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20044847 tn?1539205032

Struggling with my 10 year old DEFIANT step son

I am not even sure where to begin. Ever since I stepped into my stepsons life (5 years ago) I have known that something was a little different. He is very well mannered, super smart. school comes easy. But, he is not all good and glory. Since he was 6 years old, he has been lying, stealing, manipulating. He never steals from me and my husband, but constantly steals from his bio mom. He recently stole a large pocket knife from her, then lied to her and told her he didn't do it. When questioned by me, he admitted he took it. We had a long conversation about it last night and I reminded him before school this morning to be on his best behavior. I called his teacher to find out how his day went, and he got TWO think time slips today. 1 for threatening to fight another classmate and the other for disrupting and being defiant during class. He is also extremely bossy to other children. If it's not his way, he doesn't want to be involved. He doesn't have hardly any friends because he is such a bully. His teacher told me earlier this year that he is very concerned about his behavior (as we are too). We took him to see a Neurologist last year and they told us they think he might have Conduct Disorder. So I started following a Facebook page for children with Conduct Disorder. And I am certain he does not have this. These kids are all so aweful and physically abusive. He has never acted the way some of these parents say their child acts. So, we got him into a Psychologist who is going brain scans and all day testing stuff on him to see what is going on. In the mean time, it seems that he has gotten worse.
When he was growing up, his mother was with a different boyfriend every month and they moved a lot. Dad was absent for about a year when he was a baby but now actively in the picture. His bio mom sees him about once a week and acts like she wants nothing to do with him. But my stepson doesn't like going to her house because of her husband. We have full custody (not through courts). This is only one of the things I can think of at the moment, but it has been a constant struggle for the past 5 years. We have tried every consequence, good and bad, and he does not change. When we were talking about him stealing the knife, I asked him if something in the back of his head was telling him it wasn't a good idea to take it because he could get in trouble and he told me no. I have asked this question in several different formats over the last 5 years and he always answers no. Once he gets caught, he cried and says he feels bad. However I think its BS and he doesn't feel bad, hes pissed because he got caught.
PLEASE, SOMEONE HELP ME. I need advise. I need anything I can do to help me.
3 Responses
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
First, I can tell the level of concern by the length of your post.  And given the fact that you are seeking professional help....it also shows how important this is to you.

Ok, lets assume, just for a second that he is just a normal very sharp kid who has gone through a bit of trauma.  Intelligent kids quickly learn how to manipulate the system.  And when you stepped into the game (at a pretty young age according to your profile), you and your hubby didn't have the experience to deal with this.  No blame on you.  I have seen lots of posts from people much older with the same problem.

When you said, "We have tried every consequence, good and bad, and he does not change."  That is part of the problem.  Smart kids very quickly learn that the best way to avoid consequences is to pretend they don't work.  So the parents try something else and something else and something else.  And the child keeps doing the same old thing.  Also, and more importantly, for any consequence to work it has to be consistently and immediately repeated, and repeated, and repeated.  Experts say it can take up to three weeks for the child to realize that you mean it.  For example, taking away his legos is ineffective.   "out of sight, out of mind".   Its much better to take him away from playing with them (a timeout), and then return him to them.  You can only take the legos away once.  You can remove him many times.
There are some very good books that go into much more detail then what I just said.  They are all very good.  You can easily check out the reviews on Amazon.
         the books are:  "SOS Help for Parents," by Lynn Clark  
  One, Two, Three, Magic by Dr. Phelan
Love and logic by fay and cline

Now, I said, lets assume he is normal.   If he does have medical condition, then things do change.   The over all logic of the books above is still good, but they need to be tweaked according to the condition.   I agree with you that Conduct Disorder is not probably  his problem.  I am also the CL on the adhd forum, and he certainly does show symptoms of inattentive adhd.  It will be interesting to see what the psychologist has to say.   But, inattentive adhd or add is often hard to diagnose.   Here are two links on add that you might find interesting.
          https://www.additudemag.com/inattentive-adhd-in-kids/?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=February
   https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/symptoms-of-inattentive-adhd/

   The main thing is that if the problem can be identified, then there are ways to deal with it.   Hopefully, some of the info I have given you will help.   Let us know what the psyc says and I can find resources to help you.   Best wishes.
1 Comments
I know it has been a long time, but the Psychologist has diagnosed him with Level One Autism with Despressive Disorder. I have been very accepting of this diagnosis. I mentioned Autism to my husbands family when he was about 5 and they all thought I was crazy and hated me for saying it.
We are on 7 waiting lists for ABA thereapy currently.
13167 tn?1327194124
I agree with SandMan,  but I'd also like to offer that your stepson is likely traumatized.    Google "Parenting the Traumatized Child" and I think you'll find some really helpful information there.  His need to always be in control of others,  his quick escalations,  stealing from his mother are classic symptoms.  A child's first need is physical safety,  and in his early childhood it doesn't sound like he spent much time feeling safe,  so his brain is stuck, and is hyper vigilant just trying to make sure he's safe.  When you're having him tested,  look into trauma based therapy.  

Best wishes.  
973741 tn?1342342773
Wow, I am so appreciative of your coming back with an update.  Advocating for our kids can be daunting but it sounds like you did a great job!  Keep us updated.  

What is going on now with him?  Why did they finally take action to diagnose him?
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