Son Hates Step-Mom

Dear Sara,

I was married for sixteen years and have been divorced for two years. I recently remarried and love my new wife. The problem is that my fifteen year old son Kevin hates her which makes his visits with me barely tolerable. Kevin either won’t talk to my new wife or makes rude comments. She has done nothing to deserve this. How should I handle this?

Dear Rob,

Apparently Kevin was more upset by your divorce than you realize and for some reason blames your new wife for his pain. You can’t make him like her but you can insist that he be polite to her.

Your family may need to sit down with a family therapist and allow Kevin to tell you exactly what he feels and why. He may be able to tell you on his own how he feels but a professional would be better able to help him deal with it. You may also need to include your ex wife at times. For now don’t try to push for a relationship between your new wife and Kevin. He needs time and patience.


  1. BeenThere DoneThat says:

    Have been there and lived through that. The son was constantly blaming my new partner for everything. Eventually My ex actually sided with my new partner and they are “friends”. But nothing seemed to help. And we made a point o make sure the new partner was not “replacing” Mom. The problem ultimately lies with the kid being selfish. That’s what kids are. They see her as someone who get’s attention you deserve and they do not fully grasp the divorce. Studies show that most never do (until they have lived through it) no matter how amicable the split. Studies also show that boys 5-11 take it the hardest of all age groups. The only thing that finally fixed it for us was my son got hurt and he found that he got better support with me and my new partner and it just kind of turned everything around. Whatever you do, do not baby the boy, do not give in to the crap. Be loving but firm. You do not have to defend your relationship with your partner. You deserve to be happy. Your child’s brain will not be fully developed until they are closer to 25. We helped alleviate the stress by alternating custody so I could have quality time with my partner and then we minimized her interaction with him when my son was here so he couldn’t blame her, then I held him accountable for everything and she became his buddy. I love my son and would do almost anything for him, but ultimately my job is to teach him to support himself and stand on his own two feet and maybe do the same for his own family one day. If I don’t do that, nothing else matters. Half of the men in the USA over 35 are still living at home with their parents. How can they possibly build a life like that??? That will not be my son.

  2. Robert Altman says:

    I agree that Kevin will need time & patience. I’ve been there, done that. However, it should be made totally, completely clear to him that rudeness & disrespect will NOT be tolerated at any time. I know from experience that this can be done, without demanding that he “love” his new stepmom. All actions have consequences. It is our responsibility as parents to teach this very important life lesson to our kids. Sometimes, it requires discipline and enforcement from us to correct bad behavior. While Kevin has every right to be hurt, confused, and even angry, he does NOT have the right to behave badly toward his stepmon. Discipline and enforcement against bad behavior CAN be done with love. It does NOT have to be mean, cruel and harsh.

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