Question: Dear Luise: I am so heartbroken. My stepson is 14. He lives with us and has no contact with his birth mom. I have completely opened my heart to him and tried so hard to mother him and he is so disrespectful to me. It tears my heart out. I have done all I know to do to. He deliberately tries to do things to hurt me. The sad thing is I do not allow this behavior from my 3 girls but although I have tried to break him of this behavior, it just gets worse with him the harder I try. The more I lay my heart out, the more it gets walked on. Please help me. What can I do to stop his mean spiritedness toward me? I am waiting on God. Kaye
Answer: Dear Kaye: You sound like you are definitely between a rock and a hard place with your stepson. You haven’t mentioned how his dad is coping with this, or even if he is aware of it. You need to approach it as a team.
This issue probably isn’t going to resolve itself. The measures you have taken have had the opposite result of what you had hoped for. As you know, being 14 can often be a very difficult age even when all is seemingly well at home and at school.
Talk with your husband about seeing a therapist to help his son. Has he watched him in action? What does he say and do to support you? You may meet with resistance in your husband when you suggest outside help but it’s worth a try. Even if he agrees, his son may not cooperate. This is truly serious.
Keep on letting the boy know that you care and keep on setting limits. He may be dealing with how he feels about you “replacing” his mother, or he may feel jealous of your daughters. Who knows what’s going on? He may not even know himself.
Depending on their ages, you also may need to let your daughters express how they feel about the double standard you have allowed to surface. Trouble may show up with them, if it hasn’t already.
It’s time for solidarity and action. And, yes, a lot of prayers are needed, too. Blessings, Luise