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Problem Step-Son

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My stepson will be 12 in a week and has been nothing but a problem child for the ten years his father and I have been together. He has had problems in school from Kindergarten and they are only getting worse. We just moved to a new school district to try to give him a new start but within two weeks, I am already having to go to a confrence. He has been very disruptive and rude to his teacher and already has late work. We all wanted him to use this to try to make a fresh start and have friends, he causes so many problems, most kids don't want to hang around him. I do not know what to do anymore, he adds so much stress to the house that I feel that I can't deal with it. It is to the point that I don't want to see him or talk to him. His bio mom is out of the pic for a few years (in prison), so we have no where to send him. I have had a bad year, I have had two mc's and am currently still in my first tri with twins. I am trying not to be stressed out because I can't do that to myself but it is immpossible at this point. I am going to have to try to give his teachers answers that I don't have on why he is like he is and what we all need to do to help him. He doesn't want help, he likes causing problems, I don't think he is happy if people arn't mad at him. I need help bad! I am to the point of wanting to take my daughter and go away, but I don't know what we would do without my husband. Any help will help.
post #2 of 22
I wish I had some words of advice but I dont, so here have some
post #3 of 22
I just wanted to send hugs. My SS is almost 8 and I'm afraid he is on the same path. His BM is not in jail, she is very emotionally unstable and abusive. I was afraid that I was the only one who felt this way toward their SS. People who do not have a similar situation do not understand and I have found they think they have all the answers and pass judgement on you. I want to encourage you to tough it out. Your husband feels the frustration too and if he is like mine feels terrible that you have to endure such stress because of him. Your marriage is important to your children and even though it may not seem like it I bet it is also important to your SS. Don't let the stress of a problem child destroy your family. Embrace the good things in your day and let your husband deal with it while you take an emotional break for as long as you need.
post #4 of 22


Poor Mama. This is a very tough situation.

You've probably already heard this, but what about counselling? For the whole family, for dss on his own and also for you. Perhaps you could get in with a counsellar who will give you some great coping techniques. And a counsellar could also work closely with the school (I bet the school has a few names they could give you) so that everyone is helping this young man through his challenges.

IMHO I think your boy is acting out because things are happening in his life that he does not like and cannot control. You mentioned his BM is in prison...that's guaranteed to set someone off especially someone too young to really understand what is going on and who does not have the emotional maturity to deal with it.

I do hope you can get help for your family, and I hope things get better for you soon.

post #5 of 22
the words problem child make me :

maybe counseling would work wonders... try try again... there are no problem children just problems children can't cope with or understand and sometimes we have troubles understanding and coping with those problems too.

Hugs to you and him!
post #6 of 22
This mama should not be judged by her choice of wording, nor is it her fault that this child has a problem that he and/or she does not understand. This mama is asking for help, not word choice options. Sometimes when people are desperate for change they use the word problem to state that there is simply a problem that needs to be solved. I think by using the words problem child she is telling us, honestly, exactly how she is feeling at the moment.
post #7 of 22
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post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Honestly, the words I used are the word I feel. I have been with this child for about 10 years now and even when he was very small, he has had a knack for finding trouble. I had a meeting with his teachers today and he is just being completly disrespectful to teachers, disruptive in class and I found out he is also lashing out physically at other kids. We have gone to councling we got "Kaleb is Kaleb, he is going to do what he wants". This was not helpful to our situation at all. We have spent a lot of money and a lot of time trying to understand him, but he doesn't seem to want to be understood. He is a bright child and he knows that what he does is wrong, he knows that his choices with cause problems in all aspects of his life, but he makes the choices anyway. He has had a hard life, his mom left when he was about 1 1/2 and hasn't been in his life much and from that time many things have occured, but his sister has been through all of the same stuff and she finds a way to cope. I am not saying he should be compared to his sister becuause they are in no way alike, but I am simply pointing out that it is not all environment.

I am just very frustrated with the situation, I feel as if I have done everything and noting has worked, I feel like I have failed and I am loosing hope. My feelings are not good feelings but you would have to know everything I have been through in the past 10 years to truly understand. I have been there for this boy, morning, noon and night, every birthday and holiday and he doesn't seem to care and that hurts.
post #9 of 22
I have a half sister that my mom was the underappreciated step mother to. It took her having her own "problem" step daughter to tell my mom thank you and really let her know she appreciated everything she did for her. Hang in there. Your step son is lucky to have you and you are tough for staying in your marriage despite obstacles that make you want to turn and run. I know how you feel, but I have only been at it for 7 years. You are doing a better job than you realize by just being there and giving it a shot. You have not failed as a step mother, his mother failed him not you.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaDoula View Post
This mama should not be judged by her choice of wording, nor is it her fault that this child has a problem that he and/or she does not understand. This mama is asking for help, not word choice options. Sometimes when people are desperate for change they use the word problem to state that there is simply a problem that needs to be solved. I think by using the words problem child she is telling us, honestly, exactly how she is feeling at the moment.
I was not bashing this mama but using a word like problem child isn't going to help her problem either. Its the families problem... not just the child and I never said she caused the problem or anything. But I remember being called a problem child and it effected me greatly. I heard people say it all the time... and it wasn't me. It was so many other things. I hope this mama can help the child and I hope the family can get passed this. But the term bothers me.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess's Mom View Post
Honestly, the words I used are the word I feel. I have been with this child for about 10 years now and even when he was very small, he has had a knack for finding trouble. I had a meeting with his teachers today and he is just being completly disrespectful to teachers, disruptive in class and I found out he is also lashing out physically at other kids. We have gone to councling we got "Kaleb is Kaleb, he is going to do what he wants". This was not helpful to our situation at all. We have spent a lot of money and a lot of time trying to understand him, but he doesn't seem to want to be understood. He is a bright child and he knows that what he does is wrong, he knows that his choices with cause problems in all aspects of his life, but he makes the choices anyway. He has had a hard life, his mom left when he was about 1 1/2 and hasn't been in his life much and from that time many things have occured, but his sister has been through all of the same stuff and she finds a way to cope. I am not saying he should be compared to his sister becuause they are in no way alike, but I am simply pointing out that it is not all environment.

I am just very frustrated with the situation, I feel as if I have done everything and noting has worked, I feel like I have failed and I am loosing hope. My feelings are not good feelings but you would have to know everything I have been through in the past 10 years to truly understand. I have been there for this boy, morning, noon and night, every birthday and holiday and he doesn't seem to care and that hurts.
Im so sorry this is all happening to you mama and to him. Clearly he is have trouble with his emotions. I wish I could give you all a big hug.

My mother left when I was a toddler and I only saw her a handful of times. I coped but was what everyone else called a "problem child" for awhile. I grew up and got better. My brother never grew up and never got better. There are different survival instincts for us all. Maybe he just can't get past it. Hugs. Your a good mother for wanting to help him!
post #12 of 22
I have been thinking about this, and wondering if one of those wilderness progrmas might help him? Not the kind that is punative and cruel, but the ones where kids learn to be self sufficient and are able to be more grounded with their emotions... I think I remember hearing about a wilderness program that is meant to be nurturing and not punative... I can't remember the name though. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by meowee View Post
I have been thinking about this, and wondering if one of those wilderness progrmas might help him? Not the kind that is punative and cruel, but the ones where kids learn to be self sufficient and are able to be more grounded with their emotions... I think I remember hearing about a wilderness program that is meant to be nurturing and not punative... I can't remember the name though. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
I have not heard of it, but I would LOVE to hear more about it!! It sounds wonderful.
post #14 of 22
I *think* this is one that I saw advertised on MDC. I know nothing about this camp, and I think since so many of these camps ARE punative, you would have to do tons of research and talk to people/ parents who have been to them...

http://www.sagewalk.com/bratcamp/

And this is one that was well known when I was young...

http://www.outwardbound.org/
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
meowee,

Thank you for the information. I have requested further information from both places. Neither of them sound like "boot camps", so that is good.

Thanks again!
post #16 of 22
From the little youhave written, I think you should have him evaluated for ADHD and ADD. He sounds alot like my son. I am not saying that there aren't any emotional issues. On the contrary, emotional issues make both of these issues much worse. If the problems started when he was smaller, it is most likely that he has ADHD and the ODD developed from the frustration in the family. I am not saying you are a bad parent, I know first hand how stressful life can be in a situation like this. My husband, who is my son's stepfather, has a hard time also. I also understand the "problem child" label. When every day of your life is in turmoil from the situations that arise at school and at home, you feel that all hope is lost and this child is so bad and mean. You ask yourself, "why won't he just listen. He wants friends but he drives them away. He is so smart but he won;t even try." After I had my twins I looked into sending my son to an inpatient treatment facility. I know what desperation feels like. I really recommend the book Driven to Dristraction by Edward Hallowell (?sp). If you aren't sure about having him evaluated for those disorders then you might want to read that book. If you ever want to talk you can pm me. I am happy to share any of my story if it will help others.
post #17 of 22
I would find another counselor - for the whole family. It's never as simple as one problem child in a family. Each member of the family has his/her role in how the family functions. I suggest finding another counselor.

Take care -
post #18 of 22
Another thought -

Instead of thinking of him as a problem - think of him as hurting and in need of some real guidance and help. That's why kids act out. Clearly, he's in pain and hurting. His heart is hurting.
post #19 of 22
I would suggest that you try again with getting professional help. I've heard of a therapist saying something like "Kaleb is just Kaleb" . That is incompetent.

If it hasn't been done yet, I would recommend that your husband have Kaleb seen by a medical doctor with the sole intention of screening him for any kind of medical issue that would cause these kinds of behavioral issues.

Then Dad could look into finding a therapist that specializes in childhood behavioral issues. Kaleb's peditrician could probably help with that and health insurance may even cover a portion of the cost even if it didn't cover family therapy.

Finally, Dad could ask the school if they have any alternative programs for at-risk students that Kaleb might qualify for. Many school districts have seperate programs for kids that are struggling to manage in the public system.

Most of all, hang in there. I know it must be very hard to find the energy to even care anymore. You've got so much on your plate right now. This is tough and it is likely that it will get tougher before it gets better. But now is not the time to give up. The ages of 12-15 are often the last big chance we have as parents to pull a kid back from a bad future.

Good luck
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Dad is not much of a do-er, I have always been the one to get stuff done. Dad also is not very into the idea of family councling, he doesn't like to open up to people, I wonder where his son get's it??? I guess that is what makes this problem worse, his dad and I clash so bad on parenting issues and I am just getting sick of that too. For the longest time I just did what he did because they were his kids and I was so young, I didn't know what I was doing, but I have my own child now and things are just so diffrent. I know that Kaleb is huring, but I also know that he knows right from wrong and I also know he doesn't talk about his problems easily. He is spending special time with someone at school now to share, I think maybe it helps a little and I expect that he will be put in the alternative program in the future, but he is too young at this time. The program we have kind of renforces the behavior becasue they make it easier for the kids, so I don't know if it will help or hurt. I just know that life is a mess. I don't know what to do with Kaleb and I am tired of feeling like I am on my own for so many issues with his dad. I guess it is the combination that makes me want to give up. I have tried to talk to dad about this, but he just gets mad and I don't have the energy to fight.

Thank you all for your ideas, I am going to try.
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