I would normally post this topic under "Step Parenting" or "Child Behavior" or somewhere like that, but those don't seem to have too much activity and most of my friends are on this forum anyway, and I really need some perspective! Ugh!!!
Here goes...my stepson has lived with us for the past 4 years and it has literally been nothing but a headache for me, my husband and our other children. When he first came to live with us, he had inappropriately touched all 3 of my kids on their private areas. This caused a LOT of stress on me and constant worrying about the safety and mental well being of my babies. I have never really forgiven him for that either and probably never will. After that happened, my husband and I talked to his mother and explained to her what was going on and she (of course) passed all the blame on us. My stepson has literally came into our home and turned it upside down all the while his mother is enjoying every minute of it. She has encouraged him to "behave badly so you can come back and live with me." I don't have enough time to get into all the gory details of how that so called woman behaves, but as you can probably imagine, it's not good and we do not have a good relationship. To make a long story short, she bounces house to house, can't hold a job, gets fired for stealing, is very good at manipulating, lies, the whole nine yards. We stepped in and took custody when we learned that she had went to jail for truancy and my SS failed the first grade because he wasn't being taken to school. So, we thought him coming to live with us would be in his best interest because we are a lot more stable, have other kids, etc etc.
Last week (Tuesday) I had to discipline my SS and I spanked him. I'm not going to lie, I went a little overboard. Afterwards, I felt terrible and sat him down and had another one of our talks about the lying, stealing, behaving in school, turning in homework (AGAIN). We seem to have these talks frequently and it's always someone else's fault according to him. Anyway, I apologized during our talk, he apologized to me as well and all was good. Or so I thought. His mother came to pick him up for her weekend visitation and the next thing I know, the cops are calling my house asking about the spanking. The cop asked to speak with my husband and he explained the situation and the cop said he wasn't going to pursue anything. So Sunday rolls around and she's supposed to have him home at 6:00 pm. 6:45 comes and she still hasn't shown up (typical of her). My husband calls her and wants to know what the deal is. She tells my husband that my SS is scared to death to come home, that I "hit" him all the time and he wants to live with his mom. I was beside myself! I do NOT hit him regularly, in fact, that couldn't be further from the truth! I am the one who doesn't like to spank ANY of the kids and give TONS of chances before I resort to that. After everything that that kid has put us through, he makes ME out to be the bad guy?! Anyway, my husband and I both threw our hands up and said okay, he can go back and live with her. We have other kids to think about and don't want or need the kind of trouble that he is now trying to bring to our home. I'm just sad how it went down and how hard I have worked to try and straighten that kid out and it's all been for nothing. He has absolutely no future living with his mother (sad to say, but true) and I wish her all the luck in the world because she is going to need it!
Okay. I like you a lot and hope you don't get too mad at me here. Step parents should not discipline their step children. It was his father's job. This is textbook step parenting 101. I know he is in your home and you play a mother role to him but by your own account, the relationship is not that of mother son. You resent him, are annoyed by him and wish you didn't have to deal with him.
Bio parents are the disciplinarians. Step parents love and encourage and help out behind the scenes. I feel strongly about this for this very reason.
And when you look at life through his eyes, it's not all that rosy either. While he was being an inconvenience to you . . . he'd just suffered neglect from his mom and even with that, I'm sure was traumatized to be taken from her. When you are a kid-------- it hurts. And it sets children up for a life time of problems if the adults in their life can't get along.
Now, you probably think I'm wicked and wretched right now. I don't mean to be. But I think sometimes hearing a different perspective on our situation that we've only been seeing one way helps us in the future. My goal---------- I promise you is not to tick you off. Or offend you. Is family counseling an option for you all?
Okay, fast forward to now. I know you don't hit him all the time. I'm sure he has exaggerated and is loving some of the attention. This does not make me sorry for him but instead pity him. This is what he resorts to for attention from his mother. I think that you need a meeting of the minds in your household. Perhaps you can have a family meeting in which you say that dad is in charge of discipline and you just help out setting the rules. You'll keep a chart.
I'm going to recommend a book series to you called "Love and Logic" by charles and jim fey. I love it and it has done amazing things with my family. Consequences are the teacher, not you. So if he doesn't turn in his homework------------ what would happen. Let him suffer it. That is how he'll change. He's young now. No consequence is that bad. As he gets older, they get worse and worse. Give him lots of choices------- little ones you can live with. But mostly, put him in the position of being responsible for his success and failure. He'll learn much better that way and it is a much more peaceful home in the process.
I hope I did not come on too strong here. I have mild food poisoning and just saw your post and wanted to answer. I may not have filtered well tonight. But know that I have the best absolute best intentions in my heart for you. YOu are a good person and try hard. I want this to work out for everyone. A lot is riding on it. good luck
I know you aren't being mean specialmom. I respect your opinion and am glad you chimed in. I don't agree that I shouldn't discipline him considering our living arrangement. My husband works nights, I work days and I am the only one who really took care of him (and the other kids of course). I have felt like a single mom for years because EVERYTHING is up to me. I feel there is no point in waiting on dad to discipline several hours after the incident occurred. And that goes for all the kids. My husband and I always tell each other when we have to discipline all the kids and the reasons, and then we'll talk to them afterward and to make sure they understand exactly what it is they got in trouble for. Yes, I have always somewhat resented my stepson because of the touching, not to mention the countless other things he has done but I have also always tried to put my feelings aside and not let that affect how we raise him. There weren't always bad times with him but we don't seem to post about the good..LOL! He's gone now so he got what he wanted. All we can do now is move forward and put all this behind us. I will no longer be allowed to be put in the middle and when the time comes for my husband to visit with him, I am not going to be around so I can't be accused of anything. I'm really sad about all of it and even though he caused a lot of stress, it still feels like I've lost a child. Regardless of how upset I was with him, I still love him.
One more thing..I did try to just say "forget it" when it came to his homework but I couldn't stick to it. I had said the same thing, that he knew what the consequences would be if he didn't turn in his homework, or didn't do it, etc. but since his mom let him fail the 1st grade, I just couldn't bring myself to let him fail. I didn't want that on my conscience.
I can somewhat relate to your situation. I "inherited" a stepson (4 yrs old) in my first marriage..after he and his mother had lived with her parents for 2 years and they were the "authority figures". Each of them were the opposite and had the kid so mixed up on what he should and shouldn't do he ultimately did whatever he wanted..Homework? no. Mind us? no. We had him in therapy from the time he was 5 off and on until he was 18..he's now nearly 40 and has never been able to identify right from wrong, is narciccistic (sp?) and has been in and out of jail. He forced himself on my stepdaughter from my second marriage on the night of my son's funeral in Georgia all of which we found out several weeks later and she now has herpes. He's currently living in the Philipines never to return as the FBI will be waiting for him..
Of course this is not the same situation as yours...the mother obviously doesn't help much. But this boy needs help and therapy and a loving home, but i'd emphasize therapy and lots of it...or you will be dealing with what I've been dealing with with my stepson for over 30 years..though now, I've written him out of my life. I could write a book about all I've done (without my ex's help) in trying to get him on the right track
I have to disagree with specialmom about stepparents not being disciplinarians, to an extent.
In cases such as with imanaddict, and my own, the stepparent is basically the adoptive parent to the child because the biological parent is neglectful, incompetent and inconsistent in the child's life, whereas the stepparent is playing the role of what the bio parent should be.
I can empathize also with imanaddict because I've read a lot about her situation in the past with this boy's mother, who sounds somewhat the way my ex is, who is my first son's bio father. My ex is still somewhat involved in my son's life, but hardly. He moved 1500 miles away of his own accord and left our son behind with me, and he talks to him over the phone and/or makes any other form of contact an average of once every two months, and he will not step up and voluntarily contribute a decent amount of child support (what he pays now is $147/month). He always tells our son, "I'll call you on this day at this time," and he never does. He's made so many "promises" to our son and never kept them. But my son still loves his daddy, even though he hardly knows him.
My husband, however, has been a part of my son's life nearly every single day for three years, and he's going to be six years old next week, so literally, half of his life. My son adores him and has called him "daddy" since before we got married last year. My husband would adopt him with no hesitation if we could do that (we can't financially afford it right now, plus I'm certain my ex and his family would never consent to it). My husband IS my son's dad--he is there for him every day, he financially supports him in amounts far greater than $147 each month, he takes care of him, helps him with his homework, reads to him, plays with him, tucks him into bed at night, helps kiss away the boo-boos, and yes...I'm proud to say he also steps up to be a disciplinarian with him as well. It's not like his biological father ever will, and even if he could, his inconsistent involvement in our son's life would make any discipline a void issue.
However, I'm also supportive of the stepparent being the LAST resort of discipline if the blended family unit is not dysfunctional with neglect, manipulation, uninvolvement, inconsistency and abuse. But in my personal case and it Imanaddict's case, there has to be an exeption for the sake of the child's well-being.
I think its imperative that this chilld get some behavioral therapy. He sounds as if he has picked up the manipulation techniques from his mother and understands how and when to use them. Apparently he's recieved the rewards from being manipulative and is further honing his skills.
As for the visit by the police department, I wouldnt take that so strong. If the officer saw your other kids to be in good health, youve got a clean record, youre almost in the clear. (I know how accusations like this can hurt. My son broke his arm from a tumble when he was 2-2.5 years old and we got run through the ringer with questioning.... its hurtful and embarrassing, but we knew we did nothing wrong and it all came out in the wash.)
Letting this boy go right now may have been the best decision. If you have any future contact and see signs of abuse or neglect, report it. Also make a suggestion to CPS that you believe this child needs some therapy. They will have the sources available for such therapy, I'd guess.
I'm a scoutmaster in the Boy Scout troop I grew up in. Been a card-carrying member of the BSA for almost 28 years now.
We get many 'troubled' young boys, with troubled pasts, from broken households. The parent(s) dump them off with us for one night a week, and again for one weekend a month when we go on our monthly campouts.
They are FOR SURE a stress on the adult corps and to the rest of the boys that are "normal", and have to be constantly watched, reminded and 'talked to'. Our attitude towards these types of boys is, "Walk a day in their shoes".
I know you're at your wits end, as is his father and your kids, and you truly sound remorseful of the fact that all this has happened. Has the boy had his mental faculties checked? I'm not one to jump to the "medicate him!" conclusion, but sometimes it IS the direction to go in.
Oh Jim, I'm so sorry, I never knew that! Wow! I certainly hope my SS doesn't go down the same path, but unfortunately, he probably will. I hope I'm wrong though. I hope somewhere down the line, he will remember everything that my husband and I both taught him and will use that to his advantage.
Well, I'm glad Imanaddict took what I had to say in the light I intended it. Thank you for trusting me that I only have you and your families best interest at heart.
When I speak of step parents not being the disciplinarian, you would hear this from just about any family therapist when there is difficulty in the relationship between the step parent and the child. If a family is well blended and things are running smoothly, probably any intervention into the situation isn't needed. When something is said like the step parent should not be the disciplinarian it usually happens when there is trouble or issues in the family. That is how I read this. What has been going on isn't working. I'd change the game plan to be more effective. Now----------- I want to say that I do not know any background what so ever regarding this boy and the background events. This is the only post I think I've ever read about him. You mention touching and I have no idea what you mean----------- and hope it is not what I'm thinking. I also don't know anything about your relationship with what seems to be his loser bio mom. I will tell you that if I were seeing a family that was trying to blend-------- ugh, here I go again, I'd make all contact through only the bio parents and I wouldn't care if I had to plaster fake smiles on every one's faces, I'd make it as amicable and cordial as possible. I know------- that is really hard when you are dealing with crazy ex's. But it makes everything go so much more smoothly------- and eases tension for the child regarding parents and step parents.
Now, I have to bring up one other thing. You mention yourself that you got a bit carried away with the spanking. I don't know what you mean by that but perhaps this child was really scared. Like for real. Then he gets some extra positive attention for it. And things go a little out of control and CPS is called. It shouldn't have been. But I think we really do have to look at life through the child's eyes to forgive and move on. It is terrible that that happened------------- clearly you care deeply for your kids and wouldn't ever hurt them. But I just don't want to villainies a boy as it doesn't help things. Moving forward requires empathy. It is so hard to do but otherwise bad feelings continue and the situation never fully resolves.
Moving forward is what you have to focus on. He's at his mom's now for better or worse. I would have your husband stay very involved. And here is a comment that is woman to woman, mom to mom, wife to wife----------- I have a husband that works out of town a lot, is super stressed and busy, can be absent. I hear ya and feel your pain about the single parent thing. But------------ we have to demand greater involvement on these men's parts. We AREN'T single moms. Our husbands owe it to their kids to do their share and to step up when they need to. In the case of your step son, he needs to step up whether his work schedule makes it hard or not. That is just a woman to woman comment and something I battle with myself. It goes for all of your kids.
I think my comments aren't the most popular here because they come as a different line of thinking of just supporting the member of med help that we love (and we all do!). I can jump on any band wagon and be completely on your side---------- but I'm on the side of your family growing together in peace and harmony. And I really hope that you can move forward and do that. good luck
I couldn't agree more brice, you hit the nail on the head. My dad had taken my SS to counseling a couple of times, but I do not know what the results were. He wasn't in it long enough to make a difference anyway. I honestly think that a lot of it has to do with my husband working nights. He doesn't get much rest during the day since our youngest son is home with him during the day. Next year he will be in Kindergarten and he plans on going to day shift. My SS never had any schedule, responsibility, no consequences of any kind (before he came to live with us) and I think he resented me for bringing all of those things into his life. His mother was always pawning him off on other people. When he came to live with us, her and I were having a discussion one day and she told me "You wanted him, he's your problem now." Those words haunt me. She put up no fight AT ALL when we got custody. That should have been a red flag but we were so concerned with doing right by him and getting him into a stable environment and it all backfired.
I guess we were posting at the same time specialmom..LOL! Yes, the "touching" incident IS what you think it is. He has basically molested all 3 of my children and they all still remember it. My oldest son is now 9 and the first incident with my SS touching him was when he was 2 and my SS was 4. My son remembers it and talks about it still to this day. It hurts me so much and I know it hurts him as well. I do agree that my husband needs to step up. I have been saying that for the longest! It's hard for him to work 16 hour days and come home and deal with a wired up 5 year old. He's lucky if he gets 4 hours of sleep per day and it's never straight through sleep. That is the reason I don't harp on it too much. He also does not have weekends off and works 6 days a week.
Oh no. Well, you are a saint for keeping him in your home. That is terrible and we mama bears kills for our young. So I'm sure you have had to "stuff" a lot of feelings. I'm sure it was suggested to you that he was probably molested by someone as that is usually how it goes. Child on child molestation usually is due to that. Very sad.
Does he have anything like adhd or any documented mental issue? I'm sure his mother has never been any help in diagnosing him if he does. But I'm just curious. Does he do alright in school or does he have an IEP? I'm just curious. He sounds complicated in many ways.
It is really hard when it comes to over tired and over worked husbands. Hopefully next year when your youngest goes to kindergarten------- he can be more involved. I've been in uncomfortable positions with my own husband when I've demanded that he be involved in something he'd really like to take a pass on due to being tired or stressed. It's hard. Sometimes I let it go due to that. But when my own mental state feels over worked and my kids really need him to take charge and step up, I force the issue. Just remember that you are not a single mom and when you need him, you should ask. And regarding his step son, he's going to have to.
Ugh. I don't know why life is so hard. I think the next few weeks will be telling about what happens here on out with your ss. I'd try to keep your heart open but know that is hard to do. Wish you all the best.
Oh yes, he has ADD and pf course his mother says he doesn't need any medication and that she doesn't believe he has it. She's also the one who said he didn't need glasses, but an optometrist said otherwise. Not too long ago, he had run out of medication and his mother once again refused to give us his insurance card, so we weren't able to get his medication immediately. He came home with marks on his conduct sheet, 3 times he had gotten in trouble. He told his teacher that he didn't have any medication that morning and she told him to go outside and run for a few minutes. Apparently, it was pretty bad for her to say that! LOL! So, for him to not have ADD (according to him mom) is beyond me. His grades suffer tremendously and the poor kid cannot sit still, is fidgety, etc. I honestly feel like I have been more of a mother to him than she has but I will never tell her that. That is why all of this hurts so bad.
Iamanaddict...thank you... if you can be consistent, get him some help and stick with it you may be able to avoid the trouble we went through..but right now I'd say this poor little boy is messed up and really needs help and I think belongs with you and your husband except.the molesting part is definitely a problem...even at that age i don't think I'd want him in my house..This is a terrible quandry for you all.
Thank you for the words of encouragement Jim. All I have ever wanted to do was help but it backfired right in my face and all I can think of now is to just leave it alone. If my husband wants a relationship with him, I'm all for that and encourage it. I, on the other hand, will stay as far away as possible until all of this is behind us. I don't know how long that will take, but for my own protection, I am not going to pursue anything with him anymore. I've done all I can and can say that with a clear conscience. That may change down the road, but for now, that is how it's going to be.
Thank you Jim and everyone else for the comments and advice. I sincerely hope his mother can come to realize that he needs help and does that for him, although I don't think she will. She immediately goes into defense mode any time my husband tries to approach her about his concerns, so I highly doubt she will take anything either one of us says seriously. It's just sad and irritates me to no end.
sounds much like my ex with my stepson and one of our own kids..I took them to all their counseling appointments (even when I wasn't living at home anymore) and was expected to discuss family home situations which of course I couldn't. My ex refused to go and rarely if ever asked me how things went. Wouldn't listen to me when I talked of problems..our own son suffered depression and needed help. my stepson refused to take any meds. Our own son's issues continued until his death 2 years ago despite our attempts to get him in counseling and on meds (which I would have gladly paid for)...he ultimately drank himself to death.
My ex refused to face the fact that she could be part of the problem, though I worked hard to fix my part...
Sometimes you can do the best you can do and then, pray to God to pick up where we fail. Unfortunately this little boy has a hard life ahead for him if he doesnt get help. Altho I understand your situation, but the Mom and/or the Dad need to be getting this kid some help. If Mom wont do it then maybe dad could have it done by court order? I cannot help but feel sorry for him because the world will not be kind and if he does not get help now, he is doomed to fail. Its just sad and it sounds like in his zest to please his mom and get her to love him, he will say anything she wants to hear. And sadly that is normal too.
I agree, he's going to have a rough life ahead of him. That is for sure! We did our best and tried so hard and it feels like it was all for nothing. I'm hoping that one day that light bulb will go off and he'll realize that we only had his best interest at heart. I, too, feel sorry for him.
With the birth mother not implementing any structure within the home, and her readiness to pawn the child off on anyone who would take him.... there is not telling what kind of dysfunction was actually taking place. Even some of the youngest of children are so receptive. There really is no telling what kind of inappropriate behavior has taken place with this child (in reference to the inappropriate touching) and without the guidance/structure and who knows what kind of supervison, a child could easily assume things like this are appropriate.
So, so tragic of a situation. As much as this child needs some professional attention, the birth mother could probably use a tune-up as well.
There is a woman in our community that had a child with birth defects. All of them could be attributed to the behavior this woman exhibited during the pregnancy...... drinking frequently, smoking chronically. The kid is a great kid, slower than the rest of the group in every aspect of the word, and it was all probably avoidable. What I was getting to here was, this woman has somehow played on everyone's heart strings and they all think she is a perpetual runner up for "Mother of the Year". This kid is constantly left with other adults, and in this case, its a blessing. His home life sux so bad, lacks so much....anything would almost be better than what he is recieving. Local authorities are completely buffaloed by this woman and her sob story, partially because her ex-husband is such a wreck. The authorities assume she is doing the best she can with what she has, where as the people that know her know otherwise.
I guess I said that to say this, the authorities should somehow be contacted. Child Protective Services or maybe the Department of Welfare, they can conduct some kind of intervention or something. Something has to be done on behalf of this kid. I'd suggest you talk with your husband and have him make some kind of move. I can maybe understand his reluctance, but at the very least he owes this child that.
I wish you guys good luck with this situation. Be there for your own kids, and be there for your husband.
Omg!! I'm in almost the same boat except my ss mom is very much in his life. She is wonderful. My daughter just told me my ss touched her in horrible ways. He is 15 and she is 10. I am about to get in my car and go to my parents
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