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  #1  
Old 11-26-2004, 01:51 PM
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Question Getting tough with stepson.....

I have had enough and finally told my 18 year old stepson that on weekends he either has to find a job, or go stay with his Father every weekend.

I actually feel guilty which I assume is normal, but will pass in time.

To summarize: At 18 he does nothing a typical 18 year old does. He has a 1.0 GPA in what is suposed to be his Senior year of HS. I say supposed to becasue chronologically, he is a Senior but thanks to the Public school system, he gets to be aSenior, yet owe classes from his Frosh and Sophm years he has not passed. barring any more failed classes this year, he will owe 5 classes that will have to be made up next year, or in summer school.

He doesn't go out, doesn't want to learn how to drive, no interest in girls and is generally apathetic towards everything except music, which he can listen to all day and night in his room.

The culmination came last week when I offered him 30 bucks for about 3 hours of work, so he can have some money in his pocket. He said yes, then stalled and stalled and stalled until it started to get dark and the job would have to wait. He was listening to music with a friend and skateboarding, so the job couldn't get done.

The next day I gave the job to my son, and the stp-son started giving his mother attitude when we asked him to go to Home Depot to help carry stuff.

"Why are we landscaping, why are we pulling weeds, why are we cleaning, it's just going to get dirty, the weeds will grow back, it doesn't make sense, etc...."

He was arguing with his mother the whole time at home depot and basically acted like a ***** the whole time.

At that point, I got into it with him and told him what would happen if he didn't get a job on the weekend.

Yeaterday, I reminded him and told him if he was going to be here today, he would have to go work with me for 5.00 per hour. HE said "no way, I'm going to my Dad's" with attitude of course.

So I said fine, just make sure you're not here all weekend doing nothing, or I'll find something for you to do.

I really feel that he has no desire to grow up and be responsible, which explains him hanging out with kids younger than him. He really cannot hang out with anyone his age and be able to relate to them.

Maybe him spending more time with his Dad will make him start to think and act more responsible.

All I know is, I feel like an ******* by letting him sit around, eat the food I provide, use the comforts I provide, and have him give us an attitude to top it off.

I have been telling him for a couple of years that he may not be suited for school, that he is wasting time and should drop out and take the GED. Then go to a trade school and go to work.

BTW, his Mom is ok with me telling him to go to his Dad's on the weekends. She realizes something needs to be done.


Any thoughts are appreciated.

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Old 11-26-2004, 02:13 PM
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Sounds like depression to me. My guess is that it may have something to do with the divorce. I'm not sure what to advise, beyond maybe looking into professional help to find out what has this kid so bottled up within himself.
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Old 11-26-2004, 02:16 PM
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Im feeling sorry for you. Alls I can say is that he is raised now. Not much chance of having much impact on him any more. Hes an adult, and youre allowing him to be a houseguest. You have got to get an understanding with your wife come spring hes on his own, or you can just consider that hes an expensive pet. Have a good one my weekend just started and Im off to play.
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Old 11-26-2004, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Power
Sounds like depression to me. My guess is that it may have something to do with the divorce. I'm not sure what to advise, beyond maybe looking into professional help to find out what has this kid so bottled up within himself.
I agree -- from the brief description, this sounds tragic. Professional help may be warranted. All 18 yo kids should be passionately interested in something, even if it's just raising hell...
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Old 11-26-2004, 03:07 PM
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That sounds an awful lot like me at that age. In retrospect in my case it was a lot about fear of moving foreword, gaining acceptance and so on. Perhaps guidance and encouragement, will help.....
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Old 11-26-2004, 03:39 PM
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You all need professional help as a family group. The stepson has not gotten over the D-i-v-o-r-c-e. Seek professional help. What kind of Sh#t is his father feeding him??
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Old 11-26-2004, 04:10 PM
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Just wondering if you saw this thread:

What is the difference between punishment and discipline?

I agree with the advice to get professional help. I would start with an assessment to see if there is a problem that makes him capable of no more. I have seen a number of individuals whose behavior was incomprehensible and it turned out that there were underlying problems that limited their capabilities.

When the kid understands the situation he may feel the need to prove that he is capable of more.

Life is too short, this kid needs help now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crash9
or you can just consider that hes an expensive pet.
Excellent statement, one that at first glance comes across as humorous and yet contains so much truth.
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Old 11-26-2004, 04:31 PM
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The kid is depressed, and self-pitying. Sounds like some weed action too. It's really a little late in the game for the doctor trip unless it's something he himself wants to do. Sorry to say, but the best thing to do with a kid in that shape is to kick him out. Some kids have to be forced to face life and get off the pity potty. Don't feel guilty, you are doing the best thing in the world for him, and he is probably something only his bio dad can help him get over, since some of his resentment may be tied to you. If you keep him around, he's just going to get worse. His depression will turn to anger and he will start in on other negative behaviors.
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Old 11-26-2004, 04:32 PM
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I'm not much for excuses, and the divorce happened when he was 5. I've been with him ever since.

My parents were divorced and I have never had a problem because of it. Perhaps he's different.

We tried several years ago to get him to see a psycologist(sp?), to see if had ADD since he had so much trouble focusing at school. Anyway, he went to a few sessions and decided that he didn't want to go and fought his Mom at every turn.

He rarely goes to see his Dad. I think he may actually dislike going over there because his father may actually demand that he do things around the house. He lives about 40 minutes away.

To give you an idea of the person he is, he wants either my wife or I to drive him there, and they will drop him off.

Imagine that, I have to take my step-son to go see his father. I put a stop to that before it even started.

Junior got caught smoking pot at school once, when I spoke to his father about it, he said " he's just experiencing everything life has too offer". That's a nice attitude to have. How about crack next.
Neither my wife or I speak to his father.

The more I think about it, the worse I feel, but something has to be done. I probably should have done it sooner.

I'll talk to him about perhaps going to counseling when he comes back on Monday.

One of the problems is that he doesn't think there is anyhing wrong with him. He thinks he's the normal one and I'm nuts.

Thanks
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Old 11-26-2004, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkVining
The kid is depressed, and self-pitying. Sounds like some weed action too. It's really a little late in the game for the doctor trip unless it's something he himself wants to do. Sorry to say, but the best thing to do with a kid in that shape is to kick him out. Some kids have to be forced to face life and get off the pity potty. Don't feel guilty, you are doing the best thing in the world for him, and he is probably something only his bio dad can help him get over, since some of his resentment may be tied to you. If you keep him around, he's just going to get worse. His depression will turn to anger and he will start in on other negative behaviors.
Other than his laziness and general apathy, I have never had any problems with him We hardly ever argue, only on the those issues.

He behaves very well and is respectful for the most part, which makes it hard for me to do what I did.

I believe a kid needs a spanking once in awhile and years ago, he and his father must have spoken and that topic was brought up. The father called up my wife saying that he didn't want me to discipline his kid. I respected his wishes and never laid a hand on him, although he is intimidated by me physically. In fact, I kind of sat back and let my wife deal with him unless he got out of hand.
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Old 11-26-2004, 04:43 PM
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He's a dependent person. It's a pre-alcoholic or pre-addiction phase. He wants you to be responsible for him and for his emotions and bad feelings. The only cure is make him stand on his own two feet - the longer he is allowed to manipulate you using guilt, the sicker he is going to get. A kid like that only gets better when he runs out of enablers. Kick him to the curb, let dad pick him up, dad will probably kick him to the curb next. Help him out when he is own his own as little as possible - humanitarian help only - the kid is starving, buy him some groceries. Soon he will be faced with two choices, either start playing ball with you or joining the service. To tell you the truth, nothing would be better for him than Uncle Sam. The shape the army is in, they will probably take a kid without a diploma.
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Old 11-26-2004, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantman
Other than his laziness and general apathy, I have never had any problems with him We hardly ever argue, only on the those issues.

He behaves very well and is respectful for the most part, which makes it hard for me to do what I did.

I believe a kid needs a spanking once in awhile and years ago, he and his father must have spoken and that topic was brought up. The father called up my wife saying that he didn't want me to discipline his kid. I respected his wishes and never laid a hand on him, although he is intimidated by me physically. In fact, I kind of sat back and let my wife deal with him unless he got out of hand.
After raising three teenage boys and being heavily involved with a couple of nephews as well, I can claim a little insight on the subject of them. In teenage boys that are the children of divorce, laziness and apathy are caused by depression and self pity. Deep down inside, the kid is saying - what's the use? Life never works out for me anyway. This causes poor school work, and lack of motivation. On top that, he smokes pot - they all do - and it makes it even worse. These are all things that add up to one thing - the only one who has the cure is the kid himself. If he is suddenly faced with the enormity of living life on his own or in less comfortable surroundings, he may get the idea that life has a purpose after all - keeping oneself alive. You give him a taste of real life, and then he may be more amenable to going back to school and flying right. If you talk to his dad, you might find out he has already figured this out and you can all just dump him into real life all at once. Drop the kid off at a homelesss shelter, make sure he has some quarters to give you a call.
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Old 11-26-2004, 05:05 PM
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Sorry to hear of your troubles Plantman. He could be mildly schytzophrenic. You may want to have him tested for that or depression before his life gets worse.
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Old 11-26-2004, 05:09 PM
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Military is making recruitment goals. They wont take a GED unless an applicant has very special skills.

Folks who make it through basic training are either self-disciplined (or have the capacity for self-discipline) and motivated or they're sheep. Motivated ones don't care what you throw at them, they want to succeed. Sheep do what they're told. The boy seems to be neither.

I agree with Kirk on the rest. After he's finished with this year's high school, put him out and make it stick. Tell him soon(!) that you're going to do it and remind him occasionally of what's coming. Give him a firm date. Then do it. Help him move out and then redecorate his old bedroom--without a bed in it.

I did exactly that with my oldest and she tightened-up quick. Now has her own place and car and works two jobs. Has decided she wants to go to university. But that's on her dime. She made her decisions, now she gets to live with the consequences. I love her to death and it broke my heart. But it seems to have worked-out for the best.

Good luck.
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Old 11-26-2004, 05:21 PM
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The key to it is shock. You have to do something that will shock the kid with facing real life. And do it - don't just threaten to. If the kid won't do his school work, tell him he has to either get a job or move out, and kick him out if he doesn't get a job. Remind him he is 18, and you have no obligation to support him anymore and you are not going to support a lump. It's tough love time.

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