It's so tough being a stepdad

I'm having a difficult time right now. I'm with the most wonderful woman in the world, who happens to have 2 boys (6 and 11) who drive me nuts. We have 50/50 custody, so they live here every other week. The 11 year old is most likely slightly Asperger's and the 6 year old is just a piece of work. He lies, is needy, bossy, moody, rebellious, selfish, ultra-hyper, devious, manipulative and just a general pain in the ass every day without fail. I love them, but I can't bring myself to like the 6 year old. We are exact opposites. He demands constant attention and can't do anything without pestering someone else, and his brother doesn't play with him much because of the age difference and the fact that they are nothing alike. The 11 year old is a good kid, but asks the same questions over and over and over, and gets bent out of shape over everything. He takes it upon himself to be the booger police practically every day, no matter how many times we tell him not to. It's maddening because although he's extremely bright, he never learns his lessons. We tell him things on a daily basis and he never learns. I've worked very hard to create a system and to enforce discipline, particularly on the bratty and devious 6 year old. The problem is that it wears me out. I'm sick of having to constantly yell at the kid. He's exhausting and it makes me feel like I'm getting a raw deal. I know it's a package deal but this package is worse than average.

On top of this, my wife gets upset and cries every time they leave and mopes all week when they're not here, so I can't win. When they're here, I'm miserable. When they're gone, she's miserable. She knows that I need a break from them and that I can only take so much of the 6 year old, so she feels somewhat guilty about the moping. Also, she feels the need to spoil them all the time because she's competing for the boys' affection. Their bio dad (or should I say his hypochondriac wife, who runs the show while he's always working or going to the gym) flakes out and we're usually stuck having the kids more. Sometimes they act like wimps and I try to toughen them up. For instance, we went swimming and they cried getting out of the water because it was "cold". It was 90 something degrees outside. I've made it a point to make them walk and get the towels instead of being babied and wrapped in the towels immediate upon exiting the pool. She cuts and files their nails and they love it. I don't think it's natural for a boy to enjoy such things... Am I wrong? Their bio dad hates sports, so I watch and play sports with them when they're here. The 6 year old has a natural propensity for athletics, so I'm worried that his dad will s**** that up for him.

The bottom line is that I will stick it out because I love her so much, but it's a major pain in the ass sometimes.

I can't say I really like the 6 year old. I love him, help take of him, enforce discipline, play with him, protect him etc because it's my duty, but it's impossible for me to like him at the moment. He knows that I don't give in to whining. Unfortunately someone does or he wouldn't be the brat that he is today. Or perhaps he just has some s***** genes from his dad... Sorry to ramble on and for my probable misuse of paragraphs.


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  • Cyanide + grape Flavor Aid. Works every time.

  • The 6 year old sounds like he's just acting out because of the situation. Being shuttled is probably pretty h****** him and he is probably testing everyone. The key may be to not to give into every little whine or whim and for all adults to have the same rules in both household and hold firm to them. Structure, maybe some age appropriate chores is what's needed.

    Give yourself a break, you sound like you're doing a really great job. Maybe you're way to bond with the 6 year old is to encourage the sports thing. Throw the ball around or whatever..Just think when this kid is in high school on some varsity team, he'll have you to thank. Seems like a long time away...but maybe it's something to look forward to. Plus exercise for kids is a good thing. Help him work out that frustration he's feeling. Maybe even talk with him..6 year olds can be quite insightful and open when they want to be.

    At least you're proactive and setting boundaries. The kids will respect that. Take some deep breaths and know you're doing the best. The nail thing..not that big of a deal. Now a days, I see lots of little girls and boys getting their own mani/pedis alongside their moms. Probably because they spend so much more time with mom..

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