From a teen in the U.S: I’m extremely uncomfortable around my step father. I’m young,13. so i’m not sure if this is just me being dumb, but I am really uncomfortable and feel really anxious around my step father. I’ve overheard my mother and his arguments, and they are apparently fighting because he cheated with multiple women, and because he’s acting like a child.
I am aware that he’s very sexual, but he makes advances towards me and my female friends, then just laughs them off like nothing happened. He plays with my siblings and I by tickling us, but when he does it to me, the first place he gropes is between my thighs and sometimes directly on my genitalia. I don’t wear my swimsuit when he’s around because he usually stares at my chest or butt. He once in appropriately touched one of my female friends, and while he said afterwards that it was a “Slip-up” she distinctly remembers that he intentionally put his hand there.
I feel really uncomfortable and scared around him, and think my mother should divorce him, but I’m scared that she’ll tell him if I bring it up to her. What do I do?
I am so glad you wrote. You may be young but you know, as well as anyone older would, what is inappropriate and threatening behavior. What he is doing is a big deal. It is no laughing matter. Intentional behavior is not a “slip.” His “tickling” is abuse. Being “very sexual” is not an excuse for crossing boundaries with kids.
No kid should feel scared and unsafe in her own home. No kid should be worried about what her stepdad will do next.
Since you don’t quite trust your mother to do what she should, please, please talk to your school guidance counselor or a teacher you trust right away. Ask them to meet with you and your mom to support both of you and to help your mom understand what she needs to do in this situation. Your stepdad needs to leave. Hopefully, knowing what you have been going through will tip the balance so that your mom can decide to get this cheating abusive guy out of the house and out of all or your lives before something worse than “tickling” happens.
Trust your instincts and good sense. This situation isn’t good for anyone.
I wish you well.
Should I Report My Stepfather?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Should I Report My Stepfather?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 12, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/08/30/should-i-report-my-stepfather/
Last updated: 30 Aug 2019 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 30 Aug 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.