For example, we asked him to clean his room. He will go in there, and literally stand next to his dresser all day long. Every time I come in, he will pick something up like he's about to put it away, and insist he's been cleaning the whole time. But the dresser will still have the exact same things on it five hours later. Or, if we ask him to do laundry, he will take a load out to the laundry room, put it in the wash, put the wet clothes in the dryer, bring in the dry clothes... and dump them back into the dirty clothes. If you don't check that he's actually taking clothes to the laundry room and bringing clothes out, he'll just go out there and stand around for a few minutes, and then come back in and say he did it.
I have other kids to take care of, so I can't follow him around all day and watch his every move. But I tried having him bring out a toybox from his room, and then having him bring out his things one piece at a time and put them in the toybox. That way I can watch him and be available to the other kids at the same time. That worked for a while, but he started taking longer and longer to come back out. Yesterday I was practically having to drag him back out of his room every couple of minutes. He also will disappear, and when I go looking for him, he's in the bathroom. He will go in there dozens of times a day, and stay in there until I notice he's gone. He ONLY does this when he's supposed to be doing something. At one point he stole his sister's cell phone, and was surfing the internet in the bathroom.
Which is another thing. We have laptops for our kids, but they are only allowed to use them in the living room. He would get up in the middle of the night, get a laptop, and be online in his bed all night long. We had to start locking them up at night. That's when he stole his sister's cell phone (as his was already taken away).
He has been grounded for five months now. He's not allowed to watch TV, get on the computer, or go out with his friends. We took away his cell phone. He's homeschooled, so he is pretty much stuck doing nothing at home, all the time. We keep setting goals for him, making them as easy as possible, telling him, "Just clean the kitchen every day for three days, and we will unground you!" He won't even do it for one day. We told him that if he would do ONE chore, just ONE time, we'd let him get on the computer for 15 minutes. He did it a few times, and then stopped. He just doesn't seem to care at all. We're trying really hard to make the punishments for his misbehavior as miserable as we can, while making it as easy as possible for him to do his chores and be rewarded. I've come up with a hundred plans and methods, writing out jobs step-by-step, offering to even HELP him do it. I feel like I'm bending over backwards, and he won't make the slightest effort on his part. I really don't understand this at all!
We've tried talking to him, but he won't talk to us. He has never liked talking about emotions or feelings. He told his sister that he does not want to talk to us. All he would tell her is that he feels like he can't do it, and he'll never get ungrounded, so why try. Even with his brother begging him to do his chores so they can play video games together, he won't try.
DH keeps getting angry and saying that he's fed up and he's going to send DSS to live with his mom. I feel like this is crazy-talk. He's OUR son. We couldn't send away one of the younger kids to live with a relative if they were misbehaving! And DSS's mom -- she's nice enough, but I don't know that she could handle him, or if she even wants to! She's got her hands full with the kids she has at home, and has never expressed a desire for the step-kids to come live with her.
Also I can't help blaming myself. I'm the SAHM. I'm the one who deals with this day-to-day. If DH sends our son away, he's losing his child because I failed to make him behave! DH has already said that he feels like I need to micromanage DSS more, and I've told him that I don't feel like I CAN do more. I feel like everything I do is pointless if DSS isn't willing to meet me halfway. But DH and I have always fought because he feels like I don't do enough for the kids.
I'm so upset. I absolutely do NOT want DSS to leave. There's a good chance that DH will calm down and never pursue it, but still. And I really don't know how I can get through to DSS. I have pleaded with him, poured my heart out to him, cried, begged, reasoned, threatened, and bribed him, and he is unmoved. What can I do????