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Calveena
Calveena asks:
Q:

My step son does not want to come back to our house because we have rules and his mother's house doesn't.

My step son is 14, and has equal visitation time spent between our house and his mother's house. I've noticed that there is a complete lack of rules or any interest in is schoolwork when he's at his mother's, which has made things difficult for us and we constantly end up being the "bad guy" because we have to be the ones to enforce a bedtime, tell him to shower, and make sure he gets his homework done, etc. He's started every semester this year not doing any of his homework, and then we are left with trying to work with him and the teachers to come up with a solution on how to keep him from failing out of school. Absolutely no support from his mother on this.

Now that we've gotten another email from one of his teachers saying he didn't turn in a very important assignment that he had all semester to do, we were planning on having a talk with him about it when he came back from being over at his mom's for the week and trying to figure out what can be done. He told his mother that he doesn't want to come back over to our place. He supposedly said that we are too critical of him. We've been nothing but supportive and loving. Concern for his well being and "being critical" are two different things. His mother is allowing him to play this little manipulation game. He likes it over there because there are no rules. What are we supposed to do? I'm at my wits end here and my husband's feelings are crushed.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Blended families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

ShirleyCressDudley
May 3, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

I know this is difficult, and I'm so very sorry you are having to experience this. You and your husband are right- establishing rules, boundaries and expectations is part of being a parent.  You prepare your child (or stepchild) for the world.

The real world is not going to let everything slide, and let him do whatever he wants. His mother is not helping him by making it "easy" on him at her house.  She doesn't realize the damage she is causing.

Amazingly enough - the fact that you have rules shows that both you and your husband love him and wants what's best for him.  At some point, children begin to understand this.

For right now- hold your ground- you truly are doing what's right and best for him. Your husband could call, text or write your son- explaining why you have rules and why you want the very best for him- so that he will be successful and independent as an adult.

I also believe reading the book, Blended Family Advice, will be of tremendous help to you. There are stories similar to yours in the book.

Know that you are doing what's right.

Kindest Regards,

Shirley
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Executive Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Best selling author of the book, Blended Family Advice
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Additional Answers (1)

ShirleyCressDudley
ShirleyCres... , Teacher, Child Professional, Parent writes:
I know this is difficult, and I'm so very sorry you are having to experience this. You and your husband are right- establishing rules, boundaries and expectations is part of being a parent.  You prepare your child (or stepchild) for the world.

The real world is not going to let everything slide, and let him do whatever he wants. His mother is not helping him by making it "easy" on him at her house.  She doesn't realize the damage she is causing.

Amazingly enough - the fact that you have rules shows that both you and your husband love him and wants what's best for him.  At some point, children begin to understand this.

For right now- hold your ground- you truly are doing what's right and best for him. Your husband could call, text or write your son- explaining why you have rules and why you want the very best for him- so that he will be successful and independent as an adult.

I also believe reading the book, Blended Family Advice, will be of tremendous help to you. There are stories similar to yours in the book.

Know that you are doing what's right.

Kindest Regards,

Shirley
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Executive Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Best selling author of the book, Blended Family Advice

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