Step Parenting Advice

amylynSeptember 4, 2009

My step son is driving me crazy!!!! It has gotten so bad that I can not stand to be in the same room with him. He is 14 years old and has become a master at playing mom and dad against one another. As soon as dad gets on his case about something he blames it on mom, and at BM house he is throwing dad under the bus. My husband is the most caring dad I have ever met, and our life together has been great until last year. We have 5 children between the 2 of us, I have 3 he has 2. I raised my 3 to be very independant and responsible, my 2 oldest are in the airforce, the younger of the 2 just made it onto Honor Gaurd. My youngest, a girl, is 12 and in her first year of Jr High. His oldest is 18 and in his first year of college. His youngest is 14 and in the 8th grade, one year ahead of my daughter. So where to start. Last year my SS started having trouble in school, when we went to his first parent teacher conference we found out that he was severly behind in school work in many of his subjects. We grounded him and made him stay home and work on past due work while we went to a cross country meet to watch his brother run. Bio-mom was there and asked where he was, my husband explained that he was home doing the work that he should have been doing long ago. She proceeded to call him and let him know that Dad and Step mom were way to hard on him. In reaction to his school work being behind she had her mother take him out for a special lunch. My husband asked SS if he thought we were being too hard on him and his response was "No, you just want me to was is expected of me" and "How am I going to learn if you don't set boundries" All phrases that we used when we set down with him to explain why he was being punished and how important his school work was. Needless to say that the school year just got worse and worse. At one point just before going to school for a parent teacher conference he told his father that he thought that he was going to make the honor roll (he had already had his conference with his monther earlier that day) We get to school and find out that not only did he not make the honor roll, he was still severly behind in his school work. In front of my husband and I he is ever so sweet to my daugher, he is her best friend, come to find out that when we are not home he is telling her that all the girls in his grade (one grade ahead of her) hate her. This year right before school started he told my daughter who was a little nervous about going into Jr High how hard it was and the only reason that he did poorly in the begining of the year was because the HUGE adjustment and how difficult it was,blah, blah, blah. I need to add here that they are not even going to a different school, just a different wing, they know all the teachers and their class mates are the same kids they have been going to school with since kindergarten, they are not being thrown into some huge school with 100s of kids from neighboring towns with unknown teachers in an unfamilar school. While I can understand a bit of trepadation it really should not completely mess up your grades (I went to the same school and had many of the same teachers) He did not tell her that the reason that he did poorly for the entire year was due to the fact that he consistantly did not do his school work. He is consistantly sweet as pie doing whatever you ask infront of you but behind you back he is doing just the opposite, a fact that I have called him on more than once. I let him know that I would have way more respect for him if he would come out and let me know he hated my guts or hated being grounded or was really flippin' mad about something instead of this sickly sweet additude in front of us but his actions speak volumes about how he really feels. I need some advice on how to get over this, I do not want this to ruin my marriage.

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amylyn, wow, your SS sounds like a real manipulator. Just keep in mind... he's entering those years where he is physically brain damaged. I have had one heck of a time keeping my 15 y.o. son to keep up his grades. I've tried every trick in the book from positive reinforcement to groundings and taking away stuff. Much to no avail! Same thing with my middle SD. Couldn't get her to really focus on the school work, she always did a mediocre job and was content with that.

Your SS may never be the achiever that your bio-kids are. Did you happen to be a part of raising his older brother? Even kids that do mediocre in school can go onto college. I have two SD's that have proven that. Don't let the younger SS get in the middle of your marraige. I would confront him, with your daughter present, about the "scare tactics" he seems to be using on her. Sounds like a jealousy and insecurity issue on his end.

When these s-kids are going back and forth between BM's and Dad's house, they will always play the blame game because it's so much easier for them to be a victim then live up and own their irresponsibilty. Been there, lived that! Just remember, SS is a kid, you are the adult. You can only make it worse by letting all this get to you. Be glad you have a place like this forum to come and vent! Heaven knows I've used it for that and it was nice to get it off my chest.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Poppingrays is 100+++ percent correct in her advice!

"Just keep in mind... he's entering those years where he is physically brain damaged." Cracked me up! Sooo true at that age :)

"Just remember, SS is a kid, you are the adult. You can only make it worse by letting all this get to you." Try to make this your personal mantra.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 4:16PM
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DD did very poorly in school in 7th grade. And somewhat poorly in the 2nd semester of 8th grade. all of her tests scores were excellent she just didn't do school work so her grades were poor. She only started doing well because she wanted to get into prestigious high school and her grades had to be good. And she did all right in high school (far from good, just all right) because she knew she won't get to college. She knew that there are natural consequences of doing poorly in school. I think that's all you could do. Just keep telling them what happens if they do or don't do XYZ.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 2:18PM
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Teens -- not always easy.

Poppins, I would not discuss this with SS in front of BD. Any negative feedback should always be given privately, IMHO.

I would be careful not to compare kids. Its just not relvant. Dad should speak with SS's Guidance Counselor at school, and find out what SS should be doing.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 5:27PM
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I could use a little advice of my own. I moved in with my boyfriend of over 3 years. He was married once before me and had a daughter. Her mother passed away and now the daughter is a teenager. She hates the idea of me living there with them. She argues EVERYTHING with me, and it's driving my boyfriend crazy. She's been giving major attitude to the both of us lately, but then like 2 minutes later, she bats her eyes to her dad and acts like nothing is wrong.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 9:15AM
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