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Joined: 6/9/2005
Msg: 2
PROBLEM with stepkidPage 1 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
I think you need to sit down with your husband and lay it all out on the table. Nothing will get accomplished by you posting here. This isn't a child we are speaking about, this is a grown man who isn't dealing with his own life. There comes a time when you just have to stop enabling the kid to continue on his downward spiral. I am watching my cousin take a similar route and she 22... so i have some idea what you are going through. Her mother has basically cut her off. Made it known that when she's done doing all the things she is doing and is going to clean up her act she can then talk about coming back home, but the steps have to be taken by her. Sounds like the same with your step son. He's not begin forced to take responsibility for his actions. He needs to be. Harsh as it sounds.. you need to push your husband slowly and softly to do something. Because at that age, the child shouldn't be coming between you, not in this manner.
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 3
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/8/2012 11:51:30 PM
You married a man with 4 children and you have never had kids?....interesting choice there....

you missed the younger years and jumped right into the emotional turmoil years everyone goes through when progressing from child to adult.

For "most" parents there is this thing called unconditional love.

In my opinion it is important that your child knows there is a safe place to look to when things in their lives are at their worst. If they do not have that in their life then it allows that feeling of hopelessness and for a young developing mind that is bad.

you feel he should take away the phone but for many parents dealing with an unruly child that phone is their life line and/or only ability of keeping the communication lines open.

I get the impression that you would think the proper way to handle it is to toss his son out on his ass and let him get a taste of reality.

My guess is.... you husband is a pretty smart man and likely understands what his son is going through at the moment and is aware of the likely hood of a moment of clarity that is coming soon.

He is likely hoping that moment of clarity comes prior to his son completely screwing up his life.

usually it happens between 18-23.

Your husband is likely doing nothing to curb his behavior because he understands that males attempting to set dominance see things like that as challenges.

If he did then it would either push him away, or worse create a showdown that would create a fight and as a result the same thing happens a pushing away.

Again... I say you married a smart man that is perfectly suited to raising male children. Trust him.... he knows what he is doing.

This is why....

At that age there is not much you can do to alter their behavior.... they are at that crossroads of adulthood and are drunk of self assigned power trips.

still making mistakes and getting things wrong all the time but by your husband still being there for him will cause him to want to be like him. Once that son finally gets sick of making so many mistakes he will likely start to look at his father and start having more and more respect for him due to several reasons... 1 and most important.... he didn't give up on his children..... and 2 his father has the life he is used to seeing.

I am not meaning to insult you here with this statement but.... you were not around while those children grew up.... you do not have the memories of those various stages of development.

You said it is making you lose respect for your husband.... Why? IF your husband quit raising or being a parent to his children once they reached a certain age or placed demands upon them or ultimatums to force them to do or be a specific way then i could see you losing respect....

You are seriously going to lose respect for a man that stands by his children no matter what they do?

Funny thing about being a parent..... you do not get to chose your children and those children do not get to chose their parents....

You do however get to chose who you marry or share your lives with.

If you do push your husband you might want to consider that fact. I am a single father.... My son is 13.... I have been there for his since the first mess he made in his diaper and even a few messes he has made in his choices that were the wrong choices. If a woman i was with (be it dating or married to) tried to tell me i have to put my foot down and toss my kid out on his ass when he is going through the most mental challenging time of a child's life (the progression from teenager to adult) it would not be my son with the pavement scrapes on his ass.... it would be her due to a complete lack of understanding or even offering the respect enough to allow me to finish what i started......

If you have a good marriage then communication should be a staple in your lives so standing behind his choices is a must for you to ever remain married or else.... your choices will clash and create a conflict between you 2 and quite frankly.... it will make you miserable by constantly thinking he (meaning your husband) is making a mistake and your way would be better....

first thing.... don't do that or think that.... it will drive you nuts.

Wanna try something neat? Ever hear the term kill them with kindness?

Your step son likely thinks you hate him. I figure if your coming to an online forum due to frustration then you likely give off those vibes while around him.

This is going to sound completely backwards to what you may think you should do.

Buy him something for his room.... Like a new mattress cover and sheet set and comforter or something, and don't forget a couple new pillows. Not all flowery but more of a contemporary style and ask him if it is ok for you to install it.

This is why that might work to accomplish the results you want....

YOU.... the new step mom has purchased something for him that offers him comfort. YOU as the new step mom will have done something for him by offering to fix up his bed with it.

Psychology is great by the way.

The message you will be sending is that you care about where he lays his head. He is likely gone and out getting into trouble because those are the friends that he can crash at their pads.

YOU will have given him a soft place to rest his head and it will likely confuse him if he thinks you hate him.

Who do you think he will think about each time he climbs in bed?

When he feels the softness and newness of that new bedding and the new level of comfort he has surrounding him (both in physical comfort as well as emotional comfort by not thinking you hate him) what do you think he might start thinking about?

The power of touch and sensations...

ok this is getting long and you and others likely won't read this far anyways so i will stop there but basically it will have an effect. at the very least it will send the mind off balance and cause him to try and figure out why you did it.

Just my opinions....
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 5
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 1:23:20 AM

I should clarify--I haven't asked my husband to cut his son off; the worst I've suggested is that he temporarily disconnect his cellphone when the boy refuses to respond to repeated texts and calls, with the idea that if he did it once perhaps the boy would be less likely to ignore his attempts at contact in future.

Ok, well in that situation an absence of response is sometimes more telling than a response. It would mean he is likely doing something he should not be doing.

So, the son looks down at the cell phone and see's missed calls and/or texts from his dad.

You seem like a smart lady. Lets just say you husband knows his child is up to no good and since he is married to a woman of above average intelligence means he just might have a good head on his shoulders or else you might not have had an interest in him.

He is trying to cause his child to make better choices without taking away his son's ability to feel in control of his life during a time when he is discovering what man means.

He is not going to do that by nagging. But even if he knows his son is not going to pick up the phone he wants his son to know that at least he tried to get in touch with him.

this is all just hypothetical and may not even fit the way things are but.... then again it might. I have raised a strong willed child and i know i have a head ache coming in the future due to that choice i made.

Of course i am a bit more technology enhanced than other fathers out there and if the phone was on my phone bill then i would have GPS active on it so i know where he has been and since i raised a smart kid who would also know that i would also have a second one in the car for when he thinks he is smart by leaving his phone at a friends house before going to someone elses

Maybe you too have a smart father for a husband that knows what he is doing?

There could be many reasons why he wants his son to have a phone and at age 21 i think i would rather be woken up in the middle of the night by my drunk child wanting a SAFE ride home and having that ability by having a phone with dad on speed dial, instead of trying to make it driving home drunk.

Not saying that is the reason or the situation but maybe without being defensive try asking him so that you can understand.

I just have opinions and possible guesses. You are the one living it. But his kids have managed to survive this long so he must be doing something right.... maybe start there and through communication figure out any second guessing you may have on choices made.
Joined: 8/10/2010
Msg: 6
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 5:04:22 AM
As a Man,I feel your husband should kick his ass out.He doesnt respect the rules,hes disrespectful an obnoxios.....he wants to be an adult show him how to be.or start charging him rent to live there,Im sure he will get his act together then.Dont coddle him,coddelling him had gotten him where he is today,if your husband loves him as much as he says he does,ship his ass off to jobcore,or dont call and text him,let him stay out all night and eventually his attitude will lan him against the wrong person and he will get the ass kicking he nees to humble him.hes a 21 year old man.....if its not done now he will be a 40 year old man living there still or living off of some poor woman.
Joined: 1/16/2012
Msg: 7
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 5:34:17 AM
hm.. This is not your step kid. He's your new husbands adult son. you missed the age where you might have made a difference. It's up to the dad. I wouldn't push too hard if I were you , you may not like the results.. Any good man would not choose his new bride (1 yr is new) over is 21 year old son.
don't lose respect for him, feel compassion.. Gotta be stressful to support a large family, specially when one is screwing up .
Joined: 4/22/2012
Msg: 8
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 5:39:13 AM
Which is exactly why I try not to get involved with men that have kids.
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 9
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 7:04:34 AM

As a Man,I feel your husband should kick his ass out.He doesnt respect the rules,hes disrespectful an obnoxios.....he wants to be an adult show him how to be

Are you sure you are a man?

Men don't quit. Tossing an unruly child on the street sure seems like quitting talk.... with just a little bit of knowledge and oh maybe even some light reading it is easy to see that way NEVER works.

Forgetting to teach a child about the world and responsibilities gradually over time during the teen years to then bombard them with a harsh dose of "kissmyass you are on your own" NEVER works to make a child grow up.

All that does is dump them onto someone else to deal with. Be it a shelter somewhere, criminal justice system, or to finding a cult or gang that prey's upon people thrust into that EXACT situation.

if its not done now he will be a 40 year old man living there still or living off of some poor woman.

You sound like you have first hand experience about that. But if you knew anything about raising children you would understand that most of the ones doing things like that stem from the direct result of that whole mama's boy issue.

I did not see anything in her posts that would give the impression that, that is what is going on.

I can not believe i find myself responding to your post but i guess it just bugs the shyt out of me when i see people like you post that crap about tossing a kid into the military or jobcorp to fix him.. The military is a voluntary thing and does not want a bunch of drunk drug addicts that they have to fix or babysit just to get the job done. They want MEN and WOMEN that they do not have to repair before training them.

but regardless.... you seem to miss the point of her post. She did not ask for everyone's vast wisdom on how to fix an unruly step child. She asked what SHE should do in her situation.

I think she is doing almost the right course. Step back, be supportive to the husband, not demanding to the child, supportive to the child but with boundaries and limits, always leave the doors and lines of communication open and available when they finally ask for help, do not condemn for mistakes made since that is how ALL humans learn including you even at your enhanced age you still make mistakes to be able to figure out what clearly does not work to accomplish your tasks.

If you have ever raised a toddler this will make sense. It is a framework that works no matter what age.

To teach them to walk you support the child and hold him up while he tries to walk which at first is him just wobbling all around because he does not quite have that whole walking thing figured out.

How well do you think it would have worked to teach that child to walk if when he kept falling down you just got frustrated and pushed him down telling him he better get up and learn how to walk on his own?

You would not do that would you? Nope you just stay right there helping him to balance himself while he wobbles his way to a firm footing and forward momentum.

Flash forward a few years to riding a bike for the first time without training wheels.... the same thing takes place yet again..... he will need the parent to steady him while he figures out how to get his balance. Little by little he stops wobbling all over and peddles on forward through his life.

Starting to see a trend?

Well it really is not much different than that..... He is just a 21 year old child wobbling his way to manhood..... Let his father hold his hand and help his kid out while he is unsteady in life. His father is just doing what he has done many times through out that child's life.... he is holding his hand while his child gets his balance because he KNOWS.... just like every other time he has done it, the end result was that eventually his child figured out how to do it on his own without needing his hand held the whole time.... Life now, is not going to be any different than all the other times....

Simply put..... stay out of the way so you don't trip the father and son up when he is teaching his son to stand on his own.... He likely has it all figured out already ;) some men are smart that way.

Your role is cheerleader not coach in your current situation.

Just my opinions at least.
Joined: 3/29/2012
Msg: 10
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 7:36:43 AM
I think the biggest point with this OP is that you face going home each day with dread. You really need to address this with your husband before it festers and destroys your marriage. Perhaps you need suggest that the two of you go for counselling, this should help with all the issues including helping you both deal with the son.

The kids will always be a big part of his life and so they should be ( I would expect that at any age any decent parent woudl "step in front of the bus for their child"), however a 21-year-old with a drug and alcohol problem needs more help than he is apparently getting. Standing by and waiting for him to grow up and get over it is not the solution. Much as I hate to say it, I am with allaboutsport on this one. The boy needs to leave, needs to for the first time to truly suffer from the consequences of his own actions. If no one ever makes him responsible, why would he ever become responsible. Reassure the young man that he can come back if he is willing the follow the rules, go to school, get a job, seek treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. All the things that adults do. My god, he is 21 not 13 time to start treating him like an adult and, sorry but, any adult who behaved like that would not be living in my house.
Joined: 2/21/2012
Msg: 11
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 7:45:18 AM
This is hard. You've made a lot of sacrifices and still continue to do so. I know it must be very taxing on you, but you can't give up on it this early. For better or worse, remember. There's a couple of things you can do, though, so don't despair.

Firstly, a lot of this reminds me of my sister, to be honest. She was the "bad girl" of the family. Constant fights, drugs, you know the deal. Now many years later, even though my sister's cleaned herself up and gotten herself somewhat together (though not completely), my mother still refuses to "cut her off" the way you suggest your husband does to his son. My best guess is it's a sense of guilt that keeps them providing for their child who just simply refuses to better him or herself. Like an aching sinking feeling that "oh it's my fault my kid turned out that way" and they tend to overcompensate. They listen to the drama. They take the abuse. They fork over that $50 for gas. I still see it nowadays and it boggles my mind. It's not something you're going to understand, though. Like a really obscure joke - I guess you just had to be there.

Your husband is caught between a rock and a hard place, really. What seems so simple to us from the outside (cut off the phone!, stop giving him money!, kick him out!, etc.) is really not an easy option for someone who perhaps feels a little responsible for the kid's behavior. You may not see this, but your husband is really hurting.

My suggestion is to make safe arrangements for the kids and get your husband out of that house for awhile. A week vacation. A weekend trip far away in a cabin somewhere. A day in a hotel a few miles away. Anything. Just the two of you. You have to remove him from the home first, get him alone, and have a serious heart to heart. Do not make demands. Do not get frustrated. Do not make threats. Do not give ultimatums. DO ask a lot of questions, DO be supportive, and DO listen. Your mission is to find out what your husband is thinking and where his need to overcompensate for his son is coming from. This is important - do not think your son will reach 25, 30, 40 and magically become entirely self-sufficient. This pattern continues for a very, VERY long time and a parent could very well find him or herself feeling financially responsible for a full-fledged "adult" child. There is a lot going on behind the scenes and you won't begin to understand it until you ask the right questions and fully process those answers.

Once you talk, listen, and learn, see if you can get into some marriage or family counseling. Your husband will not be able to make the decisions you want him to make until he works through his own issues, fears, guilt, whatever it may be. Keep in mind that you're still a bit of an outsider, so you're going to need help making sense of the nature of their relationship. If he refuses counseling, you may want to consider going by yourself. You might be able to gain a little insight and understanding, as well as learn some coping techniques. Do not hold a grudge if he does not choose to go. Don't think him any less of a man. These issues just aren't that easy to fess up to.

As for the son himself, he's not going to agree to anything. What would help him? Mentoring programs. Counseling. Boot camp. Community service/volunteer work. But he's not going to do any of that, so don't stress yourself out trying. Right now, just curb your frustration, be gentle with your husband, get him away, ask him questions, show compassion, get some counseling, and go from there.
Joined: 6/9/2005
Msg: 12
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 7:52:35 AM
I would agree with the posters above if the kids was a teenage heck maybe even 18.. but this is a 21 year old man! He should know better already!

Yes, this is her husbands child.. yes she needs to support and respect her husband.. but that doesn't mean she should be made to feel powerless in this situation! The first step is to talk it out with your husband. Maybe cutting his phone off is off the table for now.. BUT.. This ADULT needs clear cut guidance and rules if he wants to stay with you. My mother sat me down when I was 18 and gave me a ton of rules of her house that I either followed, or i could move out. It worked! I followed them and when I got tired of following them I moved out. I to made a ton of mistakes as a 20 something year old, which is normal. My mother didn't solve them for me, she didn't coddle me when I got in trouble, and when I had to shell out money for the courts she still expected her rent money. She did offer advice and direction, but it was up to me in the end on what do do. To this day home is still a safe place where I am welcome if I need it. but I have to live by her rules.. which I'm not willing to do. So I don't live there and I do everything imaginable to avoid needing to go back there. Tough love works! But he has to be consistent, that's always the key when it comes to your kids at any age. My mother would come to me on the day my rent was due with her hand out. If I didn't have it I had a week to get it to her. Once she charged me late fees, I was never late again! (cut into my partying money! LOL)

I don't understand why he's paying for the kids cell phone. He's not in college, then he should get a job. I don't understand why a kid not in college isn't expected to pay rent or work to support himself. Hopefully he hated jail enough that he will stop doing the things that land him there, hopefully he will clean his act up. But if there are no consequences at home, and he's not expected to support himself then what motivation would he have? If I didn't have to pay rent.. I could have just sat home all the time or hung with friends, not gotten in trouble and just coasted through life. Not a good decision, but i was forced to get off my butt and do something to better myself. Can't get into as much trouble when you're at work 40 hours a week.. ya know?

Regarding the leaning to walk and learning to ride a bike example given by another poster... yes you walk with them for awhile, but you eventually let go and they inevitably fall. But you then teach them to get back up and try again., each time holding on to them for less time. You don't hold on forever, cause if you did, they'd never learn to do it on their own. It's time for this father to let go!

Forgetting to teach a child about the world and responsibilities gradually over time during the teen years to then bombard them with a harsh dose of "kissmyass you are on your own" NEVER works to make a child grow up.
Response to this.. I don't see that as being the case.. There are other kids who aren't doing all this stuff, which would show that he actually did teach them about the world and responsibilities. Each kids is different, some of them need tough love. Coddling is what never works.

When I mentioned my cousin above.. I see her as my own child.. It was difficult to tell her no.. but it was the right choice.. She got herself out a bad situation (similar to what you're step son is doing and much much more) once she realized that her family wasn't going to clean up her messes for her anymore, once she really had to deal with it, she got tired of it really quick and (literally) packed a bag at midnight and walked to a shelter. After she did that she was welcomed back to her mothers with open arms, with the same rules and expectation as she had before that. She didn't stay long.. She's still not in the best of situations.. but it's leaps and bounds better then what it was. And she now lives with my mother, who has sat her down, told her the rules and expects rent from her as well, just as she did me. So far it's working out there for her, but my guess is she will be gone quickly. I don't think my cousin has learned all the lessons she needs to yet, but you never know.. sometimes they make good decisions. When she does learn them, she knows she can go to her mother if she needs to, but she knows her mother isn't going to make excuses and isn't going to coddle her. that's all it takes for her to get and keep a job, and she is slowly getting her act together. Most of us eventually clean up our act.. some just need a swift kick in the a$$ to jump start the process.

EDIT To the poster below me..
yes.. a parents job is never done.. and perhaps just kicking out the child is to harsh. But setting up boundaries rules and expectations and then insisting he keep to them or go find somewhere else to live. My mother based my rent on my income, she did the same for my brother, so we didn't pay the same amount. We had the same rules and expectations otherwise. She wanted her phone line open, so we had to get our own phones, she expected each of us to do certain chores around the house. The expectations she put in place were not much different then they are when i moved out. That isn't too much and that is good parenting. Oh and kicking a 21 year old child out is not illegal, kicking a 12 year old out is.. but an adult child has no legal right to stay in the home. It's a privilege, not a right.
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 13
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 7:59:41 AM

Parenting (or child rearing) is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.

humm so he is not quite adult maturity.... age wise yes but development wise no.

What does Adult really mean?


It is important to realize that parenting doesn't end when a child turns 18. Support is needed in a child's life well beyond the adolescent years and continues into middle and later adulthood. Parental support is crucial in helping children figure out who they are and where they fit in the world. Parenting is a lifelong process.

Well there is no right or wrong answer..... i can however say with very good certainty that tossing a child out on the street even a 21 year old child is not only the wrong thing to do but it is also illegal in almost every state. That is their home and even if they are not paying rent they are still granted the same rights and privileges as anyone else in that house.

but regardless... there is many ways to raise children. Not all have the same end results though.
Joined: 3/29/2012
Msg: 14
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 8:11:28 AM

..... i can however say with very good certainty that tossing a child out on the street even a 21 year old child is not only the wrong thing to do but it is also illegal in almost every state

Certainly is not either wrong or illegal. a 21-year-old is an adult and unless they own the home, or if rented their name is one the lease, they have no right to be there. Living in their parents home is a privilege not a right for adult children and as such the privilege must be earned. You are correct that parenting does not end when a child turns 18, parenting never ends, however, how you parent is the issue.

Allowing an adult child to run the household and ruin other relationships with their behaviour is not acceptable. We have a generation filled with spoiled little princes and princesses who think they are entitled to everything and that mommy and daddy should just give them what they want and let them do whatever they want. Go to college and fail out? No big deal it's not like they paid for it. Get an impaired driving charges? Again no big deal, mommy and daddy will pay all the costs and bail me out. Same with credit card debt, drugs, unplanned pregnancies, whatever. Children need to learn that their actions have serious consequences and those consequences must be suffered by the child not the parents. Just like the old saying, "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime."
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 15
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 8:19:55 AM

Response to this.. I don't see that as being the case.. There are other kids who aren't doing all this stuff, which would show that he actually did teach them about the world and responsibilities. Each kids is different, some of them need tough love. Coddling is what never works.

I read between the lines... she said it was the 3rd child out of the 4. not the youngest or the oldest..... I am assuming that something happened shortly after he hit puberty (the mother being out of the picture) i also assumed the whole house hold was in turmoil and disorganized for a year or so after that event. So YES... all assumptions but educated guesses that, that is the child that got shafted with a harsh dose of reality at a crucial time in his development that yes due to that means extra parenting may be required to compensate.

Age wise he may be adult but developmental wise i think a few things were missed at an important time.

Again.. i am not meaning to argue or dismiss any other opinions. These are just my opinions to add to the topic.
Joined: 9/23/2011
Msg: 16
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 8:24:07 AM
I think dreamer in SC made a very nice post................but i still would put my foot down about some things.
As much unconditional love as your spouse has for his child, a 21 year old derelict can NOT be running the household! The son needs to get it together, when i was 21 i was working a fulltime job, taking classes, raising a baby on my own, managing a household, & paying bills, there is no reason a single able bodied male can not get his act together. He does need unconditional love, but along with a swift kick in the ass to shape up, in my opinion.

I like the idea of disconnecting the cell, i would bet money he will be flying in through the door in seconds wanting to know what happened, then that might be the time to tell him "we need to talk about your behavour".

Yes he is a grown man age-wise, but he needs guidance to really grow into a man, as he is still acting like a child.
People struggle sometimes i kjow, but he cant disrespect the household, thats YOUR home too.
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 17
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 8:30:50 AM

Certainly is not either wrong or illegal. a 21-year-old is an adult and unless they own the home, or if rented their name is one the lease, they have no right to be there.

That is not true at all.... call your local sheriff or court house. You still have to abide by the same rules and laws as evicting anyone else living with you that has that address as their LEGAL residence. Showing that address on their identification/drivers license means it is your legal residence and the same procedures have to be followed. But that is straying way off topic.... and of course most children would trust their parents to not lie to them and tell them the truth. The real issue is.... most of the parents that would do that anyways are the uneducated ones themselves that would not even understand the rules they themselves must follow to be a member of society which coincidentally viewable in the demographic statistics, show that very same correlation. Parents that were not taught the correct ways to live themselves, tend to teach their own children the same wrong things. Breaking the cycle requires knowledge and understanding...
Joined: 6/13/2011
Msg: 18
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 8:49:52 AM
Joined: 3/29/2012
Msg: 19
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 8:57:03 AM
You might want to really check that. You can in every state and province legally ask your child to leave if they are 18 years of age and older, the only time you need any legal involvement is if the child refuses to leave and has to be physically evicted. In many places you can evict them from your house at 16 if they are doing illegal things. While a parent's legal obligation to a child ends at 18, Their moral obligation certainly does not.

Sorry if I seen uneducated to you because I would kick out a child who was tearing my home and life apart. I have great compassion for anyone who has to go through these things, but I have also seen many families torn apart because of the behaviour of one child. My children where always aware that if they did not want to follow the rules, they were more than welcome to leave. Those rules included a curfew, contact with me when they were out, a reasonable response time to text messages and voice mail. Didn't expect them to answer their phones but did expect them to get back to me quite quickly. They were also expected to contribute to the running of the household through doing their share of all chores including cooking, laundry, yard work etc. And once they had jobs, they were had to pay for their own phones, even though they still had to answer my calls and I still had the power to cut off their phone.

Both my children lived at home until the had completed their post secondary education, had good jobs and had saved enough money to move out on their own. But if they had been tearing my life apart, you better believe they would have been gone.

I completely understand the rules that are required to be a functioning member of society and as a parent it is my job to teach my children those same rules. Allowing them to do whatever they please with no consequences is not completing my obligation as a parent and a responsible member of society. Yes I had compassion for my kids when they screwed up, they are not perfect and neither am I, but they also had to suffer the consequences of their bad choices, not me or the rest of society.

BTW, My kids are both happy, healthy adults with goods jobs and involved in healthy adult relatioships. They call or text me every day and I see them on a regular basis and they have both told me how grateful they are for the things I forced them to learn as teenagers.
Joined: 6/9/2005
Msg: 20
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 9:57:50 AM
The real issue is.... most of the parents that would do that anyways are the uneducated ones themselves that would not even understand the rules they themselves must follow to be a member of society which coincidentally viewable in the demographic statistics, show that very same correlation.
Wow.. this was totally uncalled for and completely wrong. There is nothing wrong with putting your foot down, setting rules and expecting them to be followed. If that doesn't' work then the ADULT child should be sent out into the real world. Yes a few things can happen good and bad.. but in the end once the kids reach adulthood you don't have control over them anymore, you can only control what you yourself put up with. I would never put up with my son disrespecting the household. Regardless of if something happened to him during his teen years doesn't give him the right to disrespect the household. I personally think the cell phone being cut off would be a great start. It's a privilege and an unnecessary things at best. No one will die without their cell phone. Rather it might open his eyes a little to the real world. You don't pay the bills, your stuff gets shut off. You don't' respect those who care for you, they don't do things for you anymore. That's how the world works. reality sucks and life isn't fair.. he has to learn that sometime. Better while he's at home and still young then when he's older and doing it on his own. I only suggest kicking them out if they refuse to follow rules of the household, whatever they may be. My mom had some strict ones.. I turned out pretty good despite being kicked in the butt
Joined: 7/3/2011
Msg: 21
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 10:50:02 AM
It always blows me away when single moms and dads whine about people not wanting to date them because of their kids. It also ticks me off when they act like their is no financial or emotional stress involved. whatever.

First of all your husband has created this monster of a young man. People dont discipline their kids when they are young and then when they grow up their parents keep bailing them out of problems and then the kid does whatever they want.

Tell your husband new rules or you are gone. Give this guy 2 months to get out. He can find a job, you can give him a little seed money, but let him know he's not welcome back to live there, only for visits.

if he doesn't comply you call the cops after 2 months and you tell him that's what will happen. Make your husband man up and make him do it.

Screw understanding. This is about discipline and teaching this person that this isn't ok. If he wants to ruin his life let him. But his problems can no longer by your problems.

If your husband wimps out, you have two choices. To leave or to stay and get used to it. I hope it works out for you.
Joined: 12/9/2006
Msg: 22
view profile
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 10:51:24 AM
Have you spoken to your husband about family counseling? If he is military they offer help to families. The state will also be able to help. Press upon your husband that enabling is the same as not loving his son.
Joined: 5/24/2011
Msg: 23
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 1:30:00 PM

Are you sure you are a man?

Men don't quit. Tossing an unruly child on the street sure seems like quitting talk.... with just a little bit of knowledge and oh maybe even some light reading it is easy to see that way NEVER works.

Forgetting to teach a child about the world and responsibilities gradually over time during the teen years to then bombard them with a harsh dose of "kissmyass you are on your own" NEVER works to make a child grow up.

You’re wrong that “it NEVER works.” It worked in our family.

We went through something very similar to OP’s stepfamily, when at 16-17 one of the kids decided to go haywire along the same lines. At 18, adulthood, she was given the choice to follow the code in the house or live on her own by her own code. She "chose" to move out and no longer receive financial support. In those three years, she's taken some rough roads, but she's exceeded anything we would have had expected or dreamed of and has done it all on her own. She's transferring to a top-30 business school this fall and she got herself here all on her own. Good thing we did get out of her way, although it was pretty scary to let go. But that was our problem to deal with. Four years ago, we pretty much thought she'd never graduate high school. So, yeah, it works.

It isn't about fighting with them or controlling them. It's that you have to respect and accept that if he/she does not want to live by the codes and standards in your home and wants to live by their own codes, its time to go do that. If you take the perspective of anger, punishment or battle (“kissmyass” “tossing a child on the street”?), its the parent's anger that's the problem. It isn't "quitting" anything except being angry and in a power struggle with someone who is an adult. My dad- her grandpa- had a hard time with that concept and said things like, "You're just quitting on her!" "I'm not going to let her DIE!" Pfft. Like he could prevent it anyway. But, she's done far better on her own than she was doing while we were all locked in battle.

Allowing, or maybe its accepting, that your adult child makes his or her own choices is really rooted in having faith in them to take care of themselves, and in having faith that you did teach them along the way. But if you condone and fund criminal behavior, disrespect, and causing chaos and trouble in the family, eventually you realize you're being hypocritical when you say you don't approve of it. Of course you approve of it- you're funding it. Worst of all, you're preventing the lesson this perfectly capable young adult wants/needs/has chosen. It's the parent who is standing in the way.

I hope your husband gets it, OP. In my opinion, he's not helping his son at all, sorry to say, because I bet he means well. He's probably all wound up in guilt anyway. But letting go and having faith in the kid is the best route- fake it til you make it, or whatever the cbt shorthand is. Worked for us. We went to some family seminars and therapy with other families like us and I saw (and felt) how hard it is to change your own perspective and actions. If he lets this go on much longer, I don't know how you can stay if he and his son just remain in dysfunction and battle and the household stays in chaos. Hope he gets it.
 want to travel
Joined: 7/29/2006
Msg: 24
view profile
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 2:15:32 PM
sound like an angel
compared to my x's son
he had all that and more.. at 16!
well, having served in the forces
I went down to the reserves
had a long talk with some of the officers
convinced my x that it was worth a try
and made him join
he is now in the regular navy, finished high school,has a house, a girlfriend, a great trade
he is clean, no drugs or booze
and he thanks me every holiday for NOT giving up on him
Joined: 5/12/2012
Msg: 25
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/9/2012 11:26:59 PM
I have been in a relationship where the kids come first and foremost. It always made me feel like i came last. The fact was that I was last and I would always be..
Now I want a relationship where we can be equal and spoil each other instead of a favorite child.
I waited eight years for things to change and they never did. There was always that favorite child on her mind. We couldnt even go shopping out of town without her buying stuff for her now 19 yr old .

All I could do to make a supermom happy was to help fuell her habit .
Now I am out to find someone who wants to biuld a life together. I love family, but what about us?
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 26
view profile
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/10/2012 3:19:32 AM
What a load of hog wash, particularly that she can't empathize because she doesn't have bio kids. I cried buckets of tears over my stepson and continued to help him after he moved out but at some point it wasn't doing him any favors to keep helping.

Children are of legal age when they are 18 in every state. I moved out when I was 19. This is not a kid, he can legally drink, has been able to vote and serve in the armed forces for three years. So he wasn't cut out for college or at least will not find the motivation to finish until he is older, that doesn't mean that his parents should provide him with a very nice room, perks such as food, probably gas money, electronics, laundry service (ever if he does his own wash which seems somewhat doubtful given the picture painted).

The world contains rules. One must observe them to remain employed, in order to have positive and productive professional and personal relationships. As we would with a 10-year-old, you abide by the rules or experience a punishment and yet this disciplinary structure is abandoned because the child is an adult. Seems logical that when one is an adult, more is expected of him rather than less. How is this father preparing him for a world that gives you nothing for free? Sometimes being a good parent requires stepping back and allowing them to fall, and staying close so that you can help them up.

Many people seem to forget that our job is to raise children who will when they are adults become productive citizens, not blindly support free-loaders. We help after they are 18 if they are going to college because it is more difficult if supporting oneself entirely and going to school, or perhaps they have a job and are saving up for a vehicle or down payment on a house. We are not doing them any favors if we allow them to sit and spin in adolescence without sticking even one toe out into the real world and sorry, college isn't it unless someone is paying his own way.

I speak to this having a child in college now and a stepson who is now 33. There is a difference between a soft place to land and trying to stretch childhood to 25. The young man should be given a reasonable amount of time to secure employment and begin paying a small rent. He should also be informed that there is a reasonable timeline for him to work toward moving out; let him know when his subsidized housing is over.

I work with college students and I've seen a few that are cut off pretty much the minute they graduate. I think that's a bit harsh but if their parents indicated that they are done paying the bills with the last college statement, then if the child has not planned accordingly he can grow up and become an adult who is responsible for solving his own problems. My daughter who is 20 is capable of running a small country with her hands tied behind her back but if I'm around she tends to be lazy and acts like she is incompetent. Some kids, just like birds, need a nudge out of the nest. Most suck it up and grow up while others recognize they are not all that and ask to come back home and live under the rules.

OP, ask your husband to step away and how he would evaluate and deal with a new recruit with his son's behavior. I can't imagine he got this way without his father cleaning up messes as he was coming up. Also, I'd tell him that you are frustrated and say just what you said here, that you didn't want to go home and that scared you. Tough love is not abandoning or giving up on a kid, it's as the previous poster stated, getting out of their way and allowing them to grow up.
Joined: 5/31/2011
Msg: 27
PROBLEM with stepkid
Posted: 6/10/2012 6:57:59 AM
First I think, OP, you'd be better off having this conversation with your husband instead of a bunch of strangers in an internet forum.

VERBAL COMMUNICATION is a vital part of any relationship.
Something is going on with this kid and the father should be wanting to find out what it is and help him through it. Your the step mom, yes, but how you feel is in play here too. I can see you want to help, your husband should see that too.

His son is now an adult and this is just my opinion but it's time for him to stop bailing him out when he gets in trouble. My mother always told me if I ever ended up in jail to never call her. His son is now an adult and it's time he start taking responsibility for his actions and any consequences that arise from said actions. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way. That doesn't mean you don't care about your kids.

My mom and dad divorced when I was 13 and it wasn't long at all before mom was seeing someone else. I was very angry and didn't like it at all. But as it turned out, my stepdad was a better dad to me than my real dad was. Unfortunately mom and my stepdad divorced after 20 something years. I can't say I'm close with my real dad. I talked to him more last year than I ever have due to taking care of his mother and then her passing.
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