Need help with teenage step son

Gabrielle - posted on 08/06/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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So I have a teenage step son who comes to visit very sporadically. He is almost 14 now and his favorite pass time is to just cause trouble and eat. If he is not busy picking at the 4 younger kids then you will find him in the kitchen. Now other than the obvious problems with him disrupting the entire house hold with his bad behavior he is also stealing food from the kitchen and packing it up in his bag to take back to his mothers. Before school let out last year I had picked up a number of snacks when I found a sale that were for kids to take to school to eat during their break time. At this point my 3 step sons were staying with us full time because of their mother trying to kill herself. I told them all that they could pick any snack they wanted to take to school with them and every morning I would be up while they were getting ready for school and even remind them to "grab a snack" Well he took this to the extreme as usual and thought that he should get one of each snack and be able to do things like eat a brownie for breakfast along with 2 or 3 snacks and then pack up a bunch of others to eat during the day. He was told no this wasn't going to be happening and that 1 snack was enough for him when he would be eating plenty of meals that day as well. So while they were gone to school I was collecting laundry and such and found a bag he had been hiding that was FULL of snacks for school. He was actually trying to pack them up so he could take them to his moms since he was going to be moving back in with her in the next few days ( thank you court system) I took all the snacks and asked his father to address the issue because he refuses to listen to me about anything. This made him very angry and he refused to come visit after that for quite awhile. Which honestly wasn't a problem for me since the house was much more peaceful and food wasn't flying out of here at an alarming rate.

Now he has decided he wants to visit again and its right back to the same old tricks except now they are getting worse. He is refusing to eat healthy "real" food. I make sure to make a very healthy dinner every night that includes meat and veg and he turns his nose up at it and even asks his dad to make him something else. His father wont do that and insists that he eat dinner. So he eats the smallest amount of food possible, I mean when the kids were babies they ate more than he is trying to eat and then when everyone is done starts bugging his dad about making something else to eat, even if there is still dinner left he doesn't want seconds he wants something sweet, for example a pb and j or a bag of popcorn which he does not want to share with anyone else. Just last night I got up to give the puppy some water and found that he had been in the kitchen while we were sleeping eating what was left of the desert I had made the night before because he didn't want to eat the lasagna and green beans that were for dinner. He snacks all day long on dry cereal, pretzels, and chocolate milk. He makes himself a single cup of lemon aid and puts three big scoops of sugar in it and when he makes chocolate milk there is a ton of fudge still in the bottom of the cup. I have tried hiding the foods that he doesn't need, but I feel like it is not fair to the kids in the house who will eat the good foods and should be allowed to have a treat sometimes. I feel like I am dealing with a small child who isn't old enough to know better, but he is old enough and he does know better. The really bad part is that he is rubbing off on the youngest brother who is also already going down the same road of being very overweight himself. The biggest problem is that their mother doesn't see anything wrong with it and they do live with her most of the time and now their dad is trying to say that their weight is not a problem either. (The oldest boy is maybe 5 feet tall and between 130 and 150 and the younger boy is 7 years old and so large that he managed to bust the rear end out of my oldest sons size 14 shorts last weekend by squeezing into them)

And don't even get me started on their bad behavior in every other aspect of life. They are so disrespectful that if I am sitting in the same room as them I will have to tell them 3 or 4 times to stop doing something and as soon as I step out of the room they are going to do it again. Usually it's that they are hitting kicking slapping pinching punching and picking at each other. They are very mean to my 2 boys who live with me full time to the point that my oldest son begs to go to his dads house every time they are over, and my poor younger son doesn't have anywhere to get away to so he is just stuck getting picked at constantly.

I really need some help and advice on what I can do to change these behavior problems and the problem with the oldest refusing to eat anything that isn't a junk food.

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Laura - posted on 08/06/2013

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I am not a doctor, or anyone who can give you 100% the best advice so know this is just me trying. First I am sorry your are in the situation you are in. In reading everything you may want to look at a few things. Please know I am not upset by the comments or going to blame you but I have been through this before with my step son. The day I got involved was when he said he would kill for his mom, he was 8. So this is what I have learned through my climb to sanity. The one things that strikes me, you said he is 14, My two boys are in no way over weight, they are skinny, yet eat all day long if you let them (something your steps may be used of at their moms). My 13 year old is 5'6 (I know) and weights 120lb, the same as my 15 year old. So I know first hand food is like magic here it is always disappears. For the last month I spent over 1200.00 in food that is everything for a month. Only thing we would need to pick up is a few meats and milk that sort of thing. I am not rich so that got me and made me wonder why everything is flying out my pantry. So, my walk in closet in my room became my pantry, I do not have one only a little cabinet, so I figured that would help. Only to find them hiding in the closet and eating the food and leaving the papers in the box. So I got a lock, and that solved that problem. I can space out everything and they know when it is gone for the week, it is gone. Sadly, I understand in my own life the stress of dealing with steps, they are blessings but the strings that bring you together always have gaps in them until you mend them. My 15 year old is my step son, his mother after her 4th attempt succeed and took her life. We only found out after she passed how many times she tried. Have you or your husband to him, the mom about taking the food back from his visits? I Know it is not always easy to talk to the moms moms. If all he wants is junk, you can believe 10-1 that is all she is feeding him. If this is the case, he is taking the food maybe because he is hungry when he is with her. So, remember, if you do not have a good relationship, anything you can do most probably will be a huge exposition and the child will get reprimanded for it. So, eating junk, may be all he is getting so his body is just craving sugar. The second thing, what does he do at school? I would sit him down and talk to him, ask him. He may be scared to tell you the truth because you do not know what is being told to him. "If you tell they will take you away again" I can not say how many times we have been through that one. I in no way know you are the situation, and I do not want you or anyone to think I am bad mouthing his mom, I am only telling you what I dealt with and our outcomes were. So in no way am I speaking ill of his mother. Never forget no matter what if you have troubled waters with the mom you have it with the child. I use to look at my son as a outcome, not a blessing. I would see him and everything his mom did would burn me up. One day I realized as I am a adult, and I am going over board on this not knowing what to do, what to think, how to act, the stress was unbearable I realized if I can not handle it, how can he! I also thought about have you had him checked out. Being you bring him to the doctor and say is there something wrong, even if it is no you show you are concerned and care about his well being. Options and control, something he has no clue how to handle. Know it is nothing to do with you or your kids, maybe he is angry. If you are great mom to his step siblings, he may yearn for that love from his mom. The best way is at the kids, he knows what he is going through yet they are not. If his issues do not change, I would go to the courts or talk to a attorney. We are still paying a bill for that. It was my dream car and house yet, having my son safe, with me was worth loosing it. I was the mom who wanted my kids gone when he came home from his visits. Yes we took him in, at 3 and nine years later she wanted him back. I could not let that happen, I knew something was not right. In the end, my feelings were right. So to recap, talk to him about bringing the food, he may think if he does that and not stress out his mom she will not get mad and not try to take her life again. Maybe it is medical, maybe it is all he is eating so that is all he wants. Let him earn his snacks. It works in my house, no chores, no snack. Until I started following through, It did not work. Now, they know run means run. My rule, you have x amount of sugar drinks a week. I do not give my kids them often, they get water. We never have coke in the house, my oldest bio child has kidney problems, so we do not temp him. But we do get treats, kool-aids they choose, lunch, snack, or dinner. I have learned it is a lot about choice, but in the end they do what was wanted of anyway. It just takes a lot of prayers, tears, and repeating. On them behaving, they are not ours so it is not as easy for them to follow us and listen. Strange, right, I mean any child who comes in contact with me always listens. My step son haaa, I met his father before he was born. So, he knew me from the start. However, by the time he could talk he hated me. I was so mad at him, then I realized, it is not him. The walls would tell you understanding reasons. So know they are acting out, if they only get noticed being bad, even if it is by being fussed, they will do it. They do not know any other way, in your life you think that is odd, because to you that is normal. That is the trick of the trade, can they be good? Were they told not to? I name you everything my son came home with it was crazy, but they are kids and are trying figure everything out already. The picking, I learned it all to well. I know for us, my son would come home mad, and tell us things. He wanted his mom to be like me, I have 4 other kids, it was no Easy AT ALL. 13 HARD years. Then you realize how are they coping? Always love them they are the victim, even if you offer them everything, they still have a battle in their minds. I can not tell you how many times my step son would say, if I love you then my mom will be so mad. Even telling her, and her reassuring him no she would not. He still felt bad, but we do not know what goes on once the phone is hung up or the door is closed. Oh by the way, junk. When it was my steps moms weekend they would eat out every day twice sometimes three times a day, so when he would come home he did not want our food. They will get hungry, like I said take him to the doc. that way it shows you are trying to fee him but he does not want it. Than ask them what should you do, so no one can go against the doc. Tough love is the hardest, but in the end those kids will love you. If it takes you sending them home with food, know it is not for the mom but them you are doing it for. I know money for us was tight, but I had to see my son was not the issue he needed saving. So, even though we gave money when he was with his mom we still had to provide everything on our end and the call of he ran out of this. I hated it, but now I wish I looked at him as I do now a child. Good luck, and remember you chose this road, and God bless you. So many people have step kids and hate them, despise them, I wish I knew my sons mom problem before she lost her life. I know even though she was sick, he still adored her, as he should. But know, give them a safety net, surprise them with little going home packs. Show them you love them always, and no matter what let them know you are their safe place. If they have a phone, say if you are hungry and you live close we can get you dinner or something in that nature. Yes it puts 100000000 times more stress on you, but they know who they can come to with out judgement. That is when my step son trusted me and did not look at me like the person trying to take him away from his mom. I was not easy, but I would do it all over if I had too. I will say a prayer for you and your family. Know your not perfect and neither are they, one bit of advice Talk. I would talk to my step all the time, if he liked it or not. Today, he comes to me for almost everything. Good luck, prayers and blessings upon all of you and your family. (please again know this is the answers I got from my experience with my step, I am not saying anything hurtful to you, your family or the child's mother please know that) I am only speaking of what we went through in our lives before the death of my step sons mom. Ps, bulling depends on the age group, but I had to say once if you bully my kids again, you will deal with me, and the cops Bulling is a crime. (my uncle is a cop so he spoke to him once but mine was 10 so different age groups) Who is picking on the child they have to learn it from someplace? And he may be mad as hell as the life your kids who stays with you has, they are safe, loved and have plenty of food. Remind them that your all family, always. Never get the step involved I learned that made my step (only using to tell the difference between my bio for you to read) it branded him he said. He was our son as well as his moms. No matter the relationship with the mom, support that love and bond. Never degrade as did in the early stages, after assuring and promoting a relationship with her his feelings changed. Get real with him, let him know you are getting real. Talk, mine also lived with us and when he did not he was every other weekend. HE CAME like it or not. 17 is choice in my book, regardless if the court liked it or not. But we did not have that problem. Hope this helps some what, 13 long years I could go on forever.....

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