What to do when stepson is a jerk to his father?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
What to do when stepson is a jerk to his father?
6
Thu, 11-07-2013 - 11:41am

Hello all,  Here is some backgound:  My H divorced his exw over 11 years ago.  It was her decision at the time.  They have 4 grown children together.  The oldest son had already moved out when they divorced.  He has a fabulous relationship with his father and myself, is married to a lovely girl, has one child and a baby on the way.  The exw took the other three children, at the time of the D, and moved to FL to be with her AP (they broke up shortly after).  My H found a job as close as he could and moved one state away.  According to their D decree the exw was supposed to pay for and send the 3 children to visit their father routinely.  That never happened.  My H stayed in contact and saw his kids as often as he could (on his own dime), paid child support on time, etc.  One of their issues when they were married was they disagreed on how to raise the kids.  She wanted to be "friends" with the kids and let them roam free and do whatever they wanted and my H wanted to set boundaries and "parent" them.  This made my H be the "bad guy" most of the time.

Fast forward to now.  The kids are all grown and married.  The two middle children are girls.  They made very bad choices in marriage.  The oldest daughter's H is a felon, has numerous drug convictions and is in and out of her two children's lives--our two grandchildren.  She still lives by her mother but has contact with her father (my H) and is back in school working for her RN--good for her!

The next daughter is a single parent of a little boy, his father moved out of state, they share custody but have never divorced.  She has contact with her dad off and on but is a nice girl.  We are hoping for the best with her.

The youngest boy just recently married his highschool sweetheart, he is now 24.  He met this girl when he was 14 and she was 13. They never dated anyone else. (This is long before me)  My H has always had issues with their relationship believing they were too young when they started "dating" but he has been supportive with the wedding.  This boy is a momma's boy, we really don't know what his mom has been telling him over the years but he has been distant to has father for far longer than I have been around so i don't know what past issues are.  Since I have met my H until now the boy rarely calls or communicates unless he wants money from his father.  He called him and acted like everything was fine when we took all the kids on a trip to the Keys and before his wedding (we paid for a rehersal dinner and other things) and around Christmas (just in time for gifts) (By the way the three younger children never say thankyou for anything)  He and his new wife have always been ok to me when they are around me.

The newlyweds live in a apartment with the exw--I think that is wierd but whatever.  As long as I have been with my H I have never seen him do anything that would make his son resent him.  My H calls him, sends cards and gifts and tries over and over to communicate with him and create a relationship but his son doesn't answer or rejects him over and over (unless the kid wants something).  The only way my H finds out anything about his son's life it is through facebook.  The son blocked him on facebook for years and just before the wedding he "friended" his father again.  The son's sisters give their father the excuse "Son is busy in his new job" but he posts constantly about going out partying or going to sporting events... We both know that is an excuse, it only takes a minute to call his father.

 I can see my H's pain but I am powerless to do anything to help.  Have any of you gone through this and what did you do?  I think the kid is a jerk, but I would never say so to my H his father.  It is interesting how the oldest son has turned out to be a loving father, husband and son and was raised in a home with rules and "parented",  while the younger ones who were taken hundreds of miles from their father and raised so differently have struggled with poor choices and attitudes.  My H now regrets allowing his exw to take the kids so far away (the judge told him he could make her stay with the kids in the same community).  At the time he believed it would add more difficulty to what the kids were already dealing with.

Any input on how to deal with this would be great!

thanks,

Ollie

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 11-07-2013 - 12:18pm
Only have time for a quick reply, but wanted to say how good it is too see you! I wish your situation was uncommon, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case. My short answer is this: My mom has always joked that me and my sister weren't good for much of anything until we were 30. Right or wrong, it seems that young adults are still relatively selfish and self-centered. Not all, and not all to the extreme, of course. I think that we can't "re-raise" your kids, so all we can do is to do the best we can at the ages they are now. Also, every family is different. And in my case, a large age gap in my kids. My youngest is essentially an only child. Things that I don't give a second thought to regarding my grown kids really bugs my DH. And vice-versa. How much of this bugs your DH, and how much of this is simply bugging you??? Serenity
Serenity
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 11-07-2013 - 12:33pm

Only have time for a quick reply, but wanted to say how good it is too see you!

I wish your situation was uncommon, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case. 

My short answer is this: My mom has always joked that me and my sister weren't good for much of anything until we were 30.  Right or wrong, it seems that young adults are still relatively selfish and self-centered.  Not all, and not all to the extreme, of course. 

I think that we can't "re-raise" our kids, so all we can do is to do the best we can at the ages they are now. 

Also, every family is different.  And in my case, a large age gap in my kids.  My youngest is essentially an only child.  Things that I don't give a second thought to regarding my grown kids really bugs my DH.  And vice-versa.

How much of this bugs your DH, and how much of this is simply bugging you???

Serenity

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Thu, 11-07-2013 - 1:38pm

I agree with the immaturity thing.  That is what I keep telling my DH--SS is still young, immature and one day he will grow up.  I have suggested to my DH to remember when he was 24--at that time you know everything and your parents are wrong. ;)

My DH is the one that is bugged by it all.  He is complaining to me about it and my response is always as above.  I guess I am bugged because he is bugged!  ha ha.  I have told him to just let it go.  He can continue to send bday cards, etc., and call but not to expect an answer or a thankyou.  That way he isn't let down.  He thinks he should just not send him a Christmas gift and stop trying to communicate and see if the kid responds but I am not sure that is a good way to go.  I think that approach would be more fuel to the fire.

I think my DH also doesn't understand because he is one of 8 children.  Himself and all of his brothers and sisters would not treat his parents that way.  But as you said they were raised differently.

Thanks for your thoughts Serenity!

Ollie

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Ok, have a little bit better picture then. 

That stuff more than bugs my DH and he doesn't understand why it doesn't but me.  Reminds me to of my dad.  My mom has to remind him that my kids (his grandkids) REALLY weren't raised like he was. 

I just remind my DH that he is the parent, regardless of age, and he needs to continue to offer the olive branch.  Help when you can, and when you can't, then you can say no without regret.  Works for me.  :)

Serenity

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I remember we had a CL on this board years ago named Pam.  Her 2nd DH's DD was very alientated from the dad.  They got together after having an affair so you could imagine what the mom said to the DD.  So the father just kept trying--he would keep calling the DD even if sometimes she didn't want to speak to him.  After some time passed (and I think the girl was not living w/ the mom any more and could get some adult perspective on everything) she eventuall did have a good relationship w/ the father.  So I'd say to your DH keep trying.  I probably wouldn't stop giving him gifts, but just give a normal amount like he would give to his other kids--don't go overboard and if the only time the kid calls is to ask for money, feel free to say no.

That was similar to my 2nd DH's DD--they were very estranged, mainly cause my ex was a bad dad to her.  But he did try to apologize & make up to her.  Well she would come around to ask for money but then wouldn't even want to eat dinner with him.  I told him to stop giving her so much if she didn't even appreciate it.  I'd give my kids money if I had it but I have a good relationship with my kids.  So after a while, he kind of ran out of money anyway so that had to stop.  I don't have much contact with him now so I don't know if their relationship is any better but at least he's not trying to buy her affection.

I think the fact that your DSS lives w/ his mom probably has a lot to do with it.  Who knows what she is saying?  I think when he is finally on his own he will be able to see things more objectively.  Maybe the mom still doesn't want him to have a relationship w/ his dad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Sun, 11-10-2013 - 11:09pm

Hi Music,  I think you are right on about my SS's mother!  Through all the years my DH has been divorced she has done nothing to help facilitate a relationship between her children and their father.  My DH has always communicated with and visited his children with every opportunity he has even though the exw has made it difficult at times.  My DH is a very loving and attentive father so I don't understand why the exw has made his communication so difficult.  Now the youngest married son is the only one still living with the mother--he is the one who doesn't communicate.

Good news today though, the son called my DH and they had a nice conversation.   SS called after my DH had a nice conversation with his oldest daughter--my guess she told her brother to call their dad.  Either way my DH feels better today.   Hopefully, like you said Music, SS will move out and grow up some day.  I also think SS feels responsible for taking care of his mother and who knows what she tells him, as you said.

thanks for everyone's thoughts!

Ollie