Is this acceptable?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by katt261, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. katt261

    katt261 Guest

    Hello again all, I'm so glad I found this place, it is at least a virtual outlet to my inner screaming on a daily basis...

    Following on from my initial posting about the difficulties I am facing with SO's difficult child, there are a few things that I don't agree with, in particular stuff that SO allows his 9 year old difficult child to do, and considering difficult child has the emotional and mental age of a 5/6 year old, I'm not sure why SO allows this to be honest. I'll list the things that bug me and await your input into whether I'm being too strict in my views or whether these need to be addressed:-

    1. difficult child is allowed to play Call of Duty war games on Xbox, these games being specifically aimed at a target audience of 18+. difficult child has regular nightmares. Has been excluded from school for threatening to kill his teacher, trashed the classroom, ripping up all of his little friends' school work and throwing things around the classroom. He was excluded on another occasion for sticking pins in another pupil's leg. He was excluded on another occasion for biting other class mates. The list goes on with regular exclusions involving some form of physical assault on other kids. Is this as a result of watching violent video games per chance? I went through the video games and chose only those suitable for a child aged 9 - to which result I was made to feel the evil stepmother yet again because 'all kids play COD' - all kids don't have the mental problems that difficult child does though!

    2. difficult child is not fed healthy meals by SO, even though I have 'suggested' quite nicely that we could do with more vegetables and less junk food in the house. difficult child has chips with almost everything and even after a particularly bad day when his behaviour is out of control, he always gets 'pudding'(dessert) or otherwise he erupts into another tantrum. difficult child is severely overweight, is extremely obsessed by food, SO's reaction to this is 'well I can't starve him' whilst continuing to feed him adult-sized portions.

    3. On the rare occasions that SO allows difficult child to play outside on his scooter, and is warned to stay within the confines of our cul-de-sac, there have been several occasions when SO has fell asleep on the sofa (don't get me started on that one!) leaving the parental responsibility in my hands. On the last occasion, difficult child went missing, it had turned dark, and when I woke up SO worried about difficult child's whereabouts, SO got angry with me for waking him up (!) we then found difficult child in the park, alone, climbing trees! I've since told SO that as he is the full time 'carer' of difficult child, that 'caring' involves staying awake at all times to supervise difficult child until it is difficult child's bedtime! Unreasonable?

    4. Lastly, difficult child's attitude towards his older easy child sibling who is 17. Nasty, to say the least. This is a mirror image of how SO treats his eldest child so no wonder when we get the professional psychiatric's reports back stating 'difficult child has 90% negative thoughts about his older sibling' it breaks my heart. I stay in this house to support the older sibling, otherwise he'd be all alone in this dysfunctional set-up.

    Rant over.

    Now tell me that I should just shut up and put up (as my SO keeps telling me to do) with difficult child's condition. I swear, if I hear the words 'he can't help it, it's his condition' I will scream! There are no excuses for WILLFUL bad behaviour, condition or no condition!
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You might want to rethink this relationship inorder to save yor sanity.
  3. katt261

    katt261 Guest

    I haven't got much choice tbh. Its SO's house I am living in, I gave everything up to be with him. I have no money of my own until I find work again and I have no circle of friends or family as I've moved 65 miles away from my previous friends and work colleagues.

    I am seriously considering asking my new GP here to prescribe me some calming tranquilisers or refer me to a counsellor as I'm going to spontaneously combust some time very soon!
  4. katt261

    katt261 Guest

    Oh and I daren't even buy myself a much-needed bottle of wine so I can chill out - SO doesn't want any drinking in the home, he doesnt drink so doesnt think I need to either and has stated that it wouldnt make a good impression on difficult child if I was sat there with a glass of wine in my hand!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, as all parents of difficult children know, he may NOT be doing willful misbehavior, and, believe it or not, we get tired of hearing that it IS willful misbehavior. So I would keep an open mind about it. My son is on the autism spectrum and until he was diagnosed we heard that crapola all the time. He is muc better after tons and tons of interventions and help that is offered here, but he was NOT willfully misbehaving and you don't knkow if difficult child is either.

    in my opinion it is not your place to set rules for difficult child. Sometimes we have to let some things go when we have kids like this, and you are NOT his parent in any way. In fact, he barely knows you.

    I am very against new lovers moving in with their SO's and trying to parent their kids. Why should he listen to you or respect you? From his point of you you invaded his house and took attention away from him from his father.

    I also assume you knew about all this before you moved in...that he is a non-drinker and doesn't like drinking around his kids. How well did you know him before you gave up everything to move in with him? Was he an internet romance? Just wondering...seems you are not a good match for one another. He doesn't sound like a good parent, but I'm only hearing one side of the story. These difficult children can EXHAUST us and we do make mistakes sometimes.

    Again, my advice is to go into therapy to try to empower yourself so that you can have a good life away from this situation. You didn't cause it and you can't do anything to change it. SO will choose his child over you, as he should. He would not be a very good father if he chose a new girlfriend over his very disturbed son.

    JMO. I don't mean to sound harsh, but the reality have no rights to this child.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  6. katt261

    katt261 Guest

    WOW. Straight for the jugular eh? I wouldnt wish to parent this child tbh. But I have SO telling me that I should get involved in EVERY aspect of difficult child's life, stating that I am the only mother figure in his kid's life and that he wants me to be difficult child's 'mum'? SO wants me to support HIM and difficult child, so you are suggesting that I have no rights at all is a bit like telling all step parents that they are totally irrelevant in their step kid's lives and their thoughts and opinions should be kept to themselves because these kids are so very, very special that a decent, law-abiding, responsible and extremely sensible and hard working woman and mother like myself, are not capable of parenting these kids?

    Well done. I was already feeling very low but you just kicked me in the teeth wihlst I was on the ground....
  7. katt261

    katt261 Guest

    And I've been in a relationship with SO for 2 years before I made the decision to move - I'm not some teenager rushing into the situation on a whim! I knew difficult child was difficult as I'd spent every weekend and time off work/holidays etc living with them prior to moving. I just did not envisage the extent of living with difficult child 24/7. You've basically said 'shut up and put up' - not very helpful in my opinion.
  8. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I don't know how old you are or what your previous experiences have been like. You are now learning first hand a piece of advice that my learned and wise mother and other older experienced women have given me, NEVER give up everything to be with ANYONE. You will begin to resent and eventually loathe that person if they don't live up to YOUR expectaions, and sweetie...they almost never do.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The most helpful advice I can give you is to break up with SO. You don't believe that the child may actually be acting the way he does because he has so many disorders, but that's not true. You probably think the right discipline, diet, etc. will change him. It won't. Also, it sounds like SO is not going to stand in your corner. I do think the best advice I can give you is to break it off because the child isn't going to get easier. And you don't believe he is much else other than a "bad, spoiled kid." Sorry, but we've heard it before.

    I'm going to look up Earlys Syndrome. I never heard of it.

    I won't give you any more advice, but I had to speak my mind.So many of us hear "he's the way he is because of your parenting" that it irks at least ME. Too many people do not understand our is disheartening. On top of that, you are NOT his mother. in my opinion you have the right to talk about your relationship with SO, and you have the right to talk to SO about his child (knowing that his child is HIS child and he knows him better than you do), but in my opinion you do not have the right to try to parent his child based on your limited knowledge of his conditions and also based on the fact that you are not his parent.

    I will shut up now.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Assuming that you will not be breaking up with-your SO, I would take over the grocery shopping and cooking. Crock pots are a great way to always have something hot and healthy. If the food isn't in the house, no one can eat it. We had this problem for years until I realized that no matter how much my difficult child griped, he would eventually break down and eat whatever was in front of him. You don't have to be mean about it ... just say you found some really neat recipes and want to try them out and are excited. If you have never cooked before, and they act surprised, just say you want to try something new.
    I do not like Call of Duty. I would negotiate 1 hr a day for the game instead of nixing it altogether. If you totally take it away, there will be a fight and it won't be worth it.
    Since difficult child has nightmares, I would also look to other aspects because it cannot be just one game that is doing this. It's got to be other events and shows in addition to it. He does not have good coping skills so he needs help with-that.
    I think that some kind of medication may be a good idea, and you seem to want to get back on your feet and work, so maybe that's just the thing you need to get going to work and deal with-the family. However, a good doctor will ask you why you want it, and when you explain, the person will want to know what other coping skills you are using and want to get you into therapy to learn/acquire tools, so be prepared to use an hr a wk for that.
  11. katt261

    katt261 Guest

    Well, I've just relayed a lot of your views across to my SO who is away fishing with difficult child. Along the lines of 'I realise now that I have no rights at all to parent your child so it is your sole responsibility, not mine' blah blah blah pretty much everything that MWM quite bluntly put it.

    I DO NOT consider this child as a 'bad, spoiled kid' at all. I have done more research and attended more CAHMS and Parenting Partnership meetings than SO has (he was too tired to attend), I have even found out symptoms of difficult child's behaviour that SO hadn't even contributed to the dyspraxia. IT WAS ME who first noticed that difficult child had 'problems' 2 years ago when I was reading him a bedtime story (which is something his SO never did), I noticed also that his eyes could not follow the words in a straight line when I was the one sat with him doing his homework (which SO refused to do because he always lost his temper with difficult child and lashed out/swore at him). DO NOT for one moment think that I am not educated or informed about this boy's condition(s). I am more so than SO. As for his diet, it is a known fact that certain foods facilitate and aggravate ADHD and to this end I was merely trying to eliminate the 'triggers'. I am NOT ALLOWED to do the cooking (!) as SO thinks he is a far superior cook (not qualified by the way) and critisizes what meals I have provided for them - even though older sibling and difficult child himself both said my cooking was delicious - go figure.

    I don't want to break up with SO at all. I am going through a very rough patch and it hadnt been for my suspicions two years ago, this boy would be struggling much more than he would be if I hadn't have asked the authorities and professionals to take a look at him.

    Earlings Syndrome is a type of dyslexia which causes the brain to malfunction when reading/writing - in particular, black type face/written words on a white background appear blurry and move around - so very difficult for a child with this condition to learn to read/write. I was working as an Optical Advisor two years ago so I recognised the symptoms, and the rest, they say, is history.

    I am being perceived as the evil step mother and I resent the 'label'.

    I have done more for this kid than SO and it so happens that my love for SO is very great that I am willing to disappear into the background and let him take all responsibility, in the knowledge that we will never have quality time together as a couple.

    I am 41 years of age and by no means a stupid woman: I'm an author, an accomplished musician, a bloody good mother and loving partner, who just needs some support with my current situation without being vilified for 'not being the parent and not understanding the full extent of difficult child's conditions'!
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    No one has labelled you as anything...certainly not "evil"...

    But the members of this Board are probably hyper-sensitive to parental criticsim - we've all been hearing for years that our parenting mistakes have made our kids into the difficult child-terrors that they are today. (Talk about resentment!)

    So we are reluctant to pass judgment on this man for his parenting choices.

    on the other hand - this is not a "Moms Only" support group. We would love to welcome your SO to our group for support, advice, whatever he needs. If he has questions about his parenting choices....we'd be happy to weigh in.

  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello again, katt. Part of the problem is the fact that it is very hard to get an accurate feel of someone and someone's life over the internet. At first it did rather sound as if you had no sympathy or understanding for difficult child's reality and were just seeing things from your angle. Now you have explained more, you have set the record straight.
    Of course the reality is that it's not much fun being around difficult child... and it's not much fun being difficult child. All of us here, I would imagine, understand all too well how aggravating, difficult and frustrating a difficult child's condition is. I suppose it's just a bit different when that is mixed in with general affection, concern and love. Put up or shut up is a very crude kind of sentiment but... in a way, I feel as if that is your only choice. Either you do have to accept the situation in some essential way - and why not try to improve it? - or decide that the best but sad course is to leave it.
    For myself, I certainly feel violent video games and poor diet would have an exacerbating effect on your partner's son's poor behaviour. It's a sensitive issue, of course, trying to change that... you could do so only discreetly, I suppose, but why not try to have a positive influence if you can?
    I for one am not blaming you. It's just that it sounds like your partner has been dealt something of a raw deal and is rising to the occasion admirably. Take care.
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I don't think you are wrong. Still my advise would be to run, to be honest.

    That kind of family dynamic will be almost impossible to break from outside. And the difficult child is in the age where worst years are still in front of you. Think long and hard if this is, what you want.

    I do believe that my difficult child has been difficult child from birth. But things have certainly influenced him for better and for worse. If anything, being a difficult child has made him more vulnerable for outside influences. With easy child it seems that whatever happens, he can get by. He does survive. With difficult child, things get little sideways and he develops a huge problem.

    Our parenting is one of the big influences. There has been things that we have been good at, things that me have been able to make a difference with parenting. And every screw up we have made with him seems to come back in double or triple too. With difficult children good parenting is even more important than with easy child. It doesn't change them to PCs but bad parenting certainly escalates every problem. And things like diet, sleep, electronics, consistency, empathy towards a child and discipline are huge things with them.
  15. Justfour

    Justfour New Member

    Hi katt, I totally see where your coming from, I offer my support and sympathies. Sounds to me like you are really doing your best to help your family in this tough situation. I'm a single mum to 2 difficult children and if I found a partner as willing to help as you I would be one happy bunny. I know some people jump to the conclusion our kids are spoilt etc but I have the confidence in my parenting that it doesn't offend me so therefore didn't assume the negative things MWM did. I also see where she is coming from. I dont agree that as a Step mum you have no rights! how dare anyone say that! you are now part of the family and if his mother isnt around you are the next best thing. Keep doing what your doing, at least your trying, sounds like SO needs a kick up the backside! I won't let my 13 year old pay COD, she has enough rages already.
    If SO wants you to contribute I think as long as you have the energy in you (which may deplete soon I'm afraid) keep doing what you're doing. Sounds like you have difficult children best interest at heart.
    good on you for doing your best for him. Hope things pick up for you.
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Would I make those choices your SO is making? Not entirely ....but do I pick and choose my battles and change things in very measured and planned out steps? Absolutely. You have this Learning Disability (LD) diagnosis which is great! But often issues like this are among others, some with labels and some mystery issues. I can't see signatures on my phone so I'm not sure what else you said he has? Did you say he was on the autism spectrum? That is associated with serious neurological issues including (or resulting in) behavior challenges which vary widely. Not saying he has no responsibility to behave well but he needs very different teaching and explanations than only taking things away especially since by now the perseverative behavior is very entrenched.
    I understand you are in a role of step parent but are not actually so yet, correct? You do have a right to not be disrespected and to care and help but given the dramatic challenge this is I would think you might want to establish the boundary of supporting but not making decisions. It would stink to not agree for sure but that discussion needs to be between you and so and in the end it's his call. Many of us would agree with your ideas and then many of us have had to make choices or have allowed less than desirable behaviors as the lesser of evils or based on events that developed over time.
    I think its unfair of SO to expect you to step into that role and special needs or not he may need some education on blending families. Your heart clearly cares for this family but your words say that you are very dissolutioned with how things are turning out. SO not allowing you to cook because you're not as good and his sleeping when he has a child who needs direct supervision (happens to people once in a while but you made it sound like a habit ) sounds like you two have some serious philosophical differences that if not cleared up could result in you truly suffering. That kind of situation just wouldn't be healthy for either child. This is hard enough for couples with their own children.
    I feel for you, and your SO and the kids. I'm truly sorry this is such a struggle.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Many of us have been board members in excess of ten years. It is rare...extremely rare...for an opinion to be shared that is not heartfelt. Many of us have lived thru the forties and also been quite successful at supporting ourselves and sometimes supporting full families. Most of us have not cut all ties to our past and ventured with-o funds or support to join a SO who has a dysfunctional child.

    The posts I have read are supportive of YOU. Nobody is going to tell you that your choices in the past and for the future are going to earn you a Nobel Peace Prize. You've made a huge decision and it is not playing out the way you envisioned. When that make a choice. You either find a way to escape living with such stress or you man up and explore ways to change your SO and his household. Frankly I suggest the former as changing others is not usually successful. on the other is your life and I wish you well. DDD
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Katt... please take this as "tongue in cheek" but perhaps with a tiny shred of truth... maybe your SO is a bigger difficult child than his difficult child is? I'm only saying that because I had to come to that reality with husband (in our case, not more of a difficult child than our difficult child, but definitely a difficult child in his own right). And in doing so, we have been able to move forward in a more postiive direction.

    Your SO may be having a difficult time with the fact that YOU are being more effective at parenting than HE is/was?
  19. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Personal attacks on this board don't win you any supporters.

    In your first post on this thread you typed "WILLFUL misbehavior" in an otherwise confrontational tone. Those of us who have raised these kids know that what looks like "willful misbehavior" to others is usually a SYMPTOM of their disorder(s) and with the right therapies/interventions/medications improve or disappear. Frankly, we are sick of hearing it. We've heard it for years, along with...if you were more strict, more lenient, less protective, more protective, etc, ad nauseum. It hits a nerve and I happen to be very confident of my parenting abilities, yet I still had a visceral reaction to those words, with they way they were typed and the rest of the tone surrounding it. That doesn't mean that our kids never intentionally misbehave, but the vast majority of what is perceived as "willful misbehavior" by others is not. Does that mean put up and shut up? No, but traditional parenting techniques aren't going to get you far.

    You moved away from your home and job and within a very short period of time - in what should be your "honeymoon" phase - you're in a rough patch. Either you and SO need to get on the same page quickly, or it's just not going to work. Period.

    I've been a single parent since my youngest was 18 months old. There is no way I would have ever let another person come into my house and parent either of my children, but especially not my daughter with her very special needs. Your SO may say he wants you to step in, but it sounds like he is having a very hard time actually doing so. He needs to decide if he meant what he said, and you need to work as a team.

    People here have been through the trenches. If you ask, you're going to get an honest answer. You may or may not like it. You can take it or leave it - or the gentler way of saying that is "take what you need and leave the rest".
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  20. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Sounds like your husband might suffer from depression. I agree that COD is inappropriate for any 9 year old (I won't allow the game in my house and I have an almost 15 year old son). I think it is great that you are concerned about healthy or more healthy meals for your family, but I think it very insulting/demeaning/oppressive that your husband won't let you cook if you want to! It sounds like you are trying to create a nice family life for all of you, but your husband is creating many obstacles and micromanaging you in ways that seem almost emotionally abusive/manipulative.