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Teenage stepsons in our bedroom

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

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

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

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

jld61 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:23:34

And yes... I am ranting :-( sorry lol.

jld61 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:15:26

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.

jld61 Mon 15-Oct-12 13:57:20

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.... ?

Petal02 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:50:46

I second that!!!

allnewtaketwo Wed 10-Oct-12 13:26:30

the voice of reason madeineashton!

madelineashton Wed 10-Oct-12 13:17:45

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.

Lookingatclouds Wed 10-Oct-12 12:37:10

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.

IceBergJam Wed 10-Oct-12 12:33:27

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.

allnewtaketwo Wed 10-Oct-12 12:23:18

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

Lookingatclouds Wed 10-Oct-12 12:06:17

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?

madelineashton Wed 10-Oct-12 11:55:38

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.

madelineashton Wed 10-Oct-12 11:52:00

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.

allnewtaketwo Wed 10-Oct-12 11:29:52

I am not going to open up my bed to teenage boys to romp around just because their mother is a control freak.

Lookingatclouds Wed 10-Oct-12 11:04:36

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?

madelineashton Wed 10-Oct-12 10:28:13

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 hmm

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.

allnewtaketwo Wed 10-Oct-12 09:51:11

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

wordfactory Wed 10-Oct-12 09:46:31

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.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 10-Oct-12 09:20:14

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 smile

Numberlock Wed 10-Oct-12 09:15:34

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.

allnewtaketwo Wed 10-Oct-12 07:22:50

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.

brdgrl Tue 09-Oct-12 22:09:20

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.

onceortwice Tue 09-Oct-12 21:03:07

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.

IceBergJam Tue 09-Oct-12 20:08:00

I never understood this MN fashion of attributing ever problem a child has (within a stepfamily) to being a stepchild either.

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Oct-12 19:56:57

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.

SheppySheepdog Tue 09-Oct-12 19:25:22

That sounded quite critical and I absolutely didn't mean it that way. sad

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