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Trying to Find Balance

That Guy In Vegas's picture

Hey everyone,
I just found this site & booked marked it immediately as I feel i'm not the only one feeling half crazy now lol.. Ok my thoughts & needed opinions are; I'm in a relationship with a woman, we're not married and i'm trying to find a balance of some kind. And i mean i'm really trying here. Long story short, we've known each other for 10 years, dated a couple years back (2007 - 2010), broke up and recently got together again. She has a 12 year old son that lives with us, i have a 15 year old daughter i have custody of who lives back on the east coast with grandparents because she didn't want to transfer high schools which i supported & respected.

Now my issues in this relationship are our differences of discipline, structure and responsibility. I have issues with my step son playing these playstation video games or on Youtube from when he gets home from school til night at 10pm nonstop. She seems to have no issues with it, i've spoken my mind about it numerous times and now i'm at a point of being tired of talking about it because clearly i'm not being taken serious. Last night he was up til 4am this morning playing the Grand Theft Auto 5 which i was against him getting in the first place. His grades dropped in school this week, so in her world it was fine to let him have one gaming day which supposedly was yesterday. So today he's getting another gaming day as if nothing ever happened. He has no chores, no taking out the trash, no putting the trash can on the curb, no dishes, no feeding the dog, no picking up the dog poop in the back yard which has to be done in this Vegas desert, basically nothing.. The life of just waking up, looking in the fridge eating what you want & complaining when what you want isn't there lol, watching Youtube all day, playing video games all day, taking a shower & go to bed and do it all over again. I implemented the chores & things when we were together the first time & he was on a good roll but in her mind & families mind i was a little too strict so that got the ax.

i guess I'm trying to understand if this is normal in today's households & if i'm just out of touch with reality now. I'm 37 years old & there's no way I'd allow my biological son to do this if i had one. A couple of hours is cool but not 40hrs on the weekend. And clearly she sees nothing wrong with it, as if it's just a convenience for her because he's out of her hair. For me its irritating, and maybe i'm out of touch with reality. Would like to get some other thoughts & opinions about this and if you deal with your kids and these video games.


lil_lady's picture

I completely agree with your views and id your tv that is being used I think you should make some house rules. But if ss has his own tv maybe its just time you disengage. Really depends what kind of parenting role you are expecting to have.

That Guy In Vegas's picture

lol Yeah he has is own big flat screen in his room, and yesterday we were talking about Christmas and she brings up the idea of spending $1500 getting him a gaming computer. My response was are serious or am i missing something. Lol She didn't seem to think the idea of "getting" him a gaming computer was a bad idea.. But that the "price" was maybe to high. And this is why I'm trying to gain some clarity today to make sure i'm not out of touch.

I just asked about 2hrs ago, what was our purpose & expectations of each other in this relationship and she seems to not like that discussion. I've been trying to figure ways to deal with it without blowing over & sinking the ship, but I'm almost out of ideas here. I told her, she really has it easy because my daughter isn't living with us so she really has no adjustments to make.

lil_lady's picture

Seems like you guys need clarify exactly how this is going to work... if you are expected to dish out for her ss then you need house rules. If you guys are going to keep everything separate then you really dont have a say.

No its not normal I wanted an hr screen time in my home. When I say screen time I mean any peice of electronic... tablet, laptop, tv... wtvr. BF and I mett in the middle with 2 hrs of tv time. Thus far I havent had to deal with laptop's yet I am hoping we both agree that it is the same thing.

MamaDuck's picture

That is NOT normal!! Sorry to say it, but your SO is being a lazy parent! I have 2 boys 9 & 7 who love computer games, x box and Wii, but I have rules before they get their HALF hour game time each day, they have to clean their rooms etc first.

Bad news, your SO HAS to be the one to change this! She has to be the one to change the rules, make the chore list, carry out consequences etc. Have you two had an in depth talk about it? Does she understand where you are coming from? Regardless of whether SHE see's it as a problem or not, she needs to respect that YOU do, and then you guys can work on a middle ground. Like, my SO gets VERY annoyed by my 9yo kicking his ball around everywhere, (mostly in the house) I didn't so much mind, that kid's gonna be a major soccer play and earn millions with his ball skills ( Blum 3 ) BUT I had to respect SO's feelings, and I have since enforced rules in regards to the ball kicking.

IMHO, I think she needs to do a parenting class!

That Guy In Vegas's picture

Great thoughts & i have brought up the conversation, but the response from her seems to be " so you think I'm a bad parent" and im like how is this getting flipped around to you being the victim here. He was playing football and didn't want to play again and its been game time ever since. I have been trying to find a middle ground here but as i told her, it seems she feels sorry for him because his bio dad is no where in the picture or she just doesn't see the importance of developing structure, responsibility & some type of guidelines.

I'm not sure if she understands where i'm coming from or not, or if its even registering. When i ask her what are we teaching him, and i say WE because i'm quick to ask him questions about history, modern day to day events to get his opinion. It's like talking to two people without a clue of what's happening outside of their bubble.. lol She claims its because we live in Las Vegas & their isn't much to do for kids but I don't subscribe to that nonsense.

lol I really am trying to figure a solution without sinking this ship. Thanks for the thoughts

lil_lady's picture

When SO and I had this conversation I came at it this way. How are you nurishing creativity and a bright mind? Every time SD is zombie eyes infront of the tv she gets it turned off she cant even be creative enough to figure out how to play with her toys! Kids need to be creative and able to entertain themselves. Think about how this is going to affect his life in the long wrong. If you can turn it into your concerns for her sons wellbeing then she will be much more receptive.

That Guy In Vegas's picture

I appreciate the welcome & agree with every word you said. He clearly has a video game addiction and when i ask her " do you think this is normal" it's almost like I'm asking a foreign question or something. Or as if I'm creating a situation out of thin air. And honestly it confuses the heck out of me because in my mind, as you stated all of the video games & internet should be a reward. I told her you're rewarding bad behavior with the grades falling, not turning in homework, and it's very hard for me to sit here and ignore it. I told her earlier today, we have to be on the same page but i don't feel like we're reading the same book on some issues.. lol

I will read the forums & blogs you mentioned, and again thanks.

attempting_to_maintain_composure's picture

My SD is only a year older than your SS and, much like him, is addicted to video games and You Tube. When she's at our house, she only gets 2 hours of screen time a day - TV, video games, computer, and text messaging friends included. The only exception would be if SD had a school project to work on, and even then, FDH has trackers on her laptop so he can see how much school work vs fun stuff she is really doing.

Granted, she's hasn't been here in over a year because her mom, who is an alienating POS, has no rules or restrictions for SD so she can go hog wild playing video games for days at a time without consequence at her mom's house (and then there's the pesky fact that her mom convinced her that she shouldn't have to put up with me - long story that can be found in my blogs if you're at all curious).

It was a bit of a battle with FDH, to say the least, to get the restrictions on SD. But she would dominate the TV in the living room or sit staring at her laptop or phone all day long if she wasn't regulated. As she gets older, we plan to adjust her screen media time accordingly, but, yea, you're not out of line for thinking his behavior is excessive, because it is!

twoviewpoints's picture

Instead of thinking So is 'lazy parent' try a different approach when she gets defensive. I don't think she's a 'lazy' parent I think she's a misguided one. I don't think she realizes the situation she is creating.

The kid is 12. The hours and hours of gaming right now seem harmless to her. Kid's not hurting anyone and he's behaving. The problem is she's looking at the situation with blinders on and in the short term. Flash forward three years. Kids is now really doing extremely poorly in school. His only 'friends' are not really friends but faceless people. He's developed no sense of responsibility, no skills at how to be 1/2 way self-sufficient, never pushed a mower, did his laundry, a dishwasher is just a noisy item in the kitchen next to instant food aka the fridge. He's social awkward and personal hygiene is slipping because afterall, why bother kid's just going to play games in his bedroom.

Suddenly he's 18 and if not failed high school perhaps skipped out with horrid grades and has even more time to game. Then he's 20. Then 24. He's an adult with no education and means to ever move out and support himself let alone even get a low wage job. SO is still supporting this man child with no end in sight. Your relationship with SO petered out years ago from fighting over the gaming playing lump she calls a son.

Well, you get the picture and it's not a pretty one with a happy ending. Sure it's her kid, it's her problem and if this is the future she wants for her kid, not much you can do about it...but at some point, you know yourself if something doesn't change and the kid doesn't start getting parented differently this above scenario could very well be your household's future. If SO won't kick his butt off the gaming at 12, do you really think she'll kick him out at 18, 22, 25?

IslandGal's picture

How about printing out your blog with all the comments and showing it to your DW so she knows you're not alone in this?

My BS14 is a complete and utter game freak. If he had his way, he'd be buried in his room 24/7 365 days a year. He is, however, a geek - a nerd 100% and has always been reserved and shy. I usually let him play as long as his homework and chores are done. His chores are to clean the pool every day and to clean his room. Being a typical teenager, he "forgets" sometimes and goes straight to his room to play and this aggravates the hell out of me.

At one stage, I had to take out his foxtel card and threaten to sell his game on e-bay to get him to do what was expected of him. Working full time and coming home after 6pm most nights isn't easy for me to monitor him but my gauge is by checking his homework and assignments. If his grades start to drop then the time he's allowed to spend on his games is cut.

I would probaby be one of those parents who are accused of being lazy with him - but as long as his grades are up, his chores are done and his room is clean, it's not a problem to me. My MAJOR gripe with my kid is his room - his version of "clean" and my version are completely different - he likes having a bit of clutter and I like spotless - so we've compromised that as long as it's tidy with no food wrappers etc everywhere - it's a never ending battle.

Alwaysannoyed's picture

To be honest my BS is 16 & has always been a big gamer. He is also shy and kind of nerdy but basically a good kid. He follows rules does his homework, gets good grades, keeps his room clean, mows the lawn at our house and my parents, also helps me out around the house when asked. He has a girlfriend he sees maybe once a week and just a few guy friends he hangs out with maybe once a week but other than that he's on the game, or computer. It's annoying but I think it's ok as long as they have a bed time which during the school week he's in bed by 10:30 and they aren't neglecting other things like chores and grades. I think it's really just a part of this generations life... Once they hit 13 they aren't interested in playing outside and if their not into sports what else are they going to do. My SO has a problem with it as well and is always picking on my son to me and it annoys the hell out of me. The funny thing is his BD 9 spends all her free time watching tv & does not lift a finger around the house does not have one chore but of course that's totally different hmmm is it really?