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Ive been feeling real low and stressed out dealing with the eldest step son. Always talking back, complaining about everything and we dont do anything for him. It used to never bother me until this year to the point i feel like breaking down or walking out. Other areas of my life are good, i have a good job that pays well enough that she doesnt have to work fulltime so she can look after the youngest who has cystic fibrosis (very healthy most of the time). Working on getting a boat ready for summer. But i always feel guilty about the eldest step son, He was 9 and the youngest was 2 when i moved in. I have a great relationship with the youngest step son but my relationship is toxic with the eldest. I treat both kids the same, but the eldest complains i play favorites cause he misbehaves more and being 14 now we expect him to work for things like new playstation controler or fix his ipod or laptop that he breaks when he gets mad. Just wondering if there are any other stepdads in the same boat
6 Replies 6

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi tdpat, welcome

I've had lots of experience with being a step dad. One relationship the boy was 2-8yo, the next girl was 17-27yo with a daughter and step son 14-24yo. Their mother a step son to my daughters as teens.

With my 14yo stepson he had resentment from day one. He didnt speak to me for the first 3 months. I had a key to his mothers home and arrived mud arvo before she arrived home from work. The stepson would be with me for 2 hours but he'd avoid me.

One day I bought a multi tool for him. He ignored it then later that night he g iddled with it. The next day I bought ingredients to make donuts. Well when his mother came home from work we had flour in our hair and stomachs full of donuts.

Each situation is different. At 16yo we worked on a car for him when he got his license. They grow up quick in that period.

Its extremely hard to back off especially if his mother is a softy. A young man sees his role as protector and resents a man stealing love from his mum. Its more complex than that of course.

In basic terms, a stepdad needs to be a friend to the child and do things friends do in order for it to work. The mother needs to respect the frustrations you endure from signs of disrespect and discipline needs. But its difficult all round.

A few thoughts...

Within 3 years he'll be on learners asking you to take him driving!

The difficulties you experience with him now could have occured if he was your own child

The mother is the "meat in the sandwich" and is torn. Thats a heartwrenching situation to be in

Thats all I can think about atm.

Tony WK

I've tried being friends but he has some issues himself. The moment anyone gets chummy with him he'll disrespect and try to walk all over you and then get mad at you when you dont allow it. At the moment im trying to turn a blind eye to his misbehaviour and try complimenting him when he does well whatever it is. Ive spoken to my partner and shes afraid i'll walk out and im afraid she'll toss me out. His dad is on the scene and he has remarried, but he cant stand his step mom either so its not just me but five years later and we have an even worse relationship. I dont know what failed in her first marriage but the second was the youngest father could not deal with his son having CF. Im struggling as well with both and she just complains that she is fine and if i cant handle her kids then leave like the rest of them. I dont want to leave. I love the youngest and i treat both boys like my own. Ive grown and become a better man and i dont want to start over.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Being a step parent is a tough gig.

Being occupied helps. For me that entailed having a hobby room where from 7-10pm I'd build my model airplanes or I'd attend a gym. My stepson was left alone with his mother for that time. It worked much better.

You are trying all the things I tried. Praising instead if criticising is great but the underlying jealousy he might have/resentment etc is likely not going to go away.

I think family counseling is a good move. You cant solve all challenges with other humans. Ie you arent superhuman.

Tony WK

Community Member
I know it must be very dificult, I was that arrogant back-chatting step child once. I still can't tell you why I did it, it was just a feeling of overwhelming anger/jealousy. I am sorry you are not feeling respected.

Well I made the hardest decision of my life on Tuesday, I left. I collect my stuff today. Pain anger sadness, I'm feeling it all at he moment, fear as well. We have agreed no contact after today for 2 weeks. I would like to remain in the youngest child's life, he was 1 when I met her, his dad has nothing to do with him. I'm setting up to pay $50 a week for him cause I may have stepped down as a partner but I don't want to step down as role model to him. Her parents are willing to help, they only want what's best for the kids. I have called beyond blue and going to see a few mates tonight. I even went to church yesterday.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi tdpat,

I'm sorry for the latest update. I know that hollow feeling.

Now, can I suggest (as its on my mind) that you bank that $50 in an account under your control for use by that young boy when he needs it for that purpose. Then you'll know the money will be going where it is meant.

A tough decision. It's great you are doing the good things, church and BB among other actions you think will help. Very important you get into activities that keep you busy and get adrenalin acting. Please google these

Topic: the best praise you'll ever get- beyondblue

Topic: depression, distraction and variety- beyondblue

All the best. You know you can repost anytime.

Allow yourself time and grief. Then rebound and make your life what you want from it. You'll heal and life will be great. I wish you every happiness.

Tony WK