divorce360.com provides help, advice and community for people
contemplating, going through or recovering from divorce and the issues around it,
including separation, divorce laws, spousal support and emotional issues.

remarriage  :: step-children

Grown Stepkid Moving Back In?

Grown Stepkid Moving Back In?

Three Must Do's To Keep The Peace


Dear Lisa:  

I have a grown stepson who is now living at home, at the invitation of his father, to help him get on his feet. My problem is the total disrespect he shows me. He will do for his father (like go to the store, fix him dinner and pick up items for him). He will only have discussions with his father and he eats most of his meals in his room. I used to cook for both of them until he stated that I treat his father like a child. His father doesn’t want to push the issue, I am sure, because it will result in one of us having to leave. My stepson has also started arguments between my husband and me, and when this happens, my stepson goes into another room to listen to the argument. I do know that there is some guilt that my husband may be feeling because he sent his boys away when they were little. (Their mother is deceased).  

Lisa,  I need to know how to handle this calmly without fighting and things being said that will be hurtful. Most of the time my husband doesn’t want to talk about his son and the issues. I am ready to move out of my home. Please lead me in a positive direction.  

Lady T  


Dear Lady T:  

This can be a tricky issue. It’s quite common for adult children to move into their parents’ home because of a financial or psychological crisis, says Dr. Grace Gabe, a psychiatrist and co-author of  “Step Wars: Overcoming the Perils and Making Peace in Adult Stepfamilies.”  But it can be especially difficult if a parent has remarried and/or has younger children still living at home.  

It’s important to be fair, says Gabe. “Would you be inclined to allow your own biological child to live in your home under the same circumstances?  If so, what kind of commitment would you make in terms of length of stay and your own financial assistance?” she says.

You and your husband should talk about these questions until you reach an agreement, Gabe suggests. Create some house rules--guidelines that apply to all your adult stepchildren and biological children. Share them with all the adult children in your family, she advises.  

In addition, consider some of these suggestions from Gabe:  

1.Write an agreement.
Preferably before an adult stepchild moves in, prepare a written agreement that states the ground rules for living in your home for a specified period of time, with provision for renewal. This agreement should address the stepchild’s responsibilities for rent, food, household chores, telephone, utilities and noise levels. Periodically review the agreement; this will allow you to renegotiate after you have lived with each other for a short time.  

2. Include an exit plan in the agreement.
That’s particularly important if the adult child moved in due to job loss or divorce, both of which could become an indefinite stay. The adult children moving in are usually asking for temporary help. They should be able to give you a realistic plan for how and when they can become independent again.

3. Discuss issues with spouse.
If the biological father is paralyzed by guilt about neglecting the child when younger, the stepmother might tactfully point out that allowing such behavior now is not helping the adult child develop useful social skills. In many cases, however, it is necessary for the stepparent to have a one-on-one discussion with the stepchild about creating a mutually respectful relationship. It’s important to let your spouse know you want to have that discussion. Ask him for suggestions about how to make the discussion go well. Take the time and be courageous enough to talk directly to your stepchild about how you treat each other. This can really improve the atmosphere. You can't force yourself to be friends with your stepchild, but you can focus on being civil, says Gabe.  

You might want to read chapter seven of “Step Wars,” which addresses this issue. 

Good luck with this difficult situation.  



Lisa Cohn has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Parenting, Mothering, Your Stepfamily Magazine and other publications. She writes an advice column for Philly Women (www.philly.com) and is the co-host of Stepfamily Talk Radio (www.stepfamilytalkradio.com.) She is the co-author of One Family, Two Family, New Family: Stories and Advice for Stepfamilies and The Step-Tween Survival Guide and Lisa has been quoted about divorce and stepfamilies by the Associated Press, Washington Post, Time Magazine, msn.com and other media outlets.

divorce New this week::

Transition Institute: Telling Your Spouse You want to Split - Mental Health: The Dos, Don'ts of Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce


Your Kid Wants To Live With Ex - Tips On How To Cope If Your Child Wants To Change Homes


Living with a Habitual Liar? - Relationships: Four Ways You Can Tell if Your Spouse is Telling You a Whopper


divorce Community::
popular blogs
MMOGO NBA 2K17 was the best affairs bold
According to industry intelligence abutting The NPD Group, the U.S. gaming...read more 

get/give answers
If I was the one who was abused, why does my ex blame and hate me so much still?
My husband filed for divorce and never looked back a year ago. He was verbally...Read Answers/share yours 

Unfair biased court judges
My husband's ex wife is crazy from slander, defamation, lying to the police to...Read Answers/share yours 

expert Q&As
Faith Therapy : Does a Separation Work?
My Husband and I Are Having Trouble. Is It a Good Idea for Us to Separate?...read more 

Stress Relief: Tips to Help after Separation
Mental Health: Overwhelmed by Changes in Household Routine. What Should I do?...read more 

About Law: Do Divorce Kits Work?
Legal: What You Should Consider When You Think About Divorcing Using a Kit...read more 

expand information center
divorce360.com's ecards

Find divorce professionals in your area

Find lawyers
Find financial professionals
Find coaches
divorce focused content ::
divorce most popular ::
1. Are You Reading Your Spouses Text Messages?
Stop! It May Be Illegal & May Hurt Your Case

2. They Won't Leave? Now What?
You Want a Divorce, but Your Spouse Won’t Leave. Here’s How to Get 'em out

3. Eager To Check Those Texts?
Think your Spouse is Cheating? Professionals Can Check Text Messages

4. 8 Things No One Ever Tells You about Divorce
Number Three May Surprise You

5. The Truth About 'Divorce-Proofing' And 'Affair-Proofing' Your Marriage
What none of the so-called relationship/marriage experts is willing to admit