How do I deal with my step-father? (long, sorry)

hopelessJuly 20, 2006

Youre probably going to rip me a new one, because IÂm a step-kid, not a parent but IÂm going to post this here anyway. Becasue I have to talk to somebody.

IÂve got a problem with my stepfather, and I donÂt know how to deal with him. I was hoping somebody not involved might have an idea what I can do. IÂm sorry this is going to be long to explain. Sorry to bother you.

My mom married him 6 mo.s ago. He moved in with us with his son and daughter, which I thought would be the problem because our school is really clicky and heÂs on the football team and sheÂs really popular and IÂm not. Some of his friends had beaten up some of my friends although he wasnÂt involved in that. But it turned out okay. IÂve always said that labels are evil and the clicks are stupid and once we got to know each other, we got along fine. It even made school better, since his friends donÂt want to make him made at him by picking on us freaks. HeÂs 16, sheÂs 18 and IÂm 15.

My stepfather thinks that IÂm the anti-christ or something. I canÂt do anything right! I get yelled at for everything. Things that he ignores with them. TheyÂve even noticed it and defended me which is nice, but embarrassing. For example, he thought it was my music cranked up tonight and he was shreiking to turn it off. But when he found out it was my step-brotherÂs, then it was okay. Last week, my step-sister and her friends were smoking weed in her room and he smelled it and of course it was me not her. It gotten so whenever anything happens I expect to be blamed.

My mother has defended me too, mostly because heÂs always running down how I was raised and that was by her. They fight alot about me, and thatÂs always my falt too. WeÂre worried that theyÂll brake up. My step-sister says that he feels guilty about devorcing their mom, so he lets them get away with murder. I kind of like having a family. It was just my mom and me before. I donÂt think heÂd let me have any kind of contact or vitistiation or whatever if they get a devorce because he thinks IÂm a bad influence on his kids. HeÂs told my mom that. Anyway, he made my mom really happy before they got married and I want her to be happy.

IÂve got some peircings and I dye my hair, but my momÂs okay (not thilled) with that stuff, and my grades are better than either of his kids! IÂm straight-edge, but he wonÂt believe I donÂt do drugs. I donÂt want to change to way I look because I LIKE the way I look. And I think IÂve given up enough! I have to share my room with my stepbrother, gave away about half my stuff to make room for him and gave away my cat cause my stepsisterÂs allergic. It shouldnÂt matter what a person looks like cause you shouldnÂt judge by appearences. And I donÂt think itÂd make any difference anyway, because he says itÂs the way I act and I donÂt know how to change how I am. I donÂt think IÂm a bad guy. IÂm not rude. IÂm kind of quiet and I keep to myself alot. IÂm way more responsible than my steps! I am used to doing things for myself more, because my moms always worked. (I still do about half the housework.) ItÂs like he picks fights with me. He can get away with saying all kinds of rude things, like how the way I look disgusts him, that would never be exceptable for me to say! What can I do?! ItÂs like if I keep to myself and just read or work on the computer, IÂm sulking and if I hang out and joke around, IÂm being disrespectful.

Tonight he called me perverted and said nobody likes my behavior, because I was flirting with my stepsister. ItÂs a joke! I wasnÂt doing it in front of him, we didnÂt know he was in the kitchen. ItÂs just become a running joke with us, I donÂt even remember how it got started. ItÂs not for real. We do it cause my stepbrother (who IÂm much closer to) said it creeps him out, someone he thinks of like a brother flirting with his sister. So now we got to do it. I mean itÂs so exagerated no one could thing it was serious! She kicked my feet off the couch so she could put her feet up, and I told her not to kick me and she said sheÂd kick me if she wanted and I asked her if sheÂd wear high heels when did it. She laughed and step-brother went Âoh-god-eeuuÂ. End of story. Except my stepfather comes in and explodes!

Was this really wrong? Should I not talk to them like theyÂre friends? They ARE my friends by now. We were all just setting around watching tv, nobody had any problem until he came in. I sometimes think heÂs the least mature person in this house. What do I do? How do I handle him? Is he right, am I that bad? When I stand up to him, IÂm rebelling. If my mom does, sheÂs letting me walk all over her. If my steps do, IÂve corrupted them. How can I win? What do I do?

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You did not mention any conversations you have had with your mom about your cituation. It sounds like your mom does not have the influence over your step dad that you wish she had.

Ask your mom if she will give you some time when the two of you can be all alone--for an hour or so. She probably already knows how you feel, but ask her for some suggestions on how you can react to your step dad without him thinking you are disrespectful. This time that you spend with your mom--it's not a time to be explaining yourself so that she will feel sorry for you. That is not what you want. You want some answers. Look for answers!

You may not mean to be disrespectful, but you have to remember that your step dad is seeing you from his perspective, not yours.

If you use your imagination, you can come up with some ideas to help your step dad like you. If you keep reminding yourself that your step dad is an important person to your mom, to you, and to your step sister and brother--I'll bet that your behavier will show your values. I'm not saying that you should just act that way, I'm saying that you should start thinking that way.

Your step dad will have more respect for you if he sees that he is influencing you for the good. That is his job. Respect the man for wanting to do a good job. Give him the benefit of any doubts that you have.

When the two of you are getting to like each other, then perhaps you might be able to have some intimate talks. As you well know, we all have faults. Let your step dad have some faults. Be respectful no matter what. You will come out a winner--believe it!

1 Like    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 11:58PM
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I've been respectful. He puts me down all the time and I rarely say anything back. I honestly don't see him influncing me for the better at all. I'm used to being insulted and teased at school, it's just harder at home, you know?

I've tried being nice and he just accuses me of trying to suck up. Before school let out I talked to my guidence counciler and he said to find out what he likes to do and do that. He likes football and fishing. I tried playing football with him and my step-brother but I suck at it and he just called me p**** and f***** and sh** whenever I'd screw up. I tried watching it with him, but I don't like it and he just ignored me anyway. When I asked if I could go fishing with him, he just glared at me and didn't answer.

My mom is great. My steps like her too. She's NOT a pushover. She spends way more time wiht all 3 of us than he does. She's always bugging to get him to spend more time with us. She's been yelling all the things that I basically think so I'm pretty sure she knows. You know, when I think about what all he's been calling her, I'm not sure I want his influnce!

It's 12:30 and they've only just stopped fighting. I've been laying here crying and there's a jock on the bunk below me who once would have never let me live it down but is now one of my best friends but whos father would call me a p**** if he knew, and HE'D never let me live it down. Weird huh?

(appearntly this messageboard won't let you post with swears)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 12:51AM
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Have you told your mother that you would like counseling so that you can better handle the pain that you are feeling?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 8:22AM
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My stepfather thinks that Im the anti-christ or something. I cant do anything right! I get yelled at for everything. Things that he ignores with them.

Basically, he's got a double standard going and you resent it. I totally understand it. And he's not doing his biological kids any good either. Didn't he meet you before he married your mom? Did he have a fantasy where he shows up and suddenly you turn into Cathy Cheerleader because he's such a great step-dad?

My step-sister says that he feels guilty about devorcing their mom, so he lets them get away with murder.

Do you have an older relative - an aunt or uncle - who could act as mediator for a discussion. Or ask your mom to get the WHOLE family into counseling so they can get back to being happy.

A counselor can ask the tough questions like "what can she do that will make you happy ... short of dropping dead, that is."


he just called me p**** and f***** and sh** whenever I'd screw up

If he EVER does this again, you are entitled to walk straight over to him and ask him, very calmly, "Does your brain know what your mouth just said? If you want me to attempt to share your interests, cussing me out and insulting me when I try is certainly not the way to encourage me!" Then turn around and walk off.

Just my guess ... he sees a girl with wierd-colored hair and a few studs hanging out of her body and has no clue how to treat her. There's a lot of media hype out there about the "misfits" and anybody with blue hair is a drugger and a sl*t. And your good grades are a slap in the face to his belief system ... You've gotta be doing SOMETHING wrong!

My opinion is that if you can't scare your parents with your hair and make-up, you need a new beautician! Hair grows out, and as long as you don't catch your nose-ring in a gym towel and end up with a ripped-open nostril ... piercings can cloe up of you decide you don't like them. Just don't pierce anything you need to use now or later (tongue, nipples and genitals are BAD things to lose ot infecitons or accidents).

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 1:01PM
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Hopeless...Your experience as a step kid are very valuable on this forum, and I want to encourage you participate on this forum regularly, because I think your view as a step kid is very important, and I am hoping that your words will help others on this forum to perhaps question their own behavior, and whether they are being fair to the step kids in their life.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 3:39PM
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In reference to what the previous poster suggested you say to your step dad, there is no doubt that if you talked to your step dad that way, he would certainly view your remarks as disrespectful--even if you calmly said those things. Just because something is true, doesn't mean you have to say it. If you and your step dad had the kind of relationship that you could talk honestly to him it would be different. Your goal is to have a good relationship with your step dad, not aggrevate an already bad relationship. No doubt your mother has already said those things to him and it did no good.

Consider this: When you like someone, you will think about the things you like about that person. The same is true when you don't like someone; you will notice those things you don't like about the person. I would say that your SD doesn't like you. You don't like him either.

For the time being:

Mind your own business

Keep the household rules

Stay out of other people's fights

If you have some ear phones, use them

If fooling around with your step sister annoys your SD, then don't do it

Ask your step brother to help you with football for 10 minutes a day. Just the two of you.

I don't know what you are doing or not doing that your mom and SD are fighting about--but don't give your SD anything to complain about. Even though you may do all in your power to listen to your SD, he may still find fault with you.

My suggestion is that you ask your mother to provide you with counseling so that you will get the help you need to deal with your feeling.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 4:14PM
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My name is Stacie, I'm with the Dr. Keith Ablow Show, a new daytime television show debuting in September. Dr. Ablow is a renowned psychiatrist who's goal is to advise, educate and inform, not to judge or sensationalize. The opposite of Dr.Phil's approach in every way. He's younger, approachable and genuinely interested in helping people strategize and take away tools for a healthier life. You may have seen Dr. Ablow on TV, he's a frequent guest on Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN, etc. as an expert. He was also a
practicing psychiatrist in Boston. To find out more about Dr. Keith please
I am looking to speak with stepmoms and stepdads about what their lives are like. Blending families can be difficult and in doing my research, I've come across many different issues. I was hoping that you would be willing to share your personal stories with me. You are, of course, under no obligation to come to our show. My toll free number is 1-888-372-2569 ext 4347 or email me at
I'm hoping to hear from you soon.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 6:44PM
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bump stasyweycee

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 7:35PM
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First thanks to everyone who posted sugestions. Thanks alot. It really helped to be able to rant to somebody. This is an update. Theres been a weird but good development, at least, I think its reassuring.

Once every other month or so, my steps do a solo weekend at their moms, so they can spend time alone with her. This weekend is my stepsisters. Apparantly she told her mother about the fight and her mother called mine. Mine told us (my stepbrother and me) that even if they get a divorce (she says their nowhere near that but if they did) she and my steps mom (you know, we need a word to discribe what the step-siblings parent, the one not marred to your parent, is) want us to stay in contact, even if we arent living together anymore. Which is one of the things thats been bothering me most, since itd be really lonely, I think, to go back to just my mom and me. She also said that Friday she called the hostpital (shes a nurse) and made an apointment with one of the clergy guys that volinteers there. Its for next Tuesday afternoon. He doesnt know yet. I guess my mom has already been talking to one of the greif councilers (whos a shrink of some kind) but thats a friend of hers, so she recomended this guy because hes neutral. I guess my steps mom told her that he was the same way with her and thats why he thinks that shes trying to mess up things between him and my mom.

Anyway, thats my news. Thanks for listening.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 7:56PM
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(like that name much better!!!)

That is good news. Great!
Best to you.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 8:55PM
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just read this thread, i dont come to this forum often. hope things are working out better for you. some people only see outside. you have described yourself as looking different "hair, piercings) on the outside. im guessing your steps fit the mold on the outside (football player, popular girl). im glad you can see your self-worth, keep your chin up. keep us informed.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 5:06PM
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Stefan -

You sound like a great guy (A little like my own 15 year old son.) - Hope you're still checking in here every now and then. It's really a good thing that you are aware of and can understand your feelings, even though they're not very happy ones. And it's very generous of you to care so much about your mom's happiness. I suspect you also have a pretty decent understanding of what's going on with your SD. Sounds like he wants "picture perfect, Stepford" children, and views anyone who's different as somehow threatening and 'defective'. Frankly, he also sounds very narrow-minded and like a bit of a bully. I'm sorry for that, and I know that makes things hard on you and your mom. Even on your step-sibs, though they sound like really decent kids.

I'm guessing the only people who could convince him that you're really a decent guy would be your step-sibs. When I was in high school, if a kid dressed a certain way, you pretty much knew he did drugs. Sounds like your SD has decided that the way you dress means you're on drugs. Only your sibs would be able to tell him what the 'current' dress code is for druggie-dom, and what your style of dress means in today's high schools. Would you consider offering to take a 'surprise' urine test? Embarassing, but it could help.

Anyway, I hope that you are getting counseling, and that you're able to talk openly with this counselor. What would be even better is if your mom and SD would go to the same counselor, and if that counselor could help your SD see what he's doing.

In the meantime, I agree with Brass Tacks about just staying out of his way. If you "can't do anything right" you can at least avoid doing anything wrong.

The other skill to perfect is a perfectly pleasant but neutral tone of voice - I'm very serious - so you can say "It's not me" when he yells at you for something one of your sibs did. Practice that tone of voice. Most often, it's the tone that sounds disrespectful, not so much the words. Practice that tone.

And good luck --

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 11:55PM
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I don't know buddy. I was also looking for an answer to why my so-called step-father treats me like an outsider. I remember the first time we met, January 2001. He married my mother in 1998, I only got to meet him in 2001. I offered a handshake and he ignored it. Though I was only 11 years old, I knew that he did not like me there and then. and then. I did not grow up with a father, in fact I don't even know what he looks like. I tried so many times in so many awkward ways to get along with him but most of the time just ignores me. We never spoke a lot.we just walk pass each other like we're strangers in a mall. Very very rare that we would speak most of the time when hes calling me a F****** stupid t**t/ c**t. and it still happens to this day.

I don't know if it's me coz sometime I THINK that maybe its just me... not him... the problem is ME... but then I think... NO.. it cant be, I have millions of friends. I get along with a lot of people. BUT HIM! I did great in school, very very good grades, I was never in any kind of trouble. I was friendly and I Know I have a great personality. I know all these good things about me coz i went through it over and over to figure out this answer... to this puzzle. He knew as well that even before he married my mother that my mother had a child.

was he expecting me to adjust to him, to try and get on with him?

I was an 11-year-old child, he was 36 for christ's sake, do u think I should have tried more or he should have tried more? I don't know what my mom thinks... They've fought over it over and over... he always denied he hated me... But it doesn't take a genius to figure that out. I was an a wise, intelligent, inquisitive child. I knew what 'hostile' meant when being practised.

I can't stand him. He taught me how to hate and I know I shouldn't. I did not do anything so bad to deserve that kind of hostility. he made my childhood and teenage years a living hell, in fear and feeling of being an outsider. I don't have a real family I can call my own my half brother, my mom and my mom's husband all share last names. And I don't know if I'm jealous coz it makes me feel like I just evolved out of nowhere!

I was never welcome as far as my feelings are concerned. Sometimes, I even wish that I wasn't born. I'm a strong person and always fight the self-pity feeling because I hate that feeling. So instead of self-pity I just ask, WHY? or Why me? Is there any purpose for this? Is it too late to try and turn this around? ok, maybe it is.

I wanna be a part of this family, though it seems my mother and my half-brother are the only members. I really want him to be friendly towards me.. afterall he's married to my mother and my mother loves him very much. Whether it's gonna happen or not, I will try not to care until that day happens.

You know what they say though,"You can choose your friends but not your relatives". But he chose my mother, which means he chose 'me and my mother'. Stupid ME thinking I can find a scientific explanation to step-family-hatred.

But you know what keeps me away from asking and feeling sh*t about this. Think about other worse family situations you see on the news. They include theft, rape and murder. I think about other problems, 'REAL' problems that other people have and then consider yourself lucky you're not in any of those situations. But I still cannot blame you for feeling like that. Because I understand.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 6:59AM
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JR, This guy is probably not around anymore, post from 2006, but I feel sorry for your pain....Maybe you can print this out and show it to your stepfather, what could you lose????? Reality does suck, the stepdad may be reminded of the man that came before your mom and had you...You sound like a super good kid, and pretty much haver it figured out already...I can tell by your post you have survival skills...You will be starting a new adult life soon, and maybe it wont matter so much to you anymore....There doesnt seem to be anything you can do to change this... Good luck.....

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 11:26PM
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well just keep your head up im going threw thee same thing but at least your mom hasnt turned on you yet like my mom has done to me i hate it just dont runaway like i have and done i have done things things thatmade my parents disown me that i regret doing will i do it again yes but only cause i aint got nobody to stop me from doing it again so just keep your head up and dont choose the rong path choose the right one and you will be thankful and in return you and your step loser might have a good relatioln in the near or distant future but i wont so stickin there which i should have done but i have time to change cause im only 13 but im chosingnot tooo dont do sumtn you will regret and lose all of your family

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 10:39PM
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hi my name is nicky i am 14 years old and i dont get along withmy stepdad what do i do?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Could you expand on "don't get along", please, Nicky? What do you do that seems to trigger anger in your stepdad? How does he react?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:00AM
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Hi there Nicky,

Is it something you see?
or hear?
or feel?
about/from your step-father?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:19PM
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Hi there Nicky,

Please describe your situation.
Are you referring to something you
or hear?
or feel?
about/from your step-father?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:29PM
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