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<p>I asked my dh months ago to clean up his stuff in the garage so I could clean up the other stuff. There's a table out there that was never intended to be used but has gotten covered and stacked with stuff. For whatever reason, he finally decided to do it the day that he was packing to leave for a month of field training. He always gets stressed when he's packing to leave for work, whether it's a short, 2-day field op or a year-long deployment. Next thing I know he's carrying a bunch of car and car stereo parts up to our 19yo ds' room. I asked him not to do that because ds' room is messy enough and putting more stuff in there will just make it worse. DH complains about how messy it is, too.</p>
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<p>DH asked me what he should do with the stuff, then. He was angry and said he could just throw it out. I told him to put it in a box of a pile in the garage and ask ds about when he got home. DS was at work at the time. I saw dh taking the stuff back into the garage and assumed he was leaving it in there somewhere. I didn't say anything else about it. He left Saturday night.</p>
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<p>Yesterday, Sunday, ds comes home from work, goes into the garage and then comes back out asking me if I know where his car parts are. I told him dh put them in a box or pile somewhere in the garage. After some searching, ds found the stuff outside next to the trash can. It had been left out there overnight and some of the stuff was electrical, like a stereo and amp. DH didn't say anything to me or to ds about putting it out there. He just left it.</p>
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<p>I know why he was did all of that. He was annoyed because ds had used his tools the day before and not put them back the way dh wanted. We've discussed that before. When we've had those discussions in the past I've told him that, if ds won't put dh's things away and won't stop using the tools after being asked, dh should lock them up. That's the easiest solution. So dh goes into this whole thing about how he can't lock it up because ds lost the key for the tool box. Well, dh left the key in the tool box. How is that a safe and secure place to keep the key?</p>
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<p>Anyway, I can totally understand and agree with his anger and annoyance. However, I don't think that what he did was something that a parent should do to a child, no matter how old that child is. It's unacceptable, imo. He wouldn't do that with my stuff. I certainly wouldn't do it with his stuff even though he leaves piles of junk all over the house for months that are in my way. DS' stuff wasn't even in dh's way. He was only moving it to clean up because I asked him to. If I hadn't asked him, he never would have touched the stuff. He did what he did totally as a payback, "I'll show you," to my ds over the tools.</p>
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<p>That is so childish. The total opposite type of behavior I want my children to think is ok. If someone does something "wrong" to you, revenge is not the answer. Children learn through example, especially from their parents. We have 2 much younger children, 6 and 3. I don't want them to think that's the way to behave.</p>
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<p>In addition to that, 19yo ds is my child from a previous relationship. He is not dh's bio child. We have been married since ds was 9. DH always said he loved ds like his own child and he acted that way until ds hit puberty. Since then they have not gotten along at all. I'm tired of being put in the middle and having to referee these immature disputes. I think that dh should step up and be the more reasonable, mature person. He is 40, after all, and the father figure if not the biological father. I get defensive and tend to side with ds over dh because he is my boy and my dh seems to react so irrationally. I don't side with the fact that ds did not take care of dh's tools. I agree with my dh on that. I just don't agree with the way my dh tried to handle it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>What do I do?</p>
 

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<p>Gah! That is a hard one. Firstly, I think that your son should be payed the replacement value of his ruined things. Your husband may not like that at all, but it is the right thing to do.</p>
 

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<p>You (the universal you) can't just wake up one day when your kid is 19 and expect them to change a behavior that you have allowed for 19 years.  Your dh can't keep a dirty garage filled with junk, get all mad one day and expect what has been "fine" to be totally different.  It is childish. </p>
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<p>If someone wants to lay down a new law, first, be a good example, and second, give a little warning.  Then is ds didn't comply, you do what you said you would:  lock it up, give it away, sell it.</p>
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<p>I would not pay the child for the stuff.  A harsh lesson handled poorly but.....</p>
 

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<p>Why weren't you guys working together to clean up the garage?  I'm not following the story at all -- your DH was getting ready to leave for a month and he spent his last day at home cleaning the garage by himself? </p>
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<p>I know you are really wanting to blame your Dh for the situation, but you set him up. You told him to go clean up an area that had stuff in it belonging to different people, and then wouldn't help figure out what to do with the stuff.</p>
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<p>While he's gone, why don't you and your son go and clean everything up, figure out homes for stuff, etc?</p>
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<p>You have the power to break this cycle, and the only person you can change is yourself.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #5
<p>I don't know why my dh chose that day to clean his stuff up in the garage. The last time we discussed it was weeks ago and he didn't say anything to me about cleaning it up. I only knew when I saw him carrying the things upstairs. I thought all the stuff on the table was dh's so I asked him to put it away. It's tools and garage junk. I don't know what it is or where it goes. My dh is the one who organizes things. He doesn't like me to mess with it all. He said it wasn't his. I said that if he cleaned up his stuff, then I could see what the rest was and figure out what to do with it. I didn't ask him to clean up anyone else's things and there was no need for him to do that. And, like I said, that was weeks ago. It did not come up on this particular day at all. I think it was all just because he was angry that ds had not put the tools away from the night before and wanted to get even with him. Like I said, I totally understand and agree with his anger and frustration over that. However, I think he handled it completely the wrong way. Two wrongs do not make a right.</p>
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<p>Apparently, some of the car stereo stuff wasn't even my ds'. It wasn't ruined but if it had been, he would have had to buy all new stuff. I told my ds that from now on he needs to keep all of his stuff put away in his room. It's ridiculous, though, that my dh can't come up with these kinds of solutions and talk to my ds about them. I always get stuck in the middle.</p>
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<p>When I try to talk to my dh about him being the one who needs to set an example he takes the martyr role. He pulls this crap where he basically says, "Fine. If I can't have it my way, I won't do anything and just let ds do whatever he wants." Aargh! That makes me so angry. If you don't like something, speak up about it. Try to get the problem resolved. Don't either get angry and freak out and react unreasonably or do nothing. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. There is a lot of middle ground.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I can't discuss this with dh now because he's gone and out of touch for a month.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MarineWife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16047491"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><p>Apparently, some of the car stereo stuff wasn't even my ds'. It wasn't ruined but if it had been, he would have had to buy all new stuff. I told my ds that from now on he needs to keep all of his stuff put away in his room. It's ridiculous, though, that my dh can't come up with these kinds of solutions and talk to my ds about them. I always get stuck in the middle.</p>
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<p> The thing is though, you said your DH *was* taking the stuff up to your DS room and you told him not too because his room was messy.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #7
<p>Yes, so when he asked me what he should do with it then I told him to put it in a box or a separate pile in the garage so he could ask ds about it when he got home. My dh didn't say anything to me and acted like he agreed. He even went in search of a box. So then for him to leave it laying in the wet grass outside by the trash can is just sneaky, dishonest, nasty and vengeful, imo. Regardless of what you may think I said or didn't say, I don't think he should have put someone else's things outside like that. If ds had done that with his stuff, he would have gone ballistic. And, the fact is, that no time then did I ask dh to clean anything up in the garage. I thought he was out there packing because that's where he keeps his gear.</p>
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<p>No one sees my dh's behavior as unacceptable? If your partner did that with your stuff, would you think it was ok? What if one of your children did that to someone else's stuff? It would be okay? I think it's very disrespectful. Regardless of how disrespectful a child is to a parent, it is not ok for the parent to disrespect the child, imo. The parent is supposed to take the higher ground, set the example, do the right thing regardless of what the child does.</p>
 

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<p>Do you guys always find things to fight about right before he leaves? Does being angry make the separations easier in some way?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I don't think what he did was right, but I think you played a role. I don't see how blame is going to help change the situation.</p>
 

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<p>I think your DH is being passive agressive and immature.  However, if your son was not treating someone else's property properly by just leaving it in a pile in the garage, then I think it might have been a good lesson for him.</p>
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<p>But yeah, your dh's behavior was totally immature.</p>
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<p>Once, several years ago before DH and I got married, he had moved in with me a few months before the wedding and pulled something different, but similar.  He worked 12noon to 12midnight and had an hour commute to the apartment.  I was teaching, had to be at school at 7am and had a half hour commute, so obviously I had to get up early.  I couldn't always wait for him to come home, sometimes I went to bed before he got home.  Because it was an apartment, I tried to keep the chain on whenever I was home by myself.  If I went to bed before he got home, I tried to remember to take the chain off, but I admit I regularly forgot.  He would start banging on the door hollaring.  The only reason no one called the cops was because there wasn't anyone else that lived in our particular building.</p>
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<p>Well, one night, I forgot the chain again, he started banging and hollaring, I woke up and unlocked the chain, apologized and went back to bed.  Well, he was still PO'ed, so he unscrewed the entire chain lock from the door and threw it under the sink, in an attempt to hide it.  Well, I did see it the next morning, went to work and when I came home (he was home that day because with a 12 hour shift he was off 3 days a week) I went OFF on him.  I told him that there was absolutely no way I was going to accept such childish passive aggressive behavior from him, or anyone else for that matter.  I told him that I fully undersood why he was so mad, I accepted that I screwed up, apologized but told him that his response was totally inappropriate and if he had a problem with something I was doing, the proper way to handle it was to TALK to me, express his anger, NOT to go and try to "get revenge" or "teach me a lesson' or any of that. </p>
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<p>Nothing like that has ever happened again. </p>
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<p>The fact that your DH is now gone for a month complicates things.  I am not sure how I would handle resolving something like this over the phone and I realize that if you try to do it in person that you end up having to wait a month.  I am not sure how that would work either.  But, I do think you need to address it.  I think you really need to call him on his immature behavior.</p>
<p> </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MarineWife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16048499"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><p>. The parent is supposed to take the higher ground, set the example, do the right thing regardless of what the child does.</p>
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<br><br><p>Your son is 19, and your dh is his stepdad.  At this point, I'd consider them two men cohabitating more than parent/child.  I do think they need to deal with <em>each other</em> rather than dragging you into it.</p>
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<p>That's probably the best way to handle it.  Tell ds to address dh, when he is able to be contacted.  Stay out of it.   You can empathize with him, and certainly counsel him in how <em>he</em> might have contributed to the situation, but then tell him to speak to dh.  Sure, what your dh did was wrong--but it was a wrong against your 19 yo son, and your 19 yo son can handle it.  It wasn't anything so extremely horrible that it would justify you stepping in between them. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MarineWife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16048499"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Yes, so when he asked me what he should do with it then I told him to put it in a box or a separate pile in the garage so he could ask ds about it when he got home. My dh didn't say anything to me and acted like he agreed. He even went in search of a box. So then for him to leave it laying in the wet grass outside by the trash can is just sneaky, dishonest, nasty and vengeful, imo. Regardless of what you may think I said or didn't say, I don't think he should have put someone else's things outside like that. If ds had done that with his stuff, he would have gone ballistic. And, the fact is, that no time then did I ask dh to clean anything up in the garage. I thought he was out there packing because that's where he keeps his gear.</p>
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<p><strong>No one sees my dh's behavior as unacceptable? If your partner did that with your stuff, would you think it was ok? What if one of your children did that to someone else's stuff? It would be okay? I think it's very disrespectful. Regardless of how disrespectful a child is to a parent, it is not ok for the parent to disrespect the child, imo. The parent is supposed to take the higher ground, set the example, do the right thing regardless of what the child does.</strong></p>
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<p><br>
I was directing my post at your dh.  I don't think what he did was fair.  He was really blindsiding your ds.</p>
 

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<p>A 19 year old son should be more responsible about using his space more neatly. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Your dh may see your son as a messy freeloader at this point. Maybe family counseling?</p>
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MarineWife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16048499"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>No one sees my dh's behavior as unacceptable? If your partner did that with your stuff, would you think it was ok? What if one of your children did that to someone else's stuff? It would be okay? I think it's very disrespectful. Regardless of how disrespectful a child is to a parent, it is not ok for the parent to disrespect the child, imo. The parent is supposed to take the higher ground, set the example, do the right thing regardless of what the child does.</p>
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<br><br><p>Yes, your dh's behavior was passive-aggressive.</p>
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<p>No, your son is not a child anymore; my dh was 19 when we became engaged (11 years ago). If your <em>adult</em> ds cannot respect the rules of the house ("if you take it out, put it back" is a basic rule) perhaps he needs his own "house"-- though I would have a family discussion about the house rules first; with a mediator if necessary.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>That there relationship "hit the rocks" at puberty isn't necessarily related to them not having a biological relationship-- it's a pretty common complaint even with bio parents and children.</p>
 
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Emmeline II</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16050138"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MarineWife</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16048499"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>No one sees my dh's behavior as unacceptable? If your partner did that with your stuff, would you think it was ok? What if one of your children did that to someone else's stuff? It would be okay? I think it's very disrespectful. Regardless of how disrespectful a child is to a parent, it is not ok for the parent to disrespect the child, imo. The parent is supposed to take the higher ground, set the example, do the right thing regardless of what the child does.</p>
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<br><br><p>Yes, your dh's behavior was passive-aggressive.</p>
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<p>No, your son is not a child anymore; my dh was 19 when we became engaged (11 years ago)<strong>. If your <em>adult</em> ds cannot respect the rules of the house ("if you take it out, put it back" is a basic rule) perhaps he needs his own "house"-- though I would have a family discussion about the house rules first; with a mediator if necessary.</strong></p>
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<p>That there relationship "hit the rocks" at puberty isn't necessarily related to them not having a biological relationship-- it's a pretty common complaint even with bio parents and children.</p>
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<p><br>
But it sounds like the husband kept the garage a mess so what rule was the kid breaking.  I agree that 19 is an adult, but if they keep the place messy, that's mostly likely what he will do too.</p>
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Youngfrankenstein</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16050730"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>But it sounds like the husband kept the garage a mess so what rule was the kid breaking.  I agree that 19 is an adult, but if they keep the place messy, that's mostly likely what he will do too.</p>
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<p><br>
The mom leaves the garage a mess too. She wanted her DH to clean up his stuff so she could clean up hers. I'm picturing a bunch of stuff, some of which just needs to be decluttered. No one wants to take ownership of the mess, so they all just blame it on each other.</p>
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<p>Why they don't just all go out together and clean it up together is a mystery.</p>
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<p>And why they weren't doing something nice together as a family the day before he left for a month is another mystery.</p>
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<p>And why the mom didn't go out to look at what the dad had done in the garage is another mystery.</p>
 
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<p>OK, here's what I'm seeing:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Your dh was stressed about leaving. Instead of acknowledging the stress, he cleaned out the garage (as you'd asked) and got into a snit fit about your ds' stuff because your ds had used his tools and not put them back. His behavior strikes me as immature.</p>
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<p>My parents had a fight <em>each and every time</em> we went out of town. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized this was stress. It wasn't very mature, and I wish they'd learned a better way to deal with it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So the question for me is not "was what he did wrong?" but "How can you, as a family, learn more healthy communication strategies?"</p>
 

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<p>Firstly, I don't find the OP's story difficult to follow at all. She never said that she made her DH go clean the garage <em>the day before he was leaving</em>.</p>
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<p>Secondly, whether or not they should have been cleaning it as a family or doing something delightful the day before her DH left is beside the point. The issue is the dynamic between her DH and DS. FWIW, a 30-day field exercise is not a big deal to most military families. It's just a part of life. My ex and I never did anything out of the ordinary before short deployments.</p>
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<p>I agree with what Youngfrankenstein said:<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Youngfrankenstein</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16046731"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>You (the universal you) can't just wake up one day when your kid is 19 and expect them to change a behavior that you have allowed for 19 years.  Your dh can't keep a dirty garage filled with junk, get all mad one day and expect what has been "fine" to be totally different.  It is childish. </p>
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<p>If someone wants to lay down a new law, first, be a good example, and second, give a little warning.  Then is ds didn't comply, you do what you said you would:  lock it up, give it away, sell it.</p>
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<p>I would not pay the child for the stuff.  A harsh lesson handled poorly but.....</p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>happysmileylady</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16048725"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>The fact that your DH is now gone for a month complicates things.  I am not sure how I would handle resolving something like this over the phone and I realize that if you try to do it in person that you end up having to wait a month.  I am not sure how that would work either.  But, I do think you need to address it.  I think you really need to call him on his immature behavior.</p>
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<p>Maybe the age of cell phones has changed things, but when my boys' dad and I were in the military, you didn't communicate when you were out in the field. I was under the impression that the OP wouldn't be talking to him at all for a month...which means holding onto her annoyance for 30 days until he gets back. </p>
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<p><br>
Quote:</p>
<div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>philomom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16050056"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>A 19 year old son should be more responsible about using his space more neatly. </p>
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<p>Your dh may see your son as a messy freeloader at this point. Maybe family counseling?</p>
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<p><br>
I know people of all ages who are messy. And where do car parts belong if not in the garage??? </p>
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<p>As for freeloading, my eldest is almost 19 and still lives at home. He works full-time and pays rent. The OP says her kid has a job. How do you come to assume that he's a mooch?</p>
 

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<p>I have no patience for passive aggressive bullshit.  Just because one person is not respectful of another person's things does not mean it is okay to disrespect THEIR things.  It is the same rule that applies when someone is being verbally abusive.  2 wrongs do not make a right.  </p>
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<p>Your DH was asked to deal with HIS things.  If other people's things were in his way, then the right thing to do would be to ask the individual who owns those things to come move them, or carefully move the things to another safe location, and let that person know that they needed to deal with the stuff by a certain date.</p>
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<p>(BTW- HATE this new editor!)</p>
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<p>I don't think your DH handled it the best way. But I don't think that as a family things are right either; if there's a mess in the garage that belongs to multiple people it's not fair to give ONE of them a deadline and not the rest, if you know what I mean.</p>
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<p>The tool part bothers me too. A simple "don't use my tools" should suffice. A 19 year old should not have to have the tools locked up before he stops using them if he's been told not to. Imagine if you had to lock up your kitchen stuff to keep it from disappearing or being badly used. It's one thing to lock things up for a toddler or preschooler and another in this situation.</p>
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<p>I'd clean up the rest of the garage while your DH is away, and get some storage that makes it clear what is DS's and what is not. I'd let the garbage-pitching-fit thing go and chalk it up to frustration and stress at this point. It's just a mistake, and the whole context was doomed to failure in many ways. But when he gets back I think I'd have a talk about how to approach the garage as a family.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GuildJenn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279453/what-would-you-do-about-this#post_16051453"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I don't think your DH handled it the best way. But I don't think that as a family things are right either; if there's a mess in the garage that belongs to multiple people it's not fair to give ONE of them a deadline and not the rest, if you know what I mean.</p>
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<p>The OP didn't say anything about a deadline, though.</p>
 
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