17 year old Stepson has gone nuts

g8rgrad98July 5, 2011

Hello all, I have only posted in the home forums before, but I found this one through googling around and I needed to vent....

First the history....I have been married to my wife for 6 years and we have been together for 8 years. My Stepson's Dad has lived several States away throughout this whole time and though loving, has not been present physically very often. As a result I took on the day to day role of Dad. Personally I don't believe that psycho mumbo jumbo that a StepParent can't Parent a child. IMHO, if you are a custodial parent, especially in my case where it was 300+ days of the year, and you provide for that child and care for them....then you are absolutely able to parent them.

All went well for most of the years. My wife and I have sacrificed tons for him, staying in a town we both haven't wanted to be in for years and years, buying a house in a neighborhood and part of town we didn't want to live in (so he could stay in the school district), and even put off having any more children until he was 16 so as to make sure he was always our focus.

I did tons of things with him to show him my love, fishing, biking, took him to every sports practice, went to every school open house, did it all. Honestly I consider my relationship to be much closer to that of an adoptive parent than a step parent because of the physical absence of Bio Dad and the relationship we had.

He was always lazy like most kids are but all in all things went pretty good 90% of the time. Then these last couple of years started and the teenage boy idiocy began (which I remember well starting at age 15). More rebellious and mouthy, but nothing most of us didn't do at that age. Then this last year, things really ramped up. He became very vocal about his unwillingness to do chores or go by rules, etc, became much more sneaky and underhanded.

I work from home, so I am the one that usually catches him with his various inappropriate computer activity, etc.

Well, in the course of the last year we've had the "adult content" on the computer (this began at 14 and despite tons of warnings/groundings and monitoring software, he kept at it), Skype-ing underage girls who were doing inappropriate things and saving those pictures on our computer, and fairly heavy marijuana use.

As all of this played out, every time he'd get in trouble there would be some emotional outburst, about his Dad's absence, about me "picking on him too much", or something else. Just like most of us, I do cut up and tease, but never maliciously or harmfully. So we got him a therapist to talk to and at her advise, I backed off of him for say 6-9 months, somewhere in there. Despite my better judgment and instinct, I did not give out any chores or do anything at all "parenty". I'm also the cook and still prepared dinner every night, bought him his special requests-including the newfound vegetarianism (select veg at that), etc. Then about 2 mos ago when we find the marijuana, he decides to take that as his chance to tell everyone in the family how I have ruined his psyche and he's "broken" because of me.

He's spewed this to every member of the family repeatedly. He has even told his Mom that she should "choose" between he and I. It literally sounds like something a 2 year old would do. But it continues to play on and the emotional wear and tear on myself and especially on my wife. No matter how hard we try, we can't get past or understand how this child that we raised and provided for very well (and we did not let him run free like many parents these days do) has turned out to be so evil and hateful.

He's so ridiculous with this that he won't even get out of the car if he comes to our house with his step-Grandmother (oh yeah, he's moved out to his Grandparents house too).

I've loved this kid like he was my own for all these years and though I know my bond with my 3 month old daughter is different, my love for him has always been as close as you can feel for a child you didn't raise from birth.

And I know we have a variety of "real" factors at play...the Dad's "abandonement", the drugs, the new baby, etc.....but at 17 years old, even with the lack of brain function that occurs at that age, there should be some level of respect and perspective. This has taken on a ridiculous life of its own and it's getting to the point that my love has gone to dislike and I'm starting to feel even worse than that. I honestly am hoping someone hurts him as bad as he has his Mother and I at this point. He has even acknowledged to her that he knows he is hurting her emotionally and financially and he doesn't care. I'm really starting to think that he has just somehow decided to be a bad, almost evil person, and that's absolutely terrifying.

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I understand your feelings, g8tr, and I wish I had some sage advice to give you on how to deal with a snotty teeanager. I'm dealing with similar issues myself and wish I had the magic solution on how to fix it. I wonder if your SS has had his bad behavior towards you validated by others, ie. grandparents, bio-parents, friends, counsellors. Like you, I disagree with all the psycho babble about step-parents taking a backseat when it comes to parenting. As custodial step-parents we have no choice but to parent these kids, because in most cases their absent bio-parents have fallen down in that regard.

Like you, I'm really starting to dislike this kid that I have to share a roof with. I do know one thing though -- I will not be disrespected in my own home. So, if he continues on the path he's on I'll be showing him the door. Maybe then he'll appreciate what DH and I do for him every day of his life.

It sounds like your SS has already reached the stage of complete disrespect and disregard for everyone else in your home....like my SS, he sounds self-centered and very immature. Maybe you should count your blessings that he's out of your home. What he says to others shouldn't bother you too much...I'm sure that by now, everyone has figured out that his motives are self-serving.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:16PM
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g8trgrad98: It is almost scary how much your situation parallels my own. I had written in this forum a number of years ago when my stepson was about 16/17, and just recently as my stepson is approaching 21 (2 weeks).

I was in a very similar situation - my stepson was like my own despite his bio-dad in the picture. I was the parent 320+ days of the year and treated things like that - and things were great until that wonderful 15/16 age hit.

Like you, I had the typical "you are not my parent" attitude and also like you I had a kid doing a fair amount of pot (does even more now it seems). However, my stepson did not have a grandparents home to run to, so during this whole time he has been in the house.

I've had two children with my wife, and they were born when my stepson was 11 and 13. He started out really great with them, but sadly now my kids (now 9 and 7) ask why their brother is so mean and grumpy.

I wonder how involved your wife is in this case with either backing you up and setting up rules, or defending her son. My situation was (and still is) very difficult because my wife enables her son and will often tell me to back off while she continues to do so. Has this been an issue in your case? What does she say when your stepson asks her to choose between him and you?

Sorry to say that I've come to the conclusion that for some kids, seemingly mine included, they won't ever get a clue until life deals a viscous dose of reality to them. My suggestion to my own wife is that once we stop the money, the coddling, and the comforting life will end up showing this kid what it can do. To that end, better to do that now while he is this young and stop protecting him. Once he experiences poverty, perhaps tinged with a dose of desperation, I think that can change a perspective.

Unfortunately, my wife still insists on keeping her boy protected, and the results have again been much like yours - I'm beginning to resent this child I love and felt had so much potential. My wife wonders why I don't take him golfing and be his buddy, but I'm finding my resentment building and just can't fake it.

Not sure what you can do with your stepson with him being 17, but I just can't help but feel that a few body blows from reality might help - just wonder whether your wife would be able to go for it.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 10:16AM
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