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18 Mar 2003

Relationship between son and husband
My son and my husband (his stepfather) do not get along at all, and this is really causing big problems in our home environement. My husband never gives my son any love, affection or recognition but at the same time he wants to discipline him. My husband will nitpick on the smallest things and always find fault in anything my son does. My son in return says that he hates my husband. I am forever caught in between the two and I cannot choose sides.

Please give me some advice on how to deal with this situation.
Answer 1,207 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Desperate,
I'm sure that our other good readers will have advice and experiences to offer here. Maybe you don't ned to choose sides, so much as to mediate. You husband is supposedly the adult of the two of them, and so ought to be more thoughtful and sesible in his approach. Is it possible to choose a time ( NOT as part of any argument or after a show-down betweeen the two of them ) to sit down and calmly discuss this issue with your husband ? For whatever reason, maybe he was raised with "discipline" and without love, and knows how to try to do the one but isn't skilled at the other ; can you explore why he feels the need to nitpick and find fault with the boy ; and whether he realises that if he can build a loving relationship with the boy, firstly there would be far fewer "disciplinary" issues and confontations, and they'd be far more easy to handle effectively ? Can he agree that if he wants the boy to behave better, this will be far more lastingly achieved within a fond relationship, and by encouraging the lad by praising whatever he does right, rather than by only pouncing on whatever he does less than perfectly ?
It's understandable that the boy would dislike a man who finds fault with him, and who shows him no love. You can reassure your son that he is loved, and that while his stepdad isn't so far so good at showing it, he wouldn't pick on someone he cared nothing for, and maybe if the boy anticipated some of the points of friction and avoided them, life could be much more peaceful for you all.
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