stressed out and feeling guilty

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by joders, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. joders

    joders New Member

    Hi guys, I'm new to the forum, after yet another stressful day where I question whether I am doing my stepson any good whatsoever being in his life, I turned to google and typed "can't handle my child anymore" feeling super guilty and kind of hoping that a nice farm he could go to would pop up. Then found out I'm not the only one when all these forums came up! and I thought since I'm not getting the support I need outside of the internet world I might as well try to find people struggling with the same issues here...

    My situation is a little different in that I'm a custodial stepmom, which makes it extra hard some days because I just don't have that "love you no matter what" bond with my stepson, and it's sad to say that my husband who is my stepson's adoptive dad doesn't have that for him either as he entered the picture when he was a couple years old already. We both love my stepson, and we both try really hard but things just don't seem to be getting better. I met my stepson when his dad was separated from his mom (he was 5) then a very ugly divorce came and took about 2 years of our lives where my husband saw the kids every other weekend (unfortunately with police enforcement otherwise he would have never seen them). After my husband was granted sole custody the kids mom left for a different province and told them she would never see them again (obviously traumatizing for a 4 and 7 year old). we have had the kids for a year and a half now and while he has thrived with routine and stability there are still some issues leftover, dr's have said ADHD, ODD, Depression, and Attachment disorder, and have prescribed anti depressants and ADHD medication, but I don't know how effective the medications and diagnoses are. The fact is the big thing I do see is the attachment disorder and emotional trauma, which I don't think medication is going to fix, what he really needs is stability and love. Unfortunately the love part is the hardest thing to give him, I know that sounds awful but it's true, he is a very hard kid to get close to, one minute he wants you to love him, then the next he wants you to hate him. Some of the issues we struggle the most with are his bathroom habits (he is almost 9 and pees the bed every night, you have to tell him when to go to the bathroom, at school he poops or pees his pants and will just sit in it all day every day), he is very inappropriately affectionate and gross with his younger sister (he always wants to kiss her on the lips, calls her "hot", tries to sneak into her room while she's changing, and has at times come out of the bathroom to show her his poop by mooning her or wiping it with his hand - you can't make this stuff up), his anger and destructive behavior is through the roof he has thrown rocks at people, kicked an infant lying on the floor in the head, taken a rock and scratched my friends brand new truck, picked the tint off my mom's brand new car windows.

    I just don't know what to do anymore, I'm angry at him all the time, and I'm depressed because I'm angry at him all the time, and sometimes I feel I'm doing him more harm than good because I'm not providing the emotional support he needs. All the counsellors seem to be there to help him but there is no parenting support, and I was not ready to be a mom and I've been thrust into it. I love his daughter she is so easy to get along with, and doesn't cause many problems, and I feel he sees her as the favorite, and I do feel bad for that, but this is so hard and I don't know what to do anymore, we've tried so many forms of discipline but he always pushes me to spanking because it's how I was raised and nothing else seems to work, and being honest with myself spanking doesn't even work, nothing does I don't know what to do anymore.
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    You are definitely not alone....although I understand that many times it sure feels that way! I love the idea of looking for a nice farm to send your child to - I would have loved to find that myself LOL!

    I think the most important thing to remember when dealing with difficult children is to take care of YOU. Make sure to give yourself a break once in a while. Come here for support, comraderie, to vent, ask questions - whatever you need. This forum has been a lifesaver to so many of us!

    Spanking is probably not a good idea - and in the long run, may make things worse. As he gets larger - what's to stop him from hitting back? Nothing. So you may as well stop all physical punishment NOW.

    JMHO - I think (if you haven't already) you really need to get into warrior mode as far as protecting the rest of the family - especially the sister. Make sure she has a lock on her bedroom door and that she USES it religiously!

    Make sure he is never without adult supervision - especially around anyone vulnerable such as pets and young children.

    Prevention is probably going to be a lot more effective in averting problems *before* rather than relying on him to learn from punishment *after* - Know what I mean?? Plus, there are some acts that cannot be undone - and you don't want anyone else to suffer serious injuries because your son had a chance to take out his anger on them.

    Glad to have you here! Sorry you need to be...

  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just scanning your first post... I suspect you're right that the key current diagnosis is "attachment disorder". Any idea what his first two/three years were like? That will be your key.

    Some of his behaviors could come from other dxes, but those would not eliminate attachment disorder. In other words, he could be all of what you listed, and more... which just complicates things.

    Who has done the evaluations? (I know... up here in "our" world, we don't get much choice but... it does make a difference) And how long ago? If its been three years or more, you can fight for a fresh round of evaluations. Sometimes a new perspective gives another missing piece of the puzzle.

    Meanwhile... one of our other members has written some good posts about attachment disorders and insecure attachment, along with some good links. Try searching this forum for "insecure attachment", for anything posted by Buddy (her board name).
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    HI there and welcome.

    Do you have an understanding of attachment disorder? It is very hard to love an attachment disordered child. Being adopted alone can cause it, especially if there is chaos in the early years. The contentious divorce and change of caregivers only adds to the attachment problems. These kids can be very mean and even scary. Are you seeing anything that frightens you? Does your kiddo seem mean to animals and other people, play with fire or like to watch it, or poop and pee all over the place? I adopted a child who had attachment disorder and he was dangerous to my other two kids, but that's a whole long story. It is possible that your son is not safe to your daughter. He may have to live somewhere other than your home, like a group home or residential treatment center where he can be watched at all times. He has obviously seen too much and is very disturbed. Please don't spank him. It will only make things worse.

    His behavior sounds like he was sexually abused somewhere along the way and I'd be very careful of him around his sister and other younger children. The child we adopted who had attachment disorder ended up sexually molesting both of my younger kids and we had to let him go elsewhere as he was a huge threat to any kid or animal he came close to. Don't beat yourself up here. You've got your hands full. Do you have any pets or other kids besides these two? Does your stepson have an alarm on his door for night time so that he can't leave the room without your knowing so you can make sure he stays away from his sister's room? If not, it's a good start.

    IC, so GLAD you came to this post since you are also from Canada!! However, don't you think it sounds like her son has more than just an insecure attachment? It sounds to me like he has the whole nine yards, which is different than "iffy" attachment. Right? What do you think?
  5. Bunny

    Bunny Active Member

    Hello, and welcome to the board. I think many of us have spent time on the Internet looking for a nice farm to send out kiddos to.

    The one thing that I would say is that spanking is not going to do any good. I'm not one of those moms who think that a child should never be spanked, because for some kids it is effective, but for kids like ours, the difficult child kids, not only is it not a effective form of punishment, but it can actually escalate things way out of control because in their minds they have been "attacked" and they will fight back. Been there, done that, had the bruises to prove it.

    I don't know alot about attachment disorders. From what I have read about them, it is VERY hard to parent a child with an attachment disorder because they have not bonded with their caregivers the way other, more typical kids, have. If all possible, I would not leave your step daughter alone with him. You never know when he will act out against her.

  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Without more history, I'd say it's hard to tell.
    If we assume this kid has other issues to begin with (for argument, lets assume he's on the spectrum), then the combination of the other issues, some abuse, and some insecure attachment would be enough to create the symptoms she describes.
    If the kid is neurotypical... then yes, it's likely more than insecure attachment.

    But Buddy's posts had links to the whole nine yards... the whole spectrum of attachment disorders. Which is why I pointed her there.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yeah, she has good links, but where IS Buddy lately????? Buddy, you here?
  8. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Your son's behavior reminds me of my son's behavior when he was that age. He didn't moon anyone or smear poop. He would poop in his pants and sit in it all day, pee in the vents, pee on the floor, kick an infant in the head, he was actively trying to kill his siblings, hit babies in the soft spot with rocks then ask if the baby would die now, he was hypersexual, constantly trying to get girls alone with him, very manipulative.

    Eventually my son had to go to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for the safety of the other kids. He was gone a year and we did lots of therapy and visits with him. It really helped. Of course there are kids who it doesn't help and they are there much longer. Just throwing that out there for considerment.

    *And welcome.
  9. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Curious to know which of the diagnosis's (PTSD, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), anxiety) were causing those behaviors you described which lead to Residential Treatment Center (RTC).
  10. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I have no idea. I think there are diagnosis going on with difficult child 1 that we haven't uncovered yet. I'm thinking Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) or personality disorder. When he went in to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) his diagnosis was bipolar, but we found that his bipolar symptoms went away with enough structure and no biodad. These would be the hallucinations, mood swings, high/low energy, food problems, hypersexuality, night terrors, sleep problems, and extreme separation anxiety. The pooping and peeing are not bipolar symptoms and they went away as well. He still had the aggression, the arguing, poor proprioception, manipulation, and some things I probably can't come up with off the top of my head. Poor neuropysch at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) followed difficult child 1 around for three days trying to figure out what his diagnosis are. I think he does have ptsd and autism and anxiety but those diagnosis don't explain every thing.
  11. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks Liahona. I was thinking Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) or personality disorder too. A lot of times I find myself thinking my difficult child's diagnosis hasn't even been discovered yet. There is so much yet to be uncovered.
  12. joders

    joders New Member

    wow, thank you all so much for your posts, it was so nice to have people that understand, that's the worst thing is nobody understands what I'm going through, all of my friends are just having little babies and have never had to parent a difficult child and my parents just keep saying "nobody said parenting was easy, spank him he'll learn" and like I said he is NOT learning. I am going to check out the posts on attachment, I'm so glad there are some. I'm also interested in the alarm on the door and the prevention stuff. I am so worried this weekend because both kids are off to their grandma's (my husbands parents) for the week, and they don't understand my stepson's behaviors and don't do a lot to prevent things from happening (for example they let the kids share a bed and be in the bathroom alone together) it really bothers me but my husband is going to clarify some things hopefully. again, thank you guys so much, I'm so happy I found this site!
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just me... but given his current state, I'd never be sending the two of them together. They should each get separate trips - or one of you goes with, to enforce safety.
  14. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Given what you said, I agree with IC and would not let them be alone without your supervision.
  15. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    I just wanted to chime in as another custodial stepmom - I don't have the same issues as you do with your difficult child, but our situation has also been very difficult in its own way. I think is IS much harder when you're not the "real" mom. I too don't have that "love you no matter what" bond with my difficult child, although for some crazy reason some people in my life expect me to. I was nowhere NEAR ready to become a mom when difficult child came into my life, and I honestly don't know what I'd have chosen if I knew then what I know now.

    I agree about the quitting spanking - it just doesn't work. For a long time, I felt like it was my only resort - NOTHING else worked. But spanking didn't work, either, and it just made resentment build.

    I also agree that you MUST protect the younger child - she is in a very dangerous situation from what you've described. I'd seriously rethink sending them both to grandma's if the supervision isn't there.

    Glad you found this site - it's been a godsend of support in my life, even though I'm not a major poster. I read here every day and gain strength and encouragement from the other parents fighting the difficult child battle. Welcome!