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Does stepparenting stop when dh kids become adults?

stepmomfromhell's picture

Are your adult skids problems just traded in for a new set of other problems?

I have 2 teen ss that will be coming to my home in the spring to see their dad. I'm not exactly looking forward in seeing them and hope that they will go see their BM instead.

The last time they were here they did only what they wanted to do they went out saw friends and they went horse back riding, boating and didn't pick up after themselves, leaving the room smelling bad for days with banana peels rotting in the bedroom rubbish bin.

8GR8CATS's picture

This sounds pretty typical. My husband's first wife passed away when their boys were 17 & 12. My step-son who grew up in our household and who knew the house rules is much more invested in acting appropriately toward us as an adult. My step-son who was already in college and it just didn't seem worth it to try to insist upon- fighting with him- to act appropriately is now 38 years old and still acts very indifferent and toward the entire blended family situation. WE have to do everything for him and his family. HE shows interest in his dad only not even in his bio-brother. I would like to see him show more interest in his dad. In retrospect when he came home on vacations we should have held him to the same rules as the other 3 boys who lived there permanently. We are having to correct his son now with rude behaviors. I don't enjoy time with him. My husband is a wonderful father and step-dad and we have reaped the rewards with boys we raised together. So it's pay now or pay later. He should have been put in his place as a 19 year old. Much harder to do it as an adult. He has also become very close to his wife's family who are really obnoxious people- micromanage their daughter's and his life horribly. It seems very insulting to their adulthood... but I think the fact that there was no discipline and no really trying to correct behavior was taken to as rejection. I think kids really want to be corrected and disciplined- even older teens and young adults. Acting out gets negative attention, but it's still attention. So we have gotten into this whole passive/aggressive thing with him. It's really very sad. If you want these kids to be part of your lives you have to step-in and have your husband tell them what they need to do when in your home.

Just the wife's picture

When we began having sd issues early on my dh said "parenting doesn't get any easier just because they're grown." so true!!!

stacy01's picture

Yes, they come back home and bring children with them over and over agian. It will always be the step parents fauld.

ybarra357's picture

"It all depends on the bio parent, if they want to make the kid grow up or not"

^^very much agree.

Yeah, my SS21 is like this. Refuses to get a job or go to school and didn’t pay a dime contribution to the household. I refused to fork over my money to facilitate this slug to just hang out and smoke out all day, everyday. DH finally told him to leave after he was caught smoking out in the house – went to freeload at his mother’s house, gee go figure. The so called ‘helping” (read enabling) seemed to INCREASE after age 18. DH is all starry eyed about his son and keeps telling me how he wants to be an EMT and is gonna go to school and do all this stuff. – yeah, right.

Agged and Fragged's picture

You should not and cannot enter a stepchild's life and automatically expect them to treat you like a parent, particularly when the kids are teenagers. My son was 13 when his father remarried. She expected to be able to order my son around, demand his respect, even threaten and punish him and was constantly competing with my son for the father's attention. Bear in mind, my ex was not a custodial parent and only saw his son every other weekend. Her continual interference only increased the stress on an already strained relationship. As a result, my son despises his father and has not spoken to him in years. He considers his stepfather his father.

Frequently the best a new step parent can hope to do is become the stepchild's friend; at the very least they can avoid interfering with the biological parent's relationship with their children and certainly would be expected to have the maturity to not be jealous of or in competition with the biokids.

Finally, kids are a lifetime responsibility. My SD (now 23) was thrown out of her BM's house (long story, the kid is not at fault, her mother is an ice hearted egg donor in major denial). It was my idea to bring her into our home and my idea to offer her a home for life. I do not love having my SD here, but she is on the mild end of the autism spectrum (not diagnosed until she was 21) and has particular problems with areas of her life that would make living on her own impractical if not impossible. Her own mother abdicated all responsibility in the kid's life and left SD to sink or swim. It would be one thing if this kid had the apparatus to succeed but she simply doesn't. To allow her to end up homeless and destitute would not be teaching her a lesson, it would be inhumane and cruel.

My 27 year old bioson just called me with fears that he is about to be laid off. He voiced concerns that he can't make his bills on unemployment and asked if worst comes to absolute worse can he come home? (not a light consideration, it would mean a move of over 1,500 miles for my son). My response (and DH agreed) "of course you can, son, even if we have to put you in the attic. We'll help you anyway we can."

That's just what parents do. Just because your kids are over 18 doesn't mean you cut them adrift. A decent person is a parent until the day they die; if nothing else, family takes care of family.

herewegoagain's picture

Huh?

"My son was 13 when his father remarried. She expected to be able to order my son around, demand his respect, even threaten and punish him and was constantly competing with my son for the father's attention."

OK, did you not teach your son to respect ALL ADULTS? He doesn't really get a choice. If you are in MY house, you will respect me, end of story. This is regardless of wether you are my stepson, my neighbor's kid or a friend's kid. Period. If you do something wrong in MY house, I will let you know about it.

Now, as far as "competing" with your son for the father's attention, I can't say one way or another. I do see many step-parents/step-kids in this situation, but really, most of the time it is because the step-kid comes into the house thinking they have 100% right to be alone with their bio-parent the whole time they see them...and completely ignore the other adult and sometimes even kids in the home. That's not right either.

Agged and Fragged's picture

You expect someone to respect you when you tell them to "do ____" or "I'll kick your ass"?

Actually my son knew and liked my ex husband's wife just fine for nearly a year before they married. After the marriage she changed the way she was treating my son, trying to treat him like her own child, who was 3 years old at the time. She decided she didn't like my son's attitude (which was basically typical teenaged boy) and started bullying. Finally, she got progressively more jealous and the more my son wanted to be around his father the nastier she got. She created the dynamic of forcing my son to compete against her and her child for my husband's attention. What a surprise he got progressively angrier towards her.

However, no I don't feel stepparents have the right to demand respect from teenagers, anymore than I feel they can demand friendship and respect from anybody. Different game when you're talking children (age 0 to say, about 10) but once the kids cross the puberty barrier it's a whole other ball of wax. After that point I think stepparents need to build trust and respect with their teenaged stepchildren as they would in any other relationship, allowing that relationship to grow organically.

That's my opinion. You have the right to disagree with me. My stepchildren are 21 & 23 respectively and I get along with them quite well, having been married to their father for over 10 years *shrug*

paul_in_utah's picture

Ah, the old "earn their respect" argument. Kudos to you for calling what it is - complete bullshit. If you have a kid in your home, you are most like providing for them in a meaningful way, helping them with homework, activities, etc. Those actions, and other similar actions, demonstrate concern for skids. But those types of things "don't count," and as you noted, you have to leap impossible hurdles to "earn" their approval. Ridiculous. Letting them in your home should be enough "earning." Their part of the bargain should be respect, consideration, etc.

Unfortunately, with this "child-centric" generation of parents, the name of the game is kissing the kid's ass in an attempt to "win" their love and friendship, not actuallly parenting them. This is why the current generation will probably be the most entitled, least productive in human history. PUKE.

Jsmom's picture

I can demand respect from anyone I want and most certainly a teenager in my home...All I can say on that is WOW, you must let people walk all over you. That may be why your step kids are good with you. Well most of the SM's on here are not Lemmings...

Also, if you look at the SM's on here, all of us felt like things were good with the SK's when we were dating and all hell broke loose when we moved in together.

Reason is because there is a new person around to see the good and the bad, not just the good when we are dating. That outside person starts to call the kids and the spouses out on the bad behavior. So hence, it looks like she was jealous, but honestly, she was probably trying to get your Ex to be a dad and not the 'Weekend Disney Father" he was being. So of course the SM is the bad guy.

Agged and Fragged's picture

Actually, my ex never paid a dime of child support, whole other story. My son is fully cognizant that he has issues with his father. He can't resolve them currently because he'd just like a simple apology for little things, like being gut-punched by daddy so hard he dropped to the ground puking (mind you, he was in 2nd grade) for getting marker on his new sneakers (I was at work, I didn't find out about some of this stuff until after I left my ex).

My ex's family are all ... well let's say dysfunctional (incredibly effed up is another way to put it). My son is not the only kid who has "disengaged" from their bioparent, at least three of his cousins (from two of my ex's siblings) have done the same thing.

My ex comes from a family where psychological, physical and emotional abuse of a "loved one" by any means possible is considered absolutely normal and the way things are done, whether it's to your siblings, parents, children or spouse. My ex is the king of the mental mind-f%#k and thought it was a perfectly acceptable way to treat his son from the time he was little. My son tried for many, many years to have a healthy relationship with his father and eventually ended up throwing in the towel.

Just because someone has fathered or mothered a person does not make them a decent human being, it just makes the person that chose to reproduce with them a poor judge of character *shrug*

Forgiveness is something that you have to be ready for. I was an abused child, it took me more than 25 years to get anywhere near forgiveness.

sandye21's picture

"kids are a lifetime responsibility". And this same kid who you are spending your lifetime responsibility on will take care of you some day. Everyone is 'ice hearted'. Is this a real post?

UTOBMOM's picture

I have been through the stepparent role before, for 20 YEARS. It was not a perfect relationship either. There were some tough days, there were times when the BM did things that would make your toes curl. I have been through years of doing without for those four kids. I have also been the one to slip them some money when I knew they were having trouble just keeping gas in their cars, or I was the one who went and paid to have a new well drilled when their water went out (not their father, ME, the "soft touch"). They will ALWAYS be the "kids" no matter their age, the oldest is now 41 (YIKES . . Im feeling old now!). But the rough patches, the irritations, were NOTHING LIKE THE NEW (4) ADULT STEPCHILDREN I have had since 2009. This is like living in a NIGHTMARE!

I always get accused of "taking their father", truth is? I have been the one to call and let SSs know when Dad was getting an unexpected day and off and since I had overheard them talking about going fishing I gave them a heads-up to call him and spend the day with him. Considering he works all the time, evening shift and I never see him hardly? I would NEVER attempt to separate a child from their parent, EVER. However, despite what they think . . . THEIR BEHAVIOR is what keeps him from having a relationship with them. They talk to and treat him like he is a child. They put him down etc etc My DH is truly the nicest man alive, and when we were engaged and dating that is ALL THEY COULD say about him too. They talked about how BAD their mother was to him, how she talked to him terribly. Strange, THEY TALK TO HIM THE EXACT SAME WAY!

It IS true that we are parents til the day we die. However, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE does NOT mean that we have to be anyone's doormat. We will love them always, but we do not always like what they do or what they say. Doing so would only be perpetuating bad behavior . . . bullies just keep being bullies unless someone stands their ground.

UTOBMOM's picture

I have been through the stepparent role before, for 20 YEARS. It was not a perfect relationship either. There were some tough days, there were times when the BM did things that would make your toes curl. I have been through years of doing without for those four kids. I have also been the one to slip them some money when I knew they were having trouble just keeping gas in their cars, or I was the one who went and paid to have a new well drilled when their water went out (not their father, ME, the "soft touch"). They will ALWAYS be the "kids" no matter their age, the oldest is now 41 (YIKES . . Im feeling old now!). But the rough patches, the irritations, were NOTHING LIKE THE NEW (4) ADULT STEPCHILDREN I have had since 2009. This is like living in a NIGHTMARE!

I always get accused of "taking their father", truth is? I have been the one to call and let SSs know when Dad was getting an unexpected day and off and since I had overheard them talking about going fishing I gave them a heads-up to call him and spend the day with him. Considering he works all the time, evening shift and I never see him hardly? I would NEVER attempt to separate a child from their parent, EVER. However, despite what they think . . . THEIR BEHAVIOR is what keeps him from having a relationship with them. They talk to and treat him like he is a child. They put him down etc etc My DH is truly the nicest man alive, and when we were engaged and dating that is ALL THEY COULD say about him too. They talked about how BAD their mother was to him, how she talked to him terribly. Strange, THEY TALK TO HIM THE EXACT SAME WAY!

It IS true that we are parents til the day we die. However, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE does NOT mean that we have to be anyone's doormat. We will love them always, but we do not always like what they do or what they say. Doing so would only be perpetuating bad behavior . . . bullies just keep being bullies unless someone stands their ground.

Agged and Fragged's picture

There's far more about my son's story than these forums would allow, honestly it's water under the bridge. My son is far from perfect but he was (and still is) very forthright. He was never angry about his father and I getting divorced, he was only sorry it didn't happen sooner. Nor was he angry about our remarrying other people. In fact, my son calls his stepfather "dad" (he'll call his bio dad "sperm donor" on occasion, asshole and jerkwad usually).

And my son, now 27, has not spoken to his biological father in several years and hasn't seen him face to face in nearly a decade, his father's wife definitely did not try to help that situation in the least (excuse me, soon to be ex-wife -- lovely woman that she is, she ran up all the credit cards and left him for another man about six months ago, abandoning her child, the child she had with her first husband, in the care of my ex, her 2nd husband, class, huh?)

BigEasy1203's picture

Yes, it's definitely a lifelong commitement. However, in my situation, I am hopeful that things will get better when the kids move out.

My hope is based on two things. First of all, my stepkids live with me and the wife full time, 365 days a year. Their BD is totally out of the picture, so there are no weekends where he has them. It's a rare occasion when both kids are out of the house and we have a few hours to ourself. So, that I will definitely enjoy.

Second, I am thinking that as they get older they will mature and be easier to deal with. It's not that they are out of control or anything, but they are just both teenagers that don't understand anything about the real world, and can be extremely annoying to be around.

buttercookie's picture

Parenting never stops, it just evolves. Kids grow up to be adults and should not need to have their basic needs met by their parents. (food,clothing,shelter,emotional etc.) In a perfect world kids grow up get jobs support themselves possibly get married and start their own family and visit with and have adult relationships with their parents. With all that said we did kick my SS out at 20. He lived with his mother for a year after graduating school and she kicked him out because he left messes, racked up bills and expected to have money handed to him for him to go out with friends when and if he felt like it and didn't think he should even have to get a part time job to help with his expenses. He moved in here and expected to play video games, watch TV and use me as a maid all while calling me swear words and threatening to beat me up. So yeah he was sent packing not due to his age, but his behavior. Had he been living here and going to school and or working and helping out at least cleaning up after himself there wouldn't have been an issue. I think a lot of this depends on the kid (adult) and what type of parenting they think they still need as adults.

stacy01's picture

Unfortunately it comes to the point where you can only handle so much. My stepdaughter comes back with being pregnant with a sex offenders baby. She has a son from a previous relationship or one night stand (at first she couldnt make up her mind whos kid it was until paternity test ran. I have been married for about 20 years and this girl was 6 when we got married and she has been a holey terror and has caused problems because she hates me and wonders why her dad even married me. Husband will not defend agianst her due to her having children and no job. She does not want a job she says its her dads job to take care of her and her children because they are blood. I have 2 adult children one that is severly disabled and one that works his but off and afraid to leave me and his sister without back up. I will file for divorce when I get all my ducks in a row. Always a catch 22 when you have to take care of someone whom cant take care of themselves.