Guidance or Help Books?

Joe4010August 16, 2011

I have 2 9 yr old sons, one being a Step-Son. My SS is overall a good kid. He is smart and many times, can take an optimistic outlook on things that upset him, after a long, exhausting talk with him. My wife and step-son moved far, from another country about 1-1/2 years ago. Between the ages of 2-5, he lived with his Dad. During that time, my SS basically had no discipline, structure, routines, or concepts about real life. When I hear the stories, while rationalizing some culture differences, I am totally shocked at how he was raised, or un-raised, during those years. My SS still carries those mannerisms, although through a lot of effort the last year, has improved a lot. The father had even admitted how he doesn't know how to properly discipline his own child. The rare times he did make an effort, we found out later he apologized to my SS and made it up to him by buying him a toy! There are cultural differences that explain some things. But, even my wife shakes her head at times in disbelief on how he thinks so differently/twisted.

In attempting to discipline with some form of punishment (grounding or removal of tv/computer privileges), he at times blows up at his Mom, saying how the U.S. is bad and his home country is we are mean, and his dad always buys him toys and he can stay up late, eat whatever/whenever, never yells/disciplines him so much, etc.

During his summer break from school, he flew back to spend the summer with his dad. He literally kicked, screamed, resisted through customs and security, causing a scene and heartbreak for my wife. He didn't want to go, as we have too many rules. Culture aside, he is years behind in reality and basic life concepts.

We constantly explain why we have schedules, discipline, help him grow into a good man with values and manners, but he would rather watch tv and play computer games and boss his Dad around. When we have a big confrontation about something he has done horribly wrong, he quickly points out his comparison of Mom (and me) vs. Dad, and how he doesn't want to be here.

Too many life concepts he can't comprehend, that a 9yr old should, that my son did at maybe 5yrs old. I know every child grasps things at a different pace, but there is so much he can not process correctly in his mind. And, if he can't be the 'center of the universe' and spoiled, as he would be in his original culture, we are viewed as mean in comparison. Ideas?

Also, anyone have any books/guidance for time management for children? He lacks the concept of time, and we spend a lot of 'time' in attempts to teach him.

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Hi Joe! Do you think part of it may be that your SS is horribly homesick for his home country? Does he have friends or relatives who can talk about home country with him, or maybe a church group, support group of immigrant children, or something? It might sound odd because he's so young - but I think such a move can be even harder on kids than adults sometimes.

I like how you explain the reason for rules and structure to him. We do that with my SS as well, and we reinforce it by pointing out examples of what happens when kids are not being raised to behave properly. For example, if we're out in the toy store and SS sees a child his own age or older behaving very badly and screaming or whining that he wants a toy, after we leave we might mention how proud we are of SS because he would not do that, and why it's important for parents to teach their children that sometimes the answer will be No. Of course SS still would like everything in the store as well - but he also very much likes getting compliments on his manners and how well-behaved he is, and he understands that sometimes he cannot have both!

The book that helped me the most is "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk". My SS struggles sometimes with misdirected anger, if that's the right phrase, and feelings of lack of control over his life, I think, and that book really helped me with talking to him in a productive way. It's kind of funny; it's almost like a woman talking to another female friend where we understand that we don't want each other to "solve" a problem, we just want someone to listen and sympathize. So I think it might help. SS might logically understand why he had to move, and why he needs rules - but that doesn't mean that it's not a hard adjustment for him at times and he just needs to vent.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 9:09AM
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I agree, explaining to the child why the rules is a good thing. My ss's step brother from his moms new dh is AWFUL, devil child. Before ss left for the summer, I grabbed his hands and gently asked him not to let that kid rub off on him. I told him that we love him and the way he is now and that the other parents do as well. That when he grows up he will have lots of friends and a good life but that the devil child will be in jail. LOL.... then he said that devil child already had been in jail. Oh no!! But anyway, he understood. It's still kind of hard now when he came back because he spent 7 weeks with no discipline... even though he doesn't destroy anything or isn't devilish... even little things he needed discipline on, he didn't get. So we are having to learn our structure all over again right now. It's hard for kids to go back and forth. Keep being consistant with him, it'll pay off.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 10:21AM
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