How to handle SS - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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How to handle SS

Just trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation with my SS and be supportive of my wife. If this is confusing, it is just to build back story.

When my wife divorced from her former husband, she allowed him to move away with both kids under the agreement that the youngest SS was to move back for HS. Youngest got a reputation as a very good playing athlete and basically used that to slide through school. Also Dad travels for work and was gone most weeks M-F. SS basically hated is new stepmom and would do what ever he wanted while Dad was out of town. Stayed with grandparents, uncles, friends, anywhere but home. As long as he didn't make Dad look bad (Getting in huge trouble or something), his Dad turned a blind eye. Mom (my wife) made regular trips to visit SS all the while and Dad sent him to us as well intermittently.

Time comes for SS to come back for HS. He doesn't want to as he has all the friends/reputation/ect and would have to give it up. Dad doesn't make him move and the agreement was verbal...so SS stayed since there was no way to enforce it. Then Dad decides to move back to our area of the country because it works better with his job (Closer airport, better location). SS is now forced to move but refuses to move with us and enrolls in HS at Dad's new area. Stays there two years and is borderline failing out but still makes All American (Not sure how that happens). Convinces parents that to pursue athletic career, he is being actively recruited, he needed to go to a private HS for last two years to build his game. Not to mention he is doing horrible in school and they think the atmosphere will help promote his studying.

Here we are a year and a 1/2 later and we had to pull SS out of the school because he was about to fail out (and be kicked out). Took up drugs and partying at the private school and basically had gotten to the point he would barely show up to class. Did not study, spent all his money on pot, slept all day, and was constantly sneaking out to visit his gf at night.

This obviously makes Dad look bad and he tells SS he is not welcome to stay at his house any longer. So we take him in to try and get him on a path to move forward with his life. We have discussions on the importance of at least finishing HS and possibly what to do after. We give him a couple rules and expectations (in writing as well) for the house. Long story short, he is continuing his life style of sleeping all day and getting high. He has no regard for anyone else, eats everything, makes no effort to help out, refuses to give any money to the house for his expenses, and disrespects his mom all the time. My house feels like free hotel where he can do what he likes. Can't get the kid to do anything. He is 19 btw.

We try to talk to him and he basically blows us off. He breaks all of the few rules that we have and does not meet expectations at all. We gave him a list of consequences (Loss of phone, car, and eventually home) that I am slowly enforcing. I am basically at the point that I want to kick him out but now my wife wants to give him time. I found his pot stash the other day and flushed it down the toilet, just about my last straw.

I understand her feeling of failure with her son and her feeling guilty over what has happened. I want to support her but her son's lack of positive action makes it very difficult. Not to mention the cost to have him here. I am torn on what to do, I love my wife but this is driving me crazy. I have read stories about step children that were just like this and I said how could that happen? Now I know.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 01:13 PM
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Re: How to handle SS

Based on my experience with my two step kids who were very much like yours SS, it takes kicking them out and letting them deal with their own bad choices for them to grow up. And some never do.

It sounds like you have a challenge because our wife is full of guilt and is enabling him.

I think that you and your wife would benefit from both of you going to family counseling for dealing with your SS. Eventually you might be able to pull him into the counseling as well. You need the support of someone natural, like a counselor, to get through to your wife that she is hurting her son by letting this go on.

The bottom line is that the current situation is not good for any of you. And it is stunting your SS.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to handle SS

Thanks for the reply Ele, had not considered talking with a neutral third party. SS has flat out refused to talk with a counselor, doesn't think he needs it.

We have a date night tonight and he will come up again in conversation. I will definitely mention a counselor for us, it may be beneficial. It does not help that my wife is a counselor and thinks she can get him to understand.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 03:12 PM
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Re: How to handle SS

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Originally Posted by C3156 View Post
Thanks for the reply Ele, had not considered talking with a neutral third party. SS has flat out refused to talk with a counselor, doesn't think he needs it.

We have a date night tonight and he will come up again in conversation. I will definitely mention a counselor for us, it may be beneficial. It does not help that my wife is a counselor and thinks she can get him to understand.
Yikes, if your wife is a counselor, I would help she knows that sometimes you cannot get a person to understand, they have to figure it out for themselves--like those how have to touch the hot stove to believe it's really hot.

Good luck on getting her to go to counseling. Maybe if you tell her that you need it and you really want her support by her going.

If she will not go to counseling with you, I think you would benefit from going by yourself. This is a really bad situation.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 05:47 AM
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Re: How to handle SS

If the boy is wrapped up in drugs it's going to be very hard to talk sense into him or for him to become self aware of how he is ruining his life, he is emotionally and motivational numbed.

My first question to you is how he can maintain his lifestyle? Drugs cost money, food cost money, shelter cost money, phones cost money, cars cost money. If you are giving him any of those things you are enabling him. My son sounds much like your stepson, gifted athlete and student until his senior year, failed out his first year of college. I knew he was parting and I kept trying to help him but eventually realized I was just making easier for him to keep parting. He got a DUI and at the same time I discovered all my old silver coins were gone, he had stolen them for drug money, pills and heroin. Heroin? My son? No friggen way? That was a real eye opener for me. He was 20 so I made him move out that very day. I offered to drive him to a shelter but he ended up couch surfing for a time then settled in with my daughter who has been a great influence on him. Hardest decision I have ever made, for a while I thought I may lose him to an overdose, but now at 24 he is a hardworking kid and we have a great relationship.

You really need to get tough on him. Stop paying for anything unnecessary for his survival, no phone, no cable or internet, no spending money, if you bought a game system sell it, strip his room of everything but the bare essentials, no TV in there or computer. Start giving him home drug test and if he fails there needs to be consequences, not just threats. Set goals and time tables, he needs to earn his keep plain and simple, he can earn privileges back but no more free ride. Go to some AlAnon meetings, or start reading some books on how to disconnect and stop enabling.

You are in a difficult spot as the step dad, nothing will work unless his mom and dad and you are all on the same page. I let things go too long with my son and things kept getting worse, don't make the same mistake millions of us parents have made but tolerating destructive behavior, it usually doesn't end well.

Last edited by Cooper; 02-15-2017 at 05:51 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to handle SS

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If the boy is wrapped up in drugs it's going to be very hard to talk sense into him or for him to become self aware of how he is ruining his life, he is emotionally and motivational numbed.
Thanks for the reply, you are absolutely correct. He acknowledges he has a problem but has no desire to fix it. Can't help someone that does not want to help themselves.

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My first question to you is how he can maintain his lifestyle? Drugs cost money, food cost money, shelter cost money, phones cost money, cars cost money. If you are giving him any of those things you are enabling him.
Currently I pay for shelter and food, but I don't buy anything he likes to eat (I do the shopping). He has a part time job which we can see he uses to buy drugs. We cut off his phone, he has lost his car, the entertainment around the house are being locked up, and next step is rent. We have laid out the expectations and the consequences in writing, I am just going down the list. If he fails to pay rent, on to the next step, to the curb.

He has no comprehension why we are doing this to him, because in his words, "None of my friends has to pay for anything..." They also did not fail out of high school and get caught with drugs. He just can't wrap his head around the fact that his actions have consequences.

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Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
You really need to get tough on him. Stop paying for anything unnecessary for his survival, no phone, no cable or internet, no spending money, if you bought a game system sell it, strip his room of everything but the bare essentials, no TV in there or computer. Start giving him home drug test and if he fails there needs to be consequences, not just threats. Set goals and time tables, he needs to earn his keep plain and simple, he can earn privileges back but no more free ride. Go to some AlAnon meetings, or start reading some books on how to disconnect and stop enabling.
All he has is his room and the food I buy, nobody gives him money anymore. I am in full agreement that privileges are earned and they are fast disappearing. My trust in him is gone at this point. Drug test is worthless because I already know it will be positive.

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You are in a difficult spot as the step dad, nothing will work unless his mom and dad and you are all on the same page. I let things go too long with my son and things kept getting worse, don't make the same mistake millions of us parents have made but tolerating destructive behavior, it usually doesn't end well.
Herein lays the problem, Dad is onboard but lives 100 miles away and has already alienated his son (He already kicked the son out). Mom knows what needs to be done but her depression over failing as a mother is almost overwhelming her. She is looking for counseling for herself but this does not help with dealing with her son in the present.

I am already at the point of kicking the kid out due to just being worthless, but as a step parent, I can't just do that and expect my wife to be on board. It really does create a lot of friction between us. I really don't want to flush my marriage down the toilet over this but I can't keep living this way either.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:26 PM
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Re: How to handle SS

I sounds like you are doing many of the right things, I wish I could offer a solution, it sucks to have a drug user in the house.

I'm not one to promote addiction as an illness but medically that's how it's defined, I realize you are frustrated but learn how to separate the person from the drug user. The kid is making some very bad choices that have already impacted his life negatively and that will continue a spiral downward unless he makes different choices. I know it is easy to label him worthless, but you need to be careful with those words and your actions supporting those feelings. He absolutely needs positive reinforcement, he has to learn the upside to not doing drugs, he needs something better in his life. Somehow he has to learn he has value and a future, I don't mean to go soft on him, but give affirmation when you can.

Is there anything at all he is interested in? Anything he can become involved with? How about a recovery peer group or a meet up group, just kids his age going thru the same stuff. Maybe a life coach?

And mom has to get on board, if that means she needs counselling to detach so be it. She may be a counselor but she has no objectivity in this scenario, she needs outside opinions.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to handle SS

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IThe kid is making some very bad choices that have already impacted his life negatively and that will continue a spiral downward unless he makes different choices. I know it is easy to label him worthless, but you need to be careful with those words and your actions supporting those feelings. He absolutely needs positive reinforcement, he has to learn the upside to not doing drugs, he needs something better in his life. Somehow he has to learn he has value and a future, I don't mean to go soft on him, but give affirmation when you can.
Again, you are correct. I need to realign my thoughts and actions with regards to SS to give him a better opportunity. I know that my feelings for him show on the surface and I need to be careful about that. Hard sometimes when you are dealing with someone who doesn't give a $hit about anyone but himself.

He had a passion, sports, but he sold everything in order to finance the dope habit. Now he has nothing and I can tell he misses it, you might say regret, but hard to tell.

All I can do is change myself an try to be a better roll model for him. If he chooses not to follow, that is his choice. Thanks for the reminder.
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