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#1 of 22 Old 04-20-2012, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my husband's son was recently put into foster care, as of april 25th he will be granted primary physical custody. There are numerous reasons why his ex's children were placed in the foster system but Now that we will start having custody we are running into problems with her family. His ex's parents are threatening us with a court battle for grandparents rights, and his ex's sister is threatening some kind of action too. Part of the reason the children were placed is because the guy she was with was very abusive in every way possible towards his ex, her parents, and the children and her parents and other family members let this go on for two years before speaking up. Her parents were against us for custody of his son but we won and from what i've gathered from everything they are basically just pissed off because they lost the battle. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of the long war. Any advice on grandparents rights and what we can expect if this does drag on and on in court?

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#2 of 22 Old 04-20-2012, 10:24 PM
 
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How it goes depends on what you guys want, and whether the grandparents can be cooperative or not. Would you be okay with the grand parents visiting DSS, maybe after a few weeks to cool-off? If your DH could offer, for example, to bring his son to a certain park one or two times a month to visit the grand parents, or if he could let them take him for an after noon for time to time, you might not need to go to court at all. If the intent is to not let DSS see them ever again, then obviously it'll be a court thing.

 

I ended up with a combo of both things, I was allowing visitss but XH's parents were harassing me for more access. They took me to court and the Judge wrote an order giving them exactly the amount of access I'd given them all along. It turned out in my best interest because they know they have to take it or leave it now.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#3 of 22 Old 04-21-2012, 03:41 AM
 
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Tell them to put their money where their mouth is. Offer them visits (if your DH deems it safe) when it works for you, and document document document document. Write down the time, date, mode and content of every conversation. Do not fight with them. If they are nasty, let them leave a message then save it and transcribe it. If they threaten you, hang up. Do not feed their anger, do not feed the drama they are trying to create.

Be reasonable, nice, and firm.
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#4 of 22 Old 04-21-2012, 03:46 AM
 
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Also, grandparents rights, when granted, is usually only an afternoon a month, and I don't think aunts have rights at all. I know where I live grandparent rights aren't recognized in any way. It depends very much on where you live.

But, don't worry until they actually file. my exs parents threatened filing for grandparent rights (when I lived in a state that recognizes grandparent rights, I have since moved), but never actually did, and from what I know that happens a lot.
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#5 of 22 Old 04-21-2012, 07:15 PM
 
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Read your state's law on grandparent's rights.  Here, I know there are laws supporting it, but I'm not familiar with the specifics because it hasn't been an issue for us.  It is meant to simply give grandparents a right to maintain a relationship with kids who are not in the care of their adult child.  It isn't an avenue for the grandparents to share custody or decision-making about the child.  

 

I have been in your position - not in terms of my step-kid being overtly abused (just emotionally) - but I supported my husband through a long, gut-wrenching battle to end an unacceptable situation for his child, by getting custody.  I know, when custody is so hard-won, then it seems like someone's challenging you on it again, there is a deep, real, scary, intense sense of threat.  I understand!  For years after my husband got custody, I felt every tiny little conflict with his ex was, as you said, "the beginning of a long war".  But start to put that aside.  A court has made a definitive decision that your husband will be the custodial parent.  You have a specific date when that will happen.  You've won the war and are on the path toward stability.  A grandparent's rights claim is not going to destroy that.  It's simply one of the details that has to be worked out, after the imposed cease-fire.

 

It's probably natural, when you've been in such a defensive position, to ascribe the worst motives to anyone who opposes you.  Your step-kids' grandparents may not have done what they should, to protect the kids.  But abuse is complicated and some people are weaker than others.  The grandparents may have been slow to recognize the abuse.  Perhaps they wanted to avoid thinking that their daughter had chosen an abusive man and wasn't protecting her kids.  Perhaps, once they became concerned, their daughter begged them not to take action, for fear the abuse would worsen.  She may have insisted things were improving and she could handle it and keep the kids safe - and perhaps they wanted to believe her.  She is, after all, their child.  Perhaps the grandparents feared someone (the abusive boyfriend, their daughter, your husband, the police, the courts...) would cut off their relationship with the kids, if they made the abuse known.  These dynamics are all common, with abuse.

 

But you don't describe the grandparents as the actual abusers, just enablers, out of weakness.  Their desire to establish predictable contact with the kids is probably genuine and motivated by love, not because "they are basically just pissed off because they lost the battle".  If they seem pissed off and litigious, it may be because they're afraid your husband will deny them access to the kids...and possibly they blame him for the heartache in their family.  They may have convinced themselves he "abandoned" their daughter and grandkids, leaving them vulnerable to men like the abusive BF who has now torn apart their family.  That's easier for them, than accepting their daughter has made some really poor choices and been very weak.

 

You and your husband have the power to keep the grandparents' issue from becoming a war, by giving them reasonable access to the kids. You have the right to decide the terms.  Consider all the factors and decide what's safe for the kids and not too disruptive to your family.  The more fair and defensible your position, the less financial incentive the grandparents have, to go to court.  (If you give no visitation, they have a lot to gain from their attorney's fees.  If there's not much difference between what you offer them and what a court would likely order, then they have to consider how much they really want to spend, fighting over the difference.)


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#6 of 22 Old 04-22-2012, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the big problem we have ran into is that our lawyer has added to the court order that his ex and her family are not to contact us directly... and i am the only one that can drive so it would be me taking him places to meet his grandparents and i dont want them around my kids... so its complicated all over the place, and the intent was not to never let them see him again, im just not sure what the hubby has in mind as far as visits that he will agree too, i know anything UNsupervised is out of the question.

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How it goes depends on what you guys want, and whether the grandparents can be cooperative or not. Would you be okay with the grand parents visiting DSS, maybe after a few weeks to cool-off? If your DH could offer, for example, to bring his son to a certain park one or two times a month to visit the grand parents, or if he could let them take him for an after noon for time to time, you might not need to go to court at all. If the intent is to not let DSS see them ever again, then obviously it'll be a court thing.

 

I ended up with a combo of both things, I was allowing visitss but XH's parents were harassing me for more access. They took me to court and the Judge wrote an order giving them exactly the amount of access I'd given them all along. It turned out in my best interest because they know they have to take it or leave it now.

 

 

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#7 of 22 Old 04-22-2012, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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how could they have been slow on recognizing the abuse when my hubbys ex's boyfriend slapped around her mother while she was holding a 9 month old baby, when her boyfriend had a rifle to her father's head threatening to pull the trigger, when he was leaving bruises all over a 9 month old baby's face, when he pushed all his weight on a 9 year old child's chest causing him to not be able to breathe and pass out, when he smacked around a 3 year old little boy, when he leaves a 9 month old baby alone in a car in the middle of the night to go in a bar and drink, when he pushes a pillow over a 9 month old baby's face because the baby is crying, when he beat a 9 year old boy's ass because he didn't understand his homework...

 

the grandparents let ALL this go on in their home and witnessed all of it

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.  The grandparents may have been slow to recognize the abuse.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#8 of 22 Old 04-22-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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the big problem we have ran into is that our lawyer has added to the court order that his ex and her family are not to contact us directly... and i am the only one that can drive so it would be me taking him places to meet his grandparents and i dont want them around my kids... so its complicated all over the place, and the intent was not to never let them see him again, im just not sure what the hubby has in mind as far as visits that he will agree too, i know anything UNsupervised is out of the question.


If it's the court order that they are not to contact you directly, dont respond to them and just document when they attempt to contact you. Don't worry about this until they actually file for visitation. They currently have no rights to the child at all - a judge needs to grant that.
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#9 of 22 Old 04-22-2012, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nobody has tried to contact us directly at all yet, but i have taken measures to prevent that, like blocking the email addresses from my husbands email, and blocking thier phone numbers from my phone. it's just very stressful right now because we dont feel that any child should have to go through what they did and we are both very concerned if they get unsupervised visitations that something like this will happen again.

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If it's the court order that they are not to contact you directly, dont respond to them and just document when they attempt to contact you. Don't worry about this until they actually file for visitation. They currently have no rights to the child at all - a judge needs to grant that.

 

 

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#10 of 22 Old 04-22-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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the big problem we have ran into is that our lawyer has added to the court order that his ex and her family are not to contact us directly... and i am the only one that can drive so it would be me taking him places to meet his grandparents and i dont want them around my kids... so its complicated all over the place, and the intent was not to never let them see him again, im just not sure what the hubby has in mind as far as visits that he will agree too, i know anything UNsupervised is out of the question.

 

 

 

Okay, wording can be tricky on court orders... is it plainly that they are not to contact your family, or that they are not to contact your family on her behalf. There was a no-contact order in place for my ex. He wasn't allowed to contact me or the kids directly or indirectly and for a time his parents took it as any contact between themselves and the kids was indirect contact to their father. In reality, it'd be indirect contact only if they were passing messages along from him or that sort of thing. 

 

If the grandparents are indeed not supposed to contact your family, then that court order applies to them as well. Generally their names would be written out in the court order if this were the case. They'd have to appeal the judgment, I think. It sounds like you guys would strongly prefer no contact, supervised or otherwise, so you have to do anything unless you get served. If you go to court and have to allow DSS to see them, you can request that visits take place with a professional supervisor. 

 

Has anything been decided about whether DSS will be able to see his sibling or not?


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#11 of 22 Old 04-22-2012, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes he has an hour a week supervised visits with his mother and 2 brothers, we haven't gotten the court order in the mail yet i am not sure if it says her parent's names on it too or not, as we don't have him with us until the 25th. I would much rather no contact because i dont feel that it would effect my stepson nor my own children in a positive way. But the opinion that means the most is my husbands and we haven't really talked much about it, but i will discuss this with him further and keep thread updated as i learn more info

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Okay, wording can be tricky on court orders... is it plainly that they are not to contact your family, or that they are not to contact your family on her behalf. There was a no-contact order in place for my ex. He wasn't allowed to contact me or the kids directly or indirectly and for a time his parents took it as any contact between themselves and the kids was indirect contact to their father. In reality, it'd be indirect contact only if they were passing messages along from him or that sort of thing. 

 

If the grandparents are indeed not supposed to contact your family, then that court order applies to them as well. Generally their names would be written out in the court order if this were the case. They'd have to appeal the judgment, I think. It sounds like you guys would strongly prefer no contact, supervised or otherwise, so you have to do anything unless you get served. If you go to court and have to allow DSS to see them, you can request that visits take place with a professional supervisor. 

 

Has anything been decided about whether DSS will be able to see his sibling or not?

 

 

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#12 of 22 Old 04-23-2012, 05:08 AM
 
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yes he has an hour a week supervised visits with his mother and 2 brothers, we haven't gotten the court order in the mail yet i am not sure if it says her parent's names on it too or not, as we don't have him with us until the 25th. I would much rather no contact because i dont feel that it would effect my stepson nor my own children in a positive way. But the opinion that means the most is my husbands and we haven't really talked much about it, but i will discuss this with him further and keep thread updated as i learn more info

 

Talk to your DH about it for sure - but make sure that you are comfortable with any arrangements. I know you are the only driver in your family, so that means that if you aren't comfortable with your other children being near these people, another arrangement should be made for your dss to visit with his grandparents (if that happens at all).

 

I would also encourage you to wait this out a bit - if they actually file for grandparent visitation hire an attorney. Before then, don't worry at all. Just worry about the family you have, and on getting your dss acclimated into your family life. Thats the most important part right now (or will be in a few days? I don't remember when he's moving in permanently). Just remember, they don't have rights to him until a judge grants them.

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#13 of 22 Old 04-24-2012, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so today my day went from a normal every day boring long day to stressful and annoyed realll quick. my stepson moves in with us tomorrow afternoon, and low and behold who shows up at my door today?? His ex's parents!!!!!!! His ex's mother asked me if she could come in and i told her no but I went outside to talk to her for a few minutes. she is demanding to know what we want to do as far as visitions with her and her husband go. I talked to my husband about this and thier visits are not his main priority right now, his priority is getting his son settled and feeling secure in a new environment, which is where his priorities should be. so after they left afer threatening me with a court battle, I immediately called our lawyer. She told me she will do everything she can to see what she can do to prevent them from just showing up at my house unannounced and uninvited. I also immediately called the caseworker to see what I should do from there. The caseworker is very uncomfortable with them just showing up and is going to talk to both his ex and her superivsor to see what can be done to stop this mess. I was also informed that the ex's parents have no standing in court as far as visitation rights for grandparent's rights, because they go to his ex's weekly supervised visits with her. I am worried about how them just showing up will effect my stepson, he is only three he doesn't deserve anymore bs. he is already scared, upset, and confused. he doesn't need anymore stress or trauma. i am so worried about what kind of impact this will have on him if they keep making this a habbit (which i feel like they will) and also it worries me because i have no idea how they found out where i live. i just don't know what to do...

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#14 of 22 Old 04-24-2012, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and also i am not worried about them taking us to court anymore for visits because his ex still lives with her parents, and she is not to have any unsupervised visits with any of her children and my stepson still has a guardian ad lightem, so i am almost positive they will not get anything unsupervised.

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#15 of 22 Old 04-25-2012, 03:19 AM
 
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Ok so they are totally nuts. Next time you talk to your lawyer, ask about getting a restraining order against them, or a no contact order. Especially if this continues.

Also, ask them to contact you through your lawyer, keep a few business cards around to hand to them.
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#16 of 22 Old 04-25-2012, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah they are totally nuts. and his ex isn't much better.

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Ok so they are totally nuts. Next time you talk to your lawyer, ask about getting a restraining order against them, or a no contact order. Especially if this continues.
Also, ask them to contact you through your lawyer, keep a few business cards around to hand to them.

 

 

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#17 of 22 Old 04-25-2012, 02:41 PM
 
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It might help to make a plan for what to do if they come to the door again. If there's a room far from the front door that the kids don't usually play in, put something in there that will keep them entertained. And make it a rule, if it isn't already, that kids do not answer the door. I used to say "It's probably Jehovah's Witnesses" as a way of making sure they didn't come running thinking it might be someone interesting (sorry JW's!) My mom and anyone I was okay with visiting knew to come to the side door, so that helped.

 

You can look out the window and if it's the grandparents, tell the kids there's a surprise for them in the room. Then once they're distracted, you can call the cops. Don't answer the door. You can tell the dispatcher that there's kids in the house that you're trying to shelter from the drama and hopefully they can work with you. The police will probably move the grandparents out to the curb to talk to them. While you're waiting for the police to show up, you can close the curtains so he can't see outside if he comes back from the room you sent the kids to. Maybe buy a DVD and keep it hidden for a good distraction for them.

 

I had a few dollar store toys and some candy in the basement, and I also had a few kids websites book marked on the computer. The only time XH came to the house it was with police escort to get his crap. It was unannounced, and the cops told me that I could refuse and tell him to make an appointment, but I just wanted it over with. It was just the cops that came to the door, he was told to wait by the curb. I said that I was okay with it happening if he only came into the basement, not upstairs, and he agreed. The kids played on the computer, none the wiser, while I threw his stuff from upstairs into laundry baskets, with a towel on top and brought it down. There wasn't much left upstairs for him by that time, because I had been clearing out his stuff anyway, but they were too busy thinking they were getting away with something great to worry about what I was up to.

 

The grandparents threatened to show up one time, when they had tried a power play with me about the details of a visit. They wanted to pick the kids up and take them for the day, I said no but we'll meet you at the park. They insisted they were taking the kids, so I said forget it, this is getting too crazy, we can try and arrange a visit in a few weeks. The conversation ended with "We'll be there at 10!!" *click*. I took the kids downstairs to build a fort with them in the morning and waited, but they never showed (I learned later in court that they had gone to the park I was suggesting all along, but it wasn't clear from being screamed at on the phone that that was what she meant, oh well, it was probably best that I canceled at that point anyway) 

 

It might not work out that well, but it'll probably feel better if you have some sort of plan in place, at least. 


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#18 of 22 Old 04-25-2012, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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His first day and night went pretty good. we did have about an hour and a half of crying and upset because he missed his foster parents before bedtime. So i let him call them and that did wonders he calmed right down, and got his pajamas on for me really good, and fell asleep before i finished his bedtime story. He is supposed to have a visit with his mom tomorrow for 2 hours, but husband said he is going to call the caseworker in the morning and see if he can reschedule it to get him settled in and stuff first, because he doesn't want him to be even more sad and upset than he was tonight. I felt horrible calling the foster parents, i ran out of stuff to do to calm him down, i literally tried everything. Husband tried everything he could think of too. but all in all i think it was successful. He is going to need adjusment time, we expected that, we just didn't expect it to be this hard on him. :( poor baby :( hopefully things will get better in the next week or so.

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His first day and night went pretty good. we did have about an hour and a half of crying and upset because he missed his foster parents before bedtime. So i let him call them and that did wonders he calmed right down, and got his pajamas on for me really good, and fell asleep before i finished his bedtime story. He is supposed to have a visit with his mom tomorrow for 2 hours, but husband said he is going to call the caseworker in the morning and see if he can reschedule it to get him settled in and stuff first, because he doesn't want him to be even more sad and upset than he was tonight. I felt horrible calling the foster parents, i ran out of stuff to do to calm him down, i literally tried everything. Husband tried everything he could think of too. but all in all i think it was successful. He is going to need adjusment time, we expected that, we just didn't expect it to be this hard on him. :( poor baby :( hopefully things will get better in the next week or so.

 


Awesome!! Hopefully his former foster parents don't mind him calling for a few nights while he gets adjusted - might be easier to text and ask if he can call to say goodnight before the crying starts until he doesn't need to anymore.

 

Also, you should post in the Adoptive/Foster parenting board too. The mama's there will know about what you should expect with regards to the honeymoon period, and what will happen once he gets comfortable enough to start really testing boundaries. I'm here to tell you that 3 years is way worse than 2 (which in my house turns out to have been a warm-up), and that while I think you can handle it, you should be prepared for some serious boundary testing in a few weeks after he has really settled in.

 

Also, I wouldn't change his visits with his mom around - knowing when to expect those will make things easier for him than it being changed up. Especially if Thursday has been visit day since the beginning, knowing that Thursday will stay the visit day will make it easier (my ds does visitation with his dad, and any changes makes things really difficult at this age, although our situation is different in that it is overnight visits and unsupervised).

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#20 of 22 Old 04-28-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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His first day and night went pretty good. we did have about an hour and a half of crying and upset because he missed his foster parents before bedtime. So i let him call them and that did wonders he calmed right down, and got his pajamas on for me really good, and fell asleep before i finished his bedtime story. He is supposed to have a visit with his mom tomorrow for 2 hours, but husband said he is going to call the caseworker in the morning and see if he can reschedule it to get him settled in and stuff first, because he doesn't want him to be even more sad and upset than he was tonight. I felt horrible calling the foster parents, i ran out of stuff to do to calm him down, i literally tried everything. Husband tried everything he could think of too. but all in all i think it was successful. He is going to need adjusment time, we expected that, we just didn't expect it to be this hard on him. :( poor baby :( hopefully things will get better in the next week or so.

 


Wow -- I read this and starting crying. Partly because I am sad for your DSS, but mainly because I am so impressed by how loving and patient you are. Your empathy for this sweet little boy will go a LONG way towards healing his emotional wounds.

 

I just wanted to tell you that I, a perfect stranger to you, think you are an amazing person! I will keep you in my thoughts -- it is a tough road ahead for you, but I know you and your DH can do it!!

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#21 of 22 Old 04-30-2012, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay i know most of this sounds like normal sibling stuff, but it's really testing my patience. My 1 1/2 year old daughter seems to only target my stepson with scratching him, pulling hair, biting, pinching, pushing. He goes to headstart in the morning so he is not home for like 4 hours. During that 4 hours I do not have any problems with my 1 1/2 year old and 2 1/2 year old daughters fighting during this time. It seems like it only begins to happen as soon as he gets home. I understand that the transition only doesn't only effect my stepson my my other children as well, but oh my goodness this is stressful!! I have even had to go as far as seperating them and not letting them anywhere near each other for prolonged periods of time. I don't even know where to begin to get my other children used to the idea of having a brother and that he now lives with us. It seems the only child of mine that gets along with my stepson is my 7 month old son. Any advice on this would be wonderful and greatly appreciated. Also I have some behavioral concerns about my stepson. He is almost 4. He gets up in my other children's faces, Yes including my 7 month old son's, and SCREAMS at them. He also puts toys on top of each other and squishes only the bottom halves together. (I don't know if this is normal child behavior or not but it concerned me). He also has a habbit of saying really mean things to my three children and my husband, such as, I don't like you, I hate you, I dont like you go away!, i hate you leave me alone!  I keep pissing him off too, because while I am getting the kids dressed in thier pajamas and stuff and ready for bed, I flip through the channels on the tv to find a cartoon or something for them. He keeps getting mad at me because I won't let them watch Family Guy, or any other cartoon like that. It concerns me that he even knows what it is and can list off the characters. That is not something they need to be watching by any means. Other than that his transition is going great. We have only had that one rough night, he has not wet the bed, no waking up in the middle of the night. He is doing wonderful.

BrascosPrincess is offline  
#22 of 22 Old 04-30-2012, 10:42 AM
 
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Is he in therapy of some kind? Have you posted on the Foster/Adopt forum? I think some of this would be expected, as he has been through some very big transitions lately - removed from his home, siblings, mom, grandparents (even if they weren't taking care of him properly, this is hugely traumatic for children, and at 4 he's not able to express how he feels in a mature way - it comes out in behavioral issues).

 

The foster/adopt forum may have better advice (since I obviously don't have any!) since they have more collective experience dealing with children coming from foster care, and with the hard transitions.

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