Step mom needs help!
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 mom...at 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!