingly, whatever that means. We are going to our therapist Thursday to talk about “it”, what ever it is. His next step may be a divorce lawyer which would be ok with me now because if he can’t open up to me and try to help his daughter be more independent in life and engage in age appropriate activities and we have to continue living in the world of make believe puppy kitty land, I can’t live that way. I moved across country 4 years ago leaving my family, friends, job I loved, took my daughter away from a happy life and sold everything I own to be with him. I am pissed he was not up front with me about her, but he can’t be up front with himself, so what’s left?

  31. Gosh I’d be pissed too and to think your child suffered. It is harsh but I guess you live and you learn. Both you and your daughter will be stronger for moving forward with what is right. You’ve given up enough of your life.

  32. Well…thank goodness I’m not alone, nor am I a hateful uncaring person. I can only say that as wonderful as my husband is as a person…I’m very sorry that I married him. I have absolutely become burned out and exhausted from 8 years of trying to get his kid on the right path. She was a 45 pound crappy kid when I met him and thousands of dollars in therapy later…she is now a 115 pound crappy kid. I absolutely have nothing left to offer. I have little respect left for him and I have little patience left for her. In fact, I can’t stand to even look at her. I avoid having to interact with her which makes me have to find somewhere to go and something to do when she’s around.
    For anyone who is single without children and considering marrying someone with kids…DON”T DO IT. It is a huge dissappointment and a waste of your life.

  33. Hi Toni – your words of warning are wise. I hate to say I agree with you 100% but I do. Respect is key. You lose respect for this person you thought you loved who can’t adequately parent and is willing to give up all of your happiness for a troubled child. I wish you luck in the future!

  34. I can totally understand where you are coming from. My step son is 11 , extremely spoilt by his mother and has NO discipline with her. My husband is not supportive at all. His child is selfish, rude, spoilt and shows no respect to his dad, myself or our home. My husband has no say in any part of his sons upbringing. He is rarely included in anything. My step son does not show up sometimes as being with his friends is more important.. I really dislike the kid the more that the years go on. My husband wont stand up for his rights or anything with his ex or his son as previously when he has his ex has stopped him seeing him for a few weeks. she is a real piece of work too… How do you get past all of this. Other than the problems with his child and ex we have a pretty great marriage. I agree step parenting sucks big time … It so sucks

  35. Hi Bec – sounds like you are struggling like the rest of us. I don’t think it is possible to change how we feel. I only cope … I barely get by most days. I take Xanax everyday and it still doesn’t help. I am so frustrated by everything I can’t imagine a way to “get over it”. I am looking forward to him growing up and leaving. Actually I hope he will tell his mom when he’s 12 that he wants to live with her. I hope she’ll go back to court and fight for him FT. I’d gladly pay child support to see him less. Good luck to you.

  36. hi leeney~~
    sounds like you have received lots of comments and support from other step moms. when i first read your blog i thought i just had to respond because of such similar circumstances. my 10 year old step son was diagnosed after he had lived with us for a year, with autism. it is a high functioning form so probably aspergers, but the autism specialist we went to just said autism. he and his brother live with us. his brother has adhd badly enough that he is in special ed, like his older brother. the good thing is that his father agrees that his son has this problem. the mother lives with her parents, and everyone at their home is in denial of the autism diagnosis. the mother very likely has aspergers also. her parents never owned up to her problems and have babied her her whole life. the mom is basically clueless to understanding any problem with her son. she has a hard time functioning in the adult world.
    i’m sorry for the denial that your husband shows. it does help me alot that my husband recognizes the problem. it is however the biggest difficulty in our marriage. this boy basically really dislikes me…i would say hate, but i don’t want to go there! he is difficult to live with. i have felt, very often, like i am living with the enemy. i too can’t imagine the teenage years that are quickly approaching. my husband and i have a baby son together and my step son doesn’t get along well with him. my husband and i work every day to hold our marriage together and not allow the step situations to wreck us. it is a constant struggle. lots of stress. if you would like to write to me at the address above, maybe we could talk more and encourage each other. good luck today and each day.

  37. Wow,
    I googled “don’t my stepsom to move in with us” and came upon this site. I have to admite, my ss is not as bad, he doesn’t have any emotional issues as others but we still have the same problems when he is here. The good news is I only have to deal with it twice a year (xmas & the summer) but now my hubby wants to have him for a whole year. He just announced this bombshell this moring and now we are barely speaking. I was able to control my response as “something to think about” but I could not control my facial expressioin which was “are you NUTS”. I agree with other posters, I often wondered why my husband married me knowing that I don’t like his kid and the feeling is quite mutural. I sitting wondering why did I go through the marriage my darn self. I am 5 months pregnant now and I sometimes regret having a child that is basically going to “lock” me in with this guy. I have a good husband and our marriage have its normal problems but they are WORSE when his kid comes around. My husband stays in denial and just get angry when I try to discuss it. We are signed up for a marriage counselor that has been helping with other issues but I am heistant to bring this one up because I KNOW it will cause so many problems. My husband has made me feel guilty for not loving his child or accepting him like my own. He just brushes my feelings off as me being selfish. I don’t think I can do a whole year with this child, but the thought of a divorce sounds just as painful. I guess we stay in these marriages because we have HOPE things will change. We HOPE that the kid grows up and moves to another country and we never have to deal with them again, and if we just hold now our happiness is just around the corner. I think that is why I have not bailed a long time ago. Step parenting sucks!

  38. Hi Ann – thanks for writing. You introduce an even further complication with having a new baby. How difficult it must be for you. I’m sorry. I would love to see people come up with some ideas on how to solve or at least begin to deal with these issues. Rarely have I ever read or seen anything positive on step-parenting. And if this “forum” is any proof, the entire world suffers through step- parenting woes. Good luck to you.

  39. I figured there would be a topic on this!

    I am engaged and about to be married to a man with a 7 year old boy. We have been together for 3 years off and on. Off, only because at one time the boy tried to “molest” the 3 year old neighbor boy … was obsessed with playing with himself, even stuck the vacuum hose on his “thingy” and tried to suck it up (this is when he was 6). Of course when I saw the vacuum incident, I could take no more. Obviously he had been exposed to this at his mothers house. It’s a very long story and nothing ever came of this even though child protective services was involved. I love his father dearly and so we went to counseling … seemed to resolve the issue (some) but I still look at the kid like a little “perv”. I still don’t like him persay but I can “deal” with him. It’s not an ideal situation for me, but feel we can get through things “now” but an a little worried!

    We have the kid ALL the time with the exception of 2 weekends a month.


  40. The comments here have been interesting to read and in some ways have made me feel better, n other ways just made me feel like i should give up! I have a 9 yr old step daughter, only child, she has always been difficult due to the way her mother raised her. In September last year her mother turned up at my partners work and dumped her there. The girl went on and on ‘I want to go and Live with my Dad’ her mum said she couldn’t cope so she’s with us. Anyway I don’t like her, I care for her, I do so much for her, more than either parent but she appreciates nothing, if i ever discipline her, e.g send her to bed 15 mins early or try and explain that what she did wasn';t right and why then she hates me. I couldn’t even begin to describe all the problems she causes. She loves her dad so much, its always about him, Im treated like a slave by her and I continue to bend over backwards. She has no manners, she’s unbelievably rude, selfish, unreasonable, lazy, hurtful, and the most outrageous liar I have ever met. The lying is at an extremely worrying level as she’ll lie about anything and everything, even little irrelevant things. The tension in the house is bad and when the 3 of us are together I don’t enjoy being there. She’ll sit between me and her dad on the couch by squuezing in, we’re not alllowed to sit next to each other at dinner or if we go out for bigger family meals, god its just so hard, up till xmas i thought things were ok (maybe that was denial) but also as she was in a new living situation we bent over backwards to make sure she settled in well. Maye that was the problem, now we are asking her to take a bit more responsibility for herself its awful. As soon as she doesnt get her own way, even if for example she wants a drink and I tell her she can get it herself as she’s capable of doing so, the tantrum begins and they are awful. Im miserable when she';s there except I never show it and it would appear that all is well. But its not, now after reading others views Im not sure things will ever be ok. She is not a nice person, n god i soooo wish she was.

  41. Thank you! I am in a very similar situation… I have three stepsons, they live with me and my husband, their biological mother is a crack head who abandoned them along with the life savings and took off with the contractor hired to fix their house… last we heard she was in a traveling carnival down south… The three boys have Aspergers, Autism and ADHD… I have taken on the “mom” roll – primary caregiver. The two older boys are easier to deal with than the now 8 year old. he’s a nightmare and he’s supposed to be the “normal one.” He’s either teasing, fighting or tattling… he has not a single friend, and his behaviour does not merit any… I’ve had him to specialists and blah blah blah… five full days of neuropsych testing and blah blah blah… No one will help me with this nightmare… I love the boys, but I’m at my wits end, I am terrified that I’m going to lose my husband over this.

  42. Wow…. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to see your post. I actually found this by googling, “I don’t like my step son”, too! What I should have said, however, was step children. Yup, there are two. One lives with us, the oldest, an 8yr. old boy and the other lives with their mother, (thank goodness), a 3.5 yr. old girl.

    When I met my now husband, I was single, never before married and had no children. I made a very strong effort to avoid kids until I got married. I’m glad I did. My husband has two children with his ex that he was never married to. I really hate her. She is the culmination of everything I have ever disliked in women/ girls. She is basically a Paris Hilton with horribly dyed black hair.

    Anyway, I can’t stand my step son, (or step daughter). He doesn’t have the same problems that yours does, although I am certain he has ADHD. He gets in trouble almost every day at school, is very social and doesn’t know when to stop talking or being disruptive in some way shape or form.

    Like your husband, mine is in denial as well. He won’t consider family therapy or meds or anything.

    At home, I am the last thing my stepson worries about when it comes to discipline. I hold no ground compared to his Dad. It could be something as simple as reading time. He doesn’t ask me if I am going to read to him, he asks his Dad if I am going to him… This may sound petty but it annoys me to no end. This on top of never listening or respecting anything I tell him. I want him out of our lives and out of our house. Especially now, since I am currently 4 months pregnant with our first child together. I don’t want this messed up kid influencing my baby.

    Besides all of his bahavioral issues with minding and listening and talking too much, he’s incredibly needy and must be reassured at least 50 times after I get home from work that I love him. I am required to stay attached at the hip to him until his bedtime, which fluctuates based on his attitude throughout the day. I am so thankful when he screws up so badly that his bedtime lessens to 7:30 from his usual 8:30.

    You may think I am horrid for not wanting to hug my stepson and reassure him constantly that he is loved, because his real mother never did a good job of that. However, when you deal with it every single day, it wears on you… especially when you are flat out lying to him that you love him and when you’re tired from growing a baby and working all day long…

    I suppose if I felt the emotions coming from my step son were real, I might be more sympathetic, but since he always does it after he has really screwed up, in hopes that brown-nosing me will lessen the punishment, I could care less and want him to stop touching me.

    Aside from my stepson, there is my stepdaughter, whom, if possible, I can’t stand even more than my stepson. I understand that she is almost 4 and her behavioral issues, like my stepson’s, are not entirely her fault. However, I just hate when its our weekend with her and I’m counting the hours of peacefulness until she is there, destroying it with her neediness and spoiled, bratty, genuinely mean attitude. She is a crappy kid. Yes, I said it, A CRAPPY KID. I’ve never met a little kid that is so mean and synical. She does and says things that trashy, uneducated adults do and say. She cusses, she hits, she bites…. she has begun to try to kick my stomache in an effort to kill the baby, which she has made perfectly clear she doesn’t want… On top of this, my husband lets her crawl into bed with us still…. SHE’S ALMOST 4!! GET OVER IT! Whats worse is when he moves her in between us. Now, I need sleep more than anything right now and the last thing I want is for that little girl to be kicking me all night long, keeping me awake… especially since the weekends are my only time to sleep in.

    I want these feelings to go away… I want to at least begin to like my step children. One would think after 2 years of knowing them, that things would get better. It isn’t. You were so right when you said that, in most cases, rarely is there a love that can overcome the damage caused by divorce and neglect.

    So, I suppose the only solace I can give myself and other step moms, is to just do the best job you can do and give as much of yourself as you can give to your step children, so the pattern of neglect ends with you.

  43. Let me also add, that thanks to you, Leeny, you have brought many step moms together and have given them an outlet to vent and get out thoughts and feelings, that until recently were ashamed of. Its free therapy :)

    THANK YOU!!!

  44. Hi, I too found this posting by googling ‘I hate my stepson’. But here’s the twist. I’m the stepfather :)

    I met my wife 10 years ago, and have been married since 1999. He was 3 when we met,
    he’ll be turning 14 next month. When we met, I loved her very much, now, we are on the brink of divorce,
    and the boy is the sole reason. We have an 8 year old together, and NEVER have any arguments or disagreements
    about her or her behavior or disciplining her. Only when it comes to the boy.

    To summerize my issues, the boy can do no wrong in my wife’s eyes.
    It doesn’t matter what he does, it’s not his fault, or I’m ‘being too hard’, or someone else
    made him, or everyone just needs to ‘stop picking’ on him etc.
    He will piss my wife off, and then she takes it out on ME! Sometimes I feel like I’m in a bad
    movie because the events/circumstances are so unbelievable. Granted, he doesn’t stand over our
    bed while we sleep (however I do sleep with my gun under my pillow, ‘just in case’, because he has
    exhibited ‘disturbing’ behavior such as picking up a large kitchen knife and threatening to ‘kill himself’
    because he didn’t want to do something, but I also have it there for home defense purposes). I don’t put
    anything past him, I have seen the blank stare (like someone previously mentioned). I have seen hate
    in his eyes for my daughter. Whenever they are alone, there are ‘mystery’ injuries. Although they
    aren’t mysteries, she tells me, ‘he closed the door on my hand’, etc. When I ask him why,
    his answer is always ‘it was an accident’.

    If I ground him to his room, he plays my wife (he ALWAYS play my wife and the sad part is, she never
    sees it). For example, he NEVER wants to hang out with her normally, but suddenly when he’s not allowed
    to watch tv, play video games, etc. He wants to come down and sit on the couch (really all he’s doing
    is sitting there pissing her off, by either messing with our daughter or messing with the dog, etc)
    then when I ‘remind’ him that he’s grounded and he needs to goto his room, my wife tells me I’m an asshole,
    and that I need to ‘step up and be a father’. Well that’s funny, because there are no complaints when it
    comes to my daughter, somehow we agree on everything with her. Even people around us know not to bother to
    goto her with issues with him. The school doesn’t call her when there is an issue, they call ME.
    And as soon as I tell her, her first reaction is, ‘well I just don’t believe that that’s what
    happened’, my immediate reply is, ‘yeah I’m sure the principle had nothing better to do than to sit down and
    invent all this’. Her own mother agrees with me, and really can’t stand to be around him, she’s even told me (yeah I
    know, its unheard of a man and his mother-in-law getting along haha). I have tried everything, my wife has even
    told me she doesn’t love me anymore because I can’t ‘get along’ with her son (in not so nice words). It’s completely
    ruined our marriage, my life. We don’t even sleep in the same bed anymore, I’ve slept on the couch for months, we have
    sex about once a year, and even then I can tell she has no desire, which kills any desire in me, and only depresses me.
    In all honesty, the only reason I haven’t filed for divorce is because I have a little girl with her, and I want to
    spare her the ‘experience’. If things get any worse, like he really tries to hurt her, I will divorce.
    It’s really depressing to think about. The one place that you’re supposed to WANT to be is home, and it’s the
    LAST place I want to be anymore, which sucks because I WORK at home, (I am a programmer, and work in my home
    office, only going to the ‘office’ maybe once every 3 months). I have given up my life, my health (this is incredibly
    stressful), my everything to be with my wife, but it’s all been in vein. No I’m not on medication, no I don’t see a
    therapist, I just have a strong will/mentality I guess. Although I think that my wife and stepson need to seek therapy,
    I have been told by her that will never happen.

    So to all you who are in a situation similar to mine, I feel for you, I know what’s its like, I live it daily. The
    only break I get is when he goes to his father’s house for the weekend. Only then is there peace in the house, the tension
    is gone, everyone is happy, and we have ‘normal’ lives. But that only happens every other weekend, for about 48 hours (his
    father wont take him for longer than the ‘court ordered’ time). Then it’s back to the same crap, different day. It makes
    it very difficult to work, sometimes I will sit in front of this screen for hours, and not get anything done, because
    my wife and I had another argument.

    I will say this though, the few posts above who have mentioned the child is standing over them while sleeping all the time,
    choking pets, etc. Get out NOW. It will NOT get better. I can PROMISE you, if it ever got to those things for me, without
    hesitation I would divorce. It’s only a matter of time you wake up to a child not only standing there, but wielding a knife
    above your head. This is NOT normal behavior.

    Take care everyone,


  45. Allan – WOW I can’t believe that I still get surprised by some of these stories. You are in a terrible, wrong situation. You have to stay with this woman and her horrible son b/c of your daughter. You can’t leave her alone with her step brother. The courts would never side with you on this issue. Best you would get is 50% custody. I am so sorry for you and your family. I do thank you for posting this message though. I know how frustrated you must be. You sound like a great guy with sound judgment in a crappy situation. By posting this you help others. You give the warning many need to read so they know not to get married to someone with children from another relationship. It just isn’t worth it. Why should anyone have to give up their life and happiness for a child they didn’t bring into this world. I’m sorry for you Allan but know you will come out ok in the long run. You are a good man – I just know it.

  46. Thank you so much for all the post. I googled I don’t like my step daughter. My problem is my husband and I did’t know he had a child until recently. This girl just pops up and says he’s the father. He took DNA test and what do you know he is the dad. The little girl is so mouthy and he pays almost 400 in child support. I don’t know if my frustrations are because now so much money is taken out of our household for a child that we don’t even know. My husband expects me to be happy about the situation because I want kids, but I just can’t seem to get close to her and I’m not sure that I want to


  48. My husband and i live with his son a 16years/7months.That son is very difficult.Before he stayed with us he used to stay with my motherin-law.I did everything for him as a child you can think of including clothing him,paying his daycare fees,groceries and visits.My hubby then used to be someone very irresponsible so i wouldn`t let this poor kid suffer while i could extend a helping hand.To make matters worse if the biological mother would take him for a holiday, all the clothes that i would have bought my stepson, that he would have carried with him for a holiday would be taken by the mother because she had other two sons.Now that problem is over cause the mother died.Today the problem is this my stepson is difficult, he needs constant supervision with all activities of daily living.Still he doesn`t get one thing right.He is very rude to me only not his father.You tell him not to do a think he does not stop whatsoever.you buy him clothes they are torn before you even know it .All school books are used for drawings.His drawings are soccer people in uniforms and the drawings are suggestive of a kindergarden kid not an almost 17year old.He Doesn`t want to help around the house unless you force him or give him conditions like if dishes are not done no food.Because he likes food so much and spent all day opening and closing the fridge looking for food he force himself to do it.He can cook his desired food and heap the dishes for me to come back from work to clean.All he loves is eat,sleep,eat,sleep and getting into the toilet.He is distructive around the house most things he lay his hands on stops working .i.e none stick pans have scracthes.electric stoves`s nobles do not have lablings on them anymore,water tapes go loose,door handles,cup and dishes are broken.His book bag that is one week old is torn.At school he is in a special class. He performs badly at school and behaves rudely to other school kids.One report we had from his teachers said he is very disruptive in class,unorganised,and bully to other kids.They said if he is aurgered,he looks with an evil eye.At home with his 1 year 8months old half brother hetakes somethings from him violently like pulling things from him resulting in the baby loosing balance and falling.In that case today i noticed that the little brother is now attacking him by whating to hit him and pushing him. Mummling in aurger.Could someone help out ther before i raise to very difficulte kids in the society.

  49. I feel the same way about my step son. Although he is almost 17yrs old, he won’t wash his hands after taking using the rest room and when I complain his father just make excuses for him. What excuse is there for taking a dump and not washing his hand? I thought that my love for Jessie I could ignoir the repulsion I feel for his kids. His daughter is crazy manipulative and his son has refused to do simple things with out checking with his dad if he has to. I can’t live like this it’s CRAZY! I can’t beleive I have tried to make this work when I feel so repulsed by his children. I think I need to leave. I am sure it is time. Martha

  50. liz, I think your stepson is autistic, and unfortunately, he’s going to behave that way for the rest of his life. Google for autism, and you will see, there is no ‘cure’, at best they learn to live with it. My son has certain signs of autism. For example, he won’t eat anything but meat like steak and pot roast. But the real kicker is watching him eat it. He will eat EVERYTHING, even the disgusting grizzle, or fat, literally EVERYTHING. You would vomit watching him chew the disgusting parts of the meat. He eats it like an animal. The dog has better manners than he does. But yet when he’s asked to eat something like, say potatoes, he almost vomits, he makes this disgusting sound like a cross between a burp and someone dry heaving. I feel your pain, and as I said in my previous post I can’t stand him. I don’t think it would be half as bad if his mother wouldn’t make excuses for him at every step. I firmly believe that most of his ‘autism’ is from knowing that he can get away with it. I have proven that time and time again. For example, when the wife is at work, he comes home from school, he will bring the trashcans in, if needed, empty the trash in the kitchen, put away his shoes, and go upstairs to do homework. All without a single word from me. When she is home, he will ACTUALLY MOVE, not bring in, the trashcans to get around them to bring his bicycle in. Walk in the door, kick his shoes off in the middle of the kitchen, drop the backpack in front of the stairs, and walk upstairs to his room. When I point out the trash cans need to come in from the curb, and all the other stuff, he looks at me with this stupid blank look on his face and says ‘I didnt know’. Yes, it is that drastic. My co-workers/employees thought that I was just an ass to the boy, until one of them was over while we were programming a job, and he actually witnessed this behavior. He turned to me and said, ‘I used to think that you were just an asshole when it came to the boy, now I understand.’

    Martha, as long as the father ‘has his back’, he will continue to do whatever he wants, again, I’m in the EXACT same scenario with my wife. If the boy had his way, not only would he not wash his hands, he wouldn’t shower, we would wear the SAME nasty smelly BROWN from funk socks every day. It’s funny because when he was little, like 4, if he got the LEAST amount of dirt on him, he would FLIP, running into the bathroom to wash his hands for 5 minutes. From one extreme to another. I can’t wait for 18, if I hold out that long. As I have mentioned in my previous post, its pretty much ruined my marriage, we don’t even sleep in the same bed anymore, I’m too young (33) to be a monk, once a year, ‘i guess so’ sex, doesn’t cut it for me. But I tolerate it for my daughters benefit.


  51. I knew I wasn’t the only one, but wow! I have 2 stepdaughters, 10 and 7. They live with me and my husband full time–and then some. Their mother is a recovering drug addict and is only now getting some visitation (it’s been almost 2 years). Their maternal grandmother has limited visitation and has been trying to get the girls to hate us. She has so much influence over them, and she’s so hateful and manipulative. The oldest girl will bend reality, common sense, anything she has to in order to believe her grand mother and please her. It’s so frustrating. I wonder why I didn’t get out when my husband got custody. We weren’t married yet– I could have walked away. I thought… I don’t know… that life with the girls wouldcouldmight get better, they’d want a better life for themselves… They’re not interested. It’s more fun being manipulative, living the high drama lifestyle, creating trouble, and always doing what’s easy instead of what’s right. It’s been almost 2 years, and we still can’t do anything as a family. We can’t go shopping, have dinner, see a movie, go to the park without a lot of headache and heartache. I’ve stepped way back to keep my frustration and anger in check. I can say my husband does the right thing. He actively parents them, requires them to think about their actions, the kind of people they want to be and the kind of lives they want to live. He holds them accountable for what they do and say. Unfortunately, he’s ONLY daddy and his opinion can’t count. He feels as trapped and frustrated as I do (can you believe 2 days per month can do so much damage??) I’ve been counting the days (3773 left) until the girls move out. I hope I can make it that long. I hope my marriage can make it that long.


  52. Hi Linda – I heard one thing that made perfect sense to me – you stepped away. That’s the only thing you can do to survive. I’m convinced of it. I sometimes wonder if my marriage will survive the step parenting. I want it to and I really am trying. However there is nothing I can do about my step son or how I feel about him. I also can’t help my husband or co-parent with him. Not an option. I take one day at a time. I hope for the best. I wish you luck and sincerely appreciate you sharing your story here. Every time someone thanks me b/c they found this site before they married or committed, I am glad for this collection of information.

  53. OMG this sounds like me. I have been remarried for two years and have 2 beautiful girls who are normal. I feel the same way you do and totally understand the frustration. I have tried like hell to help my step son who is the same age as one of my girls but like I have learned, you can’t fix stupid. That sounds horrible but it is true! Being afraid to parent from his biological parents contribute to his mental retardation but his genes are just horrible. I only wonder who carries the gene. I had a future too. My husband is like a zombie because his son is destroying us and instead of getting rid of him oe doing something, he pretends not to see it. Which only makes me start to hate him. I already know my marriage is doomed if his son stays in our life. y mom always said you play with shit you get it on you…I don’t want my gifted and talented (truly academically)girls to start being like him because he has no consequences. And on top of it all, when I first met him the child only ate chcken broth, yogurt, carrots and junk food. He never had normal food cuz he cried. Well boo hoo. I won’t be a chef for him. He has no allergies. But dinners take up to 3 hrs. cuz he can’t chew and swallow. He really is a retard. I want a life. and unfortunately it’s without him in it. God forgive me for these feelings.

  54. Hi Dawn – you have the unique challenge of those wonderful girls being affected by him. Even if they stay on the same path as they are and are immensely successful, you risk that when they grow up they have disfunctional relationships because of this one you modeled. I know that is a stretch but it is something I learned with my son. If you take your kids through something that is not desireable/normal, they learn that’s the norm. And once you’ve embedded this is a child’s brain, you can’t change it. I think you owe it to your girls to leave. You have described a terrible situation. As my SS gets older I find myself more frustrated rather than any less. I realize I expected him to “grow up” just like my son did. Unfortunately it is not happening. He’s staying “retarded” socially. It is horrible for everyone. But one thing remains constant for me. I blame his parents. Having these kinds of feelings around my husband’s parenting kills my respect and love for him. That’s the tragedy for me. Good luck to you and your family.

  55. OMG… Thank goodness for this blog. I was beginning to feel like an oger for disliking my SS. He’s 11.. and EVIL! I’m not exagerating… he even wrote “lucifer” all over the bible. I’m at my whits end.. I can’t even stand to be in the room with him, he makes my skin crawl.. I’ve tried to get close to him, but he makes it sooo impossible.. I should say he is also ADHD. I would leave his father because of the tension, but he and I have a 2 year old daughter together…. this whole situation sucks.. talk about “baggage”!

  56. Thank you all for sharing your stories. I have 2 stepchildren and my stepdaughter is ok, she is nice to me but sometimes does hurtful things to her father, like not wanting to spend Christmas with him, but I can honestly say I hate my stepson. I know he is a child, but I have never felt this way about any other child before. I have a daughter of my own and her friends are always here and they are terrific.

    My stepson is just weird, and I have troube dealing with all his quirks that cause alot of stress when hes here. First let me say hes 9 1/2, and is a huge boy. Over 100 lbs. but still sleeps every night in bed with him mom. He used to sleep with my husband too before we got married and still cuddles like a 3 year old with him. I told my husband its not healty and he has stopped, at least that I know of when im around. He walks on his tippytoes all the time, cries about everything that frustrates him. Has an eating disorder when its convienient for him, ie. will cry and complain about the food and chew each mouthful for 20 minutes and if you tell him to swallow his food or eat faster, he will tear up. If his dad yells at him he goes hysterical and says dont upset me, you need to let me calm myself, and its completely a horrible experience at all meals..However if its junk food or something completely unhealthy he can inhale it in 2 minutes flat! He also complains his stomach hurts so he wont have to eat and even went so far as to have his father drive him to the hospital to get out of eating and when they got to the driveway he said he felt better!

    He plays no sports (doesnt like rules) Has no friends and isnt invited to any parties, lays on my couch and plays video games constantly and whines hes bored or hungry. If I ask him to do something he gives me a huge grin and says NO! He also wakes up bright and early, wakes his sister up, and slams doors to wake everyone else up as well. He used to knock on the bedroom door to wake us up.

    He’s very obnoxious and my husband says its his sense of humor and when I took the kids shopping for a bday gift for my husband all he kept saying is why cant this be about me, I want a present. He could care less about his fathers birthday and for Christmas they didnt mention once they would like to get him something.

    His daughter has issues to, but they dont get under my skin as much as my stepson. My husband has mentioned he needs therapy, but his mother, who has primary custudy thinks hes just fine as he is and any therapy would modifications would have to be followed through with.

    I have been lucky, for the past 2 months my hubby has kept them out of my house since his son causes alot of stress for all of us, but now his father is coming home and he cant take them there anymore and they are coming back here.

    I am dreading having this child around. I am always nice to him but he must sense how stressed he makes me. My husband is always relieved when they go home and that would be an understatement for me!

    I know its horrible but I hate him. I thought of going to therapy for myself, but you cant help how you feel.

    Its nice to read other people feel the same way as I do. I read that the majority of step parents dont love or even like their stepkids. I completely understand that fact.

    If anyone has any ideas on what to do when he comes back…Let me know, right now I try to stay out of the house as much as possible, but its my house, he moved in with us!

  57. oh Susan – you mention things that just make my skin craw. So many similarities … first this kid needs help. He’s deeply troubled in so many ways and your husband and his ex clearly can’t get it together in order to help him. I have the same situation. I told my husband just last night that one day I’ll tell my SS the truth. I don’t want that child when and if he grows up to think I just didn’t like him. sure part of that is true. But part of the truth is that his parents aren’t doing right by him. And this makes me resent all of them.

    Like you I avoid my own home. This is wrong. I question if I’ll make it for the long haul. My SS is 11. I pray his mom will try to get custody of him back when he is 12. I believe he wants that too. I’d gladly pay the child support and see him every other weekend and one night a week. I hate setting my hopes here but that’s what I’m doing.

    The fact that you don’t mind your step daughter gives me hope. I really believe if the step kids are normal and cared for properly, step-moms are able to adjust to living with htem. It is the ones like ours where the parents are flakes and the kids are a manifestation of that in which we can’t cope.

    I have mentioned before but will again – i’m done with counseling. It helps many but won’t help us in this situation. These 2 parents are screwed up and won’t do what is right. I’m not wasting my time and money to hear that over and over again.

    I wish you best of luck, but don’t think any of us should be subjected to the life of step parenting screwed up kids. The parents need to remain unmarried and raise the kids they brought into this world rather than inflicting others with pain.

  58. I know I’m way behind in this thread but I’m going to add my comment too. I feel like I just read something I wrote. I’m scared my daughter will turn out like my stepson, I’m scared my marriage will fall apart soon, I’m scared that no matter what I do this kid will rip me up inside… sigh. Wish there was an answer on how to fix it at the end of this post =(

  59. Hi Jessica – I fear after all I’ve been through and all I’ve read and seen, the only answer is to leave and save yourself. It will hurt a lot less in the long run no matter how much it breaks your heart today. Good luck to you and I wish you the courage to do what you need to do.

  60. I had a huge fight with my husband last night, and all my resentment came out. His daughter is 8, and she is rude, unappreciative and SO ungrateful! She complains about everything, and all she does is make nasty comments. Her mother feeds her junkfood and lets her watch hours of TV, so her grades in school are horrible. I used to try to tutor her, but after it didn’t help at all, I stopped bothering. I don’t buy her any gifts anymore because her mom sends them back claiming that they’re “cheap” and not nice enough. So now the stepdaughter makes a face whenever she gets a gift from my family. I finally told my family to stop buying stuff for her. And she NEVER smiles. You could bake her a cake and she’ll complain that the frosting is “too rich.” UGH.

    I am currently pregnant with our first child together, and I do not want this child learning any bad behavior from the stepdaughter. She even smacks her dad in the face! When he tells her to stop, she just keeps on doing it. What a BRAT!

    My husband and I eventually want to move to another state, but I’m at the point where I’ve told him that I’m moving as soon as the baby is 6 months old, whether he likes it or not. I want a life of peace & quiet for myself and my newborn.

    I am so glad I found this website. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who resented the stepkid for ruining a potentially nice life and happy family and marriage. I get jealous and sad when new couples talk about all their fun times together. We’ve never had that alone time without a child around. I didn’t realize how hard this would be. I love my husband, but it really chips away at the love to deal with an unruly stepchild. :(

  61. Hi Sadie – it is sad to hear so many people tell the same story. I know many of us have gone through times of blaming ourselves … or thinking we could do more. Forget it. The situation in many cases is just intolerable. I suggest you send your husband this link. Let him read through all the stories of trauma caused by step-children out of control. Good luck to you.

  62. Well after using google to find this subject I came across this page.
    I didn’t realise so many people are feeling like me.
    I am a stepfather of 6 years.
    Dont get me wrong I adore my wife, but her kids…
    she has a daughter 21, who doesn’t work, doesn’t pay rent, doesn’t help around the house, room is a mess, is disrespectful, and the world owes her a living.
    She has a 15 year old son, who Im on the point of gripping to within an inch of his life ( I wont but we all say things we would like to do) He is absolutely the same as his sister, but it comes with truncy, drugs, drinking, abuse to his mother, he gaols me with his immature girly antics, yes girly, I cant believe how girly he is, being brought up with women all his life, I have tried sport, fishing, cars, bikes, all “manly” stuff, but no, it doesnt work, he would rather watch cartoons, and I mean girly ones too, hes 15! nearly 16 . (the father doesnt bother, nor has given no maintenace to my wife, not birthday or christmas presents to his kids)
    When I met this family, they were in poverty line, I have in 6 years rebuilt the house, livings standards have VASTLY improved, I have given these kids things as if my own, but I still dont have the “love” given back to me as if their father,
    I resent them both, I spend most of my time away from them, in the spare room on my pc, I don’t want to be in the same room, as I can feel myself boiling and boiling and boiling.
    The only answer is to leave, but I love my wife, I am trapped

  63. i can understand to what you are going through. i have three beautiful girls and a step son with asbergers. i hate him too, both he and my oldest are senoirs which is terribly hard on her and my 11th grader, school is hard enough but to have a “freak start at a school where your children have always attenended and have to hear, “what’s wrong with him? or is there somrthing wrong with him he is just weird is hard on them. He doesn’t like them either and told a “so called” friend that who immediately told my daughter what he was saying. he has no friendsa and sits in his room watching the same shows over and over and quoting these dumb shows is reall unbearable!!. his mootone voice, and bouncy walk hits nerves too. i so wish he’d go live with his mother , but my husband won’t let that happen. i think we would all be truly happy if he was living with her. even worse, his own sister doesn’t even like him…i didnt know all this before i got married, i definately didn’t know he was going to live with us indefinately!!! i love my husband, but he thinks we are going to magically become some loving family, but that will only happen after he leaves.

  64. Wow. I googled “my stepson is ruining my marriage” and found this site. My SS is 15. He’s lived w us since he was 7. We have 2 kids together now 10 and 8. Our marriage has been rocky at best due to financial issues and the fact that my husband was an alcholic. He’s been sober for almost 3 years now. We still have financial issues though. Anyway, I love my husband more than anything and recently when my SS decided he wanted to move in w his Aunt and Granmother in a different city to be homschooled by them, our marriage became so much stronger and better than ever before. But he’s back, realizing he didn’t like it there. Now I’m worried that he’s going to cause problems in our marriage again. Going back to the homeschooling thing, he decided last summer that he hated school, hated our house, and hated us. We didn’t think homeschooling was a good idea, he spent the summer at his aunts house. To get his way, he screamed cried and called his dad every horrible name in the book. He threated to call CPS and lie to them and tell them his little sister was raped by a neighbor and we never did anything about it. (LIE) he was also going to tell them he was afraid of his dad and that all he did was scream at and hit him. (ANOTHER LIE). He called his grandfather who is a judge and asked for legal advice about how he could “divorce” his parents. He hates his real mom and threatened to tell CPS that her partner molested him (She’s gay now). He threatened to destroy our property and hurt my children if we made him come back. Before this happened, he kicked holes in the wall, threw big temper tantrums, all kinds of crazy things. He’s manipulative, a liar, and just plain mean. He came here for Christmas and begged us not to go back to his aunts house, claiming they did all kinds of mean things to him. His Grandma is so mad at him for all the crap he pulled there she doesn’t care if she never sees him again. He’s rude, impatient, disrespectful to everyone. I’m just so depressed about the whole thing. When he was gone we experienced such an amazing peace and calm in our house. I don’t want him here. I can’t handle it. My husband won’t do anything except talk to him. No discipline. The kid is so weird. When he’s not playing video games or on the computer, he follows his dad around everywhere- even in the bathroom. All I know to do is pray. I’m so afraid of losing my husband. I don’t know what to do. I believe he has ADHD bc there are times he acts si silky and crazy you can’t stand to be around him. He always has to be the center of attention. It’s not a good place for my kids to be in. They are so sweet and wonderful and he treats them like crap. He cusses, he laughs when ppl get hurt, he’s always asking for things, and thows a fit until he gets them. He’s just not normal. I have felt so guilty all these years fir not liking him. I thought myself a monster for having these feelings. I’ve prayed for forgiveness and have tried to forgive him. It’s a comfort to me reading these posts. I’m not the only one who can’t stand their SS. It makes me feel less like a monster. Thanks for posting these stories. I wish there was help for all of us.

  65. Step-parenting totally sucks. I absolutely agree. It was like I wrote that post. I pour my heart and soul into our step son. I’m the primary caregiver and tonight he admits he doesn’t even like me. Well! Thanks a bunch for nothing coz you’re hard work. (I thought in my head). Take take take. I should have left you in foster care. Nothing but trouble. Sheesh. A bloody thankless task. Everyone warned me and I said no, no. He’s a lovely boy, mother off the rails, we can do this. So over it. And not even 10 yet. Counting down the days man. This is the universes last laugh on people who think they can help people. Somebody, give us a break!!! Same deal, no-one ever invites him anywhere, argues with teachers, coaches, adults. Complete know-all. Changed his school this year because we were so humiliated at always being called up to school, 3 times already this year and term 2 is not even over. This sucks so bad. Somebody ring the bell and tell me it’s over.

  66. I found this blog via Google as well. My stepchild doesn’t have ADD or Autism et al but he is argumentative, disrespectful, whiny etc and when I married his father he was here 50% of time. I got one week off which made me stay sane. His mother is an idiot and somewhat mentally ill so my stepkid is here most of the time now. DH and I have a toddler together and another baby on the way. I can’t stand the tension in the house when my stepkid is being a brat and his Dad is p-off, I feel like he’s mad at ME for his first son behaviour! I do not tolerate sass/backtalk/disrepect/disobedience from ANY child, let alone my stepkid.

    I counsel any single friends of mine to NOT date or marry a man that has kids, especially if my friend doesn’t ever want her own children. Raising a child that isn’t yours sucks. There’s so much guilt dumped on us stepparents, especially stepmothers. I don’t hate my stepkid but there are times I really dislike him and I do not love him. I feel affection at times but I do not feel maternal towards him. I consider that to be completely normal and OK.

  67. Id like to leave a comment also eventhough it seems not many people come to this blog now, Id like to know from previous people how things worked out for you, if you stuck or if you left. I have the typical story I can’t handle the SS who is 5 nearly 6. He cant get a drink for himself from the fridge or take a dirty plate to the kitchen, everyone is like a maid to him. He wines without even thinking. My boyfriend is an older father i have to say, the girl he was with tricked him into having this boy for the money, he is 56 now and doesnt do much with him at all just leaves him in his room all day playing video games or watching tv, he will sometimes draw. Everytime i go over I must play with him, or he will scream cry and whinge until I do. Sometimes I have to play for hours on end, he can’t do anything on his own, play on his own. His dad has 50/50 with the mum, but its every weekend and a Monday and Tuesday morning. His mom has him when it’s school time so she hardly sees him. We get him every weekend and see him all the time. I wish for a weekend when we don’t have him and I know it will never happen. WE have also just finished looking after him for a whole week as it is school holidays. The holidays finished today but he didnt go to school as his mom didn’t pack his uniform or any bag for the first day so his dad kept him home – of course SS stays in the bedroom yet again with video games and tv as dad who thinks is spending “quality time” with him is having him in the house. Of course if I had stayed over today I would have been the one to look after this boy when he is meant to be in school! Just because there is no uniform doesn’t mean no school, I wondered today why his dad doesnt have a spare uniform for times like this, but as I said he has no idea what to do with a child that should at his age should be a grandchild not his own son. The mother I don’t have a problem with, she may not spend alot of time with him but she does send him to school
    I have no authority to say anything. He stays up late on school nights when he is with us. At least Midnight and I am still demanded to play with him. I really dont know if I can handle being in this childs life, i may like/love the dad but I dont know if it’s strong enough to go the distance. I make excuses to say im working more than I do as if I am ever free I am expected to be there at their house to entertain the SS. I had an evening with girlfriends not too long ago and told the truth and I got in trouble I was told I should be with my BF and his son. If I don’t want to be with him or if I met anyone out that night not to come back. which shocked me. I just don’t know what to do anymore and I dread going over at night, even if I go over late, his son is still awake and running a muck. My heart sinks at the thought.

    • Oh please tell me you still check this blog!! I’m in need of some support…. You are basically telling my story and I want to know how things worked out for you. I feel as if I’m going crazy and I don’t know what to do anymore!! Please email me back, I’m desperate for your help!!

  68. This is a very interesting blog. Seems like a lot of people feeling trapped. My best advice is if you do not see any progress over time (i.e. spouses starting to work with you to resolve issues and kids getting the help that they need) then I would highly recommend you cut your losses. It will never change if you don’t have a spouse who wants to work with you to make the situation different. Sit them down and tell them that you need to work together and even try counseling. There may come a time where you have to realize that you and he/she are fundamentally different people and are not compatible to help raise these children. In the end it is the kids that suffer so think of that as well. Hope this helps. Good Luck!

  69. I’m glad I found this site. I have an Aspie stepson who has many good traits, but has ruined my life. I married his wonderful dad when the boy was 5 and now he is 14. We have lost 80-100K on custody battles with his horrible mother, and we have finally gotten rid of the wench. It is just us three now, but sometimes I think, “why did we fight so hard to win this THING of a creature?” I have been like a real mom to the boy, but I am not as sensitive as many of you, I have straight up told this kid almost daily that he is doomed if he doesn’t discipline and beat the Asperger’s behavior out of himself. I constantly give him reality checks regarding his Aspie behavior. I told him if he doesn’t stop the back sassing and arguing, that he will just have to come homea at 5pm after school, and that he will not be allowed to enjoy the comfort of his room to do his homework. I tell him all the time that he is 14 going on 15, and that it is HIS job to conform to OUR home and to obey ME/US. That I do not have to me disturbed by him and that there are ways of getting rid of him until he is kicked out at 17. That’s right, 17! We have a plan to put his ungrateful butt in the military early, so he can continue to learn survival skills in the real world. People talk all the time about endless patience with these ridiculous manipulative brats, but let me tell you something…being mean works! This kid has straight A’s, does a morning routine that consists of making his bed, showering, walking the dog, making his lunch and his dad’s lunch, going to school, attending Jr. ROTC, coming home, doing chores, doing homework, and ironing his clothes for the next day. Has it taken every fiber of will over the last 7 years to train him to do this? YES! If we/I am not on him almost every half hour, will he screw around and go to La la land? Yes! Is his father in denial about how horrible this kid can be 75% of the time? YES! However at the end of the day, I can feel that I did what I could for the kid, which was fight to get him away from the mother that would have let him grow up to be a useless, snagletoothed, humpback retard. Since I have been on the scene, this kid has had corrective surgery for severe pecuts excavatum (hole in the chest), braces, lives in one home without back and forth b.s. with the bio parents, has had therapist, psychatrists, perfect schools, a stay at home step-mom etc. How I see it now is, we fixed his life, now he needs to take responsibility for his own condition and continue to stay DISCIPLINED in order to keep the HORRIBLE ASPIE behaviors at bay. There really is no other way to deal with it, because as anybody who has dealth with Asperger’s knows…being nice DOES NOT WORK.

    • OMG! You are so right! I got in a huge argument with my husband AGAIN last night about how I’m too hard on his kid and how I “hate” him. Um, no! I don’t hate him. But we have rules and I will be consistent. I will do everything in my power to ensure this kid will not live in our house until he’s 40. Screw that! He’s very manipulative… And rude! I don’t put up with it and because I don’t, I’m an asshole? Well I don’t care if you are 5 or 50, I will not be disrespected. Especially in my own home!

  70. Wow! My SS is almost all these things. He is disrespectful to me and almost all adults. Hangs onto his father like a two year old (he’s 12), interrupts and listens in on private conversations between my husband and I (doesn’t listen any other time), spends all his time glued to TV or video games and tries to be my husband’s wife. Not to mention, he also knows everything. My husband (now moved out, after less than a year of marriage, because I can’t stand the stress) has his head in the sand about his son and blames it on being a boy or anyone else other than his son. The mother is not involved with her son at all except for Christmas, a week or two in summer and spring break and abandoned him when he was about 2 years old. She suffers from Bipolar disorer and ADD and has trouble keeping a relationship. I finally convinced my husband that his lying son has ADD and needs to be on meds. He has put him on meds which has helped with the outbursts and I am told that the grades at school have improved somewhat. My husband is dyslexic and I think ADD as well. Why some people breed is beyond me. I know this sounds cruel, but if you have a problem that could be passed on to your children, wouldn’t you think twice before having children first? I feel sorry for my SS but I have a 12 year old daughter who doesn’t like being around him much either, neither do my parents. She even said, when they first moved in with us, that he stood at the edge of her bed one night and stared at her. Pretty creepy huh? I have tried to treat him the same way as my daughter, but she is willing to help around the house, has great grades, doesn’t lie and doesn’t challenge EVERYTHING I ask. He has an answer or excuse for everything and nothing is ever his fault. It’s always a teacher’s or some other adult’s fault and my poor husband believes his son always. I no longer trust or like my SS and have told my husband that I do not want them moving back in with us until we get some psychological help. I find it very difficult to find anything positive about the child, which I feel very guilty about, but I can’t imagine living another six plus years in the house with him especially when the hormones start kicking in. I have even told my daughter to NEVER marry a man who has children. I thought that I was the only one with these problems and that the maternal instincts would kick in, I am so glad to see that I am not the only one, but it makes me wonder if any step families ever work. After reading this entire blog it seems like it’s rarely the current spouses fault but rather the ex. I find it hard to believe that the ex is always the one to blame. I know there are a lot of people out there who should never be a parent, but there are difficult children despite any parent’s good intentions. I blame a lot of my SSon’s problems on my husband’s unwillingness to take the rose colored glasses off and see that his child is desperately crying out for help. I would say to anyone, not currently married but in similar situations to stay single and RUN AWAY fast and far! You cannot help anyone who will not accept you or who does not support you. It’s not worth the loss of your own self esteem or stress to your children who have to deal with this type of child, and do not have children with this person. I waited 45 plus years to marry for the first time and now after less than a year of marriage am seriously considering divorce. I would rather be single than live with this stress.

  71. WOW. As I was reading this I could totally identify. I met my husband when my SS was 12 and he was out of control. Identical to what you described in your initial blog. He is now 16 and I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I will say that if this child was 5, I would not have made it…matter of fact if he was 12 at this juncture, I would be divorced. I dread when he comes over and I feel like a prisoner in my own home. Every noise he makes, every peep he says and just the way he stands there gets on my everliving nerve.I can take about 48 hours of being around him and thats pushing it. I cant tell u the fights I have been in over this child.He has almost ruined my marriage several times and just is a miserable child. No friends, know it all,videogames all the time… My husband actually caught him playing with his junk on my couch upstairs where we all sit. I mean the kid cant do it at his mothers for gods sake….You have to tell him to bathe and brush his teeth. He is ADHD and my husband doesnt make him take his medicine. So I agree when you say dont get remarried if someone has kids. There is a reason why second marriages have a higher divorce rate that 1st marriages. Its crap like this!!! I cant wait till this kid goes away and if he doesnt, I WILL be divorced. Im hoping once he turns 18 he will get a life and go to college or the military. The kid is just a weirdo. Im glad Im not alone. Thanks for sharing

  72. I am in the same boat only my step son is 14. His mother is a fat, lazy tattoo covered alcoholic. I raised 5 kids and they are all well adjusted and doing great. My two daughters who are not on their own (only 14/16) live with their dad and his wife because they have the better school system. My step son is dirty, doesn’t brush his teeth or his hair…he’s extremely overweight and how he eats disgusts me. When he first came to live with us I thought it would be nice to give him a better life….had I known that all this baggage was coming along, I never would have wanted it. My step son is failing school and doesn’t care. He came here repeating the 7th grade and is failing again! He also has no friends…..he just plays on Facebook on his iPod…..he has game systems and doesn’t use them. My kids were NOT like this and I have no idea how to make this work. My husband of 3 months and I are already talking divorce because I am miserable about what our relationship has turned into as a result of his son being here. I know I didn’t offer you any advice….but know you’re not alone.

  73. I am so glad I read this! I’m living in a dark,damp converted garage at my in-laws house while our house gets livable. We have been here for 6 months and after crying all day, I found your article! My inlaws don’t like me. They talk about me behind my back. My step son doesn’t like me.My husband thinks that I am over reacting all the time. I try to take care of my step son, but I’m scared because some of the things that have been said to me before. I try to not take care of him, I get called neglectful. My in-laws let him do whatever he wants,whenever he wants to. But I am the one that has to go to the school meetings when his behavior gets out of control! I do everything possible for him,yet I get no credit and that is when I realized that I do care about my step son. I just don’t love him. ( I know that was very jumbled. Sorry but I had to get it out!) :)

  74. I also googled “I can’t stand my step son” and found this blog. My heart breaks for each of you because my situation is similar, but the stepson has no autism, ADD, or disturbing behavioral traits. Yet, he causes conflict and tension in my home to the point I dread being there.
    I love his dad.. he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. But we have custody of the boy, who is 13, and he is ALWAYS THERE. He’s a cute kid and knows it, and has always been spoiled by everyone because his mother abandonded him when he was 4. He has no respect for women. He is extremely jealous of me. If he knows I will be going somewhere with his dad (to the store), he never wants to go. If me and his dad are together watching tv, he won’t join us but if his dad is alone he will. He like to grab me very aggressively and hold me almost hurting me, and will say he’s “hugging” me. If I tell him to let me go, he’ll say “I’m trying to hug you” but it doesn’t feel like affection, only agression. My problem is he is ALWAYS there. He LOVES to eavesdrop on his dad and my conversations. If I didn’t insist our bedroom was off-limits he would be in there everytime we were alone. The bedroom seems to be the only ss-free zone in the house. If we go in there to talk, he inevitably demands his father come out for some reason. If he beckons, his father comes running. One night he woke his dad up at 3AM because his back was hurting.
    He has chores but he can do them on his own schedule, or not- and there are no concequences. His dad is a light weight, and he knows it. He is a very manipulative kid. I have given up saying anything and just find myself making note of all the things he gets away with, and all the priveldges he has because he has his stupid and very sweet father wound tightly around his grubby little finger. All he does from the time he gets home from school until bed time is play video games. All weekend, video games. We do nothing as a family and if I speak to him he is immediately defensive (no matter what I say) and usually rolls his eyes and says “my god”. It’s like living with a grumpy old man. I wait until he goes to school in the morning before I leave the bedroom because he is always so bitchy in the morning I don’t want to see his face.
    I am not married to his dad- we are engaged and I told him 2 days ago that I can’t marry him because I don’t like his son. And it is miserable for us all.
    I need peace and contentment in my life and since I have had this kid around I no longer feel I have a life. Everything is about him.
    Thank you for the blog. I feel like I have no one to talk to, I certainly can’t talk to my partner, since he would probably just turn around and tell his son. That’s another problem: I feel like I have nothing intimate between us that the kid isn’t aware of. If he doesn’t “overhear” what we say, his dad tells him things I have told him in confidence. I think he needs to marry his friggin son.

      • It’s 2am and I’ve read over 7 years of replies after also googling for answers and validation of my life.

        I am in a bind and catch 22 situation bc of my 10 year old spoilt splitting headache of a son.

        I have 3 kids from previous marriage all secure and performing at their developmental levels who are either older or living with mum. I have been with my partner for 4 years since college and then going to university. Her son has never met his dad and try to be a dad for him by trying to polarise his entitlement, I feel burned out.

        I find out some time into this relationship that he has been shared with his maternal grandparents and they too treat him like the golden child, ignoring the damage they are inflicting. He attends school out of our area which allows for my plainly obvious freeloading partner to dump ss on them who are only too keen to oblige. They hold him so high on a pedestal despite his poor academic output. He does not have biological deficits, purely psychological – mainly I want I want I want, he is insecurely attached (anxious) and uses appeal to emotion as a learned behaviour strategy to get his wants met. Neither his mum or grandparents recognise the difference between this and needs.

        I work with personality disorder and ashamed to say that I make a good living from it, hearing about horror stories of abandoned and traumatised children and adults is a theme in my work, I understand psychology and psychodynamic theory, I can apply it to 90% of the people I work with, but the moment I try at home, I am met with resistance and feel like the shittest caring person to ever walk the face of the earth. My partner has issues, don’t we all? I endured and personally grew from 4 years of therapy so I could do it for others and tonight I have hit a bind. My bags are still packed up stairs after revisting what has been touched on so many times before.

        I decided to try having a real family by inviting the idea that ss changes school to a local one so we can instil our values not someone else’s who are clearly harming this title boy. His demands and sneaking of food – he is heavier than me, I’m 35 illustrates his hunger for closeness and love, and disrespect for his mum, slaps, pinches, approach, angry withdrawal and overwhelming strong bond to grandparents creates an oscillating cycle which is leaving me as a bystander in this downward trend. Whenever I try discipline or pointing out the obvious to my partner, my approach is poopooed and I’m the bad one despite the fact I work to heal people from these self same problems. And to put the icing on the cake, partner and I have a 6 mo baby. I thought it would change but I am invited to colluding with messing ss life up. I have zero say as sd and on my time off have to put up with doing at home what work pays me to do. I am at my wits end.

        If anything, I am saying that I think this is over, I have to cut my losses (all £60-80k) in just 4 years, love, energy and the chance of resocialising my partner and her son and growing us 4with our new addition to save myself,.

        I know this post does not feel coherent, my phone screen is small, but I do regret ignoring my intuition all that time ago. Most posters here resonate with me and I only hope to share my experience with other people who are in a similar situation to me. Thank you all and good luck, it’s your life, your sanity, no 2nd goes and you have to do what’s right for you. X

  75. You just wrote my story. SS is 6 now. Seriously, you wrote my story. His dad and I aren’t married yet but been together for 2 years. I am totally give out physically- my nerves are shot to H+++. I clench up every time I get stressed when he’s here because who knows what is going to happen.
    What does the future look like for these kids when they get to their teen years?

    • Hi there – thanks for writing. I feel your pain. I haven’t posted to this blog in years … well actually a little … but this posting continues to get activity. I’m convinced there’s a book here for struggling step-parents. I got divorced. I couldn’t live with this child or even more so I couldn’t live with the man parenting this child. The man was a wonderful man and one I’m convinced I could have loved him forever. However his parenting skills killed any respect I had for him. It made for a very sad ending. I remarried and am a step-mom again. I know, I know, you wonder how I could do it. LOL My SS is a grown man but still living at home. His dad (my husband) and I share values around parenting and this makes life much easier to live. My SS is actually a pleasure and I love him. I can’t imagine my husband without his son. So you ask what happens when these kids get older. The teen years were hell or looking like they were going to be. I couldn’t make it through the pre-teens. I suspect once they grow up there is a possibility of a more rewarding relationship between step-parent and step-child. But you have to make it there. That’s where the damage occurs. The father (or mother) and their parenting is what it is all about. If you don’t respect what you watch your significant other doing, you lose love for them. You can’t see past this child and the dysfunction. Of course this is all just my opinion. I feel though from all the posts and stuff I’ve read through the years, I am right. Step-parenting is a thankless job. I can’t recommend it until the kids are out of the house. I wish you luck and know you have hard decisions ahead of you.

  76. Thank goodness you check this blog as I realize many years have gone by. I have helped my brother with his 2 kids and my own son is 16. I have never seen anything like this behavior he has in my life! My fiance’s son is 6. I’ve dealt almost 2 years now until I just like you described. Don’t do any dr. appointments, discipline,etc.
    EXACTLY like you described.
    I’m real concerned about the years to come. He laughs at the teachers when they get on to them. He hits kids at school and says they were being mean to him which I’m sure he starts it by constantly tapping them on the back trying to get their attention.
    I have nerve damage now in my foot from constant stress and in my piriformis area – I constantly tighten myself up from the stress like I said for going on 2 years and this is the result of it.
    I know I pretty much have my answer. I really hate it for the father. I love him a lot. He realizes the problem and actually sought help for him.
    I just don’t know if the help is going to get anywhere with this aspergers diagnosis.
    His mother is a hoarder (and I believe for sure she has aspergers herself). She’s nuts!
    She took this kid to a goo goo dolls concert just her and him and it was a 4 hour drive there and she came back the same night. SHE IS CRAZY.
    If anyone else has experienced pre teen years- I’d like any feedback.
    Thank you for having this blog and so glad you are happy now- you deserved it. I do wonder if the ex ever remarried? I don’t know if anyone else would put up with it.

  77. Well, here goes my two cents… I met “Her” about three years ago through a friend. I was 34 then, single, healthy, successful, no children. We dated for three years before I proposed to her in May of 2013. We have a good relationship, like most people and sure we argue from time to time, but nothing to worry about. She has a son who was 10 when we met and is 13 now. His biological father split when he was 6 months old (drugs) and so she has raised him alone for nearly all of his life. She did remarry in 2004 and divorced in 2009, and that man “adopted” her son, but still has nothing to do with him. I came from a good home…no divorce, great parents, healthy lifestyle, church, well traveled throughout my life etc. So, over the past 3 years, I have tried to be a positive role model male figure for this child, which he has never had. At first, it was strange to me. I had never had kids, and so was new to all of this. Over time though, I started to learn the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts etc. of raising a child. So, here is where things get interesting. He is 13 now, and when I first met him, his behavior was terrible. Bad table manners, bad hygiene, no respect for his mother, etc. In his defense, he really never had anyone stay after him about these things until I entered the picture. I made a few comments early on about this to her and she said she felt guilty because she was always correcting him or disciplining him etc. and that he has ADD… Anyway, suffice to say that over the past few years, everyone has commented repeatedly over how much he has improved. I take him to do things al of the time that he enjoys, especially outdoors. I buy him stuff for school and even just small rewards here and there especially if his behavior has been good. He is very smart, and I have managed to help him bring his grades up to nearly straight A’s consistently. However, it seems like now that he is 13 (will be 14 in Feb) he is taking a turn for the worse. He has become less than caring about his hygiene, and his grades are beginning to slip. He doesn’t care about his chores (I think chores teach responsibility) and has this blank stare whenever I try to talk to him about things he is doing wrong or bad behavior etc. His reply, if at all, is a monotone “I don’t know”. I always make sure to praise him and reward him when he does things that deserve praise, and that seemed to help in the beginning. So, I tried taking away his cellphone, his video games, his TV etc. and his mother said I was being too harsh and was punishing out of emotion. So, I started making him write sentences about his bad behavior. Again, seemed more of an annoyance to him and half the time he would waste time until his bedtime so he would not have to finish them, knowing his mother would not make him stay up late to do so. On a side note, I do not live with her as we are not married yet. I want him to understand traditional values. What really has started to get to me though are things like, having to tell him to pick up after himself, brush his teeth, wear deodorant, wear clean clothes, wash his hands when coming out of the bathroom, TAKE A SHOWER and WASH etc. I mean, he is almost 14! As I mentioned, I do not live there, but I occasionally buy groceries if I am going to cook dinner for them or whatever. This kid eats anything and everything. I caught him last week eating sugar out of a bowl with a spoon. Just sugar. I constantly find empty boxes and wrappers under his bed, in the fridge, in the cabinets. His mother hides certain foods from him or else he will devour it all. He stole candy from the supermarket a few weeks ago and lied when I confronted him about it. I told his mother I was taking him down there to pay for the candy and to make him publicly apologize to the manager…even suggesting that he mop or sweep their floors. She said that was cruel and too harsh, and that she would deal with it. She made him write a paper as to why he was sorry. Really? His mother is out of town on business, so I have been keeping him this week. Last night, I got home from work, and he had been playing with matches. Burned the tile and the countertop. I was furious, and worried but relieved that he didn’t get hurt or burn the house down all at the same time. He lied about it and denied it until I showed him the burn marks and empty matchboxes he tried to throw away. When I asked him why and what he was thinking/doing…he said “I don’t know”. I sent him to bed, knowing that she would freak out if I disciplined him. When I called her to tell her what happened, she said it was because of his ADD. Okay, look. I’m a down to earth guy. I know kids will be kids, and for the most part, I can accept certain things as just teenage boy “things”. But this is getting out of hand. So much so, that I am questioning whether or not I want to marry this woman. I mean, you can’t blame everything on his ADD. Yes, he does take medication by the way. I am sure that I am leaving out a ton of pertinent information here, but this is where I am. I could use some advice. Thanks in advance…

    • First and foremost you are an amazing man. You have done more for this boy in a few years than anyone in his life. You will always be a positive role model. However I don’t think you should stick around. This is a kid with phenomenal issues. Hygiene is some real basic stuff. I have seen it before in kids. I doubt he’ll get better – if he does it will be a long time from now. Now here is the hard part. NOTHING YOU CAN DO WILL CHANGE THIS KID. You may love his mom. You may even love him but you can’t change this situation. The teen years are some of the hardest. I can only offer one solid piece of advice and that is to run as fast as you can. Channel your wonderful self into something that will give back to you. Step-parenting is soooooooooo hard under the best circumstances. You describe ones that will create resentment and anger on your part and hers. Find someone with no kids. Or stay alone. Believe me, you will be happier in the long run. I know this may sound harsh. I’m really a caring person. I just know how this goes. Read all the posts. Talk to people. The story plays out the same more often than not. Thank you for all you have done for this boy. You are a true gem.

      • Thank you for the response, I was hoping that you still checked this site. A few things… Yes, I have become attached to this kid and I want to see him be happy, healthy, safe, successful, productive in society etc. I would hate to think I walked out and then he spiraled downward especially since every male in his life has left. Seems like his mother never wants to really confront or deal with the issues, ya know? Yet she doesn’t like it when I do. She said that my questioning his bad behavior and always correcting him is a direct reflection on her parenting, as if I am saying she has done a bad job. That’s not the case at all. I admire single parents tremendously…even more so now than ever before. I know it has been hard on here doing it alone, and I am trying to help her understand that I am WILLING to share this responsibility with her…as a team. She is a wonderful woman…smart, funny, driven, attractive and we get along very well. But he is really starting to drive a wedge between us. I don’t want to live this way if this is how it will be. He has become so irresponsible and lazy as well. Left the front door open, not just unlocked, the other day. No reason why. Again, he is 13! I had to tell him to go back in the bathroom and wipe the other night when he sat down on the sofa. That’s disgusting! He is 13! Not 3! I am worried that he might wind up getting some young girl pregnant and then bolt like his dad did to his mom…which leaves she and I to raise his child. Either that or he will become a lazy freeloader, and I am stuck raising endless cycles of kids, because she is too afraid to discipline him and will not let me. I am really stuck here. Our wedding is in Feb. I have the honeymoon paid for and most of the wedding is as well. Is counseling worth it? Does it work? I am willing to try alternate methods, my intentions are honest here. I have worked hard, have made a good career and living for myself and avoided most of the pitfalls that so many people fall into during their lives. I am debt free, in good shape and healthy and I always try to be positive about things…but this is really killing me. My stress level is through the roof and I never know WHAT I will run into next with him. I really am trying here, but running out of patience…and sanity. Surely she has to see the long term implications of this? You mentioned moving on, and I have considered that. However, most women my age have kids… and to be honest, I am not sure that I would become involved again with someone who does. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate kids or anything like that, it’s just that this has taught me that I will always be choice B or choice C to a woman with children no matter how awful a child is, even if I am trying to help. I’m not saying I need/want to be the center of attention, but it makes me wonder what would happen in an extreme circumstance. Lets say her son decides to put a knife or a gun to my head one night…do you think she would be able to choose who to protect? I know that sounds nuts…believe me, but these are the things that go through my thoughts sometimes. She is always going to take his side, even if she KNOWS he is in the wrong…and THAT is what really worries me. This kid will walk all over her (as he is starting to do now) which in turn will be just like walking all over me. I don’t want to lose her over this, I truly don’t. But I can see the writing on the wall, and I don’t know how to resolve this. Even her own mother calls me or invites me to lunch to tell me how thankful she is for me being in their lives and what a positive impact I have had on him. But I am growing weary of a constant uphill battle. I mean, I am strong, and have been through a lot, and as such have become a better person for it, but something has to give. I cannot live this way, if this is how it really is in a marriage with a stepchild. Someone?? Anyone??

  78. Mr. Hart. I had to chuckle at your disgust at having to remind a nearly 14yo to shower and use deodorant etc. I have two boys (12yo and a 13yo) and sadly, despite years of good parenting, they will avoid showering whenever possible. (A year or so ago, the 12yo questioned why he needed a shower when he “had one last week!”. Part of it is just the pure joy and delight that is teenage boys. My boys are good boys, but will avoid showering when possible and have been known to have showers without using soap only to be returned to the shower to use soap to remove the obvious dirt marks on his knee. The 13 year old has also walked out of the house leaving the front door wide open..there is an element of being “away with the fairies” in all teenagers.

    I think it is important to separate “teenage boy” issues from “horrible step-child” issues.

    For the “teenager” issues, don’t sweat the small stuff. Constant reminders about the basics and routines will establish your expectations, but don’t get worked up about the occasional missed shower. He’ll soon shower when he realises girls like that.

    As for horrible stepchild issues, I’m just as bewildered as you are. I have a 17 (almost 18yo) step son who is incredibly manipulative and incredibly manipulated by his mother and the in-laws. He’s essentially ignored his father all year, declined to come to our wedding in September, only to pop-up again just before christmas. (as he popped up before his birthday and again before easter…seeing a pattern?). He talks the talk “I know I’ve been reallly horrible to you dad, it’s all my fault, it’s going to stop now because I want a relationship with you” but is incapable of walking the walk. Day after Christmas, straight back to ignoring his father. He’s now worked out that he can spend his spare school holidays time with his father (a shift worker) when I’m at work and he has the bestof both worlds – sees his dad, and gets to go to movies and out for lunch etc and keeps him off his back, but can avoid me and pretend that the marriage never happened. He will also not spend time with his Dad when his own mother is not at work.

    We’ve been together 5 years and I moved interstate for this relationship to progress. Until we moved up SS & I appeared to get along quite well, though it’s been apparent to me that he manipulates both his parents and tells everybody (school, paretns, friends etc) what he thinks they want to hear even if it’s not the truth.

    My kids accept my husband and love him. He accepts them and loves them (though he and I both get annoyed by the messy bedrooms and poor hearing that go with teenagers) however, he also desperately wants to have a relationship with his son.

    Most of the year has been quite calm because of SS’s absence (though he only lives 5km away). The second he’s back, the turmoil starts again.

    I get so angry when his son pops up. My husband’s eagerness to drop everything for someone who has treated him so appallingly for two years now feels like a slap in the face to me and my kids who have loved him and belived he was a good person all year. I feel threatened by the fact that his son can so easily manipulate him, and worry that he will manipulate him out of our marriage. My husband then gets angry at me because I’m angry at his son.

    I need suggestions for managing MY anger at SS’s appalling behaviour which I keep taking out on my husband bc he’s the one here in my presence. I can’t speak to SS about it because
    a. any time that has been tried he runs off to his mother where he gets reinforcement of his hatred of me and my role in his father’s life by her and 35 relatives.
    b. it results in the same “I know I’ve been reallly horrible to dad, it’s all my fault, it’s going to stop now because I want a relationship with him”
    c. he only wants his father. 100% of the time, to the exclusion of ALL others (he even resents the time my husband spends walking the dog and has used that as one reason he has stayed away FGS!!)

    I can cope with the teenage stuff. I cannot cope with this terrorist who seems to be determining the outcome of our marriage without even residing in our house and without even acknowledging it!

  79. I typed out this really good, really lengthy response…and my browser closed and I lost it all! UGH! I will try to respond again shortly. Eeeesh.

    • Frustrating!
      I know the main problem for me is that I need to control my response to SS, I get so angry with him for good reason.
      The lies! About everything!
      He put in bugger-all effort at school all year, gets a bad final result (though exactly what I’d estimated he’d get) but the “school screwed me over” according to him and his mother endorses it!
      Suspended from school for inapproriate contact with a 13yo, bc I was out of work at the time I had the pleasure of supervising his week off from school so his mother would not have to take time off work – not a thankyou for the abuse I copped that week…he runs to his mother;s and refuses to come back. She excuses his “grooming behaviours” as ‘its how they communicte these days’.
      Downloading copious amounts of porn (we’re talking 4-500 images in 20 minutes)- solved by disconnecting him completely from our internet… he runs to his mothers and refuses to come back.
      Stealing money from my purse which was in my handbag in my room.
      Going through our bedroom drawers to find an ipod which had been confiscated.
      Giving me a black eye.
      Physically aassaulting my kids
      Threatening my kids
      Erasing “height marks” off a height chart I’ve been doing for my kids for 13 years.
      This is just the past year when he’s barely been at our place!

      Prior to that he’d tried the always sitting between me and his father, the turning his back on me and speaking to his father to shut me out of the conversation, evesdropping on phone calls, conversations, reading our txt messages etc, the instant tears and “I miss granddad” as his back-up attention grabber – even two years after granddad (who lived in another country) passed away. He has been a spolied brat since the day I met him, but his father swore he had redeeming features. I’ve only seen them on the odd occasion when he’s forgotten that he’s meant to be putting on some “act”.

      I know the problem with him is that he was an only child who spent all his time being the star in his parent’s lives and being centre of attention the entire time. He is immature and does not want to grow up, if he could he’d remain a 9yo forever as that is the year he constantly harps on about as being the best ever. (4 years before his father and I even met). As a 17yo it’s very possible his maturity level is about age 9, though that may be doing disservice to some 9yos! A kid who has had every waking moment photographed by his parents and has constantly been told he’s wonderful is ALWAYS going to struggle with having to grow up and enter the real world. He’s been pretending to be this perfect son, and then two different versions of this perfect son when his parents divorced that he now has no idea who he is and he’s lost.

      His father now sees that doting on his child has not actually worked out very well and he changed his parenting style over the past 5 years. The problem is his mother has not. She is an incredibly angry and aggressive person which has influenced SS’s personality, she allows him to not take responsibility for anything, everything is everyone else’s fault (eg teachers fault he failed an exam, another kids fault he broke his phone etc) he has no rules, no restrictions and gets whatever he wants at her place. Of course he’s not going to want to be at ours where we have standards about homework, bedtimes, manners and cooperation etc. He doesn’t see that he should have to compromise on being centre of attention (simply not possible in a family of 5 even if I was inclined to go along with that) and god forbid we suggest he has a deficit that needs work. I hold huge concerns over his future mental health. However, ultimately that’s not my problem, he’s nearly an adult, it’s his to work out and his consequences to live with.

      My husband doesn’t beg him for anything, doesn’t engage in the arguments, and doesn’t ‘give in’ just to keep him happy. So in that regard we’re on the same page as parents.

      For me though, I love my husband and we have a great life together when his son is not around. Even when his son is with us he has for the most part seemed happy and liek things are ok, but then (it’s almost as if he feels he has to leave angry to make his mother happy) he starts a fight as he leaves, we inevitably hear the sh*t he says about us, the anger builds and takes time to pass.

      My problem is my anger towards his son. After 5+ years of this it’s like I’m now one of Pavlov’s dogs, I hear his name and the anger rises. I want to step back and just ignore him and let the anger pass, but how can I do that when he pops in and out of our life with no warning (even though there’s an element of predictability to it). He disappears, everything settles then he pops up again and the anger rises again. It’s very de-stabilising for me to be on this rollercoaster I feel I have no control over.

      What strategies has anyone reading this employed to manage their own anger and disengage without causing world war 3 and being accused of being difficult and inflaming the situation?

      • Whoa! Okay, so I read and then re-read your last post. Then, to be sure, I read it again. So, a couple of huge red flags here, in my opinion:
        1. …”Downloading copious amounts of porn (we’re talking 4-500 images in 20 minutes)” Wow. This is NOT an individual that you want to be around your children….as well as yourself. This “child” has a serious problem here. You are justified by this alone should you decide to ban him from your home. This is a serious issue that goes beyond just bad behavior. Perversions like this lead to some very serious and immoral crimes. Rape comes to mind first and foremost. What did your husband say about this?
        2. …”Stealing money from my purse which was in my handbag in my room.” This is unacceptable in anyone’s home. PERIOD! You should not have to worry about your personal property being stolen in your own home. This shows a total disregard for you as a person as well as a total lack of respect for your home. Theft is also VERY serious and left unchecked, turns into much more serious crimes. I know your realize that, but sometimes it helps when someone else reminds you.
        3. …”Giving me a black eye. Physically assaulting my kids…” Okay, this one is most serious of all. Physical abuse is and should be the final straw for you. Seriously. There is no amount of excuses and in your husbands eyes, should be absolutely unacceptable. What if someone walked up to you in a restaurant while having dinner with your husband and gave you a black eye? Would your husband do anything about it? I hope he would. So, what makes it ok for his son to do it? Because he is his son? I’m not kidding. This child’s behavior has been left unchecked and now its out of control. I am interested to know, once again, your husbands response to this? As your husband, he should put you first, and yes that means your health and well being. He took a vow (as did you) and as a husband, he should HONOR that vow. There are some serious underlying issues here. Not that you needed me to tell you that, but please, get help…or get out. You need to call the police if he physically harms you or your children again. PERIOD. You are not going to change this child’s behavior mainly because your husband (and his ex) are enabling this child to spiral downward into a path of self destruction. Usually, people like this tend to take everyone around them down that path with them too.
        Look, I am certain that you love your husband. No doubt in my mind about that or you would not have stayed. However, at some point and time, you have to have a moment of clarity, step outside of yourself, and look inward at your life viewed from someone else’s eyes. You need to be VERY firm and VERY resolute with your husband. His “child” is going to not only ruin your marriage at this rate, but possibly the rest of your life or one of your children’s lives.
        Okay…I’m off of my soapbox. Sorry.
        I don’t have any “strategies” for you to be honest. This kid does what he does because he is allowed to do so. Plain and simple. If your husband cares, he will be a man, and step up. That’s what men do. Otherwise, he’s not fulfilling HIS role.
        I am sorry if I have overstepped my boundaries here…

      • Absolutely he’s acting in this way because he’s been allowed to. He was a spolied brat when I met him, and hasn’t improved. (My husband has stated this year that only having one child was the worst thing he ever did as that’s the root cause of this.)

        I put my foot down on a few things. I have advised SS and my husband that I will report any future assaults to the police and have him charged. I reported SS for bullying of my son and one of his friends on the school bus to the school principal – husband supported this because he knows we could protect my kids from SS in our house but at school we could not. (& XW declined the opportunity to discuss it without involving the school) You can imagine how that went down and how popular it made me with SS & the XW.

        My husband has put his foot down and been very clear that the above activities are not allowed in our house. All internet access is cut-off from SS so when he is in our house he cannot download ANYTHING (after the porn episode). He will nto get it back as far as I am concerned. He has had his house-keys taken from him and is not allowed to be in our house when no adults are present (after the theft), whether my kids are there or not. These bans have gradually been implemented through the year, not in any sort of single “crackdown”.

        The consequence of my husband putting his foot down is that each time his son has a massive tantrum goes to his mothers and refuses to have anything to do with his father for a while – three months without a word has not been unusual.

        Each time my husband has met with his mother to discuss their son’s pretty-much-illegal online activities, she has been more annoyed by him bringing it up than she is about the behaviour. She stated once that she would not discuss it with their son because he’d then ignore her too. (What’s good for the goose is oibviously not good for the gander).

        Unfortunately, his son has become a more and more aggressive person the more time he spends with his mother (who is also very aggressive). Sadly there will be no improvement in his behaviour as long as his mother tells him he’s perfect and that his father is unreasonable. The rudeness is not just directed at us, its teachers, fellow students and even his “friends” as well – it is his character now.

        Although we’re able to control some things and limit access to others, ultimately he’s still my husband’s child and as a parent we all hope our kids will grow up to be decent people. My husband recognises that at the moment, that’s not likely to happen with his son which hugely disappoints him.

        My husband has been pretty angry with his son this year (and my husband doesn’t “do” angry – he is an incredibly placid person) and has had it out with him a few times, told him exactly what is acceptable and what isn’t. His son however somehow believes he has every right to do as he pleases. My husband is aware of this, and has told his son that none of it will happen in our house. We do also realise that as long as SS is so strongly influenced by his mother, there is little we can do except wait for him to grow up, minimise the damage to us and do what we can to help my boys grow up to be good men.

        Because my husband is a placid person he is able to let his anger go much more easily than I am able to. That’s the main difference in our approach and outcomes of dealing with his son.

      • As an aside, “this kid” is 2 months from being legally an adult.
        Can’t use the “he’s a child” excuse much longer!

  80. SC I feel your pain. I feel everyone of your posts’ pain. Honestly, this situation has gotten to me so bad and he is only 6, it is really deteriorating my health as the stress has really gotten to me. I tense up, have developed what feels like trapped nerves in part of my leg (upper back part) and I honestly doubt I can take much more. I just turned 40 and have always kept myself up, in shape, etc but all this has really took over my life and I am really tired of letting it.

  81. First of all, I am several things, a single mom, a mom with a son with aspergers, and have been a step- parent and now currently living with my boyfriend who his 27 year old daughter lives with us. Mr. Hart, I do not agree that you should just run, I am also going to school for my Bachelors in Psychology and I feel as yes, counseling does work! And I feel that it’s never too late for kids to get help. Sometimes it’s all some kids need is to be shown that someone cares. Some kids have a hard time accepting a loving parent for one reason or another and if you are a foster parent or who knows a step parent, you do not know what has happened in that child’s life that may have caused that. Could it be they were molested by a male or even female so they may be afraid of that person? It could be so many things. Yes it is hard. I was a step parent who tried with 3 step children whom 2 were ADHD and one of them were also Manic Depressants. Plus my own child that has aspergers. They all lived with me and I got no help from their father but it did not help me from trying. Took them to the doctors and got them put on medication. I also got the Oldest that had Manic Depression in counseling, and for my reward, their father cheated on me. So my divorce came as a great surprise. My boyfriend and i lived with my son up till last year when he became such a problem in our relationship that he asked me to leave my boyfriend because for the first time he corrected him (after 3 years) my son was 14 at the time. I refused to listen to my son. He moved to his fathers and once there his father took him off his meds at my sons request, and now has been hospitalized 3 times in a mental hospital. (he is now 15) . My son was not this bad off till he went off his meds. I still believe there is hope for my son. I would never give up on a child like most of you on here have. What a shame! And my son doesn’t talk to me because of our incident and I still don’t give up and not care what happens. Currently he is in the hospital and I am fightng to get him back. Children are a gift no matter what problems they come with. Shame on anyone that gives up on them. What would have happened if someon would of given up on you when you were young?

    • Tammy~ First of all, being a step parent is very difficult all in itself. When you add up mental health issues, behavioral problems, and 2 biological parents who don’t care to get them any help, its very frustrating. This is a place where people come to vent their issues, with no bottom line that the answer is leaving. A child that grows up with bad behavior, becomes an adult with bad behavior. Personally, shame on parents who choose not to get their kids help. We have my stepson every weekend, and when he is with us, he has rules, a bedtime, chores, and has to use his manners. When he is with his mother, he gets to run a muck, with no bedtime and no rules… Which makes our transition every weekend very difficult…. There are some weekends where I would rather throw myself off a 10 story building, than deal with him. Yes, sometimes I think leaving my husband would make things easier, but I love him and realize he is doing the best he can, considering that his mom doesn’t want to work with us. Lack of co-parenting is where a lot of the issues lie… Its not right to come on here, shaming the way people feel. We have our own way of dealing with things, right or wrong…. Judgement is not needed!!

      • I totally agree on judgement not needed. Nobody knows how these issues can affect us as patents not to mention the child first and foremost in which ours has no parenting from his mother hardly at all. She can’t control him so she lets him do as he wishes. Been kicked out of 3 camps during the summer for hitting, punching, etc and he’s only 5 at the time, now 6. It has mentally broken me down. It has affected my body in ways I never knew could happen. And I was always the one in the family reunions that the kids would come to play with etc. But I never in my life witnessed the things this child has done nor been around it. I now suffer with nerve damage throughout my legs due to constantly clenching myself up in these stressful situations. Everybody has their own stories.

  82. Wow, has it been eye-opening to see and read so many of these posts, and the difficult situations so many parents and step-parents have had to endure. Thank you for allowing me to share mine. My heart and prayers go out to you all.

    I am a divorced father, I see my kids most weekends. My fiance’s only son was diagnosed with Asperger’s at a young age. I knew this going in to the relationship, even before meeting him. In my marriage I had a nephew that was higher on the autism spectrum, so I had seen some of the characteristic behaviors, none of which my fiance’s son (I’ll call him “Sam”) displays. In fact, before meeting him, my fiance (I’ll call her Lisa) said I wouldn’t know he was different from any other “normal” kid if I didn’t know he had Asperger’s (that should have been a red-flag right there).

    First, the positives: Lisa maintains a strict wheat-free and gluten-free diet for her son, which she says helps his health and behavior tremendously (in fact; I would encourage others to try the same with their Asperger children or have them tested for any allergies; it could greatly improve the kids’ demeanors and behaviors). He is 15, and is very nice, to me and especially to my children. In general, he’s soft-spoken and shy. And pretty smart. In fact it causes me a good bit of guilt to even be saying the things I’m going to say; especially knowing how others have had to deal with far, far worse.

    The not-so-positives: Sam is incredibly lazy. Not just normal lazy, as are my kids (not taking dishes or glasses to the kitchen, not throwing away trash, leaving clothes on the floor). No, this is off-the-charts lazy. Worst first: his mom has to brush his teeth for him and wash his hair (up until about age 13 she literally had to wash his body for him). All he does, and I mean it, is eat, sleep, play video games and watch TV. And his eating is constant. In fact it’s an obsession. Every two hours he is “starving,” and expects his mom to either cook or make him something or provide some kind of snack; while he goes back to his games. Which she does, without fail. This goes on all day, every day. Even at night. Just the other night it was 12:30 am and Sam walks in our bedroom (another really annoying habit, that I’ll get to later), and tells his mom he’s hungry. And just stands there waiting for her to get up and provide him with a meal. For once I spoke out and said “Sam, your mom is not getting up to get you food.” So he walked out and said, “OK I’ll get something myself.” Hooray!!! But the next day it was just the same-old, same-old. When he gets up (whatever time of the day that might be), instead of saying hi or good morning or anything else (even if we give him a greeting), he just walks up to his mom and states matter-of-factly; “I need breakfast.” Then usually hovers right behind Lisa as she makes it for him; usually a big full plate of eggs, bacon and fried potatoes. And he almost always comes back for a second plate. Need I mention that this poor kid is about 350 pounds? Just hearing his heavy footsteps all around the house is a bit annoying; in fact I think he exaggerates his gait intentionally, for the attention. I mentioned to Lisa once that I was concerned that Sam might end up with health problems due to being overweight. She said “yes I know, me too, but what can I do?” She has spoiled this kid rotten. He demands not just meals whenever he wants them, but a constant stream of snacks (chips, cheese, salami, pepperoni, etc.) as well as an unending supply of diet soda and store-bought iced tea. She and her ex had pretty good incomes, so I guess the immense cost of all this food (and video games) was never really an issue, but I worry about the financial toll it takes on us (she is the primary earner for us, most of my income goes for child support and alimony), and the emotional toll on me, personally. And the frequency of eating isn’t the only issue; it’s how he eats. I swear his parents never once tried to teach him any table manners whatsoever. He slurps loudly and chews with his mouth open… how incredibly annoying is that, coming from ANYONE? And he hunches over his food or plate; it looks primal or animal-like. Inside the house or at a restaurant, he belches and makes no attempt to do so quietly. And never, never says “excuse me.” Nor does Lisa ever tell him to do so. He’s sometimes a smart-ass, usually directing a comment at mom but sometimes at me (which I know, isn’t so abnormal). He seems to have a constant cold or stuffy nose, so he coughs frequently. But of course it’s not normal, either. He hacks and coughs at the top of his lungs, and makes that disgusting “hocking-up” sound (trying to get mucous up from his throat). Good God. As I’ve said, he’s 15. But to me he’s more like a very big and very smart six-year-old. And I am scared because Lisa has jokingly said to me, “you know we’re stuck with him for the rest of our lives, right?” At first I thought oh that wouldn’t be so bad, but the more I live with him the more anxious I become about spending all my remaining days with this kid; who it seems will always and forever be just that; a kid, mentally and emotionally, no matter what age. And it bothers me to no end how little he appreciates everything his mother does for him. He just expects and demands that his every need, desire and whim is satisfied, immediately. I have not once heard him say “thank you” to his mother, for anything. Any time Lisa and I come home from anywhere, if we bring him something to eat he just meets us right at the door (sometimes even outside), he grabs the food and runs to the table to begin devouring it. One time I even said to him “tell you mom thanks…” and I actually got an evil look; the one and only time. Because I don’t try correcting him any more. It’s a shame, because he tells his mom that he loves me, and at first I was developing a strong emotional bond with him, but over time his demanding attitude and lack of empathy for his mother has broken that bond within me. He even tells her he is smarter than she is (she has a master’s degree), and I know he believes it. Oh and he is now being cyber-schooled because after moving and attending the new school for a month he decided he didn’t like the school and was not going to go. I tried to tell him that kids don’t get to make that choice in life. But he refused to go even after the school modified his schedule and classes to better suit him. So now mom not only works full-time and has to come home and cook and clean for this kid (again, I know, is just normal parenting, but a normal kid can do a few things for himself), but she now has to be a teacher too, because she has to help him with his cyber school work. If he is as smart as they both think he is, then I’m pretty sure he’s intentionally taking advantage of his mom, falling back on his autism as a crutch and an excuse. I know I shouldn’t let these little things bother me (after all, he isn’t violent or abusive), and I have prayed for the patience I need to deal with him on a daily basis. But lately it takes every ounce of patience I can muster not to speak out. I tend to just ignore him or just get up and find a reason to walk out of the room when he comes in. Speaking of coming in; I did want to mention that as well. One of his worst habits is walking into mine and Lisa’s bedroom any time he feels like it. We could be asleep. We could be naked and making love. It doesn’t matter. He just walks right in (we do lock the door now if we are “getting busy,” but then he just knocks until we open it). He wakes up his mom just to tell her “I can’t sleep” or “my stomach hurts” or “I have a headache.” And sometimes even asks, “what should I do?” (after hearing that about his headache, I almost yelled, “go take a fucking aspirin and let us sleep, that’s what you do!). He walked in one night for some stupid reason just as Lisa and I were “getting in the mood,” after which I went downstairs for a little bit (without doing the deed). When I went back to bed Lisa tried to get things going again but the mood was totally lost for me. The next day she was upset that I shot her down. I told her a couple reasons that I had lost the mood (which really weren’t true), but I did say that having Sam walk in the room certainly didn’t help any. She replied by saying that yes he’s a pain but she’s his pain and it wasn’t cool that I blamed him for not having sex with her. I said it wasn’t all his fault but he does need to learn some boundaries; our bedroom being number one. She argued back that my kids needed to learn some too. So you see, I’m in a kind of no-win situation here. I love this woman; we go way back (we dated for six years during high-school and college). We feel that we are soul-mates. Sam loves my kids and they get along great with him. But as others have said here, I feel much more like a trio than a couple. And I’m pretty sure it’s always going to be that way. And I sure didn’t sign-up for that. Even his own dad pretty much only wants him a few hours a week. Sam has never had a close relationship with his dad. And Lisa said her ex could never just love and appreciate Sam for who he is instead of constantly trying to “change” him. Lisa says the marital problems were all her ex’s fault. I’m beginning to wonder about that. Maybe all he did was try to get him to, oh, you know, shower and brush his teeth on his own, gain a little independence, get his ass off the couch once in a while and do some type of activity… all that sounds like some pretty good “change” to me, and I’d be behind it as well. I’m just not sure what to do here. I’m in pretty deep and it would be devastating to a lot of people (family, friends, children, each other) if we were to split up. But I’m afraid that if I don’t talk about these things, we’ll eventually split up anyway. And if we do talk about these things, we’ll split up anyway. Anyone want to meet up at a nearby bridge to take the plunge with me? Thanks for listening, all. Take care.

  83. Quick update: another night pretty much the same. I noticed others saying about step-children leaving front door open… Sam will open the bathroom window, in the dead of winter, and leave it open. The bathroom gets so damn cold. Mom yells at him for that but he still does it; though not nearly as frequently now. I forgot to mention how the slightest physical exertion (getting up off the couch, for instance) is always accompanied by loud grunts and groans. And the hiccups… oh, the hiccups. I can’t think of sufficient words to describe how annoying they are. Like cat claws dragged across a blackboard. And of course there’s no attempt to make them quiet. I know he gets a kick out of being as loud and as annoying and obnoxious as possible. And I am falling back into my depression; missing my own kids fiercely (only seeing them on most weekends) yet having to live with Sam. I don’t feel like a step-parent and I don’t feel like a partner to my fiance. I feel like I am just existing, between weekends. Which I look forward to so I feel like I have a purpose again. I feel empty during the weeks. Spending time alone with Lisa is great. It’s not fair that she gets to have her son but I can’t live with my kids.

  84. Wow! Sounds like you’ve got a tough case on your hands. While I don’t want to come off as sounding cold and callous, it seems as if she is enabling this behavior. In fact, I see that in a lot of the posts here…mine included. What will happen with her son, is that she will raise him into adulthood with this behavior. And what do you have? A “large” child. (baby…brat…take your pick) She isn’t helping him at all. In fact, suffice to say, that she is a big part of the problem. Again, not trying to sound callous…just basing it on what you have provided here. He will never be able to function on any real level in society at this rate. Is that what she wants? What worries me though is that you feel so empty. That’s no way to live man.
    A friend of mine has a rescue dog rehab that she runs on her own property. One day, I was out there, and she had this fenced in area on one side that had these loud, barking, snapping, growling dogs. There was poop everywhere and they would make an absolute mess of the food she would provide for them. On the opposite side, she had this area where she had some of the dogs that she had worked with and rehabilitated. They were quiet, well behaved, friendly and docile when she fed them. She pointed out that the other dogs were dogs that had never been shown any discipline or behavior rewards. She said that some of, if not most of, the calm dogs were the same way when they were first found or brought to her. In my mind, I couldn’t help but compare this to children. I know that may seem wrong to a lot of people reading this, but I guess that is just the way my mind works. You form your own opinions.
    I have been married now for 3 weeks, and since moving in together with her and her son, we have all had to make a few adjustments. However, I have stood by my convictions regarding discipline with her son, and his behavior has improved dramatically. His manners are much better, and his grades are good. He has learned that he must now do his own laundry, clean his own room and bathroom, wash his own dishes, electricity is NOT free, and any chores he is asked to do. His cellphone is a privilege, and he clearly understands that now. (I temporarily disconnected it when I first moved in because of something he failed to do) He appreciates these things now I think, more so than he even knew how to before. Kids need to know that there are consequences…but also that there is love and praise when they do right. It is indeed a balance. He is far from perfect…but so am I. But he is much better than before. I started making him do push ups whenever he gets into trouble. Works like a charm and hey, it is good for him too! Took him on a 2 mile hike last weekend and taught him a few things about being outdoors. Even bought him some hiking boots and camping gear…which he loves! Kids thrive on attention, but it needs to be the healthy kind. He’s 14. Sure, most 14 year olds are at the mall or “hanging” with their friends somewhere. But he seems to like hanging with me, and I am just fine with that. Tonight we are going to a father/son Wild Game dinner and outdoor challenge at a local church. He was so excited this morning before he went to school! We have planned a camping trip for April, and I let him choose where and map it all out. He loves it! Outdoors seems to be our common ground… I think you have to find some common ground, and build from there, but before you can do that, there has to be respect and some discipline…and consequences.
    I see a lot of families fall into the “television” rut. You know, the TV becomes the nightly ritual or weekend ritual. You all sit on the sofa and stare at it, living vicariously through actors pretending to be someone they really are not. Commercial after commercial trying to sell you junk that you really do not need anyway. Night after night, your life as a family is slipping past you. Don’t be that. Shut it off. Play a board game together. Go for a walk as a family and take the dog! Sit down and plan out a trip on a paper map, and mark places along the way. Build something together…anything! Put up hammocks in the back yard and lay in them together while you cookout and look at the stars. Be involved with each other. Be a family! You have to make a start though. You have to BE the one to change it. Otherwise, nothing ever will.
    I truly hope that at least one thing I may have said or eluded to will trigger something in you. Maybe you just needed to hear it, even though you already knew it. Regardless, I wish you the very best of luck!

  85. Thank you, Mr. Hart, for the thoughtful reply. I so believe that reading others’ stories, and writing your own, is very therapeutic. I can say since I wrote my posts that my attitude toward Sam has softened somewhat. I am trying to be as patient and kind and understanding as I can possibly be. But I do know at some point, very soon, that I have to have the conversation with Lisa about beginning to expect more from her son… in the way of expressing gratitude and simply saying “please,” and starting to take some responsibilities. And I’m only talking the most basic of basics. Like throwing trash away instead of leaving it on the coffee table or desk; or taking plates and glasses to the kitchen. I’ve said it before, my kids are lazy too… they’re kids, after all. But I do ask them to do these simple things. My ex gives them chores at home; which I think is good (though in my opinion she over-does it, using them to do housework simply because she doesn’t want to do it). But Sam does literally nothing. At best, he’ll heat up a frozen breakfast for himself (but not throw away the box or container) or get himself some cheese and pepperoni as a snack. That is it. And, he does these things ONLY because his mom is at work. Because when she’s here she waits on him hand-and-foot. He helps his mom in no way whatsoever. I talked briefly with my therapist about all this, and how I feel guilty about the feelings I have… he said, what’s going on goes against all the values that I grew up with, so certainly I’m not going to like what I see is happening. He agreed that if he or I had flat out told our mother “I need food” or “I need you to make me a snack and bring it up to my room when it’s ready,” our dads would have backhanded us a good one! I do know she is the “enabler” in this situation. And I know she doesn’t realize it; because she loves her son. I catch myself getting things for my kids too when they ask, rather than asking them to help themselves… but sometimes I say hey, you can go get that for yourself. But at least they ASK, and use the words PLEASE, and THANK YOU. Rather than having a plate placed in front of them, and their response being, “I need a drink.” I mean, I just have constant “wow” moments. As in, “wow, I can’t believe she lets him treat her like that, or say that to her.” I think I need to approach the issue as, “if you love him and want him to eventually be independent and have as much a normal life as possible, then you need to begin letting him do some things for himself, and force him to learn the very basics of social etiquette.” I think in the end, seeing those positive changes in her son would make her very happy; and me too. Thank you too for the “family time” suggestions. We do get out and try to enjoy activities in the warmer months; though we love snow-tubing as well! Plus, I am hoping to gain primary custody of my kids (it’s in the court process now). Having them around more would greatly improve my mood and outlook on life. Will be a lot more chaotic, but having them here will make a world of difference for me.

    • Yes, actually. I did have a conversation with my fiance, and how I was bothered, for her sake, at her son’s lack of respect for her. She agreed, and said that basically it’s how he’s been for so long that it doesn’t bother her or she doesn’t even notice. But she has been urging him to be more respectful lately and do a few more things for himself. And also my attitude toward him has softened significantly (praying and church has helped in that regard, I’m certain). I find that the more I engage him in conversation, as opposed to simply trying to avoid him, the better I feel about my relationship with him. I am hoping that what I was experiencing was simply an adjustment phase. A difficult one, but hopefully just a phase. I’m sure it won’t always be the smoothest of sailing but as of now it’s pretty good. Thank you for asking. Things with my ex-wife and one of my sons, though… not so much!

      • Hello again… sorry to use this little space on the web to vent. Hopefully this will be the last. Although my patience and tolerance for having a special-needs step-son has strengthened, it continues to be a battle within, one which I’m not sure I can withstand forever. I feel like a terrible person. I wish my fiance’s son could just be “normal.” You’d think, that with all the medication that is out there to treat depression and lower blood pressure and normalize so many functions of the human body, there would be SOMETHING that would help improve the life of an asperger’s child (seriously, when his mom is 80 and he is 50 is he still going to be following her around like a little puppy, telling her every 2 hours that he’s STARVING, expecting to be fed…). I know every person on earth, myself and own kids included, have quirks and mannerisms that can at times be irritating. So I try to persevere. After reading many other posts in different forums on other websites concerning special-needs and asperger’s kids, I now think; how I WISH I would have done some reading and research on it all before getting involved with my fiance. Most likely, I would still be with her right now anyway. But at least I would have been much more knowledgeable and better prepared for this situation. If nothing else, I hope someone out there, man or woman, will really consider this advice (as I have seen others say in previous comments above): THINK VERY, VERY HARD, before entering a relationship with someone who has young or teenage children, ESPECIALLY a special-needs child. Again, I hate that this sounds so heartless and callous. But it has to be said. It is SO DIFFICULT, even with a child of “mild” special needs. It affects the relationship with your partner, in a MAJOR way. Can this type of situation work out? Of course it can. I just want to warn others of its trials and headaches and heartaches, because not everyone can be strong enough to do it. I think in my case, if perhaps Sam were a girl, I’d feel differently. Or, if he were very young, say around 5 or 6, rather than 15 and acting like a six-year-old, I’d have much more compassion. Regardless, if you are reading this and see yourself potentially in this type of situation, GET OUT before you get in too deep!!! Being single, now matter how poor it makes you, is much, much more preferable than this.

  86. Hello – thank you for continuing to let all of us know how you are doing. It is a hard road. You can only do what you think is best at the time. If things change, you can change the situation. I know for myself “hanging in there” was just not an option. After 5 years of marriage I felt hatred for both the man I thought I loved and his son. Think long and hard before committing yourself. And I know you are. I totally feel for your situation.

  87. You bring up some very valid points and offer some good advice. I stand by my observation that it all starts with discipline and positive encouragement. Again, if she continues this way with him, indeed, he will be 50 years old following her around. (a point I made in an earlier post.) This is the fundamental problem that I see in nearly all of these situations. A parent who is enabling a child’s self destructive and bad behavior. It is just like a parent who keeps giving their drug addicted child more money or resources only to have them squandered on more drugs. Then they wonder why their child winds up in jail, on the run, dead from an overdose etc… Have we abandoned common sense? Indeed, it is possible to coddle a child too much…so much to the point where it causes damage to their future and anyone else that they come into contact with. Ask yourself, “Are my current choices really helping my child?” Has their behavior changed for the better at all since this time last week…or even last year? Being a parent, especially a parent of a special needs child, takes work…a LOT of work. Even more so when they are not your child. (like you and I) It is not a vacation and no amount of television, food, material possessions or placation will take the place of good, solid parenting. It has not been easy for me and my step-son… However, it has gotten a lot better
    Please understand, I am not condemning anyone, I am merely pointing out an observation.
    I think the fact that you are “venting” here is a good sign. It shows you have genuine concern for this child. My advice (unsolicited I know, but I am gonna give it to you anyway) is to find some common ground with Sam. SOMETHING will click there, I promise you. What is he in to? (besides eating) There has to be something that you can build on here. Have you taken him on a day trip? Just the two of you for the day. Maybe a sporting event? Somewhere away from the house and away from his mom. He needs to know that there is life outside of food and mom and home etc.
    You seem like a great guy. I always look forward to reading your posts and I will continue to pray for you, and your family.
    Hang in there, you can do this!

    • Thank you as well, Mr. Hart. I certainly appreciate the advice and prayers and encouragement. I believe that part of the problem is that there IS no discipline, whatsoever. Not that he needs it so much; because he’s not a bad kid, at all. Just very, very lazy and shows no empathy or appreciation toward his mom. Is it too much to ask a teenager to respect the privacy of his mom and step-dad’s bedroom? I guess mom thinks so, even though she has asked him to do so, and he has. Am I the bad guy because I don’t enjoy seeing a 300 pound teenage kid with man-boobs traipsing in and out of our bedroom four, five, or six times, just to ask when are we going to sleep or when he should go to bed? Aspergers or not; my brothers and I sure never did shit like that, nor have my boys. And I don’t understand why she would even want to tolerate behavior like that. Then again, he slept in the very same bedroom as his mom and dad up until the time they separated, when he had just turned 13. So I guess I can’t put all the blame on him. And shouldn’t, either. Because it looks like to me that mom just can’t seem to let him grow up. And he certainly isn’t going to give up that dependence on her, as long as she willingly enables it. Quite the conundrum, I’d say.

      • I have to admit, I chuckled at this: “Am I the bad guy because I don’t enjoy seeing a 300 pound teenage kid with man-boobs traipsing in and out of our bedroom four, five, or six times, just to ask when are we going to sleep or when he should go to bed?”… Funny!
        So, how are things?

  88. Not good, Mr. Hart. Not good. Lisa and I are on the verge of splitting up. It’s a long story. The short version is that in the course of a conversation about me starting back to work, on afternoon shift, she said that after not seeing me all week due to our work schedules, then not getting to spend time with me on weekends due to my kids’ visitation, that by Sunday evening at 7:00 or so, she just wants them “the hell out of here” so she can have a little time alone with me. Well that of course led to hurt feelings and long discussions; including an admission on my part that living every day with her son (whereas she lives with my kids only two nights a week) is no picnic either. Last night after work I found our torn-up marriage license and her engagement ring on my nightstand. So… we’re still together, I guess. Just not sure where it goes from here.

  89. I am VERY sorry to hear that. Honestly, I do not like to see anyone’s marriage or relationship fall apart. I’m not a preacher, or a therapist, but would both of you ever consider counseling? I have heard that for some couples (not all, but some) that it helps tremendously and has even saved some marriages. Man, I really truly hate to hear that. I mean, something had to bring you together, right? So where did “that” go? What is missing now that was present before? I wish I had some magic phrase that would spark some hidden part of your psyche…but I don’t.
    Have you given up as she has? Are you willing to recall your wedding vows and the oath you took with her? I am not trying to lecture you here, I assure you, and I am by no means a Saint or religious leader…but I just can’t help but feel compelled to bring these things up. You have to ask yourself: “Do I WANT this to be over?” If your miserable, and you really see no other choice, and you KNOW that you have done ALL and EVERYTHING you can do…well, then perhaps you have your answer. Again, I am not encouraging you to just walk away either, I just think sometimes it helps if someone else (especially a total stranger) helps you to weigh the points.
    Her son seems to be a HUGE issue, just being honest here. The time that you two do not spend together, is an entirely separate issue, and one has nothing to do with the other. (keep that in perspective)
    If I may offer this, from an outsiders point of view looking in…lack of communication is the biggest issue here. Period. All of the other issues fall behind this one. Yes they are important, but the lack of OPEN communication between you two is of the utmost importance.
    Tonight, go home… Tell your wife that you want 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with her just to talk. Start out by telling her that you love her, and then just pour it all out. All of it. Invite her to do the same…don’t interrupt her, don’t get angry with her… let her pour it all out. When all is said and done, and you are both sitting there in that deafening silence afterwards…it will all be out in the open. You will both have the clarity that you need, and hopefully, what you need to move forward.
    I wish you the very best my friend. I truly do.

    • First and foremost, we aren’t married. We were engaged. I say “were” because after this argument we had she tore up our marriage license and took off her engagement ring and told me to never mention marriage again unless I am “serious” about it. And we did have a very lengthy discussion, through text messaging. I know everyone says not to do that; but it really is what works best for me, because I can much more succinctly put my thoughts into words plus take a little time to say what I want to say just right (usually). I know face-to-face is better so you can see body language and facial expressions and such; but that’s just me. Secondly, I made a new email address for us to correspond; I feel that I’m turning this into my own blog and making it all about myself; and this is Leeney’s domain here. I just appreciate her allowing me to join in the discussion and getting all these feelings out. I’ve copied the entire content of mine and my fiance’s (if I can still call her that) into an email. If you contact me, I’ll share it with you to get your thoughts. But I’m sure this won’t be the last time you’ll all hear from me, here in this space! Anyone else who wishes to write, please feel free. skylobi66@yahoo.com

    • Had some trouble way back with the browser on my older Mac; and haven’t logged back in again. Not real comfortable having a secret email account (been down that road once before…). So checking in back here. Not much has changed; for better or worse. Things continue to be a little tense, most of the time. The rest of the time the tension is high. I’ve begun fantasizing about ways of getting out. Not a good sign, is it?

      • Not a good sign at all really. Things haven’t exactly been cupcakes and roses for me either to be honest….

  90. I hope people still read this blog because I need help. My step son is 13 almost 14. His father and I have had full custody of him since we got together 8 years ago. The sson’s mother is pretty much a drunk and ignores him whenever he is around her (which isn’t much). Here is twist I do not know how to deal with…He told us he is gay. First of all, I always knew this kid was gay (or a girl in a boy’s body) because he acted more like my adult daughter did when she was a child compared to my adult son as a kid. It actually really annoys me though how “flamboyant” he is with his gayness. I think I could handle the dirty looks, his OCD and anxiety disorder, but this exaggerated feminine stuff is really weird to me. I’m serious he acts way more girly than me or my daughters. He wants a disco ball in his room because he likes to dance like a girl. He only hangs around girls. He always wanted to be female characters at Halloween (witch, princess). Anyway, I could probably deal with him being gay, I just don’t understand why he is soooo over the top about it. He says he likes being different and it doesn’t bother him that he really doesn’t hang around anybody at school. Yeah right, I don’t buy it! I think he just doesn’t want to admit that I may be right about things once in awhile. His dad (my husband) is still in denial that his kid is a complete fluffy puff. Even though the kid told him he gets erections looking at men and he told him he is gay. WHAT the hell ever! His dad is in denial about anything annoying, rude, obnoxious, or really disgusting the kid does. Then my husband thinks I am being mean to him because I don’t like him. I really don’t like him because he is incredibly strange to me. If he is in social situations (my family get-togethers) he gets annoyed if anyone talks to him and he is rude to them. He thinks he is so smart (he actually is really smart) but he acts like he knows it all (arrogant)! His dad sticks his head in the sand about this kid and treats him like he is a 5 year old.

    I love my husband, but i think when I graduate from graduate school, I am taking our 6 year old and move far away. I’m angry that his dad expects me to take care of his kid. I’m angry that his mom is a lazy, selfish drunk. And I’m angry that what I tell my husband is always ignored when it come to his kid and my monster in law! I always thought that someday i would develop maternal feeling for him, but he is really hard to get close to. He has trust issues and really wants me out of the picture. He wants his dad all to himself, but my husband is never going to accept his gay status. Things are always tense around our house because of him. His dad still tries to hook him up with girls thinking this will change his sexuality. There is so much tension between these two, it sucks. I told my husband that I thought he was going to be gay when he grew up, but he just thought I was trying to start problems. It seems like no matter what, my sson is always the center of some problem. The other kids just get ignored because the sson has all these weird issues all the time. He does these repetitive ticks like making noises with his throat or blinking his eyes really hard or obsessing over getting something perfect. I told my husband to take him to a psychiatrist but he never does. I don’t feel like I should take him because he isn’t my kid. And what if the counselor is like oh that’s wonderful you are out of the closet! My husband would freak out on the counselor and me.

    I’ve really built up a lot of resentment towards my husband over his lack of motivation to do anything about him. My husband also lets his parent treat me like crap and does nothing about that either. My husband is lazy and can’t handle problems. I know I only have about another 4-5 years with this kid, but I dont think I can live this way much longer. I’m afraid I am going to come unglued someday and just start screaming at him to knock off all his nervous, obsessive bull crap and stop acting so frigging over the top Johnny Weir gay! Fine be a gay dude – but stop taking my 6 year olds daughters toys- what a weirdo!

    Should I leave this house with our daughter before I freak out on the both of them and get turned into DHS for verbal abuse?

  91. I read this and felt relieved. I just discovered these type of sitests & they are my therapy. To know that there is others like me and to be able to express my thoughts instead of keeping them inside. I’m so sorry that you feel miserable still but on the other hand… there is a strong possibility this child will return to his home within a year as many, even intelligent, socially unaccepted kids are. That is why I am planning on ending my relationship in the upcoming months. My stepson just turned 15 a few days ago & he is completely hopeless. It’s really sad. I used to feel bad for my feelings but after years of trying to help, being patient & his constant huge issues being swept under the rug… I gave up and realized I am only human & his father, who is in denial shouldn’t expect more from me. I have frustrated thoughts but I never, ever mistreat him which is a miracle on earth since everyone who comes into contact with him is drained & leaves being completely grateful yet vexed at having to have endured him. The boy is completely fat. About 5’3 & 280lbs. He cannot do any body movement with ease, yet still he stuffs his face on end and lies about eating foods he know he is not supposed to eat. he lies about nearly everything. He has a overwhelmingly large sense of entitlement & no sense of responsibility or work ethic. He has been diagnosed with add & odd. He is in trouble every week at school doing ridiculous cowardly things for attention. He just spent 2 weeks in a mental, yes Mental, institution because of this. He has explosions of anger sometimes it will start from not getting what he wants or being punished for getting in trouble at school. Once he literally at 14 began crying uncontrollably, hitting himself , & screaming outside of my apartment complex. He has to be reminded to shower and brush his teeth and lies even about that… he is desperate for attention and always is focusing on girls who are far far out of his league & does embarrassing things to catch their attention. Of course they never respond. He is nearly illterate, & I have never met a child witch his age so below average in intelligence. It’s sad, his father is in denial that he is at a near level of retardation. I really wish he would get him serious help to improve his quality of life and future. He cannot be given the simplest of instructions without doing them incorrectly. It’s troubling how he never had any friends, not a single visitor in 6 years, sad. But unfortunately it is because he is extremely annoying always making far noises , obnoxious sounds , or having b.o. that burns your nostrils. He has no respect for adults & often commands me, which I ignore. I ignore him alot. He never responds to anything I say wi tn out being rude & disguising it as humor. Not even his mother can stand him so we now have full custody. I know he is not going to be able to qualify for college, he fails more 6 weeks than he passes and is in special ed classes, his father moved him schools when he failed last year. He has broken My couches, tablet, & countless small things because of his weight and lack of care for things. I see him failing staying with his in denial hopeful father far beyond his teen years. My bf being 11 yrs my senior , me being 26, he has lost touch with how a 15 yr old with a trace of normality should act
    Because of these, and countless other no action over the years behaviors I will leave in 3 months. He doesn’t know it yet, I don’t know how to tell him his son is the sole reason. We have full custody and this needy stepson even knocks on the door when we have been In there for 5 min. His father is oblivious to how there is never just time for him and I. I pity his child but do not and cannot endure this. I’m out.

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