Re-marriage and others oppinions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by adearing01, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. adearing01

    adearing01 New Member

    I am struggling with the oppinions of my difficult child's teachers and counselors. He has excelled at school until the last month this year. His grades dropped from E's to N's. I recently re-married and his case manager that stayed with him at school left at the end of April. My new husband is being blamed for the quick deterioration in his behavior. I don't want to be defensive, but I feel they have not given him all the help he needs. And what about his case manager leaving?! Does that not affect his behavior at all?!

    Also, my new husband thinks that yelling at the kids is ok and a good form of punishment. We argue alot about this subject because my EX and I have always told our difficult child that it is not ok to yell and we have always apologized if we lost our tempers and raised our voice. I feel this is a form of self control that we can demonstrate to him. We have to take responsibilty for our actions-even parents. I HATE it when he yells at my difficult child. We do have a counselor we can see to help with this, but I feel like it is an on going problem. We are both very hard headed.

    Any advice??:clubbing::clubbing:
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome to the board!

    I have a couple say that you recently married. Had you been dating your new husband for a long time? Were you living together? What type of relationship has difficult child had/has with him?

    One thing that could be creating an issue is the parenting between the two of you. First and foremost, you are his mother and he is his stepfather. It is very difficult for a stepparent to step in and assume discipline responsibiity. It can creat some difficult situations. You need to assume the majority responsibility for the discipline of your son. Your husband needs to understand that he may be contributing to the issues here by using such a heavy hand with your son. The two of you need to sit down when the kids are not around and find a way to coparent without discent. That is key to making this new marriage/new melded family thing work.

    His case manager was someone he saw once a week at school right? You are not talking about a 1:1 or aide or you? Irregardless, many difficult child develope relationships that help them get through situations. I know that the leaving of someone trusted and well-liked would definately have an effect on my son. Not sure that the behavior would spiral, but it would have an effect nonetheless.

    One suggestion I have that might prove beneficial for all of you (especially since you are thinking maybe your little easy child may not be one!) is to speak to your difficult child's psychiatrist/therapist and find get into a session or two of family counseling. I think it would benefit everyone if you all sat down with someone who could make suggestions on how to blend the family with little conflict. Parenting difficult children is tough business. It can be made tougher in a blended family. It's worth fighting for.

    I would imagine that you have contacted difficult child's doctor about his recent downswing? What are his/her thoughts? If I had to guess, I would say it has something to do with the new situation at home.

    Glad you found your way to us!

  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Pretty much ditto to Little Dude's Mom. Want to add that a loss of a counselor can have a HUGE impact. I know with my difficult child, his teacher has noticed that if he misses one week of counseling, his behavior does spiral down.

    You have a little bit of everything going on, new dad bringing in a different more severe type of disciplining, loss of someone to talk to, and end of school year. Though kids usually look forward to school ending, it is still stressful to switch gears to a summer schedule even if it is more fun - a switch is a switch.

    I would definetly address the new stepdad's actions for disciplining and find a new counselor that difficult child can visit during the Summer months.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! You are in a rough position here.

    Has your husband ever been a dad before?

    My boyfriend has not and even if he yells at my cat, I get upset!!! LOL!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When I remarried, it was understood before we did marry that me and my kid's father did the disciplining. It worked out much better that way. Did you talk about this before marriage? If not, maybe you want to see a therapist together. Yelling isn't a very good form of discipline and a lot of kids are resentful of stepfathers anyway. I could see that my kids were so he backed off. He gets along great with them now...ten years But maybe your child is saying things about him at school that make them think he's a factor. I think that's family counseling is good place to start.
    Good luck!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hmmm..after reading the profile again wanted to add that some medication can cause cognitive dulling. Or it can make a child so hyper that he can't concentrate, even if the medications are supposed to HELP concentration--doesn't always work that way. Your child is on three strong medications--Adderall, Straterra and Prozac. Two are antidepressants which can hype you up or slow you down (depending. Prozac made ME unable to stay awake or even think straight). Straterra is also an antidepressant. If I was on all those medications, I'd be flipping out and sleeping both at the same time, but I certainly wouldn't be able to concentrate in school and I'd probably end up in the hopsital. Just a thought.
    Any mood disorders or substance abuse in the family? ADHD/ODD behaviors can actually be mood problems, like childhood bipolar. If so, these medications are a disaster. They'd make him; worse...
  7. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I just wanted to add my agreement to the others'. My kids' dad died and I remarried. My husband had to leave the discipline to me. It took a long time for my kids to adjust to a stepfather and he did a great job at being there but not trying to replace their dad. My kids were 14, 10, and 7 when I remarried and they all went through periods of really resenting the remarriage. Now they are 24, 20 and 17 and all get along well with their stepdad and have a greater appreciation for what he had done for them. I can tell you though that it was a long time before he felt any appreciation from them. He has 3 grown kids of his own--I would not have married someone who did not already have kids and understand the difficulties involved.

    I really think you and your husband need to be in family counseling so he can learn how to be a stepdad. Yelling at the kids is only going to be counterproductive and he cannot just come in and be so heavyhanded--I would be very resentful if I was his stepkid. He really needs to take a back seat and be supportive of you and it is going to take time for the kids to learn to trust him and accept him. It is only natural for them to resist and he is making it worse.

    Oh, welcome to the group!!

  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yelling from ANYONE is going to be really bad. Coming from a new step-dad - definitely not good. But he probably doesn't know any other way.

    Strong recommendation - you BOTH need to acquaint yourself with "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. If he can't get into the book (there can be many reasons, it doesn't have to be for lack of trying) there is some really useful discussion about the book in the Early Childhood forum.

    I also strongly urge you both to read here, lurk here, post here - both of you. Either under the one ID, or separately. My husband is now a member here in his own right ("Marg's Man") and although he doesn't post often, he reads just about everything I post and this has really helped us be on the same page. before, we would talk and discuss things, we thought we were on the same page - but now, we are so much better.

    husband also used to yell (still does occasionally) but nowadays can be so amazingly patient with difficult child 3 and I am so very grateful. It has helped their relationship a lot, too. They also do "bloke" stuff together, which helps.

    It can't be easy for him - he needs to have his role defined and be given the tools with which to work.

    That will also make your job much easier.

  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I remarried to my H when my girls were 6 and 8. They knew him their whole lives as he was a family friend and he lived with us (at their urging as well as mine) for 2 years before we married. We thought everything was just honky-dory.

    Within the span of 3 years: First, I moved my daughters 150 miles from where they were born, then a year later [then boyfriend, H] moved in with us, then a year later we bought a house and moved again, within the same town, and then a year later we married.

    Even though on the surface those all seem like positive changes, they are still changes and can be very unsettling to a child, no matter how much involvement they have in the decisions or how much reassurance you give them.

    By the time we finally hit a counselor's office, my youngest daughter, difficult child, was already receiving school aid under a 504. But she was prone to seemingly irrational outbursts and meltdowns.

    We thought we were such a normal familiy. The counselor explained to us all the different dynamics going on in a blended and/or step family. How even though the changes are good, there are a lot of unspoken emotions going on that kids just can't process or have difficulty with. The counselor also stressed that my new H should have a non-traditional parental role in our lives. Rather than be a key disciplinarian, he will be more like my cheerleader and support. Ultimately, the discipling came down to me, though H and I were instructed to discuss things in private when we could.

    Now, I will admit that we didn't always follow the counselor's suggestions and we've had a lot of loud family discussions about which one of us was right and which one was wrong, whose way is better, etc. We were not always united in front of the children, etc., and we undermined one another at times. But I do think it went well for the most part.

    My H is not typically a yeller. He has to really really be angry or at the end of his rapidly frazzled rope before he will raise his voice. BUT, he does have a way of speaking in a very stern manner that my difficult child misconstrues as 'yelling'. We learned early on that when my difficult child said a teacher, other parent, or friend was 'yelling' at her, they probably were not - more likely, they were being stern and speaking in a way that brooked no argument.

    It sounds like you would all benefit as a famiily in counseling, together and alone. Your H needs to learn how to communicate without yelling. He also needs to allow you to be the main disciplinarian. You need to be the 'top' parent, yet allow your H to support you and together discuss things more before things get out of hand. Your son sounds like he needs reassurance that you're H is not replacing a part of your heart that is reserved for him. He needs to know that even though you're remarried, you still have his best interests at heart. Nip this in the bud now while they are all still so young. Good luck~ It's not easy.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering if maybe it is a combination of the new marriage, the different parenting style, and the loss of the case manager?
  11. adearing01

    adearing01 New Member

    My husband and I have been dating since September. He was not introduced to my children until just before Christmas. At first they loved it when he came over, but now they just seem to ignore him. All of you have confirmed what I believe to be true. He has to back off and just work on developing a relationship with them and show that he is my supporter no matter what happens.

    He is the father of 2. Son-difficult child-7: diagnosis Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Daughter-easy child-5.

    We were married two weeks ago. We have discussed the yelling issue several times. He is so adamant that he is right that yelling works. He says "9 times out of 10 he will do what I am telling him to do, so it must work." I know how he feels sort of because I was very adamant when difficult child was 3 that he was not going to make me change how I parented him. I have since changed my oppinion. To be the best parent to him I must explore all types of discipline and positive reinforcement programs or ideas that I can. I would fail him as a parent if I did not make changes in myself to give him the best future possible.

    We have been seeing a counselor, but I have also requested that we get some help in the home from the summer program that he attends. This was the most effective in helping me previously and I feel that it would help now as well. (kinda like the nanny)

    Anyway, I forgot to post that he also has absence siezures and takes Zarontin
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Try and get him to read either the book itself (Explosive Child), or the info about the book on Early Childhood. It will help him with his Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) son, too.

    I do know where he is coming from - I've always been able to use my voice effectively, until I met the immovable object of difficult child 3.

    it is good that he knows how to yell. There are times when that is a valuable commodity. But over-use makes it too familiar and it loses effectiveness. Also - a big problem especially with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - these kids more than most will model their behaviour on what they are shown, and he will find that one day the kids he was yelling at will be bigger than him and louder than him.

    It is much better to find another way that is less stressful for ALL, and far more efffective.

    Do you want your kids obeying out of fear, or out of respect? Do you want kids to do the right thing because you tell them, or because they have learnt for themselves and can think for themselves?

    Kids who have to be constantly whipped into line (by a strong voice, if not by actual force) are going to be slower to make their own correct and independent choices than kids who are guided and given the confidence and support they need.
    You can lead a child, or push a child. When you push a lot, the child pushes back (ODD). Especially some kids - they will push back more than others, especially if they really resent the injustice (as they see it) of always being pushed.

    If you lead a child, especially lead with encouragement, it is far less tiring and far more productive.

    Think about the most effective animal training techniques in vogue these days. No longer do we control a dog with a rolled up newspaper; instead, we use positive motivation combined with positive reinforcement. Consistency, love, fun and regular practice of the skills. We stop before the animal gets sick of it or bored. And we never hit a dog or shout at it to get compliance.

    The same rules that work best for animals, also work best for kids.
    This is actually not a new idea, it was in one of Aesop's fables. Remember the story of the wind and the sun? They had a contest to see who was strongest. The aim was to get the cloak off a man they saw walking along.
    The wind was convinced he would win, since it is so easy to blow a cloak so that it billows out and maybe even rips away from where it's pinned to the tunic. So the wind started gently, feeling confident. He blew, watched with satisfaction how the cloak billowed. Soon it would blow loose. But it didn't. The wind blew harder, but this also made the man cold so he hugged the cloak around him tighter.
    The harder the wind blew, the tighter the man wrapped himself in his cloak.
    Finally the wind had to take a rest.

    The sun came out and said, "my turn now." He began to shine. The man soon let the cloak billow loose a bit more, as he no longer felt cold. The sun shone some more and the man began to flap his cloak to fan himself. The sun shone more, the day grew hotter and finally the man stopped by a tree, took off his cloak and even took off his tunic, he was now perspiring so much.

    The moral - persuasion is stronger than force.

    So if Aesop knew this, where did husband get the idea that shouting at someone is the best way to get what you want?

    How much hands-on experience does husband get with his son? Because with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid, shouting can cause them to shut down and not respond to you, which is not good. Also, with his daughter - if she grows up accustomed to her daddy yelling at her to get what he wants, she is more likely to see this as normal, acceptable behaviour and end up marrying someone who may do more than yell, he may be abusive and a bully as well. But if he treats his darling girl with love and gentle firmness, she will use this as the pattern on which all males in her life must compare. If he sets a high standard in his behaviour towards her, then he will be doing the best he can to ensure her future husband has to meet his high standards before his girl will accept him.

    And doesn't every Daddy want his little girl to have the best in life?

    There are better ways. And they're also easier ways. It takes a strong man, a real man, to be able to make this adjustment.

  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Because he is afraid. He's afraid of this virtual stranger in his home, who sleeps with his mom, and bosses everyone around by yelling. And he is afraid of disappointing you by disobeying stepdad. So he tries to do what he's told. Sometimes he can, sometimes he can't.

    In your counseling sessions, I would try to help H to understand his role as more supporter than parent. It's too soon. He has to earn your kiddos' trust and respect before they will actually take him seriously as a parent. With you, it's a given because you've always been there. Being a parent is not about the title.
  14. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    All those medications your son is taking......when were they started in relationship to your marriage and his grades dropping? Many anticonvulsants are notorious for cognitive dulling. Zarontin lists "inability to concentrate" as an adverse reaction, along with "sleep disturbance" by the way.

    Here's the whole list of psychiatric adverse reactions:

    Nervous System: Neurologic and sensory reactions reported during therapy with ethosuximide have included drowsiness, headache, dizziness, euphoria, hiccups, irritability, hyperactivity, lethargy, fatigue, and ataxia. Psychiatric or psychological aberrations associated with ethosuximide administration have
    included disturbances of sleep, night terrors, inability to concentrate, and aggressiveness. These effects may be noted particularly in patients who have previously exhibited psychological abnormalities. There have been rare reports of paranoid psychosis, increased libido, and increased state of depression with overt suicidal intentions.