U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-05-2019, 03:12 PM
 
7,280 posts, read 2,628,366 times
Reputation: 16592

Advertisements

JDawg, here's a suggestion...find something to bond over with your stepson. A "me and you" kind of thing that you two can do on a somewhat regular basis. Doesn't even have to cost much. Like...maybe the two of you can go for a walk, and stop at the local gas station for a soda, and then walk home.


I think he will start to appreciate that you're making a point to get to know him on a one on one basis. It seems like he might need to know that YOU WANT to be his parent, and not that you were just thrust into it. Maybe look for events that he might enjoy doing, like going to the zoo, or some free exhibit somewhere, or something. Maybe share funny stuff you find online, or in the paper...just those little things that say "This reminded me of you." I think it would be gratifying to him.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-05-2019, 03:47 PM
 
4,930 posts, read 4,190,738 times
Reputation: 10444
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I also agree that it probably is partly testing and partly that he doesn't understand that $400 is a lot of money. He also may be comparing your lifestyle with the lifestyle of his mother and think that you are quite wealthy.

Your step-son may also be wondering why his life was so difficult financially before (if it was) when his father obviously had/has a lot of money. Why wasn't Dad spending the necessary money on his child when he was living with his mother?

I agree that marriage counseling may be helpful to make sure that the two of you are thinking alike on finances and other issues in regards to his son/your step-son. This is especially important now that he is living with you full-time.
This. You need to seek counseling to see about why you have so much resentment & how to get past that, if you plan to stay married his Father. I felt bad for your stepson that you couldn't delight in providing for him.

I don't get why Dad wasn't spending money in addition to child support on clothes & back to school supplies for his son all along. This should not be some big surprise that it costs money to clothe someone. Raising kids is not cheap. $400 is a couple pairs of jeans and some underwear & tshirts. Kohls is not a pricy place to buy clothes.

If you want to get more for your money, buy some NWT items (new with tags) from shopgoodwill.com.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-05-2019, 04:45 PM
 
4,319 posts, read 1,859,484 times
Reputation: 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
This. You need to seek counseling to see about why you have so much resentment & how to get past that, if you plan to stay married his Father. I felt bad for your stepson that you couldn't delight in providing for him.

I don't get why Dad wasn't spending money in addition to child support on clothes & back to school supplies for his son all along. This should not be some big surprise that it costs money to clothe someone. Raising kids is not cheap. $400 is a couple pairs of jeans and some underwear & tshirts. Kohls is not a pricy place to buy clothes.

If you want to get more for your money, buy some NWT items (new with tags) from shopgoodwill.com.
Whatever was happening before, it certainly seems like the stepson wasn’t seeing the benefit of the child support payments. He might feel like Dad really didn’t care about him before and that he owes it to him now to actually contribute. It is also quite possible that Mom was saying things to him about Dad that were not entirely true, particularly if the situation popped up where the stepson had to come live with the Dad and OP unexpectedly. The stepson is having understandable feelings that aren’t going to be solved by teaching him the value of money. I seriously doubt the stepson has any clue what was going on behind the scenes with child support arrangements and his mother’s spending. Why would he? That isn’t his responsibility or burden.

Instead, he needs to be told that he is valued by both his Dad and the OP. He needs to be made to feel that he isn’t just a financial burden. It is already hard enough that he has to come live with someone who doesn’t seem to want him, but to also have to deal with the guilt of someone who makes him feel bad that he needs school clothing is just going to make him feel worse. The school year starting is an expensive time for every parent. It happens once a year and parents need to deal with it. Hopefully once this is finished, the stepson won’t have continuing needs throughout the year that will be $400 on a regular basis. He might need a new coat here or extra seasonal items later, but it isn’t the big bulk buying session that often happens prior to the school year when parents might buy multiple pairs of jeans, 1-2 pairs of shoes, several tops, socks, underwear, belts, etc... all in one go to replace the old/worn out stuff.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-05-2019, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
21,549 posts, read 12,180,782 times
Reputation: 32921
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdawg8181 View Post
Thank you Sass! It's been a great help.


As you can imagine, having a kid thrown on you is a big adjustment. I try the best I can. I love him and want him to have a good life with us and not deprive him of too much but I also want him to know that just b/c we are "well-off" does not mean he can take advantage or expect to get everything he wants.


These are hard things to teach when you have never been a parent before. It's even new-ish to my husband b/c while he has always been his dad, he hasn't had him full-time until now either. It's an adjustment for everyone I think.


My husband and I were just so used to our time together and spending money on us. Now this is a whole new dynamic. It can be really challenging sometimes.
I've mentioned this on one of your other threads, but you aren't a parent now, you are a stepparent and they aren't the same thing. Your stepson has a father and mother, and you are in a different role. Yes, of course there is an adjustment for everyone and of course there are some expectations that he should follow in terms of treating you with respect and understanding that as his dad's wife, you help to decide the rules of your household. But you should not be trying to parent him, you should let your husband do that, while you develop your own relationship with him while you all work out exactly what that should mean. And especially since he's already 16 and will be out of the house in a couple of years, it's not going to look like it might have if he had come into your home when he was a much younger child where the dynamics of an adult/young child relationship is is different than that of an adult/older teen.

With time, you can develop a strong, vital and loving presence in your stepson's life, if that is what you want. Or you can take a little less involved role, while obviously still being a part of his life. But either way, that comes over time, not immediately, and whatever it is, it's something different than being his mother. So while I think it's great that you are asking questions, the fact remains that it is not your role to try to get him to understand the value of money or whether $400 is or isn't a lot of money. Of course you have a right to discuss your household finances with your husband and determine how much is reasonable to spend on things like clothing for the kid. But then it's up to your husband to set the limits and communicate and enforce those limits with his son, while you support your husband particularly since he's new to full time parenting himself, and is still feeling his way. The more you do, the less he will do and the fact is that it's his role as the father that is the one that has to be the strongest and needs the most effort put into it. I hope that when you ask these types of things, it's to get information to discuss directly with your husband and not things that you plan to do and say yourself directly to your stepson.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-05-2019, 06:19 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 13,684,990 times
Reputation: 5941
Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
This. You need to seek counseling to see about why you have so much resentment & how to get past that, if you plan to stay married his Father. I felt bad for your stepson that you couldn't delight in providing for him.

I don't get why Dad wasn't spending money in addition to child support on clothes & back to school supplies for his son all along. This should not be some big surprise that it costs money to clothe someone. Raising kids is not cheap. $400 is a couple pairs of jeans and some underwear & tshirts. Kohls is not a pricy place to buy clothes.

If you want to get more for your money, buy some NWT items (new with tags) from shopgoodwill.com.
He was spending $$ on those things but he came to visit in summer prior to living with us, so it wasnt back to school time. The $$ was child support not being used on him that should have. How is that my husband’s fault? We only started having $$ recently with his raise. Before than we struggled. My husband got a $20k raise.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-05-2019, 06:28 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 13,684,990 times
Reputation: 5941
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassybluesy View Post
JDawg, here's a suggestion...find something to bond over with your stepson. A "me and you" kind of thing that you two can do on a somewhat regular basis. Doesn't even have to cost much. Like...maybe the two of you can go for a walk, and stop at the local gas station for a soda, and then walk home.


I think he will start to appreciate that you're making a point to get to know him on a one on one basis. It seems like he might need to know that YOU WANT to be his parent, and not that you were just thrust into it. Maybe look for events that he might enjoy doing, like going to the zoo, or some free exhibit somewhere, or something. Maybe share funny stuff you find online, or in the paper...just those little things that say "This reminded me of you." I think it would be gratifying to him.
The biggest challenge is finding something he would be interested in doing with me. He likes video games. I could play a game with him I guess but he’d need to show me.

Thank you for all this. Ppl are saying i sound like I dont want him. I do. I love him. It’s just not easy for me. I dont really know how to do this whole parenting thing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-05-2019, 06:47 PM
Status: "Fall is in the Air!" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,380 posts, read 103,528,256 times
Reputation: 33393
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdawg8181 View Post
My husband WAS paying child support (a lot in fact) but we believe the mother spent it on herself, not him.
Some years ago, maybe decades, I read an "ask a lawyer" column where a step-mom made that claim. The lawyer said that was a very common complaint from step-parents and non-custodial parent and that she didn't put much stock in it. You've already said your family makes about 4X as much as hers. Was the kid wearing rags before he came to live with you? Was he getting his clothes from the Goodwill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitkatbar View Post
And I think this is important to recognize. You were planning to be just the two of you. And then, surprise! Your husband's obligations from his previous marriage in the form of his child are now a part of your financial life. So while it's okay to kind of privately mourn the loss of what you once enjoyed... you also have to face the facts that your husband's responsibility to his son predates you. Yes, he's nearly 18... but you should be prepared for the fact that your husband may still wish to provide things for his child and you guys need to have some honest conversations about what that looks like.



What you want to do is communicate ahead of time, rather than reacting after the fact. Set him up to be successful. "We're going to the movies. Here's $5 for snacks." "Time for back to school shopping. Your budget is $250. Have you thought about what stores are having sales?"
The OP has already said this $400 wasn't a big deal. She doesn't tell us what they bought, but a pair of shoes and a few outfits of jeans and shirts can eat up a lot of money. Maybe dad doesn't know how to shop the sales.

The problem with this ultimatum you suggest the OP give the kid is that he's not her kid! If OP and dad (her husband) want to talk about what is an appropriate amount of money to spend on BTS, that's fine, assuming the OP even knows how much it costs to get a kid ready for school.

I'll hold my nose and suggest therapy for all, including the kid's mom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdawg8181 View Post
One of the things in play here is the large income disparity btwn our household & his mother’s. We are average middle class ppl but we make about 4x as much as her. Conversely our area costs about 4x as much. My stepson knows we’re better off financially than his mother but he doesnt know what real estate goes for here, what property taxes are here ... so idk if he’s sees the difference & thinks dollar signs bc he knows we can afford it.

We ARE trying to teach him the value of hard work, hence getting the job but right now he doesnt have one.
16 year old kids generally don't get the value of money. Real estate, property taxes are just not on his radar screen. See this post again:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
He probably has a distorted idea of just how much it is. When my son was 14 he got his first job, making $20 hr for several hours a week. He was going to build his own computer and he was sure he'd have all the parts in two or three weeks time. It came as something of a surprise to him that even making good money it took him quite a while to afford everything he needed. The money didn't pile up quite as fast as he thought it would and everything cost more than he thought it would when he had to pay attention to prices. I think kids around that age sort of know, but they don't really connect all the dots until they have to, when it's money they've earned themselves
That is why I disagree with those that say 7 year olds "understand" money. 16 year olds don't understand it that much better. And I think the connecting the dots takes until they are actually in their own homes, supporting themselves. It's not like they don't know anything about money, they just don't put it all together at 16 (in most circumstances).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-05-2019, 07:57 PM
 
7,228 posts, read 4,034,248 times
Reputation: 16361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdawg8181 View Post
The biggest challenge is finding something he would be interested in doing with me. He likes video games. I could play a game with him I guess but he’d need to show me.

Thank you for all this. Ppl are saying i sound like I dont want him. I do. I love him. It’s just not easy for me. I dont really know how to do this whole parentingn thing.

I don't think you sound like you don't love him or don't want him. You wouldn't be on here like this if you didn't want to make it all work and find out how you best help that. BTW, I know from experience that teenage boys eat A LOT and really like it when you prepare the food they love.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-05-2019, 11:07 PM
 
86 posts, read 16,383 times
Reputation: 126
16? They have no clue. Like some of the others have mentioned: it's when they start working and earning/attempting to go out with their friends (entertainment) and dress themselves on their own dollar. Then there's suddenly a light bulb moment. Humility begins to set in then.

This seems like a topic best discussed first between your partner and you and then together as a family. You might also want to be clear that when he's in your house, it's your rules and foster mutual respect between the three of you as a family. If you're prone to buying expensive things around the house or the latest model for your phone that you can't afford or are barely affording, you're not setting the best example for the kids.

Your biggest challenge may be working with your husband in putting limits on back to school supplies/needs and also being a bit more thrifty regarding the stores you shop at without an emphasis on name brands or designer labels. Sales are everything. $400 is ok for that age due to him probably outgrowing most of his clothing in the past 12 months. It's definitely not savvy but it's not hugely exorbitant either of a figure.

My biggest question to you has less to do with him and more to do with your partner and you: What do either of you do in terms of planning for back to school shopping and other child/parenting expenses? Set up a fund or a separate account where either of you can contribute for back to school shopping or for the kids. This relieves the impact of that price tag around August/Sept and puts a lot less pressure on your husband and you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-06-2019, 08:34 AM
 
7,280 posts, read 2,628,366 times
Reputation: 16592
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdawg8181 View Post
The biggest challenge is finding something he would be interested in doing with me. He likes video games. I could play a game with him I guess but he’d need to show me.

Thank you for all this. Ppl are saying i sound like I dont want him. I do. I love him. It’s just not easy for me. I dont really know how to do this whole parenting thing.

I think I "get it" because, like I said, my step grandson has come to live with us, and he's 14...so similar to your situation. Plus, the reasons for him being with us are not ideal...so, saying that it's been an adjustment is an understatement.


I think you and I are working under similar circumstances...the only main difference is that I have previous parenting experience, thus the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, and you don't. I can sympathize and empathize with/for you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top