Question: Dear Luise: I have 3 children, the oldest is my daughter from a previous marriage, the middle is my stepson (who we have every other weekend), and the youngest is a daughter that my husband and I have together. My stepson won’t speak to me when he comes over. I can ask him to do something simple like open a door for me if I am carrying something heavy and he won’t do it. When I get on to him, I have to answer to my husband for it. And he doesn’t get in trouble…yet I do. Then he will stand there and smile while my husband is yelling at me. My stepson even prank called 911 five times in one day!!! And he didn’t get in trouble. The same thing is starting to happen with our 4 year old. Yet my husband treats the oldest as if she is a slave. We fight about this all the time and I end up getting things thrown at me or drinks poured on my head. It’s his way or no way and I am not allowed to stand up for the oldest daughter. Can you offer any advice to me? M.
Answer: Dear M. This is abuse. Do you realize that? Even your stepson is being damaged because he is being taught that cruelty and favoritism are OK. That misinformation is going to cause him and those around him grief in the future.
Being yelled at, especially in front of your children, and getting things thrown at you and drinks dumped on your head is accepting the behavior of an out-of-control, spoiled child disguised as an adult. Your stepson is already out of control and your four year-old will soon follow suit. There’s a whole lot of pathology going on that you and your eldest daughter are the brunt of. What is she learning that she will carry into her adult life?
Get help right away and get a plan going to pull your life and theirs out of this destructive pattern. Nothing good will ever come of it and a lot of serious damage is being done. Blessings, Luise