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Need advice stepson is moving in

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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
Replies (11-18):
stepdiva
by Silver Member on May. 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Exactly right. Don't try to be his mom. You, also, are in the unique position of being an authority figure who isn't his BP, so the opportunity exists for you to be a different perspective for him. That isn't to say you should be his friend but you could have a huge impact on him. I hope that for you. Just remember that regardless of how messed up he might be, he is still really a little boy.


Quoting WifeyC:

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?


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zannahdeux
by Silver Member on May. 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Good luck! Just understand that he may not change and it is not your failure if that is the case...some kids turn around and some don't. Also change diesnt happen overnight. Dad needs to set tight boundaries with him. I suggest random drug tests so you can monitor what he is doing...,
elle3615
by on May. 19, 2012 at 11:56 PM

I suggested a drug program when i found out about the drug problem but his dad thinks it a stupid idea saying he's too young. 

elle3615
by on May. 20, 2012 at 12:09 AM

Thank you so much for the advice i agree with your rules we were talking about his bedtime the other day and i said that 9 was too early especially since my daughter who's 3 goes to bed at 8:30.  It seems to me that he's trying to come down too hard on him when he first gets here not giving him a chance to settle in and see how he does here. It's going to be completely different for him I stay home and his mom works all the time so he's usually by himself most of day and he's leaving his friends and familly.

Quoting DDDaysh:

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.  


elle3615
by on May. 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM

I have another question if anyone can help, He is in an alternative school for  fighting so will he be able to enroll in school or will he have to be in another alternative school

1SpaZZedMom
by Librarian on May. 20, 2012 at 12:36 AM

I like a lot of DDD's ideas.

To add to the computer/internet usage, set up a profile for him. Under the administrator's options, are parental controls. You can set a password for all accounts, timing so that when it is time for him to get off, the profile he is on (his own) will automatically boot him off. You can set the security high so that inappropriate content needs a special password to be seen.... Talk to DH about it all, browse all the parental control options together.

1SpaZZedMom
by Librarian on May. 20, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Not entirely sure how that works between states. I would suggest that your DH call the local school corporation's office and see what they advise. They will probably need to speak with his current school to see what all has gone on and then speak with the corporation's attorney and superintendent to see how they will handle the transfer.

Quoting elle3615:

I have another question if anyone can help, He is in an alternative school for  fighting so will he be able to enroll in school or will he have to be in another alternative school


DDDaysh
by on May. 20, 2012 at 1:26 AM

It's understandable why.  His son is taking a bad road and any good parent would want to turn that around as soon as possible.  Just like almost anything else in life though, there's a sweetspot.  Maybe use an analogy with him, like driving a trailor or carving wood.  If you try to turn too quickly while pulling a trailor, you just end up jacknifing it and will often just flip and burn.  Same with carving wood, you have to shape it slowly.  Coming in an hacking at it will just split the wood and end up nowhere.  

Boundaries are a must, but almost every expert on working with troubled kids says that picking your battles is crucial to success.  If you try to fight everything all at once, you can't really get any results.  You also have to remember that all teens will test the boundaries and the consequences for doing so needs to depend on what boundary was pushed and how far.  If you react to him leaving the toilet seat up with just as much fury as you react to finding an illegal drug in his room, what kind of message is that going to send?  

Also, before you set a boundary, make sure you can uphold it.  There's nothing worse than laying down a law you can't enforce.  That just makes all your other boundaries seem all the weaker.  

Good luck with this!  It sounds like this boy will be a handful.  

Quoting elle3615:

Thank you so much for the advice i agree with your rules we were talking about his bedtime the other day and i said that 9 was too early especially since my daughter who's 3 goes to bed at 8:30.  It seems to me that he's trying to come down too hard on him when he first gets here not giving him a chance to settle in and see how he does here. It's going to be completely different for him I stay home and his mom works all the time so he's usually by himself most of day and he's leaving his friends and familly.

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