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Old 03-14-2017, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Boston
277 posts, read 205,224 times
Reputation: 755

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I have a friend who went through the same thing about ten years ago.

He married a divorced woman with a boy who was about 13 and while a good kid, he had much the same attitude as your step son. My friend did everything he could but today that same kid is 23 and mostly living in a van. His mother lets him in to use the shower and when she can get away with it let her son stay in the house.

He has been fired from every job he has ever had. He is in a band and from what I have heard is not going anywhere fast. Last I heard his girlfriend was pregnant.

This friend has a son with the woman who at 14 is a straight A student and quite active with extracurricular activities. He even has a part time job and works with his dad from time to time. Huge difference in both boys. Its sad really.

But it's not a situation I would want any part of. I guess you have to ask yourself if it is worth the time, effort and money.

I know a number of men who married a divorced mother with children and their only real worth is the paycheck they bring in each month. Not a one of them is happy at this point. But to leave would cost them a fortune.

I'd throw in the towel.
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Old 03-14-2017, 04:18 PM
 
335 posts, read 296,717 times
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I have a 13 year old boy and your step son sound pretty typical for this age. Most 13 year old boys are not going to notice things that need to be done. It's what I call - age appropriate, but still not OK.

I would figure out his currency, which is what he values, which is probably video games. See if his mom would be willing to set up a system where he earns video game time based on chores and doing homework, etc. The more it is spelled out and the less control you have over it, the better. It's up to him - he wants video game time this week he needs to mow the lawn, empty the bag, do the dishes, etc. I would be matter of facts - video games are a privilege that can earn by doing your job which is schoolwork and chores.

I also highly recommend the book How to Talk so Teenagers Will Listen. It's an older book but has some really effective ways to phrase thing that I found make a big difference.

I also think you need to work really hard to find something you like about him and focus on that. It's a really hard time in a kid's life to get a step parent (both my parents remarried when I was 12/13). Don't focus on changing him, but on liking him and connecting with him.

I bet if your wife will agree to the video games as currency and then the two of you are able to step back and let it play out as it will, that he will become more motivated. The key with this age is to not get upset or yell or nag, be matter of fact.
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Old 03-14-2017, 04:24 PM
 
574 posts, read 1,097,642 times
Reputation: 1240
Have you ever sat down with your wife and discussed your joint expectations for him? If you and she aren't in agreement about what is reasonable and what should be expected, you will never make any forward progress. You don't say how long you've been in his life, but I'm guessing not very long. How much time have you spent talking to other parents of 13 year olds?

I'm not sure your expectations for him are entirely realistic. I don't think her expectations, or lack thereof, are entirely realistic either. But you are not his father, you are his mother's husband. The parenting has to come from her until the time comes, if ever, that he is ready to accept parenting from you. Coming into his life at 12 or 13, that time may never come. Think of your role with him as closer to an uncle than a father.

Family counseling to talk out everyone's expectations in a safe environment sounds like a good idea. A family meeting or series of meetings to outline everyone's expectations, chores, and consequences. Give him some input and control over what chores he does, and what the consequences are if they aren't done in a timely manner. You may be surprised to find that he's more compliant when he has some control, some voice.
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Old 03-14-2017, 04:29 PM
 
16,999 posts, read 20,661,755 times
Reputation: 33987
Quote:
Originally Posted by oh-eve View Post
Yes, and there are the others who live in their parents basement forever, 300 lbs, not working, covered in dirty dishes.


I wouldn't take chances and wait to find out which type he is.
OMG, I think this is one of the funniest things I have ever read on CD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by forum_browser View Post
It is not the job of a 13-year-old to save his mother's marriage by obeying his stepfather. Even the worst-behaved kid is not a mooch for taking for granted parental financial support, and if a stepparent is enlisted to help with this, that is the responsibility and decision of the parents, not the kid. If he is sent away somewhere, he will always believe his mother chose her new husband over him - and he'll be right.

Kids test their parents' love by being unloveable. Parents properly respond by punishing the misbehavior but continuing the love. OP, you can't pass this test because you haven't known this kid for very long and aren't bonded to him. I can't see how this marriage is going to work.
I agree.

OP, you said the father of the boy has 6 kids with 5 different women. So where does you wife fall into the lineup? She picked him and made a baby with him.

You knew when you married her that a teenage boy who didn't have a father around was part of the deal.

Kind of like buying a house by JFK airport than complaining about jet noise.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:05 PM
 
643 posts, read 513,932 times
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When my mother married my stepfather she completely abdicated all parenting/authority over us, handing it all to him. Do NOT be that guy. It will not work out. Your wife needs to bridge the gap between your expectations and her son's behavior. She and he need your kindness and understanding during this transition. Seek professional help as a family so as not to mess this up. Demanding he do X, dragging him out of bed to do Y, storming and stomping until he does Q will in no way benefit the family. You must EARN his respect before he will respect you enough to be a considerate roommate and contributing member. You earn his respect by respecting him and seeking out common ground, maybe even common interests. This will be hard work, he is a kid with a difficult background, reach out your hand not your fist.

I was a teenager with demanding bullying "earn your keep" stepfather. It just escalated and escalated, neither of us ever gave in. Still haven't.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:07 PM
 
4,719 posts, read 4,013,639 times
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Try to be a family.
Everyone has different interests. You need invest time.
Make a deal, I'll learn a video game with you teaching me for hours and together we will do that every day AND you will learn Y (recreation fun thing or hobby) with me teaching you for that same x hours every day...or every other day...and together we will do that. Then also do something like build a computer together.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,426,347 times
Reputation: 15678
Does he have any interest in cars or motorcycles? If he does, I can imagine a project where you buy a project car and fix it up over the next 3-4 years so he has something once he gets his drivers license.

Maybe a $300 car where the two of you need to rebuild lots of it together -- but only when he's being a responsible kid.

Or maybe get tickets to a Gamers Convention -- same deal: he has to earn so many "points" by doing chores etc etc.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:40 PM
 
3,764 posts, read 3,499,348 times
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Tough situation, OP. I would take baby steps. Just keep in mind he probably resents you just for existing, so every bit of discipline you send his way is going to only increase that resentment.

I would suggest carrot-and-stick (mainly carrot, actually) incentives to get him to incrementally wake up and start taking a bit of responsibility for himself. As someone else suggests, take something away and make him earn it back. I would start with something smallish. "If you'd like a piece of this delicious pie, I need to see the floor of your room 20 minutes from now. Otherwise, I guess I'll eat your share!"

I would keep it humorous and work more on building a relationship, which admittedly is going to be difficult and take a long time. Maybe invest in some weekend outings that force the three of you to be together: festivals, carnivals, picnics, hiking, boating, fishing, etc. The kind of thing that forces him to unplug and get off the Internet. You don't have to explicitly say that's your goal. Just make plans with your wife and do it.

13 is still pretty young; it's the age when children are just beginning to transition into puberty and young adulthood. There's still a few years for him to mature and let's face it, some people don't really mature until their 30s, in our crazy society of prolonged adolescence.

Anyway, good luck and I hope that the best possible outcome is reached: better relationships and more responsibility. Resist the temptation to give up; at least, give it some time.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:43 PM
 
12,704 posts, read 9,959,474 times
Reputation: 9515
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
Does he have any interest in cars or motorcycles? If he does, I can imagine a project where you buy a project car and fix it up over the next 3-4 years so he has something once he gets his drivers license.

Maybe a $300 car where the two of you need to rebuild lots of it together -- but only when he's being a responsible kid.

Or maybe get tickets to a Gamers Convention -- same deal: he has to earn so many "points" by doing chores etc etc.
Interesting idea, but it seems to require OP to agree to a significant time commitment to an activity that may not interest everyone involved. We all know that projects that aren't at least a little bit entertaining tend to be abandoned before completion.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:50 PM
 
12,704 posts, read 9,959,474 times
Reputation: 9515
Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Tough situation, OP. I would take baby steps. Just keep in mind he probably resents you just for existing, so every bit of discipline you send his way is going to only increase that resentment.

I would suggest carrot-and-stick (mainly carrot, actually) incentives to get him to incrementally wake up and start taking a bit of responsibility for himself. As someone else suggests, take something away and make him earn it back. I would start with something smallish. "If you'd like a piece of this delicious pie, I need to see the floor of your room 20 minutes from now. Otherwise, I guess I'll eat your share!"

I would keep it humorous and work more on building a relationship, which admittedly is going to be difficult and take a long time. Maybe invest in some weekend outings that force the three of you to be together: festivals, carnivals, picnics, hiking, boating, fishing, etc. The kind of thing that forces him to unplug and get off the Internet. You don't have to explicitly say that's your goal. Just make plans with your wife and do it.

13 is still pretty young; it's the age when children are just beginning to transition into puberty and young adulthood. There's still a few years for him to mature and let's face it, some people don't really mature until their 30s, in our crazy society of prolonged adolescence.

Anyway, good luck and I hope that the best possible outcome is reached: better relationships and more responsibility. Resist the temptation to give up; at least, give it some time.
The goal of (step-)parenting needs to be to prepare them for the adult world, not to get them dependent on instant gratification and short-term rewards. Offering pie to see their room? That might make sense when they are 7 or 8, not 13. Video game addiction and lack of motivation are not the same as being developmentally delayed.

A 13-year-old who is very messy is probably just suffering from an extreme form of bachelor's apathy - if he has no g/f, he has no reason to try to be presentable! I think a lot of American guys with no g/f are like that, including me. I'm 30 years old
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