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3 Bumps

My 3 year old has become afraid of or mean toward his step-dad.

Some back story,...
I've been divorced from my sons father for over a year now. He is in the military and has never really been involved in my sons life. We recently moved to another state and in with my now husband of three months. The first month we were here my son was in love with having his "daddy" always around. My husband is very attentive and playful and kind to him but now three months in my son wont even leave his bedroom when he wakes from a nap if my husband is home. if my husband speaks to him he will stare him down and grunt at him in anger. I know a lot has changed for us over the past few months but this new phase is very hard n myself and of course my husband who loves him dearly and has known him since he was born. We've tried everything... please help. Its becoming a very large taxing weight on our little families spirit.

Answer Question

Asked by SarahEInman at 6:03 PM on Nov. 21, 2012 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 2 (5 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Your son must be feeling insecure about something. Three-year-olds react to their environment in non-verbal ways because they can't yet adequately express all of their emotions in words. What has changed in your son's little world? Instead of seeing his behavior as naughtiness, try to figure out what he might be reacting to. If you can track the reason down and change it or reassure your little boy about it, the negative behaviors will fade.

    Answer by Ballad at 6:45 PM on Nov. 21, 2012

  • Children are excellent judges of character. Maybe something happened that you are not aware of. I would sit him down & talk to him in private.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 7:00 PM on Nov. 21, 2012

  • My step-dad raped my little brother. My northern never knew till he got the courage to tell.
    Not saying this is it...but it happens.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:20 PM on Nov. 21, 2012

  • He wont respond much.. Just wants me to hold him. He's been this way his whole life. With my parents and even myself. My husband is almost never alone with him. It seems to me he may be a bit jealous of my time around my husband... he's had me to himself for 3 years. Also, this is my sons first time being told what to do or be somewhat disciplined by a male figure. He also just started mothers day out and loves that! I believe he may be testing us to see where we will bend to him... Hes done really well with our "keeping him and his mind busy' approach the past two days but obviously it's touch and go.

    Comment by SarahEInman (original poster) at 8:05 PM on Nov. 21, 2012

  • If he's been this way his whole life, maybe the newness has worn off and he's reverting back to usual behavior. I think the previous posters have a valid point to be alert for some type of negative event that triggered the start of this behavior. That said, your most valuable tool is your instincts as his mom. You know him best, pay attention to his cues and keep doing what you are doing to keep helping him readjust.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 9:22 PM on Nov. 21, 2012

  • After reading your post I can empathize with you. I also have a mixed family; however my husbands treats the children better than their biological fathers. Here is what I did with the situation you are in. Let the child know the behavior he is showing will not be tolorated and it is expected of him to be respectful of your spouse - this will show the child that the step-father is an authority figure in the home. Also, tell the boy he will get glad in the same pants he got mad in; hence he will get over it. We also make it very clear that the children are not allowed to try and play us against us. I hope this might help.

    Answer by hmf39 at 11:11 PM on Nov. 21, 2012

  • I'd be worried about a 3 year old who won't get up from his nap if the step dad is there! I'd wonder what has happened to make the child fear the step dad.

    Answer by robyann at 9:23 PM on Nov. 22, 2012

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