For those of you with teenage step children

(182 Posts)
theredhen Wed 14-Aug-13 12:16:50

What do you do about bedtimes?

Dp has a very early start and normally leaves the house by 6am. He's normally falling asleep by 10pm if we haven't already gone to bed. At the moment he's working 7 days a week.

Dsd2 and ds both take themselves to their rooms about 9.30 in the holidays leaving dp and I with some time without kids.

Dsd1 sits in her room all evening then appears at 9.30pm and sits with us both. Dp and I like our child free time to talk about any issues that have arisen during the day. We have five kids between us, two full time jobs, two troublesome ex's so there can be a lot to talk about and we both agree we need that time to talk every day for the sake of once what was our very fragile relationship.

Dp has said he doesn't know what to do. He has explained to her that we like to have a bit of time to ourselves before we go to bed and has offered her a tv in her room several times to which she always replies she doesn't want one as she doesn't watch tv.

She keeps appearing at 9.30 and parking her bum on the sofa. Dp has been taking her out one to one and trying to treat her more as an adult so feels sending her to her room is sending her the wrong message. Dsd2 and ds seem to manage it without being "told" as I did at that age.

Basically he's struggling to know what to do.

Personally I think he should try and encourage her to sit with us earlier in the evening and then send her off to her room (where she has laptop, phone, books etc) at 9.30 ish like the others.

I know it's very early for some teens but dp and I can't lie in til 11am like they can.

Opinions?

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 14-Aug-13 12:24:39

How old is she? It sounds odd to me to ban her.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 14-Aug-13 12:24:56

banish, not ban.

matana Wed 14-Aug-13 12:30:06

DSD is 13. She stays up with us all evening watching TV and talking. We usually all go to bed at the same time now. We both quite like it as it shows she feels at home with us and wants to spend time with us. But then she only stays overnight once a month (comes for the day every week though) so it's not a big deal to us and we don't feel inconvenienced. Sometimes DH and I will have a glass of wine in the garden in the evening and involve her in our conversation, which sometimes even includes her mum and sister - not in a bitchy way, just more like adult to adult about some of the challenges we have all had over the years. It's actually very therapeutic for all of us and, for the moment at least, means we enjoy a close relationship with her.

orangeandemons Wed 14-Aug-13 12:32:32

I think you just have to suck it up. We had 3 teens between us, one was always in the front room with us at some point. We never had time alone, and both worked full time.

My ds used to hate going to his dads because he was sent off to his room at 9:30. They are nearly adults and are part of the family. I understand about needing time as a pair, particularly as you are a newish couple, but its unrealistic to expect it in your set up. Ours all left home eventually.

I think if you back off from your ds she may find stuff to do. I don't watch tv either, but she may just want to be with people, as some people do

Kaluki Wed 14-Aug-13 12:50:10

We are having similar issues to you Redhen during the school holidays as my two don't want to go up to bed so they drag it out as much as they can. I suck it up as its the holidays as its not their normal routine but I think it bugs DP that they are still awake faffing around when we go to bed!
We have a TV in our bedroom so often escape up there to unwind in the evenings when all the kids are at home but that's not ideal either as his dd someone usually follows us up there !

Anormalfamily Wed 14-Aug-13 13:40:55

Redhen, this is something dh and I have actually fought for together, as we also need to retire earlier than our teen dc.
It's important to unwind and have adult time and our couple counselor was most impressed by our "house rule".
All dc, including dsc, are asked to respect our "viewing time", which is usually 8 to 9/ 9:30 tops on weekdays, around 8:30/9 to 10/10:30 perhaps during holidays (they are not banished, just nicely made aware its adult time). They get use of sofa/TV before and after, but its less complicated than it might read! We still have some shared viewing times (and do lots of other things together too) but their tastes are obviously different to ours.
The dc see it as "our time" and its a real blessing.

purpleroses Wed 14-Aug-13 14:19:54

9pm for pre-teens and 10pm for teens. It's usually roughly enforced, though is a bit harder in the holidays.

It was one of the things we discussed a great deal before I moved in. I've always sent mine off to bed at a reasonable hour, but DP used to let his teenage DCs stay up until he went to bed.

Like yours, my DP has early starts in the week so can't cope with late nights. I really need some adult time at the end of the day. And the other part of the agreement is that DP is not allowed to go to bed himself until at least half an hour after the DCs go!

Partly this is because DP is out long hours in the week, and I need some adult time to catch up with him. And partly it's because I need it to feel like we are the adults of the house. Coming into a new household where the DSC have always lived makes it hard sometimes to feel like we are the adults with different status to them. Having even just half an hour at the end of the day in our living room with them all off to bed, or at least in their rooms helps a lot.

If they won't go, I usually switch the TV off, or onto something that they won't want to watch

theredhen Wed 14-Aug-13 16:41:11

Dp and I have always been on the same page with this but we both feel that at 17 dsd1 is too old for a "bedtime" but at the same time feel we need some couple time and would like the children of the family to respect that.

I know at mums house she stays up as late as she likes as do the siblings but that's because mum leaves them in the house with dsd boyfriend and goes and stays with her boyfriend. So the kids get to stay up there but the parent also gets adult time. Something difficult to achieve at ours.

To be honest I am starting to wonder why she only appears at our adult time. Often the others aren't around all evening and she could join us then. Dp was always very proactive in getting the kids to join us before bed rather than hiding in their rooms or sitting in front of computers. She was always the last to join us and always seemed reluctant.

But if its after "bedtime" we could be watching anything on tv and she will stay and just sit texting on her phone. Both dp and i try and include her in the conversation but she often doesn't join in.

I know it's not about tv, there's one in the spare room she could go and watch but I also don't feel it's about her wanting to spend quality time with us either, if she doesn't join in the conversation.

I am honestly wondering if she just wants to stop Dp and i having time together?

Kaluki Wed 14-Aug-13 18:19:36

You probably hit the nail on the head there!
She probably thinks she will miss something If she's not there!! grin

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 14-Aug-13 18:25:49

You really can't send a 17 year old to her bedroom at 9.30. That's just not on. If you want time alone together go to your bedroom. Does it not also make her feel unwelcome?

gillywillywoo Wed 14-Aug-13 18:39:27

I'm surprised a 17 year old wants to sit with you at 9.30! No offence grin

At that age I was out most nights and came home at 10pm and pretty much always went straight to my room.. Listened to music.. That kind of thing!

If I didn't go out in the evening I would generally sit with my parents and watch tv til about 9 ish (depending on what they were watching) and then Id go to my room and dilly dally around.. Again listening to music.. Reading magazines.. Messing around with hair and makeup... Whatever really.

Anything but sit with my parents whilst they watch the news and whatever else!

gillywillywoo Wed 14-Aug-13 18:41:12

Then around 11pm my mum and dad would normally go to bed and my dad would poke his head in my room and say "right we are going to bed now and I think you should start thinking about doing the same thing! Turn your music down and lights off SOON!" And I would normally just go to bed as well!

orangeandemons Wed 14-Aug-13 18:43:35

But she's nearly an adult at 17. You can't force her to go to her room. Perhaps she just likes the company.....however sounds more like she is being territorial about her df!

theredhen Wed 14-Aug-13 18:54:05

Gillywillywoo, that's exactly how I used to be grin

Ds and dsd2 are the same.

Dsd1 is different and I don't think it's about the age.

As for her feeling unwelcome, maybe she does but dsd2 who chose to live here and ds who has always lived here obviously have no problem with it.

30 mins in a day is not a great amount of time to say, hey this is time for us.

We respect her time with her boyfriend of course. wink

purpleroses Wed 14-Aug-13 19:04:02

My older two DSC do that arriving in the living room after 9pm thing. I think it's probably because they want some time with their dad without the younger DCs around. It's just hard really I guess with 4 DCs and one dad who they only get to see two nights a week. Pisses me off a bit though when they choose to spend most of the day in their rooms and then suddenly want to be all sociable at just the time when I need a bit of adult time with DP. I often try and get us to eat a bit earlier than DP tends to cook, so that there is some reasonable evening time with the DCs, and still some time left for us. If we can start a movie at 7.30, then it's sometimes possible to get the lot of them off around 9.30/10pm.

Could you go out with your DP a bit? Is there a pub, or somewhere you could wander down to in the evenings some of the time, to get a bit of time to yourselves? Or with two living rooms, can you suggest the DCs watch a film or something - or just sit there on their phones if that's what they want to do in one room and have some time to yourselves in the other one? Or could you make the main living room a phone/tablet free room?

My parents used to eat later than us sometimes when I was a teen - and we were not really welcome in the kitchen when they were eating. Was their way of getting a bit of time to themselves I guess. I remember arguing that I should be always allowed up later than my younger sister though until I went to bed at the same time as them and being told that they needed some adult time without me around, and being huffy about it. Can't remember exactly what age they gave up on sending me to bed earlier. Think I probably stated going out most weekend nights from about 16/17 up and also learned to take myself to bed when I was tired.

theredhen Wed 14-Aug-13 19:38:28

You have done good points there. We do have two living areas but dp likes to sit with the tv and we only have 1 tv. Dsd1 will sit with us whichever room we are in.

We did used to have a no phone / tablet rule but dp was the one who kept breaking it! Grrr

We could go out but unsurprisingly dp probably wouldn't want to do that when dsd1 is there as he would feel guilty as she's not with us all the time.

Dp has been trying to give her one to one time without the others but to be honest, she's often let him down, changed her mind or made excuses including inviting her siblings / boyfriend along so I don't even think she wants time alone with him.

I just think she doesn't like us having time together, and also because she knows what boundaries to push. She's always the one who refuses to do chores til the very last minute meaning we all have to wait around for her to wipe up from lunch, for example, before we can start cooking dinner.

exoticfruits Wed 14-Aug-13 19:39:19

I think that it is just part of having a teen- it gets to the point where you go to bed first and just make sure they know to switch lights off etc. you get your own time when they go out - and then you lie awake worrying about if they are OK!!

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Wed 14-Aug-13 19:41:08

We have a tv in our room, if we want time to ourselves we go up and leave the teenagers downstairs- it's win/win that way and nobody feels pushed out

Yonihadtoask Wed 14-Aug-13 19:49:57

Same in this house.

My DS who lives here 90% of the time spends most of his time in his room anyway. Even if not - I would send him up by 10.00pm as we like ot go to bed not long after that.

DSS is 16. He is here 10% of the time. His mum doesn't give them bedtimes, they all stay up late. Even youngest DSS who is 12 ( he doesn't stay over here. Long story) .

Up until a few months ago we would send him up to his room at 10pm also, has a tv in there, music, ipod etc. But he would dawdle so much - to make the point , I think, that he felt hard done by being sent off to bed.

So now we just go to bed and leave them to it. in fact me and DH will go to bed at 9.30pm sometimes and watch tv in bed.

ImNotBloody14 Wed 14-Aug-13 19:56:14

why don't you and DP buy a tv for your room and spend time together there then?

Petal02 Wed 14-Aug-13 21:31:42

But if Redhen and her DP have to escape to their bedroom leaving the kids downstairs, isn't that all the wrong way round? It's usually teenagers who slink off to their rooms, not the adults. It's also putting the kids at the top of the household pecking order, which is never ideal.

Would it really do any harm to insist on a little adult time in the evenings?

theredhen Wed 14-Aug-13 21:54:29

Yes although I can see some positives in retiring to bed and leaving dsd1 downstairs. it would feel like we were running away from the children and that ultimately the kids (or rather dsd1) are dictating what goes on in the main communal areas of the house.

brdgrl Wed 14-Aug-13 21:56:56

I think it is important to be able to say to kids at any age "We'd like some time alone" and expect them to clear off. Of course that has to be in a balance with spending time with the kids as well, but if you don't feel able to send kids out of a room so the adults can talk, or watch TV, or whatever) it seems to me that something is wrong.

Maybe 17 is too old to be told to go to bed. It's certainly not too old to be told, "we're using the TV room right now, you'll have to clear off."

I have to laugh at the idea that the parents should be the ones to head off to the bedroom.

ImNotBloody14 Wed 14-Aug-13 22:05:09

i think it's fine to want alone time and fine to expect dcs of all ages to understand and respect that- but i think if it's YOU that is wanting the alone time, then it should be YOU that is removing yourself from communal areas of the house, especially with teens there. it's their home aswell- why should they be banned from the public areas, and the only one with a tv!

redhen what were the positives you could see with taking your alone time in your room?

also, would you respect the dcs requests to have half an hour or so each alone, individually or with a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend in the living room each evening?

Petal02 Wed 14-Aug-13 22:11:58

I think it's important to remember that Redhen and her DP are the adults in this situation. Adults should run the household, not teenagers.

Xmasbaby11 Wed 14-Aug-13 22:12:52

Why don't you just go to bed and have your unwinding time there? I don't really agree with banning her from a family area, as she is part of the family, not a lodger.

childcarehell Wed 14-Aug-13 22:16:32

Well here is a small house, teenage step dcs and young dcs. We just go with the flow now and I've found I've just had to get used to it. It's not perfect and we're happier without trying to force behaviours. We escape to our room sometimes. I think it's fair to ask for some peace, but not on a routine basis to ask she's not around. I'd feel quite affronted. There's a balance, some night have her around, other nights just be open and say 'we want some us time please' openly or harrass her about chores that aren't done from 9.30 onwards until she hides-

It is difficult at times with changing dynamics, each phase passes. DH and in spring felt like we were a bit overrun. I ended up having a pop at dsd after dh and I sat outside in the cold dark garden for a bit of peace one night and he followed! It's settled again now, the 18, 15 and 3 yr old practically vanish into one bedroom from dinner to bed at the moment!

ImNotBloody14 Wed 14-Aug-13 22:19:25

hmm

i'm well aware that redhen and her DP are the adults. i'm also well aware of your opinion on where stepdcs belong in the house.

brdgrl Wed 14-Aug-13 22:28:07

Our home 'belongs' to the adults. We decide how the space is used, we decide how it's decorated, we make rules about how it is to be treated. We also carry the financial responsibility for it, and when something goes wrong, it is up to us to sort it out. Responsibilities and privileges that come with being the adults.

There are shared spaces - but that doesn't mean that the kids have free access to them anytime they like. If we're having company over to watch a film, we don't ask permission of the kids. If DH wants to watch something on the TV, he makes them change it over.

This isn't a 'step' issue, it's about how people view the boundary between adults and children in a home. In our home, we don't live as lodgers (paying for the right of usage) or university students in a flat (peers who share equally in decision making and responsibility). We are two adult people. When the kids have their own homes, they can do whatever they want with them.

Both the DSCs get privacy when they have friends round, and use of the television room.

(Minor point, but the daughter has been offered and declined a tv in her room.)

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 15-Aug-13 01:04:03

Bdrgrl I'm totally in agreement with your first paragraph. But I still think it's weird to send a 17 year old to their room at 9.30. It actually smacks of the OP being a bit weird and controlling and jealous of the poor girl. Nasty.

brdgrl Thu 15-Aug-13 01:28:30

I still think it's weird to send a 17 year old to their room at 9.30. It actually smacks of the OP being a bit weird and controlling and jealous of the poor girl. Nasty.

With my DSD (18), we'd send her 'out'. She doesn't have to go to her room. She just has to leave that room. I guess what options that leaves a teen depends on the house, but for us it means DSD can go to her room (the largest in the home, with laptop etc), or the rather spacious kitchen. Weird or controlling?? I just don't see it as anything but a natural way of handling things. I think its not right to ascribe motives that aren't necessarily there...if the post were about OP's DS, I'd have taken the question at face value then, too.

purpleroses Thu 15-Aug-13 05:52:52

I feel exactly the same about my own DCs as I do the DSC in that I prefer them all off to their rooms before us.

As brdgrl has articulated well it's about feeling like the adults of the house, not housemates. It's absolutely nothing to do with not wanting either the DSC (or my own DCs) to be in the house. And I've seen similar threads on the teenage board about bio DCs and bedtimes.

allnewtaketwo Thu 15-Aug-13 06:25:34

Wanting adult time with your husband is hardly weird or controlling FGS. There has to be the ability to let the teenager know when they just need to do their own thing in a separate space some of the time. Completely disagree with the notion of adults having to skulk up upstairs to bed to get time away from teenagers hogging the communal living space.

We are making very slow progress in this area, as DH is now saying more to DSSs that they need to watch a film in the other downstairs room in the evening rather than in the space we're in.

Exotic "you get your own time when they go out". Yes that would be true IF they go out. My DSS does not go out, ever, without a parent, outside of school. There is NO time without him in the house during access. From waking to sleeping, he's there. He's nearly 18.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 06:51:54

I think that perhaps the difference is the fact that they are DSCs and access is very unnatural at that age because they are suddenly visitors in an area where they don't know anyone and they also have a step parent who hasn't had them since babies and had their needs evolve over the years.
You are talking about a situation that everyone has-i.e the children get older and can't have a bedtime- they go to bed later or at the same time as you and you share a house, often a small house. If it is their main residence they have a bedroom that is 'theirs' and friends to go out with or activities outside the home. If it is access it is far more difficult for them, they have a room that is more like a visitor's room than theirs, no friends in the area and no activities. Speaking generally of course- some will feel at home, have friends in the area etc.
I think you just need to see it as a very short stage. If he is nearly 18yrs it won't be for much longer- as an adult he won't be continuing the childhood pattern of access. It is just like having a visitor- if I stay with someone I don't expect to be banished to my room at 9.30 so that my hosts can have time to themselves. I stayed with my mother all last week- often we went to bed together- sometimes she went first.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 06:53:09

A suggestion would be to have a friend over with them and then they would have someone to go out with.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 06:53:59

That should have read went to bed at the same time and not together.

allnewtaketwo Thu 15-Aug-13 06:59:08

"If it is their main residence they have a bedroom that is 'theirs' and friends to go out with or activities outside the home"

No, to the contrary, in his main residence he shares a room and has no friends or activities there either.

"If he is nearly 18yrs it won't be for much longer- as an adult he won't be continuing the childhood pattern of access"

What is going to stop the pattern though? I can see the same pattern remaining for years to come.

theredhen Thu 15-Aug-13 07:02:33

To the poster who suggested dp and I get time when dsc are out, do you really think that 5 children all go out at once? Assuming we now allow 15 year olds to stay up too?

If dp and I go to our room, yes we would get some time together and that is the positive but I do feel that we would be running away and when we disappear and leave dsd1 in the living room, she would simply go to bed anyway as she has done when we have done this.

I like an occasional glass of wine or bar of chocolate and I hate food in the bedroom so it would stop those treats. Dp is on "borrowed time" in the evenings anyway. If we went to bed at 7pm, as soon as he got into bed he'd be asleep which defeats the object of us getting some time to talk.

I did mention that there is a tv in the "spare room". This is a room that forms part of her annexe. She has a virtually self contained flat to live in. So it's not like we are excluding her from tv although as mentioned she is adamant she doesn't want one in her room anyway.

I too feel I don't want any children around for 30 mins before bed. It's not a step issue. I was far more strict on this when I lived alone with just my ds. I always needed to time alone then to help ensure I was the best parent I could be the next day and feel exactly the same now although I include my dsc now.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 07:31:42

Having just stayed with my mother, her spare room isn't somewhere I would want to retire to at 9.30 so I don't see why they should be different.
Surely the pattern will change, allnewtaketwo, if he doesn't go to university he will have to do a course or get a job. What are his plans?

allnewtaketwo Thu 15-Aug-13 07:53:40

He will go to university, in our home town, live with mum and still want to come EOW. He has no interest in a PT job as he insists on spending every waking hour (outside of education) with mum or dad. Turning 18 isn't suddenly going to give him a personality transplant.

Yonihadtoask Thu 15-Aug-13 08:03:11

Ours don't go out either!

Not that I am advocating hanging around on the streets drinking and smoking from the age of 13 as I did but I just wish they would do something.

That's my DS (15) and DSS (16).

I was never in the house. Why would I want to spend more time than necessary with the oldies????

theredhen Thu 15-Aug-13 08:17:22

Even if step kids get a job or a social life it probably means they're still going to come to yours to sleep, so the problem still remains unless they don't get home til 10.30 every single night of their lives.

I should also point out that my step children have lived in the marital home with their father since their parents split so its not like they're visitors.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Aug-13 08:27:13

You need to change the pattern then - go out- go away for the weekend- volunteer him for things! When he goes to university sit him down and explain that as an adult things will change.

The problem is the same for every family theredhen- children stop conveniently going to bed early. Maybe it is harder if they are not your own.

catsmother Thu 15-Aug-13 08:56:52

Last ditch helpful (?) suggestion: start snogging on the sofa .... only the most oblivious teenager could possibly bear to remain in the room thereafter .............. grin

theredhen Thu 15-Aug-13 08:58:55

Cats mother, ha ha. grin

I had already thought of that. Am I daring enough to do it? grin

Don't really want to make her vomit.

destructogirl Thu 15-Aug-13 09:15:46

I'm not a step parent, but my DH is. To be honest I'm pretty horrified at the thought of sending DD (17) out of the room. I'd be pretty pissed off at DH if he suggested it.

brdgrl Thu 15-Aug-13 10:01:02

My DSD lives here all the time (no access dimension, I mean) - and she would do the exact same thing if permitted. She has a job, but that's nothing like every evening, and it is rare for her to go out with friends.

It is common to read on MN about these teens who can't bear to be at home and spend all their time out with their friends - but in my experience, it isn't a universal truth!

Encouraging OP's DSD to do her own thing is a fine suggestion, but really, it's no substitute for just being clear and nicely assertive.

ExcuseTypos Thu 15-Aug-13 10:42:12

Sending a teenager to her room at 9.30? That's really not on. It would be if she were 12 but she isn't.

Teenagers do hang around late at night. I've often gone to bed earlier than my teenage DDs.

I think your DSD will feel quite pushed put by being asked to go her room at 9.30. It's really not a normal thing for a parent to say.

ImNotBloody14 Thu 15-Aug-13 10:52:28

tbh if you're usually in bed by ten then I cant see why both of you going up at half 9 to talk is so much of an issue. and it doesn't have to be rigid, every night. i'm sure there are nights when dsd wont be there, or will stay in her room and there will probably also be nights where you/he are tired enough to want to go to bed earlier. (by half an hour!) I think a bit of give and take is normal in families and I think fair parents see the house as their dcs home aswell as just their (the parents') property. at 17 she is just at an age where she will be starting to spend more time away from home with friends, college, uni or work so I don't think you'll face this particular problem with her for much longer but you do have other dcs following behind who will have different patterns of activity.

Tuckshop Sat 17-Aug-13 13:26:22

Dsd (also 17) doesn't have a bedtime, she pleases herself. Id never send her out of a communal area. If we want time to talk we go to bed, eat a meal separately in the kitchen or just sit in there or the garden. Or we get dsd to babysit and go out.

If she isn't with you full time then it isn't every night so I think you either need to accept that on those nights you won't get couple time. And if the need to talk is essential then there is a way round it by going to bed.

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 18:33:20

For those who are saying that they would never ask a child to leave a communal room - does this mean that you never give the teenager the use of that room, either?
Never keep away do s/he can use it with friends?
When they do have a friend over, do you send them off to their room if they want privacy?
Or hang about sitting on the sofa and commenting on their conversation?

That sounds absolutely dreadful.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:39:36

that sounds like you've decided they all would before waiting for an answer brdgrl

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 18:46:02

How do you figure that? I've merely asked the questions.

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 18:47:33

I believe they probably wouldn't, frankly.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:51:50

you asked the question and then followed up with "That sounds absolutely dreadful." as if someone had answered when nobody had.

how can you possibly know what several strangers all with individual family dynamics would answer to those questions? (and not just one question so some might say yes to some and no to others)

although you seem to have your mind firmly shut tbh so no point waiting for an answer really.

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 19:07:46

you asked the question and then followed up with "That sounds absolutely dreadful." as if someone had answered when nobody had.

This is called rhetoric. I think you should acquaint yourself with it, as a basic communication skill.

"That sounds absolutely dreadful" was a direct comment on the situation I had just finished describing. Like this, see:

"Do you know someone who doesn't wash their hands after they wee? Or urinates on the seat and leaves it? That sounds absolutely dreadful."

how can you possibly know what several strangers all with individual family dynamics would answer to those questions? (and not just one question so some might say yes to some and no to others)
I haven't said I know, have I? I've hazarded a guess, based on what has been posted here.

although you seem to have your mind firmly shut tbh so no point waiting for an answer really.
Yes, open-mindedness seems to be your forte. hmm Please, if you would like to answer the question, go ahead.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 17-Aug-13 19:14:42

why the hmm?

you didn't hazard a guess- you said "I believe they probably wouldn't, frankly." why ask if you have already decided what answer you will believe?

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 19:22:32

This - hmm - is a sceptical face. If that was unclear, let me be clear. I don't think you have displayed any open-mindedness on this thread, yourself. Pot, kettle.

"I believe...." is an extremely common qualifying phrase used to indicate that one is not making a declarative statement, or asserting that something is definitely true, but is expressing their considered opinion or, yes, making a guess.

You seem to be struggling with rather ordinary rhetorical strategies. It's odd. Is English your first language?

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 19:22:45

skeptical, sorry.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 17-Aug-13 19:24:53

wow

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 19:33:55

Genuine question, ImNot. You are being purposefully argumentative, you've repeatedly made snide comments on this thread, and now seem to be deliberately not understanding my straightforward posts. If there is a reason for that, I'd like to know.

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 19:35:10

We have one main communal room- I am not moving out of it for DCs or sending them out. If we, or they, want privacy the answer is to go elsewhere.

The answer for allnewtaketwo is if DSS won't go out,leave him at home and go out yourselves.

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 19:42:09

Fair enough, exotic, if it goes both ways, but I can't see that working well with our teens. I think if we started sending them off to their rooms, or out of the house, with their friends, that wouldn't be seen as particularly nice or fair. As well, I know some people (not me, particularly) would not be happy with sending teens off to bedrooms, which would be the other option here.
At the same time, I can imagine how the teens would feel if we sat down in there with them when they had a date or friends over. So, we let the teens use the room, with privacy, when they 'reserve' it, and then expect the same.

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 19:47:53

Really exotic, take DS and DSS2 out , and leave DSS1 at home when he wants to come with us all?

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 20:01:27

I was thinking of the evening- leave DSS babysitting and go out.

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 20:04:02

There's no way I would trust DSS to babysit my 5yo. He really is emotionally and behaviourally extremely immature. And tbh we have had the inlaws down to babysit before, even when DSS is here. He even said he liked it as he feels he needs an adult in the house hmm

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 20:06:39

You really do need to do something with him- he is almost an adult! Or does he have SNs?

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 20:46:09

No SNs, but has and is still treated like an extremely young child by his mother. Rather than rebelling as a teen, which is perhaps more common, he has moulded himself into the obedient needy dependent child she wants him as. So in her house, there's no problem, everyone is happy with the dependency. Her needs are fulfilled and so are his.

It's only in our house that there is a problem, because u don't find this behaviour, neediness and dependency palatable in a 17yo. Neither does DH for that matter, but he tolerates it rather better than I do because he loves him.

So in this scenario when you say "you really need to so something with him", what do you actually suggest?

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 20:50:55

I would find someone who needs volunteers and you volunteer him- preferably in the evening. You then tell him they are desperate and he can't let them down.

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 20:57:20

I have looked, believe me. But who needs volunteers on a Saturday night?

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 20:58:50

To be honest, I find the daytimes worse than the evenings. The very very very long daytimes with a 17yo old shadow who doesn't want to leave the house unless its with daddy

brdgrl Sat 17-Aug-13 21:23:51

exotic, I think the volunteering suggestion sounds really very good, if allnew were able to do it. And if it were her own kid, maybe she could...But I wonder about that...I know that I couldn't volunteer my stepkids for something that they didn't want to do. That would be seen as definitely 'overstepping', and they simply wouldn't follow through...and honestly, if I posted here that I'd given my DSS no choice but to go wash dishes in a homeless shelter on a Saturday evening - well. I can imagine the replies I would get, and they would not be nice.
This is one of those 'can't win' moments. If a stepmum isn't even supposed to be able to tell her DSCs that they need to get up out of bed by a certain time, or that they need to leave a room (recent thread; this thread) - how can they be empowered to go so far as to set up an external volunteering activity - against the kid and his parent's wishes?

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 22:06:06

I can see that but I really feel for her - she appears to have years ahead where an adult DSS is still having the sort of access you get with a 12 yr old.
I suppose they can hope that he will get a social life once he starts university.
Other than that DH needs to change the pattern- it isn't good for anyone at the moment.

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 22:10:37

Thanks exotic smile, it helps even just a little when someone else recognises how cr*p it is tbh

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 22:13:40

I just wish I had an answer- I can see that your DH loves him too much to be tough. A shame he isn't going away to university- I suspect nothing will change.

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 22:22:53

I tried to describe how I feel to DH. It's not that DSS is a "bad" kid, but his behaviour means that he turns himself into a chore.

DH has been trying but genuinely no idea what to do. He's even got DSS doing hard manual labour on a Saturday rather than sitting around the house. But it doesn't put DSS off the "shadow" behaviour at all. He'd seemingly rather be on his hands and knees doing ball breaking work in the garden than just get off his ass out of the house. And there's only so long on a weekend DH can do this. So now the pattern is get up, spend the morning doing any manual labour that DH can find for him, then spend the rest of the weekend reverting to type confused. He refuses to get a pt job or volunteer because he 'has no time' and because his mother would go apeshit

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 22:28:21

The mother is the problem - it leaves you with hands tied unless DSS chooses to rebel, which sounds doubtful.

BettyBotter Sat 17-Aug-13 22:28:27

Dstep or dc , it seems bizarre to send teens out of the 'communal' family room in the early-ish evening in order to have private time. Surely the living/sitting/family room is for everybody to be together. It would feel rather hostile and unfriendly to me to banish one or other family member from this shared room and time.

The privilege of 'grown up' evening time downstairs without the kids when they're little gradually becomes grown up time with the kids which is a different pleasure in itself.

I'd say find a different time or place for your special time with dh or you risk alienating family members.

exoticfruits Sat 17-Aug-13 22:31:41

I suppose it is fair if you leave it at times for them and friends.
I just see it as a space for all at all times.

Tuckshop Sat 17-Aug-13 22:36:41

My set up is unusual so I'm not sure I can answer your questions brdgrl, dsd, although here full time , doesn't have her own room to retreat to so I have to take that into account. I "run" the household on the basis of mutual cooperation and taking everyone's needs into account. If she wants privacy or space to be with friends she gets it. If we want privacy or space to be with friends we get it. Its just a case of working out how we all do that. My needs don't trump dsd's or dd's just because I pay the bills. It works really well for us.

allnewtaketwo Sat 17-Aug-13 22:41:01

"The privilege of 'grown up' evening time downstairs without the kids when they're little gradually becomes grown up time with the kids which is a different pleasure in itself"

I can see what you mean by this. In fact it probably was exactly this that I remember from my own childhood (although my parents always went to bed well after us). BUT this sentiment only holds, imyho, when the teenagers are living their own lives some/most of the rest of the time. So the evening becomes a time to catch up/spend time together. This 'pleasure' is somewhat negated if they spend the whole bloody day with you as we'll, every day they're there.

brdgrl Sun 18-Aug-13 01:03:31

tuckshop. that's just it; taking everyone's needs into account. Everyone needs privacy and time alone with their friends.

The privilege of 'grown up' evening time downstairs without the kids when they're little gradually becomes grown up time with the kids which is a different pleasure in itself
We believe that it's important to have time with the kids, and we do. We that it's important to have time as a couple, and we do. And we believe that it's important for the kids to have time with their friends, and they do.

But. They're not grown ups. They aren't our peers, they're our children. They don't want us around all the time, and we don't want them around all the time. That's fine.

Yonihadtoask Sun 18-Aug-13 08:59:18

We don't have an issue should one of the DC (DS and DSSS) want to have friends over and entertain in a downstairs room with tv/games - as we have two reception rooms each with electronic stuff.

However if we only had one living room I wouldn't let them 'book it out' for use with their friends, if me and dh were also home and wanted to hang out in there. They would have to use their bedrooms.

As said earlier by PP - the adults own the home, pay the bills - have earned the right to use it as they wish. The DC have to fit in with that ,until such a time as they have their own home.

I am still struggling with these Dc who hang around at home all the tme (my own included). I was never at home. From being a child though to late teenager hood when I left home, I was always out with friends. Who the hell wanted to stay at home with parents? It drives me crazy.

theredhen Sun 18-Aug-13 10:04:46

When dsd1 and her boyfriend are in the front room alone, neither dp or I just waltz in and plonk ourselves on the sofa with them and just sit there. grin

We give them a bit of space and will sit in the kitchen or another room sometimes being our bedroom.

However, when its late evening, I see that room as our space and all the other kids respect it's our time.

If the kids are in their rooms with their doors shut, I respect their privacy and don't interrupt them unless its important, when I always knock.

It's called mutual respect and understanding and ultimately they have many opportunities to spend time watching tv or with us during the day. I really feel that expecting some time without kids (step or otherwise) isn't cruel or sending the wrong message. On the contrary, I feel it sends a message that in a family we all have differing needs and that adults need time without kids. I feel it's the same as teaching kids to do chores, it's about everybody pulling their weight and everybody respecting the family as a whole.

Tuckshop Sun 18-Aug-13 10:38:20

I think it becomes more complicated with a step family though. I think there can be all sorts of feelings and beliefs flying around that can impact on things like what to you would be a simple request to have some time alone.

I know my own dsd didn't believe that I actually wanted her here for a while. She looked for all the evidence that might support that. So if I had asked her to leave a room so I could talk to my bf, she'd have taken umbridge.

Sounds like she could be trying to make a point. Maybe she doesn't agree with your rule of half an hour child free time and that's her way of saying so. Maybe she feels that by doing so you hog her Dad. If it were me I'd be finding a work round. If the important thing to me were the half hour child-free, I'd just take myself off to my bedroom rather than making an issue of having sole use of a communal room.

How does your dp feel about it? Maybe he could have a chat with her if it's something you both want to insist on.

theredhen Sun 18-Aug-13 11:01:51

He's always been very keen to enforce this "rule" but he is having mixed feelings as she gets older.

I think the real issue is that he's spoken to her about it, explained how its important to him, offered her alternatives and yet she still insists on sitting with us and he often has to ask her to leave several times.

We can quite easily say "you off to your room then?" to the others and they'll merrily clear off. She refuses to without arguing or ignoring.

She's like that with chores too. hmm

Petal02 Sun 18-Aug-13 14:10:18

Totally agree with Allnew's point that the pleasure of spending the evening with adult children and step children, is somewhat negated when they've spent the whole of that day following you round like a shadow.

By the time evening comes round, you're more likely to be wanting to throttle them than look forward to more of their company.

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 18:03:15

Maybe she gets the impression that she isn't wanted ( which is the truth), maybe she is just trying to annoy her dad, maybe she's devastated that her mum and dad have split?

What ever the reason, she ps made it plain she doesn't want to be in her room at 9.30, it isn't normal for a teenager that age to be in their room, so just leave her to it, accept it and before you know it things will be different.

brdgrl Sun 18-Aug-13 18:11:59

Maybe she gets the impression that she isn't wanted ( which is the truth), maybe she is just trying to annoy her dad, maybe she's devastated that her mum and dad have split?

Maybe. Are any of these reasons to allow her to stay?
In my book, no.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 18:30:33

redhen I assume there aren't any consequences for disregarding chores?

No surprise that she disregards other expectations (such as allowing adults time later in the evening) either, then - if she knew that disregarding 'house rules' led to unpleasant consequences then she'd probably be more motivated to follow them!

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 19:41:12

In my book she shouldn't be being asked to go to her room at 9.30.
Hence her reason doesn't really matter.

theredhen Sun 18-Aug-13 19:42:57

China, she just pushes the boundaries harder. She is still expected to wash up or whatever, but she will hang it out rather than get on with it. She needs "nagging".

And the truth is no, I don't want her there at that time, I also don't want my son or my other step children there or my mother in law, cousins or best friend. wink

If a child pushes the boundaries, then that is fine but it doesn't mean the boundaries should move.

If dp and I decide she can stay up in the front room until whatever time she likes, it should be a decision made based on what we feel is right for everyone and certainly not because she just chooses to push the boundaries harder than the others.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 20:17:43

excuse Why not?

If that's a decision the adults in the household have made, then surely she should respect that? Or should she be able to disregard all the expectations of her Dad/SM in their home?
Be allowed to smoke if she wants to, take drugs etc?

it's clear that you don't agree with the particular issue the OP has set a boundary on, but how would you enforce a boundary that you do agree with in the OPs situation?

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 20:22:49

Why would a teenager respect a totally ridiculous ruleconfused.

I expect she knows it's not normal to send a teenager to their room at 9.30, therefore she's ignoring it.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 20:29:11

grin What a fabulously well articulated argument!

excuse ah, so because you think its totally ridiculous, the OP is wrong? You are right and everyone who doesn't agree with you is wrong, is that it!

What about the other two DCs - why are they prepared to respect a totally ridiculous expectation?

Sounds like its time for the OPs DSD to leave home and avoid these totally ridiculous rules!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 20:32:42

excuse Who sets the standard for 'normal' anyway? Is there a book? I'm pretty sure my household breaks every standard in it, if so - after all, how totally ridiculous is it to do things our own way ? smile

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 20:34:46

I'm not the only person who thinks the OP is being ridiculous. She is wrong to expect a 17 year old to go to their room at 9.30. It's just not a very nice thing to do and gives the impression they aren't wanted.

Therefore I can totally understand why the DSD doesn't abide by their wishes.

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 20:37:04

Why not start a similar thread in AIBU? Ask what the general consensus is as to when a 17 year old should be told to go to bed.

That might give you a better indication of how wrong you are to expect a 17 year old to follow this.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 20:48:21

I ask again - WHY is it wrong?

What harm is it doing?

Locking her DSD in, hitting her, starving her - these are wrong.

Expecting a DC to give the adults some privacy is not wrong, it is a different parenting style to the one you have signed up to!

Even if everybody on AIBU disagreed with the OP, it doesn't make her decision wrong wink

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 21:10:11

I've never used the term 'wrong' China. I said it is ridiculous and not a normal request for a 17 year old.

Any parent can request whatever they like- eat your meals in your room, get up at 6.00 am, have one shower a week. To the vast majority of parents and teenagers, these requests would be seen as quite unusal and not the norm.

I'd put sending your child to their room at 9.30 in the same category. I don't care what the OP does, but she's asked for opinions on what she's doing. I'm just pointing out her request isn't within the norm.

allnewtaketwo Sun 18-Aug-13 21:11:40

I don't think it's at all wrong to expect a 17yo to respect the adults' request for privacy later in the evenings.

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 21:22:07

Well I think you're in the minority allnew. 9.30 is quite early for an older teenager to be sent to their room.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 21:27:07

I've never used the term 'wrong' China

Oh you have. That's exactly what you said.

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 20:34:46
I'm not the only person who thinks the OP is being ridiculous. She is wrong to expect a 17 year old to go to their room at 9.30. It's just not a very nice thing to do and gives the impression they aren't wanted.

Therefore I can totally understand why the DSD doesn't abide by their wishes.

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 21:29:54

Oh so I did grin

Anyway, I hope I've explained why I think it's not a reasonable request.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 21:40:31

I'm just pointing out her request isn't within the norm.

Your norm - which seems quite limited in experience if your other examples are also outside your 'norm'.

None of the teens you know walk the family dog before school? Catch the bus/train/ferry to school? Have a paper round? See to their sibling/horse/sports training every morning?
6am is the middle of the day for some of the teens I know. Are they all abnormal?

allnewtaketwo Sun 18-Aug-13 21:44:24

Lots of things aren't the 'norm' and 'unusual'. But as a child you get pretty much stuck with your patents rules, that's how it works. Unless if course the DSD dislikes the rules so much shed rather move into her own place or go to a friends house for the evening if she dislikes her own room so much

brdgrl Sun 18-Aug-13 21:45:18

I agree 100% that telling a 17 year old to go to bed at 9:30 is not really reasonable.

But that is NOT what I (or I think anyone else?) is suggesting. There is a world of difference between sending her to BED and sending her out of the room. She can go to the kitchen...take a bath...sit in the garden...go to her room and be online, she has even been offered a TV...I don't think OP has even said that she couldn't go OUT if she wanted to.

The "9:30 is too early a bedtime" argument is a complete red herring. I'd send the kids out of a room at 2 in the afternoon, if that's when my best friend was coming around to watch a film with me, or when DH and I wanted to sit down and discuss our finances, or even if I just wanted to watch a soap opera in a bit of peace. (And as I've said - the kids get their own time. DSD had four friends for a sleepover recently - they got the television room from 4:30 in the afternoon until lunchtime the next day.)

Why not start a similar thread in AIBU? Ask what the general consensus is as to when a 17 year old should be told to go to bed.
I'm sure you are right. But that's not the question.

brdgrl Sun 18-Aug-13 21:47:55

And this is quite definitely the "norm" amongst my siblings and close friends with families!

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 21:52:37

I'm sorry but I really do not believe that the majority of parents send their 17 year olds to their rooms at 9.30.

allnewtaketwo Sun 18-Aug-13 21:52:51

Having 5 children and working 7 days a week probably isn't 'the norm' either. All the more reason why the OP and her DP need a little bit of time and privacy later in the evening.

allnewtaketwo Sun 18-Aug-13 21:53:51

Most 17year olds probably don't insist on sitting with their parents every evening at time either though.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 22:04:07

I'm sorry but I really do not believe that the majority of parents send their 17 year olds to their rooms at 9.30.

She's not being sent to her room. She's being asked to give her dad and stepmum some privacy for 1/2 an hour before they go to bed.

I'd hate to be a guest in your home if your teens do not respect adults expectation of privacy.

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 22:13:05

Gosh China you seem determine to nitpick at everything I say.

She is being asked to go to her room!

My DDs are 19 and 22. Very well adjusted, polite and lovely to have around.

And I certainly wouldn't want a guest in my house, like you, who expected the teenagers to be banished to their rooms at 9.30 during the school holidays.

It's still daylight at that time!

allnewtaketwo Sun 18-Aug-13 22:30:06

I don't think it's 'nitpicking' to point out that you are twisting misinterpreting what the OP is saying

ExcuseTypos Sun 18-Aug-13 22:41:47

So asking someone to leave the family room and go to their bedroom is not the same as sending someone to their room?confused.

allnewtaketwo Sun 18-Aug-13 22:47:51

redhen has said "To be honest I am starting to wonder why she only appears at our adult time"

So clearly it appears the DSD is actively preventing her father and redhen from having privacy. The fact that she only turns up at these times in the room tells me she has no issue otherwise with spending time in her own room, and therefore that this is deliberate. So OP wanting to stop thus behaviour, to me, is nothing at at like just sending a teen to her room.

theredhen Sun 18-Aug-13 22:49:48

It's also daylight at 5am but funnily enough we don't get the teenagers up to spend time with us then either. grin And dp is often up then. They normally manage to stay in their rooms then. wink

brdgrl Sun 18-Aug-13 22:50:13

Excuse, why are you ignoring the distinction between sending her out and sending her to bed?
And yes, the OP says "to her room" but clearly goes on to show that there is no expectation of the teen going to bed.

I wouldn't want to be a guest in someone's house if they never asked their kids to give us a bit of privacy!

Tuckshop Sun 18-Aug-13 22:54:13

The op does start with "what do you do about bedtimes". I took it too that she was being asked to go to bed.

allnewtaketwo Sun 18-Aug-13 22:56:45

I took it to mean the OP's bedtime, particularly as the statement you quote was followed by " He's normally falling asleep by 10pm if we haven't already gone to bed."

theredhen Sun 18-Aug-13 22:57:01

If you read all my comments I did say that we didn't expect any of the kids to go to bed and to sleep. Hence why I pointed out that dsd1 has a laptop, smartphone, books, stereo etc in her room.

brdgrl Sun 18-Aug-13 23:01:57

Yes, but when you read the entire post, as well as the subsequent discussions, it is quite clear what she's talking about. Even in the OP, she talks about the repeated and declined offer of a TV...

But honestly, I don't think it would make any difference to some of the posters here if she had begun by saying that it was 2 AM (instead of 9:30) and she was asking the DSD to move into the well-appointed flat with jacuzzi that they'd rented for DSD next door. There seems to be an attitude that the DSD can't be asked to leave a room, period.

Some of this is conceivably down to a difference in parenting and ideas about the roles of teens living at home. Some is quite obviously about that little "S" in DSD.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 23:04:41

As I read it, the question as to whether to 'send her to her room' has come about because, unlike the other abnormal teens in the house, the DSD in question has chosen to disrespect and ignore her Dads reasonable request:

Dp has said he doesn't know what to do. He has explained to her that we like to have a bit of time to ourselves before we go to bed

The consequence of her failing to respect this reasonable request as a mature teen is that she is treated like a younger DC and 'sent to her room'. If she behaved like a 17 year old, then she'd be treated like one smile

Tuckshop Sun 18-Aug-13 23:20:42

For me a request for a bit of privacy, or use of a communal room for a specific reason is absolutely fine. But this is a blanket rule for every time she is there, not allowed in that room past 9.30. I would be pissed off if I were her too.

It does seem that this is something that divides people. There are those of us who think it very strange to be asking her to go elsewhere, and those who think it's acceptable. I just can't imagine making an issue of this - I'd just go to bed with my man, and leave her to the tv!

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 18-Aug-13 23:30:58

oh this is ridiculous.

OP if you and dh are normally in bed by ten then going up to your room at 9.30 to talk really isn't a massive change to your routine.

"So clearly it appears the DSD is actively preventing her father and redhen from having privacy."

she hasn't prevented them having time to themselves- they have prevented it by digging their heels in and refusing to take that time in another room. if DSD is using the living room then cant they go to the kitchen to talk or to their room?

" The fact that she only turns up at these times in the room tells me she has no issue otherwise with spending time in her own room, and therefore that this is deliberate. "

if that is the case, surely the best way to prevent her achieving her aim is to take their private time where she cant go, that way they get their time alone and she doesn't get the satisfaction of having disrupted it.

"Personally I think he should try and encourage her to sit with us earlier in the evening and then send her off to her room (where she has laptop, phone, books etc) at 9.30 ish like the others."

^this from the OP. It's not the only time OP has said she expects DSD not only to leave the living room but to actually go to her room.

"I know it's very early for some teens but dp and I can't lie in til 11am like they can."

^also from the OP. this actually doesn't make sense. if DSD can lie til 11 and you two need to be up by 6am then it makes more sense that you two go to your room earlier and she is allowed to stay down later.

i'll be honest- this comes across as a case of the 'adults' throwing their weight about for no other reason than you think you should be obeyed.

there are options here but you don't seem interested in them if it means you conceding to DSD in anyway. I think you're missing a trick by the way if she is out to get between you two. if that's her aim then you can get round that very easily by being in a room she cant go in.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 18-Aug-13 23:33:33

I suppose it depends what the real issue is for you OP. is it that you and DP aren't getting your private time together or is it that DSD isn't doing what you tell her?

brdgrl Sun 18-Aug-13 23:34:30

It's very much a 'pick your battles' point, I suppose.
Privacy is really one of the things I feel most deeply about, personally, so I'm far more likely to have a consistent and clear position on those sort of issues than on others.

Too, I suppose that if there are wider issues in a home about boundaries and on-going problems with privacy or with a child who continually pushes at the household norms, then it becomes more important to address these things and not ignore them, and sometimes placating a child who is pushing at boundaries is a really inadvisable course of action.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 18-Aug-13 23:36:53

you can get round that very easily by being in a room she cant go in.

So it's OK for the OP and her DP to prevent DSD from going into their bedroom?
What's the difference?

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 18-Aug-13 23:39:16

china it isn't a communal room in the house.

in my house we all knock and ask before going in another person's bedroom. not so with living room or kitchen. there is a clear distinction between bedrooms and communal rooms.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 18-Aug-13 23:40:52

btw i'm not advising to placate her. i'm saying take your private time where she cant disrupt it. this might piss her off or she might be happy to have the living room to herself, or she might get bored and actually decide she does want to be in her room- but either way OP and DH get their time alone. again, that's if getting time alone is the issue that we're talking about.

brdgrl Mon 19-Aug-13 00:06:51

Well, adults do get to make rules and be obeyed, and children do have to suck it up. That's not as ridiculous a notion as some would have us believe.

But even if we ignore that.

OK. Let's pretend for a moment that it is reasonable in principle for the parents to be the ones to vacate a room in their own house, for a child.

I have to question the logic of the adults going of to their own bedroom, leaving the teen to occupy the so-called 'communal' space.

This issue isn't confined just to the parents themselves, either, but to any time the adult wants to send the kid out, presumably. For instance - have a very dear male friend who drops by about once a week to have a cup of tea and a chat. I'm not going to take him up to my bedroom to talk - not because I am a prude and he's a bloke, but because it is not comfortable (DH and I have the smallest bedroom, apart from toddler DDs, and it has nowhere to sit but the bed); because I don't know if his partner would find it odd or bothersome; because sometimes my DH is already asleep or wishes to use the room himself.

Could we sit in the hallway or poky kitchen? No thanks. The stereo - my stereo - is in the front room, and we'd prefer to sit and listen to music in soft chairs - and why shouldn't we? The front room is prioritised in our house for socializing. If the socialising is between myself and my DH, that's no different. And when the kids want to have their turn to socialise in there, they ask, and they get. What they don't get is to obstruct others from enjoying the space in the same way they have opportunities for, themselves.

if that's her aim then you can get round that very easily by being in a room she cant go in.
It's not really all that good an idea to let unreasonable situations develop and worsen by refusing to actually address them. Yes, the OP could spend all her time in her bedroom, where the DSD can't go in (although I am quite sure I have read posts on here before saying that a stepmum can't declare her and her DH's bedroom off limits either!) - but any reasonable person can understand why that is an absolute absurdity.

brdgrl Mon 19-Aug-13 00:17:37

in my house we all knock and ask before going in another person's bedroom. not so with living room or kitchen. there is a clear distinction between bedrooms and communal rooms.

But if you walk into a 'communal' room, and you can see that someone is 1)watching a film - or 2) that you have just walked in on a private conversation - or 3)the space is being obviously used by another family member and a guest - what do you do, in your house?

Here's what I'd expect in mine -
1) Quick evaluation of level of interest in film - if high, a whispered "hello, what are you watching?" and - if no invitation to stay, a quiet withdrawal. If low, take seat, but no changing channel or nicking seats.
2) "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt. Can you let me know when you guys are done?" and - withdrawal.
3) "Hello, guest." If adult is the one who's walked in, probably followed by "can I get you guys anything?", and then a withdrawal. If teen is the one who has walked in, perhaps a few minutes of charming small talk, and then a withdrawal.

'Communal' in our house doesn't mean that there is no respect for others using the space. I think we are all happier with that!

allnewtaketwo Mon 19-Aug-13 06:51:48

"china it isn't a communal room in the house"

Can I just say at this point that I got absolutely slated by a number of posters on a thread of mine, by suggesting that I was going to prevent DSS from coming into my bedroom after I found him playfighting in there. So seemingly even an adults bedroom is communal when there is a step child involved

Anormalfamily Mon 19-Aug-13 07:13:09

Brdgrl, re your list, here's what happens in our house:

1) dss 12 "what are you watching?" Doesn't wait to be invited, sits down, sometimes between us. Then I have to say, "it's an adult film, sorry (my only strategy to get adult time). Dss leaves in a huff (despite having had lots of 1 on 1 time with dh during the day, just doesn't want it to end despite living here 50:50. That is simply rude and denying the adults their private time.
2) ds 15 "can you let me know when you guys are done?" Will occasionally watch stuff with us, during "communal hours" but I tell him when its going to be just dh and me. When he has friends over we talk about the adult "slot" and there is never any backchat, huffiness, its simply accepted., along the lines of "who wants to spend extra time with oldies?"
3) happy that ds is now naturally inclined to say hi and make a bit of small talk with guest, if dh doesn't encourage that much good will and manners in his dc that's his business.

Thankfully dsd 16 is now mature enough to understand private time, even though we gave her loads when her boyfriends visited her norm was to ignore us/film and text sullenly in her armchair/ spread herself over only couch and dh would ask her if its alright with her that we now also want to watch a film, cringe cringe.

Let me just point out from my first reply a few days ago, dh and I attend couple counseling (being a Disney dad one of our issues) and we've been praised for creating this space for us, drawing a boundary between adults and children and getting some visible results, I.e. kids withdraw (not forgetting that during holiday time kids come back down to TV room for hours once we've left for bed!).

Tuckshop Mon 19-Aug-13 07:24:35

But this thread is about helping theredhen with HER situation. We can all talk about the very different house rules that we all have and what we feel about them and never agree as they are so different.

I think stephenfry puts it well in her post of 23.33.

Anormalfamily Mon 19-Aug-13 08:08:46

I agree tuckshop, its just that I think it comes down to manners, respect and/or lack of it. And when I compare my redhens situation to mine I see certain similarities, I.e. sullen teen being passive aggressive and waiting to be shown clear boundaries.
I'm sure we all do what we think is best for everybody in our diverse homes, and Redhen has a hunch that dsd is simply being a pain and I agree with this estimate
Of course its easier dealing with own dc because the normal give and take situation is easier to navigate and we can tell them off when we feel they are taking advantage. More difficult with dsc and so I'd like dh to deal with them. Trouble in our home is that Disney parenting had them confused and they are only now getting used to the idea of not being dh bffs and we are as "entitled" to our time as they are to their time with dh/ friends/etc.

Tuckshop Mon 19-Aug-13 08:22:14

I did find in my situation that the more I worked on making dsd feel wanted here and important to me, the more she seemed to encourage my bf and I to spend time alone. And she went from sometimes sulkily agreeing to babysit to practically demanding that we went out! I think my bf's (not her Dad) willingness to make her feel wanted helped greatly too.

Like I said before though my situation is unusual and not quite the same, but I do feel I had a similarish issue.

ExcuseTypos Mon 19-Aug-13 08:30:22

I agree stephenFry's post puts it very well.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 19-Aug-13 08:42:52

I suppose it depends what the real issue is for you OP. is it that you and DP aren't getting your private time together or is it that DSD isn't doing what you tell her?

I'm not sure it matters which it is - does it?

If the DC is disrespectful, and refusing to 'do as she is told' (after being given the same opportunity to voluntarily give the OP space like her siblings have) them surely that is just as significant an issue for the OP and her DP as not having personal time together?

When teens get close to adulthood but remain living in the parental home, there seem to be two approaches - give them equal status which often leads to the adult home owners/bill payers compromising significantly on the quality of their life in their own home, or maintain boundaries and give the teens a choice as to whether they live within them or move out.

theredhen Mon 19-Aug-13 08:55:55

Interestingly when I posted on here a while ago about whether dsd1 should pay "keep" next year when she starts work, the majority if replies were "no" because she's not with us full time (although of course, she's not with mum full time either). 1/3 2/3 split currently.

So it seems that a non resident stepchild should not pay keep but should have the privileges of an adult in the home. Of course resident step children (albeit not full time) should have to pay keep but can have the privileges.

Interesting smile

Petal02 Mon 19-Aug-13 11:55:18

So a non resident step child should get the perks but not have to bother with the responsibilities of being a young adult .....

theredhen Mon 19-Aug-13 17:48:38

Petal, exactly that.

I wonder sometimes if we should treat step children as "guests" ie no rules to worry about, chores, contributing to family life whilst simultaneously allowing them all the benefits of family life such as holidays, buying of treats, helping with homework, giving lifts etc

Does that really make for well rounded individuals?

Petal02 Mon 19-Aug-13 18:28:56

Rather like DSS18 who is "entitled" to a key to our house, but is spared the expectation of behaving responsibly with it.

He can pick and choose which elements of adult hood he wishes to engage with.

theredhen Mon 19-Aug-13 18:51:25

Yes I'm sure there are many resident children who don't have keys because they're hopeless at not losing them.

Step children are required by some unwritten law to have a key whether they look after it or not. wink

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 19-Aug-13 20:43:09

I'm not so sure this is exclusively a step issue - I think that some of the posters who are championing the cause of teen DSC on these boards expect parents to be equally liberal towards their own DC's - there have been some very bizzare threads recently about the rights of teen DC's and how it is unfair to place adult responsiblities on their sholuders while they are enjoying the liberties of being a teenager!

There are undoubtedly those posters who go into bat for the step-child against the step-mum in all situations, but there are also those who support "oppressed" teens, no matter who is doing the oppressing!

Kaluki Mon 19-Aug-13 21:01:15

Only on the step parenting board would an adult be advised to leave a room and go to their own room rather than tell the child to give them some privacy!!!
Crazy!!
My own dc have just been evicted from the living room and are watching a film upstairs! When we have all four kids here the same rules apply because we are the adults and we pay the bills!!!

Tuckshop Mon 19-Aug-13 21:17:15

No, I'd say the same on any thread. This isn't a step issue. I'd have the same opinion about my own dd as I've expressed here. And I consider and treat dsd as mine anyway.

Theredhen you asked for opinions from those with teen step children about bedtimes and privacy issues. You've been given them. If you don't agree with some and it's crystallised for you that you want to insist you have that room to yourself every night after 9.30 then just do it.

ExcuseTypos Mon 19-Aug-13 21:52:17

Same here TuckShop, this isn't a step issue, it's a parental issue. I would never ask my 2 older teenagers to leave the family space and go to their rooms that early.

But we always see bedrooms as spaces to sleep and relax. My DDs have never had laptops or Tvs in their rooms and neither have we. I suppose it's different strokes for different folks.

allnewtaketwo Mon 19-Aug-13 21:58:43

I think one key element people are not taking into account is that there are 5 children and the DP is working extremely long hours. It is not at all healthy for an adult relationship where the only time alone together is in bed.

needaholidaynow Mon 19-Aug-13 22:18:08

Good god, at the age of 17/18 I used to actively avoid my mum and stepdad in the evenings and go off to my room. Same with my dad and stepmum when they got together when I was 19.

I couldn't be doing with a single one of them to be honest. I wanted my own space. And i felt like a total gooseberry when i was around my dad and his girlfriend. Luckily I moved out at the age of 20!

Kaluki Mon 19-Aug-13 23:28:35

Exactly! I never came out of my room as a teenager!
My kids clear the room as soon as coronation street comes ongrin and I dont see them again until I go up and kiss them goodnight!!

brdgrl Tue 20-Aug-13 00:17:11

This isn't a step issue.

That seems inconsistent with your own and other posts on the thread.

I completely agree that it should not be a 'step issue'. And some posters (on both sides of the issue) have made it very clear that they don't see it as one.

I'm very clear in my mind that this is my expectation of all children, not just my DSCs. But equally - and some other stepmums have already pointed this out - the 'step' aspect does mean that it is a trickier thing to address.

And it is abundantly clear that for some people, it is because the DSD is a stepchild, that they are forming their responses in the way that they have - and in some cases, they are jumping to a lot of assumptions about the motives of the 'make 'em go' stepmums, and/or suggesting different rules be applied to stepchildren, in the process.

look at these replies, which range from making reasonable points to just being plain unpleasant, and then conclude that the 'stepness' is not being made the issue:

i'm also well aware of your opinion on where stepdcs belong in the house.

It actually smacks of the OP being a bit weird and controlling and jealous of the poor girl. Nasty.

Perhaps she just likes the company.....however sounds more like she is being territorial about her df!

I think that perhaps the difference is the fact that they are DSCs and access is very unnatural at that age because they are suddenly visitors in an area where they don't know anyone and they also have a step parent who hasn't had them since babies and had their needs evolve over the years.

I think it becomes more complicated with a step family though. I think there can be all sorts of feelings and beliefs flying around that can impact on things like what to you would be a simple request to have some time alone. I know my own dsd didn't believe that I actually wanted her here for a while. She looked for all the evidence that might support that.

Maybe she gets the impression that she isn't wanted ( which is the truth), maybe she is just trying to annoy her dad, maybe she's devastated that her mum and dad have split?

I did find in my situation that the more I worked on making dsd feel wanted here and important to me, the more she seemed to encourage my bf and I to spend time alone.

needaholidaynow Tue 20-Aug-13 00:55:29

Oh for goodness sake, after reading brdgrl's post above ^, I just despair at the bold writing t the bottom.

This isn't a step issue!!!

allnewtaketwo Tue 20-Aug-13 06:12:57

Agreed brdgrl, the 'step issue' was littered throughout the thread

bellabom Tue 20-Aug-13 20:50:29

We just hope DSD won't come down if we want some adult time. If she does come down we eye-roll at each other (out of sight!) and either put up with it, or we go upstairs. I don't see it as a massive deal. If I did, I might try something else.

Luckily my DD is in bed by then and doesn't know that DSD gets away with this because when she is a teen I will have no issue with sending her away if we want some adult time. One rule for one, another for the other. Just one of the million.

Tuckshop Wed 21-Aug-13 12:43:34

I was responding to Kaluki's post "Only on the step parenting board would an adult be advised to leave a room and go to their own room rather than tell the child to give them some privacy!!!"

I don't feel that it is something that would only be said on here and I don't think the basic issue is a step issue - it's about house rules/boundaries and when it's reasonable to enforce them with an older teen. Theredhen could be talking about her own dd. She doesn't want anyone in that room after 9.30, so it's not about her dsd it's about having privacy. If she were saying it's only an issue because it's her dsd doing it, that would be different and that I would see as a step issue.

The way the discussion evolved meant that all sorts of other things came into it, but to me the underlying issue is that of privacy and house rules.

Kaluki Wed 21-Aug-13 13:25:21

On any other thread it would be a no brainer - you don't want the teenager in the room you tell them to leave.
But when it's a step child posters automatically assume you are a wsm who wants the child out of the picture!!!

ExcuseTypos Wed 21-Aug-13 14:14:21

That's just rubbish Kaluli.

As many posters have pointed out, they find telling a 17 year old to go to their room at 9.30 each evening, an unreasonable request.
It has NOTHING to do with whether those dc are step or otherwise.

Petal02 Wed 21-Aug-13 14:48:27

I agree with Kaluki. It's fine to tell a bio child you want some privacy, but if it's a step child then think again ......

exoticfruits Wed 21-Aug-13 14:49:57

It isn't anything to do with step children or not. The fact is that as your DCs get older they don't conveniently go off to bed and leave your evenings free. They are up and around- often going to bed later the you.
Different families have different ways of dealing with it. I personally wouldn't tell a 17 yr old to go to their room at 9.30- but that is just me.

Tuckshop Wed 21-Aug-13 14:52:22

I agree. My opinion is nothing to do with whether it's a step child or not.

ExcuseTypos Wed 21-Aug-13 15:28:25

Petal so do you think every person who has said 'no OP, that's not reasonable to expect any 17 year old to do each evening' is actually lying?

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 21-Aug-13 16:01:10

It's odd and un eaonable to send a 17 year old to their room at 9.30 every night. t's even odder to send one that you don't see as much of, and is visiting. Reading this more, I do have to wonder about the OP's reasons for acting in such a bizarre manner.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 21-Aug-13 16:29:15

It's odd and un eaonable to send a 17 year old to their room at 9.30 every night

That is your opinion, but it is not a fact and not shared by all parents.

As for the DSC being a visitor - you don't spend much time on the step- board do you?
Considering stepDCs to be visitors is the fitst, and possibly biggest, sin that a stepparent can commit. It is very bad form, apparently, to consider your DSC to be visitors in their parents home!

ExcuseTypos Wed 21-Aug-13 16:38:37

"That is your opinion, but it is not a fact and not shared by all parents"

Well it's the point of the thread- to gain opinion. The vast majority have said they wouldn't or haven't ever insisted an older teen is asked to go to their room at 9.30, every evening.

And that's ALL older teens, regardless of who their parents are.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 21-Aug-13 16:38:51

I totally accept your 'visitor' point, China - I apologise for wording it badly. What I actually meant is a child who isn't there all the time, and further limiting the time spent with them. Also, I would think that would make them feel unwelcome. It certainly seems like they are an inconvenience to the OP.

PMSL at expecting DD 17 to go to her room at 9:30pm. Or DS (16). If DH and I are downstairs and they are home they will come in at yak at us all night smile
That's why I have my very own sky box in our bedroom.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 21-Aug-13 17:08:09

The fact is that as your DCs get older they don't conveniently go off to bed and leave your evenings free. They are up and around- often going to bed later the you.

See, I don't ever remember doing that in my parents home; I would always make my way to my room before they shut/locked up the house, and if I was out and came home after they had gone to bed, I crept around and made my way to my room with the minimum of noise/disruption.

Is this not "the norm" then? Can I not reasonably expect this of my own DD as she gets older?

bellabom Wed 21-Aug-13 17:36:07

I think it's fairly normal. Some nights there might be random chattiness and I imagine that parents seize the rare opportunity to talk with their teen but I don't think it's normal for a teen to want to hang out from 9.30pm every night. Although clearly some do.

Thinking a little further, maybe this one wants the lounge to herself and so comes down at 9.30 and waits for OP to go to bed.

Certainly when my dsd has friends over they will invariably come down at 9ish and flop all over the lounge making it clear that it's "their" time wink

That not too often though and like I say, we either put up with it or go upstairs.

What comes across is the frustration we all feel that we as step parents should treat the kids as though they are in their home, not visitors, and exactly as we would our own children. But in the same breath that because they aren't there full time, they should be treated differently. It's an obvious statement that in these cases we just need to apply judgement, but that's not always easy to do "right".

It's bizarre. I am home when DC get in of an afternoon. I'm all " so DC, how was your day? Did you get your test results back? What fat laden monstrosity did you inhale at lunch?" ( you know the sort of thing)
I get " urgh, hmm, dunno, etc)
Come 9pm they will hunt us down and talk at us all night unless you escape.
For the love of Andrew McCarthy, why????

brdgrl Wed 21-Aug-13 17:59:56

The vast majority have said they wouldn't or haven't ever insisted an older teen is asked to go to their room at 9.30, every evening.

Well. 8 posters have said they'd ask the kids to go. 12 have said they would not. 2 didn't answer. 2 said they'd do it sometimes. So, taking away the 2 who did not answer, we have 12 posters saying they would not do it, and 10 saying that they would, at least sometimes.

Vast majority? Not so much.

You SADDO brd gringringringringrin

Petal02 Wed 21-Aug-13 18:10:23

I do agree with Bellabom's comment, that the presence of non-resident children in the home seems to create all manner of contradictions in regards to what's best.

Treat them like bio children, and somehow you're showing insufficient reverence, but treating them like 'special visitors' makes for a very artificial situation. You can't win!

ExcuseTypos Wed 21-Aug-13 18:16:35

Agree Katie, it's always after 9ish that teenagers get chatty- it's when they wake up I think, they are definitely on a different time scale to us oldies.

brdgrl Wed 21-Aug-13 18:21:15

My dad was a political scientist. He'd never forgive me if I let a bogus statistical claim go unquestioned! smile

exoticfruits Wed 21-Aug-13 18:29:50

Maybe it is how you were brought up- ChinaCups says she always went up before her parents- I was the opposite and was often the last up. Therefore I was the same with my teens- I made sure they knew what they had to switch off and that they didn't' close doors noisily etc.

I love you brd grin

Kaluki Wed 21-Aug-13 20:26:54

Brdgrl you are a legend smile
Respect!!!

Petal02 Wed 21-Aug-13 20:47:43

I'm with Team Brdgrl smile

brdgrl Wed 21-Aug-13 21:31:10

(hides face in shame)
thanks. smile

Emptychairs Thu 22-Aug-13 08:17:10

There was an interesting phenomenon in our house.
When dsd was still struggling with the new set up (then 12) she would hog couch/TV at ALL TIMES she stayed with us. It was a statement. When dh and I wanted to watch a DVD he'd ask her permission (?!?!) and she'd sullenly gracefully relent, but not budge an inch. I let them at this for a while, interfering only when she didn't let other kids watch/ play Xbox either.
4 years on its suddenly like nothing ever happened, she is considerate, will chat to us and totally respect our bit of adult time, needing to relax an hour or so on the sofa too. There are times we will watch something together, but it has become more natural, nothing forced, nothing superficial. And she's happy to be one of the kids, resident or not, but totally at home. Need to stake claims has disappeared, she will share upstairs "playroom", I.e. pcs, TV/ DVD with all kids present (ds15 and dss12) and when we've gone to bed they all tend to gravitate downstairs anyway in search of food...

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