DEAR ABBY: I am a 44-year-old woman who married "Barry" two years ago. He was a widower with two small boys, now 8 and 11.
I married Barry with the hope and understanding I could help to raise these children, but he now seems to resent my efforts. For example, he has made comments referring to himself as no longer being the primary disciplinarian by telling me, "I'm glad you're the bad guy now."
He constantly accuses me of asking too much of the boys. Abby, I expect them to clean their room and the bathroom they use. Barry also objects when I correct the kids' eating habits and manners -- like reminding them not to interrupt when two adults are talking.
Unfortunately, my husband's attitude is beginning to rub off on the oldest boy, who sometimes takes on a negative attitude when I ask him to do a chore -- or anything, for that matter.
Am I fighting a losing battle? Any suggestions you have would be helpful. -- FEELING ALONE IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR FEELING ALONE: Without your husband's support, you are fighting a losing battle of "bait and switch." Your requests seem reasonable to me; however, the WAY you are teaching the boys may need an adjustment to make it more palatable. Family counseling could be helpful to all of you.
The Stepfamily Association of America is another terrific resource because more than 50 percent of families today are blended families. Membership is $40 a year, but the association offers support groups, retreats, Web sites, and access to have issues addressed with counselors. Find it on the Internet at: www.stepfam.org, with a link to a special site for stepmothers at www.steptogether.org. The phone number is (800) 735-0329.