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Dad won't parent, makes excuses

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How do I get my husband to parent his child? We've only been married 6 months. He gained custody of his now 12 year old son just before we married. We talked about parenting and I thought we were on the same page but we're not. We did not live together before we married. Hubby is passive--ignores issues or makes excuses for his son's disrespect and attitude ("He's joking" or "It's his hormones"). Hubby cleans the boy's room, does his laundry, cooks his food and still packs his school backpack every morning. The son is anti-social, spending all of his time at home in his room, with the door shut and locked, playing on his computer and his TV is on 24/7; he has become very destructive when he's angry; he has a severe speech impediment and seems very immature for his age. Hubby took him to counseling twice (at my insistence) then gave up. My son and daughter are in their 20s so having a pre-teen is a challenge in and of itself, but a difficult one with issues is making me crazy. Do I need to take a sledge-hammer to Hubby? Do I take charge: "My Way Or The Highway"? I am on the verge of asking him to leave but the boy needs help. His mother lives in another state and she's another story altogether.

by on May. 2, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on May. 2, 2012 at 10:59 AM

yesmann, I meant no disrespect. I just don't want to say his real name here and excuse me while I learn the lingo as this is my first time. The acronyms confuse me. In any event, I wouldn't be here if I weren't desperate for help. I have no legal rights. 

by on May. 2, 2012 at 11:08 AM

yesmann... So am I making too much of this? I should just accept the status quo? FYI, my stepson, who will be 12 on Friday, is 5'8" and weighs nearly 200 pounds so we're not talking a little kid. He even uses his size to try to intimidate me (I am 5'2") when I ask him to clean up after himself or whatever.

by on May. 2, 2012 at 11:08 AM
I suggest you both take a parenting class. Approaching it as an activity to do together/ work together to improve your lives/ generate some new ideas may get him on board without feeling like you think he's a bad parent?
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by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2012 at 11:10 AM

He's acting out because his life has changed dramatically.  He is also pushing buttons and winning.  Keeping him in counseling is what is best for him, at this moment. Now with regards to the being locked up in the bedroom 24/7, SS13 is in his bedroom the whole time that he is with us either watching TV or playing videogames online.  I do not like it, but it is also not my kid not my problem.  If DH is fine with his kid being locked up in his room the whole time, then so be it.  You need to pick and choose the battles that are worth winning.  Being disrespectful is a battle to pick.  Him locking himself up in his bedroom 24/7 is not. 

by on May. 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM

You need to take a different approach here.  (I've been there with you and I know it's hard!) .... you need to let his dad do the parenting.  You can't change the way he does things but you can help him make things more structured for your SS.  My husband used to do the same things - clean up after my SS, not enforce rules, etc... when it isn't your child, it's a lot easier to judge what's wrong and how to fix it.  for a parent, it's harder - they see them through a different set of eyes.  What I did - and it worked - was to make small suggested changes... for example... expain to your husband that SS should have to clean up after himself, becuase when he moves out on his own some day, he'll need to be able to think on his own and know how to take care of himself.  If you come from a place of trying to enhance instead of what they would consider "nagging" it is much more likely to make an impact.  Personally, my SS had a messy room but it was HIS space and I feel that if his his space, he can do as he wishes - but he couldn't have OUR dishes in that room because I didn't want rodents and the like... it was a nice compromise. If SS wants to be in his room all the time there isn't much you can do about it except make suggestions to get him out of the room - fun stuff... we had a family game night we'd sit and play a game of Sorry or Life or whatever after dinner and that worked but my SS was and still is a very unsocial person.  Try and understand that he's got his own personality and his own thing and you can't force him to be someone else, but you can make things more welcoming so he doesn't want to sit in his room all the time.  As for the being disrespected - that is unacceptable and your husband needs to be on the same page as you on that.  Explain that it hurts your feelings and that his son needs to be respectful and that he needs to discuss this with him.  Don't put yourself in the situation where you are dolling out the punishments, it needs to come from him. My husband praises me now for the help I gave him with my SS (I was in his life when he was 15) he admits he got lazy and I gave structure to the home - we had LOTS of fights over the years to make it happen though but never in front of SS and always out of me want SS to be great and not just about me being happy or comfortable. I hope this helps!

by on May. 2, 2012 at 11:38 AM

How was his parenting style before?  Gaining custody of his son is a pretty big change.  Did you consider postponing the wedding to have a chance to observe the dynamics?  What are the specific things you want him to do.  Have you suggested any concrete suggestions "let's make up a rule and consequence chart together and post it" or are your suggestions more general "you need to make that kid get his act together". 

by Silver Member on May. 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM

if you figure out how to do this let me know. i am in the SAME boat....DH does everything for him and then gets upset that ss has zero motivation. I have tried my way or the highway but ss is smart and knows that I am not really one of his parents so he will yes me to death and turn around and do whatever he wants because dh is too tired at the end of the day to enforce it. I did put my foot down and say ss is going back to live with BM because we have not been able to help him and DH will not take BM back to court to get the cs lowered so we have paid for this kid twice all year. All I can say is that my DH realizes he is the problem now and realistic that he won't change so has agreed to send SS back. I hope your DH comes to the same realization. Also just be glad that YOU arent' doing that stuff for ss. I WISH my DH would do any of thoese things....

by on May. 2, 2012 at 11:46 AM

thatislife: Yes to most of your questions but no, I don't say things like "you need to ...." We did come up with a set of rules together but Dad doesn't enforce. During the week, my stepson gets home first and does what he wants. Dad gets home next, cooks him dinner and lets him do what he wants. FYI, he doesn't enforce homework or anything else. I just don't say anything anymore. I've tried talking to all of them every which way you can think of but nothing changes. And this young man has even bigger issues than I'm putting on this board. He needs help neither his father nor I am equipped to give him.

by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM
1 mom liked this

Disengage.  Stay out of it and let Dad handle everything.  He doesn't do his homework, not your problem.

stays in his room playing video games again not your problem.  By disengaging it will create less stress for you.

He is not your child, not your problem.

by on May. 2, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I knew a woman who did this with her son.  He is in his late twenties, never had a job, she has to leave food by his door or he won't eat, he insists on having the highest internet speed or he goes off and she is disabled and cannot afford it, he stays in his room, and she still takes care of him.  Woe is the day she dies.  I'm sorry, but I am no help.  That child needs counseling and stability, not to be pampered.

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