brass neck of DSS!

(16 Posts)
brdgrl Thu 18-Oct-12 21:45:12

Recently, I was having a nice chat with DSS (15) about his Halloween plans. I asked him if he wanted to have a party, and said that if he did, I'd have to think about it and talk to DH. He wasn't sure he wanted to, and I told him to have a think and get back to me.

Fast-forward to last night. We had an enormous row (that began over him not doing something he'd been asked by DH to do, and not following rules about his use of xbox/internet. When he got mouthy about those things, he was told off for that as well). The row ended up being between me and DSS, and he said some very rude things and generally was completely out of order. It all "ended" with him smashing the built-in multi-bulb light fixture in his room.

I've not spoken to him today. He was at school and football practice, and I ate dinner separately with DD and went to my room, so have only seen him in passing.

DH, however, has told me that this evening DSS asked DH if he could have a Halloween party. DH said "Not after last night."

I am gob-smacked that he'd even have the gall to suggest it, today, while the broken shards of glass are still lying all over his rug, there has been no apology, and he has told me to fuck off.

I am clearly still expected (by DSS, anyway - DH has dodged a bullet by saying no; even he couldn't let this one pass) to shop, cook, clean, and put up with 10-12 teenagers in my home on a weeknight.

Would it be wrong to tell him off for this, as well? Probably no point. Please restrain me.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 18-Oct-12 23:14:18

I fully get why you want to tear him limb from limb for his cheek - but bear with me as I can see another side to this wink

Your DSS has reached his teenage years without being consistently taught that choices have consequences. The fact that he swore at you and smashed his light fitting - both pretty major transgressions - is fairly strong evidence that he has, in the past, behaved very badly and not been subjected to any form of consequence or penalty.

I'm not at all surprised that he's assumed that the previously promised party could still go ahead - he hasn't learnt that poor behaviour leads to loss of privileges; so of course he looked surprised when your DP said no; your DSS can't understand the link between one and the other!

It sounds like that on this occasion your DP has parented and imposed a consequence on DSS, but it's obviously the exception rather than the rule. It is your DPs behaviour that has created a teen who thinks his behaviour has no impact on other people.

You can still set boundaries on your own relationship with your DSS, even without your DPs support.
If your DSS swears at you, then withdraw your engagement with him; act as if he doesn't exist. That means don't cook, clean, wash, taxi to school or anything that benefits him in any way. Don't worry about the consequences on DSS - if he's late, goes hungry, has no clean clothes - it's not your problem. If you are asked why you are not doing these things anymore, by either DSS or your DP, then simply say that you are not prepared to put yourself out for someone who has no respect for you or your home.
It doesn't matter if your DP does these things for instead - he is also learning consequences; if his DS is rude/abusive to you then his life gets harder. It might just convince him to keep a tighter check on his DS behaviour.

brdgrl Fri 19-Oct-12 09:27:33

Thanks, NADM. On my way out the door right now and will respond in full later, but will be thinking about what you've written all day!

boredandrestless Fri 19-Oct-12 15:57:32

Good post NADM. Most kids of his age wouldn't dare ask as they'd KNOW their behaviour last night meant no special privileges. Like you say NADM he has clearly not been parented by his dad very well. Perhaps that is also why he asked his dad rather than you, thinking dad might say yes? shock

From a safety POV please tell your DP to thoroughly hoover his son's bedroom, otherwise tiny shards of glass are going to end up trodden through every room in your house aren't they! He should perhaps get DSS to do it, then do a bit more himself.

So sorry you are living with this OP, not nice for you or your DD to be living with someone who shows you such little respect.

brdgrl Fri 19-Oct-12 16:20:20

It is your DPs behaviour that has created a teen who thinks his behaviour has no impact on other people.
I know this is true. Although, to be completely fair, DH has been making efforts to change, it is almost like he lacks any instinctive sense of how to parent with authority. I do have to acknowledge the progress he has made over the last couple of years, but it isn't easy for him to apply what he learned in one situaation to another, IYSWIM - he is forever apologising and saying "I got it wrong", but it doesn't seem to help with the next time.

I know there are Disney Dads who became that way post-breakup. DH was a Disney Dad for the kids' entire lives, and their mum was a Disney Mum. It was their "normal", and all the standards are completely askew.

You can still set boundaries on your own relationship with your DSS, even without your DPs support.
Yes. This is what I am trying to decide at the moment - how much I am still going to continue to do. I have told DH that for the time being at least (certainly until I get an apology and some kind of understanding is agreed with DSS about his behaviour), I am not going to go out of my way for DSS. The exact shape of that is what I am trying to decide for myself. Obviously, I am not going to be suggesting or assisting him with special events, parties, his social life, or buying him clothing items.

We have a jobs rota that divides up dinners and washing up; I do it a bit more often than the kids, but that will go unchanged and I will carry on cooking for everyone on 'my' nights, as I will expect him to do on his. On the other hand, I am not keen to carry on doing DSS's laundry. I don't particularly want DH to pick that job up if I drop it, though - the bottom line is that DH and I already have so little time together, and DH hasn't enough time to stay on top of things around the house already - so everything that cuts into his time, ends up making my life a tiny bit harder and less pleasant.

DSS refuses to walk the dog anymore, so DH does that every weekday morning and most weekday nights (DSD does a couple too); that is right there a couple of hours every day that DH is not around, not available to help with DD, not available to spend time with me, not available to help with housework, not available to do the other things that he needs to do, which then get done later in the evening. which means we end up not seeing each other most of the evening. I don't drive, so the ferrying falls to DH - but the knock-on effect is that when DH is out driving him to football practice or whatever, I am stuck at home with our DD and no option of going out anywhere myself on those evenings, and no company, and no help with the bedtime routine. I also end up picking up more of the slack at home (if someone needs to mop a floor and DH is or has been ferrying kids, for example, I'll be the one to mop - its just a matter of availability and time, IYSWIM...).

I'm also reluctant to say that DSS has to do his own laundry, because I know that this will be a disaster with repercussions for me. He will very likely break the machine (that may sound silly, but if you knew DSS you would know that he is a breaker - not intentionally, but through a terrible mix of carelessness and bad luck). If that by some miracle didn't happen, he'd certainly spill detergent everywhere, leave clothes in the washer for days on end, destroy school shirts and sports gear which then would have to be replaced (and he'll be paying for the light fixture for months, so no chance of him paying for the clothes he ruins...)

Well. Definitely something is going to change. I just am going to look for what will make my life easier and allow me to focus more on my work, my DD, my marriage, and my friends - instead of continuing to put those things second to this pointless grind of trying to be a "good stepmum".

NotaDisneyMum Fri 19-Oct-12 16:45:42

Free-range parenting is what I call that - perfect for chickens, lousy for DCs wink

You've got your work cut out - I have banned certain free-range children (friends of the DCs from my home, horrid creatures!)

brdgrl Fri 19-Oct-12 21:42:48

Well, we are about to sit down to a "talk" with him about it all. Must not lose temper...
We came home and he was sat in front of the tv. The thing that was the source of the original argument (something DH told him to do on Tuesday) is still not done.

When DH mentioned to him over dinner that we were having a couple of our friends over tomorrow, he said, "OK, I won't be here, I'm going out tomorrow."

To which DH had to say "No. You're not."

DSS's response? "Why not?"

I actually think there might be something wrong with his brain, that it can't process simple cause and effect.

colditz Fri 19-Oct-12 21:47:12

There's lots wrong with his brain, some of it will be because of spoiltness, most will be because of hormones.

Re the washing - your do has created this situation with his neglectful parenting, and yes lack of discipline is neglect. So it's up to him to pick up the pieces. It is his job to do dss washing

brdgrl Fri 19-Oct-12 21:47:58

Or, quite possibly, it is DSS's job...

brdgrl Fri 19-Oct-12 21:52:40

From a safety POV please tell your DP to thoroughly hoover his son's bedroom, otherwise tiny shards of glass are going to end up trodden through every room in your house aren't they! He should perhaps get DSS to do it, then do a bit more himself.
bored, thanks and sorry, i didn't see your post before! Yes, I got worried about the same thing; DH has made DSS hoover his room and the hallway it adjoins, but I think I'll ask him (DH) to go over it again one more time.

DD actually does have a small (thin but deep) cut on her finger, exactly the sort you might get from a bit of glass like that - but no glass in her finger - and I obviously can't say it is anything to do with this incident, and am trying not to go there in my head as it is unfair and will only make me angrier.

Attilathehun Fri 19-Oct-12 21:55:59

You know you can be the greatest parents in the world and teenagers can still be a nightmare?

It isn't always the parents fault.

brdgrl Sat 20-Oct-12 19:01:59

Thanks, Attila.
Or the step-parent's fault!

I suppose what I always feel about this is that there are certain "normal" teenage behaviours that can be pretty awful. And even the best parents, and the "intact" families, come up against those!

But then some parents know what to do, to if not stop them at least make it clear that they aren't actually on a spectrum of acceptability. I did plenty of terribly obnoxious and dreadfully ill-mannered things with and to my own parents. But I got called up for it. And I felt ashamed of myself. Oh, sometimes I didn't get caught, because I hid things from them - even then, it was because I knew they would not approve and there would be a consequence (even if, for small things, the only consequence was disapproval!).
What I have trouble with is when there is no "normal" consequence to bad behaviour.

I don't, even at my most ticked off, think I'd label DH a neglectful parent. He has arguably acted negligently in not providing consistent boundaries and discipline, which actually isn't the same thing at all, IYSWIM.

Monstroneous Sat 03-Nov-12 12:14:15

So what does said 15 yr old boy do for funds? I presume he's reliant on you guys for his spending? In which case, my response would be to cut off funding until an attitude change is seen...

brdgrl Sat 03-Nov-12 16:30:23

He's not getting pocket money at the moment (since the incident) and won't until the light at least is paid for. Unfortunately, his birthday was recently and not only did he get cash from relatives, but he got a sizable cash gift from DH and I, which was meant to be put towards a new gaming system he wants (he was putting the money away and hoping that by next spring he'd have enough from birthday/christmas/pocket money).

So he won't be able to afford that gaming system, which is something, but in the meantime he does have cash to be getting on with and not much need to spend it. sad We have not replaced the light fitting still (will require an electrician!), and I don't know if DH plans to make DSS pay for it upfront from his savings, or just keep witholding the pocket money...I don't knwo which will be more effective, either.

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Sat 03-Nov-12 17:16:20

That's good. Pleased he's learning about consequences!!

griphook Sat 17-Nov-12 23:40:11

I'm regard to washing clothes, my Dss asked me once why his clothes were taking do long to wash and what was the hold up.

From that moment on I have never touched his washing again ( there is a massive back story but it was the straw that broke the camels back) so I told him to do his own and the rules where

1) if the washing machine had finished and his clothes were still in it I would ask him to remove them if an hour later they were still in the wash I would simply take them out and put them on the floor. If they got dirty so be it. Same with dryer

2) if clothes were left laying around the house after he had gone to bed I would simply bag them up and put them in the garden

Sounds exterm but as I say massive back story, but he did r d up doing his washing in the end

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