OH's children: I am not sure how much more I can take(61 Posts)
OH has two teenage boys, 15 and 18. I do not have children. I am having real trouble coping with their behaviour and desperately want to find a way through this.
I'll just list what they do and try to be as objective about it as possible to give a clear picture of what happens. They constantly complain and are rude to their DF and me. They don't eat what I prepare, turn up late and don't tell us they are not coming, then raid the cupboards for pot noodles. They won't try anything new that they haven't had before, even if it's potatoes done differently. Their moods change within minutes and they walk into rooms and snap at us. The 15 year old calls me all sorts of names (fat, brainless, stupid, idiot etc) under the guise of humour, but after a while and having it every day, the humour has gone for me. They complain we don't involve them in what we do, but they have never accepted any invite to join us in anything we do, from going round the shops in the city, days out, sport, nothing. We ask them what they would like to do and they say nothing interests them. If we see something on TV or something comes up in conversation, we try and bring them in, they scoff and say they're not interested and walk out. The other evening we were remembering something funny that used to be on TV a few years ago, we brought it up on youtube and called over the 15 year old to have a look too, he walked off and said "I'm not interested in your old rubbish".
If I ask how their day as been, they mumble. If they hear my DP and I discussing a topic, say something on the news, and I offer an opinion or speak from experience, they always try to undermine me and argue against me in a horrible way. For example, I have migraines and had one the other evening and my DP and I were discussing it, he was taking care of me. The sons rolled their eyes and asked what's wrong with me, so I told them, they rolled their eyes again and so I said "just like you, when you get migraines" (the 15 year old does). He said "I don't find them a big deal like you". Which is amusing since he has whole days in bed off school through his migraines and complains of severe pain when he does.
I have tried so hard. I get on great with children and looked forward to getting to know them when I met my DP. This has been such a disappointment, but I have tried to park it and see it for what it is, and make the best of it. But it's every day and it's grinding me down. They bring no delight to me and I now almost cower at the thought of them staying here or coming round.
Of course my DP is upset at what they do, has had soft words of encouragement, harsh words of telling them off for their stinking attitude. They just argue back and sometimes they might get better for a day, but in a flash it all changes and they're back to being rude. They have said they don't think they are being rude and they don't have to like what we like. Of course, we're not saying they have to like what we like, but they have no interest in anything at all except looking at their phones. There is no conversation, no interest in the world around them, no curiosity about anything, just personal insults, moods, arguments and they butt into discussions that are about, let's say music, that isn't what they like and criticise us and it non-stop.
I can't bear it any more.
Normal teenager boy behaviour - it will get better.
Normal? I have known many teenagers and have lived with the teenage boys of a previous partner, they were nothing like this.
I wouldn't take it. Especially from an 18 year old who sounds like an immature brat!
You sound too nice OP. It's time to stand your ground and tell them if they carry on treating and talking to you like sh!t then they are not welcome anymore!
Your DP will have to meet them elsewhere if they are regularly meeting up together. You deserve better than that!
I know it is only "boy" behaviour but it is downright nasty.
I have a 17 yo and a 14 yo. It would be a cold day in hell before I'd be putting up with any of that behaviour. That is nowhere near normal
Their dad needs to be getting a bit tougher on them and making it clear that rude and disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated.
It is not normal boy behaviour.
That is insulting to boys.
Your OH should tell them he will see them on neutral territory until they can behave in your home.
DP has gone to very tough lengths about their behaviour, and told them they are not welcome here and so on if it continues, and has carried through on this. We have done so much the only next step is banishing them permanently which is something we don't want to do.
If they do what they have done before, and there have been some major things which I have not mentioned here, I know they will be out for good.
But in the meantime, it's this constant, lower-level rudeness that is doing my head in. My own feelings too, I just can't stand them any more and I worry about our future as they grow up, with family gatherings and I can't bear to be around them.
So we've done the neutral territory thing. Which was liberating for me, wonderful even in the absence of their bullying, but painful for my DP and the boys didn't like it (good). Now we're rebuilding again and bringing them back in again, but it's this sort of behaviour now.
Then you have to keep going back to the neutral territory arrangement until the behaviour improves.
Every time they slip back, it is back to neutral territory.
Well, I think it is within the bounds of normal teenage boy behaviour (given that teenage boys can be pretty charmless creatures when they want to be, I have two of them) but that doesn't make it acceptable. It's in fact normal badly parented teenage boy behaviour. They are capable of behaving better.
Your dp needs to grow a spine and discipline them, especially the younger one with his "jokey" downright insulting remarks about you. That's not on and nobody should have to put up with it. My 15yo's feet wouldn't touch the ground if he spoke to me like that and I wouldn't stand for him speaking to anyone else like that either.
The not being interested in anything and glued to their phones is a pretty common complaint about teenagers and has to be approached on a give and take basis - we accept that they want to spend a lot of time staring at a tiny screen, they accept that being part of a family means prising themselves away for certain times, like meals and family days out. Again, it requires firm parenting and your dh needs to be doing this.
I think it is more irritating and hard to take for you because you're a stepmum and therefore haven't had all the rewards of bringing up gorgeous little boys and bonding with them since babyhood etc, you haven't got the inbuilt drive to see good in them etc...but to be honest that can wear pretty thin for the most adoring of parents. We all have days when we look at them and think "ugh, what went wrong?"
Sorry I've rambled, but I think the solution to this is twofold: 1) DP needs to get off his arse and start cracking skulls - no way should he be letting his sons speak so disrespectfully to his DP, teenagers require active parenting just as much as toddlers (maybe more) and it's his job to do it, and 2) you need to give yourself regular breaks. You're not their mother and you don't have to put up with it 24/7 - go out more, carve out space for yourself so they don't drive you completely bonkers.
Yep, neutral territory only. They will learn nothing if they're allowed to behave that badly. I wouldn't want to be near them, either - they sound horrible.
Your DP has told them they are not welcome here if they behave like that.
You have gone to neutral territory and are now rebuilding.
I think this is where your problems start. Yes their behaviour needs sorting - the eating habits are normal teenage behaviour - lack of consideration for anyone but themselves - again is quite normal teenage behaviour.
However, only in a blended family is it acceptable to exclude the step children from the non resident parents home. Their father ( not you OP) needs to deal with this and should have done earlier than now. Now you have told them you are not welcome in what is effectively - their home aswell as yours- what sort of message does that send them.
Yes their behaviour is bad but their parent needs to sort it out - he has basically told his kids go away, my home is not your home, you and he take it priority and if you do not like it - you are not going to be welcome - what a powerful message of loathing does that send out.
Am sure they are badly behaved with their RP, but they do not get the opportunity to chuck them out. Your DP and you have shown you do not care about them by threatening them and excluding them from your home - they resent it and whilst might have toned down - they will resent their father for not helping them.
Badly handled to the point it gets to considering banishment in your words - get the feeling that is what you want.
Your DP and you have shown you do not care about them by threatening them and excluding them from your home
I really object to you saying that. They have put us through so much and our care for them and protection of the family has been at the forefront of how we have handled their disgusting behaviour. To say we do not care about them is unbelievably insulting.
I can recognise some of this behaviour with my DS not at all ( thank god) with others ie.he would dare speak like these do.
However my DS has stopped going to visit his dad because he is very bored there. He doesn't care about blending with the family doing food shopping with them or going on a day trip that is arranged to please their very young children. What he would like is his dad to do teenage things with him, going to watch him play his sport, visiting places that are fun for him etc... his dad however is not interested and just expected DS to just follow on the plans or lack of that was arranged around his new family. He ended up dreading going especially as it took him away from activities with his school friends.
My advice is that your OH is right to tackle the behaviour but he needs to spend time with them alone. At 18 anyway most stop going for regular visits.
swingofthings We've (together and separately) asked and asked what they would like to do, to the 15 and 18 year old separately and together, with us both or just with their DF, and they say they aren't interested in anything. We look up things, find out places where their friends and cousins go, but no. My DP tries to arrange time for them alone, they don't turn up, or they turn up and say they want to be somewhere else, or they say they don't want to spend the time with him alone at all. I mean it and I'm not exaggerating it when I say, they say there is nothing at all they want to see, do and nowhere they want to go. Ever.
The not letting you know if they'll be in for dinner and the cupboard raiding is pretty standard stuff , the rudeness is unacceptable though! You mustn't let them speak to you in this way , it's a disgusting attitude to display.
My teen son and preteen daughter do sometimes make cheeky jokes but that's just the way we are as a family , also I tell them if they cross the line and they apologise or have their tablets/consoles/phones taken away until they do.
How often are they there....i reckon you should just avoid them. If they are there stay in your room most of the time or go out and have some fun me time.
There is not much change you can bring about here. They are older kids.let them spend the time with their families.
They sound rude and entitled.
The good thing, they won’t try anything. My DSC did this at first (they don’t eat any ‘foreign food’, only eat ‘oven’ food, the only ‘vegetable’ they eat are baked beans and mum cooks 3 different meals a night as they choose what they want). I don’t pander to that. I make one, child appropriate meal and that’s it. If they don’t eat it then that’s their choice. I don’t make anything else.
As for them being rude. Their dad needs to address their behaviour.
what on earth do you say to them when they insult you like that?
I cant imagine not losing my shit at someone who spoke to me so disrespectfully.
Hmmm I’d say it’s normal but not acceptable. Teenagers are grumpy, rude and insulting some times. It doesn’t mean you should accept it or that it isn’t horrible for you.
I agree that threatening to kick them out is adding to the issues as they will feel unwanted and lash out (again not okay but not unexpected). Short of serious crime (even then!) my children will always have a home with me. That said, it doesn’t mean they can behave how they like.
I’d try a combination of firm but breezy calling them on unkindness and showing kindness to them but don’t bend over backwards. Again be breezy. It sounds like you been flu flopping between trying really really (too) hard and then burning out and withdrawing from them.
what on earth do you say to them when they insult you like that?
It's a way they have of speaking to each other, before I came along. When they first did it to me, I was astounded, but they say it's just humour and I am too sensitive. The 15 year old answers "shut up, why don't you disappear" and far worse if I say anything, like is this bag yours, have some chips etc, and I have always let it be known that I am not impressed with this, I don't feed it by retaliating and condoning it, but have let it go as long as they smile and answer me properly straight after. It has seemed a small thing compared to the really nasty stuff they have been doing and I've given them the benefit of the doubt about the humour/banter line. I get it that it may still be their very peculiar form of humour, but put that with everything else and for the past few months it's just not remotely funny in any way now. If I were to say something, I know they'd just say I was being too serious again and it would wind them up even more.
So for the past few weeks I just sigh, don't look at them, carry on and say things like "well how delightful" and I don't hide the distaste I have for it on my face.
Our home is actually their main house by the way. All this talk of me "going to my room" by some posters is not going to happen.
Mummyontherun86 I’d try a combination of firm but breezy calling them on unkindness and showing kindness to them but don’t bend over backwards.
Yes, we have been doing this for a few weeks now. I have withdrawn by not bending over backwards any more. Stuff the special vegetarian food I cook for the eldest for example, which he always leaves untouched (he doesn't even try!) before stuffing himself with loads of toast. Stuff all the attempts I make at conversation which just gets "yeah so what?" in return.
But the 15 year old is turning into a moodier version of the 18 year old now, arguing back all the time and filled to the brimful with undermining, cutting comments. I don't know any other teenagers like this and there it's so sad that there is no pleasure from knowing them whatsoever.
In that case, if they are not interested in doing anything when asked (although my DS has said to me that he stopped telling his dad because in the end, his dad would then always end up with excuses as to why it couldn't happen, a number of times after promising him that he would), why do they even bother coming at all? It sounds like nobody is enjoying it, so why bother?
What is the really nasty stuff? That may make a difference. I think YANBU. Where else do they have to live and how viable is it long term?
Swing OP has said it's their main home so not a case of why do they bother coming.
OP if you and your OH provide the main home where is their mum in this?
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