Looking for suggestions for contract between parents and 18yr. old step-son

Renae - posted on 08/19/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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It is a real challenge from day to day having my 18 yr. old step-son in the house and has been for the past 3 years. He's sneaking in and out of our windows, stealing from his siblings, gone for days at a time, burned bridges with his friends by upsetting their parents for having his girlfriend in their houses, first arrest w/girlfriend for shoplifting, physical altercation with girlfriend in front of our 10yr. old daughter, no job, no car, no college. My husband asked me to draw up a contract between us and him. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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[deleted account]

Sorry, no, if he is living there rent free, you have every right to enforce any rule you want to!
For whatever reason, when I read your post, I got the impression that you were going to start charging him rent (in re-reading it, I have no idea what gave me that impression--I was probably merging your post with another I'd just read in my head--Sorry!).

If he's living there rent free, I would most certainly enforce a curfew. If he is not home by the time the doors are locked and alarm is set, leave a sleeping bag on the porch for him (and don't give him the new alarm code).
I would stipulate that in the event police are called to the home or escort him to the home, his right to live in your home shall be revoked.
If he is found to have visitors while you are out, or visitors that you do not approve of, his right to live in your home shall be revoked.
You could also require that he maintain a job or full time enrollment in college if he wishes to stay with you rent free. If he chooses college, you can stipulate a minimum GPA for him to keep his status.

Renae - posted on 08/19/2013

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Yes, I completely understand that he's 18 and he can do as he pleases (outside of our home) and when he feels he's too old to be respectful and follow simple rules, that's when he needs to move! We have the right to lock our doors, at a certain time for the night, which means he has to leave before a certain time and he can't come back in after that time. Also, no company when we aren't home or loud profane music blasting all over the house, especially when younger siblings are home. We have explained to our sons that being 18 means that you are an adult according to the law. It also means that you are old enough to move out or be asked to leave if you don't like the rules of the house in which you are staying - rent free! There is still alot of growing up and adjusting you have to do which is why we strongly support going to college, live in a dorm, get used to being on your own but if you are living with parents who supports you 100% financially and you contribute 0%, certain house rules will still apply, even if it means we have to put a contract in place which is why I asked for suggestions on the the contract. We're not trying to control where he goes or what he does, but we are trying to regain control of our house. We do not want our doors opening at 3-4 in the a.m. or bad things happening around our younger children. As owners of the house, don't we have rights? Reading your opening statement, It kind of sounds like you're defending an 18yr. old's rights to come and go as he pleases, rather than encouraging his right to move out, if he refuses to follow a simple rule. I apologize if I misundersood. I believe you have rights when you pay and paying does not always mean you get to stay. We just want to know how to put it in writing. There have been noise disturbances. There have been police. There has been illegal activity.

[deleted account]

Well, he's 18, so technically, he can do as he pleases as far as coming and going.
You could charge him rent, and kick him out if he doesn't pay it. Draw up the contract just like you would a renter's contract--you can even download templates online.
Most stipulate noise and disturbance ordinances, no illegal activities on the property (i.e. if the police come to the house, he's out, if he's cooking meth, he's out, etc.). That said, if you charge him rent, that also comes with certain rights, which are a door that locks (you can't go into his room without permission), and the right to come and go and have visitors as he wishes. If you don't want to put up with that, I would just inform him that he needs to find a place of his own.

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