My New Wife Has An Issue With My Son

Dear Sara,

My ex-wife and I divorced when my son was three years old and I have had custody since then. He is now seven years old. She just recently started to exercise her parental rights every other weekend. I am remarried and although my wife is awesome with our two kids she says she can no longer stand my son’s behavior towards her. Although I think some of his behavior is just selective hearing, she insists that he ignores her and has selfish behavior. She has started to ignore him and I don’t feel this is the best answer to the problem. I have tried to talk with her about it but she says she knows no other way to handle it. Help!


Dear Ken,

Step-parenting is not an easy task. Your son has found a way to be really irritating to your wife and she has retaliated by punishing by ignoring. It appears that you are minimizing the problem. Your wife needs some serious backup if she is going to parent your child. Let your son know that there will be consequences (loss of game or computer) if he ignores his stepmom.

If his mother has been out of the picture for some time, he may be feeling some conflict about where his loyalties lie. Give him an opportunity to talk about this with you. However, kids often have trouble expressing how they feel. Be sure to back up your wife in her discipline of your son. Have you heard the expression “if mama’s not happy nobody’s happy.” Give her your support in this.



  1. Sounds like the step Mom could be part of the problem also. Also, as far as backing up her discipline of the boy, depends on what she is doing. Ignoring a child is not the thing to do. I have been a step Mom and what few times their Mom was on the scene, that made a problem. Only because, like was stated, the child sometimes thinks if they like the “New Mom”, then they think they are being disloyal to the real Mom. A touchy thing, but it can be overcome, but don’t push the child aside. Will eventually cause problems between the Dad and his new wife.

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