LadyofCamelotFebruary 10, 2011

Hi Everyone,

I have been reading the forum for a few days now. I have been a step-parent for 5 years now and I really need the support of other people going through similar things. I am not always good with the abbreviations but will try.

A little about my situation, my husband, has 3 boys my SS if I am getting it right. There are now 11, 14, 16, we share the kids with 50/50 with his ex the BM and her husband. When I met my husband she was already remarried. My husband is very bitter about her, and at first I thought some of his stories were blown out of proportion because he was mad about the breakup. I now know that most of what he told me about her is true but I still think his bitterness gets in the way.

Right now we are in the middle of a major war. At our house there are rules, including no drug use. The other house sometimes says there are rules but there are no consequences and appears to be no interest in checking that the rules are followed. A few weeks ago we caught SS(14) with drugs. We have been having problems with his behavior and school for months. When his attitude got out of control and we suspected drugs we took his cell phone and read his texts. I was shocked by how most of them were about drugs, and that he was doing them in the other house while in charge of his younger brother. We told the BM who refused to read the texts or look at the drugs. We asked her to email us what she was going to do about at her house. She said that she had told the children if they were caught with drugs at her house they would not be welcome in her home. She was not going to make him quit his job. At this point we do not allow him to work on our days because we believe if he can't do his homework and regularly attend school he has not earned the right to work. We also believe that he would find it a lot harder to buy drugs if he does not have money. The following week when he is at our home he is busted with drugs again, the BM when informed is concerned about us violating his privacy. She tells us that she can not stop him from doing drugs all she can do is be loving and supportive. This week when he came to our home I would not let him in the house if he wouldn't give up his electronics and submit to a backpack check. I was never angry, never forced him but when he refused and told me it was ridiculous, that he did not want to do his homework, chores and did not see a reason to stop doing the drugs. I told him he had a choice, either follow the rules or go back to his moms and think about it. He choice to go to his BM. I did check with my husband before offering this choice and he agreed.

It has been an awful week, we made it clear that we love SS(14) and have told him that we are open to sitting and discussing the rules and looking at his thoughts. We are not willing to comprise on the no drugs rule. The BM has sent us numerous emails telling us we will drive him away by being to rigid with the rules, that we have no right to check his bag or room (the school can do it and take his electronics away but we cant????), that she was concerned that I was making negative comments to him (only once I said to him, I can't stop you from doing drugs or becoming a deadbeat but I can stop you from doing it in my house).

It has been a tough go all through the last 5 years but this is overwhelming and my hubby and I are trying to support each other and not get divided but it has caused some fights as we go through the cycle of emotions. I also find that my husband blames the BM and doesn't see how much the SS is manipulating the situation.

I tried not to write a novel because there is so much more I could say but I really appreciate anyone who tries to read this and can offer words of understanding and advice.

Thank you

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My G-d. "She tells us that she can not stop him from doing drugs all she can do is be loving and supportive".

LadyOfCamelot, I don't have experience with this, so probably don't have much useful advice but did want to offer support. I think that you and your husband are entirely correct; it is outrageous to ignore drug use by a minor under your own roof so that you can be enabling, oops, I meant "loving and supportive". Are there any counselors at SS's school, counselors at your church, your attorney that you might be able to talk to about this?

You're in a really tough situation; hopefully you'll get some good advice. And welcome!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 7:54AM
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I agree with Mattie. I also think his father should be the one telling him this rather than you ONLY because I wouldn't want this to turn around and you end up the bad guy.

What kind of drugs are they? Perhaps if you explain to him the repercussions to doing drugs, such as; if the drugs are found in your house/car you could lose your house/car. You and his father could go to jail. Have you considered taking him to a "scared straight" event, or gone to the local jail to show him what it could be like for someone who "only smokes a joint every once in a while"?

My opinion is to stand firm, but keep the lines of communication open. Let him know it's not him you're against, it's the drugs in your home.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 10:25AM
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Thank you everyone. His dad did tell him all the rules it just happened that I was home on the change over day and hubby was at work, SS was late getting home and I think that was to avoid dad, thinking that maybe I would not do anything. He was caught with marijuana and mushrooms.

We had several family meetings including all the children. The youngest SS(11) is in the middle of a Drug awareness program and can't understand why his brother would make this choice. All the kids have been to the group homes and streetlink which services addicts and homeless people. We made a house rules sheet that everyone discussed and agreed upon. The very next week we caught the SS with the drugs again. We will be seeing the school councilor next week but the last meeting with the school did not go well. She actually told us that in the end he hurts himself. Now we live in an area where smoking a joint is fairly common but still not acceptable and certainly mushrooms are not. Add that the SS has asthma and a peanut allergy and since he started on the drugs has been to the hospital twice but previous to that has not been in 4 years.
I feel better today and have been reading a lot, looking at ways we can address the issue from a different angle without compromising our stand.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 3:21PM
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wow, so sorry to hear about it. What a tough situation.

Well I guess parents could choose to be flexible when it comes to minor stuff, like making his bed, that could be more or lass important depends on a life style. But when it comes to illegal drugs, I don't think one can afford being flexible.

I think you and his dad have rights to check his bag for drugs, especially since you know he is using it. You absolutelly should not allow drugs in your house. I could see how it woudl get him angry, but oh well, he is a minor and it is your house. I never looked in DD's bag and never wanted to, but she didn't use drugs, so I guess when it comes to illegal substance in your house, then different rules apply.

I don't know who you should talk to, maybe your lawyer, therapist, doctor, maybe he needs to be forced to rehab. i don't know.... i wish i had some ideas...But you should do everything possible to ensure that drugs are never in your house and he never does drugs in your house.

You can't make anyone quit anything, but you can offer help and tell him what help is available. he is only 14...Did you talk to school counselor?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 3:51PM
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I agree, drug use is a very serious charge. The 2 families should have a meeting (perhaps also w a school counselor) to discuss what the appropriate steps to do with the drug use. Your H and his XW should lead the charge, while You and the xw's H should only be in the shadows supporting. The objective of the meeting should be about the welfare of the children.
first, everyone needs to agree that drug use is a NO NO and detrimental to the child's future. second, agree on what to do whenthe drug use is a repeated offender. People will not change if there is no pain associated with the current state.
If the other family is not on the same page, then you can implement your own plan at your own house. You can call the cop so that the boy has to go to court and pass drug test every so often. Make sure, it is a absolute NO NO for having drug in your house. If it happens again, call the cop to pressure the kid into telling who is the dealer.

By the way, I think it also would be best for your H to be the enforcer, not you.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 12:26AM
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