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Old 03-14-2017, 05:56 PM
6,042 posts, read 5,761,638 times
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These are great suggestions but none of them will work if the wife is not on board IMO.

He's not this kid's father. He really has no business parenting this boy without his mother's buy-in.

All action starts with the wife.
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Old 03-14-2017, 06:16 PM
4,525 posts, read 3,912,073 times
Reputation: 10794
Originally Posted by ncole1 View Post
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
Clearly, you've never raised children
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Old 03-14-2017, 06:36 PM
Location: Northern California
268 posts, read 175,147 times
Reputation: 548
As frustrating as this situation is, the kid is NOT yours, YOU don't need to do anything about the situation but your woman should do something if she feels it's necessary and/or if she values her relationship with you. If you two do break up, you really can't blame the breakup on this kid, that'd be giving him far too much credit. The blame goes to YOU for choosing to be with his mom and to his mother for not doing something about his behavior.

Sometimes the most difficult step parent/step child relationships are those where the step parent and step child are the same sex. Throw in this kids age and this is just a disaster in the making. The majority of teens push their boundaries, so how this kid is acting isn't all that strange.

I've been there done that, and have been happily married for over 21 years. My husband and I have four children and I helped raise his youngest daughter (since she was two) without destroying my marriage. The best advice I can give is for you to tell your woman your expectations and boundaries and what is acceptable and what isn't. See if she's willing to work on her son or not. If this boy knows what a wedge he's driving between his mother and you, he might just double down his efforts.
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Old 03-14-2017, 06:56 PM
13,249 posts, read 10,845,246 times
Reputation: 10431
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Clearly, you've never raised children
There will always be a divergence of perspectives, to some degree, when people play different roles in a household. This doesn't mean any one of them is more right or wrong than the others, however. What I most certainly can say from my own experience is that being infantilized as a teen can have very long-lasting effects and lead to major resentment. My parents were usually quite reasonable, but there were some friends of the family that were not, and treated me as a total hapless dependent when I was 13 or 14, e.g. church friends. That type of treatment can come across as incredibly dehumanizing in some cases, to the point that it becomes hard to even talk to them again. If my parents had treated me like that when I was 13 or 14, even at the age of 30 I would have great difficulty taking anything they say seriously, because in the back of my head I would worry they might still think of me as a hapless little kid. I still get uncomfortable when someone says "respect your elders". It's been a long time but those feelings do not go away. I'm not even sure I could forgive some of them for that, even now that I'm 30...

Last edited by ncole1; 03-14-2017 at 07:09 PM..
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:48 PM
16,833 posts, read 14,977,330 times
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Originally Posted by ncole1 View Post
There IS a difference between video game addiction and laziness. If someone is lazy, they won't do things even during "down time" or time not spent playing the games. An addict, on the other hand, is kept from engaging in normal daily routine activities by the games themselves, but will still do other things during the times they manage to break away from the addictive game(s).

Depending on the specifics, taking the games away may not actually solve the problem. First you need to ask the question of whether he is lazy, or is addicted to the games.

Incidentally, in a somewhat role-reversal between parents and children, my dad once spent so much time watching TV that he got behind on looking at his taxes and managing his finances. I became so concerned that I climbed up on the roof of the house and taped aluminum foil over the satellite dish receiver so that he would be unable to get a TV signal. It actually did help the issue somewhat, though not as much as I had hoped it would. He never figured out what I did!
The vast majority of 13 yos are not addicted to video games, and in fact are just normal kids who have not developed enough to understand the notion that consequences have actions.

Addiction is a strong word that no one on an internet forum has any business assigning based on a post.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:50 PM
16,833 posts, read 14,977,330 times
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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.
The vast majority of lazy, smelly teenage boys turn out just fine. I have literally taught hundreds and hundreds and only a tiny proportion fail to launch.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:53 PM
16,833 posts, read 14,977,330 times
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Originally Posted by oh-eve View Post
What DOES he need in your opinion?
Time to grow up.

And to the OP.

Yes, you will have to tell him something hundreds of times before he "gets it". Show him dozens and dozens of times. Do you know what they call that? PARENTING. If you only had to tell or show them something occasionally they wouldn't need parents.

Teenagers are not smaller adults. They are biologically different especially when it comes to brain development. Nothing you have described OP is odd for teenagers, especially ones whose mother is remarried, which typically inspires some real acting out, which you have not described.

Count your blessings it could be much worse.
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Old 03-14-2017, 11:58 PM
3,509 posts, read 1,937,432 times
Reputation: 3846
oh boy, what did you expect ?

you need to discuss with your wife, and let it be. kids , teens, what do you expect, for him to read a book, do chores all day, live in a strict environment? It is bad enough the kids parents are not together anymore, and he will look at you as , moms boyfriend/2nd husband.

you should work on your relationship with your wife. there should have been some "sharing of the expenses" discussions when you got into the marriage. Are both of your salaries going to the same bank? There is no "all my" in a marriage, and should be "ours", that is how unions work.

you and your wife have to discuss what you can do, and what you can't do with her son. your wife will choose her son over you, so don't make it a tug o war, it is not fair. What you can do is be open for conversation, do not expect him to be like you, show support, do not talk about his dad ever, try to be a good role model, and do not force anything on him.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:39 AM
Location: Here and now.
11,908 posts, read 4,174,006 times
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Could it be that he is suffering from depression? Liking video games, and wanting to avoid chores and homework are fairly normal behaviors for a 13-yea-old. Apathy to the extent of skipping meals, rather than packing a lunch, and neglecting appearance and personal hygiene, at a time when social status is starting to be *everything*...not so much.

Just thought I would put the idea out there, since no one else has.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:09 AM
57 posts, read 58,917 times
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Sounds like you're not really cut out for parenthood. First off, kids at that age are just starting to turn true teenager. They are often lazy, tired all the time, hormones racing making their attitudes all over the place, etc. The world they way it is has everyone tech stupid. I'm sure you & mom spend a good amount of time with your heads buried in your phones or staring at the tv, hence where he has picked up this way of life from- it's obviously the norm at home regardless of who has a job it's what you do at home that matters. So my advice, stop parenting by throwing tantrums and be a real parent. No, you can't do it without mom's consent so tell her either you both work out a plan or the relationship is over.

If you're parents then your kids should be doing things WITH you not always on their own. So...
Get out as a family and do stuff together. Leave your frustrations and attitudes behind because you're the adult and it's immature if you create the reason everyone can't manage to be together. It doesn't matter what it is but the kid is on games because he obviously doesn't have a family that does anything with him. You go as a family. There's no negotiations- everyone goes together period. Make a life outside of the house. Make a life inside too. Find some projects to do together and make it a thing you do together no matter what. Make time for him and he will become a different person with that alone.

Meals- cook them together, have kids also set table, everyone clean up together and also make lunches together every night. It's stupid to argue about who is going to do it. He's a kid. Do it with him. Maybe you can teach him lessons as you do on making good healthy food choices to boost his energy, etc. Again, parents drop the ball cause they don't feel like being bothered. Somehow they believe making lunch will decide if this child will ever be independent which is just stupid.

Chores- Make a list of 3-5 that he is responsible for and tell him when he's expected to do it. For instance, help with yard work & cut grass every Sunday... take out trash bags when they are ready to go out to the can & bring can down to the street the morning of trash... Etc Etc. Give guidance, show him how to do it, let him know he can ask you questions if he forgets how to do something (like operate the mower) so he knows he can accomplish those tasks without getting chewed out. Make him understand those things are to be done on this day at this time. Then be there for the 1st few months to walk him to each task and watch him as he starts. Why? Because as parents no one has ever had him adopt an understanding of routines so make the time in your own schedule to patiently teach him whats expected.

School work. It used to be that schools taught at school and kids were done when they get home but nowadays the schools put it on the parents to play a part in their kids education. So do it. Give him a set homework hour in a quiet place with no electronics on to distract him. Check his work before he can get up. Don't just see that it's done, see that it's right. How can you complain about his grades unless you catch the parts that he's missing or lost on, then help him to learn it. Yes, it takes time to sit down and teach but you'll do it if you want him to be independent one day. Plus it teaches him what work ethic is- to be done is not worth as much as having it be done right. As a parent it's your duty to show him by example what that means. Show up to his parent meetings at school and make sure you hold the school accountable too for using your tax money to teach him. Sounds like he would benefit from having a tutor to work with at least 2xs a week. Get him what he needs to be successful and force him to use those resources. Again, be the parent and set it up.

On the cleaning. Call him back. Make him do it each time. He'll get tired of it eventually. Tape a list of rules for each room over the sink, etc for each room so he has a visual reminder before he even walks off. He'll get it if he gets annoyed at coming back & forth. Also, make him responsible for his room. The cleaner his room is the more organized he will feel in his life & his mind day to day. Give him a space to feel good about having cleaned it. Make it a job he does on a non-school day weekly. Tell him what he needs to do then go back to check that its done.

Screen time. No electronics or tv on school days or school nights. Period. That takes 5 days a week out of the problem. Then limit it to 3-4 hours per day on weekends. Don't let him get on until his chores, room & homework are done. In turn, he needs something to do so give him some options. Take him out to do something, give him books to read, paper to draw, wood & a hammer, models to put together... something to keep him busy without electronics. Think about what you would do if you had no phone, no tv, no games and try to give him some options that are actually interesting enough to capture his attention.

Hygiene is something every boy slacks in when they hit those years. Again, how hard is it to tell him each morning to brush his teeth & put deodorant on and each night to shower, brush his teeth, etc.. If you really think you'll need to do this past a few years you're just making yourself upset for no reason. Kids are kids. They go through stages. Deal with him by giving him expectations, demanding them to be met BUT accomplish that goal by building him up, encouraging him, give him praise for the things he earns praise for and be careful not to break him down to get him to do what you want. It won't work. These are the very years kids deal with all kinds of crap at school, socially, with self esteem so be a mentor & show him love. That could move mountains for this kids who sounds like he's more forgotten about or neglected a bit. Let him be a man when he is a man. As far as mom goes, help her to be consistent. obviously she doesn't know how to do this well and she will be more open to making changes if it's not all full of negativity. Naturally as a mom she is probably a little silently defensive of her parenting & of her son so don't do things that encourage that wall to go up. In the end, keep in mind this is what dating a woman who has children comes with but it's all a stage unless no one steps up and takes their role as a parent serious.

Last edited by tetonmom; 03-15-2017 at 03:22 AM..
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