My stepson is 10 years old and my step daughter is 4. The girl and I are very close, she receives discipline for anything she does wrong though. By me and/or her father. The boy on the other hand hates me. He always askes why I am here, that things were better before I came around. Well now I feel like that. What am I here for to be hated? The boy has been in trouble at school and at home. He hits things, he yells, talks back, talks very hateful to everyone including his sister. He constantly puts up a fight for everything. Taking a bath and getting him in the bed takes nearly 4-5 hours. It is ridiculous. He talks so horrible to me it makes me cry. The father and I constantly fight because he doesn’t discipline him but he does the girl. I am at the end of my wits. Every day is miserable. The mother too is fed up and doesn’t even want to see him because he acts so horrible. I can’t even take him to a store. I try to discipline him but his dad lets him off and soon as he gets home. This makes the stepson hate me worse. What can I do? How can I discipline him or talk to the dad? I am just ready to leave. I love kids, but this drives me crazy. I need him to be disciplined as equally as his sister is. How can I make this happen? Please help me! (The boy sees a psychologist and there is nothing wrong with him but ODD thats not treatable with medicine)

A: I don’t know why your husband is helping his son make the women in his life miserable. Perhaps he feels that men should be able to do what they want. Maybe he is letting the boy fight his battles for him. Or maybe he is overwhelmed by the idea of raising a son so has abdicated all responsiblity. Whatever his reasons, if he doesn’t make some changes, your husband could end up with a second divorce, children who don’t like each other very much, and a son in trouble with school and maybe the law. You are only 18 and have a stepson who is more than half your age! This marriage will only work if you and your husband have the same requirements for the children, icluding requiring respect for your authority as one of the adults in the family.

As hard as things are with the boy, your real problem is with your husband. Fighting with him about disciplining his son is a major distraction from the main issue which is the lack of partnership in the marriage. You and your husband should be working on how to be a team and how to make a healthy household in which to raise these children. Drop the fight about discipline for now and focus instead on how the two of you are going to work together to make a family. If your husband isn’t willing to do this, it may be that he wasn’t ready to remarry. In that case, you will both have some hard decisions to make.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie