Parenting Stepchildren/stepdad and son


My husband and I have been married since my 16 year old son was 3. We also have a 10 year old son together. My husband is a great father to both the boys as a teacher, leader and provider. My husband and 16 year old have been close, but not close. My son feels like nothing he ever does is satisfactory. He is a great kid that everyone loves, but feels like his stepdad doesn't love him. He said tonight that he could be the funniest person on earth and his stepdad would look at him like his joke is stupid. Now, my husband is the varsity basketball coach and my son is on his team. This is very stressful for my husband and i think he is scared that he will do something wrong and the whole family will blame him. My husband feels like my son has an attitude and my son doesn't realize it (or is lying to me) I am very confused. Should i just let them work this out between themselves, or should i try to make my husband understand how my son feels?  Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!


I was very tough with one of my stepdaughters.  How did this work out?  Over time our relationship has changed.  She has matured and I realized that I need to be more supportive of her.  What my wife did not realize was that my step daughter and I saw traits in each other that we reacted to, as they were reflections of traits that we did not like within ourselves.  

As a mother your natural instinct is to protect your son even if you know his behaviour is poor.  I am not suggesting that this is the case, but just be aware that we parents do that.  We may overlook certain behaviours, or defend them from your spouse - the step parent.

As a step parent we see our stepchildren's behaviour differently from the bio-parent, and we tend to be a little more stern or want to correct their behaviour more than the bio parent.

Many of the fights my wife and I had were over this very issue.  

What can you do.  I feel open communication is the best way to find solutions to issues.  Ask your husband to meet with you to discuss your family.  In a non-confrontational way let him know that you are concerned about the relationship between the two of them.  Explain that your son fells that he (your husband) does not love him, and that you understand that your husband feels that your son has an attitude.  Then ask him if you can talk together about how to overcome this situation.  If you make having a parent meeting on a regular basis a habit, then you can get into a habit of being proactive.

The next thing to do is to have a family meeting where you all get together to discuss what is important to each of you living together as a family.  Keep the meeting open, welcoming respectful and most important fun.  Talk about the responsibilities of being in a family, that everyone needs to work together and that their are boundaries to behaviour that all of you must follow to ensure a happy family life.  We have developed a very successful weekly family meeting format that we can provide for free. Let me know and I can direct you to it.

Also, if you go to our blog you can find an article about The Circle of Responsibility.

The Circle of Responsibility really helps to get everyone taking responsibility for their own thoughts feeling and actions.

If you want the Family Meeting format or need more help just let me know.


Parenting Stepchildren

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Rick Olson


As a stepparent of 4 children and a family coach, I can answer questions about the issues that arise in step-parenting including discipline,blended families, boundaries and guidelines.


I have 18 years as a stepfather, and over three years as a family coach focusing on unifying, strengthening and empowering families.

My wife and I have written 2 books on Family FUSE Your Family - Family: Unify Strengthen Empower! and Raising Families

BA(Recreation Administration) Grad Studies in Urban and Regional Planning and Design Certified as a LifeSuccess Consultant/Coach

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