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Question
Posted by: Amelia | 2011-01-26

Stepson

I have a stepson 13 and my husband and I have a son of our own 7, my stepson has been a issue in my life for far to long now, he is not a very active child would much rather watch tv for 5 hrs than play basketball or cricket etc now this is affecting my son because he sees his big brother acting like this and he wants to do the same (he is only with us weekends) but this is enough time to influence my child. Also his dress sense is not all that good and he embarrasses me wherever we go. His Mother is a hopeless case and my husband does not see a problem but it bothers me I don’  t want my child to grow up to be like him, he has no direction or self esteem and its rubbing off on my child. And me speaking to him or giving him some sort of direction will not help as the last time I reprimanded him I was told I’  m being bitchy towards him by the inlaws. What do I do???

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I'd like to see what other, experienced, mothers have to say, here. I gaher that you are really fearful that your own son will grow up like his brother of whom you don't approve. Its not unusual for a younger kid to imitate his older brother in some ways, but usually not for long, and usually only if there is something obviously cool and admirable about the older brother.
Yet your complaint about the older boy seems to be that he's like most other teenagers - dresses in a sloppy way not to your taste, is lazy, and watches too much TV.
Playing basketball or cricket isnt compulsory. Some most excellent kids don't do so, and some rather awful kids do. Your attitude may not be at all encouraging him to develop that self-esteem you say you want to see in him.
With all kids, maybe especially step-kids, it is essential that they grow in a structured home, with some reasonable exectations of their behaviour and share in household chores, and some reasonable penalties if significant and sensible rules are broken. But this MUST be agreed and administered absolutely equally by both parents, in full agreement.
Its almost more useful for you to be unanimously wrong, than right but in discord.
So you need a fruitful discussion with your husband, maybe mediated with the help of a couples counsellor, to reach a compromise agreement about what you as a couple expect of BOTH your kids, and how you will communicate this to the kids, while enhancing their self-esteem and the chances that they will behave in the ways that you have agreed you want.
And don't sweat the small stuff ! Not hurting or being cruel to others is an important rule ; hairstyles and mode of dress is not.

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4
Our users say:
Posted by: Amelia | 2011-01-27

Thank you Jenny will take this further.

Reply to Amelia
Posted by: Jenny | 2011-01-27

I hope I can shed some light here: my parents divorced when I was 12 and like your stepson, we only saw our dad every second weekend. Our mother was, as you say, a hopeless case (which has since changed). The weekends were hell for all because we sat watching TV, we were told off for dressing too sloppily, etc. We didn''t affect my stepsisters personalities but it was a worry that we weren''t good enough ''role models''. Well, we all had our own way of dealing with divorce and no matter how long you''ve been together for, at 13 when you need your parents and you only see the one every second weekend, well it has an effect on you. Has this child gone for regular councelling? You say he has no self esteem but it could be way worse than that. He may seem happy but he could be depressed and he may need real help. Even if you don''t think it''s bad now and it''s jus that he''s acting like a typical teen... Maybe not. Don''t wait until he''s 16 and cutting himself or doing drugs or something. Have a SERIOUS talk with hubby, perhaps have a family meeting with mother involved to assist your stepson. I wish my parents had done that instead of just getting upset with the bad clothes and lack participation...

Reply to Jenny
Posted by: Maria | 2011-01-26

Try the step parenting support forum.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-01-26

I'd like to see what other, experienced, mothers have to say, here. I gaher that you are really fearful that your own son will grow up like his brother of whom you don't approve. Its not unusual for a younger kid to imitate his older brother in some ways, but usually not for long, and usually only if there is something obviously cool and admirable about the older brother.
Yet your complaint about the older boy seems to be that he's like most other teenagers - dresses in a sloppy way not to your taste, is lazy, and watches too much TV.
Playing basketball or cricket isnt compulsory. Some most excellent kids don't do so, and some rather awful kids do. Your attitude may not be at all encouraging him to develop that self-esteem you say you want to see in him.
With all kids, maybe especially step-kids, it is essential that they grow in a structured home, with some reasonable exectations of their behaviour and share in household chores, and some reasonable penalties if significant and sensible rules are broken. But this MUST be agreed and administered absolutely equally by both parents, in full agreement.
Its almost more useful for you to be unanimously wrong, than right but in discord.
So you need a fruitful discussion with your husband, maybe mediated with the help of a couples counsellor, to reach a compromise agreement about what you as a couple expect of BOTH your kids, and how you will communicate this to the kids, while enhancing their self-esteem and the chances that they will behave in the ways that you have agreed you want.
And don't sweat the small stuff ! Not hurting or being cruel to others is an important rule ; hairstyles and mode of dress is not.

Reply to cybershrink

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