I have a normal 9 year old step son (he has been diagnosed with ADHD, though) and an 8 year old son with moderate ataxic hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy that mainly affects his speech and motor coordination. He is also developmentally delayed because of the CP.
I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now and we've had a really healthy and happy relationship until recently. When his son moved in with us, we began arguing about parenting issues. My 9 year old step son just began living with us full time about 6 months ago. Before that, we would have him every other weekend. He was having behavioral issues with his mom and she asked if he could come and live with us because she couldn't "handle" him anymore.
He and my son have known each other since they were 3 and my step son has been aggressive with him since the first time they met, before my boyfriend and I got together. When they were 3, my stepson sat on my son and began to choke him. After we got together, he started getting jealous and more mean.
I caught him holding a pillow over my son's face. I him very firmly that he could kill him and that he should never, ever, do it again. My son wasn't even fighting back and his muscles are weak, so he is easily overpowered. My son was unable to explain his side of the story, because he cannot speak in complete sentences and has a very limited vocablulary. About 2 weeks later, I caught him doing it again! My boyfriend thought I was overreacting and that "he didn't know any better".
A short while later, I heard the kids arguing in their room. My son is not perfect and can be a brat. This time, he kept trying crawl into the top bunk and my stepson wouldn't let him. He lets all of his friends in his top bunk, but refuses to allow my son up there. My son kept coming up the ladder, against my stepson's wishes. I wanted to see how my stepson would react, so I kept quiet. They didn't know I was observing them. When my son got to the top of the ladder, my step son kicked him in the chest with both feet as hard as he could and my son flew backwards and fell about 4 feet to the ground. Once again, my boyfriend didn't seem to take this as seriously as I did. We ended up getting in a huge fight over it.
Since that incident, my stepson has hit my son several times, twisted the skin on his arm, pinched him, pushed him and verbally abused him. He constantly puts my son down. Because of his examply, some of his friends have been so mean that we no longer allow them over at our house. We've tried to explain that he has to have patience because my son has special needs and space issues, but this has had no effect.
The worst thing that has happened is this: The day that he was leaving to go to his mother's for the summer, my son got too close to him while he was playing his gameboy. Stepson had friends over for a sleepover because it was his birthday. He got annoyed with my son for blocking the Game Boy screen, so he bit him in the cheek so hard that drew blood. My son was very frightened and in considerable pain. The punishment that my stepson recieved was to have his Game Boy taken away from him for 2 weeks. It has gotten to point where I am afraid to leave them alone in the same room together. Unfortunately, we have a small house and the boys have to share a room.
The last straw was when he bit a 6 year old boy today and drew blood. Once again, he was only given a 30 minute time out and had games and t.v. taken away.
I admit that I do go a bit easier on my son, but that is because I feel that his life is hard enough as it is. He has very few friends because he can't speak clearly. My son hasn't had an easy life and I'm afraid it's just going to get harder as he gets older and realizes how different he is. Sometimes my heart breaks for him. When my stepson hurts him, I actually feel hatred towards him. I am ashamed of this, but can't seems to get over this feeling of animosity.
My stepson always picks on kids younger or weaker than him, and always when an adult is not watching. There is no question that he knows right from wrong, but he doesn't seem to exhibit very much compassion or empathy for others. He loves animals and is actually very kind to them, so I know that he is not mean through and through. I just don't know what to do. Is this behavior normal for a kid his age, or is there a deeper psychological issue that needs to be dealt with? My boyfriend will not hear anything bad about his son and seems to be in denial that his son may have a personality disorder of some kind, which is what I'm afraid of. He is a very charismatic little boy who has a ton of friends and way too much energy because of the ADHD. He is also extremely selfish and wants what he wants when he wants it. He complains bitterly when he doesn't get his way and also is an extremely picky eater. He rarely eats what I cook for the family. Basically, he's a pretty difficult child to raise. His dad has overcompensated in the past when he only had weekend visitation by buying him almost everything he's asked for. As a result, my stepson seems to expect things to just be given to him. He doesn't show much appreciation or gratitude for the things that his father and I do for him. He is unwilling to help out around the house and never volunteers to help. He rarely says please and thank you and he constantly makes messes and has to be reminded again and again to pick them up. Frankly, I'm at my wits end. I don't feel that our therapist has been very effective and I am looking for a different one. I am so afraid that my boyfriend and I are going to break up because of the problems between our kids. I really hope you can help me. My boyfriend says he is willing to listen to any advice you give me.
As I read your post, I just kept thinking, "Why have you stayed in this situation so long?" You are your son's protector and advocate. I am seriously surprised that you have allowed this to go on for six years. There is no relationship more important that the one you have with your son. Please move on before your son gets severely injured or killed. He's helpless and is counting on you to love and protect him.
You are participating in ongoing abuse of your son by staying in this relationship with your boyfriend. Do you ever read newspaper articles about mothers who stay with men who are abusing their chilldren and wonder HOW COULD SHE?
You're doing that right now. It's not your boyfriend, it's his son, and you need to get your precious child out of that environment and into a safe and warm home. Today. And maybe hook up with that boyfriend in 10 more years when his son is gone.
You have yourself a difficult situation. I disagree with hitting but do agree that maybe a situation where you don't live with each other for a while might alleviate your situation temporarily. What ever you decide if there is disagreement between you and your partner about parenting you probably won't find peace in your home or relationship. The boys may be sensing this weakness between you two and maybe even playing on it to some degree. Your stepson may even be trying to receive the same 'special' attention you are showing your son. Whatever his motivation it needs to be found, in the meantime maybe don't allow them to play together, seek counselling, find a support group in your area or do like i do ask all my parenting friends, read several books then make your own decision.
Remember that to teach compassion you should start with compassion. Hitting and yelling only teach hitting and yelling.
Im posting this in a cold thread, but I was compelled by the exteme indications. I was the youngest in a mixed family of step and half siblings and was often the brunt of abuse, but usually things didn't get out of hand. In this case, your son has a disability and the stronger child is habitually abusing him and receiving paltry levels of discipline. This behaviour is a serious problem, and reflection of the fathers values. In your case it is as well as you reflect your sons lack of power to change it. If you cannot change the fathers behaviour, then you have just as little control over the situation as your son does. I would suggest that you and your son work out a deal with the father and stronger child to either work together to get it to stop, or you will remove your son (and yourself) from the fathers lack of ability to discipline this misguided abusive boy.
Im strong enough to say that even though being alone is scary, being in an abusive relationship is much worse. Good luck!
I don't know if you are still checking this site, but the other posters have made excellent comments. You should ditch that boyfriend and his bully son. Your relationship with your biological child is more precious. There is not a man on this earth--or his children that will ever displace the needs of my biological children. If I ever do get a divorce, I doubt I will ever remarry. It is just my nature to be this maternal. I'm not saying that you are not, but we have different responses. I hope things work out for you.
Think about this from your son's perspective. He has a delay and he understands that mommy wants to live with people who hurt and abuse him. The stepson's father doesn't give a whip about your kid--his reactions speak volumes.
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