Younger stepson threatened suicide


Well-Known Member
My Difficult Stepson is now enrolled in "online high school" and while they allegedly count up his credits so he can start classes, he is happily doing nothing at home under the "supervision" of his father. Meanwhile, younger stepson, who has never displayed the issues that plague his older brother, is attending traditional public high school and labors under the responsibilities that his brother can't handle.

Younger stepson has been doing great the last year or so, after a rough patch during which he saw a therapist to deal with issues between his biological parents that occurred when he was much smaller. The therapist helped him immensely and he's been out of counseling for some time now. He has a girlfriend, adjusted well to high school (he is a freshman), attends dances and games with his friends, and seems happy. His grades aren't excellent, but they aren't bad either. We've been very happy with him and we THOUGHT he was also happy.

Yesterday he told his school counselor that "life wasn't worth living." Such statements are completely out of character for him. They called his father who called my wife, and together they took him for an intake at a local psychiatric hospital. He apparently told them he had a plan to take his life but when pressed for details wouldn't give any. He did tell my wife that he 'didn't want to tell her' what his plans are. They recommended partial hospitalization, the same program Difficult Stepson took part in about one year ago. My wife, her ex and my younger stepson are meeting with his old therapist today to decide if this is something they want to do.

My wife said that he was acting like his regular self, joking around, and didn't seem to be upset during this entire situation. When we spoke to him on the phone later that night he did sound depressed to me.

I can only think that younger stepson (rightly) feels it's unfair that Difficult Stepson seems to get whatever he wants and is permitted to do absolutely nothing, while his expectations are much higher. It also dawned on me that perhaps there is a situation involving his new girlfriend, whom we understand to be mentally unstable and in an abusive home. We are praying she isn't pregnant. He has said nothing to his parents, or to me, about what might really be bothering him. He said that he was "sick of being normal" and "needed a break." That was as far as they got yesterday.

In my opinion Difficult Stepson needs to be somewhere else so younger stepson can grow up normally. Due to complicated issues going back many years, living with us isn't something younger stepson is interested in doing, and I refuse to have Difficult Stepson in our home at this time, even for a visit.

I don't think it's a surprise this started within one week of Difficult Stepson starting online high school, being granted the privilege of having no responsibilities of any kind, being allowed to sleep until noon, drive around in the car his father bought him without my wife's knowledge, not being made to seek part time work, etc. There are separate rules for these two boys, unfortunately from younger son's perspective Difficult Stepson gets all the preferential treatment. I am going to eventually sit younger stepson down and explain to him that Difficult Stepson's life may seem "easy" now but this is the best it will ever be for him, he has no future if he continues on this path and that younger stepson is really the lucky one. But I can't expect a fifteen year old to understand all of that.

Very frustrating and worrying.....


Active Member
I am just waking up, and have to shower and go to work BUT all within a year or so my son went haywire, then my oldest child my daughter succumbed to depression/anxiety, dropped out of high school (temporarily) at age 15, the summer before her sophomore year. Six months later, my youngest daughter "eloped" from school, and still is not capable of attending a traditional school. She still barely can go to her special school.

I am vaguely ashamed of myself, my parenting. I have wondered for years about What I Did Wrong, but I can't really put my finger on it. And don't get me started on their dad. I think it is fair to say both of us have our issues - esp dad - he has a shocking family history, an extended family with long rap sheets, very serious anti social behavior. My extended family runs more anxious, autistic, HSP.

I don't know what my point is - just sometimes trouble just pops up..? maybe some families are more vulnerable to this? I just scanned your post, just wondering if it is Difficult Child's fault entirely, you know, or if there is some innate fragility..?


Well-Known Member
I think it's too simple to point the finger at parenting when kids go bad. In my opinion, it's a combination of nature, nurture and temperament. The one thing I will say is that often parents don't take the strong measures needed to protect their own sanity and the other children who are impacted by our troubled children's actions.

I note that your co-parent is also very weak, this is also the case with my stepsons' father and perhaps wrongly, I lay much of the blame for their deterioration/downfall on him.

I need to detach from this situation, there is nothing I can do but support my wife.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member

Don't rule out the school environment either. Some kids have difficulty with their peers and that causes a deep depression. I'm glad he's at the hospital and willing to see the therapist.

I imagine he does feel a lot of pressure to be "normal" whereas his brother has a different path. If he doesn't want to live with you, would he at least consider staying with you over spring break? Maybe having him around for a bit would give him a break from the action at his dad's house, and you and your wife could have some conversations with him.

My parents divorced when I was 12 years old. My father and his wife were the more regimented, stable couple. I would have been much safe at their house, but I was loyal to my mom. She, in contradiction to my father, had a permissive home like the one your stepsons are in. Actually, it was much worse than that. My mother allowed parties in our house nearly every night. My stepfather, whom I refer to as the troll, had a host of unseemly friends. My brothers and I began drinking alcohol at an early age. We had drugs available to us all the time. (I resisted.) Our house was noisy and unsafe. People were always passing out in the living room. I lived with it, embraced it, and for years thought it was okay. It wasn't until I was an adult that I understood how negligent my mother had been. I would never have agreed to go live with my dad, in spite of the tumultuous environment.

It would be great if you would attach a signature to your posts. :chuncky: