Dealing with an Older Stepson

Written by Dennis and Barbara Rainey


Trying to survive your blended family marriage?

Question: My husband and I have developed a serious conflict over how to handle his 19-year-old son (my stepson). The son recently left college and moved back home, and he now seems determined to live his own life. He doesn’t work. He doesn’t show respect to me and in fact is often hostile. Yet he expects me to provide his meals and clean his clothes. Whenever I talk to my husband about the problem, he takes the side of his son. In my mind, the son is old enough to make it on his own. The situation has become so tense that I have told my husband that he needs to make a choice of whether he wants to keep our marriage going or not. What should I do?

There are a lot of issues here. The first is their marriage covenant. When a man and a woman come together in marriage, part of the vow says, “Forsaking all others.” That means the husband and wife will give preference to one another—even in a blended family situation. Kids need to know that there is one relationship in that family that transcends all other relationships and can’t be toyed with. They need the security of knowing that this husband and this wife are still going to be committed to one another, regardless of what happens.

I’d suggest that the husband consider taking his wife away and devising a game plan for how they will deal with this issue. He may need to ask forgiveness for failing to protect her in this situation. They need to talk through the situation—perhaps the husband fears that he will lose his relationship with his son if he cracks down.

Barbara: It may be that this 19-year-old young man sees that Dad is on his side and the stepmom is not. As a couple, they really need to get together and present a united front. There have been plenty of times that Dennis and I have disagreed in handling the kids. But we’ve tried to keep our mouths shut when the kids are there and talk about it later privately. We don’t present two totally different opinions in front of the kids so that they can play off one or the other.

Dennis: The wife is right—it’s time for that young man to grow up. The husband and wife need to agree and clarify to the stepson what’s appropriate and inappropriate for how he relates to his stepmother. She needs to be protected. If he doesn’t comply with your guidelines, tell him that he will need to move into his own apartment. Even if he does comply, they all need to come to an agreement about when this young man should get a job and move out on his own.

Barbara: I’m reminded of a situation that we faced as a family years ago with a child in the neighborhood who was a bully to our children. One of my thoughts at the time was, “I wish this child didn’t live near us.” But he was there, and I knew as a Christian, I had to love that child too. I began to ask the Lord to give me love for him. So I began to miraculously give me a genuine compassion for the child because of God.

In the same way, I can see how a stepmom could wish this child wasn’t in the family. But the God of the universe can put love in our hearts for people who are unlovely. Children in blended families are going to feel like they don’t belong, and they often take it out on the stepparent. So that makes it harder for the stepparent to love in return. I would encourage this mom to try to love the son as much as possible. If she is a Christian, I encourage her to take this issue to God and pray for a genuine love for the stepson. She should get to know the stepson and see what the real needs of his heart are. That doesn’t mean that she has to go soft on him. But if the stepson and her husband see she genuinely loves and cares for the son, that will go a long way toward resolving the problem.

Copyright© 2005.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Ten Ways to Support Your Wife as a Stepmom

Read Tom’s story – Being a Stepfather: The Emotional Gauntlet.

150 Responses to “Dealing with an Older Stepson”

  • Elkay says:

    Can’t Take Anymore, I am very sorry to read about how your marriage has been destroyed by the irresponsible behavior of children but with God, nothing is impossible and it can be restored. In my personal opinion, children do not come first: God does, our marriage mates are second and family is next. (I am aware that not everyone will agree with this but that’s OK.) Mother eagles teach their baby eaglets to fly by pushing them out of the nest, watching them fall and swooping in later and later to catch them as they learn to fly. Pretty soon, the eaglets can fly on their own and they fly magnificently! There may be a lesson in this for all of us.

    And we are here to listen to you as well as to freely come alongside you with confidential support in the struggles you described. If you are interested, please, please hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button on this page and someone will respond by email to help you in your “hell and back” experiences.

  • AnnG says:

    Hi Dre I just read your situation with your SS I have a husband
    And my Stepson is controlling my husband too to the point that
    My husband and I have a strained marriage of 11 years .
    My husband and SS are hangout buddies and talk bad about me I front my face so I could only imagine what they talk behind my. Back.i have a 9 yr old daughter together with my husband and it’s only because he wants to fight me for custody is the only reason I’m staying with him as he’s drunk every time he’s not at work so I know if we have shared custody my child would be in in danger when he’s drunk anything can happen .If the law was fair and see my situation and I’m able to have full custody I would leave him in a heartbeat even though I love Him as my Stepson and husband has ruined my marriage . My Stepson dropped out of school and my husband doesn’t care and now he wants to bring his girlfriend to spend a week at a time with us and I’m against this too but my husband doesn’t care what he does.

  • can't take anymore says:

    I’m so glad I found this. I’m having the same problem with to stepsons and I have been married 14 yrs. the older one is 22 has a child will not work won’t pay child support and has an arrest warrant out on him. his father has gotten him great jobs and he quit all of them. The second one tells his father he has money in the bank to get an apartment but that is overdrawn and spends it foolishly. he will never leave. We fight about this all the time. I have two children I brought into the marriage who are doing well and we have one together who is a very good child. My husband needs to leave the to boys grow up and be men. My son left the house at 18 and became very successful. no one helped him and all the kids had the same opportunists. My marriage is over and it’s sad because my husband was my best friend and I have known him since childhood. I understand kids come first but their is a point when you have to let the grow. I have been to hell and back with these boys this is not the full story. I could write a book on the things they have done and how they are all over the internet but I won’t do that. thank you all for listening.

  • Elkay says:

    Lisa-marie ashton, you did the right thing by moving out and please do not let your partner’s financial irresponsibility stop you from ending your relationship. Most likely, his manipulations will continue so you will need to recognize them for what they are and be firm in your decisions. We have mentors who will come alongside you with support; they are experienced and if you hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button on this web page, they will respond to you in confidence by email.

    Meanwhile, as you go forward in future relationships, please read where Aldo said, “In order for us humans to be in right relationship with our fellowman, we must first be in right relationship with our Creator, God. To do this, you must “Give yourself completely over to God through His Son Jesus Christ.” The Mentor who will reply to you can guide you through making this commitment.

  • lisa-marie ashton says:

    I’m in the same boat. my SS has adhd and autism and has burnt his bridges with all other family members. he moved in with us when my partner wasn’t working and so for 3 months I paid for both of them. neither one claimed benefits. SS was found a shared house and signed on to cover the rent but he never paid it and got thrown out so he is back with us. a couple of years ago he kicked my cat so I’m very scared of him as he has a history of violence and threated to poison me before. me and my cat have moved out and my partner says I’m in the wrong and he can’t afford to live there without me so I am being financially controlling. I’m going to end the relationship.

  • Aldo says:

    Confused Cassandra, I am sorry to hear of your predicament. It seems to be widespread.

    Allow me to start out by saying that the answer to the question above was given to a married couple— husband and wife. That being the case, one of the authors, Dennis, reminded the questioner that part of the marriage vow says, “Forsaking all others.” That vow is made before God to each other, thereby legitimizing the marriage.

    The reason I am bringing this up is because if you want to impact your stepson and his girlfriend effectively with your views it must be done from a legitimate position. As it is right now, in God’s eyes, you do not have that.

    In fact, I’ll go on to say that you may be experiencing the consequences of an illegitimate relationship.

    What can you do to fix the problem? In order for us humans to be in right relationship with our fellowman, we must first be in right relationship with our Creator, God. From Him comes all the good that has ever been done, or ever will be done.

    Give yourself completely over to God through His Son Jesus Christ, and see if your life doesn’t change drastically.

  • Confused cassandra says:

    I too have a problem but with my step-son’s girlfriend.This is so frustrating.Hi there! I have been dating this man for almost a year now, I love him dearly and he has 2 kids from his previous marriage who are now adults(25 & 18). They are both boys and they have been nice and respectful towards me until the elder son had a girlfriend, she wasnt nice to me and my partner,she was disrespectful, she stays at the house a lot and never helps she just stays in his room all day, we were disappointed but we were never bothered by it until i saw her wear a shoes of mine and uploaded a photo on facebook wearing it, my partner confronted his son and he spoke to her and our son said that she thought they were her sisters and that she mistakenly took them. We knew she was lying but we let that incedent go, and then fer more weeks passed, my partner had dinner with his son and the girlfriend and saw that she was wearing my old watch and he told me about it, (that watch of mine was missing for awhile) and i asked the son to take a picture of the watch and send it to me and they looked like my old missing watch but she claims to have bought them 3 years ago, but  i told my partner that she doesnt have a decent job, she  wears [expletive removed] stuffs but she could afford to buy a watch like that? (The watch was expensive I bought them $3000 three years ago) and she’s insisting to our son that it was hers and our son seems to believe her.My husband and I dont but we cant really do much about it, we kept telling him off and our son decided to move out and live with her so now they live together and we felt so bad and again disappointed. But my real problem now is that i have developed so much hatred for her and resentment for my step son, im annoyed everytime I hear about her and Im annoyed when my partner have dinner or lunch with them, im just constantly angry over my partner now and I dont like it because it taking so much energy out of me:'( I cry at night thinking why cant i just let go of this incedent and not feel miserable but i just cant, I have prayed a lot to become forgiving and accepting but still im annoyed and angry to the point that even to my partner i am angry towards him because his sons girlfriend stole from me. :( And today i felt like giving up our relationship because i cant take the stress its giving me, I feel like im upset because i knew who stole it but i cant do anything abt it,Can you please help me?I am very confused and right now all im thinking about it to break it off with my partner and just live without them,move on without them putting stress in my life :( I feel terrible and miserable just because his son is dating a stealing [expletive removed] please help me my hatred for her is so strong that its controling my life I feel angry most of the time towards my partner because he doesnt want to confront her because he thinks that he will lose his son if he says something bad abt her.I just wanna disappear from this family now but il be broken hearted for a while

  • Elkay says:

    LostMyJoy, with all the unhealthy relationships around you, I can understand why you are miserable. I hate to say this, but your stepson is not as much the source of your misery as is your husband. In Gen 2:27 God created marriage for the blessing of mankind as a sacred, covenant-based relationship between man and woman . . . that’s why the words “I promise and covenant before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful mate” are spoken by both husband and wife in traditional Christian marriages.

    So as Dennis said above, “That means the husband and wife will give preference to one another—even in a blended family situation. Kids need to know that there is one relationship in that family that transcends all other relationships and can’t be toyed with.”

    You might confront your husband with this article and emphasize the suggestion that your husband take you away (to a quiet place) and devise a game plan (with boundaries and disciplines) for how you will deal with this issue together. This is not going to be easy and it may take repeated efforts to pull it off but you and your husband have to get on the same team for your benefit and for the long-term health of your step-son.

    You are on a Christian website so I hope you are able to attend a nearby church that has a woman’s support group that can rally around you and pray with you. In addition, we have mentors who will come alongside you in confidence as you struggle with these issues. Just hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button on this page and someone will reply by email.

    “Heavenly Father, nothing is impossible for You and you have invited us to come to Your throne of grace to find mercy and help in our times of trouble. Lord, LostMyJoy is in a very unhealthy relationship with her husband and her step-son. Please give her the strength to confront her husband with the message that he must be committed to her first and foremost, and Lord, give him ears to hear her plea and the courage to take control of and properly discipline his son. Thank You for hearing this prayer that we bring in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

  • LostMyJoy says:

    I’m completely miserable. My 15 yr old step son has been running the show for 6 1/2 yrs. I had back surgery the beginning of this yr. I have to have more now because this horrible child won’t let anyone rest for a moment. I wish I was exaggerating but it is literally every moment he is awake. He steals, lies, breaks things when he’s done with them even if they aren’t his. He’s tried to kill his little sister who is my step daughter, tried to hurt me even. We moved to my mothers house because she’s ill. Also with the hope of getting him away from his toxic grandparents and aunt, which did help some. He doesn’t attack people anymore but the rest oh yea he does it. He sleeps 4 hours a day. Gets up at 4am even if you keep him up he still gets up to start the feeding. Then the daddy daddy crap starts, blasting the tv or radio to wake us all up. We have had to lock the cable, all the computers and physically remove all radios because of this. Then when he’s woken us up starts the I hate you I don’t have to do what you say. He wants a audience. If you don’t he still does the crap but even worse until you do something about it. We have tried everything, you name it we have even the mental hospital because he tried to kill his self (dad wouldn’t entertain him he wanted him to let him watch tv when he got suspended for a week for trying to touch a girl inappropriately on the school bus at age 11) his dad convinced them he didn’t know what he was doing.
    It has been nothing but stress, now I’m stuck cuz this is my house and if I kick him out of course dad has to go and my step daughter who I adore and she adores me. I have a 25 yr old son who lives with us also because he had a brain tumor so he’s low functioning now and doesn’t cause problems which makes my husband nuts. He try’s so hard to find things he’s doing “bad” to the point of didn’t throw his wrapper in the trash.
    It’s so toxic, I hate this and I want him gone but I can’t get him to leave or just stop! I don’t understand why he feels he needs constant attention and then becomes hateful when he gets it. I’m ready to just give up, I have no happiness, I ever smile there’s nothing to smile for.

  • Elkay says:

    B and Steve, I am very sorry that your mates are being insensitive to your needs and irresponsible about your marriage. It seems like you have done appropriate things to try to get your relationships back to where they were when you first met but they are not responding to your efforts.

    I wish there were words to change your situations but as Dennis said above, there are a lot of issues here and your mates need to realize that their child is far better off, now and in his future, to see husband and wife giving preference to one another—even in a blended family situation and to know they are going to be committed to one another, regardless of what happens. Clearly your mates have the responsibility to love you and place your needs above those of “grown children”.

    Some things to consider are counseling with a Christian-trained professional or possibly your pastor or someone in a local support group like those found in churches. Certainly continue to pray that they will return to the person they were when you married. You can also find help for marriages online at sites like and your mate may be willing to watch some of that material with you.

    Yours may be a long journey so if you would like for a mentor to come alongside you for support, hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button on this page and someone will respond in confidence by e-mail.

  • Steve says:

    Re B.. sorry to hear of your anguish, your problems are like so many on here, Inc my own.. your husband will always side with his son, just as my partner does.. They don’t see themselves been used, not as we can see it.. I have been having problems like yours for four years now, and it is getting worse, I don’t want another few years of this hell, the stress, the arguments. My only option is one move out, find my own peace and happiness again, instead of been miserable at my so called ‘home’. I suggest you seriously think of doing the same, sorry to sound so direct, but it won’t get better..

  • B says:

    Well how do i start,I am with my husband over 13 years now,his son,which is my stepson has done alot of bad things,when I got with my husband,stepson was 10.everything seemed okay, I have a daughter at the time she was turning husband would get him on the weekends,he had him spoiled,one time my husband told me to cook hus son something,so i did,his son said he didnt want that,he want it mcdonalds,so there my husband goes buys it for him.and i knew he didnt like me.anyway later years we had 2 sons together, he was mad about that,saying that his dad didn’t like him ,whuch of course was lie. About in his teens step son moved in with us,bc his mom couldn’t take care of him or his other siblings,of course he lived with us,he always was doing something bad,and i would tell my husband, but i can never say anything about his son,bc first things my husband says is that i hate his son.which is not true.he is 23 years old,he has a baby and had his own place twice,him and baby’s mom always leave each other, which that’s a different story,anyways there’s times i know my husband would help him with paying his son’s rent,light,and diapers for the baby,he has lived with his mom,his exgf moms house,with us,just back and forth,doesn’t try to save money or anything, we tried helping him, he would even still ask for money and diapers when he lived with other people, another different story, anyways ,we are still helping him,he and baby lives with us,he doesn’t pay anything here at our house,he spends money on whatever ,me and my husband are always arguing bc of his son,I can’t say anything bc my husband says in against his son.which is not true,I just know his son is a adult, and needs his own place,and car. He did have a car,but lost it bc he wasn’t paying it,and he lies all the time to his dad,I just would like him to grow up,get him a car and place for baby and himself, and stop waiting when baby’s mom calls him,he needs to move in,and have a life,a future for baby and himself. Sorry so much,bs. But I’m so tired of it all. Thanks for hearing me.

  • Concernstep says:

    Well I can relate and I am the mom of the son who cause problems in my marriage.

    First always read up before getting into BLENDED FAMILY. REVIEW AND AGREE HOW TO HANDLE BEFORE MOVING IN. wish I did.

    I have lost my husband to this. My husband is very his way or the high way. My fault I got with a man with 3 girls who rule his world. He is a good man, this is my second marriage. He is always right and if you don’t agree with him he yells.

    husband-controlling border on narcissistic, bad first marriage. His parents still together. Wanted to be my sons father. Watch him like a hulk but not his girls. One of his girls was just like my son but he wouldn’t see it. I compared my son to them. His girls mom did drugs an left them. Husband is not patient, not laid back. He controlled everyone.

    son-My son didn’t want him as a father just a step, was not capable of being mushy as girls. I love you text every day. He took what his father out on my husband. My son is not perfect but he is not a bad kid. He is learning from his mistakes the hard way now. I want my son to feel and know what happened and learn from it not to like being alone without family.

    I am very laid back, my son and I moved in with him and girls, changed our ways. We had to do his. Girls were allowed to re-arrange closet without me. I had no say. When I did say something he said I was mean to his girls. When I said no I was the bad guy and girls new it.
    I need help coping. I want my children to learn about feelings. Husband can turn thing around an I have a hard time.
    There is so much more but you get the jiff.
    I love this man but he blame all on me. I can’t except this. My boys can. His girls can. Such ashame. Is there any HOPE.

    He wont go back to counseling cause he said I didn’t listen to our first meeting. He turned her words.


    He has his girls. I have my boys but we don’t have each other. So sad…


  • Claire says:

    Three days ago, my SS came to visit. As usual, he had his friend bring him over. I needed to do some shopping, so I asked my SS if his friend would mind taking me to the store. (We don’t have a vehicle.) He said that I could ask him myself. His friend, cheerfully, agreed. But then, my SS asked me if it would just be to that one store. I agreed.

    When they got here, he reiterated that I was only to go to the one store and that was all. Again I agreed, but while his friend, who is now ours also, and I were talking, while he was driving. All I said was that I would like to get to the dollar store sometime to buy my crossword puzzle books. He, kindly, offered to take me after I went to Walmart. I accepted. He took me to one also. Both times he went into the stores with me. I thought he was doing some shopping, too. But, both times, he didn’t buy anything, that I could see.

    Apparently, while we were out, Jr. kept bringing it up how we had been gone so long. He became upset and anxious because we were gone for over an hour. This is the weird part. When we got back, he was waiting for us outside, gave me a huge hug and didn’t even let his friend come back in. It’s like he controls what this older guy does. And he tries to control me.

    His friend takes him everywhere and buys him things. We are pretty sure he paid for a scooter for my SS and many other expensive items. We’re, pretty sure, he talked him into buying his dad a fishing pole for his birthday because he had already spent his money on pot, his fingernails, clothes and other items.

    His friend is the same age as me, 69, has physical problems, such as, no feeling in his feet. So he has a hard time walking. But anytime, my SS, who thinks he is now a woman, wants anything, this guy takes him. I’ll call him, Dan.

    It is weird, to say the least, that Dan is so willing to take “her” all over, buys her stuff and visits us with him. He even took “her” to his cabin for the weekend. My SS is also decorating his house for Halloween.

    My SS is always asking Dan if he’s ok and helps him get up and walks him down the stairs. For sure, it is an odd relationship. We have been trying to figure out what the connection is. Maybe the gentlemen thinks of “her” as a daughter? Either way, my husband thinks he is manipulating him, just like he did or tries to do with me and himself.

    One time, when Dan took me to the grocery store, he quipped, “Now, not too many questions. All right?” While here, he made the statement that Max, our cat, he gave us, is, actually, his. And, if something happens to one of us, he gets him back. It’s like he can hardly wait for something to happen so he can get him back. Even if that did happen, the one of us left will still keep him. My husband and I agreed on that, without question.

    Jr. can’t even stay anywhere longer than six months! He keeps getting kicked out because he gets on people’s nerves with his spouting off and doing things he knows they have told him not to. How does he figure he could take care of a cat? He can’t take care of himself. It really bugs me how he is always saying Max is still his. Max has become really close to me. There is no way I am letting him go back into a situation where he won’t be taken care of and bounced from place to place. Jr. couldn’t find anywhere that would let him have him. Then, while here, I noticed he kept hitting Max on the bottom and was mean to him. I tried telling him not to do that, that Max had been abused as he told us. He just said it wasn’t hurting him. After Max was here for over six months, I convinced Jr. that it would be in his best interest to be ours. He, finally, agreed, when he, yet, after the third place, could not find a place where he could have him with him. He always has to find rooming situations because he blew it by moving out without any notice when he was in a program that helped him pay his rent. Now he can’t find an apt. Besides that, he can’t afford one.

    My husband and I used to have arguments when it came to Jr., but he is a strong man of God, and this last development, with Jr. acting like he’s a woman, opened his eyes to his manipulating ways. He is with me 100% about Jrs. behavior. He thinks he is entitled to free re-assignment surgery. We don’t believe that for one minute.

    At every opportunity, he is always telling our friends and family how he is happier as a woman and then proceeds to tell them about how he is taking estrogen. He really pushes it. Our friends don’t want to hear it. We have tried to tell this 31 year old man, that our friends are not happy with his decisions and to please stop telling them all his life. He thinks they are being “disrespectful” to him. When, in fact, he is the one who is being disrespectful.

    Because of his actions, some of our friends quit coming around. One of mine won’t even talk to me anymore, I think, because I told her my feelings regarding his change. I have, since, accepted he is going to do whatever he damn well wants to, without regard to anyone else’s feelings. That is what bugs me the most. It all has to be his way or no way. He becomes threatening and downright mean and rude if we don’t agree with him. Well. We aren’t ever going to agree with him, but we aren’t going to argue with him anymore, either. That is what he wants, and we aren’t going to buy into it.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

  • Dre says:

    Sorry for all the typos in my previous post as I was working at the same time submitting it. But @stillfedup, I totally understand you. My stepson had a job but lost it from always calling out to go see his girlfriend. I even tried helping him find a job online but he never wants to do things on his own and wants everything handed to him. He is always asking my wife for money. Its understanding to give money for him to go to school….but I tell her not to give more than $5 at a time because I don’t trust him from buying weed with it. He is not going to be in his 20’s and 30’s living with us….I would be long gone before that happens. He doesn’t even thank her when he gets money. It’s so hard because my kids aren’t like this and I live with him to have to see this every day and can’t do anything about it. We have had confrontations from me having words with him and I get that ‘you’re not my dad’ phrase thrown in my face but I tell him I did more for you than you dad every did. All I want him to do is respect me and respect my house. But that’s too hard for him?

  • Stillfedup says:

    I have tried everything..counseling for all of us nothing works Im still ready to move out because this kid has a car payment and just quit his job and daddy does nothing but let him continue smoking pot failing school etc no Mentor in the world can help us when my husband sees the world thru Rose colored glasses
    signed Fedup

  • Dre says:


    Where do I begin….I am going on 2 1/2 years married…3 1/2 years total relationship including my 1 year dating before marriage. My blended family is not blending. I have a 13yr old daughter (lives in GA) and a 9 year old son (lives with his mom) that stays over with us every other weekend. I life with my wife and her soon to be 19 year old son, my step son. These 3+ years have been the hardest times in my life….it all started with my stepson cutting school and getting into fights about 2 years ago…we thought it was because of the new change of us getting married and hurt from her previous marriage from a previous step dad….his biological dad has never been in his life and I know that is a huge reason for his behavior. My relationship with him started somewhat ok in the beginning as I know he was hurt, so I tried to do things with him but he often wouldn’t open up….but then the cutting from school and fighting started…didnt get any better and I noticed my wife would get defensive when I mentioned disiplinary actions for him….he also doesn’t clean up after himself leaves a sink full of dishes and never washes them…my wife just cleans them after I told her not to when she wakes him up for school she ends up being late for work because she’s fighting to get him up….even turns on the shower for him…..she finally stopped doing that last year. His room is a mess and stinks….my wife even found a dead mouse in there one time when SHE was cleaning his room. He doesn’t do nothing for thie house just make a mess…then asks his mom for money etc…..this is how my first year of marriage was…..things never change it got worst….I even had private boy to boy talks to him trying to tell him he can do better etc but nothing changed….he started smoking weed….and started sneaking people in the house when he was supposed to be in school and at times smelled weed in the house….then he started bringing girls in the house and having sex with them. I got fed up and told my wife he can no longer have the keys to the house and he has to leave when we leave the house for work. I had a boy to boy talk with him again about having sex with girls especially in our OWN HOUSE. My wife and I are christians and we do ministry at our church. I told this is not acceptable and cannot be done. Also explained to him about sleeping with girls and how girls can be when you don’t want to be with them anymore. They can can pregnant act crazy, saying you raped them..or even worst you can get a STD…I had deep talks to him about this. My wife eventually gave him back the keys without speaking to me about it and I felt he was not ready to get them back…But what did he do….got worst….kept sneaking girls in and one day my wife came home from work early to find him having sex with a girl in the house….I thought then my wife would be on the same page as me when dealing with these issues. And she did at first but then it was just like she forgot about everything like nothing ever happend. But I didn’t, so now I had security cameras set up in the house….did that change anything….no even on camera he still brings people in the house when we are not home. He now has a girlfriend and earlier this year he had his girlfriend fight one of his ex girlfriends….he told us they were set up and forced to fight but that was a lie…they arranged it and posted it on social media. My step son’s girl was losing the fight again his ex so he pulls his ex off of his girlfriend. The next day my wife calls me saying the police were looking for him..the ex girlfriend is pressing charges on him for assault for him grabbing her. My wife leaves work…..and meets up with her son and the police they arrested him and was going to be charged in night court. I was so pissed off because I had talks to him about this and what could happen when you mess with girls…..the same ex also charged him with sex molestation because she was 15 years old and he was 18 when they were having sex…my step son had night court that night and by the grace of God they let him go with no bail but he would have to go on a series of court dates and now requires a lawyer….which we all know cost money….so guess what….now I had to take out my life savings reserved to buy a house joint with my wife to pay the FIRST lawyer payment. I told her I was not paying anything else…she had to pay the rest and had some of her family chip in to help pay for the cost. Again by the grace of God the cases were dropped and he doesn’t have to go to jail but he needs to go to school and is in a weekly program until the end of the year. He has been going to school and that a positive thing, but now his new thing is sneaking in our backyard with his girlfriend and smoking weed there and still bringing her in the house. Up until recently last week I caught them on camera half dressed like people who had sex and also going into the bathroom with towels to take a shower together. I showed the videos to my wife but I had my 9yr old son over for the weekend and told her that we will talk to her son about this when he goes back. I told her he has to leave….he is break our marriage up…..I even mentioned we could find him a room somewhere….even pay up to 6 months rent but he is on his own after that….she tells me that SHE will have the talk with him….I said now we both have to talk to him…but what did she do….she ended up speaking to him alone… I was coming back home from taking my 9yr old son back to his mom…..I hear my stepson screaming at my wife and then storms out of the house….I dont know how the convo went or if anything was resolved. I told her I am out of it and I don’t want anything to do with this situation anymore. I have been silent with her and him….I don’t even speak to him or her….this has been about a week now…we are in a marriage life group at church and I spoke to them about this and they wanted to speak to us this past Monday, but she didn’t want to go…..I haven’t said a word to my with since then about anything but where the car was parked or when I needed the car. I don’t even sleep in the same room with her now. I am fed up and nothing is getting better. I am now like a roommate in my own house and I hate going after coming from work. He ruined our marriage and I don’t know if it will get better until he is out of there. This is just a SUMMARY of the 3 years I had to deal with him and her being defensive for him. I don’t feel like the man of the house or even like a husband. I apologize for this long text but I googled my situation and your link came up on top. I spoke to the lead pastor of my church and will set an appointment with her. This is my last option or else I am leaving. I am just thankful for finding your site and to see I am not alone.

  • Totally understand says:

    RE Steve..Yes I can totally relate to what you are going through.Unfortunately step children especially older ones can destroy perfectly good relationships over time.My relationship starting brilliant hence why we decided to have a child of our own…but as I look back over our 8 year relationship I realised things were going pretty sour early on.To me it starts when you try to treat the step kid as your own(as I was asked to from my previous wife)you try to discipline the child but are faced with comments like “don’t talk to him like that hes my son”…then you are back to square one with trying to treat the child as your own.
    Many many opinions I put forward about the stepson and his behaviour I was always faced with my wife pointing out to me”i’m not going to say or do that to him he’s my son”….where do you go from cant.
    Also if you think things will get better when they get older..they don’t…if anything they get worse.
    All I wanted was the stepson to respect me,do the natural progression of life(meet someone,get married,move out)but alas it has been the total opposite of how I perceived things would go.
    My new partner(who I met online)has the same views as me,she does have two kids but there are self sufficient with there own familys and we have days out with them and all get on great..looking back I don’t why why I hesitated in leaving.. it was a massive weight of my shoulders.
    By the way my previous wife still has her stepson living with her and is now doubt cooking his dinners,making his bed,ironing his underwear and taking him hot chocolate drinks with marshmallows on top upstairs for his efforts playing his PC for 15 hours a day!!(Yes it was that bad!)

    Good luck to her next partner if she gets one!!

    Hope everything works out for you steve..just think the grass is definitely greener on the other side just make sure you work all these things out with your new partner before you become committed.

    I’m happier now than I have been in years..remember you only get one life and unfortunately some stepkids take pleasure in ruining that for you…just because your there!!

  • steve says:

    RE, Totally understanding…. I totally agree with your stance and your decision to leave your relationship.. I am in a situation not unlike yours was, my stepson, who is 18 now is a lazy, violent good for nothing, he got kicked out of school when he was 15, he has been to various colleges and each one he had been told to leave due to him not going.. he stays in bed till the afternoon, his mom just seems to let it be, she gives him money and buys him things which causes rows with me and my partner, I always end up getting a earful if I say things about him. I have not spoke to him for two months now due to him threating to knock me out and his disgusting foul language towards me and his mom, the atmosphere in the house is unbearable at times.. Anyhow, like you I feel the only way forward for me is to leave, I just don’t need the stress or hassle form another persons son..

  • Totally understanding says:

    I was in the same situation with a 21 year old stepson that refused to become self sufficient,get a girlfriend,move out and get a place of his own.Unfortunately due to the nature of how these children are brought up(he was 13 when I entered into the relationship with my wife and we have a 6 year old daughter together)they are commonly known as Mummys boys that are quite happy to go through life with only one woman in their lives…their mother.
    On speaking to my wife about this her opinion was she didn’t mind if he lived like this into his 40’s.
    I made the painful decision to end our marriage over this and it was the best thing I ever have done…you will never change what some parents believe is right for their adult children and you will be leading yourself to a life of stress and heartache if you stay.
    Some parents I believe should not be in a relationship with a husband/wife as they are quite happy with just them and the kids.

    My advice get out while you can and only form a relationship with people who are on the same wavelength as you…is all the arguing and agro really worth it…

  • 2stepsons says:

    I was so glad to find that I am not the only one struggling with adult stepsons. I am married 3 years to a wonderful man with two adult sons who live out of state. Both boys are currently unemployed, have drinking problems, use vulgar language and have a Mother who is codependent and enables them. I am at my wits end because we are living on fixed incomes and it is a matter of days before the 43 year old will lose his home to foreclosure. My style to foreign to their family. I am direct and both my husband and his ex would prefer to avoid making the boys accountable. I keep telling myself to keep my mouth shut. Easier said than done! I didn’t create the problem so I can’t fix it. But I am so desparately in need of coping skills. Fortunately, my husband and I talk about the bad choices that his boys are making but nothing changes.

  • Felix says:

    Okay here is my problem.
    My wifes son moved in to live with us because his step mom was complaining about his behavior, he did not wanted to help around the house, want living the easy life, he started working and did not wanted to help with some of the bills, like I mentioned before living the easy life no responsibilities at all, so he came to our house and since I love my wife we accepted him in the house, his 20 yrs old, He continue doing the same as he was doing at His father house so I ask him to help with the bills like the light and water bill and He rejected.
    Now the next day of the discussion, I told my wife, what are we going to do? and she got kind of mad, I told her that I can’t take it anymore or he go or I go.
    But now I feel like I’m loosing the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, by the way we have 6 1/2 yrs of married.
    What can I do?

  • Aldo says:

    Fed Up, have you tried chatting one on one with a mentor. Being able to vent your concerns with someone who actually listens to what you have to say, and then interacts with you can be very helpful.

    If you would like to do that click on the Talk to a mentor button at the bottom left of this page. Someone will be happy to discuss your issue with you, and it will all be confidential.

  • Endofrope says:

    Jamie thank you for your quick response. No, you don’t sound like a broken record. I do agree my partner must be disappointed. My beliefs and morals are a bit different then his. No , we haven’t seen a counsellor. I’ve been considering see one myself however. Because right now I don’t know wether to stay or leave. My partner is a very hard working, great provider and would help anybody …total strangers. He also has a great sense of humour. I admire those qualities about him. But when it comes to his son he would do anything to keep him out of jail and has even said to me he would continue bailing him how many times it takes. My response was I hope your around long enough to that for him end of conversation Cause I think I hit a nerve. This time around it cost him 10000 dollars bail not to mention his vehicle is still impounded which will cost another pretty penny to get whenever this ordeal is over. His son knows we are not on the same page towards his taken responsibility for his actions. When hubby said he didn’t know what to do looking at me for answers mine was simply perhaps time in jail for his actions this time would teach him a very good lesson along with rehab. Following day he bailed him out. Again SS apologized profusely all I could say was I feel sorry for your dad … I see potent in you and mentioned his attributes. He can began to cry…. In front of them both I said I wash my hands of it. Thank you again for your insight. I wish everyone the best here. It sad how young adult children can tear a relation apart. ?

  • Fed Up says:

    I live in the same situation. The stepson is almost 18..lazy flunking school smoking pot yet his father acts like if he forgets these things about him everything is fine. we have been to counseling to no avail his son is the man in charge of our home no matter what he says or does. I am at wits end and cannot afford to move out

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I am glad that you are encouraged Marie. Focus on the Family has resources for couples who are looking for counselling. Go to their ‘Counselling Services and Referrals” page at You will find tools to locate a Family & Marriage Counsellor in your area and also a means to access their intensive marriage counselling service at Hope Restored.

  • Marie says:

    Jamie, thank you so very much for your words of encouragement and your thoughtful prayer, I receive your wisdom in the name of Jesus, Amen!!!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi endofrope, that must be so disheartening to have hope that this young man is going to make some positive changes but then discover that they were just empty intentions. How did your husband respond to that? It can just rip a parent apart to see their child making poor choices. Even if we try to turn a blind eye to it, I think deep down we know they are making a mess of things. I am sure that is part of the reason behind your husband’s reaction to your criticism: he just does not want to face the reality.

    I hope i am not sounding like a broken record here but I am firmly convinced that addressing the problems created by the stepchildren will have limited effectiveness if there is first a healthy commitment between spouses of how they deal with conflict in a healthy way, and a unified decision on how to respond to the children’s behaviour/attitudes. Developing that kind of healthy pattern happens much more easily with the involvement of a qualified marriage counsellor. The expertise and objective perspective can be a huge help to navigate those struggles in marriage.

    Have you and your husband been to a marriage counsellor?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Sharon, I can see how difficult it would be for you to watch your husband being manipulated by his son like that, especially when his health is not great. I agree with you that your solution is not going to come by changing your stepson, but by working together with your husband to strengthen your relationship and the way you deal with conflict together so that you can then deal with his son in a unified way that will be best for you as a couple and for your stepson as well.

    I can understand how a divorced couple could get trapped into a pattern of enabling poor behaviours in their kids. I think everyone knows that kids from broken marriages have extra challenges and I know a lot of people then try to compensate for that by going to extraordinary measures to protect the kids from further pain. The desire is a good one but the way that gets lived out can sometimes cause further problems for the kids.

    I would recommend that the two of you find a good marriage counsellor who can help you rework your conflict resolution patterns so that you are working together to solve the problems rather than letting the problems create an antagonism between you. Do you know where you could find someone like that in your area?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Marie, while it is true that blended families are more complicated, I want you to know that you and your husband can work these issues through and have a wonderful, stable, loving home. A lot of that is going to come through a development of clear communication and healthy conflict resolution, all founded on a strong commitment to one another. One of the keys is being able to approach your conflicts as a team together working toward a solution, rather than opponents trying to get your way. Most people find that very difficult to develop because we are naturally self-centred and we so easily look for our individual meeds to be met.

    When dealing with your stepson it is going to be even more challenging to approach as a team because your husband has a responsibility and commitment to his son. If the two of you have not already developed a pattern of approaching conflicts as a team, trying to come to an agreement about how to deal with your stepson is probably not going to go well. Instead of pointing to his son as the problem, you may want to address the way that you are dealing with conflict and establish a commitment to how you are going to do that well. Inviting a marriage counsellor into that conversation can bring a very helpful perspective in that will be objective and offer many different tools of how to create healthy communication patterns.

    But don’t give up hope on your marriage! It is far too valuable a relationship to abandon. The man you married is still there but the two of you are going to need to grow and develop to help one another flourish in all aspects of life. It is worth the investment and worth the effort to find the best way forward.

    I have seen Jesus make a huge difference in marriages that seem destined for destruction, so I know He can make a difference in yours. Let me pray for you two: Dear Jesus my heart is heavy for Marie as she is feeling discouraged in this new marriage, and cannot see a way forward to making things right. I ask that You would come and encourage her and give her the assurance that You are helping guide her. I pray that You would be working in her husband’s heart and help him to realize how his decisions are causing this great pain in his wife’s life. Draw them together Lord, as You have intended a husband and wife to be, and help them to discover how to be a team together against the problems rather than allowing the problems to turn them into opponents. I also pray for Marie’s stepson and ask that You would help him to mature grow into the young man you intend him to be. Help him as he deals with the confusion and pain that surrounds his thoughts about his parent’s broken marriage. Give him hope that his life can be full of promise and joy. Help his dad and mom to know how to guide him through this transitional age and set him on a path to manhood and responsibility. Amen.

    Marie, do you have an idea of where you can go to find a qualified marriage counsellor?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Steve, it is true that dealing with a marriage counselor it is best to have both spouses involved. Are you saying that your wife would not join you in going to a counsellor? Does she see that there is a breakdown of your marriage and that you are seriously considering ending the marriage over this? If you frame the idea of seeing a counselor as the need to fix her son I can see why she may not be very interested in participating. But I would imagine that if you were to tell her that you are feeling like the walls between you are getting too difficult for the two of you to overcome and that you would like to seek professional help to try and fix things, she may be more inclined to participate.

  • endofrope says:

    Wow!! Glad to see I’m note alone. Twenty-five year old step son has been living with us for over 6 months now under house arrest, cannot go anywhere without us. He has a five year old daughter whom he just got visitation rights to after not seeing her for over two years. So twice a week once on week day and weekend our time is consumed taking him to pick her up at a designated location and bringing them home with us. Visitation started for an hour at a time now its up to 8 hours each visit.

    This young man has no job except a lawn business by the way which his father set him with all the equipment truck, enclosed trailer….he has about 8 hours a week if that of cutting and trimming yards…which because on house arrest has to be in his fathers present or me when he goes out. So after my common-law husband works 12 hour shifts goes out twice a week with him to do this. The rest of the time lays in bed till 8-9 am suns himself in the backyard, weekends our garage or backyard is filled with his buddies drinking….which my hubby has no problem with.

    This is the first time he’s been on house arrest and I’m sure it won’t be the last. His behaviour has taken a toll on our relationship. Same as the other comments here. Hubby thinks i hate him don’t treat him probably OMG so far from the truth!!! Like another comment left here and what I told hubby I don’t hate him I don’t like his actions or the choices he makes. Knowing his reputation and same song and dance “I’m going to change” years ago I wrote a character letter in his favour to keep his sorry Ass out of jail. Well I’m ever sorry for doing that! Not only did he make me look like a fool but has ruined my credibility .

    Hubby and I see each in passing going to or from work because of his 12 hour shift work, working on cars on the side and now cutting lawns with this little *hit. I leave at 5:30 am to go work. While this little sweetheart stays up half the night and gets to sleep in. Boils my blood.

    So here I am searching for answers reading others heartaches and damaged relationships.

  • sharon says:

    I need help as well, please. I have ben married for 16 years, My stepson is 36 years old.
    My husband does not see how he being used and taken advantage by his kid.. Here is an example: My husband was in the hospital a few months back whith surgery complications that caused blood clots in his lungs, my stepson being the selfish person he is has my husband on the phone while he is in the hospital calling auto mechanis to fix is truck…….I WAS LIVID!!!!…. When i said something to my husband ‘yoU need to be resting not worrying about truck parts” He snapped at me…WOW. This is just one example of many.
    His son lives at home with his mother and his son (who is his minnie me), his mom watches his kid all day when he is not at school….Long story short everyone bows down to him to make his life easier..He has never taken care of himself, by himself.. He always had a parent and or girlfriend helping him and still does( I was guilty of it my self at one time) his mother has told me several times she knows she enables him…. The problem i have is he does respect or aappreciate it , when I say something to my husband the response I get is “you just hate him don’t you?” . No I hate what he does…My husband is not in great health, if I leave I am not sure what will happen to him…My heart is broken , I an broken. I really do not hate the kid, I hate the way my husband handles the situation, he is so blind to it. I just don’t know.Any help is appreciated.TY

  • Marie says:

    I have a similar issue, except that we are newlyweds (1 year this past May). My stepson is 19 and has also left two colleges and has now moved across the country to stay with us. He lied about school before he came to us also; we didn’t know and thought he was attending school, and we were even making plans to visit him and go to his games (also a lie about being on the team). We went on vacation to see family and he decided to stay with us after the trip – news to us. He’s not disrespectful to me, but I do not trust him because of how he has treated his father in the past, right up until we got married. He used to ignore him and disrespect him, partially due to his mother disparaging and assassinating the character of my husband all of his son’s life. There have even been many instances in which we have bought plane tickets for him and then he would refuse to come (after pretending to want to come), or his mother would brow beat him for wanting to be with his father. It is such a sad situation, but I am becoming depressed and saddened, and even doubting my husband now.

    My husband doesn’t seem to realize that as newlyweds, this is a big problem. It is a problem in that we are trying to get into our own lives and establish our foundation. He doesn’t understand that I am a priority, as he is — first, above others. I am now realizing some hard truths that seem to e emerging about our union, even beginning to think that he married me so that he could financially pursue being with his son — this is the most hurtful, but I see signs that this may be true. I also feel like this has snuffed out our plans to have our own family, because I see the exhaustion and absorption his son causes; he says he wants us to have our own child, but i think that is just talk.

    I feel that my stepson should return home to his mother and see what he needs to do to correct dropping out of school. I say this because he tells my husband and I that he wants to go to school here where we are, but yet he doesn’t do anything we have told him to do to start that process; he doesn’t work either — just lays in bed and plays video games all day. he only comes downstairs when my husband gets home — and it’s not because i’ve done or said anything wrong to him — i am always encouraging and kind to him. My husband wants to buy him a car so that he can get around, but i don’t agree and feel that he needs to do other things first. Also, we cannot afford to buy him a car and pay his way, AND have a baby (this is why I don’t believe my husband when he says he wants to have a family, because this doesn’t line up financially).

    I really feel i have made a mistake; with my stepson in our home and no time to prepare for it or digest the concept of it given the history, I feel that all of the progress my husband and I have made is gone. He even cuts his hair in our bathroom (there are two other bathrooms including the one he has right of his room). I feel that my home is no longer my haven, with him laying around all day in the living room, playing games, doing nothing. I am so very, very depressed.

    There are so many things at play here and I feel like my husband will resent me if I keep trying to be practical and make recommendations for what his son should do to take responsibility. The problem is my husband feels an eternal sense of guilt for not being able to be with his son in the early parts of his life (his mother took him to another state and withheld him from my husband for most of his life).

    So many things — i don’t know what to do — my husband was doing fine before his son came and now things are deteriorating (he’s staying up late and playing video games again with him like a kid instead of a father).

    Maybe I made a mistake by entering into this union :(

  • steve says:

    thanks for the input Jamie, but thing with Marriage counselors all parties need to be in agreement, that would not work with me, I just can not feel towards her son the way I would if he were mine, I cant forgive his behaviour, the kicked in doors, the holes in the walls he has punched in, the disgusting foul language and threats towards me, his mother just seems to forgive and forget within a few hours, and she expects me to do the same, I just cant, I have no bond, no feelings towards him, all I feel towards him now is hate. I just want him out my life, and sadly I feel the only way to do that is to go my own way, otherwise all this resentment inside me will explode towards him one day and i will end up doing something i regret..

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I agree that the first priority needs to be working on your marriage first and unifying your position towards children before there is much hope of remedying the relationship with your step children. Family and Marriage counselors can be a huge help in bring an objective perspective to the family dynamics. When husband and wife are agreed upon how they will set and reinforce the boundaries for their kids then they can work as a team towards helping to guide their children towards healthier ways of dealing with each other.

  • steve says:

    well Fedup it seems we are both on the same wavelength, I have put up with this situation for 3 years now, and I have always said to myself I will never date another woman with kids, but given my age, that would be hard, so I will just never date a woman who had kids living at home with her. Which is a shame because my 2 lads are polite, hard working young men.

    I have had real thoughts of leaving, just to be happy and feel at ease in my own little place without been on edge ALL the time, it cant be doing my health any good having all this resentment building up inside of me. I hope you find the courage to find happiness and calm in your life, and I hope I have the courage to, I have been hoping now for 3 years things will get better, but they just keep getting worse day by day.

  • Fedup says:

    It sounds like your wife has chosen her son over you. While that seems natural, it’s not right. I finally got the courage to speak to my SS about his behavior and my spouse defended him, right in front of him! I’m done. I told my husband I’d rather be alone on my own than supporting this situation. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Sounds like you need to do the same. And I will not date someone with kids again…. ?

  • steve says:

    I have been reading these threads, and I am glad I am not alone, My stepson is almost 18, and I am generally a guy who gets on with most, but I really hate him with a passion.. He is the most vulgar, foul mouthed lazy person I have ever known.. He has no respect for anyone, he has got kicked out of 5 colleges.. he swears and shots his mom, and recently I had to call the police out to him as he was smashing things up and threating me. Not the first time I may add.. I have not spoken to him the past month but the atmosphere is terrible in the house. I want him out the house but my partner always sticks up for him and forgives him, which ends up in us arguing about him, which usually ends with my partner telling me to leave! I love her, but the situation is no good for me, so I really don’t know what to do for the best..

  • Fed up says:

    Boy can I relate. I have 18 yo SS who graduated from high school and doesn’t do anything. He won’t get a job, he does the absolute minimum around the house and he is here full time. His mother is mentally ill so she is not an option. The other day SS got mad and punched a hole in the wall! I’m so fed up and my husband just buries his head in the sand. Does it ever get better? I have my own 14 yo son who is delightful but is watching all this horrible behavior. He asks me why I stay in this marriage…not sure I have an answer.

  • Bonusmom says:


    Thank you. Your insight and relation to your own personal experiences gives me a much different perspective. My husband just isn’t seeing things the way you or I do. But, I certainly want to try to work on my marriage and overcome this situation if possible. If nothing else, I have learned that I do need to learn to love myself and accept my own shortcomings and work on myself and being a better person. I know that I love my husband and hopefully that will be a good starting point for us both.
    Thank you again for your advice.

  • Claire says:

    Bonusmom, you deserve respect, not only from your stepson, but from your husband as well. It is time you step your foot down and tell him the way it is going to be. I don’t normally recommend it, but you need to tell your stepson, “Buy your own car. If you are going to be disrespectful to me or say you hate me, then you do not need to be using my car.”

    I’m sorry, dear, but you are too easy on him. You know, love is one thing, but if you are not happy and don’t feel revered, then it is time you take matters into your own hands.

    I, finally, told my stepson that I no longer want him in my life because he didn’t do anything but hurt me. Yes. I love him, but I refuse to live my life around a person who has no regards for my feelings. He says I have been mean to him and that is just not true. I married his father, not him. So I started concentrating on him, not his son. As a matter of fact, I stopped talking to him altogether.

    You want to know something? My husband is on my side and understands that his son is an overbearing Narcissist, who thinks the world revolves around him. I just found out, recently, I have some physical problems and we are not telling him. You know why? Because he would make it all about him and how he doesn’t want to lose me. Yet, in texts, he was telling my husband that he needed to put his foot in my bottom, to make me behave the way he wants me to and to accept his lifestyle or his behavior.

    You, my dear, need to respect and love yourself, then watch how things turn around for you. And, if your husband doesn’t want to work on your marriage with you, I hate to say it, but maybe it’s time to move on.

    Before you do anything, regarding his son, I suggest you read up on Narcissist and what they do and how to deal with them without causing problems for yourself.

    The best to you. This is your life. It is too short to always be upset and hurting because someone decides to treat you with such disdain.

  • Bonusmom says:

    Jamie et all, Thank you for the reply. Quick update, that night my stepson decided to pack up his stuff and move out. This was somewhat of a shock, but not entirely as he has threatened this before in the past.

    To answer your question, my husband is not providing much support. He has issues with guilt and his son is everything to him. I am more concerned about where my son is going when he leaves with my car and when he will be home. I am also shocked when he tells me instead of asks me if he can use my car? What is it with kids today? They act like they are so entitled to everything.

    Where I need some help from you the readers is with how to deal with all of this. I feel very alone and am at times struggling to find my strength to smile.

    On Monday my stepson wanted to pick up some remaining items he left. We agreed to have him stop by the house that evening. He had been texting with my husband on and off that day about college and his classes etc., so the two were communicating. But, my husband didn’t mention the episode regarding his moving out and honestly, I believe it is easiest for my husband to simply act like nothing is wrong and continue on as normal. So I offered for us to sit down and discuss the situation with my stepson that evening when he stopped by to get his stuff. I explained to my husband we should confront the issues and deal with them as a family so we can clear the air and then move on and create better communication between us all. We are a family and I love my stepson. He agreed and I thought this was a good approach.

    When my stepson came home he gave me a cold shoulder and refused to speak to me. We said we wanted to speak to him together because we love him and don’t want to ignore the issues or pretend nothing happened. My stepson refused to want to speak to me, he said he would talk to his dad but not me. He said his dad was his bio dad and I am not. So he didn’t feel he had to speak to me if he didn’t want to. After we explained that we are a team (my husband and I) and we are a family and we will work through this together as one. We pressed him and with some convincing he finally let the onslaught of feelings flow. He proceeded to tell me I am selfish, I do things because of the wrong reasons, I call him names, such as mooch (this is true and it happened one time, when he refused to help or make any money to help pay for gas for everyone shuttling to and from his basketball games). Truly people such as neighbors and friends were starting to feel the lack of appreciation from him. He proceeded to tell me I treat him like an Ass! Not sure where or why he feels this way, and I asked for some examples but he lacked any he could provide at the time. I admit I am sometimes tough on him, but the kid lives a charmed life and seems to think he is entitled to everything.

    I refuse to agree that I treat him this way. He said many mean and hateful things to me that evening leaving me wrought with emotions. The things he said I believe, are not his feelings, but rather his mothers feelings towards me. She truly can’t stand me and it is very well known her feelings for me reach the level of hate and resentment. My stepson and his mom are very close and I know he has been confiding in her for the past couple of years.

    So, help me Power To Change readers, I am hurt and feel as if my husband heard what his son said and he immediately took this information as the truth. My husband feels I am tough on my stepson, but he has never said I am treating him badly or disrespecting him. I can be hard on him, but it is with good intentions and no ill will. I thought this is what parents and even stepparent a do…I apologized to my stepson that night and said I didn’t want this to be how he felt, but in the end he basically told me he hated me and he hugged his father and left.

    Is divorce in my future? Will my husband ever support me or see the sacrifices I have made to support him and his two kids? Why do I feel so bad? Why do I feel so alone? Should I realize I did nothing wrong? Is this typical behavior of an 18 year old? I cannot sleep and I am so upset about this…. Please provide any recommendations you have. Thank you.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Watersmom, do you feel like your husband supports your attempts to deal with your stepson’s disrespect? How do the conversations go when the two of you talk about the home environment? It must be very confusing for your stepson to have different standards in the homes that he lives in, but most kids can figure that out and deal with the differences. Do you think he would prefer to be full time at his bio-mom’s home? Could that be why he is acting out at your place?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Kelly, I would suggest that the first step needs to be between you and your husband working out a united front so that his son does not pull the two of you apart. If your conversations always turn into a conflict it is a good idea to look at meeting with a marriage counselor to help the two of you come to an agreement. If you two are divided there is no way that you are going to be able to set boundaries with your stepson that will be observed.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Bonusmom, what does your husband think about the way his son treats you? Have you guys been able to come up with a united front to deal with his disrespect? Is your concern that his use of the car conflicts with your need for it, or are you more concerned about knowing where he is with your car to be sure he is not taking it into dangerous situations? I would suggest that clear boundaries are important for any teenager using a family car and you do not need to feel guilty about reinforcing those boundaries.

  • WatersMom says:

    I have a 14 year old step-son and can also relate. Although he is not old enough to leave the house on his own, it is a very tense and difficult situation. I have always treated him like one of my own. I have been in his life since he was 8. He blatantly disrespects me in front of the other children. He has come to purposefully destroy items that are mine or brought with me to the marriage; ie. couch and chair. Tells his father “I didn’t do it”, “it was that way when I got here”. It’s not true. I am at wits end. Doesn’t respect either myself or his father at all. Sits and “tunes us out” when we try to speak to him about situations. He only wants to be with his mother who lets him “be the adult” at her house as she has no significant other. He is 14….not a man….should not expect that that type of behavior will be allowed in our home where we have husband, wife and three other children. His treatment of the other three children is not appropriate as well, including his own biological sister. Very controlling/nasty attitude towards the other children. Biological mother tells him that we are being ridiculous and that “there is nothing wrong with your behavior”. Fed up!

  • Kelly says:

    I have a20year old stepson and I can relate. His not helping at all in the house. I leave work at 6:15 in the morning and only coming home at 17:00. His at home but when I get home the house is a mess. His on the internet or doing his hair. I spoke to my husband but his not doing anything. I will bring application forms from work for him to fill in but no Mr don’t want to do that type of work. He does have gr12 but he is picky. I told his is only until he finds what he’s looking for but no. His mother put him out of her house because his lazy but I must sit with him now. He going to bed after 12 and only get up after 12. I took leave for 2 days and i wanted to go back to work. He showers for more then 15 minutes and i ask my husband to talk to him. I cant take it anymore, i fight with my husband. When he was small we want him to stay by us and we took her to court because she was unfit mom and we won but our lawyer said we must give him back beause she wanted to kill herself and now she cant take it either.( she told my husband) i cant cant take it anymore. I have 2 other kids to support and i loved him as my own and treated him as my own but the other day he introduce me as “his fathers wife”

  • Bonusmom says:

    Darn spell check…Reposting: Thank you so much for this post. I am dealing with a similar issue. My stepson seems to think he is entitled to take my car whenever and to go where ever he wants. When I ask him when he will be back, I get the proverbial, “I don’t know”. Then he will often throw in, “I am going to stop by and see my mom before I head home.” This leaves me feeling guilt ridden and foolish as if I am being a bit overbearing. But, it is my vehicle and I feel these are not inappropriate questions to ask someone who is using it. Plus, I would never tell him he could not see his mother. In fact I believe this is why he handles my questions the way he does. What frustrates me is the tone he responds in and the disrespect he showers upon me when I inquire about where he is going and when he will be home.
    Any recommendations from anyone?

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