Need help now?

Not sure what to do

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Casual scribe

Not sure what to do

I am new to this and not sure if there and things that I am allowed to talk about here. So I’ve been in a relationship for 8 years now and engaged for nearly a year. Stepson of 12 years old who live mainly with his mother but whenever he comes over he thinks it’s like his holiday house. Food had to be brought in front of him, he does nothing and gives me the attitude whenever I ask him to clean his room or tidy up. But whenever his father asks him to do it there is no fuss.
I have been trying my best to connect with him but nothing apart from him having a whinge to his mother about me telling him off for the things that he is not meant to do. I hate to say this but I absolutely hate it when he comes over. I get annoyed when he is here because I don’t feel comfortable in my own house. I told my fiancé about it yesterday and his answer was “you’re gonna be his stepmother and you can’t just give up”.
My fiancé wants all 3 of us going away at Christmas time and trust me I so do not want to. Why? Because whenever we are together I feel like I’m being put on the side. He is in constant need of attention. He is 12 turning 13 soon and still needs someone to put him in bed.
Since we’ve been engaged, the evil mother has been telling my fiancé that the day that we will have a baby, everything will change and we will reject the child which is not true but she is trust me looking at anything to put me down. Anyway I don’t know what to do, I just can’t stand him anymore. Judge me if you want but I had to vent.

Frequent scribe

Re: Not sure what to do

Hello! I feel you. You need to talk to both your husband and child. We have the same situation when my husband's son arrives. His main argument is "I am not home. He can scatter things, not eat what I cook, be naughty, and quarrel with our children. Even when I asked my husband to talk to him, it did not help. Since it's a quarantine now, they don't see each other, and I am not sure I will allow him to be in my house anymore. 

He wants attention, try to put him closer, ask him what he likes to do, what music, books or movies. I am sure he will answer you. 

Casual scribe

Re: Not sure what to do

The thing is he’s limit ignoring me sometimes. He often asks his father to take him for a walk and when my partner asks me to come, you should see the child’s reaction. He pulls up this evil face and I say no because I can’t be bothered dealing with him talking about his mother all the way.
It is just so weird because whenever I am with him he is quiet and looks like he is having a sook but as soon as my partner is here he is all chatty to HIM and back to normal.
Everyone think that he is a cute and great kid but OMG try to live with him and you’ll see what it’s like.
Laziness?? Well he can’t even pour himself a bowl of cereal in the morning as he stays in his room on his iPad until his father makes him breakfast. He is nearly 13 ffs!!!
He bites his nails and leaves them all over the house which is so so so disgusting!!!
Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Not sure what to do

Message contains a hyperlink

Dear Moonshine,

Sorry to hear about your situation and thankful for coming here and being so honest. 

As an outsider without emotional connections, I'm tempted to recommend you exit stage left and really consider whether this relationship is really the one for you. Your relationship with his father might be great but is it enough to take on the son as they're a package deal? I'm just playing devil's advocate there, and I'm still married to the father of my children. 

However, turning to the behaviour of the son, it sounds like some rules need to be set in place and some consequences. We have our ups and downs with this at our place and I hear many parents are also having trouble. However, it's quite realistic for him to say empty the dishwasher, or do the dishes while he's at your place and make his bed. We had star charts when our kids were younger and then they can get a reward. No consequences, puts him in charge and he rules the roost. 

I am also concerned that he is struggling. You speak of his immaturity, dependency and the clincher for me is biting his nails. He seems anxious and unsure of himself. I'd imagine it would be hard going in between different houses and having to adjust to different people, especially step-parents. From his age, Id imagine he's in Year 6 going into Year 7 and on the cusp of a lot of changes in himself and social scene. He might be concerned about his place in your trio and there's that old adage...two's company, three's a crowd. Maybe finding something that the two of you enjoy could be a way forward. 

The more I've thought through your situation, I'm more sympathetic with your step-son to be and optimistic that if you put some boundaries and consequences in place and work on building a connection, that things will improve. You will probably need to consult a psychologist who specialises in behavioural therapy to set the wheels in motion.  

Meanwhile, I need to get our kids to do their chores. 

Best wishes,