Young Step Mom and Teenage Step Son
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The Family & Parenting Forums Family dynamics can be exactly that - dynamic! Post here about family related issues such as parenting, blended families, step-families, new relationships with children involved, family of origin issues, in-laws or sibling issues.

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Old 02-13-2013, 03:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Young Step Mom and Teenage Step Son

I'm going to try and make a long story not quite so long
In October my (now fiancee) then boyfriend and his 14 year old son moved into my house. I'm 27, he's a very young 41.
His son was FANTASTIC at first - quiet, nerdy kid that has a good heart and spends most of his time playing some computer game (world of warcraft or something). One night his dad was working late in late November, and the SS had a TOTAL meltdown. Him and his dad are neither great at chores - of any kind. And after putting up schedules and reminding him EVERY day just to clean his cat's litter I asked him over dinner what it would take to help him remember... he does NOT take anything he perceives as critism at all and he just came unglued. I told him he could go in his room, or the living room, or wherever inside the house to cool down. He said he wanted to leave the house, (I live in Canada - it was -20oC's outside) and I said absolutely not. He tried to push me out of the way and tried hitting / scratching me to get by, banshee WAILING and screaming all kinds of things in the mean time. I have never in my life seen a kid just come unhinged like that... or anyone for that matter...
Eventually he stormed out our other door and broke part of it along the way as part of his temper tantrum. (And yes, I firmly believe that it was him throwing a tantrum like a 3 year old would).
I of course went out driving and looking for him for over half an hour, whereby his Dad had come home in the mean time and let me know that SS had been there pretty much the whole time, hanging out playing his game...
So from this, A) he got absolutely no punnishment or repercussion... B) it came apparent the kid has no coping skills and the emotional maturity far too young for his age.
Fast forward a couple weeks,and my fiancee gets SS to do some emotional coping exercises for teenagers, etc etc. Step Son (I know now) TOTALLY just smoke showed him and played the victim / poor me stance.
My fiancee finally had a pseudo melt-down not knowing how to deal with the tension in the house... He just wanted things back to normal so bad he basically sat his son and I in a room and (in front of his son) said that I *WILL* forget it happened and never mention it again... what? He also kept saying that his son had a problem and that it wasn't his fault and telling his son over and over not to blame himself for it, blah blah... In the mean time his son gets angry and starts yelling that yes indeed - he only did the exercises because his dad told him too and put down what he thought he was supposed too - not actually what he thought or felt.
While he was on the game with his friends he was saying "oh yeah, we got in a big fight but I just went all " sniff sniff, cry cry, it's all my fault".. OHHHH I was mad - and he totally and completely bamboozled his dad.
After that day where he basically talked down to me infront of his son, his son has not listened to a word I've said or taken anything I've said seriously... I can say something 10 times - it doesn't matter until his Dad says something once. When his Dad is home, he goes to bed on time... when his dad is out of town for work for the night - he stays up until I tell him to go to bed, and then doddles and p!sses around until I finally tell him *enough* and bed NOW.
SS's teachers have been calling and one of them asked Fiancee if they could make an appointment with the school counsellor because SS doesn't handle any kind of criticism and when he isn't good at something (particularly gym) he sits in the corner and refuses to do anything (in my mind pouting).
He finally went to the first counseling appointment... didn't tell his dad till a few days after and just said "I don't like talking about myself.. I thought it was stupid" blah blah.
SERIOUSLY
He *JUST* started being able to put frozen chicken fingers on a pan and baking them... otherwise he would not cook or do anything to feed himself.
I am just frustrated and at a loss. He really, honestly is a good kid, and I don't have to deal with a lot of 'normal' teenage problems - like drugs or alcohol or that sort of thing, and for that I am very thankful for, but I really don't know how to constructively go forward.... He doesn't leave his room, he won't talk to anyone at school, he loathes sports or anything outdoors or athletic... I am at a loss. He had a really bad cough around early November so I took him to a clinic - the doctor gave him an inhaler to use temporarily because he had a bad cold... the doctor said that after listening to his chest adn everything he definitely did not have ashma or pnemonia... So driving home he goes "I wish I just had ashma.. then I wouldn't have to go outside or do anythign".
WHAT?! Are you FREAKIN' kidding me?
Personality wise.. he definitely does not like cleaning, super picky eater, and definitely isn't a fan of anything other than playing his computer game....
He is a sweet kid, and he has a great sense of humor. I'm just not sure where to go from here that is constructive for him and for the family in general.
His Dad and I are set to get married in September and I really do want SS to be happy, and consequently be in a comfortable, functional home life - I think that's important, especially for teenagers....
Any advice???
Sigh.
Thanks for reading
The Lost Girl
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Young Step Mom and Teenage Step Son

You and your husband need to get on the same page with regards to parenting, and present a common front. He needs to back you up, otherwise this behaviour will continue. You could try family counseling, or find some books dealing with mingling families. Why doesn't your financee handle the "not doing his chores" thing? The way you make it sound, it's like your acting as a nanny for a parent who doesn't want to take responsibility for his own child... Does your financee have anything to do with instilling any discipline?

Spose I should be looking into that as well... I'm the one with two kids, and my GF doesn't have any. Life could get fun...

And BTW... Don't count your blessings on the "alcohol and drugs" thing... He's only 14.

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Old 02-14-2013, 02:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Young Step Mom and Teenage Step Son

Update-
So last night Fiancee was out of town, and I had told SS last night that 1 minute past I wasn't asking for him to go to bed - I would just take his computer.
So an hour before his bed time he tells me he's going to sleep..
However I was not born yesterday. So 1 minute past I go in and check on him, and sure enough he's watching shows on his computer.
I took his CPU and put it in our room.
I called his Dad to let him know what happened, and it was a really great surprise for him to say A) he completely agreed with me, and B) that he would have a talk with him when he gets home and reaffirm things / make it very known he is backing me up on it... so that was REALLY great.
He also suggested I put the CPU on the kitchen table with a very directive note saying "This computer is not to be used / moved untill __ time" so it's very explicit and then if he does something before or beyond that then it's very cut and dry.
I have a feeling this is the first battle of MANY, but it's a start.
I am concerned that his counseling seems to be very sporatic through school and if we should be being more proactive?
Like persueing private counseling or if that would be too much 'throwing in his face' at once and have the total opposite affect and him just shut down completely and refuse to deal with any of it....
The SS was absolutely shocked last night.. He really didn't say anything, but I think he knew he was busted and there was nothing for him to say.
It is just really awesome that Fiancee has decided to actually reaffirm that yes, he does support what I say and yes, providing a united front IS indeed important....
It's definitely not that Fiancee uses me as a nanny - he is just *very* absent minded and I am very organized / planned so I tend to end up being the one that 'takes care of the household' per se...
My Fiancee does discipline, but with his absent mindedness he doesn't affectively have any consistency..
He tries - he just isn't so great at the follow through a lot of the time...
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Young Step Mom and Teenage Step Son

When hubby and I got married he bought Step Parenting for Dummies, and it did help. We have 3 kids from my first marriage. However, I still did most of the parenting as they grew up. I wanted to. The kids didn't want their dad replaced, and since their dad is a deadbeat who isn't in the picture, it was just me for the most part.

I really think the role of a step parent is mainly to back up the parent(s). If the parents can't or won't step up to the plate, then obviously something else must be done. but you guys seem to be on the right track now. I hope it continues!
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Young Step Mom and Teenage Step Son

Unless your fiancÚ is on board with the discipline and has an inkling of understanding for your position you are in for a very long haul.

I`m the step-father of two now grown boys, been married for 13 years.
If I had had a clue what I was getting into I would never ever have married a woman with kids.

I love my wife to death but will repeat .....Never ever would I have locked myself into the nightmare that was step parenting no way no how if I had a clue.

Push back the date for your marriage until you feel confident your fiancÚ has a clue and is willing to work at this or drop the relationship and move on.

You have no idea the nightmare you may be about to step into.

Go read some step-parenting forums and see if you're up for this.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Young Step Mom and Teenage Step Son

I'm glad your guy's coming around a bit. You can expect to revisit these kinds of things many times, so focus on the big picture when they crop up. Are the two of you coming close or getting further apart on these matters? If you're getting closer to a meeting of the minds, stick with it. If not, consider withdrawing from the parenting role, including when he's out of town. If he won't support you as a trusted adult with his son, let him hire a babysitter he can support.

I think separate counseling would be a good thing. Schools are not equipped to provide therapy and treatment. They're basically just able to evaluate and provide limited skills to mediate problems.

Hopefully your husband recognizes that this is not something that just happens between his son and you, but also between his son and the other authority figures in his life... and that the boy is the only common denominator there.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I definitely have a hard time dealing with SS because he is *very* passive aggressive and his 'default' of dealing with anything is the more lying/sneaky route as opposed to confronting or dealing with anything.. His biological mother has some challenges and definitely some mental issues, but he's been out of that situation for quite a few years now.
Like this morning...
His Dad was getting ready to drive his younger son back to their mom's. They were both playing with the cat and got out of hand with crossing that line from playing to actually being mean to the cat - I told them to leave them alone... I then hear the 6 year old say a few minutes later "SS.. ___ just said for us to leave the cat alone" and SS giggles and keeping pulling the cat around by their tail. I went over, looked at him, and said "Seriously?" and he sits there, blinks at me, and refuses to say anything like he has no clue what I am talking about.
ARGH!!!
His Dad comes in from getting the car organized and in front of his Dad he gets all cheery and acts like nothing happened.
I left it alone because if I would of said anything at that moment it wouldn't of been nice - and I don't believe in speaking out of anger.
I really don't think the school counseling will be enough. I admit, I was totally taken in by it before, but the more time goes by the more obvious it's becoming that SS is very, very good at manipulation. I am very constructively confrontational / upfront type so it's very difficult for me to wrap my mind around it...
He's a great kid, but I am really worried about him so easily slipping into lying and deceit. That's not normal - or right. Or at least never has been with my siblings or family growing up.
And with his total inability to tolerate any criticism - that is really going to be a rough situation for him when he eventually gets into the 'real world' and on his own, and in my opinion a very important life skill.
He's a joy to be around when he's being genuine and himself... unfortunately that seems to be happening less and less...
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Sorry, I forgot to add on fiance's conversation with SS when Fiance got home in relation to the computer / bed time incident...
SS tried playing stupid... that didn't work with F, and then he said 'well I WAS in bed.. I was just watching TV', and then started with *him* believing he could stay up late and still be fine for school...
Keep in mine the *first* automatic words to me out of his mouth were 'I'm sorry, I'll never do it again".
On the bright side, Fiance didn't buy into it and supported me and my repercussions the entire way - which is really awesome.
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