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Thread: Am I wrong?

  1. #1
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Default Am I wrong?

    Some of you remember that currently my wife lives in Baltimore with our two youngest sons (only the youngest shares my DNA), while I live here with our oldest (and a family friend). Anyway, I'm not the confrontational type, but the boy (who is 19) just shirks off any kind of responsibility. He has a shiny red souped up Neon that he works on in the garage, which I'm fine with, but as soon as he's done doing what he wants, he just cuts and runs and leaves the garage in disarray. He also does his own laundry, which is great, but he has stuff that's been in the hamper for months (it's been his M.O. when he decides he has no use for something, it becomes someone else's problem. Used to be, he'd throw his unwanted clothes into his brothers' room, but since they're not here now, I guess the hamper has become his Goodwill bin). He's constantly taking food into his room, even though I've told him for years not to - and then the dishes will stay in there for days or even weeks. My mom bought us nice silverware a few years ago - pretty much half it is gone. My fear is that it was in his room, but he lets his room get so messy that when he cleans, he throws stuff away indiscriminately, whether it is trash or not. Plus, we recycle, so when we have a can or a bottle, or cardboard, we'll put in on the counter closest to the way out so that (hopefully) any time someone is going to their car or the garage, they'll grab whatever is there and put it in the bin. Once in a blue moon he'll empty the dishwasher, but most of the time, not. I'd like to see him vaccuum occasionally - just in general a: take care of his stuff and b: help out. And it's hard to have a conversation with him because he hardly ever joins us at the dinner table and he works and sleeps different hours than I do. Anyway, the other night I finally screwed up the courage to tell him how I feel. Did my best to not shout or yell, but basically, these are the things I see that I'd like you to be more conscientious of.

    Anyway, so last night I get a call from the mrs., and she basically agrees with what I said to him, but doesn't like the way I did it. Of course, when i ask how I should present it to him she's just "that's for you to figure out". Sorry, but I only know one way - direct and with no sugar coating. She also doesn't see why he should be required to take out recyclables or empty the dishwasher since he doesn't eat here. Pointed out that he has no problem using the electricity that he doesn't pay for, cable he doesn't pay for, water he doesn't pay for, cell phone he doesn't pay for - why can't he contribute something? Not like I'm asking him to build a pyramid brick by brick, but grab a bottle or can or two on the way out to your car and put 'em in the recycle bin. She claimed she only had to take care of her own messes when she was her age, and I find that hard to believe, but I argued that I bet her brother had to take out trash that wasn't his and stuff like that. And I had to chop wood that heated us all, not just me, take out laundry that wasn't all mine and hang it up, bring in that same laundry, empty the dishwasher that wasn't all mine, take out trash that wasn't all mine, shovel snow that I didn't put in the driveway to free a car that I didn't drive, etc. "but he works two jobs" - yeah, he does - but he doesn't do that for us - he does that for himself to buy all the superfluous accessories for his shiny red souped up Neon that he's addicted to. And when I worked two jobs for a period, I don't recall my mom saying, "that's all right, you can take it easy, you're probably tired from working those two jobs - I'll take out the trash."

    So needless to say, it's put me in a foul mood. Am I wrong to expect more from him than just sitting in the room watching tv/playing video games until it's time to go to work/go to his friends' house/work on his car/see his girl?

    I usually don't like to drag too much of my personal life in here, but I can't think of a better place to get a varied range of opinions than the fine folks that populate this joint!
    Last edited by billy007; 02.19.11 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Sinner's Swing! Bullwinkle's Avatar
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    You're not wrong.
    I was an inconsiderate slob when I was 19, too. I'm sure a lot of us guys were.
    At age 19, he's got one foot in boyhood and one foot in manhood. I'm pretty sure he wants to be a man, eventually.
    My advice would be to help him along and remind him when he's not acting like a man. (Men don't mess up other men's garages, for example.)

    Based on the situation you described in your post, I don't see much need to scream or get physical. Just a gentle reminder, from time to time, of how a man behaves might do the trick.

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    Eruption Yerfdog's Avatar
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    IMO, you're not wrong to expect what you've stated. I have a 19 yo (step-son) living with the wife and I (along with a 14 yo special needs step-son). The 19 yo does nothing, unless he wants something. He is only living here until he grads HS, then he's gone. The wife and I agree 100% regarding all the kids - it was a must when we wed. I've been down that disagreement road before. Anyhow....

    The 19 yo does nothing unless he needs money. Just yesterday, I had to tell him to clean his room because of the stench that wafts out when his door is open. He does laundry about once a year, and never washes his sheets. Just the other day we found out he went to his aunt to get his taxes done, though his mom is a CPA...Anyhow, he claimed himself and cost us about $500 on our taxes, though he pays for nothing but his car insurance, smokes, and gas. He doesn't even maintain his car, he just bitches about it when it fails, whining about his Dad's bad choice in cars.. (His Dad paid for it up front, and he paid him back over the course of a year). He takes no responsibility, but expects the world. The old sense of entitlement. I don't let him smoke in the garage, use my tools, park in the driveway, eat in his room - all based on his lack of anything toward the family.

    We have tried everything with him, but he has done nothing. When I entered his (their) life, he had no real father-figure, so I started with the baseball coaching, etc., everything I could to make a difference, to no avail.

    As a slight aside, his sister also lived with us for a number of years. She is 17 and didn't like our rules, so she ran away to live with her on-off boyfriend of two months. That lasted about two weeks and she's been living with the in-laws since. They were supposed to send her packing some time ago but continue to waffle. There is a long, sordid history with her, including lies, theft, etc. We got to know the JH and HS staff very well during her stay. It came to a head when we were on our honeymoon in Mexico and received a call from her Dad telling us about her stealing a $10,000 ring and his checkbook, among other things, including at the school.

    Anyhow, you're not expecting to much - if anything, it would seem too little. Is he still in school, or 19 and wasting your time and money?

    We've had the same experiences with silverware, food, basically everything you mentioned and then some. Heck, he's hocked or sold everything electronic we bought for him over the years for gas money.

    Again, just my opinion based on my experiences. Your mileage may vary...
    I swear, it's like I'm playin' cards with my brother's kids or somethin'. You nerve-wrackin' sons-a-bitches.

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    Eruption Yerfdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullwinkle View Post
    You're not wrong.
    At age 19, he's got one foot in boyhood and one foot in manhood.
    At 19, I had one foot in womanhood....Well, maybe a little less...
    I swear, it's like I'm playin' cards with my brother's kids or somethin'. You nerve-wrackin' sons-a-bitches.

  5. #5
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yerfdog View Post
    Anyhow, you're not expecting to much - if anything, it would seem too little. Is he still in school, or 19 and wasting your time and money?
    He took a couple of courses in the fall, but took the spring off to save up tuition (hence theoretically why he's working two jobs), yet every day a new part for his car seems to show up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yerfdog View Post
    At 19, I had one foot in womanhood....Well, maybe a little less...
    Nice!

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    Ah yes, this all sounds quite familiar. The older teen who wants to contribute nothing to the household and expects to get whatever he wants whenever he wants. Been down this road with both my boys. So many stories, so many battles with my teen sons. I didn't enjoy having teenagers at all. I love babies and little kids, so much fun to be had, but the teen years are horrible ones for the parents.

    No, you are not wrong. Teens should be expected to take out the trash, help out with chores, keep their rooms at least somewhat resepctable looking. Mowing the lawn, shovelling the snow etc. If you live in a home and enjoy the benefits of having a home and family, then you should absolutely contribute. I think the key here is to be clear with your expectations, be consistent, and do not give in under any circumstances. It's not like you are asking him to pay the mortgage or the groceries. It ain't easy though, I feel your frustration.

  7. #7
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    you are not wrong...but I can only imagine how hard it must be for your wife to be so far away and have no real control over the arrangement with the oldest boy

    but boy does that sound familiar...... my boy at that age "took time off" from school and worked to support himself...contributed nothing financially to the house while he saved up AHAHAHAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHHHAAAAAA!

    the final straw for me was when I had a water line break and I had to pull up a pergo flood to replace it and unfortunately it required taking apart a pool table to do it...long story short after I single handledly pulled up the floor, "Boy" shows up and is pissed off that the pool table is down..."what if I had asked friends over to play and the pool table was already taken down?"



    I could have buried him in the back yard under that big maple tree...no one would have known

    my point is, I am always confounded and delighted that teenaged boys make it to adult hood without being cast away at sea, or flung from a trebuchet, or buried under the big maple tree by their parents....it's a freaking miracle I tell you....it's GOD'S work.

    not to say that you should just accept him as he is.....but talking never seems to get thru to teenaged boys...it's like the hormonal bath they are in plugs up their ears

    they need very concrete instructions, and DEADLINES....and some way to keep track of their tasks .... "I just took out the garbage" "That was 2 weeks ago" "well I thought I did"

    and the most versatile of excuses "I forgot"

    my suggestion......sit down with him, put down in writing who will do what, when and how...kind of a co habitation agreement....explain to him that you are doing it not because you are treating him like a child, but that you recognize him as an adult capable of contributing to the household and that this agreement is part of your supporting him in his goal to save money to go back to school

    but if he doesn't keep up his end of the bargain. it will time for him to test the waters on his own...or its back to school and in a dorm (and out of your hair)
    Last edited by Daisy Hill; 02.19.11 at 03:46 PM.

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    Default Am I wrong?

    I don't have kids... but I was raised in the way that you're describing you wish things were.

    Responsibility and respect. Carry your end and help the other if it's dragging. Get off your ass and help or get out.

    Be the parent, not the friend.

    Being 19 might make him young and dumb, but not deaf and blind.

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    Sinner's Swing! Rokgtar's Avatar
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    At 19 I was coming home every night late with a telltale "smile" on my face - seemed like no matter how many times I told myself "ok, don't smile", damn if I wouldn't!

    Dad came to me and told me it was time for me to find a place of my own. So I did. h eput his foot down, Mom didn't argue with him, I took it like a man and off I went.

    A few years later I grew up and wasn't smiling all the time anymore...

    So - to answer your question - I'd tell him it's time to go. It'll be best for all, him included if he has any mettle at all.

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    Atomic Punk onefootoutthedoor's Avatar
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    When I was living at home, I had just turned 19 and had my fair share of chores to do around the house. Besides that, there were very few rules, but one was that I needed to tell my parents where I was going. At that age, I didn't feel I needed to fill them in on every trip I was taking, every single day (foolish, I know). Well one day my dad sat me down and said that those were the rules of the house and if I didn't like them I was more than happy to live somewhere else. I packed my things and moved out. Bottom line is that if he wishes to live under your roof, there are going to be your rules to follow. If he chooses not to, then he should realize that he is free to go do it on his own. Knowing what I do now, I realize I had it pretty good. He needs to see that he does too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by onefootoutthedoor View Post
    Bottom line is that if he wishes to live under your roof, there are going to be your rules to follow. If he chooses not to, then he should realize that he is free to go do it on his own. Knowing what I do now, I realize I had it pretty good. He needs to see that he does too.
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    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    If it was my biological son, I'd have no problem telling him what for, but his mother would have none of that "my way or the highway" stuff. I don't know, she's going to be in Maryland now at least until the end of the year, so we'll just have to peaceably coexist. Maybe when his girlfriend graduates from High School in May/June he'll (probably foolishly) think about the two of them striking out on their own. Or maybe one of his slacker friends will get a job before then and suggest they get a place somewhere.

    At least I talked to her a short while ago and she didn't seem to still be mad at me!

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    you're not wrong. Sadly this is more an issue you have with your wife than with the boy. It's really important to have a united front on these things and once things get out of control it's hard to put a stop to them. If it's gotten this far it's because she's allowed it to. She needs to put her foot down and stay consistent for a long time on this type of stuff to have any chance to reverse some of these habits.

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    He should help out period. Maybe even pay some rent/bills.

    Maybe you 2 should watch Stepbrothers together.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    If it was my biological son, I'd have no problem telling him what for, but his mother would have none of that "my way or the highway" stuff. I don't know, she's going to be in Maryland now at least until the end of the year, so we'll just have to peaceably coexist. Maybe when his girlfriend graduates from High School in May/June he'll (probably foolishly) think about the two of them striking out on their own. Or maybe one of his slacker friends will get a job before then and suggest they get a place somewhere.

    At least I talked to her a short while ago and she didn't seem to still be mad at me!


    I dunno Billy, my dad never put it as "my way or the highway". He simply said that these were the rules of the house that needed to be abided by. He also added that because I was an adult, I was also free to leave if I chose to do so. This is no different than if he were to be living with roommates. Everyone needs to do a fair share that lives in the house.
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