Teenage stepsons in our bedroom

(326 Posts)
allnewtaketwo Sun 07-Oct-12 20:17:59

Yesterday, DSS (16) was in our bedroom, solely because he needed to print something out (i wasn't aware of this at the time). At one point I heard banging and thumping around upstairs and asked DH to go up and see what was going on. Turns out both DSSs were play? fighting in our bedroom, on our bed. I was very annoyed, and said to DH that I don't want them in our bedroom anymore. Not only is that the one room in our house that I can have any privacy, but I think I can reasonably expect to not having a young adult model and his teenage brother fighting on my bed.

Roll forward to today. I was walking upstairs and saw DSS1 walking into my bedroom. 5 mins before, I had been busy on the computer in the bedroom (online banking) and also had out some underwear on radiator to dry. Had only left room to go to loo. I spoke to DH and turns out he'd told DSS he could use put computer.

I was very annoyed and DH couldn't understand why. We have a laptop FGS. Am do cross. I don't think I'm unreasonable in not wanting to have a 16 year old male in my bedroom, let alone seeing my private banking details. Am just having a rant here!

Petal02 Mon 08-Oct-12 16:11:47

PS - I also agree with Allnew's point, that you can't have a "one size fits all" policy. For example, finding a 4 year old girl that you're related to in your en-suite is very different to bumping into an adolescent male who isn't yours!!!

FairPhyllis Mon 08-Oct-12 16:19:09

For some people not having children in a bedroom is a normal boundary. For some people this is not. In my family we have all always merrily wandered in and out of each others bedrooms - not at times when someone might be getting dressed, but apart from that it's always been totally normal for anyone of any age to go into anyone else's room, and I'd be astonished by any family that didn't operate in this way. So it really is quite hard for someone who doesn't have this boundary to get their heads around someone wanting it for members of their own family, which is probably what is going on with your DH.

I think it's also normal in families for everyone to see each other's underwear drying - what's wrong with that? And the same for banking details - it wouldn't bother me for anyone in my family to see that.

But I think either you have a no-children policy in the bedroom or you don't - if you make a big deal out of keeping DSSs out but let your DS in then the DSSs will probably come to their own conclusions about that.

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Oct-12 16:30:47

"not at times when someone might be getting dressed"

But how would you know? I sometimes get changed during the day at random times - eg. after gardening, if nipping out to the shops etc etc. How would my DSSs be expected to know at say 2pm if I was getting changed in there or not?

Petal02 Mon 08-Oct-12 16:31:13

I wasn't suggesting that (for example) you should let your 16 yr old bio son into your bedroom, but ban your 16 yr old stepson. But sometimes there can be gender issues, rather than "step vs bio" issues, ie my DH would happily walk around in his underwear if his son is around, but wouldn't dream of doing that in front of his daughter. My Dad was the same.

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Oct-12 16:31:53

"if you make a big deal out of keeping DSSs out but let your DS in then the DSSs will probably come to their own conclusions about that"

What about the bathroom - should I invite DSSs in there as well in case they feel left out (which I'm pretty sure they don't grin) just because DS is allowed in with me?

Petal02 Mon 08-Oct-12 16:36:56

Allnew is right - again - if you are related to a child, you are likely to feel more comfortable with bathing/changing than if they are a step child. I expect to get flamed for that, but in reality I suspect most of us are more private in front of non-relatives.

Bonsoir Mon 08-Oct-12 16:40:38

There is absolutely nothing odd about having different boundaries for your DSCs and your DCs.

Petal02 Mon 08-Oct-12 16:41:56

Bonsoir - I know we've disagreed in the past, but I think you're spot-on with your last post.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 08-Oct-12 16:47:42

Here, children come in the bedroom if they ask to come in. If they are in their bedrooms, I ask before going in as they might be in there wanting some privacy. A bedroom door that is closed must be knocked on, an open door means you can go in.

ecuse Mon 08-Oct-12 16:53:23

*"not at times when someone might be getting dressed"

"But how would you know?"*

I would assume in most houses if the door is shut, you knock. If it's open you pop your head round.

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Oct-12 16:57:38

I was responding to the poster who said "In my family we have all always merrily wandered in and out of each others bedrooms - not at times when someone might be getting dressed". The "wandering in and out" didn't suggest knocking to me

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 08-Oct-12 17:03:53

I have never allowed either of my children (now young adults) to go in our bedroom without our express permission. One boy, one girl, both biological children. We have a lock on the door which we use. I knock on their doors if they are closed.

Our bedroom is the only place for true privacy and I have always had it as a child free zone from their birth (I am very much a Gina Ford type of mother).

IceBergJam Mon 08-Oct-12 17:21:05

My stepsons started to stay out of our room when the eldest walked in on me starkers . I think it was a sight he didnt want to see again. You could always try that if all else fails.

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Oct-12 17:42:13

grin that's one solution!

FairPhyllis Mon 08-Oct-12 18:06:33

Er, well if you've all just had breakfast and people then disappear upstairs, it's a reasonable guess that they're getting dressed, no? Or if you hear someone having a shower, or know they've just come in from a run? Can't say I would get changed especially to go to the shops, so that one wouldn't occur to me. I do knock if I think someone might be getting changed though.

By the way, I have a half-sister (so my DM's step daughter) and she's never been banned from my parents' bedroom.

But my main point, which the people who jumped on me seem to have missed, is that there are different family cultures of privacy - I can't imagine needing to have "sanctuaries" within the house - and you and your DH have conflicting cultures of privacy. So you need to find a way to get that across to him, otherwise you are going to spend a lot of energy being unhappy about it.

FairPhyllis Mon 08-Oct-12 18:15:14

And it would be unusual for doors to be closed unless someone was getting changed. So that's another way you know.

But OP's problem isn't specifically about being walked in on when changing, it's about having DSSs in her room at all.

brdgrl Mon 08-Oct-12 19:24:43

please feel free to tell me how (a) I'm making a mistake, (b) screwing them up and (c) I am a freak.

numberlock, please re-read the thread/my post. My point was that I would NOT say another parent was a freak/screwing up their kid ^even if I personally thought they were making a mistake/had different privacy boundaries than me. I chose those words because an earlier post said that those of us who kept the DSCs out of our bedrooms were "freaks" and several posters said that we were harming our DSCs by doing so.

tattychicken Mon 08-Oct-12 19:40:55

I know it was a while back, (been at work) but that post about the lad following his dad backwards and forwards, and the SM describing him as a spaniel (hmm) was awful. How do you expect him to develop confidence and self esteem if he is so obviously an inconvenience and barely tolerated in what is supposed to be his home? Why are you lying in bed so long while he is hovering outside? Why can't you and DH get up and do something with him-cook breakfast together, go on a run, whatever. Don't leave the poor sod twiddling his thumbs.

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Oct-12 19:51:53

Fair are you deliberately mis-interpreting my OP? I specifically described a situation whereby, following my large teenage DSSs wrestling in my bed, I said I didn't want them in there any more. I.e. they abused the right to go into my bedroom

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Oct-12 19:53:45

Tatty doesn't that rather depend what time he's up at though? Some children would like the household to be up and about from 5 or 6 o clock

tattychicken Mon 08-Oct-12 20:01:43

Not many 16 year olds are up at 5 though? Not voluntarily anyway.

brdgrl Mon 08-Oct-12 20:04:16

Why are you lying in bed so long while he is hovering outside? Why can't you and DH get up and do something with him-cook breakfast together, go on a run, whatever. Don't leave the poor sod twiddling his thumbs.

Yes, that's right....As a stepmum, you must also provide the all-singing, all-dancing entertainment.

This will probably be deleted, but...
I've fucking had it with the bullshit double standards from the stepmum bashing crew. I look after a family of five, including a 2 year-old not yet in nursery. I've NO family support and NO money for childcare. I also work a PT job and until a month ago, have been a fulltime PhD student. Add up the hours yourself. I do the laundry, the house-cleaning, and the shopping. I remember all the kids' friends, arrange their social events, take an interest in what they are working on at school, listen to their stories, keep track of when they need haircuts, new socks, teeth cleanings.

I have had ONE half day to myself in the last two months. I went and had a drink with a friend. That was it. No cinema trips, no shoe shopping, no lunches with friends. I do nothing but work, mumsnet while DD is asleep, and keep this household running. If you think I am going to get up and cook breakfast with my DSCs just so they don't have to entertain themselves for an hour or two, you can all fuck away off.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Oct-12 20:08:29

Pah! Inconvenient and barely tolerated? Did you read my subsequent posts?

I didn't compare DSS to a spaniel - I highlighted that behaviour that is endearing in a spaniel and perfectly natural in a toddler becomes disconcerting, and yes, at times creepy, in an older child.

I have no idea where you get the idea that we lie in and leave him to fend for himself in the mornings - you've obviously been peeping through the wrong windows. DSS helps me bake first thing most mornings; but I can take him for a run (along with the spaniels) if you'd prefer wink

But unless DP sleeps fully clothed, wears a catheter and doesn't wash for four days, it is necessary for him to be separated from his DS for half an hour or so at a time while he's awake; sadly, DS struggles to occupy himself and once he has completed whatever task DP sets for him, (dressing, washing etc) he dutifully positions himself as close as he physically can to DP in order to await his next instruction.

DSS behaviour and health is of significant concern to DP and myself - and has been subject to professional intervention on many occasions. Like all parents, sometimes it's a struggle to balance everything that is going on and I need to vent - but as usual, there is always someone whose standards for Stepmums are much higher than for any other parent - the irony would be amusing if I had the energy to laugh!

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Oct-12 20:10:06

tatty My DSS is 9 years old, btw - not 16.

Hullygully Mon 08-Oct-12 20:10:54

Why is it double standards?

Nothng to do with being a step parent, if you are the responsible adult, tough shit, it's your job.

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