My DH & I have had this argument multiple times about his teenage son having girl company over with the bedroom door closed. He thinks that his son being sexually active is great. I’ve tired to convince him that it is nasty and just irresponsible. It started when he was only 13. I’ve put my foot down and it’s been a while since this has happened ,SS is now 15, but just the other day he lets him have girl company again with the door closed. I know their in there up to no good. I’m not only disgusted but worried about the example the SS is setting for my 3 boys. I left the house with my boys when I found out what was going on.
Dear Teresa, It really is upsetting when our values conflict with our DH’s values. I can understand your frustration about it-especially sine you have 3 boys you plan to treat and teach differently than what your DH is allowing for his son. It would be ideal if both parents would honor each other’s value’s and beliefs about behaviors in the shared home. There are many reasons why a DH might believe his way rules the roost. It can be classic chauvinism, power trip if they make more money, divorce guilt and fears, personal reactions to their own teen years and treatment. Most of the previously mentioned issues cause emotional and mental blindness to their impact on others. It can be very hurtful, almost betraying when the man we love chooses to ignore, reject or outright defiy our wishes. This is a big topic, too big for this question. However, let’s talk about some things/approaches/outlooks you might take given the situation as it is…
While it’s easy (tempting) to get caught up in the “right/wrong” (an unwin-able) battle, I think that what you’re doing is a good thing. It may even be the time to introduce your sons to “The Four Agreements” and the concept of personal values and personal choices. Not knowing how old your son’s are (just that they are younger than your ss), I bet you can have some very meaningful, open conversations with them about the subject of sex as a teen, about respect, out integrity,etc. It’s going to highlight a double standard between you and your DH as parents AND point out, in a loving, open non-defensive way that you have a right to hold to your values with your sons, like your DH is doing with his son.
Seems your sons are likely going to ask a bunch of questions. Kids are brilliant that way. While it may be tempting (and age appropriate) to just distract them whenever you go out. It’s also a chance to model, your beliefs and your values without having to make your DH wrong.
Right from the start, my ss was all about comparing homes and judging everything we did differently from his mom as wrong, right from the start. Our response was clear “People have the right to make choices in their own homes. No one has to be right or wrong, they can just be different. It’s like vanilla and chocolate ice creams are different. You wouldn’t judge someone who loves vanilla as bad/wrong just because you like chocolate, right? (Eager agreement) OK, so how about let’s agree that people can make different choices and both choices can be honored? Not as right or wrong but as different and both OK” He agreed. The ice cream analogy worked as he already knew there were lots of different flavors (he was 5 at the time.)
As you have a chance to explain that what you feel is good for them simply differs from what your DH feels is good for his son, like chocolate differs from and vanilla, it will give them a chance to honor and follow your rules without having to judge their step brother and your DH as wrong. This will work if you can hold to the not right or wrong, just different. This can be challenging.
Different is more effective than “Right/wrong” in the long run as it allows people to be OK making different choices. This is not taught in schools, sadly. It’s hard for some people as well. Many of us were raised, judged and punished on rules of right and wrong. This is another approach that could allow for more flexibility within a single household.
Depending on your DH’s reaction to you leaving, I hope you can continue to respond to your DH’s choices, with your own, well thought out choices without any defensiveness, fear or apologies. I imagine you might do the same thing, if he allowed people to smoke, do drugs, build bombs, make crank calls, even play cards or violent video games, whatever you didn’t like around your sons. You can make choices that you feel are best for your kids and as long as he’s bringing his choices into your home and is unwilling to honor your request that he stop-HIS natural consequence of HIS choices is that you make your own choices for your sons: to take the boys elsewhere, to talk to the boys, to teach the boys WHY you believe whatever you do believe-as your choice. Make Sense?
Good Luck with this situation. It’s really hard when this kind of conflict occurs. I bet you can turn this into a wonderful bonding time with your sons. What can you do that is creative, fun, honest and loving that will also model, for your sons, how to deal with other peoples “different” choices that they’ll face in their everyday life? They are very lucky to have such a devoted mom.
All the Best, Cathryn