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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

My stepson won’t listen to me.
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Dear Grandma,

I’m not sure what to do anymore. I am a step mother to a 15 year old girl and a 9 year old boy and when I first got married they were the apples of my eye, especially the boy. I often thought of him as my own and looked forward to doing activities with him whenever possible. Over the last 8 months or so I’ve noticed a huge change in my behavior and I went from that happy step mom to being constantly irritated with him. It seems that he never listens to me no matter how I phrase things and I’m never abusive toward him. I don’t yell and definitely don’t hit but I feel like I’m under-appreciated by him.

I stay at home just so I can take care of him before and after school. At first I was excited and now I dread waking up in the morning and cringe when I know he’s coming home. Am I doing something wrong? How can I get that fun relationship back again?

Sincerely,

Frustrated SM

Dear Frustrated Step-mom,

Most mothers are under-appreciated by their kids. Children are the center of the universe or certainly of their own lives. He could also be having difficulties in school, either academically or socially.

Where is his biological mother? There is the possibility he is hearing someone badmouth you and feels guilty if all is going well at home. Or it could just be his age.

When most relationships go awry it is because of unmet expectations on one or both sides. You expected he would stay the same and he didn’t. Also, you chose to stay at home and that was your choice. You don’t get a medal for that. Just ask any mother who has made the same choice, my dear.

The job is both difficult and rewarding no matter how your children come to you. It could be a part time job during school hours might lighten the load. Think about it.

Grandma Maggie