Dear Sue Ellen,
I got remarried last year and my 12-year-old stepson moved in with us a month ago. He is a total brat when he’s with me and acts angelic when he is with his dad. I tried to talk to my husband about it but he doesn’t believe me when I explain how his son behaves when nobody else is around. What should I do?
You are in a very difficult situation. Did you know what you were getting into when you married your new husband? Never mind; it’s too late to undo things. The easy answer is to get family counseling, but I know it’s not likely for you because your husband is in denial.
The best of blended families deal with daily stress in their lives. Research shows that children growing up in blended families are at a much greater risk for abuse than children that grow up with their birth parents. But in your case, it sounds like you could be the one at risk for abuse. To resolve this will take time and cooperation between the three of you. This kind of situation can destroy families. Are you willing to commit to building a relationship with your stepson?
This 12-year-old in your home is still just a little boy and you are a new parental unit in his life. Do you love him? If the answer is yes, then there is hope. Even if you don’t especially like or love him right now, there is still hope if you are willing to open your heart to a confused child, even when he is being a brat.
Would it be possible to sit down with your husband and stepson together and express your concerns? You could come from the point of view that you want your new family to get along. Ask them if they have any suggestions for ways to make it better between you. I hope things work out for you.
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