Step Parents

Updated on August 26, 2010
D.S. asks from Katy, TX
10 answers

my 21 yr old and my other half are on outs. they are constantly arguing about little things who does the dishes. who takes out the dogs etc. they are both at fault mostly my son. my other half has a harsh voice and sounds like he is yelling when he is not and my 21 yr old is being oversenative about it. my other half feels my son is trying to break us up and my son says he doesn t want him to go anywhere. this is going on 3 weeks now. they both feel all the chores are being dumped on both of them and I am doing alot too. dont answer move the 21 yr old out because we just moved to houston and he knows noone down here. they are both looking for a job. the 21 yr old is supposed to start one tomarrow and my other half one on monday. they both have cabin fever. any ideas hw to settle them both down especially the 21 yr old. there is too much testoterone in the house and my other half is giving unwanted daddy advice trying to help my son become more responsible and then the war is on. I need peace. any ideas? thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?

things have calmed down alot. my 21 yr old was told if he keeps his attitude up he can find his own place. I told him I didnt put up with it out of your dad and I am not going to put up with it out of you. the snide attitude changed to me for one day. I took his power cord to his computer to work with me and told him if i didn't put up with it out of your dad i wont' put up with it out of you why do you think I divorced your dad. it seems to be going better and he is doing chores by choice since I layed into him and he is now telling my other half that he worked all day and needs a break. I am confused but as long as it is calm I am happy. not sure why the change though.

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M.L.

answers from Houston on

It sounds like a chore chart is in order, so everyone can see that each member of the household is contributing equally. No one is ever to old for a chore chart, not even me and my husband!

If you are in the mood to be cheeky, and lighten things up, give everyone a sticker at the end of the day, then go out for ice cream at the end of each week when all have received their stickers.

I just moved to Houston area too. Go out this weekend as a family and explore the area. Tons to do, go to the NASA museum or something. I find, that getting out of the house and doing things as a family brings peace to rough situations.

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R.E.

answers from Tulsa on

Read "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better" by Gary and Joy Lundberg. In terms of conflict between your husband and your son, you need to keep out of it. It is their relationship, and every time you insert yourself between them, you stifle their ability to work things out on their own. I don't think either one appreciates it, even though they will both try to get you to side with them in the conflict.

Second: A 21-year-old is capable of living on his own and finding his own way. If he feels doing chores is just too much to expect, then let him know he can find his own place, pay his own bills, and do whatever chores he feels like it *there*. You and your husband are the primary unit in your house, not you and your son. I'm not saying a young adult needs no help getting started in life, but I moved to Philadelphia for college when I was 20 and I didn't know a soul. Scary? You bet! Was money tight? Of course! But it was worth it, because I grew up; and in the process I gained greater respect for my parents.

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L.A.

answers from Austin on

Three adults in one home is always going to be difficult. Our daughter is home during the Christmas Holidays and summer. Towards the end of each visit, we are all ready for her to return to school. She loves it here, but she loves having her own home up at school too.

Ask your other half to back off. He should not be getting after your adult son for any reason. They should be having civil conversations.
If he cannot control his tone, what is his excuse?

Your son needs to learn to not be so emotional and to act like he would with any other adult, by requesting that the tone please be changed, or excusing himself from the conversation until he feels he is ready for the conversation.

I cannot stand a tone that sound s like a yell or is condescending. I would not respond well to that either. In our home we all use manners and show respect to each other at ALL times. We never take anyone for granted. No one tells anyone what to do, instead we each take responsibility and take care of it. If we have a problem, we just speak about it with that person, just like we would if speaking to a coworker. With respect.

Once the guys both start working, you all may need to sit down and make up a list what each of you is going to be in charge of around the house and yard.

Also make sure you all are clear on money issues.. bills, rent, food.

Each person should be cleaning your own bathrooms and bedrooms clean.The common rooms should be switched out so no one person is always responsible for all of the common areas. Laundry should be doing their own. If someone wants to ask others about whites or darks, that is up to them to offer to include them. You may need to decide what nights are their nights for the washer and dryer.

I am sending you strength.

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K.A.

answers from Little Rock on

It does sound like cabin fever. Why not take a day of rest and find some recreation outside of the home? Moving and looking for jobs can be stressful. I understand that you probably are wanting to get your new home in order as quickly as possible, but a break might help keep you from each others throats.

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S.B.

answers from Kansas City on

would a chore chart help? It seems a little silly, but we have one, which includes what the hubby and I do also (of course, our kiddo is 3, so she mostly clears her plate and picks up her toys, but still) and it helps us to see that we're both doing a lot. I was feeling like I was doing a lot more than him until I realized he does all the yard work and that is tough.

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L.M.

answers from Dover on

I agree w/ Laurie. They both need to "grow up". I have the same problem with my 18yr old and my hubby.

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A.C.

answers from Columbus on

Can you sit down with both of them and come up with a schedule of chores to check off? When I lived with a couple of roommates in college and not all of us were friends (and actually for the friends it also helped a lot), we did a chore chart that showed the various household chores and how often they needed to be done. We rotated duties, so no one got stuck with a job they hated.

Can you fix up a room in the house so they could work out (punching bag, treadmill, some free weights) and encourage them both to use it.... ? Or encourage one or both of them to get out of the house, say, join a local bowling league or softball team or whatever? That would get them out meeting people and be away from each other and also (hopefully) burn off some energy.

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P.M.

answers from Birmingham on

Two words, chore chart. Seems old fashioned, but if you lay it all out there and everyone sees what the others are doing and you all agree on it, the nastiness will stop. Include yourself on there and rotate chores so everyone does everything. (your future daughter-in-law will thank you!) Once they both start work, it is only going to get worse. Seems simple, but it has kept the peace in my house! Same situation with a 9 year old in the mix! Congrats on the move and the new jobs, I hope this helps!

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G.B.

answers from Tulsa on

Clear precise communication is crucial to a calm household. My friend I worked for as a nanny had the right idea. She posted a note in an inconspicuous place in every room. Such as inside the china cabinet in the dining room, or inside a kitchen cabinet, inside the medicine cabinet in the bathroom or over the washer and drier.

They stated:

The living room is done when:
Each plant has had a little drink
The floor has been swept and if needed, damp mopped.
Any clothes and other things are put in their appropriate place, dirty clothes in the hampers, books on the bookshelf

(Etc..., each home would have different issues for each room)

The kitchen is clean when:

The dishes from dinner are either loaded int eh dishwasher appropriately or washed by hand on on the drainer.
The counter tops are clean and everything is put up
The food is stored in the right containers and put away
The floor is clean and mopped
Trash is taken out when it is full

They rotated from room to room every few weeks, in your household you may need to do it every week. Everyone in the house takes a turn, even you, even the hubby, even the son. Rewards like a movie night for the entire family or a trip to a local fun spot can be an incentive to cooperate. I would keep them as far apart as possible.

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S.G.

answers from Oklahoma City on

good for you for enforcing to your 21 yr old to straighten up or get out...he needs that and so do you and your family. he's way too old to be acting like a 12 yr old.

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