adult step children

sharon1971April 13, 2010

Help! They all live with us. His are 24, 22, 19 mine is 11.

The 19-year-old is the only girl.

The 24-year-old has had some issues that delayed his development/maturity but is a total sweetheart who helps around the house, etc.

The 22-year-old is about to leave for a six month internship has a MAJOR attitude, no consideration and wants nothing to do with me.

The 19-year-old is a slob and only has occasional, typical teenage attitude. She is hot and cold on me.

The 11-year-old is rolling merrily along as far as I can tell.

The 24-year-old and 11-year-old are sharing a room until we can finish the basement. They have not complained. The other two have been asked to change nothing (other than pick up after themselves more) and they have attitude -- especially the one about to leave.

How can I tolerate him until he's gone so he doesn't leave angry? He will grow up A LOT when he goes, I know it. In the mean time, he is VERY hard to live with.....

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It doesn't matter how angry he is;
he's living in a family home, & if he won't behave himself of his own free will, he needs some pressure applied by a "silverback male".

The silverback male is the dominant male gorilla in a family or troupe;
he's the one who keeps the aggressive young males from terrorizing the females & the youngsters.

In other words...
your husband needs to put this entitled little upstart firmly in his place.

If hubs won't do that (& if he hasn't done it already, he might well not), don't try to do it yourself;
aggressive young males just get angrier when confronted with a female who challenges them, & that's when they get violent.

Hang in there until he moves out, *& don't let him move back in*.

Be firm with husband that this is how it has to be;
no parent should allow an adult person, "child" or not, to be hateful to his wife & family.

I wish you the best.

I'm so sorry.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 6:20PM
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Agree with Sylvia. Get your husband to handle it pronto!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:14PM
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Thank you for the affirmation ladies. My thoughts, which I have expressed, are that the 22-year-old will not be back with any degree of permanency.

Clarification -- we are not married yet. This may be part of the problem. We got engaged at Christmas and my son and I moved in to "their" house. We are Catholic and waiting for our previous marriages to be annulled so we can marry in the church -- should be about another year. I have a house which is being foreclosed on and I haven't even brought over all my things because there is nowhere to put them. Everytime I try to make room by cleaning out a cupboard or such, 22 or 19 resists in some way.

These two have run this household and they are mad that I am taking over and their fun is done. I hate to say it but I really think 22 leaving will make a huge difference.

Meanwhile, we are not keeping his room as a shrine! The 24-year-old will use it while he is gone until and unless the basement gets finished. (Which is taking forever because the 22-year-old and 19-year-old keep wrecking cars, etc, etc.....)22 will NOT like that -- no one is allowed in his room (but he's allowed everywhere, of course, including my bathroom to borrow my hairdryer!).

This will be the acid test for my relationship I think, 22 out and changes start happening rapidly. If not, I still have a house to move back to temporarily.

I want my fiancee to be angry with his kids for hurting me. He is just sad about it.

BTW -- clue me in on all the abbreviations: DH, DD, BM, SSD????

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:29AM
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DH/DW- Dear Husband/Wife (or Damn Husband/Wife!)
DD/DS - Dear Daughter/Dear Son
BM - Birth Mom
SD/SS - Step Daughter/Step Son
SGD/SGS - Step grand-daughter/son
SF/SM - Stepfather /Stepmother
FDH/FDW - Future Dear Husband/Wife

Here's the thing. As a SD and a SM/BM myself, it's been interesting detangling all the emotions that swirl around.

22 year old - no one allowed in his room (why would anyone be there unless to snoop would be my thought on his reasoning process) but he feels he can go in your bathroom (because it has items he "needs" to use, like hairdryer).

I personally as a SD did not get why SM was getting so uptight about her stuff. I'm a kid. My parents stuff is for me to use (pre-set rules/attitudes/lifestyle in which I had been raised and then she comes in and it all changes and all of a sudden I'm getting less).

Now that I'm a SM and BM, I understand how SM could have felt a little intruded upon. But that comes with age. :)

It sounds to me like these kids (using the term loosely) are having a lot of changes, and those changes can be associated with you. You are "to blame". If your FDH doesn't establish the ground rules for the household it will continue to be in turmoil. My father let me and my SM work it out on our own. LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Needless to say, I still think she's a selfish biyotch and she still thinks I'm a daddy's girl brat. Dad was the only one who could have prevented this.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 11:02AM
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"we are not married yet. This may be part of the problem. We got engaged at Christmas and my son and I moved in to "their" house."

This is definitely a HUGE part of the problem! You moved into THEIR territory & I went through this with my kids when DH moved into my house. My kids are 19, 20 & 23. Merging two households is ALWAYS going to mean some changes... unless one only brings their toothbrush, but that is never the case.

"We are Catholic and waiting for our previous marriages to be annulled so we can marry in the church -- should be about another year."

I am confused by this... I am also Catholic & don't get why it's important to wait a year to annul your previous marriages so you may marry in the church, yet it's okay to live in sin for that year? It may also be a conflict these adult children pick up on... the hypocrisy. They may also resent that their father (and you) want to make the marriage to their mother null & void, as if it never happened.

"I have a house which is being foreclosed on and I haven't even brought over all my things because there is nowhere to put them. Everytime I try to make room by cleaning out a cupboard or such, 22 or 19 resists in some way. These two have run this household and they are mad that I am taking over and their fun is done"

They resist because you are intruding on their turf. Whether they are right or wrong, it is not a good plan for you to come into their home and "take over"... their fun may be done, but it's their father's job to end the fun, not yours. If he isn't willing to, maybe it's time to rethink a long term relationship with someone that either has no backbone in dealing with his children or has a different standard or view on raising children. He is entitled to raise his kids how he chooses & if he enables them, again his choice. You have a choice to be there or not. He hasn't married you so you are just a girlfriend & have no kids with him. His kids are his problem. You have an 11 year old to think about and moving him into a house with angry grown children where he may not feel welcomed and treated well... that is a problem.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 11:30AM
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I'm a SD and a SM also, like silversword. I too had confusion with borrowing/using SM's things. (Worst case was when I used almost ALL of her feminine hygiene products! I was only about twelve, I barely knew her and I almost never saw her alone without my father in the room, and was just waaaay too embarrassed to bring up the subject in front of him or to try to get her out of the room to talk to her privately, so... I said nothing. The poor woman was understandably quite unhappy to discover that I had used almost all of them!)

Anyway, back on topic, I wonder if the annulment proceeding is bothering them? My father was considering getting an annulment and frankly my siblings and I were not particularly pleased. Religious reasons aside, it can be very hurtful to children to feel that their parent(s) wished that their marriage had never happened; by extension, it can seem like parent(s) wish that THEY never happened, being products of said marriage. There was a difference, in our minds, between wishing that the marriage was over and wishing that it had never occurred (which is basically what an annulment is, I believe.) At least that was our experience.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 12:32PM
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He needs to step up, I agree -- how do I persuade him?

And for the SD and SS out there -- when new people enter your life, don't assume the rules that applied to the people that were already there apply to them too. Ask.

I'd have been glad to lend him the hairdryer if he asked. I'm not okay with him rooting through my stuff to find it which is what he did. And if I had needed something of his and done the same, he would have blown a gasket.

You have a good point about the annulment. They probably don't understand it. What it means is that the marriage was not sacramental -- not that it never happened. However, most people don't know that. How would you suggest we communicate that to them? Especially since they are currently avoiding me.

That's a very good point because FDH has no witnesses so EX has to participate and the idea made her cry (she's remarried to the guy she cheated with). So, they probably picked up on that.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 1:23PM
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--"I want my fiancee to be angry with his kids for hurting me. He is just sad about it"--

24 yr old is a helpful sweetie, 19 yr old runs hot and cold, 22 wants nothing to do with you. 22 yr old helps himself to your hairdryer. Kids resist your attempts to clean out cupboards and such.

Okay, except for acting like 2 old tomcats marking territory, I guess I've missed the parts of posting where the kids are 'hurting' you. I mean deliberately going out of their way to make your life miserable and kick your personal feelings all to heck. The part that might support dad being angry instead of just sad that it is taking time to adjust to new person living in their home and accepting changes to the living environment?

There are two sides to every story and in trying to adjust and understand the two positions, one needs to be able to empathize as to what the other thinks and feels.

Reverse the position...think how if these kids and dad moved into your house. They start sorting through your things, deciding what might stay or go to make room for their own things or how they want things to be in 'their new home'.

It takes time, Sharon. Yeah, they are not 'kids' anymore but you just moved into their family home. They are resisting change by someone they see as 'the outsider'. Approach might be what needs adjusted. You can't force yourself or your desires on them ...well, you can, but they'll do this resisting/attitude thing (example: SS22).

Lead by dad, you might try a good old fashion family meeting. Lay out the issues (don't forget they get to lay out their issues too) and seek compromise. If the family needs to downsize old possessions from cupboards and closets, is it pitched, sold, stored for later use? If an item is in personal area and someone wants to use/borrow, here are the rules/guidelines on doing so. Six people living in one household for time being and household has needs to run smoothly... so divide up assignments to household task and dad/you expect everyone to hold up their assignment.

Harboring resentment and demanding anger is not a solution. If your feelings are hurt, talk about it and why, same as you have to listen to how they feel and why.

Communicate with these kids, they don't sound all that bad. What would sound all that bad is dad and kids think you are the only one needing to compromise or that you need to totally accept the way it currently is or move out. If that's the case, then you have trouble and may need to rethink your relationship with FDH.

None of my business, but I find myself wondering why you moved in so soon before things were ready in home (basement rooms, what stays in home or leaves to make room for your things ect) or prior to working a few issues out ...I will assume you visited this home many times before moving in, saw what little kids did for household chores, hoarded possessions, had bad attitudes ect.

The biggest thing for you, is to be sure that dad backs you up and supports the changes you want made--are the changes you want the same as what FDH wants?. I hope you don't say dad 'left it all up to me to change house as I please and make houserules on my own'. FDH and you need to be in agreement in what you both want and you need to stand together in how the household is going to get there.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:16PM
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Something that I've read about Skids and I know is true in my case is this scenerio:

Mom/dad break up.
Kids take on more adult roles: (usually) boys become "man of the house" and girls become "caretakers". Kids are more "partners" than children.
Parent meets someone else and remarries.
Kid is then demoted to kid role.
Kid gets angry at new person for taking their place. Dad/mom doesn't confide in them anymore. New person is telling mom/dad how to raise them and mom/dad is acting like a parent again, except even stricter and with new rules that never seemed to apply.

Does any of this ring true?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Annulment & re-marriage in the church can wait;
this can't.

If you are both legally divorced, get married in a civil ceremony.
*if* you still want to marry someone who won't lay down some rules for his own kids.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 5:53PM
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Sharon, I'm a fairly new SM so I don't have much experience with the whole family dynamics thing at all yet; I just do my best and muddle through. I really think that this conversation would be best between your FDH and his kids, without you present. It could be a very touchy subject. I'll be completely honest, though; I still think it's not going to go over all that well. The fact remains that you are still going to try to prove that the marriage between their parents was always lacking something that your marriage, presumably, will not be. While this may very well be the case, it's still going to be a bit hard for kids, even older kids, to take right away.

Seriously, how many of us, even as adults, would not be upset to find out that we were conceived as a result of marital rape? One wants to think that at least at some point their parents had a good relationship.

Sorry I can't be more help.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Kids probably think that their parents marriage was sacramental and you are trying to tell them that it was not. you are trying to tell them that your marriage will be sacramental. HHmmm In a meanwhile you live in sin. Kids see it and know it. poor choices bad consequences.

another issue is: it is their house, you are a girlfriend you move in and make your rules, think how they feel

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 7:03PM
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I dont see the kids as doing anything so bad, GF moves in. To me, its not setting a great example. Also, I find it awful when people with kids get a marriage annulled. Why should the first marriage get annulled?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 9:47PM
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"That's a very good point because FDH has no witnesses so EX has to participate"

No, she does not have to participate in marriage annulment, nobody can force her.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:32PM
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"I find it awful when people with kids get a marriage annulled."

me, too, kkny.

It's telling the children that they weren't conceived & born in a marriage.

Henry VIII couldn't get an annullment from his wife Catherine of Aragon, *which would have made their daughter Mary illegitimate*...
so he created a whole new church, gave himself a divorce, declared his daughter illegitimate, & married Anne Boleyn.

It embittered Mary so deeply that, when she became Queen, she burned many people at the stake for being Protestant.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 3:05PM
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There are so many views and feelings that go into step families, it's very hard not to be clouded by your own wishes and judgments. Sharon, it does take time to find some neutral ground and I don't know that it's ever easy. Dad has to be on board and set rules and expectations, they will never respect them coming from you. I've been with my DH and SK's for 14 yrs now and they do still live at home and are adults (22, 25). It's been a very tough road, not all bad mind you, but I also didn't understand some of the ways that we hurt each other and why. You're in a more unique situation in that they are already grown and have been set in their rules and situations long before you came along. I would try to look at the entire situation from a distance, define what it is you are really looking to happen and change, and then what it is that you may need to change or bend as well. Talk to FDH and see if he is willing to listen and try to make some fair adjustments with his children. I have a DH that would think or say certain things when we talked about the situations, but hardly ever followed through on it with the kids. A lot of times it felt like I was always the outsider and if I weren't there the kids would be much happier, and DH would not care what they did. But, we've overcome a lot and I still hope that with time things will work out the way they are supposed to and we will be proud and supportive of the "adults" they will be become. I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:24AM
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