It seems most people have the opposite problem...hoping to get some helpful advice!
My 18 year old stepson moved in with my husband and me almost 2 years ago (previously had him 3-4 days a week).
My husband and I both work full time, our 7 year old goes to school, our 18 year old is home all day. For the past several months, he waits at the door for my husband to get home from work - once he arrives home, my stepson does not leave his side unless one of them goes to the bathroom - not exaggerating - connected to his side every second of everyday until my husband goes to bed or falls asleep on the couch.
It's to the point now where it's suffocating. He's always right there. There's no chance of a private conversation between my husband and me, it's not possible to spend any alone time, our 7 year old doesn't get any alone time with him...our 18 year old is with him and follows him everywhere he goes-like they're conjoined. Even when I think I can preoccupy our 18 year old and sneak 2 min of my husband's time...nope here he comes rushing over.
Our 7 year old doesn't even act this way....
My husband seems oblivious or simply doesn't mind - asks me personal questions and private questions while our 18 year old is standing by. Absolutely no privacy so I choose not to talk to my husband about private things that I don't want our 18 year old involved in. My husband handles him with little tiny baby kid gloves. I can't come up with a nice way to tell our 18 year old to find something to do. He has nothing to do - nowhere to go...my husband doesn't seem to mind him sitting at home all day with no ambition to do anything even though he's extremely smart. It's starting to get irritating and I'm losing connection with my husband.
I know it's good to have your kids want to hang out with you - and I know most parents wish their teens would do it more...but this is overboard and suffocating!!
Any advice is welcome!
Why doesn't he go to college / work? Do you think he has some form of depression or and anxiety? None of his behaviour seems within the realms of normal to me for an 18 year old. Does he have any friends or social life?
I also think it's abnormal Fairylea! He graduated from a STEM School and is VERY smart with coding and software - to where he was helping school staff. He thinks he's too smart for college and it would be a waste of money. He wants to take on coding and software from home - which is great - however, he had one project and now he's not even working to get more. I've offered to help amp up his freelance and elance.com profile, create a portfolio - He won't take my help other than to revamped his resume. He has no ambition to do anything. He had friends at school but most of them went to college or he hasn't had contact. He's just always at home...
What is a stem school ? Is this special needs ? Sorry, but never heard of it ?
I think he needs one of two approaches - either he needs to get a job and contribute (I'm guessing he doesn't at the moment so who is paying for everything? That needs to stop, he can't just slob about at home). If he wants to do coding he needs to get into computers in general, he can't just walk into a coding job so he will need to either go back to college and network (and work part time) or try to get any sort of work in computing as a foot in the door.
I am also wondering from what you've written if he has some form of Aspergers or autism? My son has autism and a lot of what you've written may fit - the specific interests, the lack of holding onto friendships etc, lack of wanting to build a new life / friends network / love life (?) etc. Do you think he would talk to someone about it all? If it is autism or depression he would need a lot of support to be able to live a fuller life - which kind of contradicts my hard line first approach.
I do feel something else is going on though, it must be very difficult for you.
Sorry I don't know what a STEM school is either?
Sorry, he graduated from STEM High & Academy - a school specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. He's beyond smart. He is great at what he does but he's either lazy or just doesn't have the drive to work. He did great with his first project coding a website from home - he received checks but since then...nothing. I've tried praising his work, encouraging him to now start a portfolio with all his experience but he won't. He even coded software for the school for attendance and grade tracking.
He doesn't ask for money because he never goes anywhere!!! Autism is not something I've thought about...interesting.
It wouldn't be so bad if he could come up with something to do for even an hour or so - he's literally ALWAYS there at my husband's side...even wants to take control of conversations between my husband and me.
I feel like the normal teen is into having their own privacy, doing their own thing, hanging with friends...I definitely wasn't with my parents constantly at that age and I don't know anyone who's going through this.
He does get on social media on his phone - but of course, sitting right next to his dad...I wonder if he thinks he will miss out on something big if he leaves the room for 5 min.
I also don't know why this isn't getting to be irritating for my husband because I definitely feel like I need space, privacy and at least a few minutes alone with my husband.
TBH you have a DH problem not a teen problem.
Your DH needs to step up and take control of the situation.
Have you actually brought this up with your husband?
High functioning ASD is screaming at me from your post. Have a womble about the SN boards on here.
I agree - DH needs to step up...he always handles him with kid gloves. I don't know how it's not bothering him!!! I have brought it up and he doesn't say much - besides the fact that I can't get him for 5 min to discuss anything...again this is no exaggeration - it makes it extremely hard to us to discuss anything about him without him RIGHT THERE!
AlpacaLypse - what is ASD!! I will look at the SN boards too!
I also think high functioning asd. The national autistic society website has some very good pages on Aspergers etc. I am wondering if he has some deep rooted anxiety about your dh leaving him / him growing up and moving away (if anyone's said that to him) etc. If he really is that suffocating then he really needs some intervention. It really isn't normal behaviour for an 18 year old man.
I'm not sure if this story will help but at a special needs school I visited recently the head told me a story about a young lad who spend the entire 6 months leading up to his 18th birthday staring in the mirror and checking his teeth. He grew more and more anxious and when they sat down and worked out what was wrong it was because he knew someone else who was 18 who had lost their teeth and looked older and in his autistic mind he thought this would happen to him when he turned 18. Clearly this is a very extreme example but if your ss does have hfa or similar it shows how extreme anxiety can become from something fairly small to others.
AlpacaLypse - I checked out ASD symptoms and although some don't fit - some definitely do!!! I will do more research on this. Or schedule an appointment. (He also resists any kind of appointments we want to set for him)
This is so interesting...
He does also have obsessive tendencies - for example, if my DH or I bring up something interesting to him, he will get right on his phone and look up everything he can about it until he feel's he's expert on the subject.
Fairylea - It could be deep rooted anxiety, although DH hasn't put pressure on him to be on his own, it could be how he feels which would explain the smothering.
You need to corner your husband when you go to bed or when you get up and get this sorted. Does he do bits in the house? Can you set him some chores to do so he is at least contributing?
The one think DH has said is that he's constantly at his side when he get home because he's been home alone all day with no interaction with others. But it just seems so over the top and not normal behavior for an 18 yr old!!
He does unload/reload the dishwasher and take out the trash. But I also know that he does this seconds before I get home because if I come home early, he's hurrying to get it done....not that it matters what time it gets done. But he's not currently working on a project, and I have no idea what he's doing all day. Sometimes he makes music...
On the other hand, if I directly ask him to do a task/chore, he'll say he'll do it and then won't - when I ask him why it's not done, he'll huff and puff and do a quick job at it.
His room is a massive pit - I've asked him to get it cleaned up and he says "yeah, I have to do that" and giggles but won't do it.
Wannabestressfree - it's so funny what you wrote because that's literally the only time I get to corner my husband or talk about anything private!
Same thing goes if we have friends over, he's still always right there and wants to take over conversations between us and friends. It's like he thinks they are there to see him!
I'm reading more on ASD symptoms...you guys may be on to something here...
How do I approach this with my SS and DH??
Personally I would start a general conversation about it with your dh, say you've seen something in the news or tv about asd and you started reading about it and gently approach the subject of you feeling like your ss may have some of the symptoms. You could show him some of the articles on the national autistic society website or some of the various you tube awareness videos about it (if you go on you tube and look up Aspergers and autism there are loads of different things, some might be appropriate to start a conversation).
It will be really difficult if your ss won't go to appointments though... Definitely start by talking to your dh and go from there. If you did want your ss to be referred he would probably need a gp appointment to start with.
Even if he has ASD (and I too thought it a possibility) it doesn't mean that your DH cannot train/teach him that he needs to have some alone time with you or your dc at some point each evening where your DSS has to occupy himself I some other way. He also needs to be taught that he has to respect other people's needs even if he doesn't understand them IYSWIM?
Perhaps he could wash up after dinner whilst you and your dh have half an hour without him over a cup of tea. Plus your DH could put your younger one to bed to give them some one to one time.
IF he does have asd it may be that he is unable or incapable of recognising the fact you and your dh want privacy. For example he may not desire the same sort of social intimacy so he wouldn't recognise it in others. It may be that you need to spell it out for him and give him set timescales and boundaries that he can understand, asd folks tend to be very routine led. Not always, but often, and if a new routine is formed it can be very hard to break.
Excellent ideas - thank you Fairylea and RandomMess! I will try and sure hope I can work this out with DH as he always just feels sorry for SS, makes excuses and lets it continue to go on. Agreed, he can teach him to give us a private moment at some point in the day...I think washing up after dinner and DH putting the little one to bed are great places to start!
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