New husband and son don't get along


New husband and son don't get along


your avatar   Tracey, 35-year-old woman

I am re-married for 8 months, and have been with my husband for 6 years, The problem is, I have a 10-year-old son from the other marriage, and they are constantly fighting. I have a 5-month-old baby too.

My son and my new husband cannot get along. I have tried and tried to get them too - this is seriously disturbing my 10 year old. He spends no time with him and does not take him places for quality time with him. He sometimes teases him, and whenever they get into an argument my husband harps on my son for days about it. He does seem to nitpick about some of his chores if they are not done just so.

My hew husband spends more time with a friend of the family's son (12 years old) than his own step-son. Is this right? Am I wasting my time ? He has been this way for 6 years. I have a 5-month-old baby with him and I am afraid that this arguing is not good for the baby to hear. I am in a difficult position as to whether we should get counseling, or just end the relationship. He never offers to take us anywhere, except to sporting events that take up almost every weekend in the winter time. My son and I don't want to go to these events - we want some fun family time. but my husband does not seem to.


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Hi Tracey,

You are absolutely right. It is not OK for a stepfather to ignore his stepson, to be highly critical, or sarcastic to him. You are also right that it will hurt the baby and it will also fracture the entire family into competing alliances that will be detrimental to all members. If it isn't fixed then the marriage and the family is more hurtful than helpful.

What I am wondering is how things got to be this way. It is very hard to blend a family and that is what you, your husband, and your boy have to do. If the stepfather attempts to become an instant father or if the mother does not gradually shift some parental power over to the stepfather at the right time then disaster is the result. Very often the child feels betrayed and it is difficult for them to accept the new father because they feel they are being disloyal to their biological father.

It is often uncomfortable for the mother to share her decision-making power. The stepfather often feels that he is isolated and the third man out. Usually everyone feels unsure of their position and often their expectations are very unrealistic. Any real family feeling between the stepparent and the child has to develop gradually if it will at all. Often if a new child is born that child is favored which exasperates the problem further.

If you have tried to address all these issues with him in an appropriate and non-blaming manner and are absolutely sure that he will not budge on his attitude, then it is possible that he has very little family feeling and you would be wasting your time. However, if you came across in a blaming fashion then you would not know if this situation is salvageable or not.

A marriage is sacred and should not be discarded lightly. At the same time, a hopeless situation is a hopeless situation. I would ask you to assess the state of the marriage well and ask yourself if counseling or renewed effort in an understanding way might sway him and alter the arrangement.

Good luck.


This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit:


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