help please

saramommaMay 3, 2009

I am at my wits end. I have a 12 yo SS, he moved in with us in December 08. Before that we had visitation about half the year. SS's BM did a number on him, let his stepbrother bully him, never checked school work, etc. So here we are, he is with us because she could not "handle him" anymore. Since he has gotten here all he has doen is disrupt. HE bullies our 5yo son, my husband doesn't do anything about it, instead turns on me saying i yell at SS too much. He is failing school because he lies to me about work, and when I try to check it he says it is at school already done, and dad does nothing about it. (yes it is on me to help him with school) he has scary meltdowns, where he lashes out. We have hired a tutor for him to help him in school, we have him in counseling, and nothing is helping. I tell my husband we may not be equipped to get him the help he needs (there is suspicion that abuse happened at his BMs house, counselor and child services, but nothing concrete to act on) I have been in SS's life sonce he was 2 and watched helplessly as his BM destroyed the loving, caring smart child, and turned him into a monster. This really goes beyond normal 12 yo behavior. I am out of ideas, out of patience, and want so desparately to help him but everything i try gets flung back at me and i am just hopeless now. Has anyone encountered this, what diod you do? any ideas PLEASE!!!!

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I should add BM finally let him come live with us when we agreed to keep paying child support. Her main concern has been the loss of that money, but as long as she was still getting it he could live with us... When he used to ask her before to let him come live with us, she would tell him she would lose her house if he left...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 10:41AM
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I definitely think it's time to get as many people and resources involved as possible. Does your SS see a counselor? Has he been diagnosed with any sort of behavioral disorder, like Oppositional Definant Disorder, or ADHD, etc?

Get the school involved. Get him into counseling.

And, really, your DH needs to take control of this situation. HE needs to be as active as can be in the care of his son. There needs to be a team approach. And by team, I mean DH, you, teachers, counselor, etc.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 12:29PM
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The key is going to be DH's involvement. If he isn't going to work on a solution to the problem (or if he can't even see a problem) then there was no point in letting him come live with you... you should have left him with his mother.

If you take the child's POV, his mom is more concerned with losing the income than doing the right thing for him. She hasn't disciplined him or taught him how to behave. Dad is not really equipped to handle him either, going from EOW to all the time. Dad needs to see the problem (and obviously there IS a problem if BM just gave him over because she couldn't handle him) and dad needs to want to find a solution. You can't do that alone, it's HIS child. He also needs to think about your younger child... he does not need to be subjected to abuse of any sort!

The lying about schoolwork... I think that's normal for his age. My SD is 10 and does that... says it's done, I turned it in, it's at school, etc. I have just taken the approach of checking it daily online and if there was no online, her teacher would get a call from me daily. I call the school at least once a week or once every two weeks if assignments are missing. I'll go down to the school if it doesn't improve. It would be good to get the school involved as well as a tutor and counselor. He may be having some abandonment issues if he feels his mom tossed him away when he might have been acting up to get her attention. Kids want to know they are loved unconditionally, even when they are being crappy. That's how they end up feeling secure. I think a lot of it is testing the boundaries.

But the main thing is getting your DH on board to help his son. He is not doing him any favors if he just thinks removing him from one bad situation and putting him in another is going to fix everything. (and it IS a bad situation if your husband is not parenting him!)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 12:47PM
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If there is a court order, I would encourage your DH to put the new arrangement into writing.... as an agreement. When my SD's mom ran off with a BF, I wrote up the terms as an agreement and she signed it... he can even include that he won't come after her for child support (that's unenforceable) and once it's filed with the court, it becomes a new order. If she changes her mind later on, she will have to prove more to get custody back. and once you have it in a new order, I would stop sending her the child support.

Basically, she is selling her son by letting dad have him as long as she keeps getting the money. That kinda pisses me off... as a mom.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 12:52PM
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It pisses me off too imamommy. We do have it in writing, BM insisted it be drafted as "temporary" even though he has insisited since he came that he is not going back. Funny thing about that is she did have that put in about we would never go after her for child support. In the state she is in (which is where the custody etc was decided), after 6 months of him living with us it automatically switches.

Now as for school, we have the teachers involved, counselors etc. I am really of the mindset at this point with all that has been done that we just are not equipped. I WILL NOT allow SS to do to his little brother what was dne to him. DOes anyone have experience with camps that focus on destructive behavior and teaching accountability? He has such a victim mentality, which i understand, but i also realize we need to help him adjust his mindset and help him.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:20AM
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Sara - Have you looked for books on bullying? Because you do seem to realize that even though it's SS who now IS the bully, it's only 'Stage 2' of the bullying cycle, which began with him on the receiving end. Surely that cycle can be interrupted, and there have got to be numerous books or Internet articles about how.

Maybe the school counselor could help? Surely she would be highly motivated to do so --

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:57AM
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I don't know of any camps like you are looking for. Usually parents take care of that sort of thing. Nothing you have put in writing here so far, has indicated to me at least, that he should be sent away again, to another place.
It sounds like he is testing boundaries and seeing what he can get away with at dad's, because from what you say, mom has done very little parenting. You and your dh have to stick together and be consistent with him, that is what he needs and really what he is looking for.
Use the resources you already have, ie school teachers, counselors, etc to go from where you are. Sending him away is what he is expecting.
What exactly is the behavior problem or problems for why you want to send him away?? Just the bullying? That is a behavior that can be fixed. Ask the school to help. If he is in counseling ask there too.
You say you want him more accountable, and yet you are saying that it is on you to help him with school work. No it isn't. It is on him. Just make sure he knows what the consequences of failing school are, and the rest is up to him. Unless he has some sort of learning disability, then the old homework battle is not one worth fighting IMO. How are his standardized test scores? Do they indicate a problem? What do his teachers say?
What makes you think that his dad and you are not "equipped" to handle him too?? You want to know a great way to become more equipped? Read. Find books, go online, and find out what you can. Make sure his dad is right there with you. Does him no good if his dad isn't on the same page.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:40AM
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he has violent outbursts, threatens suicide, tries to hurt himself (had a loft bed, which we had to take away because he jumped off repeatedly to try to hurt himself). We have him in counselng at school and out of school. HE is almost definitely depressed, counselor wants more time to truly say that. It SCARES me because we have the 5 yo and a 2 yo.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:42PM
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he needs psychaitric evulation. sign him up. don't send him to camp, those are often awful abusive places.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 12:27AM
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thanks all

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 11:01AM
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Well, again going to have to agree with FD. After being able to read that he is such a threat to himself and others, the best thing to do is ask for a Psych Eval. Not sure why his counselor hasn't done this already. Might want to find that out.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 11:15AM
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"Basically, she is selling her son by letting dad have him as long as she keeps getting the money. That kinda pisses me off... as a mom."

And we wonder why the poor guy has issues! What a twat!

"he needs psychaitric evulation. sign him up. don't send him to camp, those are often awful abusive places."

Ditto. Camp isn't going to help. It may even make it worse. He may already feel no one wants him thanks to Bio B****.

Protect your children. Bullying or hitting a child THAT much younger than him is NOT OK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! Make sure hubby understand this loud and clear and sets clear boundaries and consequences for this. It's sad your SS has issues but you don't want your kids growing up with them either.

Do all you can to help SS theough this but take no excuses for mistreatment of the other children in the household.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 11:45AM
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