Help! My adult stepson won't do any chores!

Nichole - posted on 01/01/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My kids are 19, 10,8, and 3. My Nineteen year-old is my step-son, and moved in with us last summer. Since moving in, he has not done any household chores, AT ALL, including keeping his room clean. We have a small house with 3 bedrooms. For him to have his own room his other brother and sisters have to share the other larger room. He is working and going to school, and we haven't asked him to pay anything to live here except his internet because he insisted he had to have high speed.

I am so afraid of being the "wicked stepmom" that I am paralyzed to do anything, but I'm increasingly frustrated. I have talked to his Dad about making him do chores, Dad tells him to clean his room, he makes a rudimentary trash sweep and says he's done, but Dad never follows up. I've been on them both about it for six months.

What's worse is that the other kids are starting to view their household chores as a punishment because their older brother doesn't have any. His claim is that he is too busy with school and work to do chores, including his laundry, which he dumps on me to do at the end of every month. If I don't do it it sits and stinks up my dining room/laundry area. I am on the verge of losing it on Dad and son. Any suggestions that don't include a crowbar and duct tape??

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Miranda - posted on 10/20/2012

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Insist, make a chore chart, or kick him out! I also have a near 19 year old stepson who is living with us. I have a bathroom cleaning chart and a dishes cleaning chart to make sure everyone is doing their share. He does his own laundry, except whites because I throw them in with everyone else's, though I am thinking about changing that so he actually will know how to use bleach with laundry. I swear to god his mother did not teach him anything about cleanliness. He even told me that they were sloppy. My 10 year old is more responsible than this kid. He goes to college part-time, and is 'trying' to find a job, but he doesn't really put forth much effort. Him and I have had some heart to heart talks, and I tell him that I expect nothing less of him than I would my own kids if they were 18. I told him I am actually going easy on him! My husband doesn't really care if he gets a job because he has ADHD and he wants him to just focus on school. Plus, he is one of the most annoying, immature 18 year olds I have ever been around. I can get along with him, but I just do not understand why his mom does not see the mess she has created. I have taught him how to do dishes, how to clean a bathroom, and recently, he even thanked me for insisting that he keeps his room clean because he said he is actually enjoying not having to step all over crap when he goes in there. However, I am torn between just being as 'easy' on him as I have, or even laying down the law more, because I have already made him so mad. I don't want him to completely hate me...but on some level I could really give two shits less if he does!

Ty - posted on 01/03/2010

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Okay, how about this? "You are a member of this household and you are living rent free. If you do not contribute to the household, these steps will happen. 1. You will have to share a room with your brothers. 2. You will have your internet taken away. 3. You will have to move out. I will give you 30 days before I legally evict you." Do NOT let him boss you around in your own house. His going to school is not an excuse. Don't do his laundry anymore. If he keeps not doing it, throw it out. Give it away. You have to be firm. If your husband has something to say about it, explain to him that this behavior can not continue as it is straining your relationship with your other children and causing you extra stress, and if he wants his son to be chore free then your husband is going to have to pull his weight. His behavior is unacceptable, (both of them) and the damned 19 year old doesn't even pay rent. He should be grateful he's being given this opportunity to get through school easier, without having to work, and he should pull his weight in the house. Being in college does NOT mean you're off the hook because 'education is important'.

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Debbie - posted on 09/12/2012

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Hi Nichole- i kno ur post is a few years old, but was wondering what you finally did about your step-son? I kind of have the same situation with mine too. My email address is dbik77@yahoo.com. Would love to kno what finally worked. :)



Thanks,

Debbie

Cathy - posted on 01/07/2010

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Everyone keeps saying if the step kids don't want to do chores then they should pay rent. That doesn't work. We tried that. If anything it made them worse. They felt like they could do anything they wanted because they paid to be here. Just because you pay rent doesn't mean you don't still have to help care for your home.

Cathy - posted on 01/07/2010

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Beem there and done all of that. Your story sounds like mine to a tea. My step sons are older now but I went through the exact same thing. My kids also felt the same way yours do. You need to do something now or it just gets worse. I ended up kicking my youngest step son out because he just wouldn't clean his room or do any chores around the house. He had a very good job and a place to go but is still bitter with me for kicking him out. Take control now or you'll be in the same boat as I am. I wish I had done something sooner.

[deleted account]

I think Diane is right about sitting down with him and your husband and talking it out. If that don't work then Amy is right. He will run out of clothes and have to do them himself and why can he not pay rent if he is not doing any of the house chores? My kids are teenagers and do house chores and are expected to pay one bill in the house a month if they have a job. If is the internet or the cable. They are also have to pay their car insurance and upkeep on their cars. We want them to learn what the real world is. College is covered by my husband's disability through the military and the college money in the bank. The sky is the limit for them, but right now they are learning what the real world is and what it cost. If they want cable TV then they need to pay for it. If they want internet then they need to pay for it. We take turns paying each bill. My kids know what gas and electric cost and water cost. My other idea is out the door as DR. Phil would say.

[deleted account]

Wow! Well, my advice will probably be different than most. If your husband refuses to support you, and if you have sincerely spoken with him and told him how much this bothers you, you are a bit handicapped here unless you want constant contention. 1. You can start asking him to do things on your own, and try to get your husband to back you up if step-son doesn't follow through. 2. If #1 doesn't work, you can disengage, disconnect yourself...say to yourself "this is NOT my problem." Husband needs to take some responsibility here also.



So, if husband won't back you and step-son won't listen, you can have constant world war 3 in your house and start dropping ultimatums on everyone, or you can separate yourself from the problem and refuse to continue enabling it. Do NOT do his laundry. Dump it back on his bed or buy another hamper, fill it with dirties, and return it to his room. My teenage son (15) can do his own laundry, and so can your stepson (19).



As for the other kids...just say: ""Stepson" is an adult. You are not. When you are an adult you will make choices on how you want to live, also." Other kids might grumble a bit about this, but not as much as you would think.



If your stepson drops things around the house, throw them in his room. Let his room be a garbage dump if he wants it to be. Don't cook for him or provide "room and board" support in any way beyond a physical place to sleep. Tell him, if he wants to be treated to the generosities of "family" then he must follow family rules, but if he wants to be "adult," then he's on his own. I'd even put a mini-fridge in his room and tell him to provide his own food and/or stop buying anything he likes to eat.



These are all things you can do, really, without a lot of direct confrontation. Then, you can just let it go. When you see it and it drives you crazy, take a deep breath and say "this is not my problem," disengage, and walk away.



The only thing you should probably insist on if this doesn't clear up is a move-out time. After college? Certainly he won't be living with you at 30!



On another note...your other children are really getting to the age where very soon (within 2 years) it is going to be pretty inappropriate to have boys & girls in the same room. You might want stepson to know that he'll need to "bunk with the boys" then. :)

Amy - posted on 01/01/2010

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I'd lay the law down. My 18 year ss lives with us too as well as my 12, 3 and 1 year old.. I am not the maid and I do not run a hotel. If you live with us you are expected to help with the daily chores of the house, if you'd rather not then you can write a monthly check for rent. As far as laundry goes, he can add what you deem appropriate to the rent to do it or just place the dirty clothes back in his room. He'll eventually run out of options for clothes and be forced to do it himself.

Diane - posted on 01/01/2010

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You know, I think I would sit down and talk to him with your hubby and lay it all out. Make a reasonable fair chore list, and tell him he either sticks to it or he pays rent. You don't run a hotel with maid service and he shouldn't treat your home like that!! Oh and no way would I do his laundry!!!! Heck, I don't even do my kids laundry they do their own!!! Let him have dirty clothes for pete's sake and when he complains offer to teach him how to do it himself!!!!

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