asking for advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    My stepson (J) has moved back in. He's a real dude's dude. He is the eptitome of "cool" in manster's eyes. J is not a patient person. He's rather grumpy and vocal at times and manster gets upset when J communicates with him. For instance manster struggles with foot odor. It's actually been a lot better lately but the past couple weeks he's not been wearing socks and it's gotten worse. J was giving him a hard time about it and it made manster feel bad. He was upset, though he didn't show it, but I could see the tears he was holding back. He doesn't want J to see him cry. I've noticed that manster is getting more upset with me when I say things to him when J is around because it embarasses him.

    So here is my basic question. Do I intervene and ask J to be nicer? J will resent it if I do and basically say that I'm coddling him which is what he believes. OR, should I use this as an opportunity to let manster deal with other types of personalities? There will be people in his life that aren't always careful with how they speak to him. This could be good practice.

    Just wondering what you think. There is still a fair amound of denial in my home that manster has AS. They think he has a case of overproctivemother. But any guilt I have in this area is an effect, not a cause. Hard to get people do see that at time.

    Thanks for any perspective.
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Good Morning, ML--

    I think you have a combination of things going on here....

    Is J being unusually grumpy? Is he having some stress due to moving around? If so, his grumpy attitude may subside on its own.

    How does J feel about Manster? If J has genuine affection toward him then all the joshing and joking around may be really good for Manster--a brotherly comraderie, if you will. Manster should have a chance to enjoy this kind of interaction--provided it doesn't go too far, of course.

    If J really doesn't care for Manster or has no patience with him--then I think you really need to sit down with J and spell out EXACTLY what you need from him in terms of dealing with Manster. Otherwise, the relationship could end up leaving Manster feeling extremely hurt and unwanted.

    Trust your gut--I'll bet you already know what you need to do here....

  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    How old is J? How long will he be there for?
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    Hi Crazy... J is 26 but an adult difficult child.

    Also, his grumpiness is part of his personality. He has always gotten this way but I'm sure he's depressed by losing his job. He sleeps most of the day and got mad and snippy at me the other day when I tried to talk to him about it. I've decided to detach and let him come to me for support because he isn't very receptive to it at this point. He's just basically angry at the world.

  5. Stella

    Stella New Member

    I don't think you are going to be able to truly change J's behaviour and he probably won't ever really understand what life must be like for Manster. Especially if there are others in the family who are in denial of his AS.

    I think the best option would be to teach Manster ways for dealing with the J's of the world because as you said he will come across many different personalty types in his life. All you can do is guide him and teach him the skills to deal with people who upset him...
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My 2 cents here. Foot odor is VERY common for boys this age. I could smell difficult child's shoes from 15 feet away- and it smelled like something dead. If Manster will use powder in his shoes, it will help.

    As far as the real issue, I think I would talk to Manster when no one else is around and assure him that this is a common thing- he can probably notice other boys "smells" in PE class. I think your husband needs to get on board a little with J. I wouldn't suggest you talking to J directly about this, but if husband could maybe say something like "yeah, J, your feet stank too when you were this age" the next time J blurts out something like that, it might go a long way, in my humble opinion. So, instead of there being a big "sit down talk" that males despise, I think it might work better to just say something blunt when J does these things. And maybe Manster needds to learn that he can say things like that to J too instead of his parents stepping in when something happens. Manster could just make a joke of it- "yeah- the smell of a REAL man, Grumpy" might work better.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I kind of agree with-klmno, that something short and sweet (or short and smelly :) ) would work better. Then you don't have the issue of sitting down for "The Talk" and really making it an issue.
    Best of luck!
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I agree with Stella and KLMNO. I also think that you should not have the talk with J, your husband should. I think that I could not have someone living in my home who was mean to my kids. My house, my rules. in my humble opinion, you need to get husband to step up to the plate. Is he on track wth Manster having AS? Hugs. This sounds like a tough situation.
  9. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    OMG - that's MY older son. 26, unemployed, very grumpy. Was difficult child's idol. Was his hero. But has been grumpy, snippy just plain mean to everyone. I try to understand that his self esteem is down being unemployed and recently dumped by girlfriend.
    difficult child says he is just a jerk. older son also thinks we coddle difficult child. he doesn't believe that ADHD is a real thing, nor does he believe he has Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). said I made him this way because I always worry. He thinks difficult child makes it all up and we feed off of it. Makes things worse.

    Hang in there. Believe me, trying to explain to the 26 year old only caused more problems. It is easier to just tell difficult child that his brother is going through a rough time right now.
    however I am worried about older son too. He seems so angry, mean, sad.... but he needs to get a job. Even if it means McDonalds. He won't do that. So, no car, no job, no girlfriend, no money.
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I like a bit of all of the advice.
    I think our kids do need to learn lessons, but the reality is people will not likely be in their homes being mean to them when they are adults.
    So I think this is not a life lesson that is good.
    I personally feel, home is a place they should feel safe and like they can be themselves.
    Because the outside world is where they are going to learn about how people are mean and cruel.
    We can teach them in a nice way ourselves, but if this J is really being mean, he needs to somehow understand a little bit better that it needs to be curbed.
    It sounds like this J needs an over all reality check;)

    I think all boys have this issue (stinky feet)... actually K is having this issues also! I have been putting baking soda in her shoes and then sitting them out in the sun!
    Hers are not fill the room with stench yet, but pretty bad!
  11. ML

    ML Guest

    Thanks everyone. I had a talk with husband about J's attitude in general and thank goodness he is hearing me out without getting defensive. We've both done a lot of growing.

    I'm going to avoid a formal "talk" for now. If I see it continue I might change my mind. I agree with you Totoro, home should be a place of refuge. I can't change J and he will likely never understand manster. Part of the dynamic is jealousy. J didn't have the greatest childhood and didn't have a mom around so when he sees manster getting lots of attention I think it bugs him. Years ago he had a fit that husband was worried about fogetting to pack manster's lunch and J was like "you never cared if we had lunch or not". And manster's ways just got on his nerves.

    I hope J gets it together soon. husband admitted to me that he was intimidated a little by J's attitude also and felt that sense of stepping on eggshells. I told him I didn't like to feel that way in my own house and he agreed.

    Anyway, thanks everyone. I appreciate the support.



    KJS, you and I are going through a lot of the same stuff. We're lucky to have each other.

    The foot odor thing has gotten better. Truly, Van's has a brand of soft plush leather shoes that he's been wearing since August and are just now smelling because he's not been wearing socks.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A couple of things to add to some already good advice from others -

    If J could be feeling that he had a raw deal compared to manster, then how about you give J a bit of the attention he missed out on? Ask him if there's anything special he'd like to have for dinner one night. As a thought. I sometimes would get something with BF2 in mind (when he was living with us) so he wouldn't feel left out. I invite him and easy child 2/difficult child 2 round for a meal, I ask him which he'd like - roast chicken, or roast pork. Last time he wanted roast chicken, easy child 2/difficult child 2 wanted roast pork - so I made both. It all got eaten (leftovers next day) so it was no trouble for me, plus I used it to teach difficult child 3 how to cook the pork. Win-win.

    I do tend to use food to signal a bit of extra TLC, but not quantity, so much as type. For example, I can use my bread machine to get me started on some sweet dough which I can turn into croissants, or brioche, or danish, or chelsea buns. I ask the person I'm trying to butter up, what their flavour preferences are. if it's chocolate, then I make a chocolate chelsea bun. If they want savoury then I do a pizza chelsea bun (NOT using sweet dough, but standard bread dough).

    J needs to be kept occupied. You and your husband could get him to landscape the backyard (contract him to do it, include payment if he's doing a solid job of it as a professional labourer). A paying job of any kind would be welcome, a volunteer job would at least keep a work ethic and also provide experience. But it would have to be husband who negotiates this one.

    Ask J is he would value your assistance in finding a paying job; if he would, what preferences does he have? A sort of, "If I happen to see something you might be interested in, do you want me to show you?" Does he need any support in updating his CV? It's handy to have one already prepared on the computer, so it can be faxed/emailed off at short notice (so your application gets in before anyone else's). Don't make it sound to J that you think he's a lazy layabout, an offer to help is nothing more than that. If he says, "No, I'm fine looking after myself," then don't push, just say, "That's cool. If you change your mind, I'm here for you." And leave it at that. After that if you Do spot something, let husband be the one to show him.

    As for smelly feet - get manster back into socks. Avoid synthetics, use pure cotton or pure wool. If you use pure wool, do not hot wash, do not use a dryer, do not hang them outside to dry. Sorry. They shrink so easily. But by crikey, do they soak up the sweat!
    Next thing to do - to wash smelly socks (or anything else smelly) - first splash/spray/soak with white vinegar. Get the cheapest you can, it's the chemical acetic acid you need, the sort of stuff you wouldn't want anywhere ner a salad. We keep a spray bottle of vinegar in the laundry. we use it to spray underarms on shirts, too. It can also whiten those yellow sweat stains. If you need to, use the vinegar then pre-soak in warm water overnight, then wash.

    Socks - change daily. Make sure he has plenty. Be prepared to see socks as semi-disposable, and keep track of him changing them regularly.
    Next - when he's putting his socks on in the morning, there are several steps he must go through.

    1) rub anti-perspirant on his feet. Use a stick deodorant, those solid ones. Or a spray. Rub it between the toes. Allow feet to dry (if he used something wet).

    2) Have a shallow tub that his foot can fit into (an ice cream container would do, if his foot is still small enough) and sprinkle his feet with baby powder. If you can get a special foot powder then it couldbe even better. If you can find one with antifungal stuff in it (we used to use tolnaftate, but we can't get it any more here) then it is best of all. Powder the feet, then sprinkle some more powder inside the sock.

    3) At the end of the day, take off shoes and socks, put socks in the laundry. In a small dish of vinegar, if it's needed. Or spray with vinegar, then put them into pre-soak. Having the containers ready and helping him get into the routine, could go a very lnog way to effectively dealing with the smell.

    The method (vinegar then pre-soak if needed) works for just about any other organically-caused smells. Just avoid using hot ater in the laundry, it cooks organic smells and stains into the fabric.

    If you're still having trouble, then add some carb soda to the powder used in the feet, and put carb soda in the shoes. It not only helps to soak up sweat, it's a natural deodoriser. And if you need some more antufi=ungal help, buy a bottle of good old Aussie ti-tree oil (aka melaleuca oil). it's anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, it doesn't have too strong a smell (not like eucalyptus). You rub it onto the feet about the same time you rub on the deodorant block.

    Going barefoot where possible is good, but not if it means taking shoes off and on all through the day. When out in public, leave shoes on. When home, take shoes off but put shoes somewhere where they won't offend. Let the shoes air and dry out, change the socks, give the feet a wash and an airing.

    This regimen can fix the worst feet. If there is still a problem, see the doctor for fungal scrapings, or just bite the bullet and assume there IS a chronic fungal/bacterial infection, and treat accordingly.

    Good luck!

  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No new advice-just wanted to add my support and hope that things improve soon. Hugs.
  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I haven't read all of the responses.

    My home growing up was never a safe place. Neither was I safe in my home when I was married. I will absolutely not tolerate anyone coming into my home and making me feel not safe. I don't mean just physically safe. My home is my safe haven for my children and me and I won't have it treated any differently. Period. That's my take on it. I take a really hard line on this. It probably has a lot to do with PTSD, but it's just the way it is for me. He would either get with the program or he would find somewhere else to live. Being allowed to move into your house is a privilege. Manster deserves to feel safe - physically and emotionally - in his home.

    Regarding stinky feet: My son's feet were just horrible. Actually, it was his shoes, too. I remember being on my hands and knees sniffing the carpet thinking the cats had peed. It was easy child's shoes. For a while, the shoes stayed in the garage. He now uses this product by Dr. Scholl's called Shoe Shot or something. It's in a yellow container and it's a powder. He squirts a little in everytime he puts his shoes on. No more stinky feet or stinky shoes.

  15. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Hi :)

    I didn't read the other responses, i'm trying to be on here tonight for a bit it's been so long before i pass out.

    You had enough on your plate, wow. something always new being thrown onto it, huh..?

    see for me it's your home and home is where we should all be our kindest to eachother, yet we know it doesn't always work that way especially with kids like ours who are so sensitive one minute and so difficult the next.

    i think i'd give it time see how J continues to act, than if it is an everyday grumpy vocal ridiculously outspoken thing id' def sit him down and say hey slow up there are house rules kinda thing.

    manster will have to adjust to some extent yet not to the point where if J is being rude he has to accept it.

    just my thoughts. I struggle with this issue with easy child and difficult child everyday.

    i'm hoping it goes smoother for you and hoping everything else is ok