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I'm worried my son may have a mental health issue
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I'm worried my son may have a mental health issue

I am married to a woman who had a 2 1/2 year old son from a previous relationship.  The bio has never been a part of his life a "hit and run" kinda thing. Our child is now 5 1/2.  Our child could care less about being around us.  Whenever he goes to his grandparents house  he wont even acknowledge our existence, when its time to go home he instantly shuts down and goes into this argumentative state.  When someone says "I Love You" his response is never "I love You Too" its always "uh huh" or "ya".  He is really mean and says hurtful things to everyone (aunts, uncles, cousins, schoolmates) everything you ask him to do he responds as if it is the end of the world.  He shows very little empathy/sympathy towards other people.  I honestly feel like he could care less about us.  He actually believes he doesn't have to listen to his mom because he's "smarter" than her.  He never wants to cuddle, never wants to give hugs. My honest fear is that he genuinely doesn't love us or lacks the ability too.  Obviously there are a lot more issues that bring me to this conclusion, but these are the bigger one's.  A brief parenting background: We do not spank, our punishments consist of t/o's and losing privileges, we are very structured but use spontaneous outings or movie nights to never fall in a rut.  We are very encouraging.  He is surrounded by a great family support system.  We try to spend a lot of quality one on one time with him, but it usually ends up with him "checking out"  he's never been good at playing games, its his way or the highway.  We always try to be affectionate, but its seldom returned.  So a bit of his background, he is half white half black, he does not know I'm not his bio father, but is starting to question "why am i a different color?".  He has nor ever will meet his bio father.  He spent his first 2 1/2 years living with his grandparents and they to this day not matter how much we object spoil him rotten e.g. he has 3, count them, 3 power wheels at $350 a pop (ridiculous) So I hope I covered enough to give you an overall view of whats going on.  Question is, is there something wrong psychologically? What can we do to make life easier on us so these everyday battles can go away?  We are really worried that this will just keep getting worse as he grows older.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello there!
    First of all, I am so very sorry for what you are going through. I wish I could say that I have a definitive answer for you - but I do not. You mentioned that he spent the first 2 years with his grandparents. It's possible that he simply didn't bond with his own mother. Without seeing a pediatric specialist it is difficult to say what is going on. How does he feel and react to the grandparents he spent his first couple of years with?? Does he treat other children with indifference as well? Has he ever tried to hurt another child ... or someone smaller and younger than him? Does he ever get 'happy' or excited about anything? If so, what would that be? I think you are doing the right thing ... asking these questions that you are. A great many people would just chalk up his behavior to being young and half black with no role models. So often personality disorders are overlooked and get so much worse because people don't want to deal with them. I'm not saying he has one ... but your description of his behavior(s) worries me. I believe you need to approach his pediatrician about your concerns. If he doesn't have one, search your area for a great one! He or she would be able to put you in touch with someone that would be the 'next step' in attempting to discover what is going on. Be wary of anyone that wants to slap him on medication straight off, since he is rather young for that. I'm not saying it may not become neccessary - but there should be a LOT of hard work on the part of a therapist to determine exactly what condition (or even lack of one!) is going on with this little boy. Let me say that I applaud you for being so involved and hands on ... I hope the mom is backing you up. All too often, from some sense of misplaced guilt, parents can avoid dealing with issues such as these. Don't allow that to happen, this little boys future depends of the choices that are made for him early on! I really wish you the very best. You can message me if you would like ... take care now!
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13167_tn?1327197724
I agree with 4slenderthread.

I also want to add,  material things don't spoil children.  It's when caregivers give LOTS of material things instead of love,  or out of guilt that they aren't willing to spend time with the children,  that the children become spoiled.  A child who is well loved and nurtured could live in Disneyland and not be spoiled.  

I too have questions about why the grandparents,  not the child's mom,  took care of him the first two years of his life?  If he was raised by them,  and then suddenly given over to you and your wife,  that causes trauma.  

Lastly,  what's his dad like?  It's possible he's inherited his father's basic personality.  The sins of the father are visited on the son,    as they say,  and personality can be passed on from father to son even if the son never meets the father.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry I should have cleared the grand parents thing up :) he lived with my wife and grand parents in there home while she was finishing up getting her college degree.. So she was there at all times except for part time work and school.... She did graduate ;) As for the father he is in prison and has been for years.  My wife knows very little about him due to the actual circumstance of her pregnancy... without giving to much away him being imprisoned and my wife's pregnancy happened around the same time.  My wife is very supportive but I know she feels guilty like its her fault he's this way but I assure you it is not, she is a wonderful mother and we are expecting another child soon and I couldn't ask for a better partner to raise children with.  She is beside herself because of the lack of respect... Also he is the same around his grand parents as he is with us, but they just chalk it up too " he's just a child this is how they are" but my wife and I disagree, I have plenty of nieces and nephews and comparatively speaking there attitudes are polar opposites. It's like his grandparents don't want to admit it.
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13167_tn?1327197724
Well,  my guess is he's got his dad's personality.  If you look through sociological research,  the greatest determiner of criminal behavior in a son is criminal behavior in the father.   Unless his dad is in prison for a nonviolent or white collar offense,  chances are very high he passed on his antisocial personality to his son.

And that's the great thing about grandparents.  The usually love unconditionally.  
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