Parenting Stepchildren/18 year old step son


I have been a step mother for 14 years.  Step children are now 20 and almost 18 year old high school senior.  This child has turned to alcohol within the past 2 years.  We believed it to be mostly recreational however we have no idea how often.  
Most recently he is failing 2 subjects in school, has withdrawn from his favorite sport of baseball and, while he says he can't wait for college to move out, will not commit to one of several offers he has.

As a stepparent, I have caught him with the alcohol and even marijuana on more than one occasion.  I am the one that reads his text messages.  I am the one that wants phone calls made to the parents of the friends he will be with on Friday night.  His bio parents just say "yep you can go", don't check for truthfulness and that leaves me to be the bad guy because I care too much to see him do this to himself.  
I feel both bio parents want to be the better friend, however it is easy to see how much they are being played by their son.  I would rather be hated than be played.

What is your advice as we move toward graduation in the next 10 weeks, he turns 18 the end of June and we feel confident we can send him to college without jeopardizing himself or others by making poor decisions?


Being his stepmom for 14 years means that you have had a significant impact on his life.  In most areas a person is considered an adult at 18.  Once he leaves for college he is basically on his own.

Have you ever made poor decisions?  I am assuming that you did and how did it turn out for you.  Did you learn from those poor decisions.  

It is important to give him the opportunity to experience life including making some poor decisions.  If he has been raised with good values and given the opportunity to experience the consequences of his decisions then he will be fine.  If he has been protected from consequences then he will have difficulty taking responsibility for his actions.  

What you can do as a step parent is establish what you expect from him... that is give him boundaries while he is still at home and make him responsible for his actions.  

Also let him know that you are there for him.  And trust your motherly instincts.


Parenting Stepchildren

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Rick Olson


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.


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

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

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

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