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.