Need Help and Advice!!??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by stepmom47, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member

    I need all the advice I can get right now?
    I am new to the board...
    Cliff notes version:
    Mt step son used to live with us until the stealing and lying got so bad that my husband could not take us ( me & difficult child)fighting anymore.

    My difficult child told all that if he could live with his Bio-mom again he would stop..I did not buy it but it was at that point out of my hands. We have tried over the last two years: Couseling, medications. (pediatrician. thought he might me ADD/ADHD.) Did not work...Nothing affects this kids and I mean nothing!!

    I have been researching ODD and other things and he fits the bill perfectly. I today found another item missing from my house and things that he stole out of our room again hidden in his dresser.

    husband is stumped and I am just all shook up.

    I cannot take any more of this!! Peds. told me today that if I can get difficult child to pony up to the missing item I should take him to the Police Station and press charges.
    I am at wits end, I just stood there today not believing that the other shoe has dropped again!
    I tried to call Bio-mom and of course she has deceided today that she does not feel like talking to me.
    She thinks it's just his age...I keep telling her no it's not!!!

    If anyone can give advice or help?? There are so many other things he has done like threating to poison me to my daughter,etc. etc.
    What do I do??? :sad:
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Are ther emood disorders or substance abuse on the family tree on either side? Has he ever seen a Psychiatrist (with the MD) or a neuropsychologist? If not, I'm puzzled. Why not? He could have many disorders and a Pediatrician isn't the best at figuring those things out. I'm not convinced that he has ODD (it rarely stands by itself) nor that he doesn't have a real mental illness, such as bipolar or a neurological problem like high functioning autism. You can't know what is wrong until you evaluate him. I wouldn't do the police. How will that help him? He's only eleven. I would also say it's quite a bit early to diagnose him with antisocial personality disorder. Something is probably going on that hasn't been found out yet. I personally prefer NeuroPsychs because they do intensive testing and evaluating...more will come along.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sure that it is hard to handle. The fights are not fun, neither are the behaviors. There are a couple of things that need to happen to HELP this child. And the rest of you.

    This child needs a thorough evaluation by someone trained in pediatric mental health issues. Developmental pediatricians are good, as are neuropsychologists. Both do extensive testing.

    A visit to a psychiatrist is also not out of line.

    You need to visit the general archives on this forum. On the very last page, at the bottom, is a thread about a parent report. Have your husband start working on it with you. He should contact his ex regarding it also, insofar as remembering what happened when.

    This needs to happen after you schedule the doctor visits and before you go to them. If biomom will not cooperate, do the best youcan without her.

    What does your husband say about calling the police? What do you hope to accomplish with it? Is it the best way to accomplish it? Just asking here.

    You need to go, today if possible, to get a copy of the explosive child and read it. Or try love and logic parenting. (also a book, love and logic is by Fay and Cline, explosive child is by Greene). You can explore free.

    The Explosive child is NOT giving inor giving up. REad it all the way through before you make any decisions. MANY here have had good luck with these methods. Love and logic parenting may be more up your alley and your husband's.

    You need to let husband do the discipline, hard as that is. It seems to me that all the fighting makes everything worse. It is one thing to impose consequences and another to fight. We fight with rivals and equals. We discipline children.

    If spanking is in the picture, please consider that with most of our children it makes things worse. for varying reasons it has a totally contrary effect than expected.

    It really sounds like there is something more going on than ADHD. I know you are trying to be a good mom to ALL the kids. I am sorry it is so hard.


  4. sani

    sani New Member

    First thing i would do is talk to the dad, not only about the key issue of having an evaluation done, but also about talking with difficult child's teacher(s) to see if they also notice improper behaviors in the school. (and if so would *they* be willing to suggest an evaluation be done (if dad has trouble with bio mom being in denial of sorts))

    Then i would be heading to the local library to read up on anything and everything that might be of help in my situation.

    I agree with Susie, it really sounds like there may be something more than ADD/ADHD.
  5. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member

    Thanks for all the advice.
    After I posted yesterday my computor and the m/b had a disagreement and it would not let me back in:(
    I told husband last night that he has to continue the discipline..
    I am tired of it all...
    No, there is no drug abuse or other diagnosed things in the family tree.
    difficult child's bio-mom though is very manipulative...
    We have had blood draws, urine anaylisis, eeg, ct....
    This was all done by the Peds. prior to giving the ADD/ADHD medications.

    I have been trying to find an NP for the last couple of days with no luck. I will continue my search today.

    I was sitting there yesterday with all kinds of feelings?
    Sadness,Scared, Everything is running through my mind.
    difficult child is coming here today and I am dreading it because I know something else will happen as always.

    It has been suggested to me by several that I put a lock on all doors in the house that I do not want difficult child in...
    A couple months ago we had to go and but a large safe to keep everyone's stuff in. I am afraid to even take off my jewlery for fear of it disappearing.
    I had to even stop buying any kind of dessert stuff we like to eat because it dissapears b/f we can even eat it.

    In regards to the police thing, I have put in a call to a friend I have on the local dept. force to see if maybe him talking with difficult child would help. He seems very good with the kids in the neighborhood?
    Well, it's off to drink more joe and it's errand Friday (Hopefully I can find a bookstore along the way)
    Thanks all
  6. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    I am not sure if anyone else has suggested this yet, but I would get into some type of therapy for yourself. I am not saying I think you have something wrong with you. I do believe you have a bunch going on and need a local place to vent and get some ideas of help in your area, but please stay on board here too. I see you are dealing with your husband's difficult child, husband who is not on your page right now, and the mom who is either in denial of the problems or is extremely jealous and doesn't want advice or concern comming from you. I think you will benefit on getting outside therapy for you and it will help with these issues you are dealing with, as well as give you some sound advice on how to deal with the mom.

    I am not a stepmom, so my advice is based on people I know. My children have had stepmom's. There were three, only one I liked. One beat my kids. The other I cant talk to as she speaks Chineese. The one I like fights for my daughter at school, sticks up for her to dad, listens to her and has never said bad things about any of my family to her..It wasn't like this in the beginning though. She was a high maintenance gal and required alot of attention. When my daughter would visit she was jealous. I sat her dad down and said your daughter was here first and she comes first and any woman that you decide to be permanently in her life better understand that. They broke up..then four months latter I told him he screwed up because this lady did care about our daughter, but needed him to set boundries that he didnt set..They were married two years latter. My daughter is 14 and this lady has been in her life since she was 4. It's been rough at times, but we all agree that our daughter comes first. She truly is a blessing for my daughter. I know it cant be easy but hang in there. Your love and concern will be much appreciated one day.
  7. ShakinThingzUp

    ShakinThingzUp New Member

    From one step mom to another....

    First - everyone above is right - you need a professional to help you decipher what might be causing his misdeeds... could be a lot of things.

    Secondly - Since I know from firsthand tough experience what broken homes can do to kids - especially if it happens when they are YOUNG and if the parent they are left with at a young age does not have good parenting skills, I'm going to ask you to check into something.

    1 - Did the child have any of these happen to him prior to the age of THREE?

    *Sudden separation from primary caregiver (illness, hospitalization, death, separation/divorce)
    Frequent moves or placements
    Traumatic prenatal experience (en-utero) or Birth Trauma
    Inconsistent or Inadequate day care
    Unprepared Mother with Poor parenting skills
    Maternal ambivalence toward pregnancy

    If the answer is yes to any of those above - type in a search for "Reactive Attachment Disorder" and read about the signs and symptoms - if after reading those it seems to sound familiar discuss it with a professional who is familiar with the disorder.

    Why am I telling you this?
    Because I'm a step-mother of a child who we gained custody of at 9 years old. I'd never heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I believed my step-daughter had been neglected, but loved and otherwise treated ok. The basis for our custody case was the neglect.
    She was a pretty good kid who seemed to need more attention than she was getting when I got her.... or so I thought.

    After we gained custody - she stole, she threw fits and rages, she did a multitude of things that were sneaky ----- it would be too much to type here. She primarily stole FROM ME - her NEW MOM, because I was the one trying to love and attach to her and she was lashing out against that.

    In trying to figure out what was wrong with her, I learned she had endured much, much more than I had dreamed....

    God Bless!
  8. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member


    Sudden separation from primary caregiver (illness, hospitalization, death, separation/divorce)

    <span style="color: #330033">Divorce from husband
    1/2 brother also taken into custody by 2nd ex.</span>
    Frequent moves or placements

    <span style="color: #663366">Bio-mom moved from one b/f to the next. She is on her 3rd husband.</span>

    Traumatic prenatal experience (en-utero) or Birth Trauma

    <span style="color: #663366">Not as far as husband tells me</span>

    Inconsistent or Inadequate day care
    <span style="color: #663366"> difficult child was left with sitter for days on end...sitter ended up causing bodily harm to difficult child.</span>

    Unprepared Mother with Poor parenting skills
    <span style="color: #330033">bio-mom was 18</span>

    Maternal ambivalence toward pregnancy
    <span style="color: #993399">We will never know??</span>
    After 5 years of being here the last 2 have been horrific!
    I will look up what you have mentioned,
    husband & Bio-mom seem to think that kids don't remember what happened b/f the age of 2, I thinkg they are dead wrong.
  9. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member

    Good morning all....
    I am reading The Defiant Child...
    What a great book...
    I tried some of the things they suggested this weekend with difficult child and he was not happy.
    I made him check out his clothes..since that is alot of stuff we fight about.
    He was hitting easy child & her friends with-his belt so I took it away and now it is property of me.
    We spent all weekend following difficult child around and keeping an eye on him. We explained to him that he cannpot be trusted and now we have to do this to ensure saftey of our belongings.

    I saw my officer friend this weekend and he said that difficult child is a little to young to press charges against so he is going to come in two weeks and pick up difficult child unannouced and take him to the pd.
    He said sometimes I have to think outside the box and that he will be more than happy to "put a scare into difficult child"

    The pediatrician gave me the name of a NP to check out. I will make those phone calls shortly.

    Bio-mom after 4 years of communicating with-me has deceided that we are no longer on speaking terms...fine by me.
    I know that it does not help difficult child but she doesn't want to help him and it gets her out of my hair.
    Ahhh...Monday again
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Ah the younger days of trying anything anyone suggested. My entire house has locks on the doors. Office, bedrooms, laundry room, and the cabinet where I keep the medications, the cleaning supplies, the garage and the shed.

    difficult child got a ladder, took his school ID and slid the lock open on my bedroom window, climbed in and took his dad's underpants.

    difficult child got a flat bar by breaking into the window of his dads garage to get the flat bar so he could pry the lock off my shed to get to my pool cleaning chemicals, removed the cover a month early, got the sump pump, my new mud boots (2 pr.) of course one for him and one for the thug he was with, and left all of it for us to clean up because the bleach /clorine smelled strong.

    He waited until it was cooler and I had left the windows open to get into my office to get my Walkman, head set and batteries. Snooped through my jewelry box and took a platinum and diamond ring for his little girlfriend. (I'm supposed to tell you here that at least he had good taste). I found the ring in his closet in a box he also took from my jewelry box.

    He's taken most of his dads craftsman, snap on, and matco tools and loaned them to kids who didn't have any (of course I'll give you back this $80.00 wrench)

    He used all of my household cleaners to clean his tennis shoes. And then got into the bug spray and laid in bed one night and shot it at flies on the ceiling not caring that the poison could have blinded him and discolored the walls.

    He used my washcloths for cleaning his shoes, his bike that he brought in the house after we all went to bed, and to lay on top his head when sweating to throw away as he saw fit.

    I could go on and on and on.....and I will tell you that locking every thing up DOES help, but it doesn't mean the policing is over, it just means it will take him longer to figure out how to get what he wants. My difficult child flat out told us that he waited for that 10 second window we stepped in the bathroom and forgot to lock the bedroom door behind us to snoop and steal. For him it was the adrenaline NOT the actual theft.

    Eventually he worked his way up in stealing to being the lookout man for 2 other boys who had already been in trouble for stealing. He could have gotten life in prison at 16. And yes, I did the cop come and get my kid, scare the bejuzesus out of him, I did the tour of prison tough love field trip. These kids have a problem with authority, so despite what WE think would scare them straight - in my humble opinion and 11 years of history - it doesn't work.
    If they were normal thinking to begin with - simple punitive punishments would work.

    Currently the only thing that keeps my difficult child on this side and I mean BY A HAIR - is his probation officer and the fact that he was locked up in Department of Juvenile Justice for 120+days if he messes up he gets 6 years in ADULT jail. You would think that being locked up, being told when to eat, wearing others undergarments would make you think twice - but alas the day he got out of Department of Juvenile Justice three hours later he was the same defiant, in your face, argumentative, sneaky, thief.

    If there is an answer out there - to make them change, I belive it's continued therapy with a good therapist and consistant counseling for YOU (the parent) because you are going to be doing battle for life - this doesn't go away, wear off with years or consequences. Consequences as you see do very little, but are important because it lets the child know that you DO mean what you say.

    Seriously, find a good family therapist to work with. NO..not because I think your family is (whatever) but because you are going to need SUPPORT and a different set of rules to play by with this kid. Tough love is the beginning. Therapy helped us keep our sanity and our lives.

    Welcome to the often, it's a great place.
  11. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member

    OMG....I am at the point were I can't do it anymore!!!

    Bio-mom thinks that difficult child will grow out of it.

    husband is stumped and I know he feels so rotten about it.
    The whole situation is a huge stress on our marriage!!
    Been trying to get into see someone but ins. says must have a ref. and most gp's want you to try pills first.

    I am at the point where I can tell I am sinking into that deppression again.
    Just want to hide in the corner and not be an adult.
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I have a lock on my bedroom door. Is difficult child offended by it? Yup. Do I care? Nope.

    She has taken things from my room while I was sitting in it. I did not even notice. That is how good she is.
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Stepmom47 and welcome,

    Star makes some very good points. A lot of our difficult children just don't think the same way we do, and things that would scare the bejeesus out of us don't seem to make an impact.

    Earlier this summer, my difficult child was arrested and hauled off to jail in handcuffs while SO and I were at work. They held him in jail overnight. difficult child is delicate, willowy and not physically brave. I was sure that a night in jail would scare him witless. When SO and I went to the courthouse to pick him up the next day, he proceeded to describe the inside of the police van, and then boasted about getting a free hygiene kit from the jail.

    We keep all doors locked, hide knives and other sharp objects, and keep difficult child under 24 hour supervision, and STILL he finds ways to break free anad get into things he's not supposed to have.

    Next week he's going to a long-term Residential Treatment Center (RTC), because at a few weeks shy of 18, it's the only way we have right now of keeping him safe and getting him the help he needs.

    One of the hardest things we mom's and stepmoms of difficult children have to face is the judgements from others. You know you're a good mom and you're doing everything in your power, but people who haven't walked in your shoes don't understand what you're dealing with. It's a hard road, but you're not alone on it.

    I"m so glad you found this board. It's a wonderful place. (In the short time I've been a member, I've received hugs, support, birthday wishes, shoulders to cry on, and more good ideas for dealing with difficult child than I can count.)

    We're all here for you.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    If you are at the point where you can't do it any more AND you are sinking into depression AND it's a strain on your marriage it is time to get difficult child in some type of Residential setting, or Group home or psychiatric hospital. You all need a break, and the kid needs a break from you all.


    You need to contact your local Mental health agency and ask them if they do individual therapy on a sliding scale fee. GET IN LINE and go to it. You can NOT believe how refreshing it is to sit and tell someone about your life for an HOUR! Then get suggestions that may help.

    Like I said - 2 years of therapy is a drop in the bucket. This doesn't get grown out of any more than any other disease. It CAN be managed if all participants are willing to undergo some healthy, but hard changes. If you are living with Cleopatra (Queen of Denial) I wish you luck. If she's given him back to his father because she couldn't handle him then get a plan together.

    It starts with you and your husband. The next time difficult child is out of control and considered a danger to himself or others put him in the van, haul him to the hospital and demand they do a psychiatric evaluation on this kid and have them BEG THEM to put him somewhere he can get some help. TELL THEM - he's a danger to the rest of your family and name the things he's done.

    From there, they can usually get a social worker involved and have him put in a placement for either temporary or long term commitment. It gives everyone a break.

    Get the entire family into counseling. If I can get a biker to go for a kid that isn't even his? You can get your husband to go for a kid that IS his. It's NOT about your husband per se. Everyone always feels if they go to counseling that they have to open up and spill their guts and tell about their horrible past life - and well, while that is a tad narcissistic it's not true. You are going to learn how to parent a child that has a problem that cant' be cured with pills or discipline. You're going to learn how to live a life with less yelling, and less door slamming, and less arguing and you will learn how to tag team each other so that one parent isn't always going to carry the brunt of this kid because THEY ARE TOUGHER THAN BOTH OF YOU PUT TOGETHER...and they LIVE to divide and conquer. It's hard wired into their wee brains that they must win. Most of them for whatever reason prefer to live in a chaotic environment. It's like they are chaos junkies and the only way to stay high is to do something they KNOW will peeve everyone off.

    When you go to therapy you learn how to turn it off. So that 1.) You aren't making a monkeys kiester out of yourself in front of the rest of your kids and 2.) Once you eliminate the yelling and giving in - you find how to cut him off at the ankles and thus start to re-map his brain.

    Something somewhere got his cranial map all messed up. Hard to tell what and serves little purpose to blame anyone. Figuring out what you can do from here to make him "get it" - very rewarding.

    And there is the chance that he'll never learn anything - let's hope not, but you will, and your family will, and your marriage will be stronger not on the rocks, and if you have other kids, they'll see the steps you took to help someone who is mentally ill, and they (through counseling) will find out that it's good to have a plan and it's okay to be angry. It's just not okay to act out inappropriately.

    Good luck with this - being a step mom puts you in a tough spot, but - remember he's your kid too, and as long as you choose to live in that house with him and his Dad you would benefit by making the most of it. I learned more in counseling in the last 4 years than I ever did! Well worth it.

  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm with Star on this - I would be looking for therapy rather than a physical problem. This kid has been through the mill. I will say here, I'm only an amateur psychologist, but sometimes a kid steals so he can have SOMETHING he can have his hands on that he can be sure of. People shoplift for the same sort of reason sometimes; yes, adrenalin comes into it to a varying extent (the thrill of the steal) but there is also the acquisition. The stealing of 'comfort food' - he's getting it BEFORE anyone else because he feels he should get it all and not have to share, plus he feels he needs it more, at some level. I think you're doing the right thing to stop getting it in the house - learn to enjoy fruit instead, or cook a dessert from scratch and serve it immediately. Winter's coming up for you - self-saucing puddings, pineapple with Jamaican rum, brown sugar and cream served hot - lots of warm, freshly-cooked easy options.
    In his head he's on his own against the world. He's storing up provisions and honing his survival skills. He is one disturbed kid. He can't be fixed with all the drugs in the world, although some might help if you can get a handle on what he needs. However, his primary need is a GOOD counsellor/psychologist who can identify the problem and help him find more appropriate ways to manage things. He will not grow out of it, but hadn't we already agreed Bio-Mum is a big part of the problem? Did SHE grow out of it? I think not.
    CBT would be good but further down the track - this kid really needs more.

    So, find him a thorough diagnostic assessment but also hunt around for a really top psychologist who can help him where he is.

    And you - get thee to a counsellor thyself. Pronto. You're reeling from pillar to post, having to deal with Someone Else's Problem without the support you should have. He's violating your space in every way and taking from you what he so desperately craves for himself, in the same way an anorexic hoards food until it goes rotten. You have nothing you can be sure of in your life and this is taking a terrible toll on you. You need help. husband would probably benefit, perhaps by also seeing your counsellor, difficult child's, or both.

    And stick around. Maybe get husband to stick around here too. So many people here have been there.

    On the locking things up idea - it will depend on how ingenious he is, but you shouldn't have to rely on it. Removing stuff from the house to minimise what you lock up is better, it totally removes it from temptation.
    We locked up stuff away from difficult child 3. He wasn't stealing like your son, he was just getting into stuff he shouldn't, like opening our coin-sorting money box and spreading the contents everywhere; he was a toddler who didn't know better and couldn't be told because he had no language at the time. So we locked things up. But he worked out that it was locked and searched the house for the keys. We finally had to remove the items to keep him safe; as a toddler he would stack chairs and climb to ceiling height if necessary, to get to a key.

    Find help. Stick around. Get husband here too. Have hope.