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Texting step kids with an issue

Biostep7777's picture

So the other day my step kids left and DH asked them if they cleaned up their room and they said "yes" so we took their word for it (first mistake) So the next day I went in to see if they had any laundry and lie and behold their room was a mess! I texted them and said "hey guys! You left some dirty dishes in your room. Please make sure you clean up next time" 

well our family therapist was like "don't ever parent over text snd next time help them clean the night before" 

usually I agree with him but this one has me stumped. Ok obviously we would never text about anything important but I didn't see an issue with this. It was just a reminder. Second why are we going to help teenagers clean their rooms??? I'm confused. Thoughts?? 

Winterglow's picture

Does your family therapist have any real (as in personal, first-hand) experience with step situations?  Or do they think that step families function like non-step families?

Biostep7777's picture

Yes!!! He works with high conflict blended families. Like I said....usually I agree with him but this time I'm just like...wha?? I'm not going to text them anymore. I do get that part mostly.

tog redux's picture

I agree with the not parenting over text, especially when they are in another home.  Though why is it you making sure they clean their room and not their father? Perhaps what the therapist meant was that you should check their rooms before they leave, not help them; but either way, I agree that a stepmother texting kids at their mom's to scold them is inappropriate. Tell them when they come back to your house.

Personally I think I have only texted my SS once or twice in 10 years, and not with anything related to parenting - but you are obviously way more engaged than I was.


Biostep7777's picture

Yeah I get that!!! It just so happened that I went in there and saw the mess and it was just kind of a "friendly reminder" it's my house too so I feel I can do this and yes we are scream over here although DH does 99% of the parenting with his kids so I didn't see this as a huge deal but I won't be doing it again. But no he said to go in there and help them clean. That part I don't get. 

tog redux's picture

Well, I don't agree with that, but I also didn't care about my SS's room being a mess. He was good about not leaving dishes in there, but otherwise, I just shut the door and paid no attention to his room. Not a hill to die on for me.

Biostep7777's picture

Yep. I'm not bothering anymore. I'm done! They just can't eat up there anymore. 

tog redux's picture

To me, room cleanliness is not a big deal - but I'm not a super neat person, so it didn't bother me to know that his room was a mess behind the closed door.

Cover1W's picture

If you can enforce the no food in the bedroom rule I'll be amazed. I gave up on all clean room and no food rules because DH would allow it and undermine me. He also helped a teen clean her room. Or, he cleaned her room for her while she busied herself with looking like she was doing something.

I would go in only when the room started smelling from the hallway or enough dining items disappeared from the kitchen. This indicated moldy and rotten food which I did not tolerate and would do a nuclear clearing of the room.

Biostep7777's picture

Yeah that's the only reason I said something. Because there was a bunch of bowls in there snd they wouldn't be back until the next week snd we would have had ants and it would smell. I also DJ grab anyone's laundry if I'm doing a load and it's not a full load which is why I was in there. Otherwise I don't bother. 

Dogmom1321's picture

Stop doing their laundry. 

My SD10 is responsible for putting her dirty clothes in the hamper and in the laundry room. If it's not in the hamper, I'm not washing it. Period. 

Biostep7777's picture

Yeah I get that!!! It just so happened that I went in there and saw the mess and it was just kind of a "friendly reminder" it's my house too so I feel I can do this and yes we are scream over here although DH does 99% of the parenting with his kids so I didn't see this as a huge deal but I won't be doing it again. But no he said to go in there and help them clean. That part I don't get. 

Harry's picture

It's your home.  You have a right to text the kids when they lied to you and DH.  Lies are the worst of it.   Not not cleaning the room.    Your DH should check the rooms before they leave to make sure everything is clean 

Biostep7777's picture

Agreed!! He said he would do this from now on. We just took their word for it. That was our mistake. 

hereiam's picture

I wouldn't have bothered to text them.

Not sure why you would take their word for it that they cleaned their room, that is hilarious, to me. Your DH should have checked and made sure that they had done it.

Biostep7777's picture

Lol!! We learned our lesson!! The kids are usually pretty good about that so we took their word for it. 

Thumper's picture

I agree with your therapist all the way around.

Your best bet is to completely stop texting. Deal with your homes issues inside your home. Also, if you want or need to talk to them, pick up the phone. But remember not to parent them when they are  at bm's.




Biostep7777's picture

Yes I agree. I hadn't really thought about it but it does make sense. I mean I text my kids with little things, this to me wasn't really "parenting"  just more of a reminder. We have had issues in the past with them saying we didn't say something or they didn't hear us or we never said that so sometimes I feel texting it is better to have it in writing so they can't do that but we can figure out another way. I have a great coparenting relationship with my kid's dad so little reminder texts are no big deal for us. Of course if it was a more serious topic I would never do that but a "hey you  left your dishes out, try to remember next time" seems appropriate to me as a text.  But then again, their dad would back me up and tell them "listen to your mother" so I have to remind myself sometimes that we have a much different situation.

ETA: we never talk on the phone. Ever. They get super weird because their mom stands over them. DH tries to but it's just always super awkward. I'm not going to text at all anymore though! Problem solved! Lol

Dogmom1321's picture

The only time I bother myself with reminding SD to clean is when it starts to intrude in other areas of the house. Even then, I'll tell DH he needs to remind her. 

For example, her bedroom is on the FAR END of the house at the end of the hallway. SD10 will "clean" her room (aka shove everything in the hallway). Laundry baskets, hangers, food wrappers/dishes, etc. The other day she left and it was not clean. I couldn't get to the attic because the hallway was blocked and filled up with her sh!t. I put every single thing back in her room and closed the door. No, we won't text her about it. I'm sure she will say something when she comes back of "why did you mess up my room?" Then I'll proceed to tell her how the hallway isn't her bedroom and she can't just put junk out there and block the attic. 

Close the door and don't stress about it. 

Biostep7777's picture

Yeah the only reason I had an issue was because they left dishes and they would be sitting there for a week so I had to be the one to clean that up. They are also suppose to do their own dishes or put them in the dishwasher and they know it. So, it did intrude on my time because we would have had moldy stinky food on my dishes of left there. The otter stuff? Meh, whatever. 

Dogmom1321's picture

Nope. Leave it there. That's what I do with SD. She can come back a week later to wrappers, old utinsils, glasses of drinks, etc. in her room. Just shut the door. And she can gag when she has to clean up the spoiled food. 

Also, use it as a reminder any time you see them sneaking food upstairs. I saw SD carrying a pizza box and said "I need you to eat that downstairs since you didn't clean up after yourself last time." 

Rags's picture

First, though correct about not parenting via text.... your therapist is an idiot.

No, do not "help them clean their room".  And.. do not ask them if they cleaned their room.  Make them show you that they cleaned their room.  Asking a question to a young person is just setting yourself up to be lied to and to be disappointed.

I learned this with my own SKid.  So, I quit asking him questions and started demanding that he "show me".   Many kids, me and my SKid included, and will tell adults what they think the adult wants to hear in order to not disappoint.

Once I quit asking and started demanding that he show me, things got a whole lot better.

Trust but verify works.  So, don't ask.... tell.   "We asked you to make sure your rooms are cleaned.  I am sure you did as we asked. So... show us."

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It gives them the opportuntiy to do as they are told, it gives them the opportunity to perform, and it aleviates most of the opportunity for them to lie.

Good luck.

Biostep7777's picture

Yeah I can agree with this. I mean this is what I've always done with my kids and they tell me if they did or didn't clean. If they didn't we talk about it. I really can't remember a time that I asked them and they said they cleaned when they didn't. They know I'm going to look and they would be in a lot more trouble if they lied about it. Lol!! Yeah, I would never parent via text with something important or initiate a new topic but "hey you forgot to bring your dishes down, please don't forget next time" seems like a perfectly acceptable text. Again, maybe I'm just doing what I do with my kids. I don't see a big deal with that. Am I going to have a talk about cerfews or  phone privileges or significant others over text? Of course not but can't quite wrap my head around "you left dishes, remember next time" is wrong?? I'm open to hearing why!! I guess I'm just not seeing that perspective as it was just a very very minor reminder. 
And I'm sorry but hell no we are not helping children over the age of 10 clean their room while mg kids are expected to do it on their own. 

tog redux's picture

You aren't your stepkids' parent, that's why. You ARE your kids' parent.  If DH sent them that text it would have been better.

Biostep7777's picture

I should have mehtioned. He said neither of us should texts anything like this. If he said "this should be coming from the parent not the step" I could kind of understand his point but he was very clear neither of us should write any texts like this ever. I just don't get it. Plus, I have been in their lives for years! I am not a new person in their lives. 

tog redux's picture

I get that, but would you be okay with your ex's wife texting your kids to scold them while at your house? And maybe you would be, but would BM be?

I don't think texting them is a huge deal (if DH did it), but I also don't see why it can't wait until they get back to your home. 

hereiam's picture

this to me wasn't really "parenting"  just more of a reminder

But, by this time, they were already gone and would not be back for what? A week, 2 weeks?

can't quite wrap my head around "you left dishes, remember next time" is wrong?

Not necessarily wrong, just inconsequential.

Your text accomplished nothing, except maybe to give them a laugh and you the satisfaction of "scolding" them.

Remind them when they come back, remind them all weekend long. Check their room often, or stop letting them eat and drink in their room, since they are obviously not responsible enough to take care of their dirty dishes.

When the therapist said "help them clean the night before", I hope said therapist meant "watch them clean the night before".

Biostep7777's picture

Thank you! That helps me understand a bit more. Nope. He meant we all clean the room together. I was like "sorry no!" Im

nof helping my teenage stepkids clean their room. What message does that send them and my own kids who are expected to clean their own room themselves? 

Lifer33's picture

That you have their number to text them, I think a lot of sk/sp relationships don't stretch that far.

In this scenario I think even dh texting them wouldn't do much, it's a path to eye rolls or even ridicule from the step kids and or their entourage depending on their natures. I'd have left it like that until they came again, made them clean it up then and promptly tell them that eating in there is banned, can you see why kids? 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

why does the therapist think an adult/step-parent/biological part should be helping a teenager clean their room? I come from a nuclear family and once I came of age to be able to clean my room myself, no one helped me clean my room, but me!