Parenting Stepchildren/What should I do

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Question
My 17 y.o. step son is stealing girls clothes.  My husband (then fiancÚ ), first discovered this about six months ago.  My step sons  14 and 11 y.o. sisters found their clothes stashed on the side of his bed.  He swore it wasn't him and said one of his sisters friends put it there to get him in trouble.  My husband was busy with work and moving and getting married, so, he didn't push it.  Well,  recently,  I noticed I was missing one of my bras. I searched for days to no avail.  My husband went into my step sons room looking for it.  Hoping he would come out empty handed.  He lifted the mattress and there was a whole stash of girls clothes.  Some were mine,  his sisters and like the time before, some we don't know who they belong to. We suspect they belong to his step sisters from his Mom's house. My bra that sent us searching wasn't  in the stash.   My husband confronted  him privately. He admitted he took them but says he didn't know who they belonged  to, that they were just "laying" around.  He told my husband that he didn't know why he takes them. My husband told him that I was still missing an expensive bra and my step son swore he didn't have it.  Well,  a few days later, my husband looked in his sons backpack,  and there it was along with a ton more of my clothes and his sisters. I told my husband we need to get him to a counselor. In addition to this, his son has recently been diagnosed with ADD and he has been barely passing  school since about 4th grade.  We are at our wits  end.  We don't want to cause him any harm,but,  he's heading down a road that isn't good.  One last thing.  Do to the way the clothing items look,  I think he is wearing  them.  What should we do?

Answer
Cheryl

I beleive your son is struggling with gender and identity issues that need professional help.  Your first step is to get him the help he needs.

The second thing is to support him by suspending judgement about what he is doing.  Find a time to sit together and ask him to talk to you about his feelings and what is going on for him.  Then just listen, or talk only to ask for clarification.  This is probably his biggest need -someone to just listen to him

Beyond that I am not qualified to give you any more advice on this issue.  The key is to help him get some professional help and be the loving supportive parent that he needs right now.  Clothing can always be replaced.   So focus on mental helth of your child.

Rick

Parenting Stepchildren

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Rick Olson

Expertise

As a stepparent of 4 children and a family coach, I can answer questions about the issues that arise in step-parenting including discipline,blended families, boundaries and guidelines.

Experience

I have 18 years as a stepfather, and over three years as a family coach focusing on unifying, strengthening and empowering families.

Publications
My wife and I have written 2 books on Family FUSE Your Family - Family: Unify Strengthen Empower! and Raising Families

Education/Credentials
BA(Recreation Administration) Grad Studies in Urban and Regional Planning and Design Certified as a LifeSuccess Consultant/Coach

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