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My friendís stepmom hates him, and I donít know what advice to give him.


My friendís stepmom hates him, and I donít know what advice to give him. óDonít Know What to Say, 15, IN

Shayna Answers:

Dear Don’t Know What to Say,

There are several things that your friend and you can do about this situation. The first thing you should do is encourage your friend to talk to someone about what’s going on between his stepmom and him. Preferably, convince your friend to talk to his dad about this first. Or if you’re willing to, talk to your friend’s dad and tell him what’s going on. He may not even have a clue!

It can be really hard to make blended families work. Although your friend probably does do some things that aggravate his stepmom, she may be dealing with some of her own issues, too. Your friend’s dad may be able to help your friend and his stepmom resolve their differences.

It’s really important to determine whether or not your friend’s stepmom really “hates” him, or if she just talks to him roughly or makes him feel unwelcome. Another option is for your friend to talk directly to his stepmom about what’s been going on.

If they don’t get along while talking in person, he can try writing her a letter and including in it things such as “It really hurts my feelings when you yell at me without listening to me first” or “I feel insignificant when you ignore me after school.”

Having these types of conversations can be uncomfortable, so make sure you are a good support to your friend. Encourage him to be honest with you and listen to him when he needs to vent. Big life adjustments are hard, and sometimes we all need reminders that we will get through them. Reassure him with, “Everything is going to be OK.” Also, frequently offer to pray with your friend. You can even offer to go with him to see a guidance counselor or a youth pastor for counseling.

If things are simply unbearable for your friend at his house, you can invite him to come over to your house after school or on the weekends. Make sure you clear this with your parents and his dad and stepmom, though, so you both don’t make the situation worse!

Another thing you can do is tell your parents what’s happening and ask them to talk to your friend. Your parents might have more insight into the situation than either of you do, and simply talking to parental figures may help ease some of your friend’s anxiety.

It may be that your friend and his family need to see a professional counselor. As a friend, you can really only offer encouragement and be a shoulder to lean on. Ultimately, your friend and his parents have to find a way to work out their issues together and live peaceably in the same house.  Trying to talk things out may work, but trained Christian counselors can be very effective in helping families work through conflicts in a safe environment.

Whatever method your friend’s family chooses to resolve this situation, don’t stop praying for him. James 5:16 says that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” And Proverbs 17:17 says: “A friend loves at all times.”

Continue to listen, support, and pray for your friend, and you’ll be doing the most that you can as a friend—and you’ll be saying more by your actions than you realize.

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