We are a blended family, between us we have 4 kids. Our 9-year-old boy was 4 when his dad left and I believe that this has presented him with a couple of challenges.
Firstly, he appears to be stuck developmentally. He seems to have an unnatural attachment with the "mums" in his life (says his mum and step mum are "hot" and wants to marry them) and has difficulty in seeing me as an authority figure, he won't look at me when we tell him off for example. Or when I ask him to help, he cannot help but look at mum for validation, as if he needs her to approve it.
I've read up and can see that having a father figure when he was growing up is important for him to understand how to interact with a parenting team. Not having one around appears to have stalled him and let him to an almost unnatural connection with mum.
Secondly, his behavior has no balance, for example, he will often do and say things that are very child like (can't see that stealing is wrong or hitting when he doesn't get his way), but also when challenged on this he appears almost shameful, there's no balance.
What can we do at this stage to help him be a happy and contented 9-year-old?