Step mom needs help!

stepmamaneedshelpJuly 2, 2009

I have a 10 year old step son. His father and I started dating when he was 4 and have since married and have 2 boys of our own (4 years and 8 months). My step son acts like I do not exist. He will walk right past me to find his father to ask for something as simple as a snack. He is very disrespectful, he does not have any manners, its extremely difficult. And, my 4 year old thinks he is a god, and tried to imitate his every move. The situation only seems to be escalating. And now I have him for the entire summer, which should be a blast considering the issues we are having. My husband and I had a sit down with him last night to re-explain the rules of our home, such as respect, independence, manners, cooperation... things, that I feel, shouldnt even need to be explained. We have always made him feel welcome and a part of our family. I throw him a birthday party every year, and despite the fact that his birth mother does not, I get absolutely no appreciation for these things. I get no thank yous for gifts. Its like I do not exist and these things happen on their own. We are not extremely strict parents either, however, I do expect that you clean up after yourself, put your clothes in the hamper, get dressed and brush your teeth with out asking... all of which seems to be an issue for my step son, but my 4 year old is completely capable and willing to do these things. His birth mother, is a trip to say the least... my step son is allowed to roam their apartment complex without any supervision (this isnt new either, has been like this since he was 6), he has his own cell phone (his bm provided) which is not monitored at all by his birth mother. My husband and I noticed that he text messages in there from his friends with curses in it and he text "die" to another friend... needless to say, he was punished for a week (at our house) and no repercussions at his bm house. The cell phone is no longer allowed at my house, as we see it as unnecessary and destructive. And the cell phone was also becoming an issue with him secretly texting and calling his bm CONSTANTLY!! Im not talking every few hours, Im talking like every half an hour, to see where she is, who she is with, what she is doing, when he is going home, etc. One time we caught him sneaking around the house (he is very sneaky) and asked him what he was doing, and his exact answer was, "I talked to my before and my mom said to call her back later, do I call her back now, or wait a little bit, I dont know what to do?".... he was panicing like it was 10 year old girl he was calling back...weird to me! One time he said that he lost his phone in his bed... which off the bat is weird because its supposed to be kept on his dresser, to find out he fell asleep on the phone with his 10:30pm??? And, the last 2 years he acts like she is his girlfriend, he'll smack her butt, try to caress her, it really creeps me out. My husband and I have said something to him and to her, and it doesnt seem to impact the situation at all. My step son is also very manipulative. He knows how to play his mother against his father, and sometimes I think I am the only who see's this. He acts like a baby in many aspects (cries if he gets in trouble, never says dad- always says "daddy" in a baby voice, wont get himself a drink or a snack, plays the "i dont know how"), and like an adult in many aspects (complete freedom at his bm house), both of which I feel are wrong. But now it is coming to him manipulating my son. He makes my 4 year old come to us and ask if his brother can have a snack, as if we have ever said no!!! When my step son plays with his little brother, he always has to put him down, and say that he lost. Like a million times throughout the game, and if my son questions it, he get snapped at, and my step son convinces him that he is a loser. We have also had issues with my step son grabbing my sons arm and squeezing him when he doesnt like what he is doing. He was punished for that too, but again, only at our house. My 4 year old has started to throw some really serious tantrums, and I know that this is horrible to think, but my gut tells me that its revolving around my step son... I am questioning everything from his manipulation, to his grabbing, to things that I dont know even go on... I am at a loss... I can handle being ignored and disrespected, but now my gut is telling me something is going on with my 4 year old and I dont know how to handle it. I have explained my feelings to my husband because I can not hide them, and he suggested putting a video camera in their room for the moments that we can not see. But, I dont know what to do... someone help me!! Please!

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smacks her on the backside?????

& if his mother is his "girlfriend", so to speak, of course she's jealous when he's with you, "the other woman".

I just don't see this resolving itself.

Nanny cam is a (big) first step;
you need to control whatever the big boy is doing with his little brother...

but it's just a first step.

This boy is very troubled & needs acknowledgement, support, therapy, & maybe he needs to live with his dad.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:22PM
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sylviatexas : Thanks for your response. My husband has done everything short of smacking him, which is what I think he needs, but I think my husbands guilt of not seeing him everyday keeps him from doing that. I know he needs therapy... majorly. We have also tried to get him to live with us, but it wasnt demanded, it was suggested, and my step son said that he didnt want to. Of course he doesnt WANT to, his mother gives him complete freedom and no punishments. The issue is... I dont know what the right first step is... for any of these situations!! I need therapy to handle this :) But thank you for your advice. I am going to install a nanny cam in.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:34PM
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It does sound like a lot of issues going on with your ss.

The creepy behavior with his bm is wrong. I am thinking it is something he has seen with bm and her bf's?? Maybe bm's bf smacks her bottom and ss thinks it is normal?? I think it is important to address this with ss and let him know that it is wrong.

As for the cell phone, my 10 year old has one. For me it is a convenience thing. I am able to give him a bit more freedom because I can get a hold of him always. I now let him walk or ride bikes to the local park with a group of friends because I can get a hold of him. But we also live in a small town, if we lived in a big city I think I would feel different. I think that if he brings his cell to your home that he needs to follow your rules. Maybe the ringer is to be turned off during meal times and family times. And the phone completely shut off at bedtime??

As for some of the other behaviors (putting younger brother down, manipulation, etc.) these are pretty normal things for kids to try. You just need to present a united front with your dh and be consitant with rules and consequences/rewards.

You can not help what bm allows at her home. Nothing you can do to change it. What you can do is set the stage for what you will and will not allow at your home and make it clear to ss.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:24PM
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A lot of his behavior reminds me of my step daughter. The ignoring my presence, contanstanly on the phone with BM. Inappropriate for her age cuddling with BM. No younger kids to torment at home, but she would torment her older brother (untill he started smacking her - which he was punished for)

Then she would choose kids at school she could boss around. Bullying behavior. She also was pretty flagrant at manipulating her father. He was clueless, unless I pointed out her plans.

Same thing with BM. No rules at her house, free reign, but also too busy with current boyfriend to give attention to her.

We always punished her, both of us, although mine had to be backed up by DH, before she'd be subject to it. She wouldn't respond to any punishment. Take away everything she loves in her room. She only sit on her bed with this scowl on her face. No crying. No apology. Nothing. I thought something was seriously wrong.

She finally came around at about 10 & 1/2. Something happened where she was getting in trouble and involved her friend. The friend ended up getting slightly hurt. The friend was crying wanted to go home, so I packer SD & friend in my car to drive her home. The friend was really worried that her parents would punish her as well.

I talk to her parents explained the circumstances, and drove SD back. That was the very first time SD cried in anticipation of punishment from her father that would be waiting for her.

She still make irresponsible, stupid mistakes, but is more understanding as to why it's wrong and punishment is to make her remember to never do it again.

But in our case BM has only seen her daughter maybe 4 -5 weekends a year for the last 5 years. Just because she makes no real effort to see her more than that. Although makes up a million excuses for why to SD. Which was another issue in that SD thought it all right to lie. He mother does it, why not her. She felt closer to her mother by sharing the need to lie about everything.

She still when cornered will tell a lie first, even though its an obvious lie. She still is unclear that lying ontop of an existing infraction, is way worse.

You DH needs to establish his role in you household heiarchy. His role is to obey his father AND you. His role is to support his half-siblings. His role is to not be a bully. The more he acts up, the more stingent his life is at your house.

Don't bring up BM or his life there with him. That is not under your control and he's old enough to know what house he's at.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 4:49PM
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