dislike stepson - need help to save my marriage


I found this site my googling "I hate my step." As I read I discovered I was not the only one that felt this way about their stepson.

I am a loving and caring person, so it is hard for me to say, "I hate" someone, but I cannot stand my stepson.

My stepson is 15 years old. His father has had full custody of him since he was 2 years old. His mother came in and out of his life until about 4 years ago when she completely disappeared. She has been with another man for over 10 years and they have two girls together. He lives with us full-time. My husband has no family locally. I have my whole family locally. In addition, neither my husband nor I have very many friends. Therefore, we spend all of our time together, which is fine. However, my stepson has only one friend because other kids cannot stand him. He is disrespectful, dishonest, annoying, and childish for his age, etc. He is lucky he has the one friend. What that means for us is that he is around ALL the time.

My stepson does not do drugs or drink. However, when my husband and I started to date five years ago he would lie to us all the time and steal. My husband (BF at that time) was completely unaware that his son was stealing, lying, not doing his homework, etc.

I put an end to that. He had chores, homework time, and we had a direct communicating with his teachers. Everything was going well; my husband was finally realizing what he needed to do to raise his son. He now had a partner to share the raising with. My husband and I dated for almost a year before we got married. He was married before and so was I, so this was our second marriage. I never had children and still do not have any of my own. We got pregnant once, but had an abortion. We were not ready to have a child at that time. Too many issues with raising the stepson.

As the months went on it became harder and harder with my stepson. My husband got more and more frustrated with him. He deals with things for a little while, and then says, "F... it, if he wants to be that way let him. If he does not want to do his homework, and then let him fail, etc." I am not like that. I keep trying and trying. My stepson does not listening to us. He is very disrespectful. He constantly says, "I forgot" when asked why he did something we have told him many times before to not do. He is constantly leaving stuff around the house, he is lazy (will not even feed himself), etc.

Because I keep trying to raise my stepson by setting rules, helping with school work, taking him at times to do things, etc. and my husband parents by convenience IT HAS PUT A WEDGE BETWEEN US. We no longer make lover, laugh with each other, etc. We sleep in the same bed, go on trips together, but there is not much more than a friendship left. I have remained because I love him. I believe in 3 years when my stepson graduates from high school and I kick him to the curb, that my husband and I will have the relationship we once did. When my stepson used to go to see his grandmother in Vegas for the summer, we used to have so much fun together. Now she lives in Germany, so he is always around. We never get a break. In addition, I do not feel it is fair to constantly have my mother or brother watching him. They need a break from him as well.

Comments (13)
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1st: Perhaps, I misunderstood... but it seems like you have been in stepsons life since he was very young therefore, you are just as much responsible for his behavior and upbringing as his father is...
2nd: Most of the problem is that father continously gives mix signals.... there is never a time in a childs life when it is okay (especially not in those confusing teenage years)to say "F...it" therefore the person you have a problem with is not your stepson it is your husband... your stepson is only responding to the conditions set forth before him ... dad says "f..it" he says it.... The conversation needs to be had with husband that to save the marriage he needs to be a real parent and not to save the marriage we need to kick out step son in exactly 3 years ?? days ?? hours
3rd: not trying to be overally critical here but... Have you ever been around kids?... Have you ever been around teenagers? especially teenage boys? It would appear not. Kids do not always have an active social life, teens (especially boys) are lazy, their catch phrase for that time of their life is "I don't know... I forgot", they hide things, they do everything you described and sometimes much worse. I think you need to take a step back and stop being so hard on your step son... my brother (who I raised) would sit around the house all day not do one thing and then ask me what I am going to make for dinner... was it annoying? yes was it a pain? yes did he grow out of it? yes.... kids all go through their own deal... but to sit there and say you googled I hate my stepson.... or I cant stand him ... I cant believe he has that one friend.... is sad and well frankly immature... and I am quite certain that this feeling comes across quite clear to him. All parents feel the need to get away and have alone time .... all parents especially in those crazy haphzard teen years count the days till ... they grow out of that stage... It's part and parcel of being a parent and we do not give up on them and we do not dislike them for such simple things...

Count your lucky stars that your stepsons transgressions are so minimal and he is not caught up in drugs or drinking or anything else such as that... If you really have a problem with him always being around the house set him up with some volunteer work or other activities or have him get a job...

And, dont think that the stepson being kicked to the curb in three years will magically fix the problem in your marriage... I can almost gaurantee it won't... not really anyways....

also, no one needs to 'watch' a 15 year old he is plenty old enough to stay at home while the two of you go have a date together or some other such activity.

Accept your stepson for who is ... an angst ridden 15 year old boy... and accept your marriage problem for what that is... a problem with you and your husband not your stepson

and by the way... I just reread your post and seriously the boy lost his mother over and over and now we want to blame our marriage problems on him... and give up on him before he has even matured .....

like I said... I apologize for being overly critical but the words used to describe your feeling for or lack thereof your stepson...were strong as was my reaction to hearing someone say something like that about a child who is overall, it would seem, not a bad kid.

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I have been in his life since he was 10 1/2 years old. He was horrible when we first meet. Over the years with a lot of work on my part, he has decreased his lying and no longer steals. However, the attitude problems and increased lack of respect has gotten out of hand.

I have tried those things you described. He is lazy to get a job or even go to the volunteer opportunities I have helped him find. Little side jobs he has received from family and friends end up stopping because he either does not show up, is late, or does a horrible job. They want to help him, but it frustrated by his attitude and lack of respect towards them and they just want to help him. Often the work he is doing or would've done are things they can do themselves.

No, I have not been around children or teenagers that much. I have sought advise from other parents with kids and teenagers. Many of them say the same things I have said or feel. I have had several counselors say it is not wrong to feel this way and to think about the day when he will be old enough to move out. Even biological parents feel this way is what I was told.

He needs to be watched because he does not feel himself, leaves the stove on with the flame running, etc.

You do not have to live with him. He is giving everything. A good home, a painted his room in SUNS (his favorite basketball team), I buy him nice clothes, I signed him up for a sports camp this summer, I take him and his friends to moves, etc. I am always there for him, but over and over I get disrespect, attitude, lack of respect. The house is a mess when I come home. He cannot do his chores without being asked many, many times. He lies to my mother, my brother, and manipulates his father.

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I agree. Teenagers are going to be teenagers. Perhaps you and your husband need to sit down, have a heart-to-heart and regroup. Teenagers are going to push to the limit and at any given time their needs change (space, love, attention, more space, discipline, more space, more love, more discipline, more space!!!). It makes for a dizzy household but they all do it and adjustments must be made.

Despite a teenagers want for freedom and independence, they also will come to understand (some sooner, some later!!!) that discipline equates to love.

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What I was going to write was .. he's 15 you're lucky he is even talking to you ...

And I agree with mom_of_4 five years is a long time to "blaming" his behavior on his mom or dad you must take some responsibility for his actions unless you were never involved with his upbringing but you said you were...

A conversation should be you are 15 in less than 3 years you will be responsible for your actions if you do not do your homework etc. what are you going to do as an adult to support yourself? I hope you are not telling him at 18 he is out the door... its one thing to tell them you are someday going to grow up and support yourself but another to say @ 18 you are on your own!

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I agree with you. Unfortunately, my husband and I do not see eye to eye on the discipline level.

He need boundaries, limits. I find it hard to love him when I am constantly frustrated with his actions. I do not know how to turn away or let go. I was brought up to keep going, keeping working with a child.

I cannot turn off or close off when I see him continuing to do things that are wrong.

At what point or how do you turn off? OR do you keep setting the limits, and punishing everytime they do something you have said they cannot do before.

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We have told him if he does not change his ways he will have a hard time in life. We told him that he will not be able to remain in our home after he graduates if he does not change - by repsecting our rules, our home, and us.

We have not told him he would be kicked out.

I have been part of his raising since he was 11 years old. That was when we got married and I became his stepmom. I have tried to be a good mother. I help with homework, buy him cool clothes, talk to him about his friends, etc.

But it seems it is getting harder and harder when I get home. He has so much attitude and lack of respect for other people. I hate it when he lies to people, especially my mother. She loves him just like she does any other grandchild.

But it seems like it is a constant battle to get him to do anything. If is serves his needs he either lies about it, won't do it, etc. He is more like raising a 10 year old, then a 15 year old. Even friends and other family member say that. They ask how we do it. They are frustrated after only a few days with him.

He can really tax someones nerves. Think of a 10 year old in 15 year body. Or when I first started raising him he was 11 years old with about the ability of a 6 year old.

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a 15 year old boy will feed hisself if he gets hungry enough...

and if he isnt doing what you asked then take away his stuff.. his cool room, sports camp. etc... the only thing you HAVE to provide are the basics everything else is a luxury that comes with being part of your family... even the comfy bed he sleeps in dont hesitate to break it down to a mattress on the floor or get him clothes from the thrift store or worse... uniform style ..if it really needs to come to that to get your point across. There is a good chance that wont help because as I said it's the age it's the time for confusion and missplaced anger and attitude (make no mistake ...some of this has to deal with his mother) AND as I said unless his father gets onboard none of it will mean anything...

and as I myself have been told...he will not appreciate what you are doing or have done until he is much older if you are lucky.

And like I said, it is normal to be frustrated and angry with how things are going ... but it is a completely different thing to say "I hate him" ... which, obviously isnt the case in all reality if you are doing so much for him... which is why I apologized in advance if I was misinterpreting what I was reading

the teenage years are the worst (especially for boys, in my opinion>> I raised both of my brothers) take a deep breath and... Talk To Your Husband!! he should really be stepping up more especially for a young man trying to decide how to be a man

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NO. I thought I would be raising an 11 year old. But as time went on it was apparent he was behind in his maturity. We went to lots of doctors to see if something was wrong and they said no. They said he just needs stronger parenting. My husband was a single parent for 11 years. Men raise children different from women.

He was dirty, he had no chores, no allowance, no eating manners, he father was not aware of his homework....I think he was frustrated and did not know what do with him as his attitude got worse and worse. I think he turned him off and ignored him. My stepson got used to this and found ways to push his buttons to get what he wanted. Those issues remain today. But instead of pushing my buttons to get what he wants, it just causes more problems between us.

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I agree my hushand needs to step up to the plate more. More often he does not see why he needs to. He thinks we should let things go. So what if he does not do his chores. So what if he does not do his homework or lies about the fact that he even had homework.

I do not agree with this. He have to set limits, boundaries, expectations. When they do not achieve or do them then there needs to be consequences. But is the father does not agree with punishing him, then he is not going to step up to the plate and he leaves it up to me.

We have tried grounding him, taking away the phone (home, he does not have cell phone - lost three in 2 months), no TV or games. But none of that matters to him. He even told a counselor that once. Nothing they do matters. I don't care. After the grounding or items has been returned he repeats the same behaviour over and over. Even is the punishment gets worse. It is like he does not learn. We ask "Don't you think about punishment" before you do something. He says "sometimes". When we ask further he feels it is worth the risk because he might not get caught.

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Your SS could be feeling emotionally neglected. If he doesn't care about being punished, it sounds like he had the "any attention is good attention" syndrome. Just a thought. Also, he has been abandoned by his mother, so there is a ton of baggage in that room. You need to step carefully.
A lot of what he's doing is normal teenage boy stuff. I have 2 SS's in the same age range. The one that lives with us is a great kid, but had some problems along the way with some of the same issues. He also has only 1 friend, and basically looks to his father and I for companionship.
On homework, you need to let it go. Let him suffer the consequences of his (in)actions. Let him know that you are no longer going to babysit him with homework. He can fail or succeed on his own steam. That's what we did, and it worked well. My SS is now earning honors. You may want to give it a try when school starts up again.
With the disrespect, is he mouthing off to you? Can you specify? There are different ways to handle different situations that you are facing.
Moreover, if you and DH are not on the same page, then things won't improve for anyone. (you already know this)They call it divide and conquer. You may need to make some compromises with DH in order for him to step up on some of your issues.

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Big part of your frustration is with DH. You feel like you're doing it alone don't you? And no one is listening to you. I feel like I'm talking to the walls when it comes to my SD's. DH thinks he has no say because BM pretty much made that clear to him from day one and that's why he divorced her. Even when SS is gone in a few years, do you not think you will still be harboring resentment towards DH's lack of parenting and throwing in the towel. It's also a matter of respect for you that your DH back you up in discipling HIS son.

I hope that your SS grows up one day and appreciates all your efforts. At 15, that's not likely to happen right now. Most teenagers have horrible attitudes and think the world owes them something. Maybe when he grows up, he'll see the light? You'll never know till it happens, if it does.

My 17 yoa SD is a classic example of a lazy, lying, stealing, doesn't give a crap about anything but her hair teenager who also doesn't seem to care about consequences. I feel your frustration. SD does everything (except her hair and makeup) half-a--ed. She won't bathe regulary, if you ask her to clean something you have to make her do it again and sometimes again after that. She also never apologizes for anything. Doesn't give a crap about school, etc. Even getting kicked out of school for 2 months didn't do anything to change her behavior, it got worse.

She lives with BM and we have them EOW and 1/2 summers. BM has no rules in her home and hardly any consequences for bad behavior. That makes us having them follow our rules that much harder. Good thing DH is a marine and takes crap from no one. They really listen to him, listening to me though is another matter.

I am a broken record with 17 yoa SD, always telling her how important an education is, how life is going to bite her in the butt if she doesn't change, etc. All I can hope for is that when and if she grows up, my broken record words will play in her head and she'll finally get it. I wasn't nearly as bad as she was at her age but my parents words went in one ear and out the other, or so I thought. Once I finally grew up and was on my own, I had the foundation of right and wrong in my head to pull from when I needed it. But it took me a while. My mom was so frustrated with me and almost gave up and I'm glad she didn't.

My DH has almost given up on her since BM calls the shots and he can't stand to have any confrontation with BM since it gets him nowhere at all. All we can do is impart our rules and knowledge when they are here and hope one day she grows up.

Hang in there and try to get DH to back you up or get some counseling. Best of luck.

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Hi there. I have many of the issues you describe. I've been there, done that. My "misunderstood" stepson lived w/ us the last year or more of high school, then again on all college breaks. He was an outstanding student, but felt a huge sense of entitlement - wanted the best cars, big boy toys, etc, but just couldn't get himself up before 3pm to work in our office to get them. It got worse through the years. We agreed we'd get him a car IF he worked for us, setting up computers, filing, etc. Well, he showed up exactly twice - but DH snuck out at the end of the summer and bought him a car anyway. Sheesh. I could have died. SS is now 26, dropped out of college (or failed out) and hasn't spoken to us in years. DH still pays for the car (we recently repo'd it to us, but can't sell it in the condition it is...) and the cell phone. The kid/man has not spoken a word to us in years. Don't know why he's so angry, other than that he's gay, not that that defines him to us or that we aren't supportive. But, in college and in life, things weren't handed to him and he chose not to work for anything.

Fast forward to last Thanksgiving. DH springs it on me that his adult (24) DD is moving in for 3-4 mos. Well, she's still here and while she does have a good job, continues to hand over every bill to DH despite our financial troubles right now due to an office fire in '05 which has hurt our business, etc.

I dragged my DH to counseling and the counselor told him that he had to be honest w/ me, discuss any major purchases w/ me, and had no business moving his dd in our home w/o discussing it w/ me TO A CONCLUSION.

But, the counselor told me that my anger towards my DH is misguided and that I should hold the steps responsible for their own actions, lack of ambition and responsibility (SS is shafting me on a student I cosigned for him), and demand respect for myself. I've been in their lives for 10 years and the early going was ROUGH. But, I tried to be 'cool' about stuff, not making a mountain out of a mole hill, etc. What I did was allow myself to be mistreated, etc.

So, don't allow yourself to be mistreated, but do understand that the teenage years are crazy. Kids' hormones make them better suited for late nights and no early mornings. But, society doesn't quite keep that schedule.

I think you ought to consider some sort of reward chart. Is there ANYTHING he likes that you can help him focus on? Even something along entertainment (amusement park, water park, movies, games?) and demand that he get his odd jobs back in line and do them to the best of his ability. Then you'll reward him w/ whatever. Also, make him accountable for his own stuff - laundry, some meals, etc. And, no loafing around.

I've also raised my dear nephews, now all teens and I've seen a lot of the laziness you've described and don't know how to get past it.

Another approach might be to ask for his help. Maybe if you approach it as you needing him, he'll feel better about himself and step up a bit. My dad did this w/ my DNephews and they managed to paint a small rental house we have in a weekend. They felt so proud when it was all done. Appeal to this side of him and you may be surprised.

I understand your animosity and I went through it w/ my SS and now to a lesser degree, his sister. Like you, I "thought" things would be great w/ my husband and I after we were done paying for college...little did I know what was ahead of me. I have a lot of resentment towards my husband over the way he goes behind my back and won't be a united front w/ me. He is always manipulated by the adult kids. So, don't think your troubles end in 3 years. Many of us here have 'adult' stepkids mooching off us, husbands promising it will all end 'soon', etc.

Good luck and feel free to vent here. We need a place to get it all out so we don't go crazy!


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Ok...I don't have teenagers (yet!) and after reading this I might lock them in closets between 13 & 18 (just kidding *LOL*) but truthfully. I've worked with teenagers and agree that some of this is just where they are emotionally (if you remember - it was an awkward time!), some of this is his issues with his parenting (mom leaving, dad making little to no effort), part of this is his testing your love for him. (Ever read the children's book "mama do you love me?" it is all about that test of love for children.) But part of me thinks that you have allowed a level of disrespect from him in the past 4 years and still given him things that please him. Children have the ability to change their behavior parent-according. Like Alstep's SK knowing that dad is a marine who would never tolerate such behavior. I'm strict so my SS(s) pull less with me than with other parental figures (BM, Grandparents...etc.) It is hard to correct behavior that probably should have been nipped in the bud years ago but I would still try. I agree with all the previous posts in that aspect. He is not a lost cause.

Most importantly, however, is exactly what others have said. Your DH needs to step up and instead of thinking "this is magically going to change when SS leaves" you need to be thinking "this needs to change now." This is not going to sound very nice but DH's "let you deal it" attitude is a form of disrespect as well. After all - this is HIS biological child - it is MORE his problem than yours (that is not to say that you didn't sign-on as a mom when you married a full custodial parent but I really feel like DH was burnt out on being a dad so when you came into the picture he used you as his vacation from parenting.) I've seen this behavior before. Knowing that you will step up and do what needs to be done has taken a weight off of him (and unjustly put it on you!) And you have allowed it (while secretly brewing resentment and frustration for the past 4 years since you unknowingly volunteered to be a single parent in a marriage.) You need to talk to DH and let him know that parenting needs to be a SHARED adventure (which is sometimes a shared headache!) You may see better results with a counselor because things that are "objective" coming from a third party are "personal" coming from your spouse. Although you have put all of this stress and frustration on your SS ("I hate him"), it is not REALLY about him or his behaviors. It is about the fact that you feel alone in a no-win situation and would like a little help from the other parent in your home. You, and every parent on the planet (biological, step or adoptive) needs respite! Respite can come in the form of what I call "daddy duty" when I just NEED to sleep in, be alone in a store, or have a "girls night out" (we've obviously got littler ones.) It is joint-parenting. I'm very fortunate that my DH and I agree on discipline and that he is very intuitive to my needs. He seems to know when I'm being pushed to the brink and he steps up to relieve me saying "I've got it this time". You are lucky that you are married (I don't know how single parents do it!) You need to UNITE with your spouse and decide how you are going to handle this situation TOGETHER. It is not fair that you probably feel like a single mom who never even gave birth. (My DH is great but I've felt that way myself. Luckily, when I voiced it, he was receptive to it but he wasn't always as instinctive as he is now!) You MAY be frustrated with your SS's behavior but he is NOT the center of this problem. And won't it suck when he leaves in three years and the problem doesn't go with him!

Has dad ever given him just dad-son time? It seems to me that this boy is crying out to be acknowledged by his father. He is becoming a man and wants to know how. Your DH needs to show you more respect by stepping up to his responsibilities as an example to his son. If Dad doesn't take on responsibility and doesn't show you respect, why should he? SS could also be anticipating the destruction of a marriage here (he doesn't need to know that you don't make love to know something isn't right!) Maybe your DH could discuss having a weekend fishing trip (or something) with just he and SS but that SS has to earn it by following the rules, doing his homework, and being respectful. There HAS to be something that SS does "care" about. Has DH ever sat down and talked to SS about what he is so down about? Can you level with him at all?

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