My 16 yr old step son is moving in with us


I'm new here, so hello. My husband and I have been married for 10 years. He has 2 children, 15 and 16 yrs old, from a previous marriage that lasted almost 2 years, one child is biologically his, the other is not. They live in another town- same state. My husband and his ex do not get along.

Long story short, I have not seen my step kids in 2 years. Their mother has been in trouble for drug use in the past, does not work and does not "parent" her children, (the last part is my opinion based on past and current events). Her family is very well off and pay all of her monthly expenses, groceries, cars. She has no mortgage since her house was built by her father and paid in full.

A few months ago my 16 yr old stepson got into serious trouble with the law. Charges were brought up against him but later dropped. We think his grandfather's money had something to with the charges being dropped, but have no proof. He is on a 1 yr probation. She ended up pulling the two kids out of school because of the incident, so he did not pass 10th grade. There was no attempt to make up classes over the summer.

Last week my stepson called us and asked us if he could come live with us. He said in the current environment he does not feel that he will make it, (staying out of trouble, re enrolling in school and doing well in school, etc). Per the "parole", if he gets in any trouble at all, the charges will be reinstated and he will be tried as an adult.

So after some deliberation we have decided to have him come live with us so he can get back into school and change his life around. He seems genuinely interested in starting over and in trying to become a better, well behaved, educated person.

I am unable to have children so I have zero experience raising kids, let alone a troubled teenager. I am excited and terrified at the same time.

My husband and I do not come wealthy families. Everything we have we have worked hard for and built from scratch. We have a successful business that we started 6 yrs ago. We are well respected in our community.

My stepson has had everything handed to him on a silver platter, from horses,guns, boats, ATV's to luxury resort homes, expensive vacations, designer clothes, (all funded by his grandparents since his mother does not work). He was also given a brand new truck shortly after the charges were "dropped".

I'm trying to give you an idea of the environment he is coming from. Living with us will be a culture shock I think.

I'm not sure what questions to ask, but I feel like I'm in for a shock as well.

My stepson and I have always gotten along well. I am strict and not a pushover and he knows it. But any kind of interaction we have ever had in the past has been limited to weekends and the occasional holiday. And, like I mentioned before, I have not seen him in two years.

Is there anyone out there who is/has been in a similar situation? I have a laundry list of rules I expect him to follow. My husband agrees to a certain extent, but feels we should ease in to them and not throw all these changes at him all at once.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Comments (4)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is there a reason you have not seen your SKs in two years? It is going to be a huge change for you to go from no children to a troubled teen. I think he needs to know the rules you will have for him and the consequences for not abiding by them. I am sure your husband is excited to have his son live with him but it sounds like he has not been that involved with them. Make sure the two of you are on the same page before you make this huge leap.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They live in another city. We went to court several times to have the visitation rights enforced but could not compete with the drawn out process and the attorney fees at the time. (His ex's parents are very wealthy and we are not). My husband gave up and decided maybe it would be best to not fight it and force them to come visit. Whether or not this was the right thing to do, I don't know. But our funds were exhausted and the whole process was getting us nowhere.

We are not 100% sure my SS is not trying to manipulate us, but we are optimistically cautious. We will be sitting down with him and going over all the rules and what we expect of him. If he agrees to this, then great. If not then he wont be moving in with us.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First, bless you for being willing to try, but,
second, don't take it to heart if this doesn't work.

SS has spent his entire life in a very cushy environment with few if any rules, & although he may be sincere about wanting a different experience, he doesn't have any idea just how different real life is.

'My husband...feels we should ease in to (the rules) and not throw all these changes at him all at once.'

If a new member of the household is permitted to, say, stay up all night on the computer on day one, when do you think you should take that away from him?
What reason do you think you could come up with to explain the change?
How would you convince him that rules mean anything?

Consistency & structure are the very things that make your environment different from his mother's & grandfather's, & that consistency & structure need to be present, predictable, & stable from the very first.

I wish you the best.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would suggest you find a family counselor within your budget. It will be the best money you ever spent. And if the first one doesn't feel right, keep looking. Good luck. It will surely be a huge adjustment for everyone, but if you don't give it a try, you'd always wonder "what if."

Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Kids’ Spaces This Designer’s Client Was Her 10-Year-Old Son
What do you give a boy with a too-babyish bedroom when he’s approaching double digits? See for yourself
Full Story
Life Tell Us: Do You Know How to Live With Your Parents?
If you've tried multigenerational living under one roof, we'd love to hear the details
Full Story
Bathroom Design Out With the Old Tile: 8 Steps to Prep for Demolition
This isn't a light DIY project: You'll need heavy-duty tools and plenty of protection for your home and yourself
Full Story
For nearly 20 years Grow Landscapes, Inc. has proven to be a leader in the industry in terms of design,... Read More