At my wit's end with stepson

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2011
At my wit's end with stepson
Fri, 12-23-2011 - 12:24pm

I need help. First, being a step parent is a unique situation. I have one stepson. I've been with his dad since he was 5. He's always been a troubled kid, but my husband was mostly a Disney Dad and mom chose to ignore the situation completely because parenting was NOT her priority. For many years it was a battle between DH and I because I wanted him to take a more active role and change the path that stepson was on. Alas, that path has not changed and he is exactly where I expected him to be at age 18 - jobless, a high school dropout, disrespectful, not contributing to a household or society in any capacity, and living in MY home. Mom does not want him anymore since he doesn't come with a monthly child support check.

DH is absolutely willing to put him out on the street. I am not, simply because it's too cold to survive out there right now and ultimately I don't think he is 100% responsible for his actions due to poor parently up to this point. But I also, for my own sanity, cannot stand to live with him. He's mean, lazy, etc.

What does one do in this situation? We've tried laying down ground rules in order to remain in the house, which he totally ignores. I've tried helping him get a job, but he simply doesn't want one and won't cooperate. At this point I feel like my options are to a) make peace with the fact that I can't change the situation and I should just suck it up and support him, or b) kick him out and make peace with that.

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Fri, 12-23-2011 - 2:30pm

Maybe you and DH should set an eviction date. It might be easier to handle if you know there IS an end in sight. Plus, a few months notice, the weather will warm-up and he'll have enough time to find a job and a roomate or whatever. If he doesn't prepare, well, give him a list of local shelters. I suspect he'll end up on a friends couch if he doesn't get a job but hey, it's not your couch. By setting a date, you'll know you've done all you can.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Fri, 12-23-2011 - 4:07pm

Only you can decide what you can make peace with but here's my story....

Ten years ago we took in a 17 y/o foster DS who quickly became part of our family - in spite of having grown up with a boatload of problems and minimal parenting.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 12-23-2011 - 7:14pm

I know it would be hard but I also couldn't stand the thought of allowing a kid to just live in the house not contribute and not be thankful either.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 12-23-2011 - 8:15pm
Unfortunately, at 18yo, your options are limited. He's not a full time student so he's not on anyone's insurance, & you can't make him get a medical or psych workup, get counseling or take meds. You can't suddenly give him the parenting, nor the education he failed to get these past years.
And altho he is not your child, because he has been your stepSON for 13 years, you DO share some of the blame.
If it was me, I'd sit the kid down and say--we parents have failed you miserably. We've failed to deal with your problems, or raise you to become a competent adult. However, you have not shown any desire to rise above your background either, and I think you DO have enough intelligence to realize that you are being disrespectful and lazy. We cannot continue to support you under these circumstances. As of today, all money to you ends. We will not pay 1 more cent toward a car, phone, ' puter, etc. We will provide basic necessities for the next 2(or 4, etc) months, while you find other living arrangments. Then, you are out.
BUT, if you begin to make progress toward your GED, sign up for Medicaid, get a physical and psychiatric workup, treat treatable conditions, and get a job-ANY job--we will defer eviction, and help you as best we can.

In the meantime, tell him that whenever you are out of the house, he needs to be out of the house also, looking for work. I HIGHLY recommend you change the locks, and not give him a key. You can let him out when you go to work, and let him back in when you return. Otherwise, he may empty out the house when you are not home.