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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.


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...

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

(hides face in shame)
thanks. smile

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

I'm with Team Brdgrl smile

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

Brdgrl you are a legend smile

KatieScarlett2833 Wed 21-Aug-13 19:16:05

I love you brd grin

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.

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

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.

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!

KatieScarlett2833 Wed 21-Aug-13 18:04:38

You SADDO brd gringringringringrin

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.

KatieScarlett2833 Wed 21-Aug-13 17:40:35

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????

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".

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?

KatieScarlett2833 Wed 21-Aug-13 16:42:31

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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.

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 ......

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.

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!!!

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