my step son hates me

gigglingbabyblueJune 10, 2011

I have a 9 year old SS. I have been with his dad since July of '08. His mom left him with a neighbor a week before his 4th birthday to go on a drug binge and didn't come back. I am the first woman in his life since and he is disrespectful, rude and down right mean sometimes. Only when I try to discipline him or he doesn't get his way. Otherwise, he is a loving child. He told me today and has told me on several other occasions he doesn't want me to be his mom, never has, he hates me and doesn't want me here. This is the 3rd time he has said this to me this week. Each time was due to not getting his way. His dad is out of town, but even when he is here and I tell him he needs to teach him not to disrespect me he tells me I need to be the one to teach him not to disrespect me. When I try it drives a wedge between me and my SS. I am to the point of shutting down completely, feeling like I can't reach this child and even told him today if he felt that way then he should stop calling me mom. Probably, not the right response but I am at a loss on what to do. Driven to tears, please help.

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Oh I forgot to add I have told my DH that even though I love SS enough to discipline him. He doesn't know that I love him enough and obviously doesn't love me enough. He also uses SS's distrust of women as an excuse for his behavior.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:17AM
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Also, I worked really hard to gain his love and trust. In the beginning he wouldn't let me near him. Now he calls me mom, gives hugs and kisses, lets me hold him, and has told me he loves me. But I really believe the discipline is becoming a real problem. Should I completely stop asking anything of him and disciplining him and tell DH he has to deal with it because I no longer will? And what about when DH is not here?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:25AM
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Make it DH's problem. If SS is going to be rude and disrespectful then too bad, so sad, you're no longer available to babysit while DH is away. Otherwise DH needs to work on convincing SS to behave.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 9:59AM
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Gigglingbabyblue, I'm sorry to hear this. Is your SS in counseling? It sounds like it could be most useful.

Does this happen mostly/always when his Dad is away? I've noticed my SS acts up more often when DH is not home, especially if it's unexpected/unplanned (DH is called in to work last minute or something). I very much doubt that he hates you; he may be trying to manipulate you and make you feel badly enough to let him out of punishment, he may be upset and scared and lashing out, he may be testing you - but I doubt that he means a word he says if he's loving the rest of the time. Please remember that even bio-kids apparently will sometimes tell their parents that they hate them, even at that age!

I just read a book "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" that says to acknowledge the child's feelings - so in this case, something like calmly saying "You are really angry right now" would be the way to start. It sounded weird to be almost repeating back to SS what he'd just said - but it actually worked pretty much like the book said it would. Even some adults are not very good at expressing feelings of anger or unhappiness in a productive way so why should we expect kids to be able to? (Ever get in a fight with DH and want to say "Well, maybe I shouldn't have married you then!" Do you really mean it? Or are you just angry and frustrated?)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:30PM
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Mattie - I read that book too -- Great book! I also am reading another one I can't remember the author but it's 'you're not the boss of me'. It's toddler up to pre teen age and I think it really hits home with my 10 yr old.

My kids always tell me I'm mean and they don't like me.. I repeat it with 'I know you don't like me right now and that's Ok, I'll always love you and that's why I want you to be responsible and go clean your room/get good grades/ take a bath' usually my daughter sulks and pouts but come around.

I think counseling for your SS is a great idea because the kid is at an age where he is possibly feeling a bit of rejection knowing mom isn't and hasn't been around and you just happen to be an easy target.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 4:03PM
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Thanks, myfam! I've just ordered that one too. :-)

I think especially with kids who are already going through a lot (my SS, your DD, GBB's SS) it's important to learn different approaches for communicating. The old-fashioned ways aren't always appropriate anymore, I think. Maybe they were fine for kids with SAHM, Dad who worked one 9-5 job with clockwork promotions for his whole life, the picket fence, the dogs and the station wagon - but that's not what these kids have.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:36PM
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I can't wait to have a picket fence ... But I'll pass on the SAHM... Lol I give major kudos to SAHM's I stayed home with DD and that was great -- I was also 20-24 years old... I stayed home with DS and DD 5 days for bad weather closings and I could NOT wait to go to work.. Some people look down on me because I say I like working out of the home because I enjoy my kids and DH more when we've had time to be apart from each other... But I think I'm just old and tired... And my kids are bad... Lol!!

Off topic.. Anyway - great book, enjoy!

I want to make sure I'm not an 'enabler' to dd because I try to over compensate for BD's mistakes so I've really had to readjust my mind when it comes to dd. I have to speak to her differently than I would if she were 'normal' because she has become so sensitive to criticism and thinks anything 'against' her is just that AGAINST her.. I have to make sure and not let her use her situation with bd to manipulate me... It's hard to see through but DH can be objective and privately he points it out if I am not noticing it. I already praise her but sometimes I have to make sure I give her a little extra just at the right times. I've failed miserably many times at this but practice makes perfect. My efforts won't ever be praised and I don't think I'll get a pat on the back but if DD grows up to be a social, loving, caring, respectful, generous, baggage-free young lady, that is all the pat on the back I need.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:31PM
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"Make it DH's problem. If SS is going to be rude and disrespectful then too bad, so sad, you're no longer available to babysit while DH is away. Otherwise DH needs to work on convincing SS to behave."

It is impossible to "babysit" your own children and I don't feel like he is anything less. DH leaves on work related business about once a month or so. He just got back from Chile yesterday and this morning we had a talk about it. We are fixing to take SS out for ice cream to discuss the situation. Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 12:52PM
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No SS is not in counseling. We have talked about him needing it. Yes it mostly happens when Dad is away. I have 3 children of my own. None of them disrespect me the way he does. You may be right that he doesn't really hate me but, he resents me trying to parent him. And this week he has made a point to stop giving me any affection at all and has gone out of his way to even point it out (not like he needed to). Thanks so much for the advise. :) I feel better just getting it out.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 1:37PM
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GBB, I don't know if it's even that he resents you trying to parent him, because it would be more logical that it happen all the time - not just mostly when Dad is away. Poor kid is probably terrified that his BM left, now Dad is gone... is he really going to come back? What if you leave too? The pressure of waiting is too much, and maybe he figures he's just going to force the issue and behave badly so you leave too and it's all over with (like people who settle a lawsuit that they have a good chance of winning because the strain of the whole thing dragging out becomes too much for them). Plus, if he acts badly he gets Dad's attention when he does come back (going out for ice cream).

Wish I had a magic answer for you. DH went on a week-long business trip last summer and SS veered wildly between overly-clingy and loving to me and just horrible out of character bad behavior. I don't have three other kids to take care of on top of it like you do, and I was a wreck by the time DH got back. It was completely mentally and emotionally draining. (Since it was summer, I spent one entire week with a child who literally would not leave my side from 8 AM to 9 PM - either clinging and saying "I love you, I love you" almost non-stop, or screaming and having actual temper tantrums.)

Does DH have internet access on his trips? Can you Skype or maybe have SS and/or DH create videos (with a webcam) to email to each other? Phone calls are good but video seemed to be even better. Maybe DH could write a note for each day before he goes to give to SS each morning that he's gone? Ask SS what would make him feel more secure; at nine he might be able to answer. But DH also has to let him know that no matter how worried he is it is not acceptable to say these things to you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 8:40AM
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Thanks so much for all the advise. Love the idea of Skype. Sorry to hear I am not the only one dealing with these issues. Come to find out he really doesn't hate me, lol. He just doesn't like me very much when he isn't getting his way and he resented that when I came into the picture he suddenly had something he never had before....CHORES. DH explained to him that was an age thing not a mom coming into the picture thing. Although it seemed that way. There was a truce issued after dad explained his behavior was not going to be tolerated, followed by hugs. I sat him on my lap and told him no matter what I would always love him even when I didn't like him very much either and that I promised I would not go anywhere. Just in case that was part of the issue. Maybe he doesn't trust me and thinks I will only leave to. Things have been very calm the last few days. We will see.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 12:50PM
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