What to do when households have different rules for teen stepson?


My husband and I follow your columns (my mother quoted you regularly growing up, sometimes to our dismay) but now as a stepmother and father to a teenage boy, we find ourselves in a tough spot. We are trying our hardest to provide consistency, firmness, tough love and academic support for this child. School does not come easy to him, and he knows we are simply looking for his best effort. He is giving zero effort in school, chores, and is frequently unkind to his younger siblings. Back talk and disrespect occurs daily. Expectations at his mother's home (where he spends 50% of his time) are vastly different than ours, largely without boundaries, discipline or rules (I.e. electronic devices in his room with unrestricted time and access to the internet, and YouTube). We have tried for years to create consistency between households but have been unsuccessful. What should we do at our house to turn this behavior around?

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