disgusting 18 yr old sd

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2008
disgusting 18 yr old sd
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 12:23pm

About 7 months ago my 18 year old step daughter moved in with us. And like all teenagers she keeps her room completely filthy!  we have a 3 bedroom home one bedroom was my 14 year old sons (which he gave up when she moved in) and the other my 7 & 4 year old shared (they now have bunkbeds in our bedroom). 2 months ago her mother had a baby and so she brought her dog to live with us because the dog kept jumping on the baby.  I've complained to my husband about her room & the dog which she says she cleans up after.  I've tried to explain to him if she were cleaning up after him our home wouldn't smell like dog urine and he wouldn't have to mop up the dog mess before he goes to work at 5am.  What can I do/say to fix this,  i'm sick of coming home to a smelly house and an unfriendly dog. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 1:46pm

The problem is that your DH isn't on board with this, otherwise I'd agree that you should tell her that if she doesn't clean up after the dog, then the dog has to go.  Unless the dog is a puppy, I do wonder why he's not trained--I am not a person who really ever wanted a pet but my 2nd DH wanted a dog, so we got an older one from a shelter.  At night the dog slept in a crate (which I suppose would be hard to try now if the dog isn't used to it) but we would walk her in the am, then the kids would walk her after they got home from school & then we would walk her at night--but there were never any accidents in the house.

I am sensing a lot of resentment also that she is living with you--and it seems like your house is too small to accomodate everyone, so how did that happen?  Oh, and not all teenagers are messy.  My DD was a messy one--she'd throw her clothes in piles on the floor until she ran out of clothes & then would wash them, but my DSD was always extremely neat and her room was never messy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2008
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 2:57pm

She wasn't listening to her mother, staying out til 3am on weekends basically doing as she pleases which now that I think about it she goes out on the weekends now too and usually gets home between 3 and 6am but my husband doesn't seem to be bothered by it.  and yes my home is too small to accomodate everyone but the size was perfect when it was just the 5 of us.  Also the only reason I agreed to let her live with us back in April was because she had a full scholarship to college a couple of hours away so I said ok I can deal with this for a while.  Then she decided she didn't want to go so she is in community college taking 1 class twice a week.  The dog is about 21/2 years old and definitely not trained.  so i would say yes definitely some resentment.  I mean how am I supposed to teach my 7 and 4 year old to clean up after themselves when i have a dog peeing in a bed in my house because he's been in a bedroom too long????  uggghhh just frustrated

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 9:14pm

What is wrong w/ your DH then that he allows this kind of behavior?  Does she have a job?  Cause for me (and I think most of the moms on here) an 18 yr old should either be in school or working not hanging around the house doing nothing except one class and partying on the weekends.  Also when my DD turned 18 & could finally legally drive after midnight I told her she didn't have a curfew as long as she was reasonable.  She really didn't get home later than 1:00 am--I would be worried sick if she stayed out that late--is your DH not worried about what she might be doing, like maybe driving drunk?

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Fri, 11-02-2012 - 9:22pm

I'm amazed that your dh is going along with this, cleaning up after the dog and having your kids in your bedroom for 6 months.

Is the problem that the dog isn't housebroken, or that it is cooped up in the bedroom without being taken outside to pee often enough? If sd cares enough about the dog she can make a point to walk it frequently. IMO there should be an ultimatum on the dog: the next time there is an "accident" it goes back to sd's mother.  She can either do something to keep it away from the baby or find a new home for it. Since its her dog its should be her problem, not yours. If its technically sd's dog and her mom won't take it back then there's a hard choice to be made...but sd's lack of action should not become your crisis.

You and dh have to be on the same page and present a united front for any rules, discipline, consequences, etc. Maybe your home needs to become as uncomfortable for sd as her mother's home. While I chose to shut the bedroom door rather than nag about a messy room, there are lots of other things that a young adult could be doing around the house to contribute to the running of a household. 

BTW when my kids turned 18 we dropped curfew. We only asked that they let us know if they would not be home at night so I didn't worry that they were in a ditch somewhere. You might suggest to your dh that he talk to his ex about sd's late hours. Maybe if the mom allowed the late hours then sd would move back with her? It does sound like you and your kids have made a lot of accomodations for sd and its run its course.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 9:25pm

Welcome to our corner of the village.

These are a few thoughts that come to my mind:

I have always thought that blending families well is no less difficult than landing a man on the moon.

This girl may have all types of resentment that is being played out here. It may not be justified, but it is still an issue to be dealt with.

I came from a stable two parent home but between 16 and 21, I was a stupid little $itch. So that may have something to do with this situation also

Like others have posted, you and hubby need to get on the same page with this situation. Hubby and you should both be able to look at things honestly and make accommodations to help make this girl into the diamond she can be. Hubby has to be the one who explains things to his daughter.

My guess is that she has never had to follow rules and at 18 that is going to be a bit of a rough ride.

Hubby has some duty to help with his daughter, and by virtue of the fact that you married into his situation, I would submit that you also have some duty to help this child. However, I don’t think this includes the rest of the family being a doormat for whatever his daughter wants to do or not do.

I don’t believe it is unreasonable for her to live by the house rules, like the rest of the family, and that includes reasonable chores, curfew hours, living standards, etcetera. These are the same rules that apply to you, hubby, and the other three kids. Both hubby and step daughter should be able to understand this.

The duty owed the daughter does not include the dog. If the dog can’t be house trained, kept outdoors, or returned to the mother, then the dog needs to go to the shelter for another family to have and love. Donate money to the shelter to take care of the dog until a family can be found.

If you have an attached garage, you may want to explore the possibility of converting it into two extra bedrooms; one bedroom for her and one for the fourteen year old son. This will make separate bedrooms for the two younger ones. Or if you need some storage space in the garage, consider putting in one small bedroom for your 14 year old son.

We put two bedrooms in our two car attached garage for our youngest daughter and SIL. Their two little sons share the smaller garage bedroom. They all share the main house bathroom with the older daughter and SIL who now occupy two of the main house bedrooms, while Hubby and I have the master and master bath to retreat to. This conversion cost about $3,000 in materials, with our men folk doing the work. It is the type of conversion that can be returned to a regular garage with a few hours of demolition work and a few hundred dollars of materials. The garage door is still in place and the iron work is inside the sheetrock wall built on the inside to cover the garage door.

I know of other parents who have put an older son in a RV or travel trailer with no running water and sewer. This may not be a good idea for a young lady because of safety issues and fourteen is a bit young for your son.

If none of these options are viable, I would try to strike a financial bargain with my 14 year old son to pull a mattress in every night and sleep in the living room, dining room, or den. Bribe the kid! This will leave one room for the little ones and one for the step daughter and make one very happy 14 year old son. (When our daughters were early teens they would have fought each other for that financial opportunity.)

Before doing the garage conversion work, hubby and I considered giving our bedroom to our younger couple and moving into one of the smaller bedrooms. You and hubby might consider moving the three younger kids into your bedroom and taking one of the smaller bedrooms. This is called making accommodations for the situation. It’s a lesson in parental love for the three younger ones to see. The older one may be too selfish to grasp it.

One class does not even make her a part time student. Part time status would require one or two more classes. I agree with those who suggested that she needs a job, if she is not going to college full time. I believe that the parental scholarship program is only for kids making progress towards a degree. No school, no work, no money from the parents. The harshness of this reality will set in very quickly, as it should. However this is for your hubby to discuss with her.

If hubby won’t cooperate, I would insist on getting rid of the dog, bribe the son, extend kindness and tolerance to the daughter and my hubby, and keep my mouth shut to keep the peace. Blessed is the peacemaker. This is a lesson that the younger three will grasp and remember for the remainder of their days. When you are long gone, the younger three will remember this lesson in love and peace making.

I hope this ramble of mine helps in some way.