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12 year old step son - does it get better?

(12 Posts)
SteppingUp2017 Sat 03-Feb-18 17:06:26

I'm not sure what I want to achieve by posting. I think maybe to know I'm not alone?

My 12 year old SS has constant hostility towards me and it's starting to get me down. I've never known such a stubborn, relentless child. I know when I was his age I would get moody but you get over it, right, even if just temporarily? But this has been going on solidly for about two months. I've tried talking to him, we've tried punishments but all the punishments seemed to do was drive a wedge between him and his Dad, which is the last thing I want. I made a decision that I needed to take a step back. I had been trying for 6 months to set a weekly routine, to spend as much time with him as I could, just to get him used to me being around. But this had no impact on him and started to have a damaging effect on me as I felt like it was all give give give with less than nothing in return. Since then I've obviously still been around but I've taken time for me, going to exercise classes, seeing friends, basically just living my life and being there for DP as a priority.

SS grunts when I speak to him, he will enter a room and leave immediately if I'm in it, if I walk past him he recoils from me as if I'm contagious, if I touch anything he will never touch it again, if I cook he won't eat it. He will never ask for my help, even when it will benefit him (eg. he has an iPad and his Dad doesn't understand Apple products so if he has an issue with it I could easily fix it but he won't ask me, therefore he hasn't touched his iPad in weeks because he doesn't know how to work it. He watches Amazon Prime under my account, but if he needs to re-enter the password he would rather go without than speak to me - even though he loves The Grand Tour!).

We've tried everything from punishments to positive reinforcement; we've offered to give him pocket money so he has a bit more independence from us but under the condition he has a baseline level of respect when he's in the house and he has refused. He'd rather have no money then have to treat me like a human being.

The only thing that did work was when DP had a chat with his ex - she wanted us to take him full time but we let her know that he was miserable with us and probably wouldn't want that and if that is what she wants she's going to have to be a bit more positive regarding our situation (FYI - DP and his ex broke up 10 years ago and we've been together for 2 ). She did this for about a month and we recognised an improvement immediately but then her and DP had an argument (regarding her taking SS out of school for a day and not telling DP) and she blew up and said she is not going to help and we need to deal with it on our own and she doesn't seem to be budging.

I know the above is all about me and clearly SS is miserable too - but what can you do when he doesn't seem to want to be happy? I recognise that 12 is a difficult age anyway without a step-mother on the scene. But I'm not an evil witch, I want him to have a good relationship with his Dad first and foremost and I just want him to feel comfortable in our home, we don't have to be BFFs or even Fs! Just a little give would go miles at this point. Has anyone else been through this? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Or should I just resign myself?

musicalfrog Sat 03-Feb-18 17:13:21

Do you live with your dp?

SteppingUp2017 Sat 03-Feb-18 17:15:05

OH MY GOD! Literally immediately after posting this he came to me and asked me how to get the football on the TV! I could cry with happiness! (I then tried to have a conversation with him afterwards and he went back to shrugging and grunting. )

SteppingUp2017 Sat 03-Feb-18 17:17:58

We do yes, we've been living together now for about 7 months. So still early days!

But neither of us go in to relationships lightly - this is very much a good thing and we have a future in mind...sorry that's a very defensive answer to a simple question! This is the first serious relationship DP has had since SS was born, which explains a lot of the hostility.

Screaminginsideme Sat 03-Feb-18 17:30:58

Hi teenagers are tricky. Try too much and they sense weakness, don’t try and you’re a cold evil SM. That being said he is rude and obnoxious and refusing to eat when you cook is beyond tolerable. Have you tried a family meeting with the 3 of you. Set some rules together re. Behaviour ask him how he thinks he should behave what the consequences are. My sister took on her SS at around the same age and he was tough but she was tougher and he respects s her so much now and credits her with changing him for the better. Good luck and don’t loose heart

TwitterQueen1 Sat 03-Feb-18 17:37:23

i think you pushed it too far with the attempt at conversation. A step too far, too quick.

Can you try to pre-empt some help? eg, say something like "DS you haven't been on your iPad, do you need some IT support?" and then leave him to it. Don't call it help, don't make it personal (eg can I help)...

It sounds awful and I do sympathise. This is why I never went out with divorced men - I knew that I would not have the patience to deal with potential stepchildren. You have my admiration.

SandyY2K Sat 03-Feb-18 19:24:15

Has his dad asked him why he behaves this way?

I feel for you though...as it must be soul destroying and not a nice atmosphere when he comes over.

swingofthings Sat 03-Feb-18 20:25:30

Hasn't his dad spoken to him? He is acting like he doesn't like you at all. If that's the case, it would be helpful to know why this would be to start with. Is your partner fine with the situation?

Wdigin2this Wed 14-Feb-18 23:04:58

His mother asked for him to come to you full time? I think he may be feeling nobody wants him, and is making it clear, he doesn't care!
But something has to be done, so maybe a family pow wow, where emphasis is put on the fact that when he's with you're a team, and you need to pull together!
Good luck, it must be pretty miserable for you!

needmysleep75 Thu 15-Feb-18 16:05:17

Did you meet him before you moved in with his dad and was he like this then or only since you have been living there? Why did his mum ask you to take him full time? Behaviour or because she doesn't want him? All these things make a difference!
I took one on at this age after his mum decided to sod off abroad with her toyboy and my god it nearly broke me. I was in tears on many an occasion. 11 years on I don't even use the step bit and nor does he, and he now thanks me for everything I did for him and being there and not giving up on him.

SundaysFunday Thu 15-Feb-18 16:22:35

Teenagers can smell the fear and can sense when they are in a position of power grin don't 'try' too hard.

If you could genuinely compliment him and make him feel like you want him around (so hard, I know!) it seems he feels unwanted and by acting like a brat it's as if he's chosen to be unlikeable. It's all about fear of rejection.

Could you involve him in some decisions? Around the house or planning a holiday, make him feel like his opinion is important.

Have an open chat with him, telling him you care for him and that you are around to stay, you'd really like to get on, but if he is unpleasant you'll just be staying out of his way. Ask him to tell you what triggers his rudeness.

Did his DM really want you to have him full time? That is pretty extreme rejection.

Northernparent68 Sat 24-Feb-18 12:41:02

Would he benefit from more time alone with his father, and you could take a back seat

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