How should I address an issue about my step child?

I have a stepson who a bit behind. I have been trying to potty train him and get him on a schedule. Every time my husband and I get him back to his mom’s, she doesn’t do anything with him. I am the only one working with him. I can’t say anything cause I’m just “stepmom”. . He is nine years old and has a mental disability. Any advice?


If you are “just the stepmom” then tell his dad to deal with it or he needs to talk it out with the mother.


Maybe talk to your husband. Depends on the type of mental disability he may have issues with it. And how do you know the mom doesn’t do anything with him? How long have y’all been married? If you’re just the stepmom in their eyes stop doing what you’re doing. Make them understand that you are more.


I am in the exact same boat, except hes 4 and his mother is 100% incompetent. So shes not even raising him like shes supposed to. Her step mother is. I believe there is Munchausen syndrome by proxy in that household.


How do you know she doesn’t do anything with him and if she is on her own with him she probably finds it difficult too talk with mum see what she says you can work as a team then nice you are willing to help out

You’re entitled to speak your piece and if his dad isn’t ok with that then there is something wrong. Especially trying to potty train a child that in itself takes a lot of patience and time. And no you’re not “just the stepmom”you stepped up and love
and care for that child like you would your own. Best of luck to you💙

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Do what’s right do the best you can and give him plenty of love

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My son has a step mom & she is not just a step mom. She is his mom! She treats him just how i would & thats what i expect of her. You & your husband should both say something together! But dont think of yourself as any less his mom then his bio mom, if your in his life & loving him you should be involved in decisions & everything as well


If she’s trusting you with her child who has a mental disability, then you speaking to her and raising a concern with her about the development of her child shouldn’t be an issue. The only thing is mums (and some dad’s too!) go into defensive as they may feel like they’re being degraded but if you approach the conversation with care and word it correctly hopefully you can get her to work with you. Must be so frustrating for you! Good job for doing what you are though❤️

Talk to the dad first, and get his opinion on if he’d like to address it or if he’d like you to address it. :slightly_smiling_face: It’s great when mom and stepmom can work together. My daughter’s step mom is one of my closest friends and it’s great. Let me just say, it took us a few years to get to this point, but if it can be done, it’s so much easier on the children. Best of luck to you!! :heart:

Oh I know how you feel im a stepmother of 2 and one of my own
And the 6 year old still has issues poty training
Honestly if your known as just the step mom and the father is no help let him and the mom do it

I mean it is frustrating and annoying but when ever I step in and tell my man that iv had enough and he gets to deal with it because I will not once iv had enough
The mother is no different if it wasn’t for me there mom would still be having them 24 7 and now I’m in the picture my man gets hid kids 2 wees out of 4 so I understand

She probably already know, she just doesn’t know how to handle it. As a special needs momma. I highly suggest you reaching out to her. If everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to work as a team.

Just remember that we admitting your child doesn’t learn like others is a hard pill to swallow. We all work thought that at different time. We have to do it on our own time. She may just need some support.

This has to be frustrating! I feel you should back down. You aren’t/shouldn’t be involved with his medical & mental needs. You are probably doing more harm. Going back & fourth between homes, different rules & routines is hard in any kid. It’s much more difficult for special needs kids. His parents need to sit down & work out a routine & matching rules, disipline & strategies. A family counselor could help here.

Girl if you ever find an answer, pease let me know. I’ve been telling my husband for years I belive my stepdaughter is autistic, and needs therapy. And he agreed with me. But they took her out after 2 sessions because she “didn’t want to go anymore”. So yeah. You let me know, please.

How do you know his mother isn’t doing anything for him? Stop expecting a delayed child to fit your expected timeline. You even said “I am the only one working with him” which means you don’t even think your husband is caring for his child to your standards. My advice is to back off and raise him how his birth parents want him raised. Follow their lead and stop trying to get him on your schedule you expect.


I’m in a close situation myself. Honestly you can bring it up to dad to take to mom but that’s all you can do and be patient with child’s set backs.

I mean some ppl say step moms first names … i completely understand. But id tell dad ur worries and see if him and mom can find an agreement. Each house is as different as us…hell eventually come to know different house different rules and when hes older hell make own opinions.

Can you all give the son something to do for a while & the three of you have a parents meeting at hand-off times to discuss routine, discipline, expectations, methods, etc.? Just pick ONE thing to discuss at a time, (this time it will be toileting) & talk until it’s resolved or for 30 minutes, whichever comes first. If you’re at an impasse, just agree to think about it and return the next time with some new ideas.

See what bio mom is willing to do; maybe she will agree to meet you halfway if not completely. The important thing is to be dispassionate and calm. No yelling or accusations. Rules can be different at each house, but the more you can agree on, the better.

Include the son if he has any understanding and won’t be too disruptive, especially if he can verbalize or indicate feelings, ideas, and/or preferences. Discussion topics can cover anything that is an issue at both houses involving any family member. Hold separate family meetings to discuss single household issues (Dad keeps missing the hamper, shower/bath scheduling, who cooks dinner & nutrition standards to uphold or not, etc.).

It’s good to have something to hold while speaking. No one else can speak until that person is finished & then the item is handed to the next person who talks without being interrupted. Don’t get discouraged: this takes some practice. It also REALLY helps keep things civil. Even if someone is unhappy with the outcome, they will feel heard, and that is so validating.

If you find reputable articles, blog posts, videos, or other information on the next topic for discussion, forward it to everyone, including the son if he can read or watch any of it. Might encourage him to read or study a bit if he realizes the info will affect his life.

Set the topic for the next hand-off session so the adults can think about it before meeting to discuss. Briefly write up what everyone agreed to in the last meeting & send a copy to each person. If there are disagreements or changes to the notes, talk about it at the next hand off, or if all agree on the changes, make the corrections and re-issue to all.

If there are problems/disagreements, write them down to bring up for the next family meeting. If possible include the son in the discussions. Even if he is non-verbal, he can see how you all take turns and resolve things. A stress ball or fidget spinner might help keep him more still/focused if needed. If he is verbal, he can bring up discussion topics also. Keep all meetings short, businesslike and on a regular schedule.

The more at ease you become working together and getting along and the more the meetings become routine, the more topics you can hash out at a time. I’ve suggested keeping it short and sweet to keep people who may dislike each other from a lot of interacting. Everyone can hold their nose & keep civil for 10 minutes.

Remember, everyone has a voice, it should never be “us vs. them,” and the ultimate goal is to make things better and easier for EVERYBODY. Everyone should agree on the ultimate solution, even if it’s different for each house. Articulate long-term goals too (potty trained by age 10, for example). Post house rules as you create them (again, each house can be different), so they are clear and available for everyone to refer to. It can save a lot of whining & fruitless arguing. If someone disagrees, it goes on the agenda for the next meeting where the objector can present their case for change.

When we had family meetings I liked to end with everyone saying something positive about each family member, or something for which they were grateful so we all left out feeling good.

Just take your time with him, and eventually he’ll get the hang of it. Sometimes children with disabilities are developmentally behind which it sounds like he might be.

If you’re the only one who is working with him, talk to your husband about it and have him talk to his mom or the both of you can sit down together with her and talk about what y’all have been doing with him and see if she has any thoughts on potty training you both could do with him or set a schedule or something you all can follow to help him learn to go on the potty.

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Just be patient and love him


Lots of factors. Going from one home to the other is quite a transition. Going back home to mom means starting all over for him. What you do may not work for mom because she isn’t you and that can create a frustrating tension. How he responds to his mom at home will be different from how he responds to you in your home. She may be feeling defensive because she is working with different dynamics in her home. Dad needs to step in and work with her kindly and constructively. If that can’t be done, there’s not much you can do.

How is it going when you work with him? If it’s going well and you truly believe he can do it, I would fight for him.

The only reason I feel his parents wouldn’t want to help is because they don’t see it as a plausible option? If it’s because they are being lazy and it’s easier for them to change diapers they should be reminded he is only going to grow and the changes will become more difficult.

Wow sad iLife same with homework I help grandkids with home work as soon as they get home nothing game phone sad I tryed to help but if they can’t help on there side it’s hard

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Kudos to stepmom for doing what you can to help him… If you don’t have a good line of communication with his ex, then it’s the father’s place to speak with the mother about this problem. If he chooses not to back you up on this matter, let HIM do the work, see how quickly his tune changes.
Easier said than done, I know.

You might be “just stepmom”, but dad can definitely say something. And he absolutely needs to. And if she tries to deny him access to the child, take it to court. Period. You guys are trying to help him. Apparently, she’s not.

There’s many factors here. What kind of disability does he have? How does he do with the potty training schedule while he is with you guys? Is it too much and overwhelms him?

If he is 9 years old, it;s high time your husband confront the mama … THE CHILD COMES FIRST,

Your right about being lazy cause I seen it with my daughter she does it so they don’t bother her I don’t like it cause I work hard with them

What kind of mental disability does he have

Well. I’m not sure how long you’ve been in his life and how disabled he is. I’ll suggest if you all can. Have a sit down and discuss things. Please don’t assume too much on her side. Offer support. That goes longer way and will have more success to his thrive. Until then I hope you’ll create your own boundaries too. That is also important. I know because I’m a step mom too.

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Provide support speak to hear gently tell her whats been working maybe the case she does not have the skills or doesn’t know how to help