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Parenting Stepchildren/Adult stepson's behaviors


Well here we go my girlfriend and I get along great we live together in her house and travel extensively with our job witch involves us being gone for months at a time the problem is her 21year old son at home who refuses to work or do anything he sometimes works for family the problem is he is going to inherit a construction co from the said family member he does what he wants comes and goes as he pleases cant even clean up justs lets stuff (garbage) pile up and its constantly mom get me this I need that he has no accountability for anything wont do a simple thing as clean up trash lives at the house rent free he is a onlychild and father never worked she is divorced 5 plus years now and I have no children and come from a military family and also have been in the military he constantly asks y I don't talk or do stuff for him and y I will not acnolage him if u want something work for it he wants me to show him things but its more like do them for him I wont and all it does is cause problems example I get up at 4am every day even on days off (when home) and work at the house doing different chores he sleeps till noon and then wants his mom to jump and get him something to eat or get him something while we are out gettn supplys it just goes against my work ethic I don't know what to do I know it is her son but when is enough enough she tells him to go help me with stuff when we are home and all he wants to do is stand there and ask me y don't u do it this way when ive already been doing what im doin for hrs while he sleeps then tells his mom I don't need any help the par that get me the most is when his daddy calls he jumps and then wants to use my tools or his moms stuff to help him and to top it all off he brings the trash to our house and just jets it lay around for us to clean up that is the topper and where I go nuts please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Ron -  You partners have several simultaneous (common]stepfamily  problems.

1] you two may lack some baseline info about stepfamilies:

2] your partner must decide and ct on her priorities:

3] you partners probable don't know how to do win-win problem-solving together:

4] you mates aren't aware of how to resolve values conflicts [over your stepson's behaviors]:

5] some or all of you may be conflicted over or confused about your role as "stepfather"

6] A deeper set of stressors may come from your and/or your partner's coming from a traumatic early childhood: If true of your mate, this will affect her son's behaviors and attitudes:

This is a lot to absorb, so take your time discussing and integrating these ideas. If you have questions, please ask! - Pete  

Parenting Stepchildren

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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about remarriage preparation, stepparenting, stepchild discipline, child visitation, grieving, stepfamily norms and myths, mission statements, stepparent job (role)descriptions, communication skills, loyalty and values conflicts, stepfamily identity problems, common pitfalls, ex mate and relative problems, stepfamily merger and adjustment tasks, name confusions, choosing an effective counselor, resolving money disputes, co-parenting support groups, and the family effects of court (legal) battles. I can`t answer questions about medicine, family law, legal stepchild adoption, or financial planning.


I have studied and worked with stepfamilies clinically since 1979, and I have been a "step everything" personally. I was invited to be on the board of the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA) by it's founders, Drs. John and Emily Visher; and later was re-invited by president Margory Engle, PhD. For more detail, see this.

Former Board member, Stepfamily Association of America (SAA)
National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC)Experts Council

Hundreds of Web articles on ; I've uploaded over 150 self-improvement videos on YouTube; and have self-published 6 books. My ad-free Web site offers a unique, practical 7-lesson self-improvement course.

Stanford University BSME (1958) George Williams College MSW (1981) Hundreds of post-graduate seminars on a wide variety of "mental health" subjects

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of appreciative emails and comments on my Web site and videos from people all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked clinically with over 1,000 midwestern divorced and remarried family members, and have had over 800 stepfamily students in various seminars and courses since 1981

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