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adhd nephew living with impatient (her words) mil

569 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Empress
I don't know if this is where adhd questions would go..BUT...I have been keeping up with this forum as my youngest ds seems..different..but he's only 7 months old..ANYWAY..this post is regarding my nephew

Mil has guardianship/custody of 7yo nephew because his parents gave him away (which I'm not judging)...He didn't have a good start with his parents and they gave him away just as he was starting kindergarten (He was 5yo). They would often spend $5,000/mo on drugs when they were living in a trailer with no power or running water (I don't know this first-hand, I wasn't there..this is what I've been told). He's got some major behavioral issues (but nothing in the ASD spectrum)...and mil took him to a counselor and he's been observed in the classroom...He's been diagnosed with ADHD and was on ritalin but is now on atteral (sp?)....MIL and I were talking the other day and I know his school/teachers do NOT believe that he's ADHD - just that he's "stubborn"....and mil said that the psychologist said, ALSO, that he's not ADHD - but stubborn...I don't know whether to believe that or not..but anyway..

MIL is really impatient - and those are her words. She said she doesn't have the patience for him. He does have some behavioral issues, but I think mil doesn't allow him to be a kid either. He does kid things sometimes and she just yells at him...she's always calling him names (baby, wuss, etc)..even to the point where 7yo is saying, "Stop calling me names!"

I would really like to help out...she, herself, said she doesn't have the patience...and I'd like to help (not by taking custody of him -which would NEVER wouldn't allow it and dh wouldn't either)...but maybe offering to take him 1 night a week and work with him (like homework) or offer to babysit sometimes or something?

I don't think he should be with his parents, or my mil....because I think they're going to kill all of his potential.

Any suggestions? I hope this has all been clear.
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MIL needs a new doctor. Man being stubborn is not a bad thing. Think if the Wright brothers were not stubborn, would we have airplanes? Poor kid. She needs to stop calling him names and work with him where he is.

Maybe help her get some perspective and see the world from his POV. He needs help and is not getting it. Does he have an IEP at school? Has he been see by the Child Study team? Maybe he needs a Functional Behavioral Assessment? They need to learn what he needs before he can get help.

And what I mean by killing all of his that they're going to destroy his chances at being a bright, healthy, happy young person.
I don't think mil would look into any of that (and they're not providing anything at school as far as working with anything that would work with his needs)...She thinks he's just stubborn, so she's angry all the time. She's always mad at him because she's seeing it as him making this choice of being difficult. It's all "his fault".
I'm not sure if I have any advice, I just feel so sorry for your nephew! Even though you aren't sure if he truely has ADHD, does your area have an ADHD support group? I've facilitated one through our school district. Maybe just finding that others have some of the same issues with their children may help. Or MIL could maybe take some parenting classes (calling the boy names?! How awful!). I would do whatever you can to get more positive people around this child before perminant damage is done to his sense of self and wellbeing! It would be great if you could take him once a week and maybe at least one weekend a month? Would MIL be OK with signing your nephew up for Big Brother's? How about through the school district (assuming he's in public school) do they offer any support groups in school? My dd school had friendship groups and an ADHD group that she attended as well as a social worker/counselor that she talks with.

How long has MIL had custody of your nephew? I'm sure he didn't come from the best of environments, it will take time for him to be able to make changes.

Please do whatever you can to help this boy. I feel so sad for him.
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He's been there for about 18+ months? She got him when he was starting Kindergarten (5yo & turned 6 in December) and now he's approaching the end of 1st grade (he's 7yo now)..I think it'll be 2 yrs in August. I feel so sorry for him to
I mean, I see (SOME) of her POV as far as getting frustrated with him..because he DOES have some behavioral issues..BUT...I think they all stem from his past & his environment. I mean, who wouldn't have issues being called names all the time? I just feel so sorry for him and want to do SOMETHING for him..but mil isn't exactly the most easy-going, easy-to-talk-to I'm kind of afraid to say something to her (because of what it would be insinuating to her)...BUT...I also don't want to NOT say anything because the poor kid hardly has a chance! I bought him an easter basket (and things to go in it) which I'm so glad for..because mil said that he could either a) get an easter basket or b) go to his papaw's (for the weekend, but he's coming back today)...he wanted both and she wouldn't allow it. Just seems kind of mean to me? Poor kid can't have the normal holiday stuff AND see his grandparents? I got his basket about 4 wks ago and mil knew about'm not going around her back and getting it for him...and maybe that's why she saw what she offered as ok? I don't know. I just think she's mean and it's no wonder my dh is the way he is.
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Oh, and Friday we were over at mil's and nephew was playing with ds (2yo)..they were riding bikes and weren't THAT far away..and mil said that my 2yo was smarter than nephew (1st grade) and the neighbor boy (kindergarten)....which, I appreciate her thinking that my ds is really smart - of course I think so too...but I think it's WRONG to say something like that in hearing range...whether they heard it or not....i'm sure she wasn't being serious...but, really? Then she started talking about how ds WANTS to learn and nephew is so stubborn...but...I just think it's wrong to say something like that.

Edited to add: Just wanting to clarify that not only is it WRONG for her to say that, but completely untrue.
First of all about being stubborn...try using the word 'determined', it comes across as more positive (and I think this boy needs way more in terms of being positive!)

Personally, I think that MIL is boardering on abuse. I wouldn't hesitate to call Social Services. If she has legal custody/guardianship of him there has to be someone to call. Guardianship needs to be evaluated or a form filled out yearly to be sure he is still in need of guardianship and that he is in the best placement.

It makes me so sad to think of this child. I'm sure he does have some behaviors...look where he came from and where he's living now?! I'm not sure what you can do, but please do to his school, talk to SS, and spend time that you can with the child away from MIL and make sure he knows what a special, wonderful human being he is!
It sounds like his home life prior to moving in w/ your mil was less than ideal and it still sounds pretty sad. If biological mom used drugs while pregnant that may be part of his problem. Kids who are born to moms who abuse certain drugs can have lots of problems that don't really seem to fit any one diagnosis, so he may have some real problems that don't exactly fit ADHD, but are very real. If you live close to his school, you might try to schedule an appointment with the school counselor. Explaining to him/her what his home life is currently like might help them understand him a little better.

As far as he goes, it sounds like any positive contact that you have with him would be good. Even if you just took him and spent some time with him once a week it might be enough to help. Maybe start by asking to take him on a specific (picnic, movie, etc.) outing rather than just offering to babysit. It is harder to turn down an invitation to something specific than an offer to babysit.

Mil calling him names, discussing his intelligence within earshot, and telling him that it is all his fault is something that no child should have to live with. What she is doing is emotional abuse, but stopping something like that is going to be hard. The school counselor might have some suggestions on who should be contacted and the best way to go about it.

The easter basket thing was ridiculous unless money is just that tight. Asking him to choose between his grandparent and a gift is ridiculous. Kids find joy in little things like that - how sad that he had to make that choice. Did mil treat your dh that way when he was growing up? It almost sounds like she is looking for ways to punish him for simply needing extra help as any child who has come from difficult circumstances would.
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As the mom of a child with behavior issues, I can say its very, very hard. I beleive in gentle discipline and being respectful and all other tenents of AP, and even I have snapped, said terrible things to DS and done things I am not proud of (hitting, yelling). DS has ASD and a lot of features of ADHD, btw.

So I can imagine that someone who is not mentally in the GD/AP mindframe would have an even harder time being gentle and respectful to a child who...jsut doesnt "get it", seems very deliberately willfull, fights, hits, or whatever she is dealing with. My friends like to tell me that if DS is lucky to have me, but I definitely dont feel like I am doing as good by him as I can.

But the first thing she needs to do is a get a good assessment of what is going on with the boy. I know some detest labels, but getting the label on DS really helped DH come to terms with teh fact that he could not help it, he was not doing things on purpose to annoy us, etc. Its like I read here once, if I child needed braces to walk, would you yell at them to hurry up and get frustrated because they were too slow? No with visible disabilities we tend to be much more patient. Neurological disabilities should be given patience too.

Anyway, I hope she gets him help. Go through the school distrcit, go through CPS or whoever she is granted guaridanship through, but try to get him help!
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I don't even live with him and I can understand how frustrating it must be. I understand how even the best, most understanding parents/guardians can be stretched really thin...but gosh...i wish someone could've been there (outside of the situation) yesterday at the in-laws for Easter. I don't question his diagnosis of ADHD, but holy cow - no wonder he's got the behavioral problems he does! It seems that his family (all my in-laws, including dh) have carefully molded him into this angry, probably depressed, 7yo little person with no self esteem and no sense of self-worth.

If he doesn't do something right the first time...he gets angry and you can see he's ashamed - and it's no wonder, everyone makes fun of him! Then, he gets so angry all he wants to do is hit things or be violent (throwing things or hitting a toy with another toy, or - as in yesterday - swing a bat {foam} at someone)...that's what he's been taught though! He doesn't know how to process anger or frustration.

Among other reasons, I'm ready for a divorce from my dh because I don't want my children growing up in this environment! They're at very impressionable ages and this is when they're going to learn these things for life!

To explain 1 particular incident from yesterday - and I warn you this is long..

Everyone was in the backyard playing "baseball" - or some form of was nephews turn to bat...he swung, could see in his face he got angry...fil starts making fun of him ("you couldn't hit the broadside of a barn" and other southern sayings that I didn't understand...something about hitting like "whitter woman"?) anyway...they just keep making fun of him..calling him names and making comments about how he can't hit the ball...time passes, other people get turns...dh is the 'catcher' and is saying the typical catcher things trying to get the batter to miss, it's nephews turn again...and dh is ragging him, but nothing more than he was saying to the others...and nephew had enough and hit dh in the leg with the bat..which was foam...not soft foam, but it wasn't hard like a wooden or aluminum i thought dh would react, but he did nephew turns back around to face the pitcher..and dh side kicks nephew in the shoulder...hard enough to knock him off-kilter (but not hard enough to say..break anything).....this ANGERED me...among a lot of other things that make that completely wrong (um, abuse?)....dh is almost 25 yrs old....what kind of example is that setting for a 7yo?? Nephew should've been pulled aside and talked to...NOT KICKED....

Dh is completely to blame for not handling the situation properly...but I also think that his parents molded him too! I can see his mother in him so much it's scary. I do NOT want my children growing up like this!!
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I would leave my SO if he ever laid a hand on a child in anger, and would not even think of reconciliation until he went through anger management and counseling. Hitting a child is a deal breaker for me. I can't tell you what to do in your situation, but this is very serious.

I am so sorry you have to go through this with him and his family. Your MIL does sound like she is abusive towards her grandson, and calling protective services may be the best option for him, but unfortunately I do not think they will do much for verbal abuse. I wish I could think of something more to help.
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