I need some advice. Let me preface this by saying that I, more than anyone on the planet, know just how difficult and trying living with difficult child can be. So, I have attempted to come at this from a very objective place. That being said, the situation is complicated and messy (aren't they all) and I want to protect my son. Over the past few weeks, difficult child has been complaining to me that his stepmother acts differently when his father is around than when he is not. (Okay, not surprising) When his dad is not around the stepmother is harsh and from difficult child's description, appears to be blowing off all the frustration she experiences dealing with him that she cannot vent when dad is around. He says that she is especially bad in the car when alone with him and easy child. He says that now he would prefer to ride the bus again and get teased and bullied (some of you may remember this problem we had in the beginning of the school year) versus being yelled at by the stepmother on the way to and from school. A couple of days ago when I picked difficult child and his sister up from school he burst into tears, "Mommy you should never have written that e-mail to daddy! She reads his e-mail and now I am in trouble! She screamed at me all the way to school today." What was this horrible e-mail to his dad about you may wonder....the e-mail I had written to his dad was regarding rewarding difficult child for an outstanding report card. Not only did he get all A's (he usually does this) but also got ALL E's on his conduct grades. FIRST TIME EVER. Usually he gets S's and N's!!!! So, difficult child and I agreed that he should get a really nice reward and his choice was to go to a sporting event. Unfortunately, I am still experiencing medical issues myself and do not feel like I can take him. So, in the e-mail to his dad I said that if he was willing to take difficult child that I would be willing to pay for the tickets. Wow, wasn't that a horrible e-mail to yell at the kid about?! by the way, no reply from his dad to the e-mail but that is typical for him. He never responds to my e-mails unless he needs something from me or if there is a dire emergency. He will go for days ignoring e-mails about doctors and medications. difficult child wants me to talk to his dad about the stepmother. But his dad and I do not communicate well at all, he usually misinterprets what I say and think, we are seldom in agreement, the stepmother will NOT speak to me. She has never spoken to me once. Not once. It has been a bad situation for the three years that they have been married. His dad is almost sure to get defensive and angry and this will only cause difficult child more trouble. On the other hand, I don't want my child to feel like I am powerless to help him. I suggested that he talk to his dad. But he says that his dad won't listen to him or believe him. I suggested that he talk to his paternal grandmother. I just don't know what else to do. difficult child was so upset, which upset me, that I did sent the ex a text message that said, "I guess the report card reward e-mail was a bad idea since difficult child is now in tears over it." I did not get a response. You would think he would want to know why his child was upset. The kids spend 1/3 of the time with me and 2/3 with their dad and stepmother. easy child is being true to her nature and keeping her lips sealed and "just wants everyone to get along." She will not give up any info. Am I overreacting to be upset by this? What would you do?