Son ruins our relationship
'My girlfriend and I have been living together for more than ten years. She brought a son from her previous marriage. He was young, about four years old, when I first met him, and we got along very well. I quickly considered him as my son and for him I became his second mom. We were a happy family.
Unfortunately, that changed rapidly when he went to high school. He became a nasty teen and he does not want to study. At home he does whatever he wants. He refuses to do chores, he eats at times that suit him and during the weekend he comes home late, drunk, and wakes us up. He mostly hangs around in his room. My girlfriend and I totally disagree about how to handle this disrespectful behavior. I'm in favor of a strict approach, because her son does not respect our personal boundaries. So if, for example, he doesn't perform his duties, he simply doesn't get pocket money. My girlfriend, however, is reluctant to punish him, she prefers to avoid a conflict. The irony is that she does argue, but with me, about the upbringing and how to deal with him. Her child is gradually bringing down our relationship. What would you do in my position?'
Problem of the whole family
'You both love your son, but you won't come to an agreement on how to handle him. Your son may find it very convenient to play you against each other in order to get his way. But this isn't a sustainable situation for him, either. My advice is to get professional help. And let this problem be a challenge to the whole family, in which everyone has his share and responsibility, including your son. Hopefully, you can set clear boundaries and mutual agreements during the dialogue. ' - Jacoline
Don't let this happen
'What strikes me first is that you call him your son when everything is okay, but that he is her son when things don't run so smoothly. That doesn't make me feel like you have fully accepted her son as yours. I assure you that a child can tell the difference. Regarding the battles about parenting, you need to find a solution together. Write down separately how you think this issue will be resolved. Compare and discuss your solutions and try to reach a compromise. Of course, a teenage son may give stress, but letting him destroy your relationship is something that you allow, or you don't. ' - Karin
What would you do?