Anonymous asks:

My wife wants her 17 year old son to come and stay at our house. 

I am against this because he lived with us up until February this year, but because he is lazy, inconsiderate and things started to go missing in the house, (jewellery and cash) he went to live with his father. 

But now my wife wants him to come back and stay with us. 

There are no other children and I do not want him staying here based on him being lazy and a liar. No doubt more things will go missing, but she is insistent. What can I do or say?


Noel McDermott says: It’s difficult to know from what you say how much you and your wife have discussed this. I’m not sure what her thinking is for having him move in. Is there an issue with his father that he can’t stay there? 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Someone of your stepson's age can and often will express their problems through anti-social behaviour. I can’t help wondering what is behind all of these issues you detail.  Contrary to popular opinion kids of this age are not ‘naturally’ anti-social in this way, certainly not in terms of theft. What is the history of this behaviour? 

He seems to be facing rejection from both the fathers in his life. As I say I don’t know why he can’t stay with his birth father. 

If he lacks a work ethic as you state, my question is why? What are the values he has been exposed to? Who is teaching him how to meet life in estimable ways? He clearly needs male role modelling or he is at risk of going seriously off the rails. 

Maybe rather than rejecting him you could explore some family work with à professional? It doesn’t sound like he is a hopeless case from your description. I’m sure with some work on your part he can be turned around. I don’t mean to criticise but as a family therapist I generally default to asking the adults and parents in a family to look at themselves too. 

Sounds like this boy needs a bit of fathering to me.

Noel McDermott is a Psychotherapist and International Speaker with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care and education. He is the founder and CEO of three organisations, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd, Sober Help Ltd and Mental Health Works Ltd. which provide health and social care services to individuals, families and organisations dealing with mental health and addiction problems.

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