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Melissa29's picture

I have been with my husband for almoat 5 years.  We have been married 3 of those 5.  We are a blended family because I have 2 children S11 and D9 from a previous marriage and he has a S12.  Since we have been together we have added 2 more children to our family S2.5 and D1.  My SS12 has been with us the whole time and has no contact with his mother since I have known him. (Mother has lots of issues and even though I haven' met her I dislike her for may of the things that she has done to her children.  She also has a daughter, my SS's half sister, that lives with grandmother and has never met her.)  (He gets to see his half sister often and we have a decent relationshio with husbands ex in-laws)

Things were great for the longest time.  My SS lives with us and I consider him mine.  The problems have started in the last year to year and a half.  I am old fashioned and so to some extent is my husband.  We expect our children to do chores, keep their rooms clean and make good grades as well as be respectful to others. If They don' do these things there are conseqences.  In the last year and a half my SS has made low grades and because of this he has been grounded off and on.  Our belief is that all of our children are capable or making an 80 or higher in school.  When their grades fall below 80 the are assigned study time after school (1-2 hours where their focus is homework and reading).  

SS HAS had study time frequently and has even been completely grounded ( from everything) due to failing grades.  He has developed an I don't care attitude about everything.  When doing his chores he has begun doing them half way or some times not at all.  He has an attitude about everything and even raises his voice to me in anger when asked to help ordo something he doesn't want to.  Sometimes I feel like he purposefully does things wrong just to frustrate me and others. ( Ex: Asked boys to help my mom mow her yard because she ia 65 and has problems with her leg.  SS gripes about having to mow and when it is his turn mows in zig zags and misses huge spots before finally quitting because he says its too hard.  My S11has already mowed majority of yard.  My walks out to check yard and gets frustrated to tears by his behavior and tries to finish it herself, but my son takes over and finishes for her.)

The only thing he seems to care about his going to his grandmothers house and seeing his half sister.  I almost get the impression from the way he acts that his other younger siblings half and step aren' t really family in his mind.  Some days are really bad and I almost feel like throwing my hands up and being done.  

I feel like something is going on but I don' know what.  SS's grandmother blames my husband because hes a gamer and often play games after work to unwind, or she says it because of how he lived before my husband got custody.  My husband gets frustrated with SS but says the attitude is because I nag SS and other kids.  My friends and his other family members make excuses for him.  My mom and sister see his behavior but everyone else seems oblivious.  Advise please!

fourbrats's picture

need different parenting or even different schooling to be successful. I am learning this with my own middle DD. She is smart. So smart. Top 22% of the country on the PSAT10 and she never cracked a book. She is 16 and passed the college entrance exam for high school admittance with flying colors but had poor grades in all of her classes. She needs different parenting and schooling and my old fashioned self is having a hard time with that. I want to nag her, I want to discipline her for not doing what I know she is capable of. But it only causes her to shut down and get attitude. 

I don't have an answer other than trying to find strategies that work with this particular child. And there will be failures. I had one this morning. One epic battle between my daughter and I that we could have avoided had we done things differently and in a way that works for both of us. 

Melissa29's picture

I have tried many different schooling methods. I am a teacher by profession so I deal with different learning styles on a daily basis.  I have tried so many different things to help him.  It' not that he can' do what' required at school it that he doesn' want to.  He gets his homework and projects done and I even check them, but he won't turn anything in.

He has the mindset that it doesn't matter if he does well in school or not.  He thinks that people will always take care of him and that he doesn' need to prepare for the future.  

fourbrats's picture

I was talking about a different type of school all together. Blended learning, a magnet school, etc. Maybe a "no grades" school if they are available in your area. I am currently looking at options for my own kiddo. And we are having the same problem with homework and grades. What she does is excellent, but she won't turn it in. 

I also use things like the Greenlight card (if he likes money) for both of mine still at home. They both get money for adventures and activities based on additional chores, behavior, etc. They have set things they must do each day for the household and then above and beyond is for payment. 

Melissa29's picture

That is something I could look into.  It' worth a try

Areyou's picture

I am sure he is depressed. Maybe take him to see a  therapist. SD13 acts like this and she knows she has mental health problems. She’s a histrionic and she has depression and social anxiety. The parents are lazy about getting her into therapy and DH hates having anyone refer to his princess as having mental health problems. Oh well I’m disengaged so let her f up her life. 

Survivingstephell's picture

He told you his currency and you need to use it to motivate him toward better behavior and grades.  Make his visiting Grandma and half sister dependent on behaving and doing schoolwork.  If that's the ONLY thing that works then use it.  Don't let anyone guilt you into giving in.  If his currency was video games, you wouldn't think twice about using those.  

I'm sure your inlaws don't want him turning into his mother so it would be helpful if all the adults were on the same page, but if they aren't then Dad will have to take charge. He will have to put down the controller and parent.  It also sounds like everyone is pointing fingers elsewhere and nobody is coming together to prevent SS from going down the wrong path.  

You can point things out but until everyone agrees, (inlaws WAY TOO involved for my taste) I can't see any lasting change for SS.  

Melissa29's picture

What bothers me about my husband' Ex in-laws is that they always have an opinion.  They give advise, but when it comes down to it they either blame my husband who disengages or they say it's because of SS mother issues.  ( Their daughter)  He has seen counselors and they all say he seems to have adjusted well to his mom being gone.  I have found that SS tends to use mom and thing that happened whole with her as excuses when he really hated having to do something.  

Survivingstephell's picture

Life is all about learning to stick with something you hate doing until its done.  People count on others to do it.  This is one of the most important lessons from family life and YOUR husband is falling short on that lesson.  This is a life skill that employers expect and complain about.  Lack of teamwork, whining because no twentysomething will do the grunt work and work their way up, they just expect it all now.  I don't know what magic words will click with your husband but this falls on him to get his son ready for adulthood.  I just have no time for excuses from able bodied 12 year olds.  I've had 3 so far and you just need to be tough and consistent.  

It sounds like you need to parent your hubby if his gaming habit is being tossed around as a reason.  Is he role modeling the very behavior that SS is and driving you nuts???  

Have you read about Love and Logic as a method to use?? There's a book on it.  

Melissa29's picture

You may be right, because I do get very frustrated with him for playing his games or watching tv instead of helping me with the kids.  I feel like I do the majority the parenting for all the kids, not just the SS.

Survivingstephell's picture

A night out with the girls and take the gaming controls with you.  *drinks*