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Worthless waste of a life

Bwarnp's picture

Heads up, it's pretty long. My boyfriend of 2 years and my 16 year old son hate each other. No surprise there. The boyfriend is pretty strict, in fact he is a perfectionist-where I am not. I definitely have "single mom guilt". At 16 my son is basically a good kid. A bit lazy? Of course. A bit manipulated and self centered? Yes. But he doesn't do drugs, run with a bad crowd, or even be disrespectful to anyone but my boyfriend. Back story: I wanted my boyfriend to be able to correct my son if needed. The problem is the way he does it. He completely demoralizes him, calls him stupid, and treats him like an child. He can't seem to teach without giving a 2 hour lecture about how right he is. My son has lost respect for him. A few weeks ago my son had to clean his bathroom. We are trying to sell my house and there was a showing. My son failed to scrub his toilet to the specifications of the boyfriend. Needless to say words were spoken. Did my son catch an attitude? Probably. I was not there. However my boyfriend called him a worthless waste of life. 
I corrected my son first. Bottom line? My boyfriend was the adult. He was asked to do something. It should have been done. But I told my boyfriend that he needed to be the adult. Telling a kid they are a worthless waste of a life is wrong. Period. It should not happen. Boyfriend refuses to admit he was even slightly at fault. He insists anyone would agree. So, what is the general consensus? Incidentally, this isn't the first time this argument has happened. I've expressed my concerns previously about calling him stupid, etc. 

On Mother's Day he felt my son should have spent more time with me. My son had spent the morning with me then went to pick my mom. Came back, we had dinner and he asked if he could play his video games. I said he could, my plan was to watch little women with my mom so I was fine with him playing a game. My boyfriend decided my son was wrong. Pitched a fit, me telling him I gave him permission, but he didn't care. He felt my son was wrong. He waited until I took my mom home then "punished" my son but turning off the internet. Comments?


strugglingSM's picture

You are expecting your BF to parent your child and then getting mad at him for how he does it. As someone who is a stepparent to children who are not always parented, I can feel your BF's frustration. It's not fun to live with a lazy teen who gives attitude when asked to do something, especially when the parent has not stepped in first to require the appropriate respect. If you don't like the way that your BF is parenting your son, then move out and parent the boy yourself. 

Bottom line - teenagers are not fun to live with 99% of the time, even their parents typically don't like them, but they have love to get them through the annoying teen years. If you are not a parent to said teenager, they are miserable to live with, especially if they are disrespectful and don't do what's expected of them. 

In my case, BM is MOTY (in her own mind). When her DH and her SS first moved in with her, she used to refer to her SS as her "son" and "her heart". Now, the boy is 18. He is similar to your son. He doesn't run with a bad crowd, but he doesn't do much of anything and fights with BM's precious cherub (my SS). So, BM now hates him and wants to kick him out of the house. She fights with him incessantly and she and her DH fight constantly about it (according to both SSs). I sense that you're in a similar situation. 

Bwarnp's picture

Thank you for your perspective. You are right. I did tell him to correct him when needed. I guess my biggest concern is the belittling. 

strugglingSM's picture

I don't agree with the belittling, but I get the sense that you are using it as an excuse to avoid parenting your son and paint your BF as the only one to blame in this situation.  

Don't allow this to be an excuse to avoid doing the difficult work of parenting. 

I have similar SSs. They are lazy. They whine and complain. Overall, they are unreliable and not fun to be around. I don't belittle them, but I do have it out with them on occasion. Just two weeks ago, I yelled at one of them to go outside because I was sick of his complaining and also because DH and I needed to have a private conversation and SS was hovering around like he always does when he knows DH and I are trying to speak about something. I had told him calmly to go outside twice before that and he didn't. DH sat there saying nothing. I yelled (and just said "go outside!!!") and then SS (who is a teen, not a toddler) cried and ran out of the house. DH got mad at me for making SS cry and told me that I "was the adult". The thing he and you don't realize is that stepparents are not actually considered "adults" by stepchildren. We have no authority as far as they are concerned and if the parent gives any sort of signal that we can be ignored, stepkids will take advantage of that. It was only later that DH admitted to me that he should have been the parent in that situation and the reason that there was an issue was because he hadn't been stepping in and parenting that weekend.

You have created an environment where your son feels entitled to ignore your BF and where you expect your BF to parent, because you'd rather that he be the bad guy. Now that he has become the bad guy, you want to blame him for being the bad guy. Anyone would react in frustration to this situation. If you are not willing to step up and parent, then you need to leave this man, rather than blame him for problems you have created.  

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Calling a kid "stupid" and a "wasteless worth of life" and demoralizing him is not discipline, it is verbal abuse. Why did you let your boyfriend turn off the internet as "punishment" when you told your son he could use the internet as you wanted to watch a movie with your mom?

You need to do all the discipline moving forward, and you and the boyfriend need to be on the same page as far as what actions will warrant discipline. If you can't come to an understanding, maybe you should consider living separately until your son moves out on his own.

Bwarnp's picture

Oh, I didn't "let" him turn off internet. He waited until I left. I really feel like it was a dirty move. Thank you for your input. I'm on the same page. 

Thisisnotus's picture

 Nobody would be speaking to my kids that way....period. Especially a boyfriend.....his bags would be packed!

Step kids here drive me insane but I never say a word to them and never will. 

That being DH likes to use the "my kid doesn't do drugs, drink or run with a bad crowd." So because of that his kids get corrected on nothing....ever. So because kids don't break the law they should be able to do or not do anything else on earth. No.

Harry's picture

Far from that.  But at 16. BF has no alone time with you,  Do you do date nights, with BF. Go away for the weekend  or are you with DS 24/7 .   Are you always force to take BS side ? 
belittling is not a good thing.   The BF and DS has to come  to some middle ground. 

ntm's picture

The child is inherently good. Castigating the child by calling him worthless is not acceptable. If the toilet is not cleaned as expected, he needs to calmly point out was needs to be redone. 
I don't think you should subject your child to this verbal abuse. It's not fair to him. And it's teaching him how to speak to his children. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I once dated a guy who treated my kids like they were his own. The problem was, i thought he was too hard on his own kids. He thought i was too soft on mine. Calling your son a "worthless waste of life" was very wrong. Would he say that to him if he were his own son? Maybe. It still wouldn't be right.

The thing is, this guy stepped in when your son was 14, and was expected to discipline him. You admit you had single mom guilt, so maybe your son isn't used to being made to "toe the line." You may have inadvertently set both your boyfriend and your son up to fail.

Another truth - people have waaay less tolerance for bad behavior in kids that aren't theirs, and eapecially in kids that they meet when they are older. Your boyfriend didn't know your son when he was a cute little tyke, and doesn't have years of bonding and warm feelings to get him through the difficult parenting of the teen years. Your son is 16. He sees him as another man in his space.

I would recommend coming up with "house rules" with your boyfriend. Then either you or you and BF communicate the rules to your son. You need to be the one who communicates and enforces the rules, with your boyfriend backing you up.

Hopefully your boyfriend has at least some remorse for the way he spoke to your son. He may have felt pushed over the edge and said things he really didn't want to say. Insist on respect for and from all members of the household. Hopefully everyone follows suit. If your boyfriend is still verbally abusive and insulting despite the changes, he may just be an asshole and you might need to break up with him. If your boyfriend is respectful and your son still isn't, you should set forth a timeline for him to launch after age 18. 

Bwarnp's picture

Thank you for your input. Unfortunately I feel you are right that it was set up to fail. Inadvertently of course, but still a truth. BF really doesn't see anything wrong with what he said and insists he is right. I don't see any situation where this is acceptable. I was really trying to see from BF side. Thanks again. 

tog redux's picture

This is why it doesn't work for stepparents to become the disciplinarian (that, and your BF is verbally abusive).  It's YOUR kid, you decide how he's disciplined.

You admit that you haven't really disciplined your son as much as you should have, and that's probably what he's reacting to, a kid who he feels needs better parenting. But his method is poor and destined to fail. No teenager is going to accept this from an adult that's not his parent, and is going to push back against it.

Take over the parenting, but step up and put some effort into it. Your "guilt" is really just your excuse to not do the hard work of setting limits on him and dealing with him being angry at you, and feeling like the meanie. You can't give your BF that role, you have to take it.  It won't work out otherwise.

susanm's picture

Obviously what your BF said was not right.  It sounds like he was always more on the authoritarian side than you are and you said yourself that you have not disciplined your son out of guilt.  That is a combination set up to fail.  It seems that your BF is growing more and more frustrated and resentful.  So is your son.  Honestly, you are doing neither of them any favors.  Your son should not have to be disciplined by someone who has lost patience with him and your BF should not have to be frustrated by a teenager who he sees as disrespectful and allowed to do as he pleases just because he doesn't do drugs or flunk out of school.  (Pretty low bar, isn't it?)  Your choice is to step up and parent your son yourself - which may be hard but you will thank yourself for when you actually have a kid who launches! - and relieve your BF of the responsibility or move out and be a true single mother to continue parenting as you are currently.


Movingonisbest's picture

Bwamp, your boyfriend has a kid he doesn't take care of but you gave him the authority to discipline your son? What gave you the idea he was capable of playing this role in your son's life? But a better question is what makes you think it's his responsibility? No way would I allow someone to push their parental responsibilities off on me that aren't mine. If you love your boyfriend and your son, maybe getting into some family counseling would be good. Also, perhaps some individual counseling for yourself so you can understand your son is your responsibility and to equip you with skills that will make you a better parent. Good Luck