Help!!

Cari - posted on 06/30/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I have been married for 2yrs, but we have been together for 4yrs now. My step son is out of control and he will be 8yrs old in September. I love my step son dearly but I can't take his attitude or his lashing out on my other children anymore. My husband always makes excuses like he's probably just tired, or thats his moms attitude coming out in him and the list goes on..... I have tried talking with my husband about it but he seems to get upset when we talk about his son. For the last four years he has taken out his aggression on my daughter that will be 4 in September. He has done anything from smashing her fingers with hot wheels cars to pushing\pulling on her arms and legs as hard as he can, covering her mouth with his hand and plugging her nose so she can't breathe, he has got into trouble at his school from punching kids in their faces to spitting in their faces..... The list goes on and on. I'm the bad guy by proposing to spank him for his actions, because putting him in the corner, taking toys away does not work..... But on the other hand my husband spanks my soon to be four year old daughter and the reasoning I get behind that is we have her full time and he only has his son every other weekend and he doesn't want his son t be mad at him. Then there is conflict between me, him and his ex-wife. Is there anyone out there that is the same situation as me and if so how did you handle it??

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Sarah - posted on 06/30/2009

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Spanking doesn't sound like it will work for your step son if he's already aggressive and physical. You might need to suggest a therapist. The bad thing is that for your husband to finally see his son's bad behavior as an attention problem, someone will probably have to seriously be hurt and then he could still make excuses.

Kim - posted on 06/30/2009

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Wow! What a handful. All of you have difficult situations, my heart goes out. My SS was also out of control for a while and he is 6 years old. My husband and I have 4 children between the 2 of us and both of his kids live with us full time, that makes it easier to be consistent. I fortunately have a husband who is behind me 100% and we communicate and compromise on what should be done. My SS's teacher at school recommended we work with a behavior modification teacher that works for the district. We worked with her, did the program and have seen vast improvement. I'm not one for spanking as the "norm" but there are situations where a smack on the bottom is necessary and is much more effective if it's not over used. Seems like spanking or hitting him to punish him for hitting wasn't working...ironic huh? I'm tempted to scan the paperwork I have and share it with you all (I'll have to get permission from the teacher first) and I can also find out from this specialist if there are similar programs in your area. It is called "First Steps to Success." Where are all of you from?



I'm also noticing a pattern in your stories that your "out of control" kids don't live with you full time and their biological parent is feeling bad about that and therefore they are not subjected to the same rules/punishment as the other children. That could be one cause of the issues/behavior you describe. The kids are seeking attention, even though its negative attention, its attention all the same and probably are getting more of your attention and energy than the "well behaved" ones. Children need and thrive on boundaries. No matter how guilty a parent feels for not being there full time, it is CRITICAL that all children get the same treatment. The kids have to know their behavior is unacceptable and the punishment will be consistent for all of them.



Before I am able to get you the info on the program you could start with a few simple steps that your "guilty feeling" parents should agree on: Both parents sit all of the children down and go over and have them participate in agreeing on house rules, e.g. no hitting, no yelling, no bad language, etc. It may help to write them down SuperNanny style and post them up on a big poster board. And specifically outline the consequenses, we use the time out technique. There is no "warning" for a bad behavior, it's immediate time out. Find a spot in your home that works for you, ours is a corner in the dining room away from anything "fun" to look at. Tell the child, "5 minute time out for...insert bad behavior description here" and have them go, or TAKE them to time out, set the timer (thats an important step so you don't under/over time-out them). If they give you flack or argue, say "6 minutes", if it continues, "7 minutes" and so on. If you reach "10 minutes" take away a privelage in addition to the time out. A favorite toy or activity for a full day (my kids miss dessert or their night time movie taken away or a favorite toy or that birthday party they got invited to, whatever is most effective for your child just don't go overboard so that its not possible to follow through with your punishment). When the time is up, go over to the child, make eye contact and tell them "good job taking your time out, I know you will not do that again, go play!" Be sure to acknowledge and give lots of praise and attention for good behaviors..."I noticed how well you were playing with your sister, you were so helpful and kind!" Undesireable behaviors get ignored, unless its an offense for time out. Keep your voice normal but firm, children also feed off of your energy. If they know they are getting to you, they will continue to ruffle your feathers. Kids don't do what doesn't work for them!



Cari, in your situation, you have a child who is badly, physically harming the younger. While your husband may argue there are REASONS for these behaviors, they are still UNACCEPTABLE. A sit-down with your hubby is clearly in order and try to make him see it from another point of view...what if another child were behaving that way TOWARD his son? What action would he take? Ignore it and make excuses? In a situation where the offending child does not live full time, perhaps not allowing him to have his/her scheduled visits once or twice as long as they are hurting other children will curb that behavior. And be sure to let the child know, "unfortunately, you are not invited this weekend because our family does not like it when you hurt your younger siblings, you are invited next time if you agree to follow the rules."



Good luck to all of you! I know, it can be challenging.

Bethany - posted on 06/30/2009

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Oh my gosh, I feel like I am reading my story! I am stepmom to a 9 1/2 year old and have four bio kids. My husband and I have been married almost 4 years. My SS is out of control! He uses bad language, has a horrible attitude, is so physical with the other kids, it drives me crazy! All the other kids gets regular discipline because we have them fulltime, when practically nothing is done with my SS because my husband doesn't get to see him very often and doesn't want our house to be a bad place and he's terrified of his son choosing not to come over anymore! Aahhh! Everyone says talk to your husband, come up with comsequences, stay united, blah-blah-blah. I love my husband, he's a great guy, but we have tried doing all of that and he will not follow through, he will not! So what the heck am I supposed to do?! Anyway, I don't have any advice I just wanted to let you know that you are so not alone, I completely feel your pain and wish you the very best of luck!

Cindy - posted on 06/30/2009

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I know exactly what it is that you are going through. I am in the same situation. But his son is 14 and then he has a 5yr old that does the same thing with my 2 kids. But we have his daughter all the time. Its a very hard thing to deal with but you and your husband need to talk and try to find a common line to agree on with him the way that me and him are doing. My kids are older than his 5yr old but she does the samething when it comes to my kids and they get in trouble and she doesn't. I have got to the point that me and him talked about all of it and we have a line that we both agreed on when it comes to the kids. He needs to support you in the punishiment and not contradict you or otherwise you will never get no where with your step son and he will continue to not listen to you and in the same aspect when he gets older and gets in to alot bigger trouble he wil resent the both of you and say that its all because you didn't discipline him and let him get away with it when he was smaller and that is why he is the way that he is. Because every son looks up to there father more than anyother role model in there life and if he isn't willing to put his foot down then he is telling his son that when he gets older that it is ok for him to hurt women and that no one will do anything to stop it. I am also sure that his mother has something to do with it also and I am sure that she is influenceing alot of it. But he needs to make a stand with him and stand by you when you take charge and discipline him and in the end he will respect you and him more for doing so.

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