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QUESTION: My 7-Year-Old Son Is Hateful and Disrespectful to Me Because I Am Not His Biological Mom, and I Don’t Know What to Do: Advice?
“I am married and have a seven-year-old son and an almost-two-year-old daughter. I’m pregnant and due in 3 weeks. My seven-year-old son is not biologically my son, but I have raised him since he was 1.
His birth mother never had custody of him. And gave up her rights to him when he was 4. She passed away in May. For three years, she had not seen my son. My husband and I debated on telling our son about his bio mom passing because she had not seen him in a little over three years. But our son had been being bullied at school by some kids who knew I was not his biological mom.
So my husband told our son about his bio mom passing because he had become very upset about his birth mother’s situation. My husband hoped it would bring some closure to our son and also reassured him that even though I had not birthed him, I have always loved and cared for him as a son.
Fast forward from May to now. Life has been a living hell. My son constantly throws in my face that I’m not his mom. Is beyond disrespectful to me. He has told me to my face he wishes I were dead and that his bio mom, who he has not seen since he was four, was here with him and his dad and not me. I have tried to not take what he tells me to heart. Because I know he grieves for his bio mom as she will always be apart of him.
The biggest issue is that he seems to constantly stay so sad, moody and has told me and my husband he does not respect us. Before my husband and I got married, my husband was living with his parents. So from birth to almost four, our son lived with my husband and his grandparents. My mother-in-law was, in a way a mother figure to him.
The problem now is our son tells us that he doesn’t respect us and wants to live with his grandparents. Well, our son is failing school now and when we addressed his lying and behavior with him he told us he didn’t have to respect us. After much arguing my husband called my MIL/ his mom came and got her grandson. I feel like my husband had a mental breakdown because his son who he fought so hard to have custody of and make sure had a good life now wants nothing to do with us.
My husband is a great man and father. I feel stuck in a hard place and do not know what to do. We have disciplined our son. He sees a school counselor and nothing has changed. Our son is now currently staying with my mil because she feels it would be best to show our son that even if he lived with her that he would still have rules to abide by and be respectful.
I feel like this is only going to make it worse with him not respecting us, and I think it is absurd that a seven-YO get a say in where they live because he is upset that we discipline him and that his birth mother was crappy. It is constantly held over my head what his bio mom did, and it has really taken a toll on me mentally. I feel like my MIL has overstepped greatly.
My husband is mentally exhausted. And I am scared to death I’ll go into labor early because of this mess. And I do not want my second child to have to deal with the aftermath of what my son’s bio mom did. She is dead and gone, and I feel like she is ruling my life. Idk what else to do.
My mother who was raised in a very strict home and raised me the same way days to whoop him and let him be. He is about to be 8. That it won’t be long and he will be out of our house and on his own. I can not imagine the next ten years of my life being spent that way. And I in no way want that life for my children or me.”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“I was a foster parent to teenage boys with behavioral and mental health issues. My response was always ‘I’m not your mom, but I am the one taking care of you and your needs right now. Until that changes, I expect ____’ whatever it is I was expecting. His dad should also be reinforcing your place in his life. But he is NOT your biological son. So acknowledge that. He is your chosen son, even if he doesn’t choose you, you chose him.”
“He needs counseling. Whether she has passed away or not, it was still his mother and he still feels that hurt, the hurt of his mom passing, the hurt of her not wanting him. At the end of the day, it’s not about you or your husband. It’s about getting this little boy the help he needs to grieve properly.”
“Oh man… I feel for that kid – but I do want to point out that literally everything you say about his mother is negative. It’s not your place to do that, and could very well be why he wouldn’t want anything to do with you. At the end of the day, he is not your child. He is your stepchild. He shouldn’t be forced to think of you as his mom and only mom…
… Don’t ruin his love for his mom with your opinions or info about his actual mom. Sometimes, you gotta take a step back and let things happen organically. Kids go through their own thoughts too…. just guide him, always be there, and try to understand him rather than just punishing him. Sounds like he needs someone he can truly confide in or activities that keep him busy.”
“Obviously this child has been through severe trauma and abandonment and unfortunately no matter how nice u are you cant fix that. He needs professional support from a therapist and possibly cognitive behavioral therapy. He is clearly suffering, more than I suspect you could possibly begin to understand. He needs a good child therapist. A school counselor is not qualified to treat.”
“As someone who went through something very similar, he could feel exactly opposite what he is saying. He could be afraid of losing you and is trying to just push you away before you leave too. Have you talked about adopting him? Make sure you take every opportunity to tell him you love him, and even though he did not grow in you, you love him as though he did.”
“My kids are adopted and have always known that. As they get older occasionally they are tempted to point out that I’m not biologically their mom. But listen up cuz this is exactly what I tell them. I am their mom in every single way that matters. Giving birth is the easy part and means absolutely nothing. Being the person that gives your entire life to a child and does what has to be done for them makes you the real mom. He’s 7 and you are letting him run you and your husband and your house…
… He needs counseling to deal with the death of his bio mom real counseling, not school counseling. But bring his butt home and don’t give up. His bio mom gave up on him and the last thing he needs is another mom giving up on him. He gets no vote on where he lives. He’s hurt and trying to push you away and if you let him all you’re doing is proving to him that all moms leave. Take a stand and good luck.”
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