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My Stepson

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My ss is 17. I’ve been in his life since age 6. He has always lied and been spiteful. Since I met his mom, he was constantly getting in trouble at school and barely made it thru each year. Now he has school online and only goes in a couple days a week and he’s getting all F’s. His mom has always had a hard time calling him out but I haven’t. The lying has never stopped. He just got better at it. He learned how to lie with sincerity.

I’m a musician and I thought it was something we shared but he’s always been competitive about it. I don’t want to compete with him. It broke my heart when I realized he had been lying about his music a few years ago and was downloading other people’s beats to his YouTube page. After I started recording him last year he made fake SoundCloud accounts to increase his numbers. We called him out. He still does it. I regret recording him. I won’t be doing it anymore because I feel like it gives him a bigger platform to lie. That breaks my heart too.

After being stern with him about being able to take the bus and train instead of manipulating his mom into doing stuff for him, he stopped communicating the same way with me. He took the initiative to get a job but was fired after making negative comments to a female co-worker and she called corporate when he posted the situation on snap chat. This lying thing is completely foreign to me. Of course, I’ve lied but he’s also manipulative, disruptive and catty. I never thought he would grow to be this way. I thought he’d eventually learn lessons as I had. As all kids do but he acts like a criminal. I don’t know how to warn him any more than I have.

He has younger friends and he manipulates them. I saw a video of him talking negative to a friend of his who is homeschooled and he just took it from him. I think he may be a bully or a predator who preys on people he considers weaker than him. He’s a handsome kid but he gets on girl’s nerves. That’s why he’s still a virgin. I’m not mad at that because he’s still so childish. I don’t see him handling anything responsibly. I’m just ready for him to move out so he can lie in the real world and learn the hard way like he must be destined to do. I’ve seen glimpses of him changing but it’s never happened. It’s sad to me that I don’t like him as a person. I used to but he makes it impossible. I look forward to loving him from a distance one day. That’s hard to say but it’s true.

My Stepson

Answered by on -


I didn’t see a question in here, but I am assuming you are asking if anything can be done. It is doubtful that any real change is going to take place without some significant therapy. More often than not someone systematically lying, manipulating, unable to hold a job, and unable to have any intimate relationships needs a residential placement to get the structure needed to make necessary changes.

At 17 years old the clock is ticking and it is time for you and your partner to talk about what comes next. Him staying at home isn’t likely to go well, and a plan is needed to have him get the help he needs. Although it is not clear from your explanation I would want to know if the biological father involved. Perhaps he needs to be if it is legally possible, relevant, and psychologically sound. Almost always this is a question a therapist would ask in such a situation.

Unfortunately, more often than not, things tend to get worse during the transition time at the end of high school. If there is any way possible you may want to check out a partial hospitalization program in your area to see what services they recommend. You may also want to talk to the guidance counselor at his high school. Even though he in school online they may be able to help with referrals and brainstorm with you about a plan for him.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

My Stepson

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Stepson. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Dec 2018 (Originally: 21 Dec 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 19 Dec 2018
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