This patient support community is for discussions relating to the challenges of parenting children (age 6-12), including physical development, handling school & classes, emotional development, cognitive development, and games and activities.
I have a 7.5 yo stepson, who is so different from the other children (bs13, bd10, sd10). His father is taking the mother to court to get regular access and hopefully soon it will be sorted out so that we get them at least 2 nights a week. His mother has taken him to a psychiatrist about the behaviour at home (rages over small things, threatening to harm his sister, inappropriate sexual behaviour etc), he has never displayed that behaviour when we had him the psch says he is fine, just normal behaviour for a kids whose parents have split and he is trying to fix the problem and get his parents back as he doesn't understand it all. We have been told he doesn't have asbergers, and there is nothing wrong with him. He seems to have no care or empathy for anyone,and only cares about himself. His emotions seem to be only superficial. He is selfish, manipulative and lies, and obsessed with money. He recently stole money from his father's wallett and then enthusiastically assisted in a search for it, knowing where it was the whole time. He tells lies about the other children and his own behaviour. He seems indifferent when we punish him for breaking house rules, and in fact he believes that the rules are for everyone except him, until he breaks them and suffers the consequences. We have implemented behaviour rewards, his reward is time on his ds, its the only thing he cares about. He doesn't seem to have any true friends, and seems detached from others and in his own world especially at birthday parties etc. We both work in the criminal law area and agree that if any of the kids were to go off the rails it will be him. It worries me what he will turn out to be. I have suggested to his father that all we can do is insist on the behaviour in our house that we expect from the other children and hope for the best. We get no support from his mother, she blames all his behaviour on us, even though he behaves far worse with her than with us. I have been with his father for 2.5 years, but find it hard to really tell him what I think his son might be capable of. I have said that (as with any of the other children) that if his behaviour is not acceptable to our house in the future he will be told he is not welcome, but I feel that I am doing the wrong thing, as that will force him to spend more time with his mother, which is where I believe the problem may stem from. I am really concerned for him but dont seem to be in a position to do anything about it. I'm also worried about what affect it will have on our family as a whole.
Some children are more sensitive to abandonment and family upheaval than other children, and this boy sounds like one of the sensitive ones.
If a psychiatrist said he's normal, that this is a normal reaction to his family being torn apart and losing a full time daddy, I'd believe the doctor. In my own life, I've certainly seen divorce cause this kind of complete disruption in children's personalities. Some children are less sensitive to that and appear to get through it better.
I find your statement "I have said that (as with any of the other children) that if his behaviour is not acceptable to our house in the future he will be told he is not welcome" shocking. I really am shocked that a mother would say that if a child's behavior is such that he doesn't follow house rules, he's out. This child isn't a tenant, he's a child and deserves unconditional love. By law, he has the right to your home and support - parents can't just treat children like tenants and put them out if they aren't pleased with their behavior.
My guess is, his behavior is worse at his mother's house because he's safe there. He doesn't sound safe - at all - at your house.
I'm also very concerned about your statement that all you can do is insist on the behavior in your house and hope for the best. HIs behavior is a symptom, not the problem itself.
It seems, according to the psych who has evaluated him, that the problem itself is the rending of his sense of security and home - and his behavior is a symptom of his helplessness.
The best you can do is make it clear he has your unconditional love, and unconditionally has a place in your heart and home, and you are dedicated to helping him work through this very difficult situation.
So agree with Rockrose. His behavior is a sign of inner turmoil and helplessness and that is very sad. He needs exactly what rockrose suggests, unconditional love and a sense of security that no matter what he does---- he is loved and cared for. Even if you have to fake, make him feel that way.
I think you have both taken my comment the wrong way, or perhaps I was not clear about it. What I meant was in later teenage years that if any of the children do not follow our rules or think that they can behave in any way they like then they will be given the choice to follow rules or go and live by their rules somewhere else. I am not a monster, I wouldn't say that to a 7 year old. and your comment that he feels safe at his mother's house so behaves worse, I dont agree with, he is more settled at our house than at his mothers, she has told us so.
The comment that he feels safer there and acts worse is actually something that commonly happens. We are hardest on those we are most comfortable with, right? Our loved ones see the best and worst in us. Home is often the 'safe place' for kids where they let it lose and behave badly because they've held themselves together elsewhere. This is a very common scenario and not just a boy that is caught between two homes.
It is not a knock to say he feels safer there and it is also not a competition.
I think the message that the psych had and that Rockrose touched on is that this little boy is struggling emotionally with the changes in his life that are out of his control. Little kids have limited ways to show stress and behavior is one of them.
If you see his behavior issues as a cry to feel more loved and secure in his life, that may give you the empathy to push past the anger at his behavior and instead of being frustrated, offer him hugs, special time, boundaries (of course) that are up held with love. Some time that doesn't include all the other kids with his dad would be excellent. Showing him that his life will be okay regardless of these changes. Not just saying but showing him.
That is all anyone is saying. It isn't saying you are being awful or a monster to him. It is just saying that this is a boy in crisis that does deserve to be handled individually verses just like any other child.
good luck. (my comments aren't meant to make you feel bad but to try to help find a way to look at this that might result in a better scenario than the current one).
We realise that its not a competition, and I hold no anger towards him for his behaviour. In our house, we have consistent rules, boundaries and consequences, all the children know exactly what is expected of them and due to this we have seen a huge change in his behaviour, because of the consistency. He doesn't get this at mum's. She has asked him why he behaves better for us, as we have asked him why he behaves differently at hers, his answer to us was that he doesn't behave because he doesn't have to. She has no consitstency at all.
He used to be really unsettled at bedtime/through the night, then we started snuggle time with his dad, providing he is in bed when he should be, he gets time alone with his dad to chat, read a book or whatever he decides. He now stays in bed all night and we have no issues at all with bedtime now.
What worries me the most is that there is a clear choice in his behaviour, and a clear definition between houses. HIs teacher also knows when he's at mum's and at ours due to the change in his behaviour. His teacher has also started a reward system similar to the one in our home with great results. I worry that he doesn't get clear and consistent boundaries at mums and that is what he is struggling with (as well as the break up), it also worries me that given we have seen such a dramatic change for the better in his behaviour (other family members have also noticed) I believe he is crying out for consistent rules and boundaries so he knows exactly what is expected, but he's not getting that at mum's and what effect will this have on him in later life. He is like a lost little boy and responds so well when given a clear path and goal.
for example he knows that if he is ready for school before dad leaves, he gets to watch tv until they leave. this includes making his bed and putting dirty clothes away, which he does without us even asking now. The teacher was astounded when we told him this, as every morning mum battles with him to even get ready and out on time.
It is frustrating to watch the change in him and it annoys me that his mum can't see how easy it is to give him the focus and direction he needs and responds to.
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