From: S.M. Wells on
I married for the 2nd time. I have a 17 yo son, an 11 yo stepson and a
14 mo son.

My stepson's mother lives about 2 miles away and has my stepson
alternate weekends and every Wednesday and Thursday night (50/50
shared custody).

I've gotten increasingly frustrated with her dropping him off on
Monday mornings after she's had him for the weekend.

We get a phone call at 6:45 to unlock our front door (her fiance is
out of work and they live together, used to drop stepson at school for
8am). This wakes up the baby. He then crawls into bed and doesn't get
up until he's late for school. I'm usually dealing with the baby and
he doesn't listen to my repeated requests he get out of bed (even when
he sleeps at our home). His father doesn't sleep well so I look after
herding the kids in the morning.Then he's late. He has 44 of them so
far this year.

Today she brings him over and he crawls into bed. At some point
between 6:45 and 8:05 am he threw up all over his room. Not that much
landed on the carpet. Most of it was all over his clothes that are
normally all over the floor.

When I saw the vomit, I told him to stay in bed and he can clean up
the mess later. I told him when he's up to it, he was to put the stuff
that could be washed with the laundry into his hamper and bring it
down. We can clean the rest after.

APPARENTLY he telephoned his mother at WORK to tell her his father and
I (hubby's been sick with awful diarrhea since last Friday and the
baby is sick with a cold) had not cleaned up his puke by the time he
woke up this afternoon! He expected the vomit cleaning fairy to remove
the clothes, scoop up the throw-up, scrub and vacuum the carpet while
he slept!

AND SO DOES SHE! She says and 11 year old boy who couldn't be bothered
going to the washroom shouldn't have to clean up his own vomit!

First of all I think that if he is too lazy to get up and go to the
bathroom (he has been able to make it before) he OUGHT to clean up the
mess. Second, I don't see where his mother gets off telling his father
and I what he should and shouldn't clean up in our house. Third, she
has laminate floors, we are replacing broadloom room by room because
of allergies in my family. Lastly, I don't want to be handling vomit
that is full of some kind of germs that made a person sick.

Should the 11 yo clean up his own puke or not?

From: dr_jeff on
S.M. Wells wrote:
> I married for the 2nd time. I have a 17 yo son, an 11 yo stepson and a
> 14 mo son.
>
> My stepson's mother lives about 2 miles away and has my stepson
> alternate weekends and every Wednesday and Thursday night (50/50
> shared custody).
>
> I've gotten increasingly frustrated with her dropping him off on
> Monday mornings after she's had him for the weekend.
>
> We get a phone call at 6:45 to unlock our front door (her fiance is
> out of work and they live together, used to drop stepson at school for
> 8am). This wakes up the baby. He then crawls into bed and doesn't get
> up until he's late for school. I'm usually dealing with the baby and
> he doesn't listen to my repeated requests he get out of bed (even when
> he sleeps at our home). His father doesn't sleep well so I look after
> herding the kids in the morning.Then he's late. He has 44 of them so
> far this year.
>
> Today she brings him over and he crawls into bed. At some point
> between 6:45 and 8:05 am he threw up all over his room. Not that much
> landed on the carpet. Most of it was all over his clothes that are
> normally all over the floor.
>
> When I saw the vomit, I told him to stay in bed and he can clean up
> the mess later. I told him when he's up to it, he was to put the stuff
> that could be washed with the laundry into his hamper and bring it
> down. We can clean the rest after.
>
> APPARENTLY he telephoned his mother at WORK to tell her his father and
> I (hubby's been sick with awful diarrhea since last Friday and the
> baby is sick with a cold) had not cleaned up his puke by the time he
> woke up this afternoon! He expected the vomit cleaning fairy to remove
> the clothes, scoop up the throw-up, scrub and vacuum the carpet while
> he slept!
>
> AND SO DOES SHE! She says and 11 year old boy who couldn't be bothered
> going to the washroom shouldn't have to clean up his own vomit!
>
> First of all I think that if he is too lazy to get up and go to the
> bathroom (he has been able to make it before) he OUGHT to clean up the
> mess. Second, I don't see where his mother gets off telling his father
> and I what he should and shouldn't clean up in our house. Third, she
> has laminate floors, we are replacing broadloom room by room because
> of allergies in my family. Lastly, I don't want to be handling vomit
> that is full of some kind of germs that made a person sick.
>
> Should the 11 yo clean up his own puke or not?

I can't tell how badly he felt, but I guess he was really sick. Others
in his family had diarrhea. Making him clean up his own vomit when he
feels this poorly is rather cruel, IMHO.

I think you need family counseling for the whole family. You have a lot
of issues, including getting a backbone and picking the right battles.

44 latenesses this year? There's been about 60 school days. So you need
to learn to communicate with other members of his family. Why isn't his
mother taking action when it is her son who is late 2/3 of the time?

Jeff
From: S.M. Wells on
> I can't tell how badly he felt, but I guess he was really sick. Others
> in his family had diarrhea. Making him clean up his own vomit when he
> feels this poorly is rather cruel, IMHO.

My husband (the child's father) had diarrhea on the weekend while his
son was at his mother's house. If he caught what his father had he'd
have diarrhea, not be vomiting or vomiting a single meal (read dinner
Sunday night).

He couldn't have felt that bad. At about 9:45 am he came downstairs
and asked to watch tv or play X-Box. If he was really "sick" he'd want
to stay in bed. That begs the question, was he really "sick"? Or was
he doing what he had to in order to get out of school (and miss a
couple of tests)? I'm not new at this. I've got a 17 yo who helps out
an awful lot and does his stepbrother's chores.

You must have missed the part where I said "when he feels up to it"?
You must also have missed the part where I said "most of it was all
over his clothes that are
normally all over the floor"?

> I think you need family counseling for the whole family. You have a lot
> of issues, including getting a backbone and picking the right battles.

First, I agree with counselling. But because I'm not the "real mom" I
can't go to the doctor and get a referral to a therapist, or even find
one on my own. My husband needs the mother's "written authorization"
for any diagnostic or treatment. So, my hands are tied because he
won't ask her to ok family counselling.

As for the "getting a backbone", I do have one. And I've exercised it.
After my stepson called his mother, his telephone was removed from his
room by his father. He has now gotten sick of everything that goes on
in our house getting back to his ex.

As for a "battle". There is none. My husband and I have decided that
now, since the laundry was brought downstairs, washed, dried and put
away, the 11 year old will clean up his ENTIRE room. Since there is a
whole 13 x 13 room that needs cleaning and one 6" x 6" spot left with
vomit on it, he can clean it up himself. He's stood in his doorway
watching me clean it all up enough times.

> 44 latenesses this year? There's been about 60 school days. So you need
> to learn to communicate with other members of his family. Why isn't his
> mother taking action when it is her son who is late 2/3 of the time?

The "mother" isn't taking action because she blames my husband and me
for her son not getting out of bed on time. At our house he has an
alarm that goes off at 7am. I go in his room to get him up between
7:15 and 7:30. I keep going in his room and calling him about every 5
minutes until 7:55 and he realizes he is going to be late for school
because he needs to leave at 8:00 am. He has no time for breakfast or
to pack a lunch. And at 11 he is old enough to do that and does at his
mother's house.

What methods do you recommend I use to get him up? Play reville at
dawn? Blow a referee's whistle in his ear? Chinese facecloth drip
torture? Dump cold water on his face? Stand over him and watch every
move and bark at him? Treat him like the baby? Get him up, wash and
dress him like he's 3? Short of the above and physically dragging him
out of bed, which he says he will call the police and children's
services if I do, I'm out of ideas. So, he's late all the time.
Eventually he will learn it it counterproductive when he does high
school on the 8 year plan.

> Jeff- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

There are a lot of other issues, like his learning disability (don't
go off without knowing what it is, he's not deaf or dyslexic), his
ADHD, his bad attitude, his bullying of me, his clinging to his father
and following his father around the house, his nosiness (asking where
everyone is going, following people to the bathroom, reading over
their shoulder, reading papers that aren't for him, general snooping),
his lack of motivation to do anything but read novels and play video
games, his lack of pride in his appearance (or smell), his lack of
participation in the family in general, his lack of contribution to
the home... the list is endless.
From: Beth Kevles on

1. Leave a plastic basin by his bed and ask him to use it if he feels
ill. It's okay to not-reach the bathroom in time provided he has a
means of keeping things tidy/under control.
2. Toys and items not properly cared for don't get washed, fixed or
replaced by anyone except HIM. But you might find it helpful to sit
with him in his room once a week and help him to tidy it BEFORE it
gets completely out of control. Provide a carrot --- new bedspread,
poster for his wall, whatever will work best --- as incentive to help
you tidy up, rather than to watch you do all the work yourself.
3. Start spending some one-on-one time with him so that you can make
friends, let him know that he's a valued member of the family,
etc. This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do, and the hardest as
well.
4. YOU need to see a therapist who can help you by working through YOUR
emotions with regards to this very difficult child, and who can also
advise you as to the most productive ways of dealing with him.
5. Go into marriage counselling. I hear a lot of anger at your husband
over this situation, and so HE needs to be in there as well, working
on what HE can control. And he needs to be in there with you.

You've clearly got a tough situation. I wish you luck and I wish that
you and this boy learn to love, or at least be friends with, each other,
since that will make both your lives far pleasanter.

--Beth Kevles
bethkevles(a)gmail.PUT-THE-COM-HERE
http://web.mit.edu/kevles/www/nomilk.html -- a page for the milk-allergic
Disclaimer: Nothing in this message should be construed as medical
advice. Please consult with your own medical practicioner.

NOTE: No email is read at my MIT address. Use the GMAIL one if you would
like me to reply.
From: dr_jeff on
S.M. Wells wrote:
>> I can't tell how badly he felt, but I guess he was really sick. Others
>> in his family had diarrhea. Making him clean up his own vomit when he
>> feels this poorly is rather cruel, IMHO.
>
> My husband (the child's father) had diarrhea on the weekend while his
> son was at his mother's house. If he caught what his father had he'd
> have diarrhea, not be vomiting or vomiting a single meal (read dinner
> Sunday night).

Actually, you're incorrect. With a lot of viruses, some people puke,
others get diarrhea, and some do both.

> He couldn't have felt that bad. At about 9:45 am he came downstairs
> and asked to watch tv or play X-Box. If he was really "sick" he'd want
> to stay in bed. That begs the question, was he really "sick"? Or was
> he doing what he had to in order to get out of school (and miss a
> couple of tests)? I'm not new at this. I've got a 17 yo who helps out
> an awful lot and does his stepbrother's chores.

When I am sick, I don't want to stay in bed. I want to play games or
watch tv, even if I am not well enough to do get some work done.

> You must have missed the part where I said "when he feels up to it"?
> You must also have missed the part where I said "most of it was all
> over his clothes that are
> normally all over the floor"?

That's something you need to work on together. Probably with outside
help (I mean proper counseling). There's clearly a lot going on between
you, you're husband and his other kids and exwife.

>> I think you need family counseling for the whole family. You have a lot
>> of issues, including getting a backbone and picking the right battles.
>
> First, I agree with counselling. But because I'm not the "real mom" I
> can't go to the doctor and get a referral to a therapist, or even find
> one on my own. My husband needs the mother's "written authorization"
> for any diagnostic or treatment. So, my hands are tied because he
> won't ask her to ok family counselling.

Then you have a lot of issues. If he is a costodial parent, he doesn't
need her permission. And you don't need his permission for you to sit
down and talk with her about the issues.

> As for the "getting a backbone", I do have one. And I've exercised it.
> After my stepson called his mother, his telephone was removed from his
> room by his father. He has now gotten sick of everything that goes on
> in our house getting back to his ex.

It's time you changed what goes on in your house.

> As for a "battle". There is none. My husband and I have decided that
> now, since the laundry was brought downstairs, washed, dried and put
> away, the 11 year old will clean up his ENTIRE room. Since there is a
> whole 13 x 13 room that needs cleaning and one 6" x 6" spot left with
> vomit on it, he can clean it up himself. He's stood in his doorway
> watching me clean it all up enough times.

I am reading you talk to much about you as an individual, and not nearly
enough about you as a family.

>> 44 latenesses this year? There's been about 60 school days. So you need
>> to learn to communicate with other members of his family. Why isn't his
>> mother taking action when it is her son who is late 2/3 of the time?
>
> The "mother" isn't taking action because she blames my husband and me
> for her son not getting out of bed on time. At our house he has an
> alarm that goes off at 7am. I go in his room to get him up between
> 7:15 and 7:30. I keep going in his room and calling him about every 5
> minutes until 7:55 and he realizes he is going to be late for school
> because he needs to leave at 8:00 am. He has no time for breakfast or
> to pack a lunch. And at 11 he is old enough to do that and does at his
> mother's house.

If he's late for school 44 times this year and he sleeps at your house,
yeah, that is your fault.

> What methods do you recommend I use to get him up? Play reville at
> dawn? Blow a referee's whistle in his ear? Chinese facecloth drip
> torture? Dump cold water on his face? Stand over him and watch every
> move and bark at him? Treat him like the baby? Get him up, wash and
> dress him like he's 3? Short of the above and physically dragging him
> out of bed, which he says he will call the police and children's
> services if I do, I'm out of ideas. So, he's late all the time.
> Eventually he will learn it it counterproductive when he does high
> school on the 8 year plan.

Or drop out.

>> Jeff- Hide quoted text -
>>
>> - Show quoted text -
>
> There are a lot of other issues, like his learning disability (don't
> go off without knowing what it is, he's not deaf or dyslexic), his
> ADHD, his bad attitude, his bullying of me, his clinging to his father
> and following his father around the house, his nosiness (asking where
> everyone is going, following people to the bathroom, reading over
> their shoulder, reading papers that aren't for him, general snooping),
> his lack of motivation to do anything but read novels and play video
> games, his lack of pride in his appearance (or smell), his lack of
> participation in the family in general, his lack of contribution to
> the home... the list is endless.

Be glad he reads. I think the bottom line is that you're let yourself be
taken advantage of. I really recommend counseling. If you can't get your
husband or family involved with the counseling, go by yourself.

I see a lot of issues that you need to work for yourself. It also sounds
like thinks work at his mom's, but not your house. This will also help
you undestand why.

I really do like the answer that another person said of spending quality
time with your stepson. Get to know him, what he likes and do those
things with him. If your stepson knows you really care about him (not
just his daddy and your biological kids), I think you will find that he
takes the extra effort to get to the toilet or use the bucket (you need
to get one of these), keep his room cleaner, and maybe even take the
monthly shower (and use that deorderant, too).

Jeff
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