HELP! BF's ds (5) bullies my ds (4) - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-16-2010, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My bf and I have been dating for almost 3 years and have known each other for over 20 as his sister is my best friend. His son has always displayed aggressive physical behavior and it has always been an issue. It seems to be more controlled as they are getting older, I guess I mean less consistent. We are working on a house my bf just purchased with the intention of moving in together. Over the last month his ds has put 3 different marks on my ds. My ds is what my bf and others call a "cry baby". I tend to agree that my son has a tendency to cry over just about everything that doesn't go his way, however, my bf's ds is definitely a bully and my son has learned thats how he can prevent some of the hitting or whatever he decides to abuse him with. His son has some pretty severe behavioral issues. My bf has admitted on several occasions that his son has "issues" but to date, he has done nothing that myself and others, family, have insisted such as counseling. My bf says that we try to micro-manage our kids and I agree but I don't see any other solution to his kids out of control behavior. The bullying is not the only issue. When I am forced to discipline which is simply a time out, he is physically aggressive with me and he speaks to me very disprectfully. He says things such as, "you're an idiot, you're stupid, you're not my boss, my mom was right". He's 5. Obviously that brings to light another issue. For the first 2 years of our relationship, bf's ex consistently told his son that my son and I are bad people, drug addicts, and such. She was the type to say anything awful thing she could in front of the child and even on one occasion said that she was going to be honest with her son and tell him everything. Mind you he was 3 and 4 at this point. It wasn't always just about us either, it was about bf and his family. This has been stopped and hasn't happened for a little over a year, however, as you have read, the damage has been done. I'm so stressed out, my dr thinks I may have ms, I'm scared to give up my home to live with someone that is denial of their child's behavior problems who could possibly seriously hurt my son. I don't want to hear that I should end the relationship, I want to believe that there is something other than that I can try. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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If he's not willing to take this seriously, I don't see what you can do. There may be no quick fix for this boy anyway, but if you and bf can't be on the same page about what's going on and how to deal with it, it's not likely to improve. Maybe you're willing to deal with the behavior on your own, but you know it's up to you to protect your son. It's not right to move your son in with a kid that bullies him. Is it possible for you to continue the relationship without moving in together?

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Old 06-16-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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If he's not willing to take this seriously, I don't see what you can do. There may be no quick fix for this boy anyway, but if you and bf can't be on the same page about what's going on and how to deal with it, it's not likely to improve. Maybe you're willing to deal with the behavior on your own, but you know it's up to you to protect your son. It's not right to move your son in with a kid that bullies him. Is it possible for you to continue the relationship without moving in together?
I agree, and I am sad that your man calls your son names. If he's calling your son "crybaby" now when things are new and fresh and in the "honeymoon" phase he certainly is not going to have your son's back later. It sounds like he is not stopping his son because he doesn't think there's anything wrong with it...not really, not beyond paying "lip service" to it.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:44 PM
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Your DS needs to be able to feel safe at home. This can't happen if he lives with some one who bullies him. If a child is hurting other children to the point it leaves marks that child needs help. This behavior in an adult would be assault. Also any one that calls your DC names is not someone you want to have as a step parent. I wouldn't associate with people who call my child names. Being a sensitive person doesn't make a person less intelligent or less successful in life. Intelligent and empathetic people do not call children crybabies or other names that damage a child's self image. Also allowing your DS to be repeatedly bullied can turn him into a victim, make him violent or make it hard for him to trust others and form healthy emotional bonds with people as an adult.

Reacting strongly to things is normal 4 year old behavior. 4 year olds can be very emotional. It's confusing for the child to belittle a him for age appropriate behavior.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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If one of a child's siblings bullies him, the options are limited. You can't make one sibling move out, when they're little! But in this case, you have a choice as to whether your son will have to share a home with someone who bullies him. That's kind of a no-brainer.

I don't mean to discount your feelings for, or your history and future plans with this man. But it is a clear-cut choice between your priorities.

I would say it might just be a phase the older boy will grow out of. But if your BF's approach to parenting and dealing with his son's behavior is so different from yours, you'd have to put blinders on to imagine that this wouldn't be an ongoing problem.

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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In your title it says "HELP".

Well, here is the only help I can offer: you have to sit down and make a decision to parent together, and to hold both children to the same standard.

I don't think it's healthy to micromanage children, but I think it is also unhealthy to allow one child to bully another. It is NOT about micromanaging, it is about respecting every member of the family, why is it an option for one little boy to put down you and your son? Why is his father not stepping in as a parent and disciplines him? He's doing it at 5, can you even imagine how tough it's going to be at 15??

What you cannot control - is what is going on at another house, but I think you have way bigger issues at your own place. Try to have your bf see it through your eyes, and both of you have to make a choice to create a house where respecting each other is an expectation for everyone. If that won't happen, you will be moving out a few years from now, after your heart is broken, and your son has suffered years of mistreatment, and you have build a nice thick wall of resentment towards the father who chose not to set boundaries for his son.

Good luck! Hope you guys can work it out. It IS doable, and it's okay to have a rough start, but you have to know exactly how your choices every day affect your relationship with everyone involved.

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Old 06-19-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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"Your DS needs to be able to feel safe at home. This can't happen if he lives with some one who bullies him."



You don't necessarily need to give up on your partner. You DO need to tell him, "look, you know that there are behavioral issues on both sides, your son and my son are not getting along right now, visitation in the same house together is not good for them" and get him to agree to take his son to McDonald's or whatever and bring him home to his mom instead of bringing him into your shared home for his visitation.

A person (even a child) who bullies your ds should not cross your threshold. But that doesn't mean that you don't love your partner, or that he doesn't love his son AND your son. It just means that the two of you might decide to look at this situation and decide that as things stand now, your stepson has a home with his mother and regular evenings out with his father. Later on, when the boys are older, you might mutually decide that your dss should have overnight visitation at your house.
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Old 06-20-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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...the two of you might decide...that as things stand now, your stepson has a home with his mother and regular evenings out with his father. Later on, when the boys are older, you might mutually decide that your dss should have overnight visitation at your house.
This would definitely be better for the OP's child than living with another kid who bullies him.

But her BF needs to prioritize his child, too! If he doesn't, then what kind of man is she trying to build a life with? He should work on getting his son not to bully, BUT:

#1- From what she's said, that doesn't sound like a priority to him. If he does not recognize on his own that his son's behavior is a problem and he does not make a concerted effort to address it on his own, then she needs to ask herself whether her BF actually thinks the behavior is fine and only says otherwise because she nags him? Love does not solve everything, especially in blended families.

#2- This man should not make shacking up with his GF his top priority, if that means his own child is unwelcome in his home and that he spends less time with his son (i.e., opts out of overnight visits). I would rather live separately from a man I loved, than see evidence that he'd give up time with his kid, to be with me! Yikes! Both of these people were parents first and must remember that. Neither of them should prioritize living together, over what they need to do as parents. If the BF's son resents or just doesn't like the OP's son, imagine how much worse that would be, after the BF's son figured out his Dad gave up overnights with him and reduced their family time to evenings at McDonald's, in order to live with the OP and HER son. There have to be priorities.

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Old 06-20-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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There do have to be priorities. But I think we sometimes get so caught up in the contemporary "ideal" of a child having two homes, two bedrooms, two families, two sets of rules, that we forget about the potential downsides. It's always best to know that both your parents love you and place a high value your time together. It may not always be best to live out of a suitcase at every stage of your life, and during every stage of your divorced parent's lives. We just don't know how the OP's boyfriend and his son were coping with visitation BEFORE she came along. The stress and pain that is leading to the bullying may have existed before she and her ds were in the picture. Not all NCPs are at their best during overnight visits - particularly if they have never been the primary caregiver. We hold up regular overnight visitation as an absolute good, and I don't think the experience of children in blended families (as either the visited or the visitor) demonstrates that it is always good to be shuttled back and forth between households as part of your daily/weekly routine.

Ultimately, it's OP's boyfriend who has all the information about how the father/son relationship is going, and whether a shift from overnight visits with the whole stepfamily to daytime visits with just the two of them would represent a positive, negative or neutral change in his current ability to parent. But if he's going to have a stepfamily, he now has two sons to think about, and the one whose ONLY home is with him has a right not to have that home become a place of fear.

(I assume, of course, that the 5 y.o. isn't regularly leaving the house overnight to be with his father. If that's the case, then it seems that issue could be resolved simply by scheduling.)
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