Venting - Annoyed with Hubby!

sweebyMarch 9, 2009

I'm just so annoyed with Hubby today -- You'all remember Thurman? Whose SD can do no right, and whose wife defends her daughter and gets annoyed with Thurman? Well, if my husband could use more than two fingers to type, I'd swear he could be Thurman...

This morning, my DS18 was in the shower when his alarm clock went off. Oops... It was early, and it was annoying, but instead of simply turning off the offending alarm clock, Hubby yelled at DS in a very nasty tone of voice. DS was in the shower, and probably couldn't even hear the alarm clock -- but he sure heard Hubby yelling at him and he sure heard the tone of voice. So now Hubby is annoyed. DS is annoyed (and feeling unfairly picked on). And I am annoyed and stuck in the middle all over again! And both want me to take their side against the other!

Things have gotten to the point where DS18 and Hubby don't talk and barely tolerate each other. They each only see the other's flaws and overlook the good qualities. Whenever DS does something to annoy him, Hubby usually just files it away in his stack of resentments (it's pretty big by now) until he's had too much and blows up over something trivial. Or, he reacts in a frustrated 'third strike' reaction when he never even mentioned the first two strikes! A typical situation would be DS18 leaving a dirty dish on the countertop. He knows better, and if I see it, I'll simply ask "Are you done with that?" and he'll immediately get up and put it in the DW. But Hubby will silently put the dish away himself and file a mental 'strike one' against DS for being lazy and selfish. Two dishes later and Hubby's furious and DS feels completely blindsided --

I tried to speak to Hubby about this morning's episode, and you know what he's mad about? DS18 didn't wash my car or do any yardwork this weekend like his little brother did. What can I say? It's true. DS18 is lazy and dislikes that type of activity, so he didn't do any -- which I freely admitted to Hubby. But then in DS18's defense, I added "But we didn't ask him to do it either --" which caused Hubby to snap that it's my fault for not asking him to do it, and that DS13 never waits to be asked to do stuff - he just volunteers. (Which is true. Odd. But true.)

I've tried talking to both of them calmly and rationally, but nothing changes much for long.

I'm just very annoyed and venting!

Thanks for listening...

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I have yet to understand why women make their children grow up through this kind of he_ _.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 12:58PM
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It's certainly not an all-day every-day thing Thermometer.
And if you've read many of my posts, you might recall that overall, our marriage is very, very good, and that Hubby is, in most respects, a model husband and father. And should our DS13 lose his wonderful and involved father and intact home to shelter my DS18 from occasional unfair criticism?

This IS a problem, but every real life has some of those...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 1:32PM
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It sounds like maybe hubby let's things go for too long bothering him before he speaks up. It is obviously a sore point that your son doesn't help more around the house with out needing to be cattle prodded. LOL

Maybe his gripes arn't unfounded but rather he just goes about expressing them the wrong way. You yourself admitted that your son is lazy and I can't say it wouldn't irk me just a little if one child did all the chores while the other (older even) sibling kicked back and played video games all day. Is he a gamer?

Maybe you should get your son outside to help more often or at the very least reward S13 in some way for always going beyond the call of duty. When DS18 ask's "Hey. Why does DS13 get to do___________." You can say because he always helps around the house without being asked.

I think maybe dad just feels like DS13 is geting unfairly shafted in the exact same way you feel DS18 is getting unfair criticism. He just isn't handling it in an adult manner.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 3:28PM
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"Is he a gamer?"
How'd you know? Yes, he is. And that's what he's doing all day when DS13 is doing all of the work.

But FWIW, DS13 is not asked to do all that work. He's very eager to please adults (a bit of a brown-noser) and genuinely *likes* washing cars, and collecting the money he is paid for washing them. I also think Hubby overpays DS for car washing: $10 for my car and $20 for DH's big truck. Or do you'all think that's a fair price for a 13 year old to get for an un-asked for car wash?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 3:37PM
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There may be some people who do, but overwhelmingly the average person does not find the behaviors of their own children so incredibly abominable. The likelihood is, if his own son werent so perfect, he would not constantly criticize the 13 year old and build up anger until he lashes out, especially not over such insignificant and minute transgressions. I find it difficult to believe the child is so flawless and never made a mistake, so you see what IÂm saying yourself and so does your 18 year old. It has probably gotten to the point that 18 year oldÂs self esteem is affected and heÂs given up, feeling there is nothing he can do and nothing he can do right. The thing is, you are missing the effects and what has happened to your son as a result of this. You described it and missed it at the same time, just labeled him as lazy. Perhaps he is, but do you honestly think he forgets to place his dish into the dishwasher? He knows more than you do because he is well aware of what he can expect from stepfather, and he knows how to get some positive attention from you.

Do some research on how children who grow up under prolonged scrutiny and ridicule are affected throughout life before you blow it off as occasional unfair criticism after initially describing it very differently. He came before the 13 year old. Perhaps youÂre saying you became pregnant with DS13 very early in your relationship and before DH started in with the verbal abuse, but you sacrificed the son you already had. So, I still say I donÂt understand why some women put their children through this kind of life. I'm saying this because my son was only two when I divorced his father. My first boyfriend after that (about a year later) was the same way. He was very nice to my son at first and helped me with him in some ways and then started criticizing my little one for nothing of importance. He twisted the situation and manufactured much worse scenarios like your DH does. That happened twice and the final straw was when he yelled and made the child jump out of his skin. I jumped out of mine too at the blood curdling sound of his voice. I could see where this was going and told him not to ever again say a word to my baby and not to ever say a word to me about him. We broke up shortly afterward. No way was I going to allow it and wasn't going to live with that kind of animosity between me and my guy. He was good too and as good as gone when I finished with him. We all have problems and we all make mistakes, but some things can clearly be seen and prevented or remedied. Perhaps you and DH need problem solving skills.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 3:43PM
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I wonder if DS 18 has more a life of leisure with his bio dad and when at your house it isn't worth it to help. He gets fancy cars etc from his BD, why spend hours washing a car for a few bucks. Maybe even your DH doesn't like that life for your 18 yr old is financially cushy with his BD? Just throwing thoughts out. Would it help if you had a couple of jobs for 18 yr old that he is expected to do and you see he follows through? Keep his room clean? Help with a meal preparation? Or 2 hrs on Saturday have him know he is expected to chip in with chores?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 4:25PM
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Good point Eandhl -- And I suspect you're onto something there. DS18 is spoiled financially by his BD, and that irks Hubby (and me too, to a certain extent). I think we'd all like to see DS18 work a little harder for what he's given.

FWIW, when I do ask DS18 to do something along those lines, he often grumbles a bit, but then always goes and does it. He knows he's got things pretty easy, on balance. When the request is for something 'clean' - like watching DS13 while we get a night out or setting the table, he always agrees calmly and does a nice job of it.

Thermometer - This situation, while irritating, is not as dire as you're making it out to be. If it were, I WOULD be out of here (well - Hubby would be) in a New York minute. I had a frustrating morning and, like I said, am venting.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 4:55PM
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You know better than I do, so I'll take you as correct.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 5:50PM
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I think that if DS does not live with you but only visits, he does not feel required to be taking care of parents' and stepparents' cars or take care of their yeards or gardens. I thought they both live wiht you. If they don't, it is only to be expected that DS13 does more work because he actually lives there.

I understand that visiting child/teenager/adultchild should still do stuff like putting dishes away but i disagree about doing major work. I also think that washing cars or doing yearwork is something people need to ask about.

When i visit my parents I do not start washing their cars or working in their garden, if they would ask I would do it. They in fact might get offended, they always worry that we will start thinking of them as incapable. In fact I do not like if people start messing up wiht my car or other major stuff assuming I need help.

Even if he considers your home "his" not living there, (which is a normal thing to do) i still don't understand why your DH expects him autmotically know what work needs to be done. The fact that DS13 volunteers does not mean DS18 should. they are different people and live by different rules. Of course it wouldn't make sense if he required to be served hand and foot, that's extreme. But other than that i think your DH is out of line here. Not as bad as Thurman though. lol

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 6:52PM
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finedreams - I believe that DS18 lives with Sweeby. BD lives very close from what I recall - I think the fancy car that BD gave DS18 has to be parked at dad's and then DS18 has to walk home from there.

Here's another thought, simple as it might be (and trying to think like a teenager):

Perhaps aside from getting spoiled by biodad, so no incentive to "earn" stuff, DS18 is feeling "I have a narcissistic bio dad that I have to deal with, which is exhausting, frustrating, and painful. Now I have to listen to THIS guy too? Sorry, my life sucks enough."

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 7:17PM
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I see, maybe I am wrong but I thought one of sweeby's children lived wiht dad. Am i wrong, maybe I am confusing her wiht someone? If he does live there full time then maybe he could do more wihout being asked, but still no 18-year-old decides to wash parents' cars or do yardwork wihtout being asked. It is unrealistic to expect that. Stepdad is still out of line. sweeby says that DS18 agrees to do things when asked so then why stepdad expects things done without asking. If stepdad wants things to be done then he should ask.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 7:53PM
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DS18 does live with BioDad -- about 4 blocks away -- and is at our house two nights/week plus EOW. BioDad actually makes him do a fair number of chores over there -- cleaning the pool, much of the yardwork -- anything BioDad doesn't want to do or pay for. I frequently see DS18 out working in their yard, and honestly, our yard doesn't need all that much work -- all trees, no grass. But DS13 finds things to water; DS18 never looks for work!

The problem, as I see it, is that Hubby stores up all of the little problems until he's worked up a good steam. AND, he resents how DS18 is spoiled by his Dad and that he spends his time with us lounging around and playing video games. We both agree that DS13 is unusual in his love for car-washing and yard work, and that we sometimes would prefer that he not 'help' quite so much, as he sometimes does damage...

We talked about it again today, and Hubby is going to try to let his steam out a little at a time using his 'nice voice' -- and if he can do that, I think things will get better. If not -- well at least DS18 is going off to college in another 6 months.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 9:17PM
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I can relate to your DH as I did something similar last night. I was annoyed as I'd spent 30 minutes picking up everyone's crap they left around and then SD's mom tossed herself into the mix with an annoying text to SD, and the next thing I knew I was snapping at DH for nothing, really. It was just too much in a 10 minute span and I didn't address each issue separately. That said, my behavior, and your DH's, isn't okay. I agree that letting steam out slowly, and somewhat nicely, is the best idea. I would think he also needs to evaluate what steams him, and why. Is it the act of not volunteering to wash a car, or is it he didn't volunteer, DS13 did, SS18 has a nice car at dad's that likely goes through the car wash, and so on? If he can learn to separate the issues it might create a little less steam.

Or, we could just send you the forum lamp.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 9:45PM
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this whole story sounds weird and foreign to me. I don't get it.

If he visits EOW and two nights a week he should not be expected doing yardwork or wash cars (why not taking cars to car wash? no one in my family washed anyone's cars, and we aren't lazy).

I find this ridicilous. I mean of course if parents/stepparents are elderly or aren't capable, he should help but other than that I find it strange to say the least. He should clean after himself and help wiht some chores when asked. that's about it. Of course he is lounging, he is visiting, that's why.

If he does all that stuff at dads where he lives, why would he do the same work at moms? You see him working in dad's yard but then he should come to your house and do your yard too? At 18? like he has no other life but digging up in the yard. if mom is single and no one to help her, but there is a man in the house. maybe it is just me but it shocks me.

Of course he does not LOOK for work. why would he? what is he, crazy? he comes to mom with a visit and starts looking for work. Why? Who looks for work?

it is like children of divorce have to be punished by taking care of two houses! he needs to do yardwork and chores in two houses because parents live apart. Like it is his fault parents are divorced. There is a stepdad who should be taking care of yard or cars and DS13 helping since he lives there. This is really weird.

DS13 finds things to water but DS18 doesn't. so what? i don't like plants that much, i don't look for them to water, i don't understand gardening and don't look for yard work and I am 43 not 18. stepdad or you or both are surprised that 18-year-old doesn't go around looking for plants to water. ha

This is the strangest story i have read in a long time.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 9:58PM
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"it is like children of divorce have to be punished by taking care of two houses!"

This is the funniest thing I've read in a LONG time. What an ignorant stance to claim it's punishing a child to give them chores at both houses. That sounds like something the president of the "Disneyland parent's" rights organization might say!

How dare a parent expect a 'visiting' child to mow the grass or wash a car! Wait! are we supposed to treat him like a 'visitor' or a member of the household? Can't have it both ways... a kid that spends 2 nights a week and every other weekend is not a 'visitor', that's pretty liberal time with both parents, especially when they live walking distance from both houses. Most 18 year old's are never home, they are with friends etc. (and they SHOULD have a job, at least a part time job for spending money) What is the deal with babying children... not expecting them to do chores at one house... not expecting them to help a parent... not expecting them to have a job... not expecting them to have any responsibilities. That is really WEIRD. The strangest story I have read in a long time is how perfect some people think they are!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:49PM
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"If he visits EOW and two nights a week he should not be expected doing yardwork"

Excuse me but this schedule is in fact 50-50 custody. We have my SS two nights a week and EOW. (weekends are Fri, Sat, Sun) It is called a 5-5-2-2 split and it is JOINT CUSTODY. He's with BM for 5 days, us for 5 days, BM for 2 days, us for 2 days, repeat.

And we expect him to keep his room (reasonably) neat and clean here, we expect him to take his plate from the table to the kitchen, we expect him to put his dirty clothes in the hamper, etc. And this past weekend, we were outside doing some yardwork, and both DD and SS helped rake some leaves!

"Wait! are we supposed to treat him like a 'visitor' or a member of the household? Can't have it both ways... a kid that spends 2 nights a week and every other weekend is not a 'visitor'"

So true!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 12:17AM
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Hi Sweeby,

Here's another opinion thrown in the mix! I'm not agreeing that it's ok for your DH to get angry like that, but I can relate. I'm sometimes guilty of doing the same thing with the whole 'three strikes' thing.

I see the skids do something that annoys me and I zip it, trying not to be the disciplinary because FDH should be. FDH says nothing and I try to forget about it. And then it happens again, I feel twice as annoyed yet I still manage to zip it. Of course as it builds I'm more likely to burst, and usually that does happen over something insignificant, as it always does. If FDH would step up a bit and discipline the skids more I would not have these little things building up. But then the question is: who says that my boundaries are the right ones? Maybe I'm fussy and FDH is right in letting a particular behavior go, who's right? FDH's favorite reply is 'don't worry about it'. But I do FDH I do!!! :-)
So anyway, yes, is your DH maybe annoyed with you in the same way? I mean, that sounds so harsh but it's not such a big deal, we have a great relationship and we are very happy but it's just one of those pet pieves right? We do talk about it and we always try to find the happy medium. I dare say we do get closer and closer every time :-)

Or is it possible that FDH is actually annoyed with BD for his different parenting style? In that case he would be taking his frustrations out on the wrong person. It's very hard to control your emotions sometimes but I always try to not react when I'm angry, but wait till I feel calm and then point out whatever it was that bothered me. But only if it actually is something that is related to my skids directly. So for example your point about how your DS was never asked to wash the car means that he didn't do anything wrong in not doing it. DH should not show any anger over this, I agree with you.

Ok I don't know if I'm making any sense, I'm tired and I'm going to go home, but I think just by talking with your DH things will get better. A better understanding of each others feelings and intentions always helps, I guess I'm not one for holding things in hahaha

Oh and just last week I totally flew of the handle myself at SD10 when she was eating like a 2 year old. Enough of FDH's laidback Ozzie attitude. I almost put my fist through my kitchen benchtop when I told her 'enough is enough, no more nice daddy asking politely, YOU WILL EAT WITH A KNIFE AND FORK AND YOU WILL SIT STRAIGHT!!!'
SD10 got it, I did not apologise after. Sometimes enough is enough.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 3:59AM
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1. I would not pay a child any more to wash the car than I would pay at the carwash. I'd assume they'd do a similar standard of work. So that would be approx. $8-10.

2. "Some kind of help is the kind of help that helping's all about and some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without." If DS is breaking/damaging things, he's not helping. That needs to stop. I can understand the brown-nosing, the wanting to get paid, the looking good in comparison to older brother. It's one thing to really help, it's another to work ahead without permission, possibly break things and expect to get paid and praise.

3. I can understand the frustration. Early mornings can bring out the worst in people. My dd woke me up this morning at 4:30 playing her Raffi cd. 'Olga lives in Ger-ma-ny, Sven lives in the Netherlands...Porta lives in Russia..." I nearly killed her. BLASTING her music at 4:30 and this was on purpose, not an accident.

I think there needs to be clear expectations. Everyone needs to understand that in this house, when we are done with a dish it is put in the dishwasher. Each child needs chores. Younger brother has found a way to look good and is exploiting it. Older brother has found a crash pad and is exploiting it.

DH needs to let things out a bit more or he will be grouchy more often than not. Find a way to try to eek information from him so that he's not keeping it inside.

I'm sorry. I know how it is to vent and then be pretty much over it but get a lot of advice that doesn't really help. Just my 0.02. Hope you're having a better day!!!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:34AM
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I have to agree with IMA - visitor or family member. Sweeby's son is there EOW plus two week days = 156 days. That's just shy of 6 months.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 12:00PM
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"My dd woke me up this morning at 4:30 playing her Raffi cd. 'Olga lives in Ger-ma-ny, Sven lives in the Netherlands...Porta lives in Russia'

OMG, this made me die laughing! My DD loves Raffi, too! It is just funny to think of a child blasting Raffi on the stereo--when I think of blasting music, I think of obnoxious rap or something! The image of a child blasting a Raffi CD cracked me up---I can totally see my DD doing the same thing and thinking she is SO COOL with her kid music! LOL.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 1:33PM
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a different pov:

your dh approaches this in a passive/aggressive way...and although his expectations that ds18 help out are not unrealistic...his expectation that it will happen on its own without any communication is unlikely. maybe a sit down with both of them might steer things in a clear and open direction for both of them. ds18 leaving for college isnt going to change is only a will keep coming back in some form or other until it is resolved in some way...then be consistent. if the rule is you cant play video games till your chores are done, then it is never okay to play video games until your chores are excuses. ds18 is what i call a transitioning adult...he needs to understand that he needs to pull his weight in the world also...and ill get back to that in a minute...

speaking of passive/aggressive...ds13 may not be all that different in handling things then dad is...his "brown-nosing" might be an indication of a need for approval...and a need to feel important. he sees his brother getting so much from his dad, and how things might be imbalanced, and it might make him feel less important....add that to all the attention ds18 gets...even thou it is "bad" is still time consuming, leaving ds13 fending for himself. this might be something to discuss with your dh that it would be to everyone's benefit to not let this go on, to set down expectations.

ok, ill go back to the pulling your own weight thing. i raised 8 kids (3 still at home)...they all had/have chores...they didnt/dont get an "allowance", these things were considered their contribution to the household. could u imagine the looks on their little faces if you started giving them a bill for cooking their dinner or doing their laundry? doesnt mean they never got anything...they always had opportunity to earn money if they wanted by doing things above and beyond their expected chores. but it was always an arrangement made ahead of time...i would expect if a child wanted to earn money by washing my car, they would come ask me...not just do it and expect payment. the world doesnt work that way...and his "love" of cleaning/working and doing it without prompting might take a nose-dive if the cash flow were to stop. maybe consider some boundaries be set there...

again...just my 2 cents worth...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 2:36PM
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Love, if I weren't so mad I would have been rolling on the floor. She def. thinks she is uber cool with her music...snapping her fingers and keeping the beat with her head... to baby beluga and all...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 3:02PM
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yes many 18 years olds have jobs, go to school and are busy with sports or intellectual or creative activities so if on top of everything else they also do housework for one parent there is not time to repeat the same housework for the second parent. there is no time. i know mine was very busy with job and school so doing yardwork or washing cars for two houses would be out of the picture.

ima i do not know what is up with kids having no responsibilities or having no jobs or not attending school, I cannot relate, never had that experience. but you can share yours, why some children do not want to work or attend school. as long as they fold their laundry i guess they should be OK in wish it was that easy.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 3:43PM
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"so if on top of everything else they also do housework for one parent there is not time to repeat the same housework for the second parent. there is no time"

But theoretically, if a child is dividing time between two houses equally (as is Sweeby's son) and is expected to contribute reasonably around each household, then he is doing the same amount of work he would be doing if his parents were married and he lived in ONE home.

I also would argue that---a child with divorced parents (such as myself) gets double presents at birthdays, double Christmases, often double vacations, etc. I am SURE finedreams that, in a million years, you would not argue with THAT.

Just flipping it around a bit. I think we ALL would agree that for birthdays or holidays children are entitled to gifts/family parties from BOTH households, right? And children with divorced parents are entitled to go on vacations with both parents, obviously.

You can't have it both which is it? A child is either a visitor or a member of the household.

I vote for member of the household and with that comes both priviliges and responsibilities.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 6:42PM
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love, sweeby never said he does not do housework, he does, he just does not volunteer. big deal.

If he has extra time and has no school or work obligations of course he can wash cars or do yardwork in both houses. I do not know if sweeby's son does well in school or if he holds any jobs. Most 18 year olds are very busy. It does seem unrealistic to expect 18-year-old spend his days doing yard work or washing cars in both houses on a regular basis. Who has the time? who even sits home the whole day?

Frankly times when people had many children so they have enough labor force to work on the farm passed. In those times children weren't getting education and weren't working outside the home. Middle ages passed. Howadays hopefully most 18-year-olds are busy getting education (yes, some aren't, but let's not see them as role models even if they do their own laundry at 7) and getting work experiences. yes it is important to help your family/families. But there usually not much time left to volunteer to do yardwork and wash cars in both houses on a regular basis.

love you might consider that DS has two homes but something tells me he doesn't feel this way. the amount of time one spends in someone else's house does not make it home. and the way his stepdad treats him i am surprised he is even coming over, let alone feels at home. he probably feels at home at dads that's why he does housework there. maybe his dad also treats him poorly, i do not know, but then i feel double sorry for him.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:45PM
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BTW there are plenty of people go to grandma's house EOW and some nights during the week, it does not mean it is their home. some kids go to friends' houses every other week and nights during the week. although when they do so they have to clean after themslves, put dishes away and help with other stuff when asked (especially if it is grandma for example)etc. But nobody would insist it is their HOME or that they have to volunteer wiht yard work. how many times someone goes to relative/friend house does not make it HOME.

In fact most people would not be too happy if anyone starts digging up in their garden wihtout being asked. It is pretty easy to mess it up. Unless of course 18-year-old is an expert in landscaping. Which I doubt.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:58PM
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"how many times someone goes to relative/friend house does not make it HOME. "

Are you kidding?! I am seriously flabbergasted at this line of thinking.

We are not talking about a kid visiting a cousin or a grandparent here. Sweeby is not her son's "relative," she is his MOTHER. So YES, I think I WOULD consider HER home HIS home.

You can bet your bottom dollar that if some stepmom were on here venting about how HER home is NOT her stepchild's home, you would be the FIRST to point out that a stepchild, no matter how often he "visits," is still a full-fledged member of the family.

But that's beside the this particular situation, Sweeby's son spends 50% of his time at HER house--his MOTHER's house. He is not visiting a relative---he is living 50% of the time with his mom, half-brother and stepdad!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:08PM
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if his stepdad treats him this way he might not feel very wanted and at home. maybe he does, i don't know. but stepdad's treatment is not particualrly welcoming. plus it seems preferential towards his bioson. constant comparison. overall, not good. and don't tell me you do not know how people could not feel home in their own home. if his stepdad yells at him you think he feels like volunteering?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:16PM
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Wow, this really hits home to for me.

Exactly how DH treated my DS I say treated because after my DS moved out & away DH doesn't even acknowledge his exhistence, never asks about him or how he is, it's like he fell off the face of the earth.

Yet his kids are perfect. If I have a legitamate complaint about SS leaving a sink full of dirty dishes for me every day after work or taking my clothing out of the dryer while it's still wet and leaving it piled up on the dryer in a ball so he can dry his DH will immediately bring up something DS did 4-5 years ago that made him angry.

During an arguement recently I told DH your kids are no better than mine. They are all kids (well, grown kids) and they are all the same. His respose: "NOT TRUE!"

He is very passive agressive towards my son and it will never end. My son's out on his own but the end result is his are made to feel as our home is theirs and mine was made to feel such an outcast he will not even stay with us when he visits which isn't often. And I don't blame him. Who wants to stay where they aren't even spoken to or treated like they are a person?

His knocks up a hooker/stripper presents us with a g-son and DH fully supports them finacially. Mine goes to school full time & works full time out of state and pays his own way. So what makes him such a "bad" kid? Nothing, except my DH's opinion.

I agree why should your DS have to do the yardwork at both homes? Unless he is offered the same compensation, which I'm sure he would appreciate. Some kids just don't do without being sked. It's normal high school stuff.

And my son was the same he didn't like to do that stuff around the house but none of the others did either. And he worked all through high school so it wasn't that he was lazy he was tired. Add to that a high school kids social life. I think your DH is being completely unrealistic in his expectations. When your younger one gets to high school I bet he won't be as interested in these duties either.

Though some may argue I think some (not all) men are just incapable of developing any kind feelngs towards their step children. And the only feelings my DH has towards my son are negative. It really stinks.

I feel bad for you because I know what a difficult and hurtful situation it is. You know my situation, the end result for me hasn't been good. I wish I had handled things much differently many years ago. Now I'm just angry and resentful over it. Lucky for me DS and I remain close and I am able to go see him a few times a year.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:24PM
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I have a guess as to another psychological explanation as to why DS18 might be so lazy in comparison with SS13. Based on what you've described, my guess is DDS18 is highly intelligent but not hugely popular and has a strong sense of individuality. I base a lot of this assumption on the fact that he's a 'gamer'. I've never been one myself, but I've known several (a few have been pretty close friends) and possibly could have been one b/c I share some of the classic 'gamer' traits. These people are often so intelligent that they find the real world and 'normal' social life boring and depressing. The fact that they find more fulfillment using their often enormous creativity in dreaming/developing rich fantasy worlds tends to isolate them more from kids who are more 'average', popular, etc, but not necessarily from each other. They find each other because in school the feeling of being different can be isolating and very painful. Like anyone, they seek to avoid situations where there's rejection and where they are the 'loser' compared with others. And because they are often so intelligent, they excel at mental games. Games are to some extent competition. Games give them a sense of self-confidence that they can't get from the more culturally-sanctioned activities that give more 'typical' kids approval and rewards, such as being widely popular with their peers, pleasing their parents and teachers or competitive sports. The 'gamer' type kid thus comes to be comfortable not fitting in with or "winning' in the mainstream precisely because of the skills and social networks developed in pursuing game activities and culture. In other words, they are often 'contrarians'. For better and worse. They more openly resist rules, but they can think for themselves and stick to their principles perhaps more bravely and strongly than the 'average' person.

All of these psychological components in this case would seem to suggest to me that DS18 and SS13 are very different kids. The younger being more of a 'people pleaser' and likely more popular because of it. In seeing this, the part of DS18 which is more comfortable being different probably views SS13 as "a brown-noser" like Sweeby said... which probably makes DS18 want to differentiate himself from SS13 as a matter of pride in how he defines his own self. But even more deep-seated than that is the awareness DS18 probably has that "brown-nosing" is a 'game' that he simply can't win, at least in the context of this particular family and this other kid who is so good at it. So, again, he seeks to assert his individuality by simply withdrawing out of that 'contest' altogether.

Not saying at all that it justifies excessive laziness ---there's a baseline level of chores & responsibility that must be done and of course it isn't REALLY a 'game' or 'contest' because everybody is expected to pull their weight. That is a lesson DS18 will have to learn. But all this does explain why DS18 certainly wouldn't be inclined to go *above and beyond* this baseline. And really, not too many of us would either, especially as kids! Not saying the other kid's weird or anything, but it does seem that somewhere along the line he realized that the "model child" thing was something that worked for him because it was something HE was exceptionally good at and it earns him the approval he seeks.

The two boys just have different personalities and different strategies for differentiating themselves and developing their self-esteem in the world. One is obviously more of an extroverted people-pleaser and the other is obviously more of an individualist. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. In an ideal world they could learn from each other but that may or may not ever happen. In the meantime it is probably best for everyone in the family to try and avoid comparing them on the exact same scales.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 2:15PM
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"Though some may argue I think some (not all) men are just incapable of developing any kind feelngs towards their step children."

Honestly, I don't think, when the child is 18 or older, that the issue is anyone developing feelings for the other. Grown kids may or may not accept a stepparent. I accepted mine, my siblings did not. We were all in our late teens. We didn't have a choice as to stepparent. Our stepparent chose to marry a dad with kids. She had a choice. But, that isn't even the issue. In my opinion, the issue is that people need to respect each other as a person and relationship/feelings are not as relevant when you are dealing with grown kids.

My son has taken wet clothes out of the dryer to dry his.. my clothes. I won't tolerate it if it's my stuff or anyone else's. He is not more important than anyone else there. Our house rule for washer/dryer is, first come... first serve. (and take your stuff out so the next person can use it) and as long as nobody tries to jump the line, no problem. That's a problem of one parent giving their child precedence over others and that is not right... it's more of a husband problem than a child problem but when the child is a grown up.. I get your frustration.

What I see with my son and husband is two 'men' vying for top dog in the house. Each one wants to be 'king' of the castle. If I were to support my son against my husband, I might as well go back to being single. My son is finally 'getting' it because my goal is to launch him into the world to have his own life, not coddle him to stay with me forever. My vows are to spend forever with my husband, not my kids. They will always be my kids and I will always love them but they will go out into the world and make their own families and my husband will grow old with me. They don't have to like him... but I love him.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 3:22PM
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"That's a problem of one parent giving their child precedence over others and that is not right... it's more of a husband problem than a child problem but when the child is a grown up.. I get your frustration. "

Exactly, though when DH & I married we had three teens in the house, 2 his, one mine. So they were not all adults then, mine is the youngest.

But yes you hit the nail on the head with your statement above. I'm just sayin I hope Sweeby can resolve the situation that will be satisfactory to her personally because I would hate for anyone to feel as I do in a marriage, which is that my child doesn't matter to my spouse at all and his matter to him more than I ever will.

It truly is a spouse/marriage issue.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 3:39PM
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Hi there. been away from the computyer for a few days.

HAHAHAHAHA...I knew he was a gamer because he sounds exactly like my brother. My paretns are having some of the same issues with him that you are having. My parents fight constantly because he won't tote his share of the housework and he won't get a job. They are his BIO parents and it still causes major friction in their marriage. He's 25 so I would really start working on your son now. There's just something about those video games that put's them in a zombie like state.m It's like the modern day "stoners". All they want to do is play video games till 3 in the morning and then sleep till 3 in the afternoon!

My kids will never have a game system. It has just caused so so so much problems for my family. My brother struggles with his social interactions as well. He can't relate to people unless they are gamers like him. Day to day human interactions are profoundly akward for him which is a great part of the reason why he doesn't have a job. He literally can not thrive in the "real world" because of all the time he has spent in the virtual one. It's really sad.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:17AM
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I have a 19 year old son, and I know teenage gamers of the type doodledoo and serenity refer to.It truly is a tragic waste to see these boys waste this special time in their lives. But Sweeby's son sounds like a normal teenage boy to me. He does chores at his dad's house, at Sweeby's house he babysits and sets the table without grumbling, if he forgets to put his dishes away he does so when asked.

Like Sweeby's husband, I am the type who would put the dish away and get aggravated. After two or three days of it, I'd get very aggravated. Sometimes, too, I get angry over little things when it's really an accumulation of bigger things that happened earlier that I never said anything about.

Your husband needs to stop doing that. He is the adult, and he needs to communicate better. He needs to set the example of a healthy way to communicate. If I was your husband, I think I might be very frustrated with your son, too. Part of my frustration might be that my 13 year old has some developmental issues (if I remember correctly), yet he is seemingly the responsible, reliable one. It probably doesn't seem fair that the one who has no developmental issues or delays isn't as apparently on-the-ball. That type of reasoning isn't fair to your 18 year old, but sometimes our feelings aren't fair or reasonable. But even if our feelings aren't fair or reasonable, our actions should be. If your 13 year old is your husband's only child, he probably doesn't realize how very un-normal your 13 year old's attitude really is.

My son and I sat down and talked to one another when we were having issues between us about helping out. He explained the nature of his video games to me and I understood more why he hates to be interrupted when he's playing (it's online with other people and he can't pause). Also, my son is very organized and efficient and a planner, and he likes to plan his days off. So here's what we do - when he was at home he knew he would have chores to do on Saturdays. So earlier in the week or on Friday night I gave him a list of everything I wanted done on Saturday. Once he finishes the list, he is free for the day. I used to just string the jobs out all along the day - whenever I was doing something and could use some help, I'd ask him all during the day. He'd get annoyed because he was interrupted, and I'd get annoyed because he didn't want to help. But if I give my son a list, I can get a whole lot more work out of him, he's happier, he doesn't complain, and I'm happy, too. He will still help me with the things that come up when I really, really need him - like unloading the groceries and lifting heavy stuff.

The flip side is that my son sees that I'm working with him to accomodate his preferences, so he tries harder to accomodate mine. If I tell him something really bothers me, like leaving his dirty dishes all over the place or leaving his clothes in the bathroom, then he'll quit doing that. I don't yell at him or get angry, I just explain how dirty dishes "multiply" - if the kitchen is clean then the next person will put their dirty dishes away, but once one person starts leaving them in the sink then everyone follows suit. My son understood that reasoning.

So if your husband is anything like me in bottling up his frustrations, then blowing over the small stuff, you could probably head some of this off. You could sit down with your husband and ask his expectations. Just "help out when asked" is not concrete enough - what exactly does he think would be fair for regular chores, how much time is reasonable? Then I'd sit down with my son and work out something mutually acceptable. If your son doesn't like "dirty", then what "clean" chores would he substitute? Would he prefer to run errands, do grocery shopping, etc? Find something that works for you both, make sure he knows it's coming regularly down the pipeline every weekend he's at your house, and no video games can be started until those chores are done. If "clean" chores aren't enough to suit your husband - does he like to see a teenage boy really go out there and sweat and do "dirty" stuff - then give your son a regular "dirty" chore and just be done with it. In my experience, boys just do not like to be hassled. Better to give them a straightforward job to do and get it over with and don't hassle them.

It may be more obvious that your husband has this issue with your son, but your husband is probably this way about other things as well. Learning to deal with your son in a more healthy way will probably help your husband in other areas of his life, too. The lessons I've learned in dealing with my kids have made me a better person not only at home but at work as well.

I'm sure your husband is a wonderful person. I am, too! I still had to change, though.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 3:05PM
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I think when anyone lives with one another we all have to be flexible, respectful and its human to be grated at times.
I think your husband is probably a wonderful man and i'm sure your son is a wonderful boy. But he is getting older and is being a 'man'. And your husband is going to become more annoyed when he doesn't pull his weight. He probalby feels that at his age, he doens't have to ask him to put away dishes. He's living under your roof, free rent , no bills, no job...(does your son work? ) and at the age of 18 he doesn't need to be told as if he were a child. He should know to do it even without beign asked.
Your DS13 does things because you and yoru dh have raised him differently than your DS18. If BD is giving him everything and not demanding much of him then i can understand his grumbling when you ask him to do something. I think your DS13 appreciates more what he has than the 18 year old.
Is he a fulltime student? no job....i think its time for him to work at least part time to have more responsibility.
Me personally, as a mother, i do not want my child living with me until the age of 30. I expect my son to have a job by 16....and get his own place a few years later. There are so many parents who enable their kids to not be self sufficient and its a disservice to them. We all need to teach our kids to be responsible, working healthy human beings. doesn't matter whether its bio or step.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 3:31PM
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Didn't mean to disappear on you'all, but I've had a very busy week and this thread was heading in a great direction without any input from me -- So many good thoughts, and most of them right on target!

- The 'resident or a visitor' issue is, I'm sure, part of the problem. With his schoolwork, time at his BioDad's, work (unpaid internship) and social life -- we don't see him all that much. So yes, to me, it feels more like he's visiting than like he lives here...

- Then there's DS13's actions. Yes, he is the son who is developmentally disabled, and he is SO eager to please his parents! He also wants so much to be 'just like Dad' that he wants to do everything Dad does, wants to help Dad with every project, wants to take care of Mom and the house the way Dad does... It's endearing and flattering, but also clearly very atypical behavior! Thing is, Hubby was raised by a single mom, and tried to take care of her when he was that age too. (Did a pretty good job of it also.) So to him, the behavior seems more normal than it really is. We don't really need either kid's help --

- On the gaming - ugh! Hubby is not a computer person, and to see DS18 wasting away in front of the computer annoys him to no ends. I can understand both sides of that story, though, as I have a little computer habit myself... It's as Daisy suspected - DS18 plays online games (I would never buy a gaming system at my house) with other people, and whe he is called away during one of their group activities, he gets flack from his teammates. But he weaned himself off that game (realized it was a problem) and has moved to others that are more flexible. But it's a bit of an 'addiction' for him, and he knows it. He'll have to fight it in college if he wants to do well.

Gotta go now -- more to follow.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 1:06PM
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