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BOTD 7/23/13 "The 'Wicked' Step-Mother" A Late Chat Production

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David M. Katz

*A Late Chat Production
*Jkher, Leti, John Boy, DMK

Your wife passed away when your son Albert was a toddler.  Two years ago you met a wonderful lady and you two have been married for a little over six months. Albert is now thirteen. You involved Albert in the dating process and he and his new step-mother seemed to get along well.  The two of you even consulted Albert before marrying.  You were happy to have a maternal influence in Albert's life.  Albert is still subject to spanking and you find it works well for him.

Your new bride goes out of her way to be kind and understanding towards Albert.  She tries her best to be a mother to him and treats him with love and respect.  Shortly after the wedding things seemed to sour between Albert and your wife.  Her response is to just try harder to reach out to him and care for him.

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Albert has verbally expressed that he hates his step-mother and wants the two of you to divorce.  You ask for specific reasons but all Albert has to say is, "I dunno, I just hate her."

Albert starts acting out around his step-mother and starts playing pranks on her in hopes that he will run her off.  She is hurt and concerned but feels things will get better with time and encourages you not to punish Albert for it.

Albert then accesses an adult porn site and puts up a picture of a very seductive woman and puts your wife's name and cell phone number with the photo.  The calls start coming in.  At first you all assume it is some kind of error but Albert bursts out laughing after he watches your wife field yet another call as a result of the advertisement on the site.  He admits to "playing a funny trick" and shows you the site.  Your wife contacts the site administration and has the information removed but the damage is done.

Has Albert gone too far?  How do you proceed?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


Editor Extraordinaire
Yes, Albert has gone too far, and he is going to be punished. As he saw fit to misuse his internet access, he can do without it for a month, with the only exceptions being supervised use for school work.

That takes care of the immediate issue, but it doesn't address why Albert has suddenly become hostile towards his stepmother. I can think of various possibilities: perhaps he feels that accepting her as a mother figure is disloyal to his biological mother; perhaps he is jealous of the relationship between her and me and feels he is competing with her for my love and attention; perhaps she is trying too hard to win his affection and needs to give some distance. I need to work with Albert and my wife to identify what is wrong between them and try to find a resolution. I may have to find a good family counselor.

One thing, however, I need to make clear to Albert: I will not tolerate anymore mistreatment of my wife. He is entitled to his feelings, even anger -- even irrational anger -- but he is not entitled to treat another person with disrespect.



Albert has gone too far.

Did I consult Albert before popping the question?  Is this hostility entirely new?  I can't imagine I wouldn't have at least mentioned to him that I planned to remarry.  Actually, I can't imagine that I didn't ask for his input.  So what's happened?

I'm going to sit him down and ask him again if he can verbalize why he is so hostile to my new SO.  I suspect he can't, and even if he can, unless his reason has to do with some sort of actual abuse, I'm not going to find it acceptable.  Though I will listen.

I will then point out to him that I love this woman, and God willing, she and I will still be together when he leaves for college, and subsequently for adult life.  I'd be much happier if he could find it in his heart to at least tolerate her, and I'd be thrilled if he could come to love her, but regardless, he is required to at least respect her.  And his "funny prank" wasn't funny, and is the epitome of disrespect, both to my bride and to women in general.

Unless Albert is a psychopath with no conscience, at this point he will be feeling like an insect that WANTS to be squashed.  

I'm going to let Albert know that his not-so-wicked stepmother has gone out of her way to reach out to him, and even following this very malicious behavior has advocated on his behalf (because I'm about ready to kill him--and he's lucky we don't live in Morocco, because I believe under Sharia law, I could, and get away with it).

I'm going to ask him what he thinks needs to happen now.  I think an apology is in order, both to me and to his stepmother, but forced apologies are useless.  I also think some punishment is in order, and after the riot act I've just read, I'd imagine Albert will think so as well, as emotional catharsis as much as for any other reason.  A spanking won't "make everything better", but it might, and hopefully will, clear the air. Regardless of other punishment (spanking or grounding), he will be losing his internet privileges for the foreseeable future--that's the logical consequence of this action. If he needs the internet for school, he can use it, for that purpose only, and under supervision. If he doesn't like "being treated like a baby", he'll have to not act like one.

If Albert remains vehement that he did nothing wrong, still hates this woman, and will do everything he can to cause trouble, we're going to seek professional invention including counseling and the possibility of boarding school.  Ultimately, I can't force him to accept my new spouse, but I'm not rewarding bratty behavior by giving in to him either.

John Boy

First things first, I am scheduling family counseling ASAP. After that is scheduled, Albert and I are going to have a looooooong talk. If he gives me attitude then I will spank him, so chances are he is getting spanked. EmbarassedEmbarassed


That's a pretty wicked BOTD. And a very sad one. I can't really see that any kind of punishment would improve something. So, if we can't figure out what's really bothering him we'll have to do some counselling

Stone Man

I will try to talk with Albert and see if I can get to the root cause for the deterioration of the OK relationship that he and my new wife had before the knot was tied. I think outside counseling is in order as things have really fallen apart.

Albert is to have no contact with computers or the internet, except for supervised school work needs. I see this as a consequence for misusing the source rather than as a punishment for it's misuse.

As far as spanking him... unless through our talking things out, Albert shows real understanding and has real remorse for his part in what has been occurring I see little use for it and think it will only screw things up more.


Glad I came late to this one!!

While I could approach this like an old style dad and simple beat the behavior out of him a la my old man, I think in this instance it will screw Albert up even more. There are things in life that go beyond the need for a salutary butt beatin' to fix things, even if said beating goes beyond 'salutary'!!

Once again, Doc has saved me tons of typing for my actual response. This is one screwed up situation/kid!! I am in general agreement on the assessment/approach.

This is going to require some long term intervention.


I largely agree with Padraig, but part of me wonders if I could find a similar male oriented porn site and put up there a suitable picture with Albert's mobile 'phone number and see how he likes the situation in reverse. Evil or Very Mad


I hope my son can be honest with me and explain where the hostility is coming from as what he did was truly malicious. Not sure if this has a name but if it were a stepfather in my SO' s position it could be the Oedipus complex. Whetever, I am seeking professional counselling for the family as my son clearly did not take the changes well. I think spanking would be utterly unhelpful even though I might feel better about it


I can't really come up with a better answer than Kat's.

Since so many people seem puzzled by Al's behavior, let me throw out a couple of ideas.

I was actually excited about Mom marrying Ralph. When we moved to those apartments, there were two boys I knew from school already living there. During the six or eight months we lived there, one of them moved in with his dad, and the other's mom got married. I was desperate to have a father, and he seemed like a really nice guy.

As soon as he married Mom, he reverted to his normal behavior (one of the reasons not to marry someone you've only known for three months).

I like to think that if something was going wrong between the two of them, I would see it. If not, I'd think that Albert was old enough to come to me and explain the problem, rather than just saying he hated her.

The other thing is what I think more likely. JD came to live with me in late '99, and the official reason was that he'd had too much trouble in school, and that he needed a lot of supervision to keep him out of trouble, and personal schooling to keep him from falling behind.

The actual reason was that his mom was getting married.

He liked the guy well enough when they were just dating. I don't know if there was any discussion between her and JD about the marriage, but his problem came before the actual marriage.


Because, just like in this case, the parent was single for most of the boys life, and JD realized (just like I think Albert is now realizing) exactly what someone else coming into the situation was going to do. Is Albert (or did JD) reacting well? No, but then again, there's a reason that we don't trust teenagers to do a lot of things - because they don't have the experience. And even some of the reactions here...

AFinch wrote:I will then point out to him that I love this woman, and God willing, she and I will still be together when he leaves for college, and subsequently for adult life.

I understand exactly what Kier is saying, and I agree with him, but tell me that a hurt, frustrated teenager wouldn't interpret that as 'you're not as important to me as she is, so shut up and deal.'

Reading this scenario, I realized how lucky I was with Steve when Cathy and I married. Of course, I was also lucky in that Cathy gave Steve something he'd always wanted - a little brother. And 26 more later, he still isn't complaining.


Of course, for the boy it was always he and Dad. And if things were right, HE was the focus of Dad's life. Now there is a women that claims that place too. Jealousy? Wouldn't be surprising. Even if they talked the marriage through with the boy and he agreed, the reailty of having someone else around 24/7 who is in charge of you and competing with you for that special place in Dad's life is something different.

A certain degree of jealousy could be expected. So I'm not really puzzled about his behaviour. However, this went way beyond. And if the boy isn't able or willing to tell his real feelings, it might be the best to get someone's help. Until then, I would suggest the new women of the house gives him as much space as possible.

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