Long story, but just looking for some input. So my husband and I began dating when we were both stationed overseas together. He was divorced and had 2 kids that were still with their mom back in the states. After the divorce he still saw his kids frequently until he left to go overseas. He was able to go back and visit 3 or 4 times over the course of the 3 years we were there, and I met his kids once or twice, but didn't want to interfere too much with their time together. While we were stationed there, we had a baby together. Anyways, fast forward some, we got stationed back in the states a year ago, and started getting both his kids every weekend. They loved their new step sister from the moment they met her, so that has never been an issue. His ex has some issues, and because of this, only had custody of their son (6yo at the time). Her mother has had custody of their now 11 year old daughter since she was 3 or 4 I believe. Anyways, about 3 weeks after we got back last year, ex wife's mother calls him and says that she believes the son should be with us full time. He talked to his ex, and she was upset and angry, but said she wasn't going to fight. Obviously this was all a big change for all of us. He hadn't spent a lot of time with his son in 3 years, I had only met the kids a handful of times, and the son was used to living with his mom. When this first happened last year, he was 6 1/2 years old, and pretty much didn't do anything for himself. Didn't know how to tie his shoes, didn't wipe his own butt, didn't know how to take a shower by himself, get a drink, etc. We quickly started working on these things with him, and started to add in some small chores around the house. He has been very emotional the entire process, which is understandable. He doesn't understand the situation, and we are a lot more strict and structured that what he was used to. He still sees her every other weekend, but even after a year, he comes home every time crying and upset, saying that he just wants to live with his mom and wishes things were back to normal. He doesn't like that we don't help him with stuff, he thinks we are mean, etc. We don't want to badmouth his mother to him, so we just try to explain to him that we aren't mean, and that we do help him with things, we just don't do them for him. We are trying to teach him to think for himself, and figure things out himself. It was very obvious to us from the start that he has gotten 'too much' help, if that makes any sense. He couldn't even complete one page of very simple homework right. He didn't understand anything he brought home. we would read it to him, and it would be a 2-3 hour ordeal every night for him to do one little math sheet, or spelling sheet. Because he didn't understand it, and said that we weren't helping him (i.e. doing it for him). He has come a long way, and learned a lot. But we still have a lot of issues. The crying every time he comes home from his moms is not just a normal cry. It's all out screaming/crying "I want my momma." And it will go on for hours. We try to talk to him and he just closes down pretty much, and will only really say that he just misses her and wishes he lived with her. He goes to bed at 8:30 o'clock every night, and wakes up usually around 4:30/5am. we've told him not to get up before 6 on school days, because he needs more sleep. But he always wakes up that early. even on weekends. I think he is constantly anxious/worried/sad. He sees a counselor, but I still can't help but wonder if we're doing this right. I know this post is all over the place, and long. There's so much more I could add to it, but I don't want to write a book on here. Just looking for some input or ideas on things to try. He's getting in trouble at school for talking. He has a hard time with his homework every night. He just wont take the time to read it and do it right. He just does most all of it wrong, and then gets worked up and gets an attitude when we have him fix it, and when we try to help him. He's waking up way too early and I think he's worried about something, but he won't say what. He is a great kid, we just want him to think for himself. It seems that his mom babies him way too much still, and she doesn't seem willing to get on the same page as us. My husband has talked to her, and she just gets mad and says things about how he's her baby and she misses him and he wants to live with her, and things along those lines.