Teenage stepsons in our bedroom(326 Posts)
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!
I would be very cross too. It sounds like your DH isn't taking your needs very seriously. You have my sympathy.
Do you not trust your stepson ?
Eeww... I wouldn't deal with that either. I have two DSDs (One nearly 18 who has had a serious BF, and the only reason he is allowed to stay is they have a separate house in the grounds, so not in our house....
Can you move the PC or speak to your DH?
Would you feel the same way about a bio 16 son?
I hate anyone in my bedroom as it's my room. I wouldn't let my dc play in it, your dh should have enforced it if you agreed that. So not your dss fault he was in there.
Really? You don't want your DSS in your bedroom? I find that very odd, how long have you been his stepmom?
My DS is definitely not allowed to fight on my bed, no. And no, when he's a teenager he will use a laptop, not the desktop in my bedroom.
Nothing to do with trust. I trust my friends, but certainly wouldn't want them seeing my banking details. Same for my parents, siblings. Banking details are private, nothing to do with trust. Same with underwear!
Omelette are you a step patent?
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for him to be fighting iny bedroom. Or using the pc. There is a family laptop downstairs which he is free to use at any time
And yes, its most definitely my DH I'm cross with. Everyone had the right to sp d privacy. A 16 year old might not understand or respect that, but an adult should.
I don't mind my stepkids knocking at the door, being asked in, and staying for a chat. I would very much mind them being in our bedroom when we are not there, or rough-housing on our bed.
And I do not want my DSCs or my DD seeing our banking details, our emails, or our internet history. It is not appropriate.
Does your DH have reasonable boundaries with the kids in other areas of life?
Its Omletta and yes I am a step parent and can't imagine banning my steps from any room, ever. In the same way as my children will never be banned from any room
The fighting I agree is unacceptable, but just being in your room, particularly when the printer is in there is surely normal?
Oh... It's difficult. Do they live with you? I can see both sides.
From their point of view - this is (I'm assuming at least part time) their home. It's weird for them if there are areas they're banned from, and may make them feel unwelcome or uncle. If you were their mum I doubt you'd give it a second thought. Unless there's some particular cause for concern about theft or inappropriate sexual stuff you're not telling us then it's just a bit of laundry and a browser window they won't have the least interest in.
What this seems to say is that you don't feel they're part of your family and that you tolerate them rather than welcome or love them. If that's the case then YANBU to want or even need a sanctuary from them and your DH should back you up because it's your house too.
But you should know that the kids will pick up on that and so will your DH and I would think that would have repercussions for your family dynamics.
Erm ... uncomfortable not uncle... Bloody autocorrect.
I am a step parent, my biological children often wander into my bedroom and therefore I allow my stepson to do the same.
I only use Internet banking on my iPad so it would not be left open. Do not feel a need to hide from my stepson though
I just don't think it is weird at all to have rooms in the home that are not open to the children. My DSCs aren't allowed in my office, and as I say above, I would expect them to keep out of our bedroom, unless invited in. The same will apply to my DD (she is only 2 at the moment, so no, she doesn't have free rein of the house anyway!). I wouldn't say "banned", I think that is a loaded word - but no, they aren't welcome in those rooms unless invited. ACtually, I don't go in my DH's ofice unless invited!
I think it is absolutely wrong to suggest that the OP needs to have all areas of the home open to the children at all times, or else she is somehow mistreating them or making them feel 'not part of the family'. It should be naturalised - if it is presented to the children as something normal and respectful, that is how they will understand it.
No DCs - bio or otherwise - allowed in our bedroom without knocking and supervised; my DD irons in our room once a week while I tidy/MN/chat in the sane room and DSS occasionally knocks in the night if his sleep is disturbed but we expect our privacy to be respected.
In return, we ensure that neither DC invades each others privacy, and we respect theirs - although we reserve the right to enter their rooms at any time, it's our house and they are not entitled to privacy, it is a privilege they have earned.
I don't think children wandering in and out of your room, bio or step, is normal at all. Everyone I know has a ban on their children playing in the mother's bedroom. It's a big no no here, whether you're related to me or not.
I don't like my DSSs going in my bedroom or bathroom. They do tend to hang around outside the door of our bedroom too, waiting for DP to come out, and I find that very annoying and invasive of my privacy. They take up a lot of space and I do need somewhere I can go that I can relax in!
I am the sort if person who needs some personal space and a sanctuary. My bedroom is the only place in the house that affords me this. I hadn't 'banned' anyone from anywhere except that they were fighting on my bed and I was cross, yes, as its so dis-respectful and inappropriate. I don't thinks it's unreasonable to not want a 6 ft tall young adult male fighting my bed. nothing to do with not being welcome in the house at all. And in fact I wouldn't dream of wandering into their bedroom, they have a right to privacy as well
I don't go into my DSSs' room either.
Bonsoir I thought my DSS was alone in loitering outside our bedroom door waiting for his Dad!
It's really creepy!
Bonsoir it's exactly that. Older teenage boys indeed do take up a lot of space. There is no shortage of rooms at all in our house for them to have their stuff or wander in and out of.
NADM - DSS1 (not DSS2) actually waits for DP outside the loo!
Mine are banned from my study, unless they knock, & dh's studio is also invitation only.
They wouldn't be expected to be in our bedroom unless they came in to see one of us - no playing in there.
Don't think it makes a difference whether they're steps or not, tbh.
allnewtaketwo - we have no shortage of space either - the DSSs have their own (huge) bedroom, bathroom and loo, and there is lots of communal space. But they seem to use it all up!
No need for any children (step or bio) to be playing in their parents' bedroom. Our two are much younger and have always known from toddlerhood that they are not allowed in our room unless we are there and have said they can come in, or if they need us during the night.
Jeez,i wish my DC could be so well behaved,mine still come in our room to get their birthday presents!
And they are 52/49 and 46 respectively.
My DC's aren't allowed in my room unless they are sleeping in with me when they're ill. Or under 5 and cosleeping. Other than that, my room is out of bounds.
To be fair though there's a pretty huge difference between coming in to get a present and fighting in the bed
DS doesn't wander into our room either, but it's just where we sleep and dress; both have our own offices elsewhere in the house and we don't have a tv in the bedroom.
It's not that he's banned, just no reason for him ever to go in there.
It's hardly a hanging offence though,they won't be at home forever,you'll get your privacy soon.
Wow, a thread where I agree with Bonsoir and Couthy .
Ive been in my stepsons lives for 8 years. They are very much part of our family , living with us 50/50. They only come into our room if invited. I would not feel comfatable at all with them wondering in and out when ever they felt like it .
I pay them the same respect and always knock if I need to chat with them while they are in their rooms.
I dont feel it has anything to do with not making them feel welcome or not seeing them as part of the family. I dont want my18 year old stepson walking in and seeing me in my bra and pants, or seeing private medication on my bed side table, or trying to conceive books, bank statements, etc. Yes I may feel different about my own child seeing these things. Doesnt mean my stepchildren are not welcome and considering my DD is only 10 months the situation will never be an issue.
Adults need privacy and boundaries.
I think you need to discuss groundrules with your DH or spend time relaxing in your SS bedrooms!
Not sure I mentioned hanging . I did say I was just ranting and it's DH I'm cross with.
Thanks iceberg you've articulated it much better than me, it's exactly as you've described!
Is anyone else really jealous of all these properties with separate houses in grounds, studios, his and hers offices and teenage suites???
For what it's worth, I am a step parent, dsd knows to knock when coming in our room and only goes into if, for example, she's borrowing my straighteners etc. She isn't banned from there but she is aware that it isn't somewhere to 'hang out'. I don't recall ever having to tell her this, it is just how it works in our house. My three DSs follow the same pattern. We all tend to knock before entering each other's rooms and none of us would dream of just using someone else's bedroom when they aren't there. (We would, however, go in to collect something etc.)
I'm a bit on the fence - no to the messing about in there but wouldn't have a problem with them going into my room for a good reason.
Studios and teenage suites, not sure where that idea came from.
Sorry, I still don't get it. If my DSC were fighting in my room I think I would yell something like ' oy not in here' or 'get out of my my room' but I just don't think it's worth getting upset about.
Some of my loveliest memories of us as a family are m and DH in bed with collective children spread across the bed, chatting or watching a film, but all feeling comfortable.
Is anyone else really jealous of all these properties with separate houses in grounds, studios, his and hers offices and teenage suites???
Nothing to be jealous of here, sonny. DH and I both work from home, so yes, we have offices. Poky little offices in our home that we struggle to pay the rent on every month, and we live miles from the town centre so that we can afford it at all . We haven't much space, and the DSCS live here all the time, so maybe that is why being respectful of one another's privacy is so important.
Omeletta can you see that not everyone might bd the same as you though? The thought if being in bed with a 16 year old make who is not my biological child quite frankly horrifies me
The only thing that matters is that it bothers you. Some people wouldn't mind, but you do, and I don't think it's expecting too much to have one room that's private. Particularly when they end up wrestling on your bed
Talk to your DH again.
DH , me, two teen boys and a baby would just not fit on the bed ! Plus I couldnt put up with the competitive farting.
Thanks Narked. We will definitely be having that chat!
I think as well that being the only female in the house makes me doubly keen to have just a little bit of space in the house to be private. In seriously outnumbered by large males, so that little bit of privacy helps me a lot
DSS1 lived with us a while when he was a teenager. I used to hide the modem when he was not allowed to use it because it cost a fortune, blocked the phone line and stopped him doing his school work. (this was a long time ago!!) He always found it, no matter where I hid it, even in my underwear drawer :-(
He also found my hidden positive pregnancy test and books so when we announced my pregnancy, he just said 'yeah, I know'. No privacy at all and I hated that.
But, on the plus side, it was, as everything in parenting is, a phase, it passed and we moved onto other worries!!
Ok so the play fighting was a step too far, but bloody hell, no wonder there are problems in families and step families! What a bunch of bloody weirdos not even allowing your own children in your bedroom without an appointment, never mind stepchildren!
Those of you who are stepmums and say you won't allow stepchildren in your bedroom, do you sleep alone in that room, or do you share it with your dh/dp.....you know, they guy who is those kids' father???
It's not often it happens, but I really am shaking my head in disbelief at some of you
Allnew, I wouldn't feel comfy sharing a bed with my 16 and 18 year old stepsons. It just would not feel right to me. Can't say i'd do it with my Nephews either. Doesn't mean I don't care.
I didn't go into my parents bedroom either though unless there was a reason, so it's got nothing to do with a step set up in the case, just that people have different expectations and boundaries
Shesoarkes I love that you come on a thread to slag off people for being intolerant, then call them a bunch of weirdos. Oh the irony
I am a step parent and a bio parent and would seriously dislike any of them being in my room at aged 16 ! My sdd is 24 and about to have her own child, my kids range from 14 to 7, the youngest two occasionally sleep in our bed after a bad dream but that is it ! The others know they are not allowed into our room unless we say they can.
Knocking isn't really an appointment is it? Would you really walk straight into a teen boys (or girls) bedroom without knocking and waiting for an answer?
For god's sake, sparkles. This isn't a problem in my family. It is what we do, and it works. Just like it did in my family growing up. And in my DH's family when he was. And in my sisters' families (unblended). And in loads of families on my town, I'm sure.
I can promise you, we would have problems if we decided bedrooms were common areas and I started hanging out in DSD's room while she was at school!
Yuk and bleugh spring to mind - l hear you.
My adult stepson had similiar lack of respect for our privacy even in our bedroom ffs. Used to do my head in.
Worst one was when we got a brand new bed and after DH had put it together and l had made it up with all new duvet set etc, SS came upstairs to see what we were doing (?) walks through our bedroom door and on seeing the new bed pounces onto it and lays out full length on his back to try it (??).
DH just laughed.
It was one of the most surreal moments of my life, standing there next to my husband one minute looking forward to spending our first night
testing the springs in our lovely new bed and bedding and the next minute l'm looking at my six foot adult stepson lying flat out on it even before either of us had lay on it.
For those of you who say different, it definitely does make a difference l'm afraid when the adult male in question is not your own biologically. Tbh, l wouldnt be too thrilled if my own adult son did the same (yes l have got one and no he wouldnt dream of it). We are not talking here about five year olds bouncing on the bed which l couldnt care less about, whether DCs or DSCs.
If a couples bed cant be 'sacred' to them and the bedding they lie on fgs then l dont know what can be.
So a lot of you think it's normal, I think it's weird. I'm sure there will be some things I do which you think are weird to my normal. It's my opinion, that's all.
Allnew yes I can see that not everyone is going to be the same as me. And I didn't mean in bed, not once they were teenagers - thats really not right, but lying on the bed, chatting, reading the papers, drinking tea. This is normal family stuff and my DSC are part of my family.
And for the record I was being facetious saying appointment, as some of you seem so very strict about it.
Our teens are generally fast asleep in their own beds while we have tea in the mornings. And yes id invite them in for a chat if DH was there but thats not wondering in and out at will is it? I think they would be horrified to freely walk in to our bedroom one morning with out knocking and catching DH and I at it!
I had never ever ever ever ever ever ever thought that my kids shouldn't be allowed in my bedroom, bio or otherwise and whatever age. I am staggered.
And kids like being with their parents, they are "hanging" about waiting for their dads because htey love them and want to be with them.
you mad freak parents
Hully can I move in to,your house and come in for a blether on the end of your bed last ting at night? I kind of miss doing that
What a bunch of bloody weirdos not even allowing your own children in your bedroom without an appointment
My exH walks into my DD's room whenever he likes without knocking regardless of the time of day and despite her repeated requests for him not to. It really upsets her - which is my fault by being weird and teaching her that privacy and personal space is something to be respected, I presume?
I'm entirely with the OP. I have teen DS and DSS living with me and as others have said, my bedroom is my sanctuary. They knock if the door is closed, and don't go in when we're not in there unless asked to.
They sometimes come in to talk to me while I'm ironing or whatever, but they understand that it's our personal space. I would be furious if either of them were rolling around on my bed- they have their own for that!
Hmm I have no kids of my own and even stranger I am living in the ex MH with my DH. My poor three SC have to suffer the confusion of a "new person" (all be it five years ago) sleeping in the room that used to be mum and dad's.
None of this was my doing BTW I came along after DH had been single for 2 years - ExW had moved out and in with another bloke and was living happily down the road.
If the door is shut it means don't come in, thats it I suppose with us- I have never had to tell them this, though. It helps that the eldest are girls (17 and 14). The two youngest used to come in on a sunday morning and spend ages lying on our bed with us (yes as a SM I know.. all the BMs will be horrified).
But like any behaviour, if it upsets you and is unreasonable then you have every right to tell him to stop.
Hmmm, I am surprised at the amount of people who ban their dc from their rooms.
I don't have any step dc, but I have 3 bio dc, and I wouldn't dream of banning them from my room. They come and go as they please. I don't let them play in there as such, but dd2 will often go in there to read or use her laptop, in peace.
If I want some privacy, then I ask them to leave, and they are fine with that, it's no biggy.
Hully, mine often come in and park themselves on the end of my bed for a chat too. I love it.
My DSS used to (not so much now he's 15) snuggle up and watch telly with me or have a chat, too.
After knocking and being invited in.
Far cry from being welcome to stroll in any time, or use our room when we aren't in it.
Yes yes we're all a bunch of freaks...
OP - sorry, wasn't your house - it was some of the other posters who just seemed have fantastically spacious houses! ( I'm only jealous! ) I don't think you're wrong to have ground rules about your own bedroom, especially if they aren't treating it with respect. Maybe the printer would be better in another room?
Although I would like an office, however tiny... ()
I think the posts about the children waiting outside the bedroom door for their Dad are so sad. And why would anyone think that was 'creepy'?
It sounds like you have different boundaries from your DP/dSSS.
I always felt very warm and secure in my parents' bedroom.
I still do even now , even since my mum died last year .
And I am ancient
tatty You may be comfortable with a pre-pubescent boy, who tolerates rather than welcomes your presence, sitting directly outside your bedroom door listening to your every move while you wake up, pee, shower or dress - quite simply, I'm not.
For 4 days a fortnight, my DPs every move - including those behind closed doors - is observed, noted and recalled.
If he makes a phone call, DSS listens; if he reads a letter, DS looks over his shoulder, if he leaves a room, DS stops whatever he is doing and trots after him, and if he shuts a door, DS waits just the other side until he reappears. Yes, it is incredibly sad that DSS will leave the dinner table and follows DP when he goes to get the salt from the kitchen. It is endearing behaviour in a spaniel, and natural behaviour in a toddler - but once the DC is older, yes, it's unnerving and creepy for me because I'm not his parent but I'm subject to the same level of scrutiny by association.
I think privacy is hugely important. Our house rule are that you have to be invited into a bedroom and the person who most benefits is DSS1. DSS2 is of course adorable and funny but to DSS1 he can be a royal PITA.
I never saw becoming a stepmother as requiring me to give up every part of myself and sometimes I need to step back and have my space. Our bedroom is where I get that. I'm sure I'll feel the same with my own child as the boys have learned that they have to wait if DH goes into our room (ensuite) to shower. Everyone needs the odd moment to themselves, it has no baring on how much they love the children.
I guess if bedrooms are not out of bounds by that rule my DD should be able to walk into her stepbrothers bedrooms when ever she feels like it , regardless of whether a girlfriend is stopping over?
Im fairly sure they would not appreciate that and would respect a certain level of privacy that perhaps we taught to them?
Not stepbrothers, half brothers.
Anyway I don't believe it is fair to call different styles of parenting weird. I'm fairly sure those parents who have free access haven't raised children who do not respect boundaries and those who prefer privacy haven't raised children who are needy and insecure.
Obviously there are a few families with deeper issues and allowing the children free access or barring them probably wont resolve those issues.
My dd's are banned fom our bedroom. They are 3 and 15mo. They wander in now and then as they're still young, but get ushered out quickly. It's the one place I would like kid free, so I'm training them early.
So, yes I'd be annoyed too, even at a 16 yo, especially play fighting on my bed.
Tell your dh that that was the last time dss enters with or without permission.
I don't think people are "weirdos" for wanting privacy for themselves and respect for their belongings.
I think it teaches an important message. . . parents are people too and individuals and they are having a relationship which is (in some ways) something different and separate than the rest of family life (their relationship as a couple)
Why should we assume we give up any right to privacy and that our lives are "access all areas" becuase we are parents (step or bi)
Just move the bloody computer!
IME any teenage boy will move heaven and earth to remain within touching distance of the WWW so there are not enough sanctions in the world to keep them out of your room.
And it's terrible bad chi to have all this electro crap in your room anyway!
Icebergjam - fair point, it was rude to call other people freaky parents, but dear lord I was surprised/shocked. And I feel really really sad for some of the step children.
*For 4 days a fortnight, my DPs every move - including those behind closed doors - is observed, noted and recalled.
If he makes a phone call, DSS listens; if he reads a letter, DS looks over his shoulder, if he leaves a room, DS stops whatever he is doing and trots after him, and if he shuts a door, DS waits just the other side until he reappears. Yes, it is incredibly sad that DSS will leave the dinner table and follows DP when he goes to get the salt from the kitchen. It is endearing behaviour in a spaniel, and natural behaviour in a toddler - but once the DC is older, yes, it's unnerving and creepy for me because I'm not his parent but I'm subject to the same level of scrutiny by association.*
^^ It's not the child who is the odd and scary one here.
There is privacy, which every human is entitled to, and an outright ban on the bedroom. A little difference.
I'm not sure about whether the OP had an "outright ban", but I will definitely have a "ask/ knock before you go in" when mine or bigger.
And OP has the right to make her own choices and I think her dp was being unreasonable by not supporting her.
yeah fuck the kids. It's all about the adults and their choices.
No choice for the children that mummy and daddy split up, meet new people, have new lives, find them a pain etc...
I have three boys and am expecting a fourth. In a house full to the brim with unbreakable child proof plastic crap my bedroom is the only place I have thats just mine (well not at the moment as ds3 co-sleeps) I have my jewellery, faffy candle things and it's where I hide the Christmas presents (not to mention my bedside drawer) it's the one bit of space I can go to when I just need a few minutes, and I know it will be the same as I left it (a mess normally but at least it's my mess)
The boys aren't allowed to play in my room, although I can guarantee that with in minutes of me being in there one of them will be calling me for something. They come in to say good night, or good morning etc
hully I would move heaven and earth to make my DSS's life better - what do you suggest? How can his conflict and insecurity be alleviated? Counsellors, family support workers, teachers and Drs can't answer that question
Why is my desire to live an anxiety and calm life odd and scary? My DSS is a worried, anxious little boy who cannot comfortably accept his life the way it is. He remembers nothing else, and his emotional conflict is a consequence of his parents behaviour.
I have no control over that - are you suggesting that I accept - without question or concern - his behaviour, that stems from his insecurity, and which impacts on the whole family? Is it none of my business that he is unhappy? Do I have no right to an opinion about his state of mind?
It's hardly earth shattering for a child to be asked to knock before entering an adult's room - if that happens to be what the adults in the house have decided. My parents were together until the day my dad died and I was still expected to respect their privacy by asking to go into their bedroom. Was I "fucked" by that .... no, I bloody well wasn't. By the same standards, they also respected my privacy and my space once I was old enough to be bothered by such things. There was no out and out ban in either direction - just a healthy respect.
Last time I looked there's no "bedroom law" which dictates children should have free run of their parents' (or stepparents') room - for those of you who aren't fussed about that fair enough, your choice ... but for those of us who feel differently that's also a valid choice. It does NOT translate into "bog off, we don't like you, you're not welcome" etc which some people seem to be suggesting.
Disney - you said you found it "unnerving and creepy" not desperately sad and if only you could help.
On a serious note then, I would suggest love-bombing from his father and a total embracing of his insecurity from both of you until he feels safe.
If we fucked the adults and always did what kids want chaos would reign. It's about a fine balance that is different for each family. When my DD was born my stepsons were sent upstairs or told to knock on the lounge door while I was learning to breastfeed. Did they felt pushed out? I don't believe so. They knew I was stressed and needed space. 10 months in and we are all relaxed about it.
NDMs issues will not be resolved by bedroom access and probably not caused by bedroom access rules. The child clearly has issues and unless you were present before the divorce, during the divorce and the introduction if NDM you cant reliably pin the blame on the childs issuesbon being in a stepfamily.
Believe it or not most steparents dont want to live in a toxic environment and do their best to assist in resolving issues. What adult wants to be forever arguing with a member of a household?
And I would find it unnerving if my relationship with my SS was strained at best and they hung outside my bedroom door. Especially as they became older.
Bedroom doors should always be knocked on regardless of age or step/non step relationship.
But I do find the emphasis on "adult male" and the underwear drying and being on the bed "inappropriate" a bit odd. No of course they shouldn't be play fighting on your bed because they will make a mess, qnd probably break something and anyway, they had been asked not to. But I do find the sexual overtones of some posts a little odd.
Seeker I think there was a mix up between in the bed and on the bed maybe.
Myself and my husband would still happily let our 16 year old DS(also 6ft)come in our bed if he wanted to.He has done before when he's been really ill bless him.
No matter what age he's still our child.My husband his father is not his biological parent.
I'd be a bit worried and ask them not to do it again if our 16 and 14 year old were play fighting on our bed in case they broke our bed.
But we have no problems with any or all of our 5DC coming into our bedroom.
Of course one knocks if a bedroom door is closed. It is a clear signal.
That has NOTHING to do with children being banned/unwelcome in parents' bedrooms. Which I find odd and sad.
better question.... why's the family computer in your bedroom?? :-/ odd place to have a computer.
But the OP said her laptop was in the bedroom and the family computer is elsewhere and freely available!
Cats mamma if you'd read my posts you will see that there Is another computer. No reason whatsoever to use the one in my room.
And as for the sexual overtones . Yes I have sex in my bedroom and dry my bra and knickers in there. If that's too sexual for you then . I have no doubt that DSS does things of a sexual nature in his bedroom too, which is why I wouldn't consider going in there when he's round. Privacy works 2 ways
Inthenightgarden can you read? Several posts say there is a family computer downstairs
I can't imagine having any parts of my home where my sons aren't welcome. They are 17, 17 and 14.
The only time they can't go in my room is when I'm asleep and the door would be closed in that case.
Other than that, they sometimes use my room as a quiet place to do work as we don't have a massive house, my youngest son's room is tiny and the elder two share a room.
And most days we all end the evening in my bed watching something silly on the iPad together (eg an episode of Father Ted or the IT Crowd) before they all go off to sleep in their own beds.
They have never rummaged through my stuff.
As for bank accounts, they are welcome to look through those at any time and I leave bank statements and bills on open view. Over the years I've gone through bank statements with them to explain how the household finances are run, how a credit card works, what is a pension scheme etc.
Long may it continue for as long as it is their home.
You married their father, - they of course should be allowed access to your bedroom, your bed, your laptop and banking details whenever they want.
And you don't want them to see your underwear drying on the radiator ?
It doesn't sound like you even like them at all, - and they probably know it.
But I do find the sexual overtones of some posts a little odd.
There is a sexual element, like it or not. Which is why the "experts" generally do recommend that in families with stepparents and teen children, bedrooms are respected, and clothing worn in common areas, etc - I might walk around in my nighty if it were me and my DD, but I live with a adolescent male to whom I am not directly related. I'd be very stupid to pretend that didn't matter. And very unfair to DSS.
Likewise, my DSS is now 15, and no longer climbs under the sheets with me for snuggles. I miss it, but it would be inappropriate now. I never said to him "ok, DSS, no more of that, you are BANNED." I didn't have to. Doesn't mean I don't love him.
And as far as other boundaries...
Until about one year ago, my DSD was not content to hover at doors (although there has been a fair amount of that too). When my DH was in the shower or using the toilet, she would enter and do what she wanted - brush teeth, wash face, etc.
She is 17 now.
So, come on, tell me how I am just weird and uptight, and making my DSD feel unwelcome by putting an end to this.
You married their father, - they of course should be allowed access to your bedroom, your bed, your laptop and banking details whenever they want.
Oh, Fenton - you have outdone yourself.
My DSCs get access to my banking details and my bed? Would you like to explain that? Or is this just a silly wind-up?
I thought it perfectly reasonable, apart from banking details..
Personally if I had to choose I would rather my stepsons saw my banking details than my underwear, but each to their own..
Everyone in this family sees everyone else's underwear drying and that doesn't really bother me.
I do, however, expect my DSSs to extend the same courtesy to me as I extend to them and not invade my personal space.
hully knowing why he does it doesn't mean it isn't unnerving and creepy for me - just because I understand it doesn't make it easier to live with.
As for love-bombing him, that's a very simplistic solution to a complex situation.
DSS suffers significant guilt every time he has a positive thought about DP or myself. Reassuring him that he is safe & secure, trying to make him feel better about us, only increases his anxiety and stress as it leads to conflict between his established understanding of the world and the reality he is faced with
I would not share my banking details and financial statements with any of our children, DSCs or DD. Never. That would have been my position prior to becoming a parent and prior to becoming a stepparent. (As a stepparent, there undeniably is another dimension to that, as finances are often more complex and carry with them a lot more emotional baggage.)
My DH doesn't look at my mail. He doesn't read my emails. He doesn't use my laptop unless he's asked to borrow it for some reason. He doesn't just look at my bank statements or bills or my student loan records or my internet history. (We have a joint account together, and receive a joint statement. We both see that.) Those are my private papers and correspondence, and we were fortunately both raised to treat such things as sacrosanct.
If other women have different standards of privacy, I may think they are making a mistake, but I don't think it would be appropriate for me to tell them how they are screwing up their kids, or that they are freaks.
brdgrl I don't disagree with you but you're describing quite a different situation than the OP... not suggesting the OP should let her DSS in for a pee whilst she's in the shower, just that her being so horrified at her being in her 'sanctuary' (implicit: place to escape from him) risks making him feel unwelcome. Of course he should knock first - that's just manners - and of course she has the <right> to ask him never to go in but I was just pointing out (from the POV of a child of divorce with two step parents who never quite made me feel part of their family) that if she chooses to exercise that right it may have repercussions on how her family gels.
I don't think I am, though. Yes, I brought up the (admittedly - I hope - extreme) example of the toilet in response to some of the claims being made about boundaries, but my own situation - two teenage stepkids who aren't 'allowed' to use our bedroom when we are not here - is the same. I happen to agree with the OP about the bedroom as well.
And I guess I would just add - that if she chooses not to exercise that right, it may have just as detrimental if not more so repercussions on her family life.
It certainly would for mine!
If other women have different standards of privacy, I may think they are making a mistake, but I don't think it would be appropriate for me to tell them how they are screwing up their kids, or that they are freaks
Given that I was the one who said I am happy to share my financial details with my 3 sons (ages 17, 17 and 14) and that they are allowed in my bedroom apart from when I'm asleep (both 'privileges' which they have never abused), please feel free to tell me how (a) I'm making a mistake, (b) screwing them up and (c) I am a freak.
<<just that her being so horrified at her being in her 'sanctuary' (implicit: place to escape from him) risks making him feel unwelcome. >>
So to extend this point, he has no right to a 'sanctury' in our house either? A place where he can go to escape the younger ones, do private things, whatever. Or do teenage boys have more rights in a house than adults?
By way of reminder - this started when he was fighting with his brother in my bed. I had never actually issued any ban or similar. I've lived with their father for 10 years. Clearly I haven't made him feel unwelcome at all, as he loves to visit and was comfortable enough to wander into my bedroom yesterday again
I do see your point of view, and I'll admit I might want respite in your situation too. brdgrl is also right that if this bothers you and you let it continue regardless it could also have negative implications for you.
Just telling you my POV - I never felt quite at home in either of my homes, because there were lines that were drawn for me and my sister that wouldn't have been drawn if our parents had stayed together (bedroom access being one of them - from age 5 onward I wasn't allowed to get into bed and give either of my parents a cuddle in the mornings any more and I was conscious that I wasn't wanted at night either, spent a lot of nights lying in bed feeling poorly or having had a bad dream and needing a cuddle but being too scared to go and wake my mum). Your DSSs are older so the same need clearly doesn't apply to them as if they were little ones. It didn't screw up my life or anything, I'm pretty well adjusted, but it did make me a bit sad as a child/teenager.
So I don't mean to be casting judgement. And if you wouldn't let your bio kids in your room either then it's probably not a big deal in the context of your household. My point really was just if you're going to make a thing of this with either your DSSs or your DH then consider how it might come across to them and maybe act to mitigate that.
You know what? Families have different ideas of what is right with regards to privacy.
Does it matter? OP doesn't want her stepkids in her bedroom as she feels it's her private space, other posters don't mind in the slightest.
I personally don't mind kids in my bedroom but only when invited. They simply know not to just barge in and are all old enough to understand the need for privacy. I try and respect their personal space too.
Dp is less bothered about privacy in the bedroom and it shows with how he he is less respectful of their personal space than I am.
We all share pc's and it's mine and DP responsibility to make sure anything inappropriate is not available for access by the children, step or birth.
I had a university friend when I was a young adult who had (a) slept in his parents' bed until he was 11 (b) shared his parents' bank account - as did his older sister - until he got his first job, aged 25. His parents also spent a lot of time living in a hotel, with no personal effects around them
Both he and his sister have major boundary problems and have never formed healthy couple relationships.
Thankfully, bedroom privacy is an issue that DH and I have always agreed on. I have an 18 yr old DSS and the thought of him hanging out/rolling around in my bedroom, where my under wear/tampax/contraceptive pills may be visible, is not pleasant.
If a 3 yr old bounced into my bedroom, then its a little different, but a physically large, adolescent male, that Im not related to, is a very different concept.
EVERYONE deserves a little privacy.
The reason my children aren't allowed to play in my bedroom stems from the fact that it's a loft room with a fire escape window. As we couldn't fit a childproof lock on that window, it was easier to just ban the children from being in there without an adult.
Practically speaking, things like Christmas presents are stored in there, so I don't want the children to have free rein to rummage around. Of course they come in if they need us in the night; they get into bed for a snuggle in the morning; they come up to talk to us rather than shouting up the stairs (at least in theory!). That doesn't mean they can consider it part of their play space- they have the whole rest of the house.
I think adults and adolescents need some privacy, and generally bedrooms are the only rooms which offer any degree of privacy. The OP's DSS's had no need to be wrestling on her bed, and they had no need to be on the computer (there is another one for their use). If other people are comfortable with access all areas for everyone at all times then fine- the OP clearly isn't.
I would have no problem with my kids being in and out of my room but then one of them is 2 and still sleeps in bed and the other is still growing in my tummy.
I wouldn't be happy with them rifling through drawers/my handbag/cupboards but don't mind them coming in and out. My mum never had an issue with any of us using her bedroom for quiet time or a sibling chat - we lived in a very small house. I used to dry my hair and get changed before I went out for the evening in her room. However, if the door was closed we always, always knocked. The same for siblings rooms. Nor would we go through someones drawers or cupboard.
The idea that allowing your children in your room would cause them to have boundary issues or are become freaks is a very strange thing to say!
If the OP wants her room to be private then so be it. I'm fine with access all areas for family, not for strangers or friends.
To the people asking how long she has been a step mum or if she would do the same with her children etc., I don't even think this is even a step parenting issue to be honest, it will just differ from person to person. This may not apply to you and that's fine, but some parents value privacy and their own space more than others, and some people just need a room which is free from the mania of children, whether they're your biological kids, step kids, foster kids, kids you found in a cabbage patch etc.
Mintberry you're right - my point was just if this WAS a step-parenting issue, there should be pause for thought. If the same rules would/do apply to her bio-kids then it's a non-issue.
I don't want anyone in our bedroom. It is private space for me and DH.
I have DSSs and a DS. None of them are allowed in unless they are going to fetch something with our permission.
We also knock on all bedroom doors and wait for an answer before entering. Everyone deserves their own private area.
Is there a reason you couldn't speak to them yourself? I thought it might be a fairly new arrangement and that was why, but it's a 10 year old relationship. Under those circumstances, I would have assumed you could say what you need to directly to them, without having to use their dad as an intermediary.
My own child will know well before the age of 16 that a teenager wrestling on my bed is not acceptable, believe me. Tbh knows already that he's not allowed to jump on the bed.
But the same rules are not always appropriate. For example when my DSSs aren't around I am happy to walk around the house naked and leave the door open when I'm in the shower. Entirely appropriate for my 4yo DS but clearly not so for teenage DSSs. Similar with PC privacy etc. He can't read so not an issue at all. Also I can't leave him unattended always when I'm busy in the bedroom so he's often with me in there. To introduce a blanket one size fits all policy is silly.
Is there a reason why you couldnt speak to them yourself? I would have assumed you could say what you need to directly to them, without having to use their dad as an intermediary.
Fair comment however .. if Allnews situation is anything like mine, then anything thats not totally routine or praise-worthy is generally dealt with by DH. DH always tells me I have authority for reasonable discipline, but what works in practice in another matter entirely.
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!!!
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.
"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?
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.
"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 ) just because DS is allowed in with me?
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.
There is absolutely nothing odd about having different boundaries for your DSCs and your DCs.
Bonsoir - I know we've disagreed in the past, but I think you're spot-on with your last post.
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.
*"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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 () 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.
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
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
Not many 16 year olds are up at 5 though? Not voluntarily anyway.
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.
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
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!
tatty My DSS is 9 years old, btw - not 16.
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.
No, HullyGully, it is on the contrary totally irresponsible of any adult to pander to the every whim of a stepchild.
brdgrl - that doesn't mean you don't have my sympathy for havign a tough job btw..
Nope - not my job to entertain/care for or even consider my NR DSS - I do it because I choose to, not because I have a moral or legal obligation to do so - especially when his mum has forbidden it.
yes! that's exactly what I said
No, it is NOT my job to get up when my children (step or otherwise) do in order to spend every waking minute catering to their desires. Where on earth do you get off telling me that it is???!!!!!
Double standard because no one would expect me to agree to do so, as a mum. If YOU do so, as a mum, well - bully for you - although I really have my doubts that any one of you actually lives in the way you suggest that we do.
Nothng to do with being a step parent, if you are the responsible adult, tough shit, it's your job.
Bonsoir, how did you turn that ^^ into "pander to every whim?"
hully by definition, step-parents are NEVER the responsible adult.
Because that is exactly the sentiment you are expressing, Hullygully.
Anyway, you clearly have no idea of what it is like to be a stepparent so just shut up.
so just shut up.
I also say you know nothing of my life.
If me and my DP were up and about at all the hours that our DC between them choose to be awake, we'd get about 5 hours sleep a night.
I don't get up with my own 9 year old if she wants to rise at 6am, so certainly wouldn't expect to get up to entertain my DSS. Thankfully, DP has at least as much need for privacy and sleep as I do, and his youngest is quite used to entertaining himself for a couple of hours first thing in the morning. I'm not sure what the solution is to a very clingy nervous child - but the cause certainly isn't adults requiring a bit of privacy, and nor would removing that be the solution.
The OP asks about DSSs in the room when she wasn't there though - I'd have thought the best solution to this would be to remove anything from the room that is an attraction to them, or make it clear that they are not to use it - eg the computer printer. And explain to her DP the way she feels about her bedroom. Personally I rarely felt the need for a "sanctuary" when I lived alone with my own two DC. Now that I spend my weekends with 4 DSC I do completely understand the need for it. My home is not mine in the sense that my old house was, lots of other people have a stake in it. They choose what is on TV, what they talk about, they read over my shoulder, argue with each other, and join in conversations. Of course they do - because it's their home, but sometimes I need somewhere to retreat to for a short while just to be myself before I'm ready to join back in with the rest of the household.
I say further,
If you are an adult, a proper grown up adult, and you knowingly take on someone with kids, then those kids come first . Always. For the bio parent and step parent because the adults had choices and they didn't.
No of course they don't come first, Hully. Children don't come first.
take on someone with kids ?!?
What the hell does that mean?
I haven't taken on anyone and neither has my DP - what kind of relationship are you in?
DSS once said to me
<cue worlds mardiest whingiest voice ever>
'You cant stop me talking to my dad'
This was in answer to me suggesting gently to him that it perhaps wasnt necessary or considerate to come upstairs (his bedroom and en suite were downstairs btw) early one morning to chat about some sports trivia from the night before in the doorway of our bedroom when we were both still in bed, naked and having a lovely
post coital cuddle which we only get chance to do at weekend as DH up with lark during week.
I had to lie there head under the covers, pretending to be asleep as l couldnt stand the thought of him standing there looking at me lying in bed naked - even though he wouldnt have seen anything from the shoulders down iyswim.
l dont know, it just would have felt so wrong and it's almost as if you feel vulnerable and l found it incredibly intrusive, just hearing his voice in the room and knowing he was in the room.
It is very hard to explain to someone who doesnt feel like that and it is impossible to overcome if you do feel like that and as already been said just because you have an intimate close relationship with their dad does not make you feel any more physically comfortable around your adult stepson than you would with any male stranger or aquaintance.
DSS was 22 at the time btw and was going out to work, we're not talking about a sobbing 5 yr old holding his favourite teddy stood bawling in our bedroom doorway and been given the cold shoulder.
Allnew, I still don't understand why you can't tell them yourself. Not getting at you, just don't understand.
jux many step mums have no authority in their own home and are undermined by both the DCs parents
Can you read that post back to yourself Bonsoir? Still ok with it?
Notadisneymum, that's terrible. I was aware of it but assumed it occurred more at the beginning of things, and that as time went on things shook down sensibly. You can't really run a household with one parent (including step-parents here) having to pussy foot around for all eternity.
As I said, Allnew, I assumed after 10 years together that you and dh would be pretty equal in the eyes of all the children, certainly in terms of having authority in your own home. I'm terribly sorry if that's not the case.
Thinking about step parents(I do feel sorry for step kids too) I really can appreciate that it's very tough that you've chosen their parent, but you have not chosen the step children and if they're living with you part or full time then you have to give of yourself probably more then you considered when you fell in love with their parent.
I can also appreciate what separates blood from marriage relations. I love all my nieces and nephews, but I have a deep seated love for my niece that is my own brother's child that is just not there with dh's brother's kids...
I think step parents that jump that gap and become the same as actual parents are amazing.
Surely, if they live with you, you have to strive to be the same as a parent and act it even when you don't feel it?
As for the details of this. In my family we knock if a door to a bedroom/bathroom is shut-if open we just go in.. Other than that I assume there's a point when kids don't get into bed with you, but I still sit on my Mum's bed when she's getting changed-she always needs wardrobe advice! She asks me to do banking for her and vice versa-whichever of us is in town so details aren't private.
As an aside, I work with teenage boys and I feel so sorry for them, even if they can be thoughtless arses, they're the most unloved, misjudged section of society.
Jux - I don't think it 'shakes down'. I've been with my husband for 14 years. 10 years as a SM to my DSDs and 4 years as a mum to my 2 children.
I think my husband has completely lost sight of what's 'equal' in our relationship. He gets to say what is and isn't happening. He gets to say what is right and wrong. He gets the final say on everything.
It's not a desperately happy household at the moment.
Really Hully, you do everything your children demand of you? Thats what you are suggesting these stepmums do. I dont think that is being a proper big grown up adult. Bit of a cop out more like.
Jux, im 8 years in and still go through my DH sometimes. We are a happy family with good step relationships , the kids respect me fully but there is something invisible which doesnt give me ultimate authority and its best coming from DH.
Iceberg, could you show me where I said that?
I'll say it, too. Children don't come first in our household. Our family comes first. That means looking at the whole picture and figuring out what is best for the unit, not for one individual. The kids have all their material needs met, amply so. We do our very best to meet their emotional needs, their spiritual and moral needs (and frankly, even my DH will agree that I often am more in tune with what those are than he is).
After that, we can move on to what they "want". If what they want is not good for the family, they aren't going to get it. If one person's wants clash with another (say, my teenage DSS's want for a cooked breakfast - cooked by someone else, obviously - on a Saturday morning versus my "want" for a fifth hour of sleep after having been up with a restless toddler or a gigantic pile of laundry or the final chapter of a dissertation the night before...or my teenage DSD's "want" to brush her teeth RIGHT NOW versus my DH's "want" to take a shit in peace...or the kids' "want" to watch an episode of the series we are all watching as a family versus DH and I's "want" to have a quiet night in with a video ourselves and possibly have sex for the first time in a month) - we tend to weigh up the relative benefit to the family as a whole, and decide accordingly. Today, I might get what I want. Tomorrow, DSS might get what he wants. But nobody is going to get what they want prioritised over the principles by which DH and I agreed together to make a family. Is DSS's wish to eat bacon without having to put it on the grill himself going to take precedence over my wish to have a decent amount of sleep before getting back to work? Most of the time, no. On the other hand, DSS needs a certain amount of time with the family, and his family needs that with him, so on a regular basis, his "want" to stay in his room and play xbox might have to give way to coming downstairs and eating dinner with the rest of us.
And I can promise you, before you start, that most of my "wants" (including some that are pretty major, and some that most married/partnered women get to take for granted) go unfilled, because of what is best for my DSCs.
Doesn't every family work this way? Well, I guess not. In un-blended households, apparently, the kids are running the show. I suppose I shoudl count myself lucky.
Brdgrl very well put.
Defineme your post makes it clear how differently families operate, step or otherwise. In my parents home, including when i was growing up, there is no way I would have been in my mothers bedroom while she is/was getting changed. Nothing to with step/bio whatever, just that different families have different expectations and ways of doing things. Poor DH grew up in a house where his mother thought nothing of walking round naked, well into his teenage/adult years, even when he had friends round. He was constantly mortified by this as it was a running joke amongst his mates
i dont have dc or sc in our room, but then we dont have a tv,laptop or anything other than bed and clothes, dressing table in our room so cant see why theyd be in there anyway. but i agree its the one place in the house thats your own space. Just like i wouldnt go rearranging their bedroom
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I am not a step parent, but I do believe that any family has to balance the wants and needs of others.
However, when DC are sad/anxious then their needs should usually outweigh the adults in the house, even if it means the adults aren't over the moon.
The OP's DSS is clearly sad and anxious. Therefore his needs must trump those of the adults.
Children dont come first in our household. Our family comes first. That means looking at the whole picture and figuring out what is best for the unit, not for one individual.
Superb post. Although sadly, too many people are afraid to apply this rational thinking to any arrangement that includes step children.
word What gives you the impression that the OPs DSS is sad and anxious?
He was play-fighting on the OPs bed with his brother - is that indicative of a sad, anxious teen?
The OP's DSS is clearly sad and anxious. Therefore his needs must trump those of the adults.
But Why? Why is is clearly anxious and unhappy? Because he opts to use the computer in his Dads room rather than family areas of the house?
you are mixing up the op's dss and the other one
Apologies not the OP, but the poster who said her son had anxiety issues. In those circumstances where he is hovering ourtside, I think the father should go and speak to him. He clearly is not having a nice time . And although I can see the poster doesn't like it, I do think you have to lump it when DC are in a bad place. And I guess step DC are more likely to be in a bad place because their parents have split up.
But the OP can certainly ask her DSSs not to waltz in whenever they like. A blanket ban seems too draconian though.
wordfactory - what if he is always doing it though? Yes, if there are odd occasions where that is the case, but if it is constant, then what? And at what point do DC have to accept that their parents have split up and that things have changed?
I should clarify - that last point refers to DC being in a bad place because their parents have split up. In my case, DSD has worked out that if she has a tantrum about anything where she doesn't get her own way, and cries, DP doesn't have any of it. If she then goes "but I'm sad because you and mummy aren't together any more" then he relents. Thankfully, he has worked this out too. Is this a bad place, or playing up? Should we be lumping this?
Aside, I know. Although sometimes she comes and sits on our bed and does it, if you want me to stay on topic
Agree with previous poster, we did this when i moved in with dp and went easy on the sc because it was a new situation me taking on the role of stepmum even though their parents had split a few years previous. It was a complete nightmare and basically taught them they could come and behave however they liked, Im all for allowances for certain things but they soon turn into excuses.
the dc ( sc and ds)come and sit in my room with me, to chat about the day ect if i am in there i would never ban from a certain room. but they know not to go in otherwise (mostly because its the only place in the house i can hide any presents this time of year)
I think the family comes first too. But that sometimes means that an individual member of the family comes first for a while. And an anxious, insecure child's needs trump adult needs for as long as necessary.
But seeker - I understand that an anxious and insecure child's needs should be considered, but what if that consideration (for example, rushing to them when they are sat outside of a door) will not help the bigger picture problem? Yes, it might alleviate their concerns at that time to attend to them, but not long term, in my opinion.
I think if a child were always doing it, then the parent, who surely has the responsibility here not the step parent, needs to address insecurity at a wider level.
Ignoring that insecurity to prioritise the new relationship will probably only result in more insecurity on the part of the child and consequent difficulties for the new relationship.
It's natural of course to want to prioritise the new relationship, but ultimately that might prove counter productive for all concerned.
Of course it will long term because if their needs are met, the anxiety will pass and they won't sit outside the bloody door like a sad puppy. On the other hand, of course you can teach them to piss off and suck it up, what a great lesson.
Or what word said more politely
Yes Petal they are afraid to apply any such reasonable logic to DSCs.
My DH used to 'shush' me if ever we were in
the bath but we dont both fit now or bathroom together and DSS was at bottom of stairs going out. DH shouted 'Bye' to him or whatever but wanted me to keep quiet as he didnt want him to know we were 'shock horror' in the bathroom together. l used to shout out anyway for devilment sometimes.
It was like he didnt want him to know or think of us as a couple at all whatsoever , which imo only fed
DSSs flat refusal to respect any boundaries or grant us any privacy in recognition of this.
Yes, hovering outside a door constantly is most probably a symptom of the main problem, not the actual problem IYSWIM.
The parent needs to address matters. Needs to accept all is not well as opposed to burying their head in the sand. Needs to accept that their DC needs priority at this time. Needs to ask for the step parents support in this.
Ultimately this may result in a more happy family life, rather than everyone competing for attention.
I take as an example a girlfriend of mine who has two older SDDs. At first, her new partner had to put the girls' needs firmly at the front. There were times when my friend felt fed up, pushed out, impatinet. But she knew deep down that he was right to do it. That it made him a good father, and also that in the end she would end up with a much more harmonious family life.
Short term (ish) pain, for long term gain.
Sorry, I too was thinking of the poor boy who follows his dad around rather than the OP's.
From what the poster who mentioned this has said, I don't think it is a matter of ignoring a child's insecurity to prioritise a new relationship - it appears that the child would do that whether their stepmother were there or not. I would also not advocate just ignoring people all the time, however there is a point in life that people do need to learn to "piss off and suck it up".
I'm not overly keen on the phrase "new" relationship, incidentally. To me, it reads with undertones of people off gallivanting around ignoring their children for the new woman or man in their life. But that might just be me with my hackles up, because of all the step-parent bashing that I see or personally receive.
They wouldn't need to do it if the sm wasn't there - they could go in the bedroom and see their father.
Laminate l am at your DSD coming sitting on your bed and saying to her dad she is sad because he and her mum are no longer together.
Or have l misunderstood and how old is she btw ? Cos if she was in her teens for example , l'm afraid l would be getting a leg spasm and accidentally knocking her arse off the end of the bed is she said that.
It seems ti me that some parents instinctively know that blending a family will be difficult. That DC will be highly anxious and attention seeking. That huge doses of TLC will be required. That much lip biting will be required.
These seem to be the people who make a real go of belnding families.
There are others who don't seem to want to accept the difficulties. Who want to enjoy their new relationship regardless. Who don't want to deal with those larger, often uncomfortable issues. They insist DC get on with things. These blended families seem to exist in a state of constant unrest.
But they do do that Laminate. Not deliberately of course, but when one meets a new person one gets totally absorbed and loved up, everyone does and the child is sidelined to an extent. It's inevitable.
Laminate, when you say people need to learn to "piss off and suck it up" are you referring to the adults or the children?
That's what I think about being the adult. If you meet someone and they have children, you have to think, ok, we'll have three or four years of a nightmare, but the investment will be worth it for the long run. Because any parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child.
It is always a 'new realtionship' to the DC ie not the core relationship from which they come.
Think of it from their persepctive.
My teen DSs wrestled on my bed - and broke it.
Why were they wrestling on my bed? Because it was big and bouncy - 'like a crash mat'. .
Teenage boys often engage brawn before brain.
I said 'please' (well, I might have left the please bit out) 'don't ever bounce on my bed again. This is my room and my space. Don't come in unless you are invited.'
They said 'yep, fair enough.'
And that was that really.
Just tell them.
" Because any parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child."
My new motto.
I work in a blended family that works extremely well and where we all get on. One of the reasons it works so well is because boundaries are imposed. In my DSSs' other home, boundaries are not clear and there is constant unhappiness...
But we are really talking about 16yr olds in OP and teenagers/young adults more than small children, so l really dont think it is anything like the same thing although l know technically a 16yr old or some might say even a 17 yr old are still technically a child but they are definitely old enough at that age to accept and respect that their father is entitled to be in a relationship/ be part of a couple. As someone said upthread the same teens wouldnt be at all happy if when they got a girlfriend or boyfriend their Stepmother or dad decided to roam around their bedroom.
I think you underplay the reason why your blended family works Bonsoir.
From what you've said on MN, your DP prioritises his DSs very highly. They have unfettered access to him no? And you have always accepetd that there will be bumps in the raod that mean the adults have to come second.
Both adults and children, dependent on age and issue. I don't necessarily mean about the major things all the time though as this applies to all sorts of stuff - choice of breakfast cereal, television programme for easier examples. In my opinion, children should learn to "piss off and suck it up" (a direct quote from another poster, incidentally - not my words) about such things pretty early on - if we have no [insert whichever chocolate cereal DSD claims to get every day at her Mum's] then I will not accept a tantrum about it, especially seeing as we have a range of other choices that she eats. She needs to accept that (or "piss off and suck it up" as it has been referred to). However, I do think that it is a mistake to pander to a child's every movement because they are in a family with seperated parents. Then again, I also think that about children with parents who are together.
Agreed - factually, it isn't the core relationship from which they come. But at what point does it stop being "new"? Should I, a grown woman who as a child had divorced parents, still think that either of my parents (who are both remarried) are in "new" relationships?
I'll get my hard hat now, as I get a feeling that won't be a popular view.
I think you just have to negotiate. On the other side I am sure that some parents never enter their teenager's bedrooms and others organise their underwear and vaccum under the bed every day. Different strokes for different folks.
I think in this situation your DH should respect your wishes. In the unlikely event that his teenage sons would like to snuggle with him in the mornings maybe he could join them? Perhaps he could also buy them a trampoline? Seriously, I am sure that in this case it is possible to recognise their needs and respect your privacy.
I think the whole point of the OP, was to illustrate the frustration of having a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD using the computer/fighting in the OPs bedroom so were definitely not talking about younger children here. And as Suda rightly points out, a 16 yr old is easily old enough to understand what privacy means, and also to want some privacy for themselves, thus underlining that they understand the concept. Just because a child has separated parents, they should not be excused from growing up and developing manners and/or behaving in a way that would be expected in a together family.
I have an 18 yr old DSS who is woefully lacking in social skills and basic life skills, basically because hes lazy however this has never been challenged due to the poor lamb coming from a broken home. Everyone has tiptoed around him and ultimately given him a huge dis-service by failing to parent him.
I think we've all moved on from the op to the poor boy hanging about outside the bedroom door like a lost soul.
Laminate, it depends how situations are handled by the adults though.
The breakfast cereal situation for example. If the child is told "Sorry we've run out of chocolate cereal, I promise we'll get some today for you, let's see what else we've got" Then the child has a tantrum, fair enough ignore them whilst getting on with things and reassuring them they'll have it tomorrow.
If the child has been told "We have no chocolate cereal, suck it up" <or words to that effect> then the child might just have a massive tantrum and fair enough because the adult is being a nasty piece of work.
Or should the parent purchase chocolate cereal just to avoid a trantrum ...... (when there are already five different varieties of cereal in the cupboard)?
Well I'm glad we've now established that yes, indeed the OP was about a 16 year old who is in no way sad or anxious, and that those who had their wires crossed have that straight now!
And I too dislike the term 'new' relationship. I've been with DH 10 years now, so hardly new.
It's interesting the suggestion that children from separated homes can always be expected to be more anxious, that that allowances should be made for this - seemingly indeterminately, as the OP is about a 16 yo whose parents separated when he was 4. On that note, presumably I should also put DH's needs before my own - his parents also separated when he was young. Mine did not - do I therefore come last? To reiterate, this thread is not about a young child or a new relationship, so all those talking about young anxious children are either deliberately missing the point, or didn't bother to read what was written.
The thread is specifically about a 6 ft tall 16yo who was wrestling in my bed - thereby showing an utter lack of respect for us and our bedroom
merrymouse - very sensible post. Interestingly they do have a trampoline here. But they're averse to going outside - or actually to do anything much really. No time spent with friends at weekends, no outside interests that take up their time. Thus they're here 24/7 when they are round.
"The breakfast cereal situation for example. If the child is told "Sorry we've run out of chocolate cereal, I promise we'll get some today for you, let's see what else we've got" Then the child has a tantrum, fair enough ignore them whilst getting on with things and reassuring them they'll have it tomorrow.
If the child has been told "We have no chocolate cereal, suck it up" <or words to that effect> then the child might just have a massive tantrum and fair enough because the adult is being a nasty piece of work"
Haha. My 4 year old has a favourite cereal (not chocolate - if he insisted on that he would be sorely disappointed). When we run out he looks put out but I offer him something else. He gets over it. Do I promise to get his favourite later/next time? No. Simply put, I don't. Hes's 4, but he's capable of understanding that he doesn't get what he wants all the time. I don't want him to become expectant on getting exactly what he wants, or become fixated on one food type. To pander to that would be lazy parenting imo. If you think that makes me a nasty piece of work then
"The thread is specifically about a 6 ft tall 16yo who was wrestling in my bed - thereby showing an utter lack of respect for us and our bedroom"
Or a 16 year old who was behaving as if he was at home and relaxed.
So you should say "Hey, get off my bed, you hooligan. And don't come into my room ever without knocking. OK?"
Petal if buying the chocolate cereal means avoiding a tantrum and so everyone in the family having a happy start to the day, then yes I'd make sure the cereal was in the house.
Funnilly enough, this contrasts with DSS1. He eats very very few food types. Very difficult indeed when we visit friends/relatives/restaurants because he is so ridiculously fussy. It did him a lot of favours being pandered to when a young child, didn't it?
Well Quick if you make parenting decisions based on having an easy life then I very much disagree with your parenting style. It's lazy and not in the best interests of the children.
Thanks Petal - yes exactly to the rest of your post. Just because a near adult or adult SS would rather his dad hadnt started a relationship which took some of his attention and time and effort spent on him away , doesnt mean he should be allowed or enabled to behave as if his father wasnt in a relationship and his stepmother doesnt exist or have any rights or needs of her own or they as part of a couple.
As Petal rightly says that can result in them growing up very lacking in social skills and consideration etc etc.
Allnew, does your four year old live with you full time?
Seeker "Or a 16 year old who was behaving as if he was at home and relaxed"
Ahh - interesting, so you're admitting my 16yo DSSis relaxed and at home here. I can't be doing too much wrong then after all can I
Quick but why should I buy chocolate cereal when there is already a number of other cereals? Personally, I don't think that it is a good start to the day, and neither does DP. So we don't buy it. Why should we apologise, and promise to get some?
All illustrative examples and not the point of the OP - I know.
allnew - I'd see it as a lack of respect too, however I think it wholly depends on what your "norms" are. I was brought up in a household where we didn't go in other people's rooms without invitation - it wasn't a draconian law, it was just how it was. Knock and be invited - fine. Just going in, regardless of whether anyone was there - not fine. DP has a different view - the DSCs should be able to come and go as they please (including hide and seek under our duvet - I'm not overly keen on that, seeing as we do adult things under there!) and taking things like electrical chargers without asking. Honestly - if DSS wants to borrow one of the Apple chargers then that's fine, but please ask first rather than just taking either mine or his that are plugged in next to the bed? DP and I have conflicting views on what bedroom privacy is all about and are still trying to resolve it. My progress with him to date - one rule when I'm in the house, and another when I'm not is not acceptable!
Yes Quick he does - your point?
"Seeker "Or a 16 year old who was behaving as if he was at home and relaxed"
Ahh - interesting, so you're admitting my 16yo DSSis relaxed and at home here. I can't be doing too much wrong then after all can I"
Not admitting- I never said I though he wasn't, did I? Or did I? I didn't mean to!
wordfactory - we (both) prioritise the children's education and upbringing very highly. That means that we don't pander to silly whims
Bonsoir you seem obsessed with "whims"
A child having a desire/want or preference DOES NOT automatically = a whim.
A child hanging around outside a bedroom door waiting for a parent = a silly whim. Children fighting on parents' bed = silly whim.
There are things that are just childish and must be dealt with as such.
seeker, no to be fair, you actually haven't . The tone of other posts certainly suggests otherwise though.
For 4 days a fortnight, my DPs every move - including those behind closed doors - is observed, noted and recalled.
If he makes a phone call, DSS listens; if he reads a letter, DS looks over his shoulder, if he leaves a room, DS stops whatever he is doing and trots after him, and if he shuts a door, DS waits just the other side until he reappears. Yes, it is incredibly sad that DSS will leave the dinner table and follows DP when he goes to get the salt from the kitchen
That ^^ = "a silly whim"?
Are you absolutely sure?
Because that makes you sound really nasty.
Just to be pedantic, you do not say in your OP you have more than one computer. The issue is the Desktop and printer in YOUR room and a laptop elsewhere.
So my original comment about moving it still stands really.
You do also seem to have made a few comments about how
much better your child is being raised in comparison to your stepsons.
I am getting a sense of distance between you and the stepchildren, if it had been me I'd have been up there tearing them off a strip for the horsing about....all this delegation to their father is divisive, not that effective as it obviously doesn't bother him one whit, and make it look like you are telling tales.
...but that's maybe just a snapshot from this OP, who knows?
That is unacceptable behaviour from anyone and must be dealt with as such.
I was responding to Laminate initially who said her visiting DSD would tantrum if she didn't get the cereal she gets at her mums everyday.
If I had a DSC who visited a few days a fortnight, was a bit fussy about her cereal, I would then try to provide the same cereal that she gets at her main residence.
I wouldn't cause it lazy parenting, I'd call it being sensible.
Me too QLB
When my nephews come to stay (who eat coco pops) I buy coco pops. Then they take them home with them as I'd put them in the bin!
'Or a 16yr old living as if he was at home and relaxed'..... should have ended with ... 'as if it is just him and his dad and his brother'.
Which it's not though is it ?
My point is as with my
DSS when he lived with us. Had it been stiil just him and his dad l am more than sure he would be still wandering into his dads bedroom nicking clean socks out of his drawer ( he once did this aged 19 when his dad had gone to work and l was lying in bed without knocking or saying a word, just wandered in and rummaging in drawer ) .
Or lying on his dads bed watching his TV or on his laptop if something wrong with his etc etc etc or he just preferred his.
Now all above are acceptable if they were both ok to live like that in a completely open everything communal lads house type of set up.
But when they are not , they are not !
It makes our children happy to know where the boundaries are . They willingly come to our house "extra" to be with just me/me and DD, so I think that they think that it is pretty nice here!
What about other children?
You are doing the classic thing of thinking your situation and apporach works for and suits everyone.
I am not moving a printer just because a 16yo can't control himself to not wrestle on my bed
"You do also seem to have made a few comments about how much better your child is being raised in comparison to your stepsons"
Comments such as the fussy eating - yes, agree with that and stand by it. What else?
I think everyone thinks their own method of parenting is best - otherwise they would stop parenting that way surely and just copy someone else? I read mn daily and people are constantly judgemental about other peoples' parenting styles. This is magnified as a sp because you find you have to live with the consequences
But why? If her Mum fed her nothing but fish fingers, McDonalds, chips and chocolate cereal, should I do that too for an easy life when she is in our house Quick? It isn't the best thing for her. We are putting her first in the few days she is at ours.
Also - we know "but MUM lets me do that!!" does not necessarily mean it is true; a quick phone call to Mum can often confirm this
"When my nephews come to stay (who eat coco pops) I buy coco pops"
No doubt because you're spoiling them on an irregular basis (unless you've just got odd ideas about nutrition and would do it all the time). This thread is about step-children who have 2 homes. Not ad hoc visits to be spoiled with rubbish food.
Yes Laminate - on the one hand as step-parents, we're told we have to be the 'responsible adult'. yet on the other we've just got to copy another adults standards on nutrition for an easy life and so the child doesn't have a tantrum
Agreed allnew about the irregular basis - when we go and visit DSCs grandparents, or stepgrandparents, I don't make a fuss about the amount of cakes/chocolates/treats that are bought for them as a treat as it isn't every other weekend and one/two overnights a week.
Just think you'd have an easier time keeping them out of your room if there isn't any reason they'd need to go in there. If you're not happy with them seeing your underwear on the radiator, laptop open with bank details on display, etc - then why put something they need to use (a printer) in the room?
They're presumably not supposed to be wrestling anywhere in the house, so if you allow them in to use the printer then they're as likely to feel a need to duff each other around in there as anywhere else.
Given it's the first time it's happened in 10 years, having the printer in there is hardly presenting an ongoing problem. There is nowhere else appropriate for the printer to go. And as I often work from home in my bedroom, that's where I need the printer.
It's an interesting point though. DS (4) knows where the treats are kept in the kitchen. He also knows that when he wants anything, he needs to ask me. He knows that he's not allowed to go into the cupboard and gobble everything up and make a mess when I'm not looking. Instead of teaching him these rules, I could have taken the alternative route of just hiding it all from him. But I don't believe in re-arranging the way we all live instead of teaching children the standards they're expected to abide by.
Laminate, no wouldn't say fed her all that rubbish food on regular visits. But if it was just a breakfast cereal then, yes I would provide that for regular visits.
The thing is allnew you seem utterly adamant that your behaviour towards your DSS is reasonable, and refusing to even consdieer there might be another way.
Which would be fine if you had a successful and happy blended family. But I'm presuming you don't ... or you wouldn't be on MN moaning about your DSSs would you?
what behaviour towards my DSSs? Not letting them wrestle in my bed?
"Which would be fine if you had a successful and happy blended family. But I'm presuming you don't ... or you wouldn't be on MN moaning about your DSSs would you?"
So everyone posting on mn moaning about something or other is unhappy? All those in the parenting board have an unhappy family?
In the OP I stated "Am just having a rant here!"
Yet you have taken poetic license to spectacturly misinterpet this as my having an unhappy family.
Other posters indeed seem to think that this larking around is a sign he is happy and relaxed. You seem determined to think otherwise. Clearly he's miserable and was jumping around about this instead
Buy another printer and put it in the dss' room?
In which case I think we are probably best agreeing to disagree Quick If DSD got (in my opinion) decent, healthy meals at home then I wouldn't quibble about breakfast cereal. As she doesn't, DP and I do our best to ensure she gets decent, healthy meals when she's here, and that includes cereal.
From your commnets you are clearly not happy. You seem to be getting very irate over somehting fairly trivial. And similarly irate with posters who disagree with you.
And your DH is not on the same hymn sheet as you.
Yes hully that is indeed one idea - maybe a christmas present
I think you have a perfect right to say that they can't go into your bedroom. But I do think then online banking and underwear drying reasons are are a bit strange to be honest.
And I also think "disrespecting" your bedroom, and not wanting "a 16 year old male" in there are odd things to say. It's almost as if you think that there's something sexual in his behaviour.........
sometimes a cigar is just a cigar however
How's it odd to say that wresting on my bed is disrespectful?
I never suggested at all that his behaviour is sexual. But there are inevitably things in my bedroom of a sexual nature as I am an adult and that is where I have sex!
I didn't use online banking as a reason for him not to be in my room - I said I was cross with my DH at that particular time because I had the screen open on online banking. I do not think there is anything remotely odd about not wanting others to see my online banking details. Not least in his case because his mother regularly quizzes him for personal information about us. But equally I wouldn't want my best friend seeing my banking details, or my mother, or anyone actually.
Me and ds (15) were wrestling on my bed the other day and he accidentally kicked me off so that I flew across the room and banged into the wall. It really hurt.
So I wouldn't recommend it from a health and safety pov I must say.
I can only imagine DSSs' mother's reaction if one of them injured themselves while wrestling in my bed
Would her reaction be worse than if one of them was injured anywhere else?
And I am curious (sheer prurience, obviously) about the "things of a sexual nature" that are on display in your room.
No, Hully, not from a health and safety point of view nor from a boundaries perspective.
If I ever catch my DSSs wresting together (and, tbh, they have pretty much grown out of it) they blush and leap to their feet and pretend nothing was happening. And that is how it should be.
Did I say on display?
In any case - when I lef the room the bed was made. After they'd been in there the bed was unmade and the room was in disarray. Clearly it therefore wouldn't have been relevant whether something was "on display" when I'd left the room or not
On a completely separate note - it would probably be good if they had something more interesting to get up to on a sunny afternoon other than play in my room
bonsoir...oh never mind
how can you manage to be so entirely devoid of joie de vivre?
You can give a child what they need without giving them what they want and vice versa.
A step child may want coco pops because they need continuity, a sense if control, a nice breakfast, to feel that they belong in both homes. However you can meet those needs without buying coco pops.
You can also show them that things change, but their needs will be met. They won't always get what they want, and compromises will necessary, but that is ok. There are compromises in all families and they will survive.
Some people are happy to buy coco pops, some aren't. Coco pops are negotiable.
And stop saying your way is the only way and the right way. It's so monomaniacal.
Our home is full of joie de vivre - precisely because everyone is not banging into everyone else all the time and invading their space!
Goodness, my DC wrestle with each other, with DH, with the dogs...
And yet the sky has not fallen.
Dd (9) and dsd (16) both have the run of the house, to me it's everyone's home. If we want some privacy we say so, but there is nowhere that is off-bounds. DD will just jump in bed with dp and I first thing in the morning, and dsd will also come and lie on the bed and chat with us. She also comes in to leave my clean laundry on the bed for me, put bedding and towels away, or to borrow my hairdryer when I'm at work, and it's never occurred to me to mind. And she isn't my dd or dp's, she's xh's child.
I really couldn't imagine saying a room was out of bounds to either of them. They just seem to get that they knock or call out before opening the door, we do the same when we go in their rooms. It's just something we all do and has never really needed any discussion as far as I can remember.
I totally get why you'd be cross at them wrestling on the bed and making a mess, but I'm not sure that I would go so far as to ban them from the room for just horsing around. I think if I'd found one of them rifling through a drawer, or reading the computer screen that would be different, but they were just messing around and not really thinking by the sound of it?
I don't think that my DSS hanging around outside doors and trailing his dad around the house is a whim - it is the sign of an unhappy, anxious little boy
To address some of the comments made about my household - yes, perhaps there was more that DP could have done to address the issue. Perhaps seeking a specific issue order to secure youth counselling for DSS wasn't enough? Perhaps declining a promotion that would have require further changes to the contact schedule didn't go far enough? Perhaps the whole family following the advice of family support workers, counsellors and medical experts isn't the right thing to do?
According to the wisdom of MN, which is undoubtedly if more value than anything we have secured so far - my DSS would be fine if his SM (me) demonstrated my acceptance and love for him but stayed out of his life and didn't interfere with his relationship with his Dad.
I envy those families who are successfully negotiating the bumps in their journey - we have challenges the size of Everest to climb, which are more demanding - and the stamina and resources required are very different
on a completely separate note it would probably be good if they had something more interesting to get up to on a sunny afternoon than play in my room
Absolutely. Dont boys play football or climb trees or chase girls anymore?????????
Whenever I used to complain to DH about DSSs apathy, his argument used to be well at least hes not getting into fights or taking drugs which I couldnt argue with, however just because a teenager isnt out and about , breaking the law, it doesnt mean their behaviour is automatically healthy. Extreme apathy brings its own set of problems.
Interesting you're the only one who's seem to have picked up on this Petal. The problem is purely focused on where my printer is/what I keep in my bedroom etc., rather than why teenage boys have nothing better to do with their time that play in my bed.
The fact that they are indoors 24/7 (other that when DH arranges stuff for them to do) means it gets pretty oppressive because they have no hobbies/don't see friends etc at weekends. Not a distance issue before someone suggests this. We live very near their home/school and public transport, they just have no interest in doing anything outside of the home.
allnew have you been leaving this out again, I've told you about that before.
The fact that they are indoors 24/7 means it gets pretty oppressive because they have no hobbies and dont see friends etc at weekends
I know EXACTLY how claustrophobic and unnatural this feels.
Christfenton - you will NOT be going to heaven .........
::deletes google history::
why don't they have any friends or hobbies?
Hully they live in a very strictly controlled environment. They're 'not allowed' to do much, including seeing their father outside of the strict access rota. They aren't allowed to do anything independently of their mother. Any 'hobbies' they've ever had are things chosen by her. They're not allowed to do the sorts of things their peers do. Despite the DSS2 is quite good at entertaining himself, albeit indoors. DSS1 is if a different character, and the strict control regime has left him seemingly unwilling/incapable of independent thought Or action
christos kai panayia
those poor boys!
No wonder they wrestle, not much else for them is there?!
Well they've got much more freedom here. DH tries his best to encourage them to branch out and grow independence but DSS1 in particular is so used to waiting for instructions that he actually likes this rather than think for himself. DSS2 is frustrated by the control at home and does much more here. Frequently DS and DSS2 will be doing their own thing whereas DSS1 will be asking 'what are we doing next dad?'
Yes of course very sad for them and a terrible shame. But equally very frustrating and quite oppressive when he's literally hanging around 24/7
But how awful for him, think how terrible he must feel and how low his esteem must be...he sounds positively institutionalised!
He is institutionalised. No one recognises this better than me, believe me. It's also very upsetting for DH to see his son not developing. Yet his mother thinks he's doing great because he gets good exam results. It's all a very long story.
Yet I remain a human being with the right to rant on here. Living with the effects of Emotional abuse by his mother is not easy, and I find it essential to be able to let off steam somewhere.
We used to have exactly the same thing with DSS18, its only just begun to improve over the last few months. He lived his life, completely controlled by the strict visiting arrangements and used to arrive at our house at 4pm Thursday expecting to be entertained til 6pm Sunday. And unless DH devised an activities programme, he would do absolutely nothing all weekend. We once had him for half term week, DH and I were both out at work (so god knows why he stayed with us) and I dont think he left the house at all. He certainly didnt mix with any other teenagers. So I completely empathise with the OP. It can be very oppressive indeed.
Everyone used to think that DSS was just fine, simply because his school results were good (Allnew, our situations are sooooo similar) - but only I could see that DSS was becoming institutionalised, his life revolved around the access rota and following his Dad around like a shadow. Not healthy at all. Personal development is just as important as exam results.
Well allnew you have an unhappy, institutionalised, under developed boy on your hands.
And your DH is unhappy. And so are you.
Something needs to change no?
You are making very wide-ranging assumptions. My DH is unhappy with the way in which his childrens' mother controls them, and the effects on the children yes. You think me letting them wrestle in my bed will solve this?
I said I was cross on Sunday and needed a rant. An unhappy person this does not make me in general .
Actuall I wouldn't describe DSS1 as "unhappy". My observation is that he is currently unaware that his mother's behaviour is inappropriate, or indeed that the way he is as a result is unusual. If he was more aware of all of this (and he's likely to become so as he grows older) this may well make him unhappy. But currently - no, I wouldn't describe him as unhappy.
"Something needs to change" - well thinking of cause and effect, the most critical change needed would either be to remove them from their mother or stop her parenting in this way. It is not within our control to action either of these.
I'm sorry I haven't trawled through the whole thread but wanted to add my support. My DSD is the same, although younger so slightly less disturbing.
My DD comes in to our bed every morning. She is six. She knows all by herself that she needs to come in to my side rather than her stepdad's and only goes in the middle if I suggest it (ie. becuase I know that DH A, has boxers on and B, has been awake long enough that he doesn't have a hard on!) I reckon that situation would be similar if she were both of our biological child. Maybe not, but I don't think it bothers her. Well, it's what's she's always chosen to do. At her dad's house she gets in to her stepmum's side first.
But anyway, I digress. When we were teenagers we weren't allowed in Mum and Dad's room unless we asked first. We had free rein on the rest of the house, and expected our parents not to hang out in our rooms so fair was fair. So I always struggled with how DSD would just waltz in to our room. I'd often come in from my shower to find her on the bed with the wall mirror taken off the wall so she could do her make up or hair (with my hairdrier) She would also come in to the bathroom and use the toilet whilst either of us were showering etc.
Her mother has no boundries at all. They still bathed together last I heard which was when DSD was turning 13. Now, I don't care if I am flamed - that is just plain WRONG! As a result DSD had no concept of privacy or personal space and I hated it. Not her fault, as with your DSSs, but annoying never the less.
Still as I always say with things like that, I don't see her at all now and I often wish that I could have her in my room using my hairbrush and begging me to do her eyeshadow for her
Well allnew you have an unhappy, institutionalised, under developed boy on your hands.
And your DH is unhappy. And so are you.
Something needs to change no?
I also have an unhappy, emotionally conflicted under-developed DSS, and both DH and I are unhappy about it.
We have sought help and support from many avenues - but cannot resolve what should change in our home to improve matters. What is your solution, wordfactory?
I'm sure it wasn't intended to sound this way, but I can't help feeling that as step parents we aren't allowed to take any responsibility or praise for when the kids are good or if they turn out well, but when they are "unhappy, institutionalisd and underdeveloped" Suddenly the solution is all in our hands
Personally Allnew, I would begin the new rule that they aren't allowed in your bedroom (and also that you aren't allowed in to theirs.. you know, for fairness... with the added bonus that you can't collect dirty clothes or change beds etc ) then let their dad and their mother deal with their other issues. Those issues are nothing to do with whether they're allowed in your bedroom or not.
madelineashton - sounds difficult. Sorry you don't see her at all now - why's that?
no he's not a model (did you post on the wrong thread?)
I think you're conclusion in the first paragraph above is exactly right btw
You said "A young adult model" in your OP - I was going down a very wrong road thinking that I wouldn't mind a young adult model play fighting on my bed
It's a long story but to cut it short, her mother is a narrcististic, possesive, insecure, infantilising, dependant, lying, she-devil and after a four year long campaign to belittle DSD and her father's relationship whilst painting herself as some kind of mother theresa, DSD finally decided she didn't want to see DH anymore, or anyone in his family or friendship group. Very sad.
Lol - damn iphone!
Oh dear on your DSD, how awful
I doubt they were much interested in your underwear if it's any consolation.
I don't have stepchildren but would like to think that if I did, any boundaries for them would be the same as any for my biological children. I wouldn't ban my dc from my bedroom. I might encourage them to play -- fight-- elsewhere but an outright ban would feel like a rejection to someone who is already insecure and unsure of his place in the family. This blended family stuff sounds like bloody hard work.
That sounded quite critical and I absolutely didn't mean it that way.
Why blindly assume that because he's a step-child he must be insecure and unsure of his place in the family? We've all been together for over 10 years now.
I never understood this MN fashion of attributing ever problem a child has (within a stepfamily) to being a stepchild either.
I find it quite laughable, Sheppy.
I have two children and I have two step children. I love them all and consider them all when making plans.
My children often sleep with me, often watch me shower and come to the toilet with me. We often talk about poo and wee. They are 3 and 4.
My step children are 15 and 18. They do not sleep in my bed, do not watch me shower or come to the toilet with me. I knock before entering their bedrooms and they would knock before entering mine if the door was shut (open house if the door is open)
Nothing to do with step kids. Everything to do with personal space and appropriate boundaries.
And before you get all huffy about them not knowing where they stand... I have been with their father for 14 years and changed my younger DSD's nappy for years, dealt with her chicken pox, dealt with other parents for both of them and organised my elder DSD's driving lessons... They know just how much they are welcome here.
Does not mean they (or I) don't need privacy.
Maybe this will seem irrelevant - or unbelievable - to some of teh above posters...
But my own "poor stepkids" are happier than they were before DH and I got together.
This - And an anxious, insecure child's needs trump adult needs for as long as necessary.
is not necessarily right, at least in the way it seems to have been applied in this thread. Sometimes trying to meet the apparent 'needs' of the child - by giving way or indulging preferences - can encourage anxiety and instability. Especially if one is misreading a "want" as a "need". Showing consistency and insisting on healthy boundaries can be the best way to alleviate anxiety - I guess I would compare it to a baby learning that when mummy leaves the room, she comes back. If mummy never leaves the room (figuratively speaking now), the child doesn't learn to trust in the return.
I have watched my DSD grow slowly from being a complete control freak, who was miserable whenever anything was outside of her control, and could only feel safe and secure when things were done her way, on her timetable. There are reasons for this, things that happened to her and around her as a small child, and I understand that, but it doesn't make her happy or well-adjusted. By not allowing her to control everything any longer, she has actually become more confident and less stressed. It is a noticable change that everyone who knows her can identify.
Of course she still has issues around control, and boundaries, and that is where we most often come into conflict. So no, my relationships and life are not perfect - and neither are her's - and therefore I post on MN.
Brdgrl I think that's a very relevant story, and an example of how a complex problem can't simply be addressed by so-called 'love-bombing' and that actually, a different approach can be much more effective and in the interest of the child's development. Simply giving into her needs constantly wouldn't have achieved this at all and actually is likely to have fed her insecurities.
I love them all and consider them all when making plans
They know just how much they are welcome here
Your post makes a refreshing change, onceortwice.
number Why do you say that?
All the SM who post here on MN care greatly about their families - including their DSC - they wouldn't be posting here, otherwise
brdgr I think it makes perfect sense to impose whatever regime is successful. You have a way which works. However were it not successful, you would surely change tack? If as some posters have done, you imposed strict boundaries etc and the child were still displaying symptoms of anxiety or unhappiness then it would be time for new methods no? Rather than carrying on as usual and being upset by the consequences.
wordfactory which posters have imposed strict boundaries on a child displaying symptomos of anxiety? I didn't see any such posts - although I may have missed some in the 300+ posts
I think they mean by not allowing the teenagers in the bedroom. Because with all the problems these kids have that is the one thing that is going to tip them over the edge
No, the mother and father of these kids need to address the problems they have. OP's quite reasonable need for a little privacy is a separate issue which can easily be handled by asking the children respect this by not going in there. Just like hundreds if other children are told. I don't see why Op should compromise her boundaries in some kind of attempt to fix these children. If they are welcome in the home, and encouraged to feel this way then the bedroom is no big deal at all.
If they are living in a very strictly controlled environment with their mum, I'm not sure I would be imposing strict rules - like banning them from the bedroom. To me it would seem very much like you were doing exactly what their mum is doing. I'd probably try to be a lot more laid back so that they are shown there can be a different way of doing things.
I wonder too if how you are feeling isn't really about them going in your bedroom, butactually about how you feel generally about the lack of control you have over your own home/life. I do get that - I can remember having to sit back and not be able to do anything about dsd's behaviour when she was younger because I detached and left it largely to her mum and dad. And how impotent I felt when dsd's mum refused to let her come to ours or go on holiday with us. Someone else was controlling what went on in my life, and that was hard at times.
Is there generally a lack of respect of privacy from them, or is this a one-off?
I am not going to open up my bed to teenage boys to romp around just because their mother is a control freak.
I see where you're coming from lookingatclouds but I don't see why OP - who is otherwise completely accepting and welcoming of her step children, should tread on eggshells and not make a request that is perfectly normal in many households as some kind of counteracting to their mother's continued bad parenting. If she is as controlling as Allnew says then there is a huge problem. The children are not going to be any more or less fucked up because their steopmum asked that now they are teenage boys they mustn't go in her room... It's unfair to put such responsibility on her.
I know exactly how it feels to be constantly second guessing and doing the right thing in an attempt to add some kid of value to a child's life when their other parent is screwing them up and even your own partner doesn't seem particularly bothered or watchful of what happens around them. I felt at times like I was shouldering all the responsibility for how she turned out but ultimately, as a step parent you have little to no over all effect unless you are very present i.e. they have lost a parent or they live with you full time. If OP is feeling a general lack of control/ privacy/ respect then having her bedroom to herself may be an excellent solution because if she is made to bury all those feelings they will come out somewhere along the line.
In fact, if anything, having the house as such a contrast to Mum's could actually make them feel less stable. To go from completely laid back one minute, to hyper controlled the next would be most unsettling.
The "try to show them that there is a different way to do things" is a waste of time IMO. I'd like to hear from any step parent who has succesfully done this.
I can't really see how banning them is going to help anything though. In their eyes it'll just be another rule to live by. What I am trying to guage is whether it's been a persistent problem - in which case of course a boundary needs to be in place. But if this was a one-off, while not acceptable, I would feel if I were in allnew's shoes, that banning them was an over-reaction, and it might be that they never do it again anyway?
Looking - it really seems you are trying to find problems where there are none. I have said several times this is the 1st time this has happended in 10 years. I also said I was just having a rant in the OP. Chill out about the 'giving them another rule to live by'. As I said, I spoke to DH on Saturday. DH hasn't used the words 'banned', 'rules' or otherwise. I doubt it would happen again because like I said, they haven't done it before and DH gave them a bollocking for it.
TBH they'd probably find it refreshing to hear me giving them a rule because I give reasons behind rules, as opposed to in their house whereby their mothers word is the law and they're terrified of questioning it
From my understanding, allnew was just sounding off, just like many parents do. The boys were arsing around in her room, it annoyed her, she doesnt want it happening again. Its as simple as that. Lets not go and overcomplicate a simple situation with deep complex pop psychology sceanarios.
And the point about her DH having different feelings on privacy; my older friend with a non broken family would tell me when I use to sound off to her that th most heated arguments she and her DH had was over the kids. I think its normal in all families.
It's a long thread and it's hard to remember all the facts, and it does seem to have moved on to more of a discussion from your original rant. You said "I said I didn't want them in there any more. I.e. they abused the right to go into my bedroom". I thought that meant you weren't going to allow them to go in there any more.
I'm just giving my opinion, and I was just trying to help because I know how it feels to be a step-mum with little say or sway.
I think some of the posts have put it a bit over the top... It's not going to be put to them a "BAN" in some kind of family crisis meeting where Allnew sits at the head of the table and reads the the riot act (surely.. allnew ?) I imagine that over breakfast one morning or maybe dinner, she'll says something like
"Boys, I hope you don't think I'm being funny, but now that you are older I'd like to ask for a little more privacy. Of course you are completely welcome to be anywhere that you like here as it's your home but like you I like a little space that's my own. Do you think you could ask before using mine and your Dad's room in future? and I'll do the same for you? really appreciate it. Now how was your music lesson today" They probably own't think anything of it. I know I didn't when my parents asked me.
the voice of reason madeineashton!
I am so happy to read this! I am the mother of 3 bio adult kids and stepmom to a 20 yr and 15 yr old. When bio kids were teens they knew mom/dads bedroom was off limits with exceptions... When asking to borrow something they could go in to get it, or hanging for a few min after being out to report on the news. Also when small they could stay in our room when sick. BUT you always knocked or asked permission. These are the same rules that apply for the step teen but he definitely has trouble with this...Countless times he has opened the door when his father and I have been undressing and we have had to yell HEY! He walks in and takes his fathers fingernail clippers, brush... Recently we took his play station away for playing too much ( 8 - 14 hours a day ) and eventually removed it completely. We caught him sneaking out of our bedroom when we came home home from work. He claimed he needed the "fingernail clippers" but we found the play station under the bed was warm and the chords were sticking out from under. His Dad was furious! We forbid him from our room permanently, and the very next morning I found him in our room again while his father was at work. ????? I am flabbergasted that a child of this age his having so much trouble following directions.. I have jokingly told him to be careful cuz he doesn't want to be scarred by seeing our 50 something yr old wrinkly a**es! But it doesn't sink in. His dad is referring to his getting the play station out and playing it when it had been taken away as "stealing" to try to make an impression on the boy. We have been raising him together since he was 6 and I have to admit that although he gets great grades in school his common sense level in a lot of things is not always good. Case in point... we were recently at a public fair and he was complaining that he needed to go to the bathroom. His uncle said " Go! Just go over there!" (meaning the bathroom was about 30 feet to the right) Stepson thought he meant to go behind the trailer we were in and he started to head out to pee! I said "NO! you can't do that!" He actually asked why????? I informed him that it was tooooo public and at his age if some one saw him they could report him for indecent exposure... His dad and I keep telling him that if he doesn't start thinking about what he is doing we will keep postponing his drivers ed class... we do not feel that he respects what we say enough to not take our car with out permission.... I am glad to know that there are other people experiencing the same things. I have to admit that when my husband and I first got together he said NO kids in our room and it made me annoyed cuz my kids were still teens, but out of fairness I agreed. But when his kids came to live with us when their mother passed they were young and I got that they needed to feel comfortable, to be able to get their dad when they needed him. AND My stepson needed me when he was little! I was the one who put him to bed and tickled his back at night and read to him... I got up with him when he needed me to....... grrrr.... last night after a weekend of peace my stepson confronted his dad about when he would be off grounding and doesn't understand why he was grounded yada yada, and feels we are nit picking.... ?
I was raised to respect my parents privacy and knock before entering. If a door is closed it means someone is needing privacy! If my bedroom door is open it means its "OPEN" if you need us we are here and you can enter! BUT it is not a play ground, it is a sanctuary for adults. Just like their room should be for them. I feel that teaching children this basic life skill teaches them that in life all doors may not be open just because you want them to be! On the flip side you need to give your children the same respect. I never go in one of my children's bedrooms when the door is closed without knocking. Its simple... teach your children these basic rules so that in a relationships they can respect others space. I think that sometimes we forget that a family is a child's training for adult life, not teaching them boundaries and respect for others privacy and personal space is setting them up for some relationship mistakes.
And yes... I am ranting :-( sorry lol.
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