2 oldest stepkids are out of control, help?

DanielAshMarch 8, 2011


I have been in my relationship for 6 years now, and married for 2 years of them. My wife has 4 kids, two with her prior marriage ages 17(boy) and 13(girl) (both kids 6ft +) and twins from a relationship after her divorce; and I have a daughter 9 from a prior marriage. Dad 1 decided to move 100 miles away and dad 2 decided he didn't want anything to do with his kids. 3 of the kids and my wife have medical conditions, the oldest one has very bad asthma and has to get shots etc. and the youngest ones have had heart surgeries and one of them has epilepsy and has had to be hospitalized numerous times. My spouse has a clotting disorder and has Hoshimoto's thyroiditis disease, so she has a tendency to either be depressed or angry all the time, or constantly complaining about some ailment.


The two oldest ones were 8 and 11 when my spouse and I meet and got together, and I knew what I was getting into, however things have gotten progressively worse over time. I know its normal for teens to lash out and rebel, but these teenagers go a little far. They refuse to participate in doing chores around the house, when they don't feel like it. The constantly talk back, past the point of rolling eyes; primarily to the point where I start saying things and they say "I know god, shut up already" , and to the point where the oldest teenage boy challenges me, all the time calls me a "deusch" one minute but then ask for me to do him favors days later. I've discussed this with my spouse but she feels at a loose on what to do because they show her even less respect, then turn around and ask her for things moments later. I've told her and them that I was not going to participate as a resource with them if they didn't adjust their behavior, and that they couldn't have the part of me that takes them to see movies, and takes them to do fun stuff w/o the other part that tells them they need to get their chores, or show respect to their mom or else something will get taken away.

The problem is that both teens are being teens but they also both have issues controlling their anger (the teen boy has punches several holes in the wall) and the teenage girl has tremendous issues controlling her own emotions and for no reason will start screaming or yelling at me or her mom at the top of her lungs before running upstairs and slamming the door, or if she acts out in front of the other kids including my daughter and disrespects me, she tells me "I am not showing respect to you until you show it to me�" and then refuses to go upstairs to her room when asked at that point. The oldest son also has entitlement issues, I have a truck and we brought a commuter car, and I advised him that driving is not a given commodity he needed to 1) start being more responsible with his chores and life 2) start showing respect and listening to his mom and me 3) get a job to help pay for his insurance and expenses like gas etc. & he says that�s unreasonable and that I am being selfish I don't need two cars.

As I said I tried to address these things with my spouse but she is at a loss for what to do as well, I've even mentioned family counseling and or the older kids living with their dad for a while, which she doesn't like the idea (despite the fact that the first is a good one) either. The stress the teenagers bring to our relationship and household is bad enough that most of the time, if I feel things are so out of control it makes things miserable then I will come home cook dinner clean up a little bit then shut myself in our room. I know this sounds like a copout, but generally what happens is I am the breadwinner in our home, and my work is 40 miles away. I pick up one of the teenagers on my way home along with my daughter, make dinner clean up the house a bit while my wife sits by on her computer doing financial stuff (separating herself from what's going on with me and the kids) & by the time the situation escalates itself she is so burned out she doesn't want to deal with it, so then I feel defeated and lost.

We have seen a marriage counselor for our own issues, but each time we bring up the situation with the kids, the counselor mentioned that any number of issues would be too much for most relationships and that blended families already have a lot of stress throwing in all of our issues just compounds it. The older kids dad just recently got weekend custody (he had anger issues and domestic violence against his new-x wife ), everytime they leave I feel so much better. I know its probably just the one less stress in a very stressful relationship but I can't help it, I do feel that if they went to live with their dad, which is probably not a good ideal for a number of reasons that I would at least get a mental break, and the younger girls and my daughter wouldn't see the constant barrage of arguing and shouting coming from both sides, exposing them to the same thing that my wife says her oldest ones were exposed to with her and her x husband.

I guess I'm asking does that make me a bad person that when my step kids come back I can feel frustration, which I am sure they pick up on? I've even tried to be the positive one though and greet them with "Hey, how are you, you did a great job on cleaning your room before you left" to be followed with "whatever" and one of them just walking upstairs to their room and slamming the door, so I try.

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You certainly have a full plate going on here. And no, you're not a bad person for feeling what would be normal and expected frustration. I think you're due a break yourself...the day in and day out has got to be taking a toll on your own mental and physical self.

Can you do that? Can you arrange for some occasional help and an evening out for yourself? Maybe a housecleaner a day or two a week? Somebody who can maybe premake meals for the freezer on Sunday afternoons so you can just pull them out during the week? You've taken on a lot all by yourself and have both children and teens that are making things even harder than necessary.

I'd say get these older kids up and into helping, but with some of their health conditions I don't know what they can and can't do...or what might set off one of their problems. I'd hate to say something like 'get that oldest kid going into action' and then have him go full blow asthma attack on you. Only you, your wife and their drs know to what extent you could push this area.

Their mouthiness and bad attitude are not physical though and you really do deserve more respect than what you are being shown. Maybe a sit down family discussion with your wife fully backing you up and supporting your stand. No cooperation no treats. You don't owe them nights at the movies or other fun activities if they can't at least appreciate it and realize that such events/items are not going to be forth coming if the attitudes don't change.

Reality check the little darlings. The teens especially are old enough to know that if you walked out that door along with your paycheck , housecleaning, and cooking they'd all be 'up a creek without a paddle'. They can either behave themselves and start showing some respect, stop the fighting and constant crap or you stop cooking, cleaning and handing out money. Your their step father and the only father currently willing to step up, you've taken this on as a volunteer, you're working your butt off to make a home for them all and you did it out of love...they can start appreciating it and acting a part of the family or they can figure out how they are all going to fend for themselves. If you don't begin to find some sense of relaxation and a few moments of happiness now and then you're going to destroy your own health...caretakers usually take a bigger toll on themselves than on those they are trying to care for. It's not an easy thing to do and your body will begin to pay the price.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 7:35AM
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Those stepkids of yours need a reality check. As JM2 suggested, have a family meeting, tell them how it makes you feel to be disrespected in your home but also ask them how you can all work together to make it better. And really listen to what they have to say. Validate their opinions, even if you don't necessarity agree with them.

For the two oldest, give them a written list of things that you do for them to make their life better, ie. a safe home, food, etc. Give them a second list of things that are extras, ie. movies, allowances, sports, etc. Then a third list of what you expect of them, ie. keeping their room clean, helping with chores, etc., in order to earn those extras. Keep it simple though and in point form. Putting all these things in writing is much more effective then telling them....kids, especially teenagers, will tune you out very quickly when you start pointing out their faults to them.

All that said, it will be a waste of time if your wife is not on board and backing you up 100%. I wish you luck.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 8:38AM
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I am on a break and don't have time to go into details. Sorry for your ordeal. It sounds too much...

Even if they have disabilities, their behavior is unacceptable. Your wife must deal with it ASAP. If she does nothign about it, then i don't see how you can change it.

To be honest with you I would not marry anyone whose kids called me names or yelled at me. Being called names or "shut up" would end right there, they would either stop or I would be gone. I admire your patience. I would not last.

I do agree with other posters: family meeting, list of things that need to be changed, time frame frame in which it must change. If it does not change withina reasonable time frame, I would be gone with my child.

Your daughter sure does not need to live in such environment. Put your own child first.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 11:14AM
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