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Old 03-15-2017, 11:07 AM
13,248 posts, read 10,840,851 times
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Originally Posted by animalcrazy View Post
I'm wondering how much experience you have with children Des-Lab? Are you expecting a 13 year old to think like an adult? I have a now 15 year old in my life that has been around me since she was 6. Add La Horror to her name and that's what I called her. She is still on the selfish side, entitled, lazy and has to be prodded into taking a shower when she spends the night. She also has a stubborn streak and has impulse control issues. Yikes, one would ask why I would bother. Well you see I love her and her sister. Yes she is all that but she is also more then just being a challenge. She loves me back and likes to give back in ways that she can only understand at 15. These are not adults. They are children and will think like children.
Um, no. Impulse control problems does not mean you are a child, and it most certainly does not mean everyone the same age is also a child. I know someone who has a mother around 50 years old that still gets very impulsive at times, even to the point of throwing objects in the house when agitated. My mom, as a matter of fact, did that too, when in her 30's and 40's, when she was in an unhappy relationship, partly as a result of being abused as a child. By your logic, 30-50 year olds are also children, not adults. Don't you see why this reasoning is flawed?

Originally Posted by animalcrazy View Post

Our job as adults is to guide them with love, even when that seems impossible. I live in their world, listen to their awful music and relate to them as much as possible on their level. It's sometimes difficult for me to do because I am an adult. Yet, they still want to be with me. Your step son seems to be trying to tune you out. Nagging, badgering, belittling, and even reasoning don't work with kids that basically want nothing to do with you, but are trapped in their situation. I've had to leave the horrible one behind and out of the fun on more then one occasion, and just take her sister, who is a dream child. It broke my heart to see her cry as we left, but she knows now that if I ask her to stop doing what she's doing and she doesn't, there will be consequences. She broke her phone recently by slamming it on the table out of anger, so she still has some problems. I do think she realizes how dumb that was. Will she do other dumb things? Of course. She's 15 and those teenage years are often difficult.

You don't have to be besties with your step son, but I wish you could meet a friend of mine. He took his wife's son in when he was 15 and out of an abusive custody with his father. He paid for the attorneys and had only love and kindness for his step son. Unfortunately he was in rehab twice for heroine addiction in his early 20's, but his step father was there not to judge, but to hold his hand every step of the way. Fast forward ten years and he's now a fine young man in college and serving his country. He enlisted so his step father wouldn't have to pay any more money for his college. It's sweet the way he calls him every day, and he's closer to his step father then he is to his mother.

If you want that kind of relationship with your step son, then first begin by accepting him for who he is. If you want to create a mini me, then reproduce. You might come close by getting someone who looks like you. Your anger in this thread seems to be a reflection on how you are treating your step son (?) I'd tune you out as much as possible as well if you are being a bully. Yes it is difficult treating another with love and kindness when you don't especially like them, but isn't that what we're supposed to do as adults? Teach by example, not by authority.
Absolutely - by example is the best. And always stay calm, this is important!
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:09 AM
13,248 posts, read 10,840,851 times
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Originally Posted by jgn2013 View Post
It starts with your wife.

Your stepson has no reason to listen to you when your wife is offering a completely different message. You'll need to figure out why she's so soft and work on improving that aspect of her. Even if the boy was your biological son, when two parents have conflicting parenting styles, kids will generally follow the instructions of the "easier" parent.

1.) Find a consensus on how to parent with your wife. She needs to realize that when you married her, you married her kid as well. You have to be husband AND father.

2.) Take his bedroom door off the hinges

3.) Remove ALL electronics from his room. All he needs is a computer in the living room for homework (and he doesn't really NEED that).

4.) Find out what he's interested in. I can't imagine that he's completely without interests besides video games. Cut off the TV's and spend time talking to him. Just keep talking so that he opens up.
Incredibly inconsiderate. How would you feel if someone did these things to YOU?
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:33 AM
10,361 posts, read 3,096,060 times
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Originally Posted by ncole1 View Post
Why are you citing a secondary source on Piaget instead of Piaget's original work? Have you even read Piaget's original work? He actually finds formal operational thought in children as young as 11.
All of this teenage brain development stuff is nonsense when you put it in the context of how humans lived 150 years ago. Married at 16, working a farm, working in a city, multiple kids by early 20s. Functioning just fine. Teenager is a term that didn't exist before the 1940s.

Teens are "lazy" only if that is the expectation. If you expect them to be responsible and have brought them up that way, then they'll be responsible.

If you believe that teens are lazy and incapable of thinking and reasoning, then you will treat them in a way that fosters them to be exactly that.
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:11 PM
Location: Saint John, IN
11,576 posts, read 4,694,926 times
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Sorry, not reading through all the posts here but here's my opinion.....

He's 13, he should know hygiene habits by now!

Take the mom out to a nice restaurant and have a heart to heart with her. Let her know your concerns and what resolutions you suggest to be done to help handle the situation. Let her know that you love your step son, but are concerned about his future.

Give him responsibility and if he doesn't do what's given take his games away!!!

All else fails, send his a** to military school!!
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:56 PM
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Video games, IMO are highly addictive and not in a good way. One of my friends has an adult son who still lives at home and plays video games, all day long. He's 28 and has no future at this point.

I would try taking the games away from him and maybe get him into counseling. He may be depressed. Depressed people often neglect their personal hygiene, won't eat, get absorbed into addictive behaviors. Also has he been evaluated for attention deficit disorder?
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:57 PM
Location: Las Vegas
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Their kids do NOT go away. You will be doing this for the rest of your life. And if that's NOT what you want, move on. It's not likely your SO is going to change. She will cater to the kid for as long as she lives.

My SO's mom died of a heart attack at 62. On her way to Western Union to wire money for rent to her 36 yo child. For the bejillionth time. She had taught the kid that she would always bail him out. He only lasted a few months after his mom died. He was murdered by a drug dealer.
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:58 PM
3,137 posts, read 2,012,151 times
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Originally Posted by newtovenice View Post
All of this teenage brain development stuff is nonsense when you put it in the context of how humans lived 150 years ago. Married at 16, working a farm, working in a city, multiple kids by early 20s. Functioning just fine. Teenager is a term that didn't exist before the 1940s.

Teens are "lazy" only if that is the expectation. If you expect them to be responsible and have brought them up that way, then they'll be responsible.

If you believe that teens are lazy and incapable of thinking and reasoning, then you will treat them in a way that fosters them to be exactly that.
I pretty much agree with this. Teens today are coddled more than ever before in human history. I know many parents who don't want their teenagers to work or get part time jobs, even in college during the summertime. The answer to "why" is usually because they feel their child has more important things to do than work at some job.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:07 PM
Location: North Idaho
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I wish I had a good answer. If I knew the secret of how to make a teenager act like a human being, I'd write a book and be very wealthy.

I think that both parents have to present a united front, and that is going to be an issue for you, OP.

My son started working when he was still in diapers and could barely toddle. He wanted to be with me and I was working, so he worked right beside me. I had horses and I'd clean stalls and he had a tiny wheel barrow and little shovel and he'd clean stalls right there with me.

OK, it is too late to start your kid when he was 2 years old. But, my experience with children was that all my child's friends wanted to hang out at our house, and every one of them worked while they were there. Even the kids whose parents complained that they were lazy. The kids who wouldn't eat at home would put away enough groceries to feed a football team. They had every electronic game in the world at home and they still wanted to come to our house where there were no games.

There were a bunch of "lazy" teenagers who would come out and work their buns off. With the teenagers, they worked because they wanted to ride the horses and they couldn't ride the horses unless they took care of the horses and the tack, and fed and watered. So, part of the secret is that you have to find something to motivate a child.

About my son's friends, who had horses of their own and their parents thought they were lazy, they would come over and I would work, and my son would work, and they would pitch in and work. I think the difference was that it was a group effort and we would chat and share jokes and talk about what was important to them. Maybe no other adult really listened to them?

Kids work a lot better side by side with some attention. If you order them to go off by themsleves and work, then that results in less success.

OP, you have taken that kid out for bonding, but have you taken him to work with you? Rebuild a car, (with the promise that he can drive it-- motivation) or take him fishing or hiking, or anything where his muscles are working and you are doing it, too? Even going out with him with a drone and flying it together, maybe taking photos. Something that has him up and moving.

13 year olds are not very good at self-starting and they don't work well alone. My kid was good about homework, but he didn't sit in a corner by himself. I sat at the table with him and I answered questions, or just sat there and balanced my checkbook or read a book. I was making sure he did his homework, but I think it also made the job easier for him because he wasn't isolated.

Children need endless attention focused on them. Not so they are the center of attention, which is bad for them, but so that gentle molding, guidance, and correcting happen constantly.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:17 PM
Location: North Idaho
24,633 posts, read 32,256,920 times
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Kids and money. This is what worked for me.

There was a smallish allowance that was just because and not dependent upon anything at all.

Everyone in the family had their chores they had to do because we were a family and everyone contributes to the household. This was completely independent of money.

Then there were extra chores that could be done for extra money. If the child wanted a special treat, they could work for it and save up. Money could be presented immediately, or it could be entered into a ledger for later payment. That's a slight start to budgeting and book keeping of a sort.

Some of the regular chores had to be done before some desirable reward, as in: hurry and get your bed made so we can go to the beach, but there wasn't any actual payment for the regular chores.

OP, I suspect that your child is getting too much money for nothing in return and too many gifts. I suspect that he never had to work for all those video games and electronics. If you can get his mother to go along (and good luck with that) stop the gifts and reduce the free money. Give him a list of chores that he can do to earn money. Myself, I would pay him a couple of dollars to mow the lawn and empty the lawn mower and put it away. You need to link work and money together in his mind because at this point he sees no connection.

And really, seriously, keep it in mind that he is a teenager. He is never going to act civilized until he is a lot older, but you need to try to shape him a little bit because he is on the path to a life of loser-dom.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:23 PM
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Choose your battles. List the behaviors you'd like to see change, then order them.

In your shoes, I'd put hygiene first. Then cutting down on the video games, then participating in household tasks that are age-appropriate.

But! Both you and your wife will need to be on the same page, and judgmentally punitive actions such as some suggested in this thread - military school, boot camp, doors off hinges, etc. - are way too heavy-handed at this stage of the game.

So - take your stepson out for a guy's event. Maybe a game show or sporting event, or a hike in the woods, or whatever seems as if it would not bore both of you silly. After you've participated in whatever it is for a while, stop at a reasonably quiet place and get a snack. Let him get whatever he wants and you pay (this is an investment). Do NOT let him have any electronic devices on this outing. Once he's 3/4 of the way through his burger or fries or milkshake or whatever, start The Talk:

"Son, this has been a great afternoon. I've really had a great time and it's been fun hanging out with you. Man, you're really growing up fast - can't believe how big your getting." (butter him up. You'll probably embarrass him).

(Kid mumbles something in response, looks away, turns pink, says, "Aw, Dad, cut it out".

"No, I mean it. You're a fun guy!" (try to be sincere. Then start in for the kill): You know, that shirt looks like it's seen better days. Tell you what, let's go get you some new stuff. What's cool at school these days?"

Get him to the teen rack. Let him pick out whatever new shirt he likes within a stated budget. Compliment him on his good taste. Buy yourself something new to make him less suspicious.

Then -"You know, we got all hot and sweaty on that hike, and I sure wouldn't want that new shirt of yours to get messed up when you try it on to show your mom. Tell you what, I'll let you jump in the shower first when we get home, then I'll get cleaned up. In fact, there's a new aftershave I've been meaning to check out - let's see what they have" (make a drugstore run for this).

While you're checking out the manly grooming stuff, casually throw some good shampoo, a new comb, new toothbrush and toothpaste, new soap, deodorant, etc. into the cart. Look for a tote bag of some sort to contain all his new stuff.

Do NOT mention teenage girls at this point. Your stepson sounds way too immature to fancy the ladies quite yet, though that may change overnight. Right now, a mention would just embarrass him and set you back.

Once home, "let" him jump in the shower with that nice new soap (Irish Spring is a scented deodorant soap, or just go with traditional Dial) and model his new duds after cleaning up. Praise his good taste, even if the shirt is not the greatest. Tell him you like the color, the fabric, whatever you can find to praise. Ditto mom's reaction. She can maybe add, "Umm, you smell so good, too", though that will embarrass him.

So - step one: you got him clean, and you spent a productive day together and started to build a relationship. Cost? Snacks, a new shirt, and grooming items, plus your time and attention. Well worth the investment.

Will he get grimy again? No doubt. But since you've started to lay the foundation for a good relationship, you can just remind him he needs to jump in the shower and put that new soap to use again. You can even let him know that as he matures, his body changes mean that he will need to pay more attention to keeping clean. I hope he is aware of the changes of adolescence, btw, and that you or someone else has had "the talk" with him about what to expect and how to deal with all those changes.

Similar tactics for the other problems. Get a stack of paper plates, and insist if he's going to eat between meals ( as he may well need to do - growing kids get very hungry), that he use paper, not china, and that he throw the plates away. Get him a covered wastepaper basket for his room and a supply of plastic liner bags. Bag gets removed each morning when he comes to breakfast. New bag inserted after he gets home from school. It sounds as if the eating is not the problem, just the mess that results. So deal with the mess.

Once you knock out a couple of irritants, like bathing and messiness, praise him, praise him! Then try similar tactics with household tasks. Continue the stepfather-stepson outings at least once a week. No new shirt each time required. Cut down on online time without making a big deal of it - just provide other interesting activities.

Take him to the library and get age-appropriate good books on his newfound interests, and ask for fiction suggestions. Look for non-fiction related to his school assignments, for book reports and to beef up any reports or papers he writes. Go to the movies. Explore. Go swimming. Roller or ice skate. Ride bikes. Start a rock collection, and visit the local rock club or show. Plan a family vacation, and put him in charge of the road trip. Plant a garden when it warms up. Visit the planetarium. Visit the museum. Play ball. Fly a kite.

Go to local festivals. Go to a Comic-Con convention or a Renaissance Faire. Go to a driving range. Play miniature golf. Ride a horse ( well, two horses, or three if your wife joins you). Start him on a musical instrument and provide lessons. Take him to concerts (ideally not rock unless it's classic). Take him to plays. Ask one or two of his friends along for some of the adventures.

Back home, play checkers or Chinese checkers or chess or other board games. Add some of his friends. See if there is a craft he'd enjoy - drawing, woodcarving (start with soap), beadwork, or something else. Let him paint his room a favorite color - one wall only, if it's black. Paint it together.

Play croquet, or badminton, right in your own backyard. Get a ping pong table and put it to use. Go to a high school basketball game or tournament (Sweet Sixteen games are in progress all over right now). See what local and state parks have to offer. Get him into the Boy Scouts. See if your church has an active youth group. See if the Y offers things he'd enjoy.

Build the relationship, and the other irritants will not necessary vanish completely, but they will lessen - and become a lot less irritating.

Good luck to you and your family.

Last edited by CraigCreek; 03-15-2017 at 01:37 PM..
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