How long for me??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Cyberthrasher, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Cyberthrasher

    Cyberthrasher New Member

    Kind of a dumb question. Maybe I'm just asking for the sake of a little reassurance that I can handle it. How long can it take for ME to change? I've been reading everything here and really studying hard on CPS and reading The Explosive Child. I've said before that I think I may be a large part of our problems with Gavin because I'm such a "By The Book" parent and I realize that that's the first thing that needs to change if anything is going to succeed. I've already talked to Kat and let her know my feelings on the fact that I'm going to have to take a huge step back and stay out of things a lot more often. But, I feel bad doing that to her knowing that most of his outbursts happen when I'm not around, which he has admitted is because he knows he won't get away with it around me (which leads to my other issues of figuring out what's leading to his behavior). So basically I'm going to be making her handle the vast majority of it herself, which is wrong to me. I know it's necessary though until I can change my own outlook on things and start viewing his actions as lagging skills and not pure defiance. I see lots of techniques for helping him through this, but is there any advice to help me in my own transitions and change in mindset?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I haven't seen you here yet till now - so - WELCOME!!!

    OK... I am the step parent in my situation. I'm also the stricter parent. There are LOTS of reasons for this, main one being when husband tried to be a parent (in any way) before, he would end up with CPO upon CPO upon CPO. Now, of course, due to lots of horrible stuff, husband has full custody, which is unusual for a father. But I digress.

    I tried stepping back. That did not work, because husband was afraid to step up... And by the time we got residential, and then full custody, the damage had really started to sink in to the kids. So I just kept being Mom - someone had to (and bio-mom, or BM, was busy being a "friend" and trying to get the kids to accuse husband). Now, of course, husband is stepping up much, much more - but it's taken a lot of pushing, pulling, and generally throwing my hands up in the air. I parent him, sometimes, too.

    So... Keep in mind that you're NOT their parent. She is. However, and many will disagree with me - you may have to do some parenting. If wife is a wet noodle about consequences, and you're not - the inconsistency is just going to make difficult child's behavior worse.

    Now - the question - is their bio dad in their life much? What's he like? Is difficult child on any medications? As for the ADHD - BM had Jett diagnosis'd with it, and pretty much medicated him into oblivion. Didn't help. Yes, it is probably there - but I think it's mild. However, ADHD does really exist, so I have to wonder. (And kids with ADHD can in fact focus if they're interested - focus to the point of ignoring EVERYTHING ELSE.) What is the history of psychological and/or addiction in wife's and her X's families?

    More people will have more questions.. But this is a good place for a start.

    Oh, yes - {{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What did she say when you told her you were stepping back? How did she take it? Does she think it is a good idea?

    I think the fact that you are now open to the behavior being lagging skills instead of pure defiance is a step in the right direction. It may not be the case, but you are open to other ideas that are not your norm.

    I suggest you just watch for a bit and see what you can tell from the interaction. It might help wife the most to just inform her of what you see in the heat of the moment and how she might be able to change her actions/reactions to help the situation.

    I think you are half way there - just recognizing that you may need to change is half the battle.
  4. Cyberthrasher

    Cyberthrasher New Member

    She took it well and understands the need for it. I've stepped back before for the purpose of getting her more comfortable with taking on a disciplinarian role when needed, as well as to get the kids to respect her as an authoritarian figure. She's gotten a lot better at it now.

    As far as being a step parent, the only time I'm referred to as that is when the conversation is around who their biological father is. He's never been around and I've pretty much been the only male figure in their lives for the last 5 years (with the exception of an incident or two which really haven't helped matters). So, basically, I am their parent. Our daughter even continues to ask why she can't go by my last name, which I have to answer with "We're working on it". As far as "What's he like?" in regards to Biodad, let's just say any explanation would likely be cause for removal of this post. He's done horrible things, both to them (the kids and Kat) and around them, so I know that's part of the overall issue too.

    That leads me to the medication and diagnoses. Sorry about my inaccurate signature, my brain sometimes moves on while I'm still typing. One of those things that comes with multi-tasking 60 hours a week. I'll go correct it once I'm done here. Anyway, he's been diagnosed with ADHD and Anxiety, but it's the anxiety that we question. The only reason his doctor diagnosed him with it was because he said he worries a lot, then he said it's because he's worrying about being able to see his biodad. Well, a couple weeks later there was an incident where he learned how non-mutual the feeling is when he was allowed into town by his Parole officer, but never made an attempt to come visit. After that the kid stopped worrying.... I know Kat can answer some more questions too.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    One of the biggest things that will help is for you and Kat to be on the same page with how the kids are handled. As my in-home counselor told me (I had 6 months of weekly visits to help me handle Kiddo) sometimes you have to think it less like raising a human and more like taming a feral animal. Keep things short - commands, requests, punishments, etc., and simple to understand.
    You may, like many of us, find yourself changing as you read The Explosive Child, because you're already realizing some of what might be going on in their brain, and that pause while you think about that helps you to ACT instead of REACT. In other words, you'll be re-training yourself to stop and think instead of giving a knee-jerk response that escalates the situation.
    If you two disagree on how to handle a situation, don't discuss or argue about it in front of the kids - do it privately out of earshot, calmly, so you get each other's perspective and stay on the same page.