Dear one tough muther,

My son is not taking a liking to my fiancé, at every attempt my fiancé makes. My son has no reason to be so disrespectful to him and I’ve sat him down alone and with my fiancé explaining that things would be less stressful and easy if my son would make an effort to get to know Bruce(my fiancé). my son is 13 so I think he’s to old to be pulling the “he’s not my dad” card. His father passed away when my son was very young and I finally found the perfect man. He wants to be a part of my sons life, he even wants to coach or be involved in my sons sports but my son isn’t having it. What do I do? Should we stop trying and hope he comes around or demand respect.

Dear Lisa,

I had a very similar problem with my oldest son after my divorce. My oldest son was 12 when his father and I divorced so he stepped into the role of “man of the house” with his younger brothers and sister. My ex-husband completely abandoned the children and had little or no contact with them so I welcomed my son’s help or any help I could get. Being a single Mother with 4 children and trying to rebuild our lives was tough and I relied on my son much more than I probably should have. Looking back now it could not have been easy for him to go from the role of my right hand man, back to my son status once my new husband came on the scene and I now understand his resentment.
Like you, we tried to take it slow and make the transition smooth but my son was just not having it. No matter what my husband did, my son either appeared to be upset, irritated or down right disrespectful. It became a struggle with my son and I on one subject after another which was so foreign to me because we where always very close.
Does that all sound familiar?
Lisa, it will take time and a lot of understanding on both your husbands part and yours. Your son went from having you 100% after your husband died, to now having to share you. Think back on all the time you spent with him, the moments when all you had was each other and the times you needed each other to get through the good and the bad. At this point your son may feel that no matter how slow you take it or how wonderful your new husband is, this guy is walking in and taking over. Lisa, give him time and spend time talking to him. Make a special date once a week to just spend a few hours with him, concentrating on HIM and only him. Take him to a movie, to dinner or just for a ride or a walk and listen, really listen to him.
All new love and relationships are wonderful and you sound very happy but you can’t expect that feeling to be pushed on your son. He is only feeling crowded and confused at this point, especially at 13 years old. Being 13 is the transition from a boy to a young man which alone can be overwhelming, scary and confusing, so you have to give him some time. HOWEVER, in my book there is NEVER a reason to be disrespectful to someone who is trying help or friend you. So if that continues YOU will have to sit him down and lay down the law. Disrespectful behavior in children towards adults or in adults towards children should not be welcome or tolerated in the home and you should simply explain it that way. If that doesn’t subside then YOU should levy the punishment for not following your rules.
Give it time Lisa, don’t push and try to keep it positive. Eventually, as time goes on everyone will find there role in the family and things will work out.

Good Luck & Huge Muther Hugs,

One Tough Muther

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