Conduct Disorder, Step-parenting, & Military Life

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MrsJarheadSM, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. MrsJarheadSM

    MrsJarheadSM New Member

    Hi all!

    For starters - hugs! If you're anything like me, you need them more often than not. My situation is incredibly unique as I am the wife of an active duty service member and a step-parent with no biological children (yet).

    My youngest stepdaughter was diagnosed with conduct disorder (she does have ADHD but no mood disorders or learning disabilities attached to that diagnosis) officially yesterday. I have quite honestly expected that diagnosis for quite some time due to her behavior and resistance to any type of any structure, discipline, reward, etc that we have tried with her. She started exhibiting these behaviors while living with her mom before her dad and I got custody. The police were called to her mom's apartment numerous times either by mom or the neighbors. Bio-mom and my stepdaughter would get in all kinds of loud, outrageous fights. She was in the back of a cop car (never arrested) more times by the age of 9 than most people are ever. Her mom eventually checked her in to a three week state residential facility where my stepdaughter conned everyone (including her dad and I!!!) into believing that there was nothing wrong with her and that likely her mom was just exacerbating typical childlike behavior. We thought for certain with structure, love, and a warm, happy home she would be just fine - WRONG!

    She has balked and manipulated every single behavioral plan we have put into place. She manipulates teachers and bullies. She lies CONSTANTLY. In 4th grade, she was caught stealing at the mall (by a parent, not the police) and paid a girl at school to take a test for her. Now in 5th grade, she has assaulted a fellow student on the bus and accused me (stepmom) of abusing her.

    ANy ideas if ANYTHING works? Any step parents out there? Any tips on maintaining ones own sanity? My marriage is struggling right now, though I love my husband dearly, but have had to lock every ounce of personality and emotion up tight while I am in my home. I cannot show fear, anger, joy, laughter, frustration, nothing - because she will use every ounce of it against you.

    Help! <3 Beth
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Welcome! I think you've come to the right place! We all have children/young adults who are challenging to raise and many here are step-parents or adoptive parents and some have experience with military life, one way or another.

    I applaud you for realizing that your difficult child has conned many instead of blaming everything on the bio-mom, as is the tendency in society these days.

    As far as advice or recommendations, reading "The Explosive Child" by Ross Green can help with some issues at home. You mention that she was just diagnosis'd with ADHD- could you be more specific and tell us who diagnosis'd who and how thorough of an evaluation was this? A complete neuropsychologist evaluation is recommended but is often too expensive if insurance won't cover it. on the other hand, if she's an active duty person's dependent, you might be able to get her one much easier, faster, and for less cost, if any.

    The biggest recommendation I have is to get her on an IEP at school, ASAP!

    As far as "does anything work"---not easily when you're dealing with a difficult child. But it's not hopeless and a lot can be done to minimize the damage, if not help them become constructive and productive members of society someday. It's a tough road, as any here will tell you, but there's a lot of support and understanding here and you can come to vent anytime. Plus, there's a lot of good wisdom and advice on specific issues that might arise on any given day. It's not an impossible road, just difficult

    Also, you might want to venture to the Watercooler sometime for a laugh or just to read something to get your mind off the typical daily struggles.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi and Welcome! It is a tough situation.

    Mostly I want to warn you to be VERY careful about how you handle abuse accusations. As the stepmom, with dad on deployment, you could end up in a WORLD of trouble legally. It could even follow you with jobs later in life. I know a few people who ended up in your situation and it really changed their lives even ten years down the road.

    You may have to think about and discuss with her father that he either has to come home or difficult child goes to foster care. I know you love her and I wish it could be different, but honestly, if it is the right diagnosis it is about the hardest one to treat. As stepmom, you don't have any real legal legs to stand on except to protect YOU. Do NOT let yourself get into a situation where you end up with a crminal record because she lies so well. I am not joking, it is SERIOUS.
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Just wanted to my welcome. I'm assuming you've already got her in therapy and a psychiatrist. There are a few military moms here. One of them has talked about something called EFMP, but she'll have to tell you more about it. I don't know how it get one started. Good tests to get are the nuerophyc, Occupational Therapist (OT), and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). If she has had them through the school she should probably get them done by someone not in the school district. While most people in the schools have their heart in the right place they just aren't in the same boat as an independent evaluation. They are looking to see if the child is getting into sp ed. After they decide yes or no they tend to quit looking. And they miss things.

    You'll find lots of experience here.