2 weeks ago - last edited 2 weeks ago by Philippa-RO
I have had a read of previous posts and while there's loads of great advice, I wonder if anyone has specific suggestions to help here.
I have an 18 year old step son at home and married to his mother. No other children at home. We had a good relationship when I first met him aged 11 and he used to do some simple chores as a young teen but they have gradually fallen away to absolutely nothing. I have picked up all his chores that he used to do (take the bins out, lay the table, do the dishes etc). When he was 15 or so, we were having lots of conflict over chores because I would place simple internet restrictions if the chores didn't get done but eventually my wife asked me to just let it go and I did.
The time spent doing the chores is not really a big deal to me, it's probably 20 minutes of extra work a day. My concern is I am now worried about his trajectory, he has left school without a qualification this year (although has 'plans' to go back to school next year), plays computer games and goes out with friends a lot, and only is working 9 hours a week. He still says he wants to go to university. When I'm overwhelmed with work once every few weeks and I ask him to do simple things like turn off electronic items when he leaves the house or wash up his own dishes after use, I am met with anger and reasons why what I'm saying is unreasonable. He seems fine with me as long as I'm not asking him to lift a finger, otherwise the mood changes quickly. There's has been some issues with depression and minor self harm a couple of years ago, and I think there's a bit of low mood and motivation persisting. He has received professional help for this. I think I should be enforcing some household chores and continuing to impose consequences for not doing it, but how do I do this without being the evil step father?
My wife and I have talked about it and she thinks I should just let him be. But I think she's just trying to keep the peace, I don't think she's appreciating how spoilt he could become if he continues down this path. I have told him what I think calmly a few times over the last few months, and he listened but didn't really change his behaviour. I don't really want him hanging around til he's in his 30s doing the same thing.
Am I right in my concerns? Should I push a bit harder with chores or should I back off?
2 weeks ago
It's fantastic to see you reaching out for support on an issue that so many step-parents find difficult, reading your post I can tell you really care about your family and what's best for everyone in your home.
I can understand it must be frustrating when your step-son refuses to help keep the household running smoothly and wanting to make sure he is set up to cope as an adult. You mentioned he has had support with depression in the past. Is that something that is ongoing?
It's great to hear you've spoken to your wife about your concerns, it makes such a difference when you can work as a team in these situations. Do you think she would be open to talking about it a bit more so you could share with her why you're worried?
We have this article about initiating rules and guidelines in a blended family that might give you some useful tips. Do you think everyone would be open to coming up with some house guidelines together as a family?
2 weeks ago
2 weeks ago
Thanks for your reply, it is so great to hear you were able to have a good chat with him today. So positive to see you were able to have a conversation which he was open to and took on board. Well done!
Keep us updated on how things pan out going forward.