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Need advice stepson is moving in

Posted by on May. 14, 2012 at 9:49 PM
  • 18 Replies

My stepson will be moving in with us next month, he's been getting into a lot of trouble like fighting and drugs, he's 13. I'm not really sure what to do. I'm happy he'll be here but don't really know him that well, we moved out of state 2 yrs ago so I've only seen him for a week each of those years. My kids are young so I'm not really sure about rules and discipline for a teenager and what my role in discipline should be. I could use a lot of advice especially how to build a good relationship with him.

by on May. 14, 2012 at 9:49 PM
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by Bronze Member on May. 14, 2012 at 10:35 PM
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Primary Rule:  Do not try to cage the teenager yourself.  Let Dad lay down the law.  Let Dad enforce the law.  

by on May. 14, 2012 at 10:42 PM
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Before he moves in sit down with dad and tell him what you expect, clean up after himself rinse his dinner plate and put it in dishwasher take trash out clean his room etc and how you expect you and the other kids to be treated. Sit down agree on the rules and punishments, then when he moves in the 3 of you sit down and have dad tell him what's expected and consequences, you are only sitting in so Ss knows that you are well aware of rules and consequences.
by Amy on May. 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM

fingers crossed  Good luck and welcome to the group!

by on May. 18, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Quoting DDDaysh:

Primary Rule:  Do not try to cage the teenager yourself.  Let Dad lay down the law.  Let Dad enforce the law.  

I stay at home so what do i do when im at home with him and he breaks the rules do i wait for his dad to get home or do i say something.

by on May. 19, 2012 at 6:47 AM
2 moms liked this
Be kind and accepting.... And let dad do the heavy lifting with parenting. Set rules with dh ahead of time.... And make sure dh is onboard and ready to ensure that you are treated respectfully and that the home needs to be safe for your kids as well.

And learn the phrase "hey I'm sorry. House rules.. Talk to your dad about why you think they should be changed"

And if your dh changes or relaxes a rule without discussion.... He just made a huge mistake. He should know and buy into the importance of your comfort within the home. Especially given the difficulty the boy has had.
by Platinum Member on May. 19, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Have Dad sit him down and explain the expected behavior and rules of the house.  Also explain the consequences should he break them.  When you are home with SS, enforce Dads rules.  Don't try to be the Mom to this child.  If he is acting out like this you trying to take over as Mom is only going to make it worse.

It's time for tough love with this child.  Is he in a drug program?

by Bronze Member on May. 19, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Have you husband discuss with him beforehand the rules and consequences.  When he's breaking a rule, tell him about it.  Tell him the associated punnishment, but if he continues breaking it simply walk away.  Inform your husband of what happened when he gets home and let him deal with it.  

If it gets too bad and your husband isn't dealing with him effectively, then tell your husband that he needs to find the boy a "babysitter" that is not you unless he can be home with him.  

Quoting elle3615:

Quoting DDDaysh:

Primary Rule:  Do not try to cage the teenager yourself.  Let Dad lay down the law.  Let Dad enforce the law.  

I stay at home so what do i do when im at home with him and he breaks the rules do i wait for his dad to get home or do i say something.

by Bronze Member on May. 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

As for appropriate rules for teenagers....  it varies based on the kid.  Here are some basics though.  

Good rules:  

1)  No law breaking, which includes drugs, speeding, stealing, etc.  Consequences for law breaking are severe.  

2)  An acceptable curfew.  At 13, he probably needs to be at home by dinner time on school days, and depending on the situation, maybe doesn't need to be going anywhere on school nights.  On weekends however, he should have a chance to go out with friends at least one of the nights. (Unless that priviledge has been suspended)  A reasonable curfew is probably 10 or 11 right now, and should increase as he gets older.  

3)  Rules surrounding electronic communication:  There should be a curfew on cell phone use (if he has one) and rules about when it's use is unacceptable during other parts of the day.  i.e. no texting during meals or specified family activities.  

There should also be rules do address computer and internet usage that your husband is comfortable with.  Sometimes people try to ban it all together, and that rarely works.  However, your husband needs to decide if there will be a computer in his room.  He needs to decide if how often he'll check into his online accounts and whether or not he wants the password to all of his son's accounts, etc.  

There should also be prearranged standards of what can and cannot be posted.  For instance, can he use bad language in his status posts?  What about racist language?  Can he post pictures of himself?  His friends?  Is there a minimum state of dress for those pictures?  Can he post pictures of you or your family?  What about your younger kids?  It's best to give him direction on all these topics up front.  Believe it or not, even kids not trying to be total asses will cross some of these lines VERY badly ("Dude, check out my cousin Jenny crashed on our couch, her shirt rode up and you can see her tit!") without really meaning to hurt anyone.  They just lack common sense.  Making the rules clear up front can help avoid the teen thinking Dad is unfairly coming down hard on him for something he didn't realize was even wrong.  

4)  Standards of respect for adults - This will vary from family to family, and you also need to remember that teens are not children.  They are halfway between children and adults, so if you require your kids to be more respectful to other adults than you yourself are, then the rules for him should be somewhere in between because the teen is nearing the end of his preparation for adulthood.  

5)  Chores - Your husband needs to decide what standards he has for his son's room and what chores he wants the boy to accomplish on a regular basis.  Because getting a child to do something is usually much harder than making a child to not do something, do not let your husband set up chores he won't be around to enforce.  When you come up with the list, try to have all of them at a time where either your husband will be there to enforce doing the chore OR if the chore is not done, it's not time sensetive enough that you actually have to take any action about it so that the not done chore can sit there for enforcement until your husband gets home.  This one is probably huge because when a teen is required to "not" do something, they probably acknowledge that what they are NOT supposed to do is wrong.  But when they're being told TO do something, they often feel like it's unfair and they're being treated like a slave.  You should not, ever, be put in the position of slavedriver.  

6)  School - Set clear standards for school work, but be careful about tying them to grades.  High school is a whole new ballgame, and you guys have been away from this kid for a couple of years at that.  Teachers are not all created equal, classes are not all the same, and so arbitrary grade standards may just be setting the kid up to fail.  If you want to do something based solely on grades, then positive reinforcement is probably better.  There's nothing wrong with tying a pro-sports game or even hard cash to getting all A's.  

Avoid, however, punnishing for specific grades.  If it turns out the kid just isn't capable fo them, this just sets up a horrible cycle.  Instead, set up expectations for the child's behaviors involving school.  Almost all school's now allow that parents to log in and monitor a child's grades.  Have your husband do so religiously (at least once a week).  Monitor tardies and missed assignments.  There should be consequences for any assignment that is not turned in.  There should be expectations for studying before a test, and your husband should be monitoring that that studying occurs, at least for the first few years.  If his son has never been taught HOW to study, then he needs to actually be involved in helping his son study until he's been coached on it sufficiently to be weened into independent studying.  If your sees a test online that he was not informed about, and thus studying did not occur, THAT should trigger a consequence, not the grade itself.  (This also means that even if the grade was an A, there should be a consequence for not informing you guys.)  If the child proves to be responsible and capable of getting good grades for several semesters, then the monitoring can be relaxed as long as the grades stay good and you don't start seeing lots of missed assignments.  After all, the ultimate goal is independence, and an adult who will be successful either in college or the work place.    

by Bronze Member on May. 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM
1 mom liked this

Oh, and here are some BAD rules:  

1)  Early Bedtime - Bedtimes, or at least "in bed with no electronics" are still ok, to a certain extent, at 13, but should be tapered off by 18.  However, the bedtime should be no ealier than the time at which the adults in the house retire UNLESS there is a specific medical condition that warrants it.  Trying to send a teen to bed will generally make them feel childish and marginalized.  It's also an attempt to fight biology because for some reason teen sleep cycles biologically seem to include falling asleep later and sleeping later in the morning.  It's really odd.  (This has been studied.)  That's why even if you do send him to his room when you guys go to bed, allowing him to read in bed (on a book, no electronics) is probably a good idea.  A "not ready to sleep" teenager confined to a darkened room with nothing to do is simply going to brood on how much he hates his life.  

2)  Overzealous media screening - He's 13, not 5, and all of his friends are probably allowed to watch rated R already.  I'm not saying that you turn on the porno for him, but don't be a nazi about what he watches either.  Trying to keep him to G or PG movies is going to result in him simply doing everything behind your back.  (Screen time limits are still ok, but baring medical need, should probably be longer than for younger children.)  

3)  Language Bans - This will depend on the standards of your home and the language you and your husband use.  If both of you have extremely clean mouths and do not use any foul language, a strict ban can be reasonable.  However, trying to keep the teen to a standard that you do not hold yourselves to is a ridiculous battle.  You should instead transition to the "approrpiate time and place" strategy.  You're just not going to look very credible lecturing him about saying "Damn it" when he died in a video game while Dad is dropping F-bombs in the other room because he can't figure out how to put together the bookshelf. 

4)  Diet - He's 13.  You're not going to have any serious impact on his eating habits by simply laying down a list of good and bad.  He can probably still be taught at this age, he can be led by example, but "sit at the table until you've eaten those lima beans young man!" is NOT going to go over well, and will almost certainly result in a lima bean laden plate being flung across the room at some point in time.  

by Silver Member on May. 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM
I think your boundaries apply when he's in your home. You should know in advance that dad backs you 100%. Otherwise, from experience, your life will be hell. And under no circumstances, almost, do not do the "wait til your dad gets home". Hopefully you and bd are on the same page, and I think you will need more strength than you realize, so keep your power, otherwise it's not gonna work. Kwim? If he's already
into drugs, you've got your work cut
out for you.
Having been in a similar sitch, I know how hard this will be. Good luck, and kick ass, metaphorically speaking. Maybe you can be the difference this little boy needs. Good luck sweetie. My DH never enforced any rules and so they ran to daddy or mommy when I said no to them. I hope you have a better support than I did. And with your little ones you might have to be even tougher. Again, good luck honey.
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