10 year old step son deceptive behavior

Laurie - posted on 12/18/2008 ( 8 moms have responded )

45

11

4

I have just about reached the end of my rope here. I have a 10 year old step son who I have known and been a large part of his life since he was 1. We did not live together until his father and I got married to present a good moral message to him. He and I had a great relationship until I married his father. That was over 4 years ago. Things have gotten a lot better but he is CONSTANTLY telling lies, twisting his words to try and side step questions, does is homework only when he wants to, never listens to me when I am trying to help. I know there are probably buried feelings with the whole situation but I wonder if things will ever get better or is this now just a 10 year old boy being like everyone else. I am really worried for him and my sanity if the "teen years" are starting already. Punishments don't phase him. I 've tried to talk to him "adult" and explain to him that he needs to do certain things and he agrees. Then the next day he's back to his anticts. I am really getting frustrated - when I was 10 I respected my parents and I just don't feel the respect. I guess if anyone has 10 year olds - is this normal - any suggestions? It sounds horrible to say but I worry that if I don't figure something out he will be in trouble next year in the middle school. I am tired of the mind games - any advise would be appreciated.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tracie - posted on 12/19/2008

5

13

0

I come from a divorced family and married a man with 4 children, I had 1 and then we had one together. His youngest was 9 and oldest was 20 when we got married.

My first advise, take "step" out of your vocabulary. I never wanted to be called a "step" child and my father never referred to my brother and I. When other's did, he was quick to correct them. We were his children period. I was 5 when my mother remarried.

My transition with my husband's children was a difficult one. I never wanted to call them step children and never have even with our problems.

I notice you do not mention either of his biological parents. Do you have a good relationship with his bio mother? His behavior can be typical of a child of this age. Do you have other children with your husband? If you have other children that are younger, he could be acting out for attention. Children can easily go through this at different stages because they don't need as much attention anymore and the younger ones still need attention. You stated things changed when the two of you got married, do you think it wasn't just him that changed, but possibly you changed as well and don't realize it. I am assuming from the way you talk, he lives with you. You came in married his Dad and then moved in. He all the sudden had to share his time with his Dad with you. If you came in and was instantly the one handing down the discipline then you can understand how he had issues.

Whether he is your biological son or step son, you and your husband have to stand together and agree on the punishment and stick to you. You have to let him know it is your home and your husband's and you are both the bosses. If his "bio" Mom is in the picture and have a decent relationship with her, you, your husband, her and her spouse if married need to get together and agree on the punishments you will all stick to if possible. If not, you and your husband have to agree on and together lay out the punishment(s) to him for his actions.

Most of all, I know it may be hard and may not be the same, but you have to find a way to love him like your own son. Maybe you do. Children sense a great deal and if you don't, he will always sense he is nothing more than a "step" child to you. Children don't pick their situation with their parent's. They don't pick who their parent's marry after a divorce. However, we bring our children into this world, we pick who we marry after a divorce and we choose when we marry someone with children. They have no choice at all and yet are expected like the person brought into their lives or deal with those leaving their lives. As adults, we look for ways to punish and correct their behavior instead of understanding it. We demand respect from them when sometimes we aren't truly respecting them. Some will beat me up and say children should expect adults and that is true enough. However, we expect so much from them and they haven't lived life yet to understand. There are grown adults who have parents get divorced 20 or 30 years after marriage and they can't handle it. They don't like who one or the other gets with. Now imagine they are 5 or 10.

Find a way to relate to him, show him some extra love and attention. Be sure Dad is involved and they get some father/son time. Make him feel extra important to you and let him know his feelings do count. It really does help and really does work. I have a great relationship now. I had to learn by trial and error and hopefully something out of here will help you. It will take time if there are hurt feelings! I wish you the best of luck!

Jocelyn - posted on 12/18/2008

4

13

1

My ten year old son has a lot of the same behavior issues. I do believe it is the age...Kids are growing up so fast these days, it is like having a teenage girl sometimes...We have a similar situation, his step-father has been in his life for about 5 years now. And his real father was never really there for him. So there are some issues there that I know do bother him and probably affect his behavior.

I know what you mean about the punishments...Sometimes even after having taken everything he likes away, he will be worse. And like you said, after a good talk, you think you have gotten through to him, yet the next day everything is back to the way it was before.

My son knows how I feel about lying (I can't take it at all!) but he still lies about the simplest of things. Yet he gets furious if he believes he is being lied to. (We just had a huge blow-out because he found out the truth about Santa and he was more upset that I had been lying to him for the past 10 years).

We just try to spend as much quality time with him doing things that he enjoys that we can. Especially if we can do it as a family. And remind him that he is loved and appreciated as a member of our family. We give him chores so that he feels responsible for helping around the house. We tried therapy, and they wanted to put him on ritalin, which we tried, but he was a zombie, and had lost the great personality that he has. So we have been avoiding that route.

The best thing that we did was enroll him in martial arts. He was never really into sports, but he was able to excel in Soo Bahk. It gave him confidence and a feeling of importance. Also he has a ton of respect for his masters and they are able to talk to him when it seems that I just can't get through.

Sorry I have no real advice, but I wanted you to know you are not alone...

This conversation has been closed to further comments

8 Comments

View replies by

Stephen - posted on 10/01/2012

1

0

0

I have a 10 year old stepson, he is a lying, thieving, scheming little shit, when he gets caught out, nearly every day he turns on the water works for mummy. Mummy believes every word that comes out of his mouth, he can do no wrong. I'm not his real dad so I'm going to have to deal with this soap opera every day. Is this what 10 year's are like?

Pat - posted on 12/19/2008

1

0

0

praise him when he even if he just watching tele or just sittin there try ignore bad behaviour its hard but it does workit could be tell him you wont be annoyed if he tells the truth even if its something wrong but you be more upset not annoyed if he lies it may be since you married dont take offence he playing up for attention good luck

Kris - posted on 12/19/2008

9

6

0

This is going to sound weird when I recommend this but read "Back in control, how to get your children to behave" by Gregory Bodenhamer. It costs $11.95 US but it's worth it! I know, I know, who has time to read. I've been a juvenile probation officer for 10 years and I recommend this and Gregory's other books to my clients parents all of the time. I have 2 boys (5-3) and 2 step-daughters (16-13). I use it on my kids and clients (age 10-21) all of the time. Your stepson is trying to get control and keep it (like all kids). If you let him have the control, you will continue to struggle with him. Kids actually do want to have rules and structure, even though you probably couldn't prove it. Main concepts of the book: 1) Mandatory vs. optional (never use optional rules) vs. discretionary rules 2) clear direction 3) Follow through (consistency) 4) Share your love. The main thing though with any behavior modification, everyone (including your husband) has to be on board. Consistency is the key. Good luck!!

Laurie - posted on 12/19/2008

45

11

4

Thanks for the tips and support. His mother has not seen him in over 5 years so he calls me mom and I count him in as a child. I have 2 of my own and always say I have 3. When he talks about his bio-mom he refers to her by her name or sometimes "his other mom". It sometimes works when I ask his father to address things with him but I feel that I am more parent to him than anyone and should be able to address things with him also. I think I will have to combine some ideas and when things come up schedule a meeting time for him, his father and I to discuss things. I really want to set him down a good path before the teen years when it gets really hard for him (and us). Some of you commented that I should enjoy age 10 - I am trying to - and trying to set up for better teen years. Teens will be teens though and I'll have to deal with what comes! Thanks for letting me know I am not crazy and there are others out there with the same issues. It is a comfort to know this is kind of normal ;).

Nicole - posted on 12/19/2008

103

7

10

I notice you dont mention anything about your husband and this situation...maybe a family meeting and some family counselling as a mother of nine three of which are curreently teens...id try to nip it in the bud now..weres his mother is there issues there???i soo love that age it gets even better at 12 when they tell you they know everything.......you also need to remeber at 10 there still little boys and there often in there own little world..sometimes we tend to for get that a nd expect too much...hang in the teen years are around the corner...

Elisa - posted on 12/19/2008

6

7

0

You have two things going on. When my oldest turned 8, he announced it was the age of disbelief - see comments about Santa :-) but when he turned 9, it was the age of attitude (and how). So, I think some of what you're seeing is normal 10 year old boy.

And you're the step-mom. I have a 21 year old step daughter - and your story sounds SO familiar. She and I get along great now, but one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't back out of trying to be the one to set rules and consequences for her. It was not effective and it put a real strain on my marriage as well.

I think kids feel they are being disloyal to their bio-parent if they listen to a step-parent ... and to a certain extent they need to prove that they don't have to listen to you. I'd try to get dad to take on the role of getting homework done and handing out punishments. What I always knew I was helping my step-daughter with was introducing her to the stuff I love, that dad wasn't into: art museums, San Francisco, stuff like that.

Good luck - it's one of the hardest jobs in the world, being a step-mom.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms