patience please!

motherkateAugust 18, 2011

I have two little boy's who are 3 & 2 with my husband. The 2 year old is my ss. My husbands mother is very controlling and signed him out of school in the 5th grade. She commanded him when we moved out to give her him every weekend. They would come back with bugs on them and just in diapers when I had been potty training them. He finally agreed to tell his mom NO for the first time. So since she is like this... My ss never learned how to hold a spoon, walk up stairs, play with other kids, or get anything for himself. When we got out own place EVERYONE says how great he is even her. How grown up they are and happy. How he finally acts like a kid instead of just standing in the corner. He fusterates me soo bad though! Me and my husband and my 3 year old spent almost an hr trying to teach him how to high five with both hands. I just can not understand how he can be so... dumb... I love him to death his mother is not around and he calls me mom. However, there are little simple simple simple things he does not understand and I do not know how to get him too. My 3 year old is so smart and gets fusterated trying to teach him things. We have had to break him of the habit of saying I am bad. We only do positive re-inforcment we high-five and get excited when he does anything his self. Even my 3yr old helps. I need patience and help with this one. I always have to take a step back because he does not understand anything. When we put them in time out and we say get in bed. SS get in bed. He just stands there... He will look at you and just stand there... He can now do everything he should, but he just does not understand how to do anything. I can show him a million times an hr later he forgets and I have to start all over. He also wakes up crying. Not real cry fake cry. He will sit in his door way watching his T.V and just cry, then get into the t.v. then start crying. I do not understand this behavior. I do not fuel it though. I wait till he comes out of the bedroom and then ask him whats wrong and he says nothing and walks away... Help me... I can not stay patient much longer I am tired of doing everything A MILLION times a day trying to get him to understand simple things like high fives.

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For gosh sakes hes two years old what do you expect?? Hes had a rough start give him some slack and time to catch on.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 11:43PM
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Disgusting. He is TWO!! He is NOT DUMB!! I cannot believe you are permitted to even be near this child. Ugh!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 11:51PM
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This is a child whose emotional and intellectual development has been stunted by severe neglect. These deficits cannot be changed overnight.

The risk now is that further damage will be done by imposing unrealistic timelines and expectations.

I would guess he has already been traumatized. It's unlikely he understands or can verbalize his emotions, but his bedtime behaviors are especially worrisome.

Consider how much he has to learn and how different conditions are now from everything he knew before. If you were suddenly transported to a different planet with a totally alien culture, how "dumb" would the inhabitants think you are?

I know this must be very difficult. Do you have a pediatrician? A doctor knowledgeable in child development can assess where this little boy is and may also suggest a specialist you can work with. My best suggestion would be early intervention with a child therapist who can provide the tools you will need.

Also be sure you get "time out". Frustration is your enemy and destructive to him. Any child who says, "I am bad" has already been damaged in ways that just break my heart.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 3:57AM
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"The 2 year old is my ss. My husbands mother is very controlling and signed him out of school in the 5th grade."

Wait a minute - a 2 year old in 5th grade?

Something with this story is not right.

Some kids are just learning to talk at two years old. If this kid is really just two, sounds like you have unrealistic expectations for him.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 8:28AM
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-- "My husbands mother is very controlling and signed him out of school in the 5th grade. She commanded him when we moved out to give her him every weekend. They would come back with bugs on them and just in diapers when I had been potty training them. He finally agreed to tell his mom NO for the first time"--

Grandmas do not get to 'command' anything of parents who have sole cusotdy of their children...and with you, husband and children living with grandparent is it possible the child has learned his grandma is his caretaker over the actual parent? Where is the birthmother of your stepson? If your husband left education by 5th grade and his mother lives with bugs crawling on children, merely because she demands I really have to ask how old your husband and you both are? Parenting classes with adult skills and parenting examples might be beneficial for your husband. If he is actually dealing with a disabled child he especially needs patience and skills and professional support.

As stated above, a complete exam and eval of the child should be performed and from there recommedations and referrals can be given with their assistance. Has this child's hearing also been checked?

As frustrating as things are for you, you can count on it being just as frustrating for the child. --"I can not stay patient much longer I am tired of doing everything A MILLION times a day trying to get him to understand simple things like high fives."-- Perhaps hugs could be something this child could use in place of high-fives.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 8:39AM
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MotherKate, your story reminds me of several years ago when people were adopting Russian orphans, and so many adoptive parents thought that because the children were "only" 18 months or two years old that there couldn't be any severe behavioral or emotional problems that they'd developed yet. Many of them found out they were wrong.

You're not starting with a two year old who was raised the way that you raised your child. You are not even starting with a blank slate. You've got a child who has already had an entire lifetime of experiences who has formed who he is. I agree that this poor child sounds like he's been severely neglected. Imagine what must be going through his mind; he may still be adjusting to getting fed, bathed and attention on a regular basis and you're trying to teach him high-fives. He's got to be wondering why - what is the point of this strange hand-slapping behavior? It seems to make everyone happy - but it doesn't put food into his mouth or clothes onto his back if he's cold.

I don't believe that even the most well-meaning, loving, stable parents should be trying to tackle this without professional guidance. It sounds like you will be able to provide a loving, caring environment for your SS's future - but I really think a professional is needed to help him (and maybe you and your DH) deal with his past.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 11:13AM
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I too thought of Russian or Romanian orphans and wondered if this child has experienced a form of sensory deprivation.

The foundational learning years are ages 1-3. That time is a critical window of opportunity for the formation of neural connections in the brain that make possible all future learning. Without stimulation and loving interaction, synapses don't develop and the child is forever limited.

Additionally, stress in an infant or toddler can be toxic. Too much cortisol and brain cells die. I mention stress because, even if this little boy wasn't stressed previously, certainly he could be highly stressed with this radical change in his circumstances.

The best thing you can do is get the professional assessment previously mentioned, first to rule out any physical limitations or handicapping conditions and secondly to determine the most effective way forward in terms of his learning and behavior.

The other best thing is to give this little boy loving structure and lots of hugs.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 11:36AM
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When we put them in time out and we say get in bed. SS get in bed. He just stands there... He will look at you and just stand there..

My 2 year old was still in a crib... I just don't understand this.
You cannot expect a toddler to just KNOW what you are saying, you have to teach them, over and over and over again.

It's called parenting. My ten year old has to be told to get in bed more than once.

And we still have yet to master time out with my now almost 4 yr old. He just does not get it. Slowly he is but at 2 NO WAY!!

This post infuriates me.

And funny OP hasn't been back to check in.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 6:02PM
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I have taken parenting class and I have worked at daycares for over 5 years. Me and my husband are both over 25. My ss mother left my husband and her child because she ran off with a guy who was beating my ss. She picked the man over her own son! My ex- husband beat me and my son and I left the minute he touched my son and my son was 3months. I do not believe in picking men over children I love my kids. I am not a horrible mother! They do not eat candy for breakfast they have schedules and play dates! I know how far along a child should be. Everyone who has came over has seen a big improvement in my SS. They say he acts like a real child and how proud they are of me and my husband for how great our boys are. I just get a little fusterated at my SS when he does not get simple things. I do school with them from 11-12 my SS get more attention in that area because I know he is soo far behind. I walk away when it gets to fusterating and try again later. AGAIN I am not a horrible mother! He had love and care just to much. He ate candy for breakfast and lunch and dinner. ALL of his front teeth have been taken out because they were all rotten. He was able to get anything he wanted including going to bed at midnight and waking up all night and being able to get anything he wanted without any rules or help because it was always done for him. Now he does stuff on his own and he is always excited on everything he does! He has really turned around and does not even cry when he leaves his grandma anymore he is always happy to come home! He even plays with other kids now! He never would have done that before.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 9:36AM
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Maybe you just needed to come on here and vent, but I think the problem is you have unrealistic expectations for this child.

Not only is he is only two years old, but he's had a poor upbringing. I'm surprised if you've worked in a daycare how you can not understand that kids develop at different levels. One kid may start talking at two years old, another not till almost four. Potty training at two is quite early as well. Most kids don't potty train till three.

"I wait till he comes out of the bedroom and then ask him whats wrong and he says nothing and walks away" Ummm, my 12 year old can't always express what's wrong with her. How can you have worked in a daycare and expect a two year old to tell you what's wrong? You are expecting WAY too much from this kid.

I would also suggest taking the TV out of his room. Having a TV in a two year old's room is not good for his development, at least that's my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:23AM
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So this child has been a previously battered child and you have to wonder why he has problems? Please do more than try to 'fix' him on your own. It could take years to make-up what damage has been done to this child and working in a daycare is not enough to fully prepare you to be able to cope and 'treat' all the child needs to 'heal'. When you are frustrated he is going to sense this, he's going to read it in your unspoken words and all your body language. This child needs love, patience, consistency and a set routine which he can depend on and learn to trust. I would not rule out professional assistance merely because you feel you are skilled and prepared for this.

How long have you and your husband been together/married? This little one has been through a lot. Beaten, multi assorted people in and out of his life, lived with his grandparents now yet another home. The kid is two. You did not answer as to if this child has had a complete eval and/or if he has any lingering physical damages (besides pychological impact) from his tramatic start in life.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:51AM
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He lived with his grandma and all his uncles and his dad and us. It took me forever to get him to be able to tell his mom that he wanted to move out. His brothers all live there with there wifes and kids without jobs, without driver lisence, and without having to clean. Everyone there is just lazy and sits on computer all day except for my husband and me. We could not stand it no longer and even though he knew it would upset his mother he had to do it for me and our kids. He was tired of the nasty and everyone fighting. I have not ruled out professional help at all. I think it is a wonderful idea and do not know why I did not think of it. It is just bringing it up to my husband will be hard because he knows his family is not right and it is a sore subject to touch. I have mentioned taking him to headstart and getting my ss into special learning things to help him and he has agreed. I have been looking into all kinds of things to help him. In the mean time I do my best with him and my son. It gets better almost everyday. I just walk out of the room and give it time and me to relax then we try again. He loves me to death and always wants to be with me so it is not like I show it to him. I just sometimes get really fusterated. I never let them see. Thanks for the advice, where would I even start in looking for professional help? Also, mentioning it to my husband.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:16AM
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I applaud your efforts. I know this is tremendously challenging.

Your day care experience is enormously valuable but as I'm sure you have discovered, those strategies are designed for the normal range of children. This little boy's needs go well beyond the normal. Despite all you have done (and it sounds like a lot) you are just working around the edges of his issues.

One of the reasons I suggested a pediatrician is that any doctor who specializes in children will have access to a broad network of child services. The doctor can identify specific issues and direct you to the right specialists. They can also strategize about financial assistance and supports if those are needed.

If you don't know of a pediatrician, then a sympathetic GP can start you in the right direction and recommend a suitable doctor.

I hope you can stress to your husband that this isn't about him or his family. He is not responsible for them; his highest priority is this child. That is his mission as a parent. To h*ll with anyone else.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 1:50PM
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Thank you. That is what I needed I really do try so I do not see why I was being called a bad mom I was not meaning anything really by it just that I needed help in the stress and fustration department. Alot of it may have been what Amber said and just needed to vent since I do not talk to alot of people and we just moved so I do not know anyone.. I can already feel the stress calming down. I went from working and talking with other parents to it just being me and him. We talk about everything and he even knows how his family makes me feel and understands but I just need to talk with other people. Thanks. I will see about a pediatrician I am looking up some as we speak thanks.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 2:40PM
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I don't recall anyone saying you are a bad mother. You're son seems to be doing fine. Which brings us to your stepson, which I assume is why you picked a stepparent forum to vent on.

Your expectations for a toddler are too high. Your son may be very bright. And is a year older than your stepson. You cannot compare them. My son is almost 4 and JUST mastered the potty. All on his own. We have been fighting potty training for almost 2 years. It's not something you can force. It comes when they are ready. And if you are frustrated, potty training willbe harder on the kid.

You say that he got everything he wanted from grandma as if he is manipulating people before he was even two. This is what makes you 'seem' to have such high expectations.

What kind of training did this daycare center require of you? Are you licensed? Do you have your teaching certification? You say you school him from 11-12 every day. Do you realize that if he were in a daycare setting, he would not be doing the same 'schooling' that your 3 yr old would be doing?

You just seemed to have this expectation that he was supposed to live with you and that you snap your fingers and BAM he is a new kid ... With all these skills. This stuff takes time. My daughter is highly advanced. At 10 she is taking a year older classes BUT she didn't talk until she was well over 2. I feared she had a hearing problem. The doctor said to give her time.. In time she started talking and she has yet to shut up.

I highly suggest you seek a doctor's help. Not once have you mentioned that he has even been evaluated by a pediatrician only by you and your 'over 25 years of age, 5 years in a daycare center, 3 years of being a mom' experience and honey, that does not qualify you as a professional.

I think this poor boy has been through so much in his short life, I'm willing to bet you are going to have a long life of learning struggles and behavioral problems just because of what he indured the first year of his life.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 8:55PM
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MotherKate, you might want to look into your area's Child Services or whatever they're called. I say "might" because some areas can offer all sorts of help, like counseling and different programs - and some sound like they'd cause more harm than help (kids are ignored unless they're being shuttled off to foster parents - where they're again ignored.)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 1:28PM
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