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Question
Posted by: Lost hope | 2009-03-10

Living with a teenage stepson

I' m a married mum to a 4yr old daughter. My hubby has a 15yr old son from a previous relationship. I met my hubby when he was born and had already parted with the son' s mother. He' s been staying with his mum and visiting mostly in Dec holidays. We got married 6yrs ago and he used to bring him with even prior to us tying the knot. I' ve always noticed that daddy had felt indebted to the son throughout his visits as he would buy him the most expensive of anything he wanted and the mother did the same as all his clothes were the expensive brands with a new latest model cellphone every year. His behaviour also left a lot to be desired especially to me. He is generally a disrespectful child to elders and disguises it as if he' s just kidding around. 3yrs ago during his holiday visits my helper informed me that he was smoking. I searched his room and found a recently opened cigarette pack. I was reluctant to inform his dad because he viewed me to be critical of his son and I was avoiding discussing his wrongdoings to him. I eventually informed him when I also found a -|- tail size bottle of Amarula Cream in his jacket pocket. Daddy couldn' t bring himself to discussing this with him until the very last day of his visit. Last year he started failing every term at school and that' s when his dad told me his mom said he was smoking dagga. Some of his friends had told her. Daddy tried to intervene by flying to Cape Town where he was staying with his mother to talk to him. This year he decided to stay with him and put him in boarding school away from bad influences despite my protesting the strain it was going to put on our family. While waiting to start school here in Jo' burg he was smoking his dagga as I used to find some remaining in his pockets. I also found an empty beer can under his bed (we have a bar in the house). My hubby works late most days and only comes home just before we go to bed leaving no time to spend or monitor his son' s behaviour. I had put age restriction block on the DSTV of 16yrs (he' s turning 16 end April) long before he came to live with us. We had adopted a keep away from him attitude in the house so we mostly kept to the bedrooms while he stayed in the lounge watching TV blasting at extremely high volume. You ask him to lower it he will reply by saying why don' t you close the door if it bothers you? Then 1 day he came to my room and asked me to unblock the DSTV before I leave for work the following morning. I told him I" ll discuss it with his father when he arrives. He left but came back a few minutes later to question why I had to consult his dad. Told him there' s house rules and that' s he was a child he be patient. He then told me that I' m not his mother and who the hell do I think I am giving him crazy rules. He even laughed at me thinking I can lay down rules for him. All this is happening in front of my daughter and my 26 yr sister. He was clearly high on something, I was calm and tried to tell him that every home had rules, he just banged the door and left. The father came shortly after and I waited till we were alone to tell him what happenned, he went out of the room and came back later and fell off to sleep. He said nothing to me about what he said or how he dealt with him. I recently found a letter from the school where it appears he was disciplined to doing 5 days community service at the local SAPS. I' m guessing he was caught with some substance at school.The letter from the police says he only served 2 days before being chased away for bad behaviour. They say he' s is arrogant back chats and does' nt know there is consequences for his actions and even if punished does not take it seriously. He was also referred to a SANCA person to speak to. This past weekend I overheard him bragging to his Cape friends over the phone that he' s gonna show them at that school they don' t know who he is . His father allowed him to go out on Sat night at the local casino from 7pm till 11pm. The previous time we went to pick him up he was smelling of alcohol and the father said nothing, don' t know if he smelt it. I feel he' s going to be expelled from the school and we have to stay with him at home and I' m not going to cope at all. My daughter doesn' t have to witness this, we are surviving by keeping away from him when he' s home for the weekend. I' m already nervous about the coming easter holidays. The father is oblivious of what he is and thinks he can calm him down by talking tohim every now and then when he' s home. Other than just to avoid him I' m at my wits end without the father' s. I can see my hubby' s suffering internally but he can' t open up to me probably because he can' t admit that he' s in over his head. He also detests counselling for himself or even all of us as he is a " I can handle it"  kind of man. My stepson also left a note in his room which appear to be like he was writing lyrics which referred to himself as when he is high after smoking money he gets these dangerous thoughts and feels like killing! I fear for my life at times.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Some kids learn to play on the guilt of divorced parents, and to profiteer from the situation. There's no point in your husband having the boy stay with you if HE cannot, for business or other reasons, effectively monitor and discipline the boy. Better to get him into therapy. Remind the brat that you don't need to be his biological mother to set rules in your own home, where he is a guest. And his father is treading the borders of neglect by sending a kid that age to the local casino. What will it take before he faces the fact that he CANNOT cope with this kid, and that both of them do need proper expert professional help. Can you have a calm talk with the father about how you yourself arfe convinced you are out of your depth, and feel that he is, too --- and that the boy is in danger and might even put others of you in danger, by continuing to be indulged and not faced with proper discipline and proper expert help

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Sandi | 2009-03-11

If you just let this hooligan be, and something happens to you or your daughter because of him, you will never forgive yourself. You can' t leave it. SPEAK to your husband, your daughter is also his child, why does he not see that this behaviour is no good around his daughter.
I know you love your husband, but you know what, your life and that of your child is at risk. People do things when on drugs they would NEVER do normally.
Take action.
Be harsh and tell your husband exactly what you think of his druggie hooligan rubbish son.

Reply to Sandi
Posted by: Jean | 2009-03-10

Offer an ultimatum. As harsh as it is, if the father doesn' t feel the need to take action then why should you take the strain? And think of your daughter. Give everything you have found to your husband and tell him to start parenting or you' ll leave. It' s not only against the law (and your husband doesn' t seem to mind that his son does illegal substances and is an underage drinker), but it will only get worse as your stepson gets older. It' s not like he' s suddenly had to deal with his parents divorce, and it' s not like he' s the only one who' s had to go through a divorce. He' s doing it because his father isn' t laying down the law. For everyone' s sake (especially your daughter) offer the ultimatum.

Reply to Jean

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