step-daughter couldn't hack air force... moving back in with us!

courage49February 5, 2010

I am writing out of desparation and praying someone might help me along the way. My stepdaughter (18) joined the Air Force 2 months ago. After completing 7 weeks of boot camp, she had an injury to her hip, and was unable to graduate. (She had sent us letters along the way, hinting she was not happy with the AF).

Consequently, she has decided to come home and has been diagnosed with depression. She had been in physical therapy to correct her hip issue, but decided she did not want to be in the "cripple ward" anymore.

Personally, I did not think it was that easy to leave the service, but this kid is a master manipulator. She has called her father and told us she is coming home. The past two years she spent with her mother. I have been with her Dad since she was 5, and been his wife for 11 years before she decided to move in with her Mom. (This was the fun place to be, and there were no rules).

I am an educator, and have really stressed throughout the years how important it was to get an education to further your life. It fell on deaf ears, and she eeked through high school with a D plus overall average. Her dad, (the love of my life), is a gentle soul who sees his little girl as a golden child, and expects me to be as thrilled as he is that she is coming back to live with us. I have never had an impact on her thought process, and now my worst nightmare is coming true.

She is coming back to live with us, with no job, no health insurance, and no desire to take classes from even a community school. Not to mention the diagnosis from the AF of depression.

Her mother has told her she cannot come back to live with her, as her other 2 children were told to get out the house when they were 18. So... now I am at a loss. I am the main bread winner, and have supported her for most of her growing up years financially and helping in all parts of 'child-rearing'. I was not blessed to have children of my own due to a hysterectomy in my 20's.

I am right at 50, and was looking forward to being able to travel and spend time with my husband. Now, that is evaporating. Any advice on words I can say to my husband that will help him see my side. He is a love, but prefers to put his head in the sand when I say things he does not want to hear.

I am really afraid this will take our marriage down. He is all I have, as my parents are dead and I have no close family left. Any words of wisdom? Thanks....

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I think that a great compromise would be for you and DH to let her know that there is a three month limit for her to live in your home. You will help her "get back on her feet" while she makes other plans. If you are the main bread winner, then you have every right to also ask her for a contribution to the family expenses. Have a serious talk with your husband, practice what you are going to say together so he doesnt get weak and go off script!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:35AM
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This may sound hard but DON't do it! Or only for a little while which is a week or two. My SS now 30, washed out of the Army at 19 or 20 after having the same kind of lousy high school track record, barely graduated, DH then BF had to pull him through, etc. BM had to use a contact to get him in to the Army as the other branches of service wouldn't have him. (This is a true story)

He was sent home after 3-4 weeks of boot camp designated "unfit for military life." We had never even heard of that before, someone being sent home from the Army without completing Boot Camp. He hung around his dad's home, same thing BM said he couldn't come back to her, fell in with some bad friends who stole Dh's checkbook, tried to forge checks and finally DH put him out. He spent a couple of nights in the park on a bench! then landed at his grandmother's. There is more to this story including the grandma eventually putting him out too.

Let her land on her own two feet. Understandably, this is your DH's baby girl and he will always keep a soft spot for her. But, she will disrupt your home, need your money, put stress on your marriage, and will be enabled to not do too much for herself. Just say no, or more reasonably, before she lands with you let her know that you want to know where she is headed next within a couple of weeks, not months! That way she can wrap her head around the temporary situation at your house while she is on the bus.

I'm sorry this is happening. I've seen it up close and personal. That is one of the few times in 15 years I've seen DH cry. He literally cried from shame on the way to the bus stop to pick up his son who was fired from boot camp.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:55AM
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It's not that easy to get out of the AF and especially during basic training. It sounds like she got a medical discharge, must be a pretty serious "hip issue." They are not just handed out willy nilly and it is a lengthy, in depth process for them to decide. Lamom, your SS's discharge is pretty different from OP's stepdaughter.

I don't know, I think you sound pretty hard on the girl and I don't know how you could get your husband to see your side cause I don't see your side either. She tried the AF, things don't always work out. Depression is a serious issue and can have a life long impact on her, I'm sure it's not something she just picked to get. She's only 18, what normal mother and father wouldn't try to help their child? I don't understand why this would be your worst nightmare either? And I'm sure your husband will never your side in that as well and would actually be quite offended at your attitude if you were to explain it to him as you have to us.

Not everyone is cut out for the cookie cutter life with straight A's and an Ivy League education, but they can still work and have a happy fulfilled existence. What is it with this rash of stepparents lately acting like if the kid doesn't go to college they are an embarassment. I mean, I certainly understand trying to motivate a kid to go, but not all are cut out for it and not all are going to thrive there. If you got one of those kids, why not just help them with their interests (not enable) and guide them to what they can do? Instead of sitting on the internet complaining about their bad grades when they aren't even in high school anymore? That shipped has sailed, lets look into the future.

As far as being the bread winner and being the big contributor to SD's up bringing, that is an issue with you and your husband. Yes, things need to be talked before the move home. That's where boundaries and rules come in. But waving the flag as the money maker will probably make issues worse with your husband and will not help a relationship with SD. Although you don't even sound like you want a relationship with her...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 1:04PM
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I can understand feeling a bit threatened by the idea of SD moving back in, but it doesn't have to be a permanent situation. I do think you are being a bit dramatic by saying it will "take your marraige down". That's not saying much for the strength of your marraige if you truly feel that way.

Help this kid get some direction, then push her back out of the nest. You will still have plenty of time for yourself and your wants afterwards...

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 1:44PM
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this young girl is dealing with emotional and physical injuries but you make it sound like she is some evil monster. if you have such nasty attitude about this girl or about having children at home then why would you marry a man with a child.

well if she stays with you I don't see how it should effect your ability to travel or enjoy your life. she is only 18 plus she has physical and emotional injury as army is not for everyone. she should start school and start working and get back on her feet, but I don't see how it should effect your free time and so on.

I lived at home until about 19.5-20. I worked during the day and took college classes at night until i moved out, well actually I was getting married. But when i was still at home my parents traveled just fine and did everything they wanted to do. i was barely home. My brother lived at home until he graduated university at 21, he was in college full time during the day and worked night so he was never home either. My parents traveled just fine.

she is only 18, where does she suppose to live? I wonder if you had your own children and they had depression and hip injury would you kick them out? i wouldn't be surprised if your husband kicks you out.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:02PM
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lamom she is 18, where does she suppose to go? where does she suppose to live? she is just out of high school.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:05PM
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I think SD should be congradulated for at least trying. I would suggest you speak to DH and try to encourage him to encourage her to get whatever therapy (physical and mental) is in order and then to go to the local CC and see what type of career testing can be done. I think trying to push her out is not only cruel, but also not productive.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:18PM
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I have such hard time comprehending how people expect 18-year-old just out of high school to start living on their own without any support! they do not have a degree or a profession to make enough to support themselves, they can only get paid that much. to give her few weeks? and where is she going to go in few weeks? 18-year-olds either live at college or at home going to college or training or at home working saving for moving out, how do you kick them out right at 18. how awful.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:15PM
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FD, Nivea and all,

I just know what happened when DH's then 19 year old son was sent home similarly from the Army. He went in at 18 too. This doesn't sound different to me. SS didn't angle his way out of boot camp, the Army found him unfit based on emotional problems. Depression is a serious emotional problem.

You are right, a few weeks is too short a time to land for an 18 year old. My post was reactionary as I've seen this very scenario up close and personal with my SS at 19 and the toll it took on DH. I'm not theorizing on this one. For DH there was great deal of disappointment. That doesn't mean DH stopped loving him, but coddling SS after that wasn't the best idea either. BTW, BM was furious with her own son for washing out of boot camp and told him he could not go back to living with her at the time.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 8:14PM
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Lamom, the Air Force does not kick people out because of depression itself. OP stated hip issue hence the medical discharge, they are very different imo. As depression is different. Your SS and the OP's SD sound very different imo.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 1:18PM
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You are right.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 2:30PM
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I am wondering how things are going? Has the sd moved in and how are you handling it? It is possible to let her move in with the condition that every one in the house must contribute. If she cannot work, then she should be able to present you with a list of possible jobs and maybe even an appointment with a cc to get her started. In some places, due to her age, she will be eligible for counseling and other help to get her on her feet. I would also expect her to help around the house with whatever she is capable of doing. It should not be impossible for her to help with something. It would go a long way in easing things between you two if she showed that she wanted more than a free ride.

I hope things are going a lot better than you expected.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 7:08PM
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ANYONE CAN LIVE ON THERE OWN AT 18!! Enough with the coddling of young people, Step children are bane of many people's existence. You DO NOT have to love this girl......or even like her. The best parenting my mother ever did for me was make me move out!!... People act like weirdo around their parents. My mother's new Husband was always trying to "buy me an education".....I said "no way". I would never appreciate it coming from this stranger. Plus all he was trying to do was make my dad look bad cause he couldn't give me money.....SEE how all that crap screws everything up! Everyone out at 18 !! Stop the enmeshment!!!

Hang in ther!! most people HATE their stepchildren....they suck

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:43AM
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Huh? What is that all about???

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 12:28PM
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That's what you call a drive by....

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 12:30PM
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"My mother's new Husband was always trying to "buy me an education"....."

What nerve! the manipulative jerk...

"I said "no way". I would never appreciate it coming from this stranger."

Good for you! That'll show him!

"Plus all he was trying to do was make my dad look bad cause he couldn't give me money....."

You nailed it! He certainly didn't want to invest in *your* future...

Do you believe this!?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 2:07PM
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.....I think I cried a tear with that laugh....

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:31PM
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Sue - If you're out there:

I know you'll never believe that you mother's husband offered to pay for your college ('buy you an education) because he's a good guy who cares about you. And perhaps you're right about that.

But here's a perspective that almost certainly has some truth in it that might actually resonate with you:

He's trying to make sure you can support yourself financially so you won't have to move back in with Mom and him.

And that's not a bad thing...

So take him up on his offer. You might even consider thanking him. Because even if he's doing it for his own selfish motives (to keep you from moving back in) -- it's ALSO beneficial for you.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:57PM
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Hey someone who had the same thing happen to them as me. My SS went into the Marine's after living with us for about 3 months. I was so happy because this dumb kid had nothing going for all...just like some of his other siblings. Well he went and sailed through the basic training. We went to the graduation. He got sent to another school for training and that's when he started to let my DH that "he" didn't like it and wanted out. Then he would call and say "he" was just joking. Then all of a sudden wouldn't ya know he's getting discharged!!!! It was something drug related ( and to this day I don't fully know, cause the dumb idiot won't tell us). Anyway he was coming to our house, but stopped off at his mom's on the way home for about 2 months to do every type of drug known to man. Finally the little boy got to our house. While we were waiting for Capt. Dumber then a box of rocks to get to our house. My hubby and I had a little talk. He was just gonna let him come home with NO rules. I said "not gonna happen". I made up the rules, he had to agree to them and then we presented to loser the "small BOOK of rules". His brother (who was visiting from the Army) at the time said that these were more strict then being in boot camp. I explained that I was going to be someone he wished he never knew... The wussy kid didn't last a month. We "per the rules" as a team explained to the future "I live under a bridge candidate" that he needed to vacate our house. He didn't do what was expected and that he signed on the dotted line saying that he would. I'm sorry I don't let people live in our house that are that dumb. My DH ex monster in law came and got him and yelled at us. She even put the ex wife on the phone with DH. Well while they were chatting (she was yelling, I could hear). I decided to get something straight with Grandma sitting in front of me. I told her that she is not to tell us what to do in our own home, she can let this thing come live with her, and let him do or not do in HER own home, but don't you ever come into MY home and tell me or him what WE are doing wrong with HIS it. They left....3 years later my SS is still sponging off her for free...oh did I mention that he acquired a DUI too? ( he's done some other really bad things, but I can't and won't go into detail) while he's been with her. You know the moral of the story is he's not on our dime and Granny got what she wanted...someone who steal's from her.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 9:32AM
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I was reading the response that I just left( above) and some of the others above it. I was more then willing to help this kid when He moved in with us after high school, but soon found out what his MO was REAL quick. When he said he was going into the armed forces I was thrilled for him ( since I saw he wasn't going to be able to hack it at junior college or at some entry level job). The fact that he WASTED our tax payers dollars cause he didn't like someone TELLING him what to do was just beyond. I felt that we had to be ultra hard on him....unfortunately his grandmother wanted the job of enabler, which she has done for the past 3 years...he still just can't find a job.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 11:08AM
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