Adult Step Children

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  KennethD 5 years, 11 months ago.

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    I have been married for 2 years to a beautiful woman who is kind and loving to the max. She is my dream come true. I am early 50′s and she is early 40′s. We met and knew each other for 6 months before we got married. She was honest from the start, letting me know that her 2 grown children (24 yr old man and 22 yr old woman) had some issues from past sexual abuse by their biological father and some emotional abuse by a drug addict step father while they were growing up. I knew that my wife’s daughter would be living with us after we were married. I’ll add that I do not have children of my own.

    The step children are polite and kind to me but there are some issues which have caused arguments between my wife and I. The son’s are mainly to do with responsibility. He’s friendly and has a good heart. He’s not very good wth money though, so he has asked us occasionally for loans. Sometimes he has paid it back, sometimes not. He and his girlfriend lived with us for a couple of months recently, and it was a disaster. They argued with each other a lot, were horrible about cleaning up behind themselves, and we had to ask for the rent money they owed us on more than one occasion. The girlfriend seemed pretty spoiled and wanted to spend money a lot. They also were coming in all hours of the night on my work days, waking me up frequently and to the point that I was sleep deprived. My wife set a curfew time for work days, and that helped a lot. My step son and his girlfriend did move out, which was a big relief to us as it was financially and emotionally draining while they were living with us. Right now my step son is going through a tough time though. His girlfriend (pregnant now) just left him, and he has multiple money problems. He has asked to live with us until he can get on his feet. He and the girlfriend are trying to work things out. We have agreed to permit him to move in as it will only be a temporary thing, and my wife and I agree that he needs to know that he can turn to his mother during rough times. He has been told that he’ll have to pay rent and also clean up around the house, which he has agreed to do.

    My step daughter is bright, has a good sense of humor, and can be very fun to be around. However she is a high school drop out and she tends to be pretty lazy. While she has a part-time job in retail and pays monthly rent, it is not enough to cover her share of expenses. (And there have been periods of time over the time we’ve all lived together that she was unemployed or only worked a few hours per week, which put great financial stress on us.) She hardly ever helps around the house and often leaves messes for her mother or I to pick up. Her mother does her laundry for her. Her mother cooks and cleans the kitchen and the rest of the house (except my step daughter’s bedroom), yet the daughter doesn’t lift a finger very often at all to help. She also will ask frequently for her mother to get things for her as if she can’t stand up and get the stuff herself. She is also rude and disrespectful to her mother on a frequent basis. At times she pitches tantrums like a little two-year-old. She also has some pretty bad table manners, smacking loudly, eating with her mouth full or open. (This is a pet peeve of mine since I was taught good manners.) She is also just naturally loud. She has major self esteem issues, and I believe does not think very highly of herself. My wife says that I need to remember all my step daughter has been through and how it has had an effect on her, which is why she acts like she does. My wife believes that she will heal and get more responsible over time.

    My wife has multiple health issues. Therefore I do not want or expect her to work. I am a social worker and make enough money to support the two of us. With one or more additional adult(s) we barely make ends meet. I have gotten pretty frustrated at my step daughter’s lack of helping and rudeness to her mother. Plus because we are having to partially support my step daughter, we rarely have any money left to buy things for us or to even go out to eat. My step daughter on the other hand has enough pocket money to buy a few things for herself and do some entertainment type things. I am focusing more on my step daughter since she is the one who is presently living with us. When it’s in the home, it’s more frustrating I think.

    As I mentioned before, my wife and I have argued about this. Don’t get me wrong. My wife argues with her daughter also, telling her she needs to start helping, stop being rude, and also that she needs to grow up. My step daughter, I think, has modeled the behavior of the former drug addict stepfather who the kids saw physically and verbally abuse their mother on a regular basis. The past step father was the only father both children knew. He had mental health issues and was impulsive and very selfish. He also was very much into instant gratification often putting the rest of the family in dire financial straits.

    My wife has told me to stay out of it with my step daughter as she wants the step daughter and I to have a good relationship. (The daughter had a horrible relationship with the former stepfather.) Because of that I’ve been placed in a helpless sorta position. I get angry and very frustrated at times. My wife says that she gets caught in the middle between the step daughter and me because she has to hear me complain and get upset, and she also has to deal with the step daughter’s negative behavior.

    I am not going to break up with my wife. She and I have a great relationship except for the above issues. We are both quiet, gentle people. We are considerate and compassionate with each other and other people. I am also a generous person if I have the resources to be generous with, and I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of. My wife and I have goals which mesh quite well together, and we hope to work toward these goals.

    It’s just that sometimes after a stressful day (and in my profession I have those quite often) I want to come home to a peaceful sanctuary. Instead I often come home to a noisy environment. (This has changed some as the noise level has quietened down since I became part of the family, as my wife and step daughter know that I’m pretty stressed/tired when I come home from work.) I sometimes come home to a disorderly house because my wife can’t keep up with the cleaning in her physical condition. (It would be so helpful if the step daughter helped out around the house and didn’t add to what needs to be done! I try to help as much as I can, but I’m often exhausted from working 40-50 hours a week.) I sometimes come home to my step daughter being hateful and mean to my wife. It adds to the stress and creates chaos.

    I do not want anything to happen to my step children as I have grown to love them, but honestly I’ll be glad when the “kids” are both totally moved out. I just don’t see that happening any time soon. I don’t think I’m really asking for advise so much as just venting. I don’t have a neutral person to talk with about it all…..



    Welcome to the board, Kennethd!

    Tough being a step-parent, even to grown children at times.

    Perhaps it would be helpful to go to some family counseling.

    Families should have a home that is a safe haven,
    where members are kind and loving to each other,
    all help around the house.

    Instead, there is stress and chaos, as you stated above.

    I sense that before long, you will not only have the stepdaughter,
    but also the stepson, his girlfriend, and the new baby at your home fulltime.

    Let us know how it goes.
    Wishing you all the best!



    Thank you for your reply and for the welcome.

    My wife has made it perfectly clear to my stepson that he can move in, but if he and the girlfriend get back together, they have to move somewhere else.

    Now one thing that continually bothers me in all of this is that when my wife and I argue, she says that I hate her children. This is not the case at all. I love both of them, but they have (particularly my stepdaughter) some pretty bad habits, which get on my nerves, particularly if I’m tired, sick, or had a bad day at work. My wife has cited me on several occasions because I have not tried to build a relationship with the step children. This may be the case, but I don’t really have anything in common with them. They play video games. I don’t. My stepdaughter reads, but we don’t have the same tastes in books. We have all been able to watch movies together or television, but that’s about it. We’ve all been out to eat a couple of times together and had a really good time, but again I’ll mention that money is an issue, so we can’t do that very often at all.

    Any suggestions on how to build a relationship with a young adult that you have very little in common with?

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