Being a stepparent comes with its own set of challenges, even without the children making up stories. If your stepson is telling lies about you it might hurt your feelings and make you feel like you’re under attack.
You don’t want your spouse or the other parent(s) thinking badly of you. Your stepson may have some deeper issues going on that are causing him to say these things about you. He could be upset and hurting more than you know.
There could be some underlying emotional issues that he needs help dealing with to put an end to these tall tales.
Kids Can Exaggerate Details
Being reminded to complete everyday tasks or small disagreements may look like a much bigger event from a child’s point of view. When you say no it becomes “You NEVER let me do anything I want!”
When you correct your stepson’s inappropriate behavior he may tell his parents you are being mean or rude to him. Allegations of abuse or neglect can become far more serious.
Parents have an innate duty to protect their children. It would be wrong of them not to ask you about your side of the story and to ensure nothing bad is happening to their son.
It can be painful and frustrating to deal with false allegations but you know the truth. You want to have a close relationship with your stepson, but don’t want to be accused of things you didn’t do either.
Letting his natural parents provide the discipline is best to avoid friction and frustration between you. Keep time spent alone together to a minimum to avoid opportunities for him to invent things that never happened.
If your stepson responds negatively to spending time alone with you, maybe you should cut back on that and reintroduce the idea slowly, on a smaller scale as things improve.
Be positive and try to build trust in one another slowly. Try not to let the lying get to you too much. Remember that there is a reason your stepson is doing this and it may not be because he doesn’t like you personally. He may be doing this to get attention or to try to manipulate his parents.
Whatever the reason, remember that you probably didn’t do anything to bring this on. He is struggling and frustrated and needs to work through it.
Your Stepson is Showing Loyalty By Lying About You
Getting to know one another better and adjusting to sharing a home is a process that takes time. Your stepson already has natural parents that he loves. He might feel like you don’t belong in his life, or that liking you would be a betrayal to his other parent.
Accepting you as a new member of the family could be a difficult thing for him to accept. Some children are still mourning the separation of their parents and wish their family would reunite. Your stepson might believe that if he keeps making you look bad, eventually you will leave. Telling lies about you could be his way of trying to get you out of the picture.
Your stepson might believe that if he casts you in a bad light and gets you out of the picture, his family could be reunited. He may also get the wrong kind of attention when he tells lies.
If your spouse’s ex goes along with your stepson’s versions of events it could be making things worse. If he gets attention and validation for his dramatic stories, your stepson might take pride in his efforts at trying to embarrass you.
When a new person comes into your life it has to be a transition. You have to show your stepson that you are only there as another loving, supportive figure in his life. Communicate to him that you have no desire to change his life in any way nor interfere with his visits. Let him know that you are aware of how deeply he loves his natural parents and would never try to take their place. Be understanding and talk about your feelings.
Let your stepson know that you can tell he is upset and try to see the situation from his perspective. He might open up to you and share what is bothering him.
Animosity Between Adults Affects Children
If your spouse’s ex already dislikes you, chances are your stepson has noticed. When you have someone that’s always trying to blame you for things or call you a bad parent it can be frustrating. They delight in hearing about your failures and shortcomings. If your child notices that their stories get the pot stirring they may make things up just to provide more fuel.
If your stepson goes home and is quizzed about his visit with you, his natural parent could be focusing on the negatives. They may only be asking him what went wrong instead of looking at the full picture.
Try not to be angry with your stepson for his behavior. He could have been prompted to say those things rather than just trying to lie about you. You never know how his other parent is talking about you when he goes back to their home.
These stories could be nothing more than his way of having some control. If the adults are always saying negative things about each other, he is caught in the middle. By creating an issue of his own, he is getting himself in the mix. He can make everyone focus on his allegations for a little while as he sits back and watches the chaos unfold. Creating situations like that can make a child feel like he has some power, even if it’s being used against you.
Communicate, Don’t Let Him Run You Off
Talk to your partner and the other parent(s) about your stepson lying about you. Ensure them that you are not behaving the way your stepson has described and see what can be done to help. See if he has been telling lies to other adults, or if he is targeting you specifically. Try to get to the root of the problem. Defending yourself is important. You want to be able to tell them your version of events and you also want to be able to ensure your partner and his ex that you would never abuse or harm your stepson.
Sit down with your stepson and your partner and address the issue head-on. Ask your stepson why he is saying things that aren’t true. Let him know that it hurts your feelings when he tells lies about you. Talk about the importance of honesty and that telling the truth is more important than getting a laugh or taking a jab at someone.
Apologize for anything you’ve done that may have made your stepson upset or uncomfortable. Your spouse should reinforce that lying is wrong and that this nonsense needs to stop. Maybe your stepson will take it to heart and stop his tirade against you.
Take time to come up with a plan that works for all three of you. Getting a professional involved may be necessary if the behavior goes on too long. You want your spouse to be able to trust you both. Have a calm, consistent reaction to his behavior and stand your ground. When he realizes the lies aren’t getting the reaction he wants anymore, things should calm down. You want your stepson to learn and grow, so be ready to put in the effort necessary to help him work through this.