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Do you ever just want to shake them till their teeth rattle? (Long question and vent.)

My stepson is driving me out of my mind. What happens in the brains of teenage boys? Do they just melt down, for heaven's sake?

He is a senior in high school, barely. He's had issues in the past, but he was finally on the right track, excited about graduating in the spring. He even got a couple of A's last semester, which was nothing short of monumental for him. He has to pass a civics course. If he fails, he won't graduate on time, end of story. Well, it came to light yesterday through a phone call from the civics teacher that he has only turned in one assignment all year--and that was thanks to me riding his ass about it. He has nine assignments--count them, nine--that have to be completed and handed in by tomorrow. The teacher isn't willing to budge on that deadline, and I can't say I blame her. It's not like my stepson is making an effort. I do wonder why she didn't call before the crisis reached this point, but maybe she figures by the time a kid is almost eighteen, he should be able to keep track of his own crap. Still, he has special needs, so I think she could have intervened a little sooner. Should we push for an extension, or will that just be enabling my stepson's irresponsibility?

Now partly, I blame his parents, because he lives with his mom and if I were her, I would have been checking every single day to make sure he did his homework, and I would have locked up his damn video games till he finished It all. His mom seems more interested in keeping the kid happy than she does in pushing him for anything. His dad asks about it by phone, but he often isn't given the truth. Then again, a couple of weekends when my stepson has come over, he's 'forgotten' his homework at his mom's house, and if I were his dad, I'd be driving his butt right back there to get it even if it is thirty or forty minutes on the road each way. That excuse wouldn't fly. But as the non-parent and someone who doesn't drive, I have very little power in the situation.

When asked if he wants to graduate, my stepson says yes. When asked if he understands that he won't graduate without passing civics, he says yes. When asked why he hasn't done the civics assignments, he shrugs and says he doesn't want to. He's being offered a year or two of tech school for free because of his special needs, and he says he doesn't want to go. His dad has suggested that they drive down to the tech school and check it out, and the kid just says he doesn't want to be in school anymore. I'd be inclined to push the issue and take him to check out the tech school anyway, in the hopes that something there would spark his interest, but his dad says if he isn't on board with it, sending him there will be a waste of everybody's time. The kid wants to get a job at Wal-Mart, which his dad and I agree shouldn't happen if he's behind on his schoolwork.

I'm pulling my freaking hair out. I don't know what else to say or do. I see a train wreck ahead. Well, what I really see is my stepson living in his mom's basement indefinitely, playing Mindcraft and Grand Theft Auto and watching Youtube videos in his boxers. It could be said that none of it is my business, but indirectly, I'll still end up supporting his lifestyle if that's what he chooses because every dollar my boyfriend has to send to the other household is a dollar I don't see around here. I've borne the brunt of the family expenses here for the last six years, but I guess I had this crazy idea that my stepson would grow up, finish school, find a job, become reasonably self-sufficient, and then the finances could be rearranged so that my boyfriend was contributing to his second family, not just living here and supporting the first household.

Thanks to anyone who has managed to read all of this. Any ideas are welcome. What else can I say or do with my stepson? Why is he seeming to throw his future away just when he was starting to pull it all together? And please, say what you have to say gently. I've already been awake all night wrestling with this--and I seem to be the only one. My stepson and his parents slept just fine, thank you.


Asked by Ballad at 11:59 AM on Oct. 3, 2013 in Teens (13-17)

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I had to come to terms that the world would not end if my son failed. I actually went to see a therapist about this because it was stressing me out so much. He did fail biology, and almost failed English. He ended up having to take biology in the summer. Maybe you SS can take the class again in the summer. When he turns 18, unless he goes to college, your SO is probably not financially responsible for him. You might have your SO talk to your SS, and his mother, and tell them this. He will have a hard time making enough money without a high school diploma. If your SS and his mom can decide to not put the effort in to graduate, your SO can decide not to support them.


    Answer by musicmaker at 11:40 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • I also see a lot of "special needs" reasoning in these posts. There are lots of moms here who have children with special needs. From what I've seen, most do not allow that to excuse laziness and purposeful failure.

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 12:19 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • Kids sometimes need to fail.

    Seriously, this need to be firmly in the camp of father and mother. You can be supportive but it's not your battle to wage

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 12:18 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • I think your SO needs to take him by the hand today or tonight & help him do all those assignments by tomorrow. So sorry that he is stressing you. It's a real pain when people don't listen. Hugs :(

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 12:03 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • i would think that if he is doing okay grade wise everywhere else, special needs or not, the teacher knows he is capable but doenst want to do it and has probably told him well before now these are due tomorrow.

    Tell him to do it or fail, his choice. I think from what ou describe he is very capabpe of understanding the consequences.

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 12:13 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • Doesn't it hurt sometimes when you seem to be the only one that cares?

    As hard as it is to hear this, it's looking like it's time to just let the kid fall on his face. You've done all you can to help and encourage him while his parents could have done more. We as parents hate to see our children fail, but sometimes that's the only way they learn. I second the no job thing if he's failing classes.

    ((((((((((Ballad)))))))))) This is a tough time. (by the way, all the parentheses around your name are a visual hug, since I can't give you one in person)

    Answer by Rosehawk at 1:46 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • What he really needs to understand that without a diploma, he most likely won't get a job. In the state I live in, no Diploma equals no job!
    Boys are irritatingly frustrating especially at his age because, HE KNOWS IT ALL!

    Let him fail and tell your SO that his son will have to go to the Community College to get the credit he needs to get his diploma in the summer.
    Not fair to you because your already spending money for his education, and spending extra money for summer school is unfair to everyone.
    Your SS, is being disrespectful to his parents and you, and maybe if he was told how much this hurts to see him give up, maybe he'll at least think about the remainder of school.

    Answer by KTElite at 12:02 AM on Oct. 4, 2013

  • I meant to say for them to go to the Library & do them too.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 12:04 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • We were all challenges for our parents. If adults listened more to kids they would know more about what is going on with them.

    Answer by virginiamama71 at 1:38 PM on Oct. 3, 2013

  • You can't control the situation, you could offer to help him finish what he needs to do, but your SO, must enforce upon him, that once his party is over, it is done.
    I assume that his mother doesn't want him living with her for the next 30 years? Who knows maybe she does, I have known several mothers who just want the "baby" around until they die.
    Your SO needs to be crystal clear with him, that he gets one chance and that is it. There will be no mooching for money, no help to him, if he can't get off his lazy butt, and do something for himself.

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 3:02 PM on Oct. 3, 2013