Adult Step-Son Grates On Me!!(194 Posts)
My name is Roger, I am 41.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thread.
I'm new here and basically looking for some advice, words of wisdom if you will.
I've been living with my partner now for 16 years and married for 5 years. When I met my partner, she already had kids, boy of 9 and a girl of 6. We've had a great life together, though as the step-son got older, he got lazier and more difficult to deal with. Now, like most lids who leave school, they look to further education, maybe job hunting, driving lessons etc.... Not the step-son, he flatly refused to do any of these, simply because in his words, they are "POINTLESS!".
This went on for 2 years, just sitting around the house playing computer games and watching TV, spending all his days in the house. Don't get me wrong, me and my partner never just sat there and put up with it, I've lost count on how many times I banned the internet during the day, removed fuses from the TV in the hope it would make a difference... Well! It never did. He did eventually sign on at Jobseekers, but nothing came of it.
At 19, he moved up to Leeds with his girlfriend as she was attending University there, so he went with her with the prospect of College. "AT LAST!!" things where looking promising, but it didn't last long. After about 2 years of College, he was kicked out because of bad attendance. He developed a touch of IBS, which is manageable if he eats and drinks the right stuff, but NO! He ignores the issue and carries on regardless. He then spent the next 4 years in his flat in Leeds, playing computer games, watching TV, eating junk and making himself worse. The doctor told him he needed to lose weight and exercise more... but guess what? he did nothing with the advice he was given.
8 months ago, step-son now 25yo, he moved back into our house after splitting up with his girlfriend and we are going through the same routine YET again. He has no job and no income. If he isn't sitting in his room on the Playstation, he is watching TV downstairs. I warned my partner that nothing will change, but she doesn't seem to be on my side this time round... she makes his tea, does his washing, basically treats him like a child. I tell her she is just enabling his ways.
Just the thought of him lying there in bed when I'm up at 7 getting ready for work grates on me and every night I come home from work he's either sat there with his feet up or in his room playing games. I'm not sure how much more of him I can take. I've worked hard all my life, whilst at 25 he doesn't know what a days work is.
I'm very conscious now that my thread is going on a bit, so thanks if you got this far.
Any advice would be appreciated.
I agree with you that she's enabling him and it would drive me potty to go out to work while another adult leached off me and sat in the warm playing video games.
You need to get your wife on side though. What does she say when you ask how long he's planning to stay and what the plan is for him moving out?
That would drive me batshit. But on here everyone will just say, aw, poor lad, he's depressed.
Unless your wife stops treating him like a child he will not stop acting like one. why should he grow up, get a job and clean up after himself if someone is willing to do everything for him
Well I came here hoping for some adult conversation, so a bit surprised by a couple of comments already.
Agreed! These are the type of conversations I have with her. I understand she is the Mum and Mums will always look after there kids, but at 25yo, I think there is a limit to what you should be doing for them.
you need to sit down and have a conversation with your wife about what sort of life she would like her son to have.
My son is only 15 but I know know that i want him to have a fulfilling life with travel, education, adventures, a family of his own etc. Ask her how she thinks the two of you can help him achieve this.
he needs to making a financial contribution to the household for a start.
when he younger and he 'refused ' to do things-what was your reaction? did you allow him to refuse?
i do think the time for action was probably 10 years ago
I've had that conversation so many times with her.. she just says we can't force him if he doesn't want to. Now regards our reaction to him not doing stuff, was basically taking away his computer, turning off the internet, giving him boring chores...
i'm trying to get my head round it
he's 25! i was married, living hundreds of miles from my parents and working at 25.
i can't imagine living with my parents, being financially supported by them and just staying at home at that age.
would your wife support you in giving him an ulimatum? it's your home too-you can't just have a non contributing adult living with you forever!
I think it will be a big step for him to go into full time anything right now. I don't want to be fluffy about it but he is showing signs of depression, if not that then certainly low confidence.
So small positive steps - e.g. voluntary work? he can go and play computer games with kids in a youth club if he wants! Anything he has interest in.
Perhaps even a trip to the GP to explain about his lack lustre approach to life?
Does he see his friends?
Couch to 5K?
Tasks around the house to 'earn' some money (that will grate I know)
Setting up his own little business - selling stuff on ebay? Fixing computers? Whatever.
Anything you can think of that might rouse some interest will be a step forward. And will then allow more in depth conversations about 'proper' work and college, but I'm afraid I'm very sure the "just get a job approach" won't work right now.
It would if he had no Hotel of Mum and Dad to doss in.
Thanks for your input. I agree there is lack of self confidence involved, he doesn't even talk about what he wants to do. I understand it wont happen over night, but he just wont make any tiny steps at all, annoying thing though is he certainly would make the effort to visit his local game shop when he receives birthday money... but that's another story!
What annoys me, is that he's had years to sort himself out but makes no effort what so ever. The longer this situation goes on, the worse and harder it will get for him I feel.
Op does he have any redeeming features, any strengths that you could see him building on?
What would you like to see happen?
I would like to see him make more of an effort. I've mentioned voluntary work to him, just to get him out of the house during the day, but he just won't do it. He loves computers and gadgets and there are plenty of college courses he could attend during the week, but again he just won't sort it.
Most of my frustration comes from him not making any effort to improve his lifestyle and health and the lack of help around the house. As I mentioned, he has IBS which the doctors have said can easily be managed, as long as he eats and drinks the right stuff, but he isn't managing it at all. We have a dog and we've asked him to take her for a walk during the week, again just to get him out of the house, but he flatly refuses because he doesn't want to pick up her mess, if you know what I mean. I could go on for-ever....
The confidence thing and not doing anything are inextricably linked.
He's not stupid and knows he's 'a waste of space' being a 25 year old with no job and living with mum and dad.
Helping him work on his worth, what he's good at, how he can have a purpose is the only thing (other than trying to impress a lady) that will work.
I don't agree if you withdraw hotel of mum and dad he will necessarily magically transform. More likely bedsit and benefits.
Also, if he's claiming JSA, aren't the jobcentre all over him??
He should be doing 10-20 apps a week for example?
Agreed, he's not stupid, he doesn't act it at all. But like you said, he must be aware of his situation, being 25 and living with Mum and Dad and not making an effort to improve? As soon as you start talking about 'real life' if you like, that's when his mood will change.
I personally feel that as long as his Mum keeps enabling him, he will just accept it, but I just cant sit around and watch this happen.
It's tough and I understand your frustration. I have a teenage son, younger than yours obvs, and getting him to do things he doesn't want to do is hard.
I guess I rely on my good relationship with him which enables me to have frank discussions where he knows that I have his interests at heart and that he has to show me respect too by meeting me half way on things.
I use a mixture of carrot and stick if you like. I praise him up but also let him feel the heat sometimes eg if I've asked him endlessly to bring his washing down and he hasn't done it then then later in the week his favourite shirt isn't washed and ready to wear. When you're 17 that's a big deal. He brings his washing down now
My observations would be that you do seem rather focused on the negative and his failings. I can understand why but it's not going to get you any where. Also you and your wife need to be on the same square to have any chance of success in moving forward with this. And I would allow him to feel some of the consequences of his inertia.
Lastly, I may well be accused of being a big softy pushover, but have you considered the possibility that he might be depressed? It's common in young men and may be worth checking out either the gp.
Empathy is not enabling by the way
The fact you say he closes up everytime you try and talk to him about it speaks volumes.
He feels really shit and ashamed about it.
He isn't claiming JSA... that's another story!
You do know he knows that you think he's a waster don't you?
If you are ok with that, coolio.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.