My husband is jealous of his son's relationship with his stepdad.

simmj71

Please help! I have a 6 year old stepson whose mother has primary custody. So, he and his 2 year old sister are only with my huband and me every other weekend. Lately my husband has been very jealous of the relationship his son has formed with his stepfather. Although he appreciates that he obviously cares about him, it is causing some problems emotionally for my husband. Last week he went to open house at his son's school and his son was very clingy with his stepfather. He said that his son showed him his classroom but didn't spend much more time with him. His ex-wife's husband had to actually tell him to go see his dad (my husband) and tell him good-bye, etc. Then last night, my stepson was taken to the ER for an injury he got while riding his bike. He turned out to be fine but my husband was very upset when he got home because his son was clinging to his stepfather. My husband wants to have a talk with his son about this and I have very firmly tried to talk him out of it. I succeded in stopping him from saying anything the first time but now he won't listen. What do you all think??

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imamommy

What is he going to tell a six year old? "You have to love me more, I'm your real dad"? I completely understand how your husband feels, but his son is lucky to have a stepfather that he likes and has a good relationship with. Why does he want to put a wedge in that? Because HIS feelings are being hurt? What about his son's feelings?

I'd ask your husband, "what are you trying to accomplish?" Perhaps a better solution is for your husband to be more involved in his son's day to day life. Does he call regularly to ask how his son's day was, what he did in school, tell him he loves him, is thinking about him and goodnight? Is it possible for him to take his son out to dinner once or twice during the week? Maybe spend some time at his school, helping in the class or having lunch with him? He should be working on his own relationship with his son, not worrying about his son's relationship with someone else.

No parent wants their child to prefer a step parent, but the child lives with his mom and step dad. His step dad is there to tuck him into bed, watch TV, help with homework, & is there when he gets hurt. Your husband might get better results too, if he tries talking to his ex & her husband. Is his ex promoting their son to treat stepdad like he's 'dad'? or is she supportive of his relationship with his real dad? But, I think making a six year old feel bad about feelings he has toward someone that he cares about and that cares about him, is a mistake. There really is no way to tell a child anything without making him feel he is doing something wrong by loving his stepdad. (unless someone else can think of a way)

If he were to succeed in getting his son to be less affectionate toward stepdad, what does that do to the child/stepdad relationship? Will dad be happier when his son is complaining about stepdad? That his son's home life isn't happy? There are too many kids that don't get along with a custodial step parent, why would a parent want that for their child?

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deborah_ps

Well said imamommy!
What is he going to tell a six year old? "You have to love me more, I'm your real dad"? I completely understand how your husband feels, but his son is lucky to have a stepfather that he likes and has a good relationship with. Why does he want to put a wedge in that? Because HIS feelings are being hurt? What about his son's feelings?

Simmj, please share some of the wise advice you'll be receiving here with your husband...as in read what others have to say to him if you can. Read word for word what imamommy wrote, because that is the crux of the matter.

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kkny

I think if your DH says to his son, listen I am sorry I wasnt there and I can comfort you and I love you just as much it cant hurt. DH shouldnt focus on the relationship with SF and his son, but rahter on his relationship.

Also -- why was SF at the open house? At the open houses where I live, children are not invited. Why was son there? But back to SF, does he have children there? No one else will agree with me, but I think school relations are for parents, and unless a parent is absent -- which it doesnt sound like your dh is, SF shouldnt be there. If he is there, he should go to his own kids classes. I would suggest dh call X and discuss this, and try to work something out.

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doodleboo

KKNY-

I go to all the girls school functions because mom isn't involved and even if she decided to get involved I would not just stop supporting the girls. I am not just going to sit in the "mommy seat" because I have to untill she wakes up and then bow out when she decides to step up. Not going to happen. I was at their open house, there first day of school, their fall festival and their book fair. I also attended parent conferences to support Jonathan. I will continue to do so even if Amanda suddenly decides to become mother of the year. The girls would wonder why I all of the sudden stopped showing up if I did.

I think the parents only dealing with health and school issues is a petty battle. It isn't like the info is confidential. The Step Parent is going to know everything going on with the child regardless for heavens sake. They LIVE with the kid so what is attending a school function going to matter?

Why must there be room for only bio parents? There isn't a limit on how many parents per child can attend an open house (there isn't a law either) and it isn't like the child isn't capable of wanting ALL parents to attend. The girls would be upset if I didn't go even if their mother WAS going to be there. Jonathan also would not go if it meant he had to be alone with his EX. He can't be around her without me at all because she is sneaky and she lies alot and he doesn't trust her to not stir up BS.

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imamommy

Even if the kid DOESN'T live with them, the stepparent lives with the bio parent. They talk & in a healthy relationship, the parent wants the step parent to have a good relationship with their child, so they share information.

Back to school night was for parents only, open house is usually in mid school year, kids get to show parents what they've been doing. Even so, kids are happier when they have more people there to show love & support. It really isn't about the parents, it's about the kids and if the kids want the stepparent involved, the bio parents need to suck it up. Kids only want to be loved & happy, they don't care if it's mom, dad, step mom, step dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents.. the neighbor lady/man. They just want people to get along!

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simmj71

imamommy, I completely agree with you. I have said all that and more to my husband. He seems to be very driven by his feelings on this one and I don't know what else to say. He is angry with me because he doesn't feel like I am supporting him on this and I won't help him talk to his son.

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Vivian Kaufman

All the kids go to the open houses around here. And yes, I have most assuredly gone to open houses to meet teachers and see what my kids have been up to; however, I do not have input into how their education is handled. Their BM takes care of that as she is a schoolteacher and "knows" all of their teachers, whatever that means.

Anyway, my DH goes through this same thing, although now that our kids are older, it isn't what it once was. The kids are no longer as close to their stepfather as they once were.

I always told DH that it was on him to improve his relationship with his kids, not get in the way of the one that they had with their SF, but he never would grow a spine. They understand now, but what's done is done. DH can't get those years back.

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sweeby

Simmj71 - My son's StepMother could have written your post a dozen years ago about my son and his StepFather. They were so close! My husband is a wonderful father who adores children. He coached DS's soccer team, led Cub Scouts, played with DS in the yard, threw baseballs with him, built stuff in the garage together...

But then Dad got jealous and tried to reclaim his 'rightful place.' His strategy? 1) Say bad things about StepDad - That he's hairy, scary, stupid and mean. 2) Play on guilt - How much Daddy misses DS and how sad he is whenever DS isn't with him. And never miss and opportunity to say "I love you more." (More than who?) 3) Bribery - Every visit with Dad includes a trip to the toy store and all of the junk food a kid can eat. And never, ever say that dreaded 'No' word. 4) Highlight the 'Real Daddy' angle, and make it crystal clear that nobody else can love DS like 'Real Daddy' does. I may have missed a few, but I'm sure you get the idea...

And you know what? After about a year, it worked and then Dad was happy again. But DS wasn't so happy anymore, and poor StepDad was hurt and angry and feeling unloved and rejected. So he stopped playing baseball and soccer with DS, and he stopped going to back-to-school night and coaching Cub Scouts once Dad made a stink about it. He became less 'cuddly' and parental with DS and DS stopped hugging StepDad and didn't know what to call him anymore because 'Dad' had made it clear that 'Daddy' was NOT an option. And so now DS has a 'cordial but distant' relationship to the man who used to enthusiastically be "my other Daddy!"

Yeah, BioDad may have "won" -- but DS lost.

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finedreams

kkny, kids go to open houses and they all show up at conferences in our district. I am talking about any level: elementary as well as secondary. At DD's school students weren't invited and I didn't see one student at parent-teacher coferences or open houses.

Now I agree with KKNY about the open house. doodle, mom is not in the picture. so of course you are the one to attend. But OP's DH wants to be involved as much as possible, he is in the pciture. He should be the one to attend as a father.

I think that dad should not say anything to his son but he needs to make sure he spends quality time wiht his son and that he is there for him.

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ashley1979

As far as open houses go, everyone in a family is allowed to go. Grandparents, aunts, cousins, whatever. It's a chance for the kids to show off things that they've done at school. When my DS has open house, we roll in with a posse! There's probably 10 of us that go. Even X's GF and FDH. Isn't that why it's called OPEN house?

As far as the jealousy thing, we have experienced that as well. But I would caution your husband on saying anything. These things can go to the extreme. He may want the son to give him more attention, but that could turn into alienating the SF, whom he lives with, and cause an uncomfortable situation in the home where his son is most of the time.

Those feelings of jealousy will pass. I wonder if his jealousy isn't really more of an insecurity at the fact that he doesn't live with his kids anymore. I was jealous of X's GF. But what really makes me jealous is not necessarily what SHE does, but more of my own feelings of insecurity. She gets to have him for all the fun times and I have him when things have to be serious and organized. That's my own insecurity because I'd rather be spending time with him instead of the 12 hours I'm away from him at work. But I know that he's well cared for while he's there and he's happy. She's young and fun and has no kids so she plays with him as if she's his age. And I think that's very special......now lol!

Not to mention, he is only 6. Still VERY young. He loves everyone that loves him. There's nothing wrong with that. And what's wrong with SF loving the children? Isn't it that the more people that love the children then better? I can't imagine that anyone would want a person living in a home with their child to not love their kid. What a miserable home that would be!

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Charles

Im in a similar situation and trying to find peace in accepting it.

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