Stepson Bullying Mom's Kids

My Stepson Is Bullying My Children, and My Partner Won’t Do Anything About It

A mom needs help handling a situation in which her 13-year-old stepson constantly bullies her three younger children. The 13-year-old’s father — the mom’s boyfriend — is absolutely no help, she says.

Over on the Mamas Uncut Facebook page, our robust community of moms is always having a conversation about topics that matter. We like to highlight those conversations from time to time. Important questions. Thoughtful answers. This is our Community Questions feature!

A member of our community asks:

I need some advice. I have 3 boys. Ages 7, 5, and 1. Also, we live with their 13-year-old half-brother (my boyfriend’s son). Well, the 13-year-old is constantly bullying my three boys, mainly the 5-year-old. All last summer he would throw my 2 oldest against their metal bunk bed. All their father did was ground him for a week.

Recently, he was caught squeezing my 1-year-old’s arm and slapping his hands. He says he does this because they annoy him and he thinks he’s better than they are. Just recently he was chasing my 5-year-old and my 5-year-old fell, and their dad yelled at the 5-year-old. The 13-year-old just laughed. He says he bullies my 5-year-old the most because he gets a better reaction out of him.

I’ve expressed my concerns with their father, and he does nothing except ground the oldest. I make him do extra chores. I don’t know what to do. Obviously, my No. 1 priority is to keep my kids safe, but I don’t know how when their father won’t help me. What should I do?

Mamas Uncut Community Member

The Mamas Uncut community responded with a range of different answers. Here is some advice to consider:

If Behavior Doesn’t Change, the Stepson May Need Therapy or Other Help

“Confront this issue head-on before it gets worse. That 13-year-old needs some help. Slapping and squeezing a 1-year-old’s arm is not normal. Tormenting your 5-year-old is not normal. If the dad can’t stand up and help you with this, he’s just as much to blame as the 13-year-old is. If it keeps up, I’d leave.”

“Sounds to me like the 13-year-old needs some help and special attention. Maybe some one-on-one time with Dad. Picking on his siblings is one thing, but pushing or throwing them against anything, squeezing and causing bodily harm is not okay. I can’t imagine what would happen if he was left alone with them.”

Your Partner Needs to Step Up to the Plate

“Sounds like daddy need to give that 13-year-old more attention.”

“Tell the father how you feel and get on the same page. If he chooses not to, then you need to raise your kids somewhere else. That is absolutely not ok for the 13-year-old to do.”

“I think daddy needs to be reminded he has four kids, not one.”

“Confront the issue head-on. Give him a choice. They’re his kids too, and he needs to step up. I think he doesn’t want to deal with it. He’s 13, he shouldn’t be hurting your babies. Doesn’t matter if they annoy him. He’s much older. Honestly, I would’ve flipped out. You got this, Momma!”

“Tell the father either things change immediately or you go your separate ways!”

Put Your Children’s Safety First

“What happens when he squeezes your 1-year-old’s neck? If [your boyfriend] isn’t doing anything about it, then leave! Your babies are more important than a boyfriend!”

“Get your kids and move out before he hurts one badly. You are responsible for your children’s safety and will be held responsible for not protecting them if something bad does happen. Nothing is worth the safety of your children.”

“I would look into possibly taking yourself and your kids out of the situation. Me and my kids were in a similar situation, and I couldn’t handle it anymore. He didn’t even ground his kids. So we left and my kids were beyond excited to leave.”

“You’re the mom and he is only a boyfriend. Be the mom that your kids need, and get out of that situation.”

So it sounds like most people recommending talking this up with the 13-year-old’s father, who bears great responsibility in how his son behaves. Hopefully a heart-to-heart on the subject will make him aware that he needs to do more to curb the bad behavior and protect the three other children his is living with. He owes you at least that much.

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