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Old 09-30-2015, 01:07 PM
 
86 posts, read 56,363 times
Reputation: 158

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Going to cut to the chase. I have a 14 year old step son, I have been in his life for 2.5 years.

He is going through a phase which started last spring. He is rude to both me and his mom. He flat out refuses to clean up after himself on his own accord. Refuses to do his chores on his own. His room is a complete disaster. Literally weekly we force him to clean his room to our satisfaction. He cannot keep up with his laundry. Keep in mind we DO his laundry, but he refuses to keep up with it. So he will run out of underwear or school clothes (he goes to a school which uses uniforms). So he will wake up the morning of school, discover he is out of underwear or clothes, then expect us to do laundry for him immediately. Like do laundry when he needs to walk out the door to get on the bus in 15 minutes. He is supposed to unload the dishwasher when he gets home. 9 times out of 10 he doesnt do it until we get home and tell him to. He has lived in my home for 2 years, and has always unloaded the dishwasher as part of his chores, yet he STILL to do this day magically "does not know" where certain dishes go, he also usually does not close the cabinet doors.

I could go on and on about the chores and his lack of cleanliness. But you get the point.

Then there is the attitude.

Me and his mom will ask him to do something, and it's attitude, or questioning the request. Sometimes before we can even get the complete thought out of our mouths... or we will make a statement about how something works, and he will say "No, that's not right". Something he has zero experience with or understanding of, he's a self proclaimed expert on.

Then, when we finally get him to help, he completely half-asses it. Then we make him do it again. He half asses it, we make him do it again until he actually completes the task properly. Like if we ask him to mop the floor, he will half ass it, then we ask him to do it again, he says it's fine. Then we go around and show him all the little spots he missed (like mopping AROUND the dog food bowl and leaving all the crumbs/spilled food on the floor).

Now, the best part. He absolutely CANNOT take constructive criticism at all. Any sort of correction, or suggestion or guidance is taken personally as an attack on him. He literally does these ticks and grunts and / or starts crying, and will go hide in his room...

We have been dealing with this for a long time, but it's gotten worse. Every summer, he goes out of state to stay with his father for the summer. Each year he comes back, he brings back more bad habits. His father is a complete slob, he lets him stay up till all hours of the night playing video games. His dad has never been in his life, his mom left him when he was 2. He never calls, they rarely talk, but the kid thinks he is the best thing because he can do whatever he wants when he is there. For instance, I would see him post facebook stuff at like 3am. He comes back right before school sleeps all day, we make him go to bed at his bedtime (10pm), then we find he sneaks up to get up and play computer or video games. He has an F in 2 classes, so we recently took away all electronics privilages. We set passwords on the TV's and all the computers and locked up the gaming consoles. However rather than study or read, or play outside, or clean his room, he just sits there in disgust.

I personally think he is undiagnosed ADHD, Aspergers or OCD or something. His mom, to her credit, does not take any crap from him, forces him to do stuff, yells at him when appropriate. But in the past, and even now, there has not been "consequences" for his bad acts or behavior.

I realize at 14, a lifetime of this is going to be hard to un-learn. I have constantly been trying to teach him accountability, skills, responsibility, but he rebels against it. Constantly plays the victim.

Both me and my wife are about at our wits end. Any suggestions? We have not done any sort of counseling because we are of meager financial means.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:43 PM
 
3,325 posts, read 3,265,843 times
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I really feel for you, and what you are going through. Fortunately, it does seem that you and his mother are on the same page about him. If you had the means, I'd say boarding school. If not, even though he would probably not do well in school, perhaps it is time for him to go live with his father. Perhaps, at a time when you two are not in the process of "encouraging" him to do a particular task, it's time for his mother to sit down with him for a serious conversation. She should express that she sees him as being uncooperative, unwilling to do his share, unwilling to do his schoolwork, and say that he seems to be very unhappy. She should then ask him if he would prefer to try living with his father. If he says yes, she should talk with him seriously about where he sees himself going after high school, what he wants out of life, and LISTEN to him. If what he says is that he just wants to have a good time, and has no insight that some day he'll want a decent income, his own apartment and car, and maybe eventually a wife and family, then honestly, he's not gonna do a damn thing in school until he grows up. He might as well go live with Dad and be slobs together. Some day, he might grow up, and decide he wants more out of life, and you two can be there to help him. Until then, wouldn't it be nice to be the people that see him at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, and maybe have him join you for a vacation somewhere in the summer? And the rest of the time he lives at Dad's, and can be a slob and a slack off there, and you don't have to see it?

If his father is truly not competent, and this is not an option, and he HAS to do high school at your house, then it might be time for tough love. Let mom do everything. Don't step in - you are not his parent. Let her explain to him what is expected of him. Have him agree that he will do what is expected of him. Remove all electronics/screens/privileges, etc. If he cannot keep his room clean, remove most of what is in his room, even to the point of just the bed and one dresser, and just his school uniforms and underwear and two weekend outfits. That way, his room will be very easy to keep clean. Tell him that he can earn stuff back by doing his chores, keeping his room clean and neat, and doing his schoolwork.

Things will get better - but it's going to be a very long time. I would suggest that you try to turn this young man's interests toward something practical that will have him be self-supporting early on, like a two year community college or technical school degree in a field that is in high demand, so that he will eventually move out and on with his life.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:06 PM
 
1,690 posts, read 2,032,108 times
Reputation: 2589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frustrated68 View Post
He cannot keep up with his laundry. Keep in mind we DO his laundry, but he refuses to keep up with it. So he will run out of underwear or school clothes (he goes to a school which uses uniforms). So he will wake up the morning of school, discover he is out of underwear or clothes, then expect us to do laundry for him immediately. Like do laundry when he needs to walk out the door to get on the bus in 15 minutes.
Why do his laundry? Make it his responsibility and let him suffer the consequences of going to school in dirty clothes.

Last edited by djmaxwell; 09-30-2015 at 02:40 PM..
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:07 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
10,864 posts, read 18,910,587 times
Reputation: 25118
He's just at the age to be difficult and to resist doing what he's told. Leaving cabinet doors open and doing part of a task instead of finishing the task are also typical.

My daughter is 13 and she won't clean her room or bring her laundry out. I used to go in and get the dirty clothes. Now I put a hamper in the hallway and she has to put her clothes in if she wants them washed. I will tell her to close her bedroom door because her piles of dirty clothes are starting to stink. I'm just going to ignore her mess until she decides she doesn't want to live in one anymore. The only thing I do to encourage her to help out is that I buy stuff for her sister, who does help around the house, and I tell her I'll buy what she wants if she helps like her sister does. She says she doesn't want anything that badly, as long as she has headphones and a sketch book, she doesn't need anything else.

Sending your stepson to live with his dad is an option. Have you asked him who he wants to live with? Most of us don't have the option to send our teenagers somewhere else until they grow up to be functional, polite people, but since you have that option, you might consider it. It would mean that your wife paid child support rather than receiving child support, so you'd have to look at your finances and see how much that would affect them.

There are also counseling options for those of limited financial means...often you can find counseling on a sliding scale. Look for the United Way website for your area, or call 211 and ask about options.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:12 PM
 
86 posts, read 56,363 times
Reputation: 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by parentologist View Post
If not, even though he would probably not do well in school, perhaps it is time for him to go live with his father. Perhaps, at a time when you two are not in the process of "encouraging" him to do a particular task, it's time for his mother to sit down with him for a serious conversation. She should express that she sees him as being uncooperative, unwilling to do his share, unwilling to do his schoolwork, and say that he seems to be very unhappy. She should then ask him if he would prefer to try living with his father. If he says yes, she should talk with him seriously about where he sees himself going after high school, what he wants out of life, and LISTEN to him.
1. She would never go for that. And for me to even suggest it would be bad news for me. She loves him too much, and hates the father for things he did to her, and what he put them through after she left him (zero financial support for 8 years)

2. He already know what he wants to do with is life. He wants to be a lawyer. Now, keep in mind, he's failing math and language arts, has 2 F's, 2 C's and 2 B's right now. He has zero's on several assignments and even a quiz because he failed to turn in his work, or turned them in late or in the wrong envelope. But that's not his fault. And when we ask him why this continues to happen, we are attacking him

Quote:
If what he says is that he just wants to have a good time, and has no insight that some day he'll want a decent income, his own apartment and car, and maybe eventually a wife and family, then honestly, he's not gonna do a damn thing in school until he grows up. He might as well go live with Dad and be slobs together. Some day, he might grow up, and decide he wants more out of life, and you two can be there to help him. Until then, wouldn't it be nice to be the people that see him at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, and maybe have him join you for a vacation somewhere in the summer? And the rest of the time he lives at Dad's, and can be a slob and a slack off there, and you don't have to see it?
While I agree that the novelty of living with Dad would wear off pretty quick, his mom would never go for it. And I believe it truly would be a distraction for him and a negative "life event". Also don't believe he would truly "learn" much from the experiment. All that would happen is he would fail in school, and continue to be a slob, and come home to us to pick up the pieces, while at the same time dealing with the same issues we have now.

Quote:
If his father is truly not competent, and this is not an option, and he HAS to do high school at your house, then it might be time for tough love. Let mom do everything. Don't step in - you are not his parent. Let her explain to him what is expected of him.
I don't believe that having just her disciplining him is the issue here. It's not that he is just disrespecting me, or not listening to me, he's just not learning, or refusing to learn to do things. Reference the issue I mentioned with putting away dishes.

Quote:
Have him agree that he will do what is expected of him. Remove all electronics/screens/privileges, etc.
His electronics have been taken away.

Quote:
If he cannot keep his room clean, remove most of what is in his room, even to the point of just the bed and one dresser, and just his school uniforms and underwear and two weekend outfits. That way, his room will be very easy to keep clean. Tell him that he can earn stuff back by doing his chores, keeping his room clean and neat, and doing his schoolwork.
This is actually something I will consider, did not think of that... good idea

Quote:
Things will get better - but it's going to be a very long time. I would suggest that you try to turn this young man's interests toward something practical that will have him be self-supporting early on, like a two year community college or technical school degree in a field that is in high demand, so that he will eventually move out and on with his life.
He has applied for a job at a local grocery store. I hope he gets the job, and is fired within 2 weeks so he sees it's not just us busting his balls, it's this thing called responsibility you have to learn.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:14 PM
 
86 posts, read 56,363 times
Reputation: 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmaxwell View Post
Why do his laundry? Make it his responsibility and let him suffer the consequences of going to school in dirty clothes.
We tried that, but teaching him how to do laundry every week for 3 months straight got old. So fed up with it...
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:20 PM
 
1,690 posts, read 2,032,108 times
Reputation: 2589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frustrated68 View Post
We tried that, but teaching him how to do laundry every week for 3 months straight got old. So fed up with it...
Stop teaching. That's more than plenty of time to learn. He doesn't care because it isn't his problem. Make it his problem, not yours.
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:21 PM
 
86 posts, read 56,363 times
Reputation: 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
He's just at the age to be difficult and to resist doing what he's told. Leaving cabinet doors open and doing part of a task instead of finishing the task are also typical.
Everyone tells me that, but looking back, I was not that way, my wife was not that way. None of my friends were that way.

I would have literally been out on my ass or had a hand across my face if I did some of the stuff he's doing at that age.

Quote:
My daughter is 13 and she won't clean her room or bring her laundry out. I used to go in and get the dirty clothes. Now I put a hamper in the hallway and she has to put her clothes in if she wants them washed. I will tell her to close her bedroom door because her piles of dirty clothes are starting to stink. I'm just going to ignore her mess until she decides she doesn't want to live in one anymore.
We tried that for a while too, it did not work. We literally went 3 months without cleaning his bedsheets or following up in his room. He didn't care. We had to put a stop to it once literally BUGS were eminating from his room. It was truly disgusting

Quote:
Sending your stepson to live with his dad is an option. Have you asked him who he wants to live with? Most of us don't have the option to send our teenagers somewhere else until they grow up to be functional, polite people, but since you have that option, you might consider it. It would mean that your wife paid child support rather than receiving child support, so you'd have to look at your finances and see how much that would affect them.
I do not think that is an option... his mom would not go for it

Quote:
There are also counseling options for those of limited financial means...often you can find counseling on a sliding scale. Look for the United Way website for your area, or call 211 and ask about options.
I actually looked into it for my mom who has dementia, in our area there were no options which were not expensive. Several of the places did "family and couples" counseling too, so I think the same would apply, but I can look into this again
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:58 PM
 
5,841 posts, read 3,309,517 times
Reputation: 13651
I suspect that this is a reaction to what he views as unfair treatment of his father. He is copying his father's lifestyle and rejecting your lifestyle. He is getting some kind of pleasure or validation from defying you. Unless you let it play out and force him to really suffer consequences from outside the family, it is just all a game to him. He needs to suffer rejection from friends or others he cares about in order to change, because he's not about to do it for you, "the enemy".
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Old 09-30-2015, 03:06 PM
 
Location: I'm around here someplace :)
3,633 posts, read 4,254,106 times
Reputation: 3980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frustrated68 View Post
Going to cut to the chase. I have a 14 year old step son, I have been in his life for 2.5 years.

He is going through a phase which started last spring. He is rude to both me and his mom. He flat out refuses to clean up after himself on his own accord. Refuses to do his chores on his own. His room is a complete disaster. Literally weekly we force him to clean his room to our satisfaction. He cannot keep up with his laundry. Keep in mind we DO his laundry, but he refuses to keep up with it. So he will run out of underwear or school clothes (he goes to a school which uses uniforms). So he will wake up the morning of school, discover he is out of underwear or clothes, then expect us to do laundry for him immediately. Like do laundry when he needs to walk out the door to get on the bus in 15 minutes. He is supposed to unload the dishwasher when he gets home. 9 times out of 10 he doesnt do it until we get home and tell him to. He has lived in my home for 2 years, and has always unloaded the dishwasher as part of his chores, yet he STILL to do this day magically "does not know" where certain dishes go, he also usually does not close the cabinet doors.

I could go on and on about the chores and his lack of cleanliness. But you get the point.

Then there is the attitude.

Me and his mom will ask him to do something, and it's attitude, or questioning the request. Sometimes before we can even get the complete thought out of our mouths... or we will make a statement about how something works, and he will say "No, that's not right". Something he has zero experience with or understanding of, he's a self proclaimed expert on.

Then, when we finally get him to help, he completely half-asses it. Then we make him do it again. He half asses it, we make him do it again until he actually completes the task properly. Like if we ask him to mop the floor, he will half ass it, then we ask him to do it again, he says it's fine. Then we go around and show him all the little spots he missed (like mopping AROUND the dog food bowl and leaving all the crumbs/spilled food on the floor).

Now, the best part. He absolutely CANNOT take constructive criticism at all. Any sort of correction, or suggestion or guidance is taken personally as an attack on him. He literally does these ticks and grunts and / or starts crying, and will go hide in his room...

We have been dealing with this for a long time, but it's gotten worse. Every summer, he goes out of state to stay with his father for the summer. Each year he comes back, he brings back more bad habits. His father is a complete slob, he lets him stay up till all hours of the night playing video games. His dad has never been in his life, his mom left him when he was 2. He never calls, they rarely talk, but the kid thinks he is the best thing because he can do whatever he wants when he is there. For instance, I would see him post facebook stuff at like 3am. He comes back right before school sleeps all day, we make him go to bed at his bedtime (10pm), then we find he sneaks up to get up and play computer or video games. He has an F in 2 classes, so we recently took away all electronics privilages. We set passwords on the TV's and all the computers and locked up the gaming consoles. However rather than study or read, or play outside, or clean his room, he just sits there in disgust.

I personally think he is undiagnosed ADHD, Aspergers or OCD or something. His mom, to her credit, does not take any crap from him, forces him to do stuff, yells at him when appropriate. But in the past, and even now, there has not been "consequences" for his bad acts or behavior.

I realize at 14, a lifetime of this is going to be hard to un-learn. I have constantly been trying to teach him accountability, skills, responsibility, but he rebels against it. Constantly plays the victim.

Both me and my wife are about at our wits end. Any suggestions? We have not done any sort of counseling because we are of meager financial means.
I'm betting he doesn't 'have' anything- he's a teenager, made worse by his father's bad habits.

For starters, I'd approach the laundry issue along the line of "You didn't say you needed anything earlier, so wear what you have on."
Dishwasher: "It's much easier to unload a dishwasher than to wash all the dishes by hand- pick which one you prefer to do."
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