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DSS advice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm new to this forum, and could use some guidance.

I'm a 22 yo army wife and mom  to 2 boys ( my DSS is 6 and my DS is 1). I have known my DSS since he was 2 and we have custody of him. Before my DH and I got married my DSS lived with his mom but spent most of his time at his Grandma's (MIL) because his mom was "too busy" as she put it! She had 7 boyfriends in a one month span and DSS was horrified at the thought of even going to stay at her house. He'd come stay at my house on the weekends and I couldn't believe how well behaved he was.

 

We got married on R&R in July of 09 and I soon found out I was pregnant. DH came home in October where we lived in NY for about 6 mos. We then moved to WA and DSS moved with us, and we've been having problems with him since day 1. When we moved to WA I was 6 mos pregnant and DH was out of town going to school and DSS was with me. DH came home 4 days before I had DS and DSS went back home to visit his mom.

 

Thats a little background story; my problem is I'm having a hard time getting him to even listen to me. He throws fits, punches things, hits himself, bangs his head against the wall, he'll poop in his bed and play in it. Is constantly lieing, and has even thrown a few things at me.He's very good at manipulating women especially his mom and gma but I don't give in. They give him WHATEVER he wants and lets him do whatever whenever. This scares me because he's really big for his age and I know he's going to be a big kid.

 

I just don't know what to do, I feel stressed to the max because it seems like I can't get anywhere with him. He is very disrespectful to adults. Especially his dad he has said rude comments such as " I wish you weren't my dad I wish so and so (mommys current boyfriends) was my daddy or I don't love you and wish you would go back.

 

I've tried positive reinforcement, time outs, psychologists, counselors, grounding, enrolling him in sports with other kids his age, and talking to him and I don't seem to be getting  anywhere and it doesn't help that he'll be leaving for his moms in a few weeks.

DH is gone for training and then deploys and DSS will be staying here with me and DS and I don't have this under control yet. DH isn't much help, I told him that DSS threw a water bottle at me and all he could say was "i'm sorry,"

 

Ladies I could really use some advice, words of encouragement! Anything, my family isn't much help.

post #2 of 10

DH needs to step up his game! Seems to me that you're doing the hard work being the disciplinarian, but you should have a man there behind you to back you up. Whenever my DSS is out of line (and he knows it) all I have to say is "when daddy gets home, he's going to talk to you about your behavior right now." Almost immediately he changes his tone because he would rather deal with the nicer adult (me) than to have his dad get really bent out of shape. Sometimes I think my DH is too harsh, but at least that makes it easier for me to get our kids to listen because they know that I'm more reasonable and if anybody is going to flip out on them, it's going to be their daddy. =) Tell your husband to use some of that military training to whip his DS into shape! It's good for boys to have boundaries and to know not to overstep them with dad!

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

When my husband is home he does most of the discipline. But he hasn't been home in over 6 weeks, he had a talk with him on the phone tonight and that seems it did the trick I'm just hoping that this nice behavior sticks around. Last night DSS told me he gets so angry he just wants to punch me sometimes and thats something a 6 yo shouldn't say to anyone! Since we found out about an upcoming deployment my husband has been giving more of the disciplinary role because I'll be the one at home, and he'll have little to no communication.

 

Sometimes I feel like I've failed as a step mom, simply because everything I've tried has backfired on me.

Thank you blondygirl!!

post #4 of 10

Bless you, woman. If I were in your shoes I'd opt out of being a full-time caregiver to this child and let his parents parent. No advice, just admiration for you. 

post #5 of 10

This poor little boy has been set up (by his mama?) for so many problems...I think it's wonderful that you love him so much and have given him so much care up to this point.  Please have him seen by a psychologist/psychiatrist ASAP and also look into Applied Behavior Analysis.  He needs more help than either you or his daddy can give him.

post #6 of 10

My son actually had counseling for an anger problem for a while. One thing that helped was to talk about 'Anger Mountain' (you can draw a picture to help illustrate the point) The premise is, when you start to feel angry, you're climbing the mountain. If you only go up a little bit, its easy turn around and go back down, if you go higher up it's harder, and if you go all the way to the top it's very, very hard to go back down and feel calm again. Then you start to talk about what he feels like when he's starting to get angry (does his face feel hot? does he feel like crying? does he feel frustrated or stuck?) Help him by mentioning cues that you notice sometimes. Talk about how he feels when he's more angry, and really angry. Then try to come up with alternatives to the behaviour he's using when he's angry. My son liked to go ride his bike, go take a shower or go play lego in his room for a while. Try and think of things that are relaxing to him or things that burn off excess energy. That was the only other thing that helped (before his step dad became part of our lives) was to spend a lot, A LOT of time outside, where he could run himself ragged and not have any steam left over to take his aggressions out on me. It is HARD to live with a kid with anger issues, there were times I felt like giving up, and I'm his biomom! I felt terribly guilty for feeling like that, but it felt like there was no way out and I wasn't making any progress. It takes a lot more time and effort than you can imagine, but things will change if you keep at it. The only other thing I can think of that might help in your situation, since his dad goes away for extended times... maybe he's having a really hard time with that. It might be helpful to him to have something like a special treasure box, that he can put things into to share with his dad when he gets back... just pictures he drew, or rocks he thinks look cool, or the bracelet they put on at pool when you took him swimming, or whatever he wants.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mummoth View Post

My son actually had counseling for an anger problem for a while. One thing that helped was to talk about 'Anger Mountain' (you can draw a picture to help illustrate the point) The premise is, when you start to feel angry, you're climbing the mountain. If you only go up a little bit, its easy turn around and go back down, if you go higher up it's harder, and if you go all the way to the top it's very, very hard to go back down and feel calm again. Then you start to talk about what he feels like when he's starting to get angry (does his face feel hot? does he feel like crying? does he feel frustrated or stuck?) Help him by mentioning cues that you notice sometimes. Talk about how he feels when he's more angry, and really angry. Then try to come up with alternatives to the behaviour he's using when he's angry. My son liked to go ride his bike, go take a shower or go play lego in his room for a while. Try and think of things that are relaxing to him or things that burn off excess energy. That was the only other thing that helped (before his step dad became part of our lives) was to spend a lot, A LOT of time outside, where he could run himself ragged and not have any steam left over to take his aggressions out on me. It is HARD to live with a kid with anger issues, there were times I felt like giving up, and I'm his biomom! I felt terribly guilty for feeling like that, but it felt like there was no way out and I wasn't making any progress. It takes a lot more time and effort than you can imagine, but things will change if you keep at it. The only other thing I can think of that might help in your situation, since his dad goes away for extended times... maybe he's having a really hard time with that. It might be helpful to him to have something like a special treasure box, that he can put things into to share with his dad when he gets back... just pictures he drew, or rocks he thinks look cool, or the bracelet they put on at pool when you took him swimming, or whatever he wants.



Thank you!!

This has helped me out tremendously, glad to know that it's not all my fault and that he's not the only one going through this!  I'm going to talk with him about the Anger Mountain, I think it'll help and maybe we can find something that he can do!

 

I have an appt with an anger management counselor once he comes back.

I feel alot better, I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but I'm hesitant because we've been through this stage before.

post #8 of 10

It is a lot of two-steps-forward, one-step-back... the longer it's been from the last time he acted out, the less likely it is that he'll do it again. My son used to storm right up to me and try and be physically imposing/ corner me/ get in my face, he'd hit (even targeting my wrist that has been broken the year before) and jump on my back if I tried to walk away... he was totally out of control. The incidents got further apart and less severe, and now it would be a BIG line to cross, like he had never done it. Don't get discouraged of he has a little back slide, I think that's just how it goes. It's like being angry becomes a habit.

 

Another thing that worked, if I caught him before he got too angry, was to completely sidestep the argument by asking "Do you want a hug?" Sometimes after a good long hug, he'd quietly go do what I asked of him. It' only worked maybe 5-10% of the time, but when it didn't work before, sometimes he'd ask for the hug after a blow-out. 

post #9 of 10

I really, REALLY recommend you get the book "Your Six Year Old: Loving & Defiant" by Ames & Ilg. It's an older series of books on child development and it will give you great insight as to what is common behavior at different ages. It's very common for 6 yr olds to have issues with anger and possessiveness because their brains are going through similar development to what happens with 2 year olds (I happen to have had a 6 yr old AND a 2 yr old at the same time, it was a rough year!). There are likely to be other things going on with your step-son, but I'd bet that a lot of it is developmental and it can be really helpful to know that your child isn't "broken" thumb.gif 

post #10 of 10

"Last night DSS told me he gets so angry he just wants to punch me sometimes and thats something a 6 yo shouldn't say to anyone! "

 

Actually, this is a very normal thing for a six-year-old to say. It's not pleasant, but it's normal. 

 

The pooping in the bed and playing with it is a lot less normal. I don't think you should freak out about it, but definitely, your DSS needs some behavioral intervention. He's gone through an extraordinary amount of stress in his short life. The custody change and the move to WA, away from his mom's round-robin of boyfriends, is probably going to benefit him in the long run, but the transition is going to be challenging. 

 

While you may be the stepmom by law, your family circumstances (DH deployed, DSS' biomom flaky as heck and not parenting him while DH is deployed) mean that you are, IN PRACTICE, the single mom of two boys for an upcoming stretch of time. You'll have all the responsibility and all the authority. I think family counseling for you and DSS (and DS would be there too, but it's not like he'll get much out of it at his age) is a really good idea, and would ideally start even before your DH deploys. The three of you need to establish a functional relationship that isn't held together by DH. Much as it's tempting to focus on discipline, I wouldn't be surprised if the counselor told you to focus on bonding first and foremost. 

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