Rossendale Free Press

My teenage step-children are hard work.


Q“When I married my husband, I always thought taking on two step-children would be tough – and I’m sad to say I’ve been proven right. They’re both teenagers and come to visit us every weekend, and each time it’s the same. We go to enormous lengths to make them welcome – cinemas, meals and trips etc – but all they seem to want to do is sit in front of the television or play computer games.

What really gets to me is that our entire weekend is given over to them and we never have any time for ourselves.

By the end of the weekend, I’m worn out, and what upsets me more is we never get

any thanks. They don’t help to tidy up and their rooms are always left in a complete mess. They barely seem to talk to us and most of the time they are so grumpy.

“It’s really putting pressure on our relationsh­ip and we’re permanentl­y exhausted, especially my husband, who is trying so hard.

“He has a round trip of 110 miles every weekend to collect and return them to their mother. He is desperate for them to see this as their second home, but they just seem to treat us as a doss house.” A

“I agree – the current arrangemen­ts aren’t helping you or your husband, but equally, his children don’t seem too happy

Fiona says…

about things either! I suspect your husband is trying desperatel­y to make things right for them, but what he’s not doing is talking to them and finding out what they want from all this.

“They sound like typical teenagers to me – they probably have a busy week at school and want to slob at weekends.

“On top of that, it may well be that they want to spend time with their friends at weekends, and the current arrangemen­ts aren’t allowing for this.

“I’m sure they want to see their father (and you too, potentiall­y) but being teenagers, their friends are really important, and hanging out together is almost certainly something they’re missing.

“It sounds to me that a four-way chat is needed, to find some middle-ground and adopt a more flexible approach to these visits. This could possibly mean less frequent visits, or it might mean longer, less frequent stays.

“I think you also need to think less about ‘entertaini­ng’ them. They would probably enjoy just spending time around the house with you and with each other, rather than an endless string of outings and cinema trips.

Richard Irvine returns next week

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They just play computer games

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