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  1. #1
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    Default Surviving the Weekends as a Step parent - how do you do it?

    So Friday is upon us, and it's our weekend to have my husbands sons 18 (with intellectual disability) and 16. It's not even the end of the work day yet and I'm already tense!

    We've been doing the "every other weekend" and some school holiday time for the past 3 years my DH & I have been together - so I'm not new at this, but I just hate this feeling of dread and anxiety I feel whenever they're coming to stay. How do you cope with it?

    It's difficult particularly at the moment, we are living with my parents, so the space we're in is not very big. We have our bedroom and the boys sleep on camp beds right outside the door in a small lounge area (really not ideal when TTC!). During the day they occupy the lounge, slothing on the couches playing video games. As a result, I feel like I spend most of the weekend when they're around as a prisoner in my bedroom if I want any time to myself, or to relax with DH.

    With the weather being awfully hot, we're not too keen on venturing outside, and as typical teenagers, anywhere we might take them to get out of the house - they want money spent on them for either crappy food, more games, electronics, etc. Building a house at the moment, we simply don't have extra cash laying around, they whinge and moan any time we may suggest doing something which doesn't cost the earth and neither of them seem to appreciate or take care of anything that's expensive to replace (seriously, they've gone through 20+ ipods between them in the last 5 years!).

    Any ideas what we can do to make these weekends more pleasant?

    Any tips how I can reduce my stress about it - I should be looking forward to the weekend after working full time all week, not dreading every second one


    FYI - I have experience working with people with disabilities, so the extra challenges that represents with my eldest stepson is not an issue here.

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    i think the only thing mind be a change in mindset.

    If you are not happy with them hanging out and playing games inside...and don't want to spend any money by going out, the kids cannot really win.

    Does your D hang out and play games with them? He only gets to see them once a fortnight, so I don't see why the 2 of you should be in the bedroom and not with the boys.

    My suggestion would be to ensure your DH dedicates his weekend with them, to them. Maybe go out with some friends and have lunch and just give them some space to hang out.

    Could your DH take them camping (something I loathe lol)...relatively cheap and will get them out of your space.

    Mainly, it's not the boys fault that things are cramped...that falls on you and your DH making the choices you have...so I think perhaps you need to respect that they are probably bored.

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  4. #3
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    They sounds like pretty 'run-of-the-mill' teen boys.

    I hope this doesn't come across as too harsh but if you don't want to go outside you really can't complain too hard about them slothing about inside?

    Could you take them to the beach/local pool or something? Take a ball to the park and kick it around for an hour? maybe get them some hot chips to eat at the beach/pool/whatever - they are pretty cheap and usually a hit.

    Your current living arrangements must make it difficult to have any kind of personal space so what about a board game or something? Might help you all connect as a family?

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    Default Surviving the Weekends as a Step parent - how do you do it?

    I feel for you. I am in a similar situation except we have our own place. I totally understand staying in your room and feeling like a prisoner in your own home. My dh kids, 19 and 16 are also on games all weekend, and just don't want to go out and be social.
    My dh knows my feelings on this matter, and I make myself scarce most of the weekend.
    What is the hardest I guess, is that these kids are the polar opposite of how I want to raise my children, and how I was raised. Good luck op.

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    could you encourage them to make some plans with their friends and then take them? Like, i football match in the park or meeting friends at the pool. Inviting their friends to your house for a BBQ?

    Teens want to spend time with their friends...and reading these posts makes me think that they are being treated like little kids. Other than play games...do they actually have anything to do?

    When you were 16-19 how much time did you spend in the house with your parents?? I know for me it was no much. I stopped visiting my dad when i was 16...i was too busy.

    Do they play sports and things? Do you guys take them to their games/commitments on the weekend?

    Put yourself in their shoes...try and appreciate that they have nothing else to do and try and fix it. Don't blame the kids for being put into a situation where they have no choice.

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    Thanks for your input, and no I don't think what's been said is too harsh, sometimes I do have to remind myself I am the adult. I know it would benefit everyone for my mindset to change, I just don't know HOW to go about this.

    It's not the boys fault that we are currently occupying limited space, but it's frustrating that they don't show consideration for sharing the space. For example, we have 2 x 2 seater couches - they whinge at each other whenever they have to sit on the same couch, so rather than be constantly reprimanding them or put up with listening to it, DH and I retreat to the other room if we want to sit down and watch a bit of tv.

    The boys are not involved in any sporting or other activities. My DH was constantly being undermined by his ex wife whenever he tried to get them to persevere with anything like that, she would tell them it was okay to give up when anything got a little tough - this is an attitude we have been trying to positively shift for years, with little success.

    Unfortunately neither of them have strong relationships with their peers either, they see them at school and that's it. Their mother doesn't even allow the 16 year old to walk to the deli at the end of the street alone, they certainly aren't allowed to go to visit friends houses by themselves.

    Before we moved we actively tried encouraging the boys to visit the local skate park a couple of streets away to meet some kids in the local area that they could interact with, after many months of excuses, the fine weather ceased and we stopped suggesting.

    Things like going to the beach, games at the park, are all things that we've tried offering time and time again - they just don't seem to be interested in anything which doesn't involve staring at a screen. They want to go to the movies, or a video game arcade, or do some activities that cost a lot of money such as go karting. Whenever we try to offer alternatives which aren't so costly, they just aren't interested. Both DH and I are into art and love visiting galleries, museums, antique stores & markets (mostly just browsing) - taking the boys along on these sorts of trips which can be really fascinating is a nightmare - all we get are cries of "i'm bored can we go now" "i'm hungry", "my phone battery is empty", "my ipod won't turn on".

    DH tries his best to solicit some interaction out of them, but nothing seems to be working. They just don't engage in conversation. I'm sure this is nothing parents of teenagers don't go through themselves, I'm just frustrated as a step-parent that I can't find a way of connecting with them and because I'm not their bio-mum, I don't have that love connection already formed to help with it.
    Last edited by Arlais; 15-02-2013 at 15:44.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arlais View Post



    Things like going to the beach, games at the park, are all things that we've tried offering time and time again - they just don't seem to be interested in anything which doesn't involve staring at a screen. They want to go to the movies, or a video game arcade, or do some activities that cost a lot of money such as go karting. Whenever we try to offer alternatives which aren't so costly, they just aren't interested. Both DH and I are into art and love visiting galleries, museums, antique stores & markets (mostly just browsing) - taking the boys along on these sorts of trips which can be really fascinating is a nightmare - all we get are cries of "i'm bored can we go now" "i'm hungry", "my phone battery is empty", "my ipod won't turn on".

    .
    With the beach/park thing? Don't offer- just wake up up in the morning and say "guess what dudes- we're going to the beach, ump in the car" then turn the music up loud enough to drown out the whinging. Ignore their moans, just pretend you're not listening to them- eventually they'll give up.

    Maybe museums and galleries etc aren't their thing? Not to be rude nut I'd rather dig my eyes out with rusty spoons so perhaps they feel the same?
    Would it be possible for you to drop them at the movies, let them go to it without you and your DH and you two wander around the shops while their movie is playing?
    Gives them some independance and you guys a break? Two movie tix are cheaper than 4 so ou'll save $ that way.

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    Default Re: Surviving the Weekends as a Step parent - how do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roopee View Post
    With the beach/park thing? Don't offer- just wake up up in the morning and say "guess what dudes- we're going to the beach, ump in the car" then turn the music up loud enough to drown out the whinging. Ignore their moans, just pretend you're not listening to them- eventually they'll give up.

    Maybe museums and galleries etc aren't their thing? Not to be rude nut I'd rather dig my eyes out with rusty spoons so perhaps they feel the same?
    Would it be possible for you to drop them at the movies, let them go to it without you and your DH and you two wander around the shops while their movie is playing?
    Gives them some independance and you guys a break? Two movie tix are cheaper than 4 so ou'll save $ that way.
    Fair enough points Roopee, thankyou. We do have to be a bit careful with springing spontaneous stuff with SS1's autism, but I'm willing to try just about anything.

    We really don't mind taking them to the movies occasionally since we enjoy it too and can all generally agree on a film we'd like to see, but when that's all they seem to suggest when we ask what they'd like to do it soon adds up.

    I guess we're just stuck for ideas, we've tried showing them other things that are out there and stuff that we enjoy (I know it's not for everyone) in the hope of finding some common ground, but we're floundering trying to find a happy medium and the other factors are just adding to the difficulty.

    Trying not to be negative, but just feeling a bit hopeless at this stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roopee View Post
    With the beach/park thing? Don't offer- just wake up up in the morning and say "guess what dudes- we're going to the beach, ump in the car" then turn the music up loud enough to drown out the whinging. Ignore their moans, just pretend you're not listening to them- eventually they'll give up.

    Maybe museums and galleries etc aren't their thing? Not to be rude nut I'd rather dig my eyes out with rusty spoons so perhaps they feel the same?
    Would it be possible for you to drop them at the movies, let them go to it without you and your DH and you two wander around the shops while their movie is playing?
    Gives them some independance and you guys a break? Two movie tix are cheaper than 4 so ou'll save $ that way.
    I agree with Roopee, perhaps if DH has them for 2 days EOW then one of the days he can dedicate to going out somewhere with the kids and the other day they can stay at home and 'chill out' with their games and what not.

    Idea's that boys may like that doesn't cost the earth,
    Bikerides
    Walk to shops for some fish and chips
    Beach/river
    Swimming pool
    Camping
    Fishing
    Trip into the city to a sports museum
    Kick a footy/soccerball
    Tennis courts
    Squash game at gym
    Indoor cricket
    Go to an AFL match/cricket match
    Movies (send them in and you and DH wait at a cafe for it to finish)
    Join them up in a sport or scouts or other community group
    Music concert
    Indoor rockclimbing
    Surf lessons

    Do you have space in your yard to convert a shed into a boys hangout for them, it would be like a second living room with TV couches, games consoles etc.
    Or set up their bedroom with a TV and gaming consoles to get them out of the lounge all the time.

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arlais View Post
    Fair enough points Roopee, thankyou. We do have to be a bit careful with springing spontaneous stuff with SS1's autism, but I'm willing to try just about anything.

    We really don't mind taking them to the movies occasionally since we enjoy it too and can all generally agree on a film we'd like to see, but when that's all they seem to suggest when we ask what they'd like to do it soon adds up.

    I guess we're just stuck for ideas, we've tried showing them other things that are out there and stuff that we enjoy (I know it's not for everyone) in the hope of finding some common ground, but we're floundering trying to find a happy medium and the other factors are just adding to the difficulty.

    Trying not to be negative, but just feeling a bit hopeless at this stage.
    Well.. Have you tried doing stuff they enjoy??
    Just a thought, but it really shouldn't be up to kids to learn to enjoy the stuff you do so that they can spend time with you.
    You could get a Wii or something, and play the multi player games on that, like Mario Kart and what-not.
    Also, if your DH only gets to spend two days out of two weeks with his kids, then shouldn't him being able to spend time with you come second for those two days? So can't you guys relax and watch a bit of TV at night when everyone's in bed?
    Get a basketball and take them to a basketball court to shoot some hoops with you guys, all that sort of stuff.

    FTR, I don't agree with kids of any age being on a game all day, but yeah.


 

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