This summer is proving to be a tough one in some respects and I’m really starting to feel stuck in the middle.  We have a busy house, with a newborn, a toddler and a teenager and keeping the peace can be tricky sometimes.


My dear husband potters off to  work everyday which he has to do.  Work is work isn’t it, and where ever you are there is politics and power struggles.  I fear the seeds of resentment are setting in as he sees me at home enjoying maternity leave and a 16 year old camped out in his room for what will be nearly 3 months with the break between GCSE’s and Sixth Form.  I can completely understand where he is coming from but keeping the peace is starting to get me down.


Teen is my son from a previous relationship, and we spent many years as a single working parent household.  I’ve done a lot for him over the years, many because it was easier and because I honestly thought he’d be the only child I’d have.  He’s possibly a little spoilt.


We are really struggling with finding him a part time job and keeping him busy this summer.  Teen’s perception is, ‘this is my holiday, and your always on at me’, and husband’s perception is, ‘you need to do something constructive, there’s plenty to do around here’.  Never the twain shall meet, hey?


I’m completely stuck in the middle, I can see my husbands point of view entirely but I can’t help but defend my son, to his frustration.  They both have their flaws, my husband’s approach can be stern which my son doesn’t find motivating, and my son can be lazy, which my husband finds frustrating.  Teen’s dressing gown is an accessory most days.  Then there’s me, I think I’m subconsciously defending the years of parenting him by myself.


I’m fairly laid back about him in many ways, as I think Teen will get everything we try and tell him when he gets into the real world, but my husband wants to see action and instant results now.  I think my son will appreciate our efforts as he becomes more mature and starts to experience the real world for himself, so I don’t get stressed his efforts now.  Sometimes the only way to learn is the hard way, and all you can do is hope you’ve installed the skills in them to face life head on.  Without the pressures of real life, it’s difficult to understand the responsibilities that go with it.


It’s going to be a long old summer if these tensions continue.  My husband doesn’t think I push Teen enough, and I think he pushes him too much.  I see the glass half full in that he’s bright, we’re expecting good GCSE results on 21st August, he’s not hanging around getting into trouble and he does help out when asked (the lawn is being mowed as I type).  When the girls grow up I think we’ll have a whole lot more on our hands in terms teenage rebellion.


Do I see it all through rose tinted glasses because I’m Teen’s parent?  Is my husband right, and should Teen be devoting this time to furthering his skills in preparation for the real world.  Now my husband has decided not to support Teen at all in terms of his software engineering because he’s finding it too stressful.  How on earth do I get them back on track?

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  1. I totally sympathise, my eldest is almost 18 and like your situation is from a previous relationship. We also have 2 boys – ten and two. My teen does have a job for the summer, however thinks this excludes her from any responsibility around the house, which winds my other half up no end, and I end up in the middle!
    Sonya Cisco recently posted…Biscuit of The Week – Mint Choc ChipMy Profile

  2. I have a teen from a previous relationship and can feel your pain at feeling stuck in the middle – there are times when I defend my boy to the hilt against my husband, and other times I side with hubs. We don’t have any children together, we hope to in the next couple of years, so not sure how I would deal with things then, but by then the boy would be around 18, and his own man…hopefully off to uni! x
    Michelle recently posted…BirchBox – July 2014My Profile

  3. Wow I see why its difficult! My kids are 11 and 8…. one wants to be out and about and the other wants to stay at home!! I need a clone so I can keep both parties happy!

  4. This is such a tough one and I don’t think you’re alone in having these step dad vs older kids power struggles. Perhaps the three of you could sit down and have a ‘family meeting’ – an opportunity to all air your views without having an argument? These work really well in our house. We always come out with a new regime, particularly as far as ‘pulling your weight’ is concerned and kids feel like their voice has been heard.
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  5. That sounds really tough, my parents made me get a job every summer while I lived with them and if I didn’t then they applied on my behalf. I hated them for the interference but it cemented in me strong work ethic. I would have appreciated a little time off in the holidays though.

  6. As a mum to twins and a step-mum to three teenagers I can see both points of view. Before I had children, I was definitely harsher on my step-kids, but now that I have my own I’m more of a soft touch. I think tween needs a job as it will give him something to focus on and when he starts earning his own money, I’m sure he’ll soon start to enjoy it, but I can understand how he’s feeling too. I hope tensions ease off a bit for you. Thanks for linking up to the #binkylinky

  7. I hope you are able to find a happy medium for both husband and teen. My partner isn’t the dad to my boys and I know how you feel in a way. I sometimes feel that I’m defending the way I’ve bought them up. Sounds like your son has done a lot of hard work to get good grades though so he can’t be all that lazy.

  8. oh gosh sounds like a really awkward position to be in, right in between them. I think it can happen with dads and teenage boys anyway but I guess it is inevitably harder as it is not his dad. I wish I had some advice but I have no idea. I hope you can find some way to balance the pair of them! xx #weekendbloghop

  9. Tricky one. What do Teen’s friend’s do in the holidays? What did your husband do when he was 16 in the Summer break? On the one hand he has more of an idea what it is to be a teenage boy? Hope you find a compromise somehow. #binkylinky

  10. Always a tricky thing, maybe there’s a halfway point they can meet at though. My teens plumped for a weekend job during the holidays – time to have fun and time to earn money too. We found as soon as we approached it form the angle of ‘you could have a much nicer summer if you earnt some money to do cool things with’ !

  11. What a dilemma you are in! From what U have read I think that it is okay that your son is in your house helping you. You just gave birth and him being there will be a lot of help right? Byt yes you are a wife now and you have to take your husband’s view in consideration which will bring me to the start that its really a big dilemma. Hopefully you can work this out soon #pocolo

  12. I am sorry the tension is so high right now.
    Maybe they just need to give in a bit… some sort of work which isn’t full time – Oh will see Teen is trying and Teen will still have some free “me” time to do what he likes.
    Anyway… good luck and I hope it will get resolved… somehow..

  13. My mummy is the same, and, unfortunately it all came to a head a couple of weeks ago and my daddy and mummy have broken up because of a huge row between my biggest sister (who is 18) and my daddy. You all have to try and be happy. I have to say, if your teen is doing some stuff at home, then maybe give him this summer as a last to enjoy without a proper job x x #binkylinky

  14. oh… I’ve just got distracted by ickle pickles post above and feel the need to pop on over and check all is ok there…

    Meanwhile – as a teacher of teenagers and a leader of rangers (big girl guides), I can say there is a recession on and not as many jobs for under 18s as there used to be. Probably a good idea for your teen to have something in his diary between now and results cos sitting in his room for 3 months can’t be great for anyone’s mental health but, work isn’t the be all and end all and if it stops him from enjoying life then, you know what? Thats ok. He’ll be alright. xx

  15. This is so tricky and I really feel for you as it can feel like you are stuck in the middle. If it was me, I would suggest that you all sit down together and have a chat with your teen. If he knows what he would like to do when he is older then it might be worth getting some part-time work relating to that? I hope you get it sorted – and some peace – soon. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…‘Throwing It All Away’. How society has changed for the worse.My Profile

  16. We’re in much the same situation. My teen is only 14 right now but already my husband (father to my girls but not the teen) thinks I’m too soft on him regarding school work and stuff. I know he can be lazy but he too is a great help around the house and has never given me the stress I hear a lot of parents of teens can get. I know we have a few more years yet and things can change but I really can’t see him becoming a brat and causing me upset because he’s so sensitive to my feelings. He was only 3 when I met the hubby so he’s been a father figure to him for over 10 years and the tenn does love and respect him but he does feel like the hubby gets on at him a lot. He’s always had a great relationship with his bio dad and is planning to live with him when he’s 16 and I know it sounds awful but I really won’t mind if he does because then his dad will be the one who has to get on at him to go to college or get a job and I’ll be the one he comes to visit and has a nice time for a few days before going home!

  17. No solutions I’m afraid, but I suspect this is a common situation, which is probably exacerbated because your husband isn’t your son’s dad. Throwing a baby and a toddler into the situation can’t make life any easier. I know my husband’s view is that kids should be working and supporting themselves, so I can see us being in a similar situation in a few years.
    Good luck!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Silent Sunday 27.7.14My Profile

  18. What an awkward situation. Would a compromise work -maybe a weekend job? Saying that I don’t think these days there’s much work for kids that age. Hope you get something sorted soon and peace is restored!

  19. I think you should show hubby all the comments posted here, so that he can see that it isn’t just Teen being lazy, but is quite a common situation.
    I know Teen can work when he has to, but that like all teens, prefers to be left to his own devices. You’re lucky – many teens don’t even get out of bed before the afternoon!
    Whilst I totally agree that a summer job would a very positive experience for Teen, I do know that these jobs are now few and far between – something that perhaps hubby hasn’t realised.
    How about 1 or 2 days a week volunteering in a charity shop? Perhaps that, and payment for jobs around the home might be incentive enough to get Teen out of the dressing gown.

  20. I can sympathise with a lot of this. My eldest is 12, and future hubs has been in his life since he was 5. They clash a lot, and I am often stuck in the middle. I think future hubs expects too much in terms of chores and behaviour, but I also understand he just wants Half Pint to have a good work ethic and to be the best he can be. At the same time, I can see Half Pint is trying, but also wants to have some down time…I know I did at that age! I don’t have advice, but you aren’t alone in feeling like this.


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