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How can I deal with a mean adult step children who lives at home and father won't discipline, other than yelling and threatening, but never following through?

Have a 19 1/2 year old step son at home (married for 8 yrs, together since son was @ 9) who is extremely disrespectful and if asked to do anything, argues and doesn't do it. Is fine as long as everything goes his way. Otherwise, I get yelled at that I'm a loser, only using dad for money, terrible parent, using "step" as an excuse. This kid has almost physically hit me a few times and has physically and verbally fought with my bio kids his whole life. Has been a juvenile diliquent most of teenage years. Father is stuck in middle not wanting to punish. Just yells and threatens. Son has no where to go, no license, no car, etc. So father feels bad. Also father got son a job at his work, so I feel is more worried about his reputation than anything if he does discipline his son. I love my husband and want to learn to work through this. I know it'll be a few years before son moves out so want any advice to learn to live through this.

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Asked by Frustrated214 at 9:17 AM on Feb. 19, 2009 in Adult Children (18+)

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Answers (13)
  • My MIL went through this. She kicked him out. She had done this at least once with all three of her own sons also. Not in a heartless way but in a tough love kind of way. Her kids got out of control in their teens so they'd spend a few weeks or more living with a different relative. SHe just couldn't have them in her house when they were behaving so violently. They calmed down and have a great relationship now (for the most part). The step son was spoiled his whole life and is a bit of a drama queen so he hasn't quite gotten over it. If he's an adult then he can go and live on his own. I'd say either treat you and your husband with respect or move out!

    Answer by beckcorc at 9:21 AM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • I mean what can you do? Not much...Just hope and pray that that time comes sooner for him to move on that is ridiculous living like this. Something has to give. I am a stepmom too and I have teenage stepkids but they live with their mom. But I kind of know what you mean.

    It sucks sometimes married to a man that has kids before he met you. It has it's ups and downs. You can only do what you can for you and your kids. If the stepson does not want to help himself he will never get out so start putting positive things in his head with the hope he catches on and  GL


    Answer by Butterfly1108 at 9:24 AM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • He's a little too old for discipline. He's also old enough to be living on his own if he can't respect you and your family. Hubby needs to step up, well he should have 10 years ago. I don't know how old your bio kids are but if they are younger, I would be calling the cops if he hit them or you. He needs to learn there are consequences!

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:25 AM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • This is not a step-son problem. This is a DH problem.

    He should be standing up for YOU - whatever guilt he may have about the kid, at this point, is moot.

    You two need to get some counseling - either with a pastor or a good therapist.

    No tips, no shortcuts - your DH has a lot of work to do here. And you do too. Stand up for yourself and demand, that in your house under your roof, there is respect from ALL adults living there.

    Answer by Wimsey at 9:35 AM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • I would make life really hard for this Step son. I would first tell him he will from now on be paying rent, for living here. Not a little either, make it higher then he wants to pay. Then I would tell him if he leaves anything laying around the house,,(except in his room) I will throw it away. And I would tell the DH to get a back bone. And do something about his son.


    Answer by louise2 at 9:40 AM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • The father definitely has some kind of guilt problems stemming from raising this young adult. Most fathers would never put up with that. Counseling for the husband is in order to deal with his shortcomings and put that in the past. That way he will be able to help his son get on the right track, regardless of the past.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:19 PM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • "Wimsey" has said it best. There are multiple deep issues here. Unfortunately, it does indeed stem from your husband's behavior/ attitude. Had he been a more effective parent, the stepson would never have reached this level with you. However, you lose in the situation by being the object of verbal abuse and not standing up effectively for yourself due to the sad dynamics withing the family unit. It appears to be beyond your control to enact new rules of respect without the full support of your husband. Therapy is essential here for your husband to have a qualified professional help him see his role as a parent and husband. He is avoiding listening to you. Personally, i would call a meeting with the stepson and lay out some clear ground rules [ in a quite voice] as to what you will accept/ reject as behavior towards you from now on. You should not allow ANY Human to treat you in such a manner.

    Answer by bml at 4:21 PM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • Ok I don't mean to start up an arguement from yesterday, but you need to come first to your husband! Especially when the child is an adult!! If I were in your situation I would probably end up leaving. I couldn't handle a man that would allow his grown son to disrespect me like that in my own home. It's spineless.

    Answer by feesharose at 8:07 PM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • VERY well said wimsey, totally agree! His guilt is clouding his better judgement! This is your husband's doings, it'll take your husband to undo. His parenting is a failure and this should have been stopped when you two started!! With that said, tough love, stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing is imperative from Dad! I think that he needs parenting counseling, family counseling!! This behavior is simply unacceptable! I applaud you though that you have let Dad be the disciplinarian, even though he lacked in this area, at least your step sons disrespect towards you is all him. Often times when a step parent administers discipline, the step kids eventually react the way your step is. Your husband should have made sure that in spite of his son's feelings towards you, he should have always been respectful towards you. At this point, go to family counseling, that is your best option.


    Answer by blessed5x at 10:11 AM on Feb. 20, 2009

  • He needs to get out of the house. He is an adult.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:03 PM on Feb. 24, 2009

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