Losing it! Step Son w/ ODD-like behavior; Father in La La Land
First of all, let me just say thanks to each of you who have posted or responded. It was/ is so REFRESHING to read that I'm not the only person who is severely disturbed and whose marital relationship is in DEEP turmoil over issues relating to a difficult child, in my case my step son, and a less than attentive father.
I met my husband about 10 years ago. We started dating 8 years ago and got married about 2 years ago. He has a son from a previous marriage who, when my husband and I started dating, was 5 years old. His son, my step-son, is now 12.
From Day 1, my step-son has been a challenge- both to his father and I and to our relationship- he is a defiant "why" and "no" kind of kid- but to a extreme. It took years for him to even treat me civilly. It's not all due to his behavior, his biological mother set a HORRID example by talking to him about her dislike for me (which was unfounded, she just wanted someone to be an enemy I guess). He has told me the following in the past:
-She made up songs about me which she and he would sing when they'd pass my former house such as "(insert name) is a dum dum";
-told him "she didn't like me", etc.
- told him I was mean, a bad person, etc.
These types of things he only opened up and told me after a couple of years when he started to "like" me a bit... but there was always a tinge with it... like he knew it would upset me and wanted to see my reaction to him telling me.
In the earlier years, his behavior wasn't the focus of my concerns- his anger or disdain for me was. This is primarily because I left ALL the instruction and instructional parenting up to his father; since the step son seemed to "hate" me (seriously, he hated me), I knew that telling him what to do would only set off an eruption and take away from the matter at hand. I would always respond by acting like I thought my grandmother would in that situation, showing no anger or emotion, just kindly saying "you're mother's nice", "I don't dislike your mother", etc. He would often tell me if his mom went on any trips or got a new gadget, etc. - almost as if he wanted to make me jealous. I would always be uncomfortable at his need to tell me these things the inside but would show happiness outwardly and say "that's wonderful!", etc.
In recent years, we have bonded much beyond those days but it is more like a relationship where he tolerates me- is nice when he gets what he wants, etc. I cook well, am always eager to bake things for him and am generally fun, encouraging fun family activities and such- so this is why I think he began to tolerate me.
But now, since he's began to finally accept instruction from me (after 7 years!!!!!!) his explosive outburst and irate behavior at being asked to do most anything is truly taking the forefront. Clean your room? Explosion- and he's likely to not do it. When and if he does do it, it's such a poor job that it's almost an insult. Where' his father at on this? Well, he doesn't even check the room (EVER) to see if he did it.... and doesn't enforce it when he doesn't.
This is just one tiny example bringing me to my current concern. My step-son's Dad, my husband, has very POOR parenting skills- I'm no longer in denial of this. My husband cares, he really does, but I think he fears his sons outbursts and doesn't know HIS ROLE as a father.
My step son does not regularly, if ever, clean his room. When asked to take his cleaned and folded clothes upstairs... well, they are still there 4 weeks after I asked him to and asked his father to back me up on this. He gets bad grades? Well... don't say anything about it or he'll FREAK OUT and cry, throw a tantrum that lasts hours, etc. until our focus is off of whatever the original issue was and now onto COMFORTING him. Sick & need to take your medicine... well, total outburst until his father, my husband, decides it's better if he doesn't. This INFURIATES me! What example are we setting?
It's clear he has his father wrapped around his finger. Just this week, the medicine thing happened and after making the 12 yr old take it one night after an hour of screaming, crying, "i hate you", "i don't like you", "i would rather die"... the next am his father just doesn't bring medicine up.
All this concerns me because I consistently try to set a regular "tidy up your room at the end of the week", "did you do your homework before beginning to play video games", "have you had a shower today and brushed your teeth"... and "you can't just eat chocolate"... "don't throw a tantrum", etc.... yet i'm only met with an inactive and non-reinforcing Dad.
This has HORRIBLY affected my relationship with my husband. Now, it seems ofttimes I feel as if I don't "like" him or my step son. I avoid being home. I avoid even trying to give instruction and guidance (even though the father gives none) because I know it'll only not be reinforced by dad or be renegged upon by a father who doesn't want to stand up to the tantrums.
I'm certain it's time for couples or family counseling, but to be honest- I'm ready to give up. My husband and I don't see eye to eye on any of this. He sides with his son nearly every time. With the medicine he said "well, he shouldn't take a pill that big" even though it was ok'ed by the doc's and the package said it was appropriate for his age. He also admitted he didn't want to deal with another outburst.
I've lost respect for my husband and generally feel uncomfortable around my manipulative, spoiled and bratty step-son. I feel like nothing is going to change. Years ago I said to my husband, "if we don't get him in line now, how do you think he'll behave when he's a pre-teen?" Well, now he's a pre-teen and it's worse than ever.
My trust for my husbands parenting skills is so lost that I don't even want to have children of mine own with him. Again, my husband sides with his tantrum-throwing, manipulative 12 year old and even acuses me of of being too harsh.
Might I add, the kid does NO chores. Doesn't help with anything- and acts absolutely blown away if he's asked- and rarely will actually do it.
WHAT DO I DO? Counseling is the next step, I know... but I feel it'll just be futile.
I'm tired of feeling like an instructor whose ignored, I'm tired of watching this train wreck... and I just want to finally be happy.
Well, sorry to hear you are having a rough time. The ONLY hope you have is therapy.
A mother teaching her child to hate and encouraging bad behavior and a father that is zoning-out and enabling his child.....a mix for disaster. They need to seek help in regards to their parenting skills.
You need to disengage and LET them parent their responsibility; THEIR child. You can support your husband, but I wouldn't recommend taking on his role parenting HIS son.
God bless you girl, and me, because I'm heading down the same path,my bf has 4 kids with his ex, and all they know about me is that daddy doesn't want to take them in vacations every long weekend because I don't let him,that he can't see them because I forbid him, and that my name is miss whor.e, I would recommended therapy including his mother, God bless you <3
So sorry that his kids are taught that. Sounds like your not married too him yet? Not sure? But..... I was given advice by someone before I got married.......KEEP IT BETWEEN YOU AND HIM. Words to live by, but hate to say it didn't happen. I often tell my husband I wanted to marry you, I fell in love with you. It don't help. I have kids myself but I'm at the age I want alone time with him. Our kids are in there late to early 20's and its more of a problem now than then. Good Luck
My best friend is going through your exact difficulties. Let's call the couple Jack and Jill.
Jill has been with Jack for 6 years and Jack is always taking his child's side and yelling back and Jill regarding her behaviour and inability to accept his daughter's behaviour. Jack's child is also 12 and up to bat for becoming a pre-teen. Jack's 12 year old child has been removed from her mother's home and currently lives with her dad and Jill. The mother has moved on having no role in the child's life. The story goes so deep it would take forever to explain the similarities here.
Ok, so what to do? I have suggested family counselling, leaving, extreme cases of discipline, arguing back, constructive family talks done on paper (for those who struggle with verbalizing emotions), and punishment such as taking away belongings. Nothing helped, in fact it made things for Jill worse. Any blended family understands the torture that is involved with playing the role of a step-parent.
So, my only suggestion I have for you is TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.
1. You go to counselling and learn how to deal with yourself when you are put in these unpredictable stages, when dealing with the husband and his child.
2. You need to leave the room when it becomes too uncomfortable for you. Seek help for yourself.
3. LEAD by example. Stop yelling back (if you do yell at the pre-teen) stop arguing with the relentless kid, just smile and let the father deal with it. Remember as much as you are part of this family, you need to put yourself first and stop all conflict with both husband and his child.
4. Be supportive and listen, do not judge. You are not his mother, nor his parent. You are not to be held responsible for his actions. Not yet at least.
5. Demand respect.
PS: no matter what job you take on you will always start at the bottom and work your way up. You have to earn your strips as a step-parent, there will be a lot of hoops to jump through but just keep the emotion line open with your husband and make sure you have each other's back when on the field. Lead by example....the child is still young enough to want to learn.
Well step parenting is probally the hardes thing that I every had to deal with. It something that never goes away. We have two choices leave or deal with it. And I hate to say this, but it doesn't get any easier the older they get. It's been worst, mine have become more needy completly helpless. It drives me crazy. I thought ok they all left the nest now my husband and I can just enjoyed each other. Cook on Sundays have all the kids come for lunch, maybe deal with a problem or two during the week. Well it hasn't been quite like I expected. Almost every night someone needs something, and there he goes. We live separate because for me it got that bad. So my alone time with him dependes on what his kids needs are for the week. I usually fit in on Wed,or Thurs. Just depends. It drives me crazy. My husband can't even tell his almost 23 yr old daughter that he's taking me out for dinner, because she wants to come. AND get's mad. It ***** so bad. Sorry to disappoint you if you had dreams that when they get older it gets better. Well honey it didn't happen for me.
Sweetheart, I've been there. You're trying to battle all of them and make it into a situation it is never going to be. However, you CAN make yourself happy. You can't control them. You CAN get your partner to listen though. Take a step back and look at his point of view. He's trying to keep his kid happy the only way he knows how. (Repeat to yourself - men are stupid) Sit him down and say 'this must be awful for you, feeling so stuck in the middle' (he's now receptive to what you're saying because it makes him feel better) 'I'm trying to make things better, but I need your help' (making your point in a roundabout way. You don't need help. He does!). Explain the consequences of letting a child rule the home - it'll only get worse. But with your partners help you can all be happy (paint a verbal picture of happiness - let him see the goal in his head - men are very visual). Basically, let your partner think he is helping and taking control, which will have happy consequences. Because it will! As far as the child is concerned... honey I'm dealing with a 10 year old SS with ADHD myself. Everything they do p1sses you off. However, I've had good results by having my own goals. Such as resolving not to say or think anything negative about him for a whole week. It's not burying the problem, you're re-tuning yourself into someone happier. If he hasn't brushed his teeth/tidied his room/deliberately soiled himself (oh yes, I'm in THAT situation) you calmly let the father know there is 'a problem and can sort it please, thanks'. It will irritate you no end to say please and thank you to a parent who isn't parenting, but you are the better person, and it really does work! You are training them both for a more harmonious life. When the boy does something bad - ignore it. Any attention, good or bad reinforces more of that behaviour. And by learning to ignore it, you are also 'tuning out', and as a bonus you appear calm, in control and happy - a great example. Likewise, if he does something good (both child and parent!) reward, reward, reward! A smile, a treat, a hug, whatever you can muster. Everything I have written is something I've been doing for 6 months of a 4 year turmoil and it works. The results are not instant, but very close! It's completely up to you to take away waht you want from this, but I hope it helps. Remember - tune out, take of you - you are the most important person in your life.
Yes your situation is definitely not easy. I am going through the same situation you are.
My husband, 41 years old and myself, 23years old just got married 9 month ago. The day I met my husband i knew he was my soul mate. He has 2 kids from two previous marriages, a 11years old girl and a 7 years old boy. Before i moved in with my husband 3 months ago, never did I expect having to fear his 7 years old ODD boy. It is very disappointing and like you my husband isn't the best model for his son. If my stepson does something wrong by example hitting me or his sister or just hanging around with a laser in his hands around the house pointing it at everything that moves it doesn't matter for my husband. As long as his son is happy my husband does everything to avoid any conflicts leading to long tantrums. Having him 50% of the time really doesn't help. His mum has parental issues too, gives him everything never says no and even let's him sleep in her bed... This is not doing any good for the kid nor is it doing any good for my marriage. Because of him mainly, my husband Amd I get into conflict. It's already hard enough to be the 3rd wife and having to live with my husbands huge baggage. Now his son is saying he hates it here since I tried to include some house rules in his life. I don't know how to deal with this situation. After only 8 month of marriage and 3 month living in my husbands house im loosing it. I don't know what to do. My options would be counseling or divorcing which I really don't expect to happen I love my husband to much for that. I'm just desperate and fed up of the lack of respect in this household... Sorry I just had to get my story out there.. I feel good knowing I'm not tge only one living that.. Good luck to you!
I just don't know what to do anymore I'm being beaton by my step son he as strangled me he as kicked me pounched hair pulled. All coz I'm the one that tell him do ur room clean ur teeth have a bath. He tells me he hate me calls me the most nastyest names ever he wished my baby dead when I was pregnant he would leave things in the way hopping I would foll over. Please if there is anyone out there that can help me please. As I'm depressed sad angry my head is f**k. Thanks. Kelly
I have a 7 year old step son for 2.5 years now & he is so manipulative although his father excuses this saying how hard the sitiation is for his son. I feel there is no excuse & excusing it is just going to make things worse in the long term.
we now have a 20 month old who he continually tries to teach to be naughty so he can act innocent & blame him. He interups & moves in on any conversation or moment me & his father is having so while he is here we get no time together. He messes up the house, won't respect any rules of keeping tidy & won't even acknowledge I even exsist. I worry he is destroying my 20 month old by sneakily teaching him how to hit etc.
He plays video games continually & expects his father to download, fix, read anything to do with it continually, demanding he come help him instantly, calling "dad, dad, dad" continually at the top of his voice. strangely his father runs at all his beck & calls yet often ignores me if I need or call him. If my husband is helping me with something or is spending time with our son he will call or do something to make sure he takes the attention from us away & put back on him.
His mum hates me & he has told me they tease me or say unkind things about me when he is with his mum. He has told her lies about me to her & she tells him that I take his dad away from him & his new brother. My husband & his ex wife were separated well before I met my husband... because she was having affairs etc.
My step son is 7 now & I am so frightened he will only get worse with age as I am shocked how manipulative he can be & it has already escalated in the 2.5 years we have been together :(
I would suggest seriously thinking about getting out before you are trapped in a life of misery like me. Your stepson will never fully respect you especially given his mother!s attitude. Your own son will suffer and you will end up losing control and not being able to raise him to your standard because of the conniving and manipulative 'role model' he will fall prey to in his older stepbrother. Your husband won't give you the respect and appreciation you deserve. You will waste so much time trying so hard to please them. And in return you will receive emptiness and a little fake gratitude from time to time. You will suffer emotionally, mentally and possibly physically.
I am broken now and yet all I did was try to please everyone ALL the time...
I am so sorry you are in this horrible situation and from your story, it sounds like you have handed it very well. Better than i ever would. I do not have advice from experience but it sounds like this child needs behavior counseling and maybe some sort of mood stabilizer tho from your story i doubt he would comply. He needs tough love from an outside source to show him its not just you, its his behavior that needs to change or he will not succeed in this world. Your husband needs parenting therapy. But it sounds like he wouldn't comply either. Between having a horrible influence in his mom and having no influence from dad, it sounds like a losing battle. If you cant imagine having your own child with this man, i think its time to close this difficult chapter in your life. I hope you have the strength to do whats right for you. Maybe in losing you and your guidance, his father will get a reality check and put on his big boy pants and address the situation. Again im sorry for you and am really impressed by the way ypu have conducted yourself in this whole thing. Kudos
I ready your advice of April 2012 to tired & weary concerning her stepson.
Yes, I agree disengage and leave the room or better yet leave the home. Demand REspect??? What happens when you demand all the respect you want, but it is not forthcoming. It never happens, and your partner does not see that you are respected. Basically, that is a situation one can not live in forever. Resentment builds toward the s/s and his parent.
What happens when the s/s is allowed to keep telling you "why don't you move out, why don't you go visit your kids, why don't you just leave? We were fine the last time you were gone! It goes on and on, and kid never shuts his mouth, Never. It is like a Bad song that keeps replaying itself. Grind-Grind-Grind. One only has so many places to disengage to, in order to escape the intolerable situation.
The bio parent is incapable of parenting and refuses to parent, one is in a no-win situation, worse case it is even not a situation where one can find compromise to gain a solution.
This is my living Hell. The solution is for me to find a place of my own on the low income list. I wonder how my partner did such a great job in the two years we courted to hide the facts concerning his child's lack of behavior. The child's now a 16 year old problems go back to age 8. A long time before I ever knew any one in this family.
If only one side of the coin changes and compromises, that is not a solution. One can only compromise so long.
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