I Can’t Stand My Stepson -What Do I Do?

It is normal for parents to have friction between their children, especially if they live in the same household. However, the situation gets quite out of hand when a parent cannot control his hatred towards his stepson, which leads to neglecting him or abusing him emotionally and physically. ‘I can’t stand my stepson’ is a common complaint that I hear from parents in my counseling practice.

The situation these parents are in, where they have to live with their dislike for their stepson and his behavior towards them, is difficult. In this article, we will examine the aspects of such relationships and ways to manage them constructively.

I Can’t Stand My Stepson: Is This Abuse?

The hatred felt by the parents towards their stepson is often nothing more than a manifestation of their feelings of guilt. At times, children may be behaving in a way that angers the parent, but instead of communicating this to them, taking it out on the child or, worse yet, abusing them physically or emotionally becomes easier.

Parents need to realize that although their step-child may be behaving unacceptably, this behavior cannot justify abuse against them. Parents need to learn how to cope with their frustration and not take it out on the child. If you can’t stand your stepson, then remember that there are other ways of dealing with it other than hitting him or constantly screaming at him.

What Causes the Problem?

One of the causes for children not getting along with their step-siblings is their resenting their parents’ new relationship. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether this resentment is because of hostility towards the new partner or other reasons.

The Child and the New Partner

Parents in a new relationship themselves feel out of their element in this situation and often try to compensate for their uneasiness by spoiling their children. These efforts only add fuel to the fire and make their step-child more reliant on them instead of making an effort to get along with their step-parent. Children resent the new partner because they know that the relationship between their parents was affected by this unique individual and tend to react very negatively towards them.

Step-parents also tend to be more indulgent with their biological children, which causes hatred in the step-child who feels neglected due to parental attention being diverted elsewhere.


Children feel insecure about this new person entering their lives and tend to behave to get more attention from their parents. All kinds of behavior such as clinginess, temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, or even extreme cases such as stealing or hurting animals can be caused by insecurity.

Often there are other underlying reasons for the children’s behavior, and a full assessment of their situation must be done before you take any steps to improve things.

The Severity of the Problem

In most cases, these relationships do settle down over time with patience from all parties involved. However, when there are serious problems such as physical abuse or neglect, it is time to sit down and take stock of the situation.

In such cases, I advise parents to seek professional help from a child psychologist or family counselor. These experts can assess the seriousness of the problem and suggest ways for resolving it constructively. With their guidance, parents will look at things differently and take the appropriate steps for improving their relationship.

What To Do if You Can’t Stand Your Stepson

Step-parents need to be aware of the reasons behind the behavior of their step-children if they want to figure out a way to improve their relationship.

Discuss the Problem with Your Child

The first thing you should do is sit down with your child and discuss their feelings about the situation. Listen carefully to what they have to say without being judgemental or defensive.

Afterward, explain to them that while you understand why they may feel this way, it is not acceptable for them to treat you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Explain Your Expectations of Them

It is important to let children know what they can do differently to improve their relationship with you. For example, if your stepson doesn’t listen when you tell him to change his clothes and continues to wear dirty or smelly clothes, you need to say that you do not approve of this behavior.

Spend Quality Time Together

While it is important to teach children the difference between right and wrong, spending time with them by doing fun activities may help them bond better with you as a parent. By being their friend instead of being an authority figure, you can develop a better relationship with them.

Avoid the Temptation to Use Violence as an Attempt to Discipline Your Child

The use of physical or mental abuse never teaches children anything except how to be violent and aggressive towards others. Therefore you should avoid this behavior at all costs if you can’t stand your stepson. Remember, it is not their fault that you and your partner split up; therefore, it is important to treat them with kindness and understanding.

Get Help From a Counselor if Things Don’t Change.

Suppose the problem continues even after trying these steps. In that case, you need to get professional help such as child counseling or family therapy so that this situation can be resolved healthily.


If you are having problems with your stepson, the best thing you can do is talk to him about it calmly so that he knows how you feel. The feeling of “I can’t stand my stepson” can be an unhealthy and even dangerous situation. If you feel like he is a danger to your child, other family members, or yourself, then you must seek help from your local authorities immediately.

Remember, being a parent means understanding and accepting that children have different personalities, and they may not always agree on things. If you can’t stand your stepson, then the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and try to understand their point of view for you both to have a happy relationship.