Teens' Defiance Wrecking Our Home

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Cassie Hutto, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. CH2017

    CH2017 New Member

    Almost a year ago my 13 year old twin step sons came to live with their father and I. Their behavior at their mother's was so out of hand, she didn't want to have them in her home anymore. We've found that 90% of the time they are the carefree, respectful kids we've always known but if anything happens that would require discipline, ea: acting out at school, getting caught in a lie, failing a class, whatever it may be, they freak out. We don't yell/raise our voice, we offer to hear their side of the story first and if they have anything to say for themselves (they never do.) and then discuss the event and hand down a discipline which is typically grounded from friends, electronics etc for X amount of time and depending on the severity, no allowance either. At this point they will either rage and cuss us all out and tell us the most hurtful and terrible things you can think of. Throw stuff at the walls, punch the walls, once one of them even punched their father in the stomach. There I wasn't any force behind it but just the fact that he had the guts to go there is unnerving, then when my husband pushed him away to prevent it from happening again the kid started yelling "child absuer". I honestly and truely believe they do what ever they can to try and encite chaos and dysfunction. We ignore it, remain calm, and leave them in their room and go about our evening without them when this happens. Now they've taken to just flat out walking out the front door and "running away", as in they will leave, right in front of us when they know they're grounded, yet they always come back by the time curfew would be when they aren't in trouble. I don't know what to do, I'm at the end of my rope. We have a 20 month old in the house and I know the environment is hurting him and I'm due Nov. 11 of this year and it's so much stress to think about bringing home a new baby in this choas. They ultimately don't care about consequences or losing privileges and will just wait out their punishment indefinitely. Their mother wants no part of anything and is zero help. And we're military, in a new town. We have no one around to help us or to turn to. I cry every day just from being overwhelmed with this feeling of hopelessness and the fear of having to live like this for 4.5 more years. They won't go to church when we ask . We haven't dared bring up them seeing a therapist for that same reason. What can we do? We need so much help.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I think you are going to have to get tough on them. They sure are not going to go easy on you. There are a LOT of things you can do. I might start with taking video of any attempts to discipline them as they have started calling child abuse and you don't want them calling CPS with false threats. That can be an ugly thing to go through.

    If they hit you or your husband again, call the cops. Let them know that you are not playing and will not tolerate this. Take all the fun stuff out of their bedroom. Strip it when they are at school. Down to just 7 outfits, the shoes they are wearing, the bed, a light, bedding. They don't need anything but school books in there. If they are bored they can study. I would leave one comfort item each if they have one from when they are little (my kids still do and they are adults - no matter how bad the trouble was, we NEVER took it away.)

    This is a suggestion. You may not be ready to go that far. I do strongly suggest you read some books. I would start with Parenting Your Child With Love and Logic by Fay and Cline. You can explore other books in the Love & Logic series on their website www.loveandlogic.com . I highly recommend L&L esp for teens. I found it was incredibly helpful and know a lot of parents and teachers who also found it useful. Our school district goes back to it time and again. Other programs come in for a short time but they fail and the teachers go back to what worked. The teachers don't understand why the administrators keep bringing in other programs, because they say L&L works just fine as long as you are consistent. I think the administrators fall prey to the new and shiny.

    The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You by Ross are also books you should read. They can help you figure out what is going on and how to stop it.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Susie gave some great advice.

    If these twins were neglected or passed around a lot or abused early in life (infant to five) they may have attachment disorder.if they do (look it up) you cant really do anything logical to make them change as they have learned deep inside, where trust forms in infancy, that they can only trust themselves, nobody else. And they dont respond to love and areoften nice just to get favors, but they have a very low level of conscience, empathy or remorse. There is attachment therapy (with different levels of success) but if they wont go you cant force it.

    I would start calling CPS or the cops (the cops have to report each call to CPS if they are minors) so that they know you are trying and, if needed, can help place them out of home if they hurt your baby. Never leave them alone with that baby. Ever. Sleep with the baby in your room, lock the door, put cameras and alarms on their doors. Very disturbed young teens often do their worst when we are sleepinng.

    Did Mom have a lot of boyfriends? They could habe been sexually abused and often the abuse is forgotten in the conscious mind. But the sub conscious mind remembers and they can act out on much younger children. This happened in ourvlives with a child we adopted at age 11. He ended up being taken to a lock down residential trearnent home. We discontinued the adoption because my two youngest kids had been his victims and were terrified of him.

    Dont be us. Take precautions for that newborn even if you think "oh, they would never do that" like we had thought. Our kids were 3 and 5 and too afraid of his threat to kill us all in a fire to tell us what he was doing.

    If you werent having a baby this would be less critical. Do you have pets?

    There is little you can do on your own if they can legally refuse therapy. So do call the cops. You will need to run your home like a prison once the baby comes unless they are in out of home residential.

    Is your husband on the same page as you? This is critical and you may need marital therapy if he is pretending his twins arent that bad or if you and him differ on how to do this or what to do.

    Did Mom drink or drug or both during pregnancy? If so it could have affected their developing brains too. Look up fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Something other than poor discipline is wrong with these kids.

    Hugs. I am so sorry.
  4. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Welcome, C.H.

    You have landed in the right place for support.

    I encourage you to change your username to something else and replace your personal photo. This forum is read by many, many people. It's best to remain anonymous.

    SWOT, she already has a 20 month old and is expecting a second baby in November.

    I agree with taking extra precautions with the babies. I am so sorry you have all this stress and two babies. I'm not going to add to the advice you were given above. I just want to encourage you to bookmark this forum and continue to use us as a resource. The parents here understand. We will have ideas that can help. You aren't alone in this journey.
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ugh. I skimmed it and missed that a baby is already here too. That would make four in the bed. There is no way to keep that child safe while you sleep if he is alone in a bedroom while you sleep.
  6. CH2017

    CH2017 New Member

    Thanks everyone for their replies so far.

    As for removing just about everything from their rooms, we've considered it but other than aggravate them and entice another power struggle between us and them, would it actually help anything? I'm not trying to discredit the idea, I promise, I just to want to create yet another battle. The things we have taken away, phones (they had them when they moved in and were removed from our home in just a few months after it was apparent they were causing much more harm than good) their kindles, PlayStation and allowance and tv, they say and act as though they don't care what we do with them. This hasn't stopped us from still taking these things away but getting them back has definitely not been proving as enough incentive to correct their behavior.

    As for their mother, I don't believe she's been dating much at all. She moved herself and the children out of state before their divorce was even finalized back in 2012/13. She said it was because she wanted to be closer to family. She's just a very angry and belittling person. From what I've been told by the entire family, she's always resorted to screaming and cursing and just completely tearing people down when they don't do what she wants them to do. She's very controlling and apparently has been this way to all her former in laws, my husband and the children. There's still a daughter that lives with her who up until recently, outside of being a normal teen with straight A's who is now showing much of the same behavior as the the twins that are with us. My husband's stance with all the children is if they want to be with their mother, of course that was fine and he wanted to support them but if they ever wanted to be here instead, our door was always open. Which is how we are now in our current situation. The children are very angry and very guarded. They don't open up and are always on the defense.

    With our toddler, they've always been 110% caring and nurturing to him. They go out of their way to help the baby or to spend time with them. It's as though they hate us specifically. Even when they are mad and enraged, once the toddler's bed time comes around for example, that is the only time they will stop some of their behavior and quiet down, just so they don't wake him. It's so confusing. We've discussed among each other if it could partially be the stress of a new baby coming but they knew we had been wanting one more before they moved here. And even when we found out it was another boy, they asked if we could try again later on for a girl because they think having a little sister would be fun too. I don't say this all to say that I'm not worried, because I am so much. We have cameras, no alarms though. I don't even know how to begin to juggle a new born and a toddler in the same bedroom, especially at night. We do have pets and it's the same thing, they can hate our guts and tell us anything they can think of to hurt us and yell and curse and break things but when they calm down a little, they'll go find the cat or something and hug it and take him into their room with them. So it's just so confusing. And again, this behavior only presents when they did something that would cause discipline to be handed down. So yesterday the principal called, one of them acted out in school, got after after school detention, the child was grounded for the rest of the week and could possibly earn their privileges back by the weekend with good behavior. He listened to what I had to say, said OK, then shortly after walked out the front door. I'm not going to try and stop him physically, I'm nearly 8 months pregnant. But if it's a normal day, no issues at school or with each other, they will come in, tell me about their day and their homework, do their chores, it's "yes ma'm, no ma'm", they want to do "family things" together after their dad gets home and at the end of the night at bed time they go off, say goodnight and I love you. I'm just at a loss. We can't not ever have consequences for poor actions just to avoid conflict at home but these outbursts went from being unheard of here at in our home, to being rare now it's napping several times a month and I don't know what to do. My husband and I are both on the same page and at the end of our rope. Their school has a counselor and we've signed the consent forms for her to begin speaking with the kids but it's more of a casual, gain their trust over time thing and they don't know that any of it was initiated by us, which I feel is good, but at the same time, I feel like we're in crisis and we need drastic help. I just don't know how to get it. My husband and I are currently working with our church to seek some counseling for the two of us. We are new to the area and to the church so it's kind of been slow going but we know we definitely need it.

    Thank you for all the advice and support. It means more than I can say.
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  7. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there and sorry you are going through this,

    You've already gotten some great suggestions from others. This is a very wise and caring group of people. You're in the right place.

    To add my two cents: I'm not sure how mental health care works in the military, if it's the same as civilians, but if so, I suggest taking these children to a psychologist, not just a school counselor but a psychologist with a PhD, for a full evaluation. Puberty has a way of igniting mental health issues which lie dormant until the hormones start rolling.

    It is encouraging that the boys are caring and loving with the younger child and the pets.

    Walking out of the house without permission is dangerous and illegal at 13. I agree with those who have suggested calling the police when they do this if for no other reason than to introduce another consequence which may be more meaningful for them.

    Who has legal custody, is it joint? Does mom intend to sign over full custody to their dad?
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My adopted son, in front of us, acted loving and kind to our younger kids and pets. It was an act. A very convincing one that let us feel safe being complacent.

    He molested the young kids and killed two dogs. We didnt suspect him of killing the dogs...he acted as if he loved them. We thought it was druggie neighbors. But it WAS him. And he made my young son and dsughter watch as he strangled their beloved dog! Made them watch! Again, they were too afrsid of him to tell us and, yes, we did have that tslk before this happened that they could tell us anything. His threat to burn down the house with everyone in it...it worked. Silenced them. He played with fire, but again never around us. So the kids believed he would start s big fire.

    If Twins are unattachef (do look it up) they are charming when they have to be and they also lie. No matter how hard it would be to sleep with two kids...its an inconvenience for sure...it is worth it to ensure the safety of your babies. There is NO other way to keep them safe. None.

    You need to put a cot for him in your room.

    We were SHOCKED and HORRIFIED to learn what a perfectly nice boy (his act) did to our pets and young kids. Dont take chances with your babies.

    If you are not very proactive, the young kids could be badly hurt or abused. Do you know for a fact they dont visit 27 mo. old in the middle of the night while you sleep?

    I cant stress enough that you must protect your babies from the twins, even if the twins serm to like them around you. It could be a giant con.

    Our adopted 11 year old son also hugged us and said he loves us.

    Beware, beware, beware. As long as the twins are there you need to protect those little ones in a militant way. You have no idea how bad it can get with the little ones partly becsuse it is too mind boggling to contemplate. But blocking the possibilities is dangerous. Please dont.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  9. CH2017

    CH2017 New Member

    We definitely would like them to see a psychologist it's just in the past they've refused to see or meet with anyone, especially when it's been promoted or set up by us. Do you have any suggestions? I mean I will even bribe them if it would actually get them to a professional who could evaluate and help.

    Right now he has full physical custody and joint legal custody. She was very adamant on having it that way when everything was rehashed for them to permanent move in with us at the beginning. The wording has it set up to where all major health related decisions must be discussed and an agreement must at least attempt to be reached but ultimately the partner with the physical custody can make the ultimate decision.
  10. CH2017

    CH2017 New Member

    I am extremely protective of my children.
    I don't mean that to sound confrontational but they are my number one priority. I don't get sleep at night because I am watching my little one sleep on his monitor in the next room over. But thank you for your suggestions and warnings. I promise they aren't dismissed or taken lightly and I will definitely educate myself more in detachment issues.
  11. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I'll gently suggest - and I am a stepmom myself so I understand that it is difficult to always know where we stand/how much authority we have/etc.....that a change in YOUR mindset from "the kids won't do it, how can I make them" to "the kids WILL do it, this is unacceptable, and if they refuse our response is x, y, or z," will allow you to take control of the situation.

    If you allow these boys to be in charge of their own behavior then nothing will change. Your husband, and you, have to be in charge of ALL the children's behavior.

    Since you are the bio mom to one toddler and one soon to be newborn you have additional concerns beyond just these two. You need to be sure YOUR children are protected. Not to say you do not consider the older boys to be your children, but there is a difference.

    I hope your husband is just as concerned as you are, and understands that his older boys need help. More than that, I hope he agrees with you that they cannot continue disrespecting you, displaying physical aggression, and running away. If they continue acting out, again speaking for civilian life only as I do not know about military health care (or whether that even matters), you can send them to military or boarding school, you can have them declared minors in need of supervision and hand them over to the courts, you can send them back to their bio mom - whatever needs to be done to either get them help so they improve, or failing that, remove their negative influence from your other babies.

    So sorry you are going through this. It's awful.
  12. CH2017

    CH2017 New Member

    Thank you. He's does, we are on the exact same page and both just as shocked and heartbroken. We've spent countless hours researching, seeking advice, discussing. Conversations with the bio mom get us no where and before we even mentioned anything when we called once, she flat out said she absolutely will not consider them moving back in with her. We even asked if she'd take them just over the entire summer for a change of environment for a bit and she refused to take them any longer than the custody agreement said she could have them for (2 weeks). I understand what you're saying and 100% agree I just don't know how. As far as being physical, that has only ever been with their father. In fact one time, I was just so fired up, that I stupidly did stand in the door way to prevent them from walking out on me and it worked and they just went off to their room in that instance. Seeing how they reacted to their dad doing it though has scarede and being pregnant, that's just not a risk I'm willing to take on again. We've looked into behavioral correction schools and going through the legal system like you suggested. It's so hard to know what to do or if you're jumping 5 steps ahead because being in the thick of it, you can't be objective. We don't physically force them to do anything, one reason being, typically that's not something we really believe in doing, although this isn't a typical situation anymore, but also I think it would encite a full blown attack on my husband from them. I'm worried the only real option for help is going to have to get the Law involved. I just really don't want it to come to that. We live on base, so I don't even know how that would work because regular law enforcement do not have jurisdiction here, it's the base police that do. I don't know if they can help in the same way or not. Our healthcare is set up similarly, as long as we find someone in network with our insurance, we can go see them just as a civilian would.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Not detachment.

    Please look up reactive ATTACHMENT disorder. Most therapists know little about it, but adoptive parents do...and adoption therapists.

    Divorce can also cause attachment issues. Please learn sbout the symptoms and various therapies. Conventional therapy doesnt help these kids. I do feel attachment problems are in play here.

    This is the last i will address this. Its up to you now. Good luck to all!!
  14. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    Who is in charge, the kids or you?

    Good kids get cell phones, video games, etc. Bad kids DO NOT.

    Call the police each and every time they assault you or damage anything.

    Don't be afraid to raise your voice. When I was growing up, the moms with the most kids could yell the loudest! One mom had 8 kids and she could yell half-way around the neighborhood. If she yelled a kids full name (first, middle, and last), then the kid knew he was in BIG trouble!
  15. CH2017

    CH2017 New Member

    They don't have those things. Voices have been raised. But you know what the definition of insanity is, right?

    I'm glad kids you knew growing up were intimidated enough by hearing their full names yelled but when you have kids who've been screamed at for the past 13 years, the loud voices tend to not have as much of an impact. But thanks for your suggestions anyways.
  16. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    We understand that this is a very sensitive topic. Everyone here truly does mean well even if we are a little harsh at times. :)

    Is your H looking into terminating bio mom's parental rights entirely? If she is not willing to go to that extent then it seems to me she has no right to draw the line in the sand that she will never ever take them back. Perhaps your H should see what the custody court says about it.

    If she signs away her rights, then you and H get to make all the decisions which may be in the boys' best interests.

    Have they ever seen a counselor before? Why did their mom keep the sister but not the twins? If I remember right the sister is acting out as well?

    Did these boys suddenly change when they hit their tweens, or were there always signs of trouble?

    I am so happy for you that you and your H are on the same page. In my situation, my (same sex) wife and her ex husband are not on the same page and never have been, and this has caused a lot of chaos and tragedy for my two stepsons.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The good kids/bad kids does not work with disturbed kids.

    Also I feel it is best never to refer to our kids as bad. Ever. It helps nothing and causes resentment. I have never ever referred to even my difficult kids as bad. Why make them feel intristically flawed? My Mom called me bad. It certainly made me worse and if she tried to deny me something, I found a way to get it anyway...plus i stopped trusting her so she knew nothing about me and our relationship was torn forever. in my opinion you dont tell kids they are bad, stupid, useless...you get my drift. Its not as simple as good or bad. These twins are damaged and probably much of it is due to past trauma.

    If it were that simple to correct troubled behavior, nobody would need this forum. One plus one does not equal two with "differenly wired" kids. When does this simple taking of toys change very troubled kids??? If it did we would have a simple answer.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  18. JRC

    JRC Active Member

    CH2017, sometimes I've found that advice on this board is a little strong and, especially if someone doesn't read the original posters words carefully, it can really miss the mark. Also, people can often see solutions for other people through their own lens of experience which can be helpful or not helpful at all. Take what you will and don't feel as if you need to explain yourself or be defensive--although I can certainly see why you might feel that way.

    Your step sons sound like a total program. And I agree that a therapist is really important. Getting them there will take a lot of will power and strength, but don't give up on them yet. At 13 they are still little boys. A-hole little boys it sounds like but still very young. I would hesitate to send them away to school just yet only because they are clearly working out the issue of being dumped by their bio mom. Just my armchair psychology.

    I do get that you don't feel safe. Have you thought about a wilderness program for the summer? And I don't mean the kind that is like boot camp, but one that works with kids to help build them up, not tear them down.

    These are just of the top of my head thoughts. I also want to suggest that you find a therapist for yourself. These are big, big issues for your family and you. You need a person who is working on your best interests as well.
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  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with JRC. But whatever you decide to do, protect the babies. Dont everleave them alone with twins.

    They are old enough to hurt younger kids...our son was 11 and molested our kids for two years. We were not thinking an 11, 12 or 13 year old would ever do that and he never showed any signs of sexuality around us.

    My mother used to say, better to be safe than sorry. If you decide to keep stepsons at home, just be very mindful of your babies. You, like I was, have no idea what these twins have been through or what they are capable of.
  20. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    CH, it wouldn't hurt to question the base police to see what they would do if you called them. I'm sorry their mother is so distant and uninvolved. That must hurt them deeply.