At A Complete Loss....(7 Posts)
I don't know what to do or even think anymore.
After a rough custody battle in August last year, my DH and I gave up hope that my DSK would want to be with us.
Then, in November, my DSS begged to move back with us saying he cannot cope with the stress at his mom's and that his mom 'just isn't getting the job done'.
Six months later, almost to the day, my DSS went over to his mom's last week to help her move, and it looks like he has decided to move back in with her. He is 14yrs.
Of course, there is more (isn't there always)... he thinks that making his bed and cleaning up his own bathroom should not be his responsibility; neither is doing his own laundry. He throws a major fit when his dad asks him about his report card and if he needs any help with his homework... we recently obtained a copy of his report card - all C-'s. His dad never enforced the 'homework first then video/computer game rule'.
DSS feels at 14, that he can come and go as he pleases and does what he wants, without fear of consequences...
I am tired... the stress is really getting to me... I am sympathetic to the hormones my DSS is/may be going through... I understand and get that being a teenager sucks - no matter what you do...
But really - is making your bed; taking out the garbage; getting homework done and cleaning a bathroom way out of line to expect from a 14 yr old boy?
I just want to shake some sense into my DSS and say 'look - your dad and I have always been there for you (even while your mom took a drug holiday and disappeared for a year).
And there is the other thing - his mom just sees $$ signs and will do anything she can to win the kids over... my dsd, who is 12 yrs old, can do whatever she wants including turning her back on me, in my own house telling me to go 'eff' myself! And unfortunately, my DH says there is no need to get upset as that is her mom talking, not her...
Give me a break!!!!!!!! Argh!!!! I don't get it - if I spoke out of turn like that to anyone at that age, my face would be sunburned from the smack I would have gotten.
Anyway - I am just very sad, depressed and I dont know what to do...
Should we let my stepson chose to come and go as he pleases or does my DH start being a dad and lay down the law?
I am really just venting here, but I am so pissed off. My DH and I had a discussion several months ago regarding rules, boundaries and limitations... but my DH did not want to disturb the waters, wanted to allow his son to figure it out on his own...
I don't know what advice I am seeking or expecting, but I really do feel as if I am on the losing end of being a step parent.
figure it out on his own? but kids DON'T figure it out on their own. They need to be shown, taught and guided. that's the whole point of being a parent!!! what planet did your OH come from?
I expect my SD (8) to tidy her room and be responsible for her own mess etc, because me and her dad are not her servants and there are house rules. uphill struggle, but you've got to start somewhere otherwise how on earth will she have any kind of self-discipline and life skills when she's an adult?
What kind of adults are these kids going to grow up into? if they are not challenged about this behaviour, it will just become more and more entrenched.
this is your house and your rules should go. if i had a SD of that age who said that to me, I'd say 'no - this is my house, YOU eff off'
We had a similar situation with stepson who moved in with us for a few months then moved back in with his mum. Husband was quite strict re not giving in to his every whim to win the most popular parent. Although it meant he no longer lived with us the stay did generally improve his relationship with his dad, and it meant his mum could be a bit stricter with him without the lad threatening to go to his dad's if he wasn't happy as he knew dad would be the same.
We would be heading for divorce if either of us tolerated either of our kids swearing at the other. Kids need boundaries. Many kids with divorced parents suffer through parents trying to win popularity contests rather than be parents.
I think there is a real problem with a child (imo 14 IS a child) being able to decide themselves where they live.
Is your DH worried that if he starts disaplining his DS he will go and live with his mother again?
It really is a very difficult situation and we have had a similar problem with DSD1. We have much higher expectations of behaviour and more rules than at her mothers house so as soon as we say, for example, that after school we need to know where she is, she goes off to her mothers for a while (where she is allowed to do as she wants) until she has an arguemet with her and returns to us.
It has been very tempting for us to lapse the rules on the basis that it's better for her to be with us more, even if it isn't under the circumstances that we would want, but we have persevered. And although we aren't seeing her as much as we would want I think that she feels more secure with us, knowing where the bounderies are and that we care about her enough to worry about what she's up to.
I don't know if any of this is at all relevent to you but hope I helped a bit. It sounds like you are doing a great job in very difficult circumstances. I hope your DH is able to lay down the law a bit more and you are both able to talk to him about why he is thinking about moving back in with his mother.
I do feel for you and understand how horrible these situations are. I have two DSD - one is 19 and at university and DSD2 is 12.
When DH and I started to live together we sat down and agreed what the 'rules' would be and also agreed we would always back each other up. If either DSD ever swore at me...well they would be grounded for the rest of their lives!
My DH's ex had/has very few rules and so the DSD's get to do pretty much what they like when they are with her, but I do know from DSD1 that when she has kids she will be following our example and have rules, boundaries etc (which was nice to hear).
Fortunately for us, DH's ex is too keen on her social life to play any games around access, so although she has tried to undermine us on occasion around our rules, the kids have never had a choice about where they lived - the agreed split has been stuck to come what may.
If there is no way of getting a sensible agreement with the kids mum, would you and your DH be able to agree between the two of you what will and what won't be tolerated and stick to that? Kids need to feel safe and they may not thank you now but they will when they are adults.
Not to mention the benefit the two of you will get from being in control of the situation. The kind of thing you describe puts relationships under alot of strain (as you know!).
Sorry for being absent and, thank you for your responses.
I have taken a time out for myself these last few weeks. I needed to regroup and not feel so angry, disappointed and (silly to feel this but) betrayed. I am also dealing with the loss of my grandfather who just recently passed.
DH and I set clear rules at the begining of last December, when my DSS begged to move back in with us. We discussed with DSS that the rules pretty much applied as they did before - homework was expected to be done; pick up after yourself... etc.
My DH did not 'enforce' these rules as he did not want to overwhelm DSS and/or push him back to living with his mom again... however, it placed me in an awkward position, coming home and seeing my DSS glued to the computer or to the playstation. When I questioned him about homework, he would tell me he would do it later. I would tell him it would be best if he got it done 'now'.
I know we are a lot more 'strict' in our home - we too have certain expectations for behaviour and actions, especially since we have a small puppy in the house. We explained the rules to my DSS regarding the puppy, such as, if you are not able to watch her, keep her in her penned off area unless you are prepared to pick up after her (she is being potty trained). What does he do? Let's her out, does not pay attention, she poops on the carpet and he calls my DH to come home and pick it up. Same as don't tease her during dinner as we are trying to keep her calm - he goes and winds her up...
My DH would say he would speak to DSS about the behaviour... whether he did or not I don't know, it was a constant battle of 'wills' regarding our rules. My DH said I had expected (in a very heated argument) too much from DSS! I was floored - my expectations had not really changed... unless I was to become the full time maid at home after working 9 hrs a day (plus travel to and from work). My day starts at 4:30 am and I do not get home from work until 4:30 pm - then my 'chores' start when I get home, like prepping dinner; cleaning the effing kitchen (because someone was too busy playing computer games); take the dog out for walkies; laundry; clean up kitchen after making dinner... I went on strike for the last 2 months - I only did my laundry and took the dog out. My hubby would complain about having to do everything else... ('sucks to be you' is what I thought)
My DH and I are fine now. We have talked a lot of things through. He now gets it.
Unfortunately for my DSD - she is not welcome until she apologies for her swearing and inappropriate behaviour towards me.
My DSS has not hinted to spend the night or even called us to say hello. I have sent several text messages to my DSS, hoping to get a response - but have not received any.
I have grown up in a divorced family - but my brother and I still had to abide by the rules and we still got consequences if we brought home a poor report card or did not do our chores. I never asked the kids to do things that I would not or have not done. Even our child specialist agreed that children need boundaries and consequences and the need to feel responsible. However, their mom does not believe in these things - just instant gratification (hence her drug addiction).
I am grateful for all of your responses - I have been struggling in this role as 'step-monster' for awhile. I know I am not a monster...
I don't regret the choices or actions I have made with respect to both children - I only want what is best for them and I want them to be happy. My DSS wants to be a lawyer - he will not be getting into any law school with C- or B in gym...
It would be nice if the 'adults' could all get along. Unfortunately - it is not the case as the ex seeks any opportunity to punish my DH for her mistakes... the children are the ones on the losing end of her manipulation. It breaks my heart, but my hands are tied.
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