WHAT TO DO - with a difficult child pushing this family to the breaking point

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by justtotallyspent, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Ok so I am new to this site and new to forums in general but just looking for some feedback before I lose my mind..... I just need to know that someone out there knows what we are going through. So I am a step-mom (2yrs) to a very difficult 4 yr old boy that is just tearing our family apart. I have 2 other children that live with us full time one son age 10 yrs that I am the bio mom and a 3 yr old boy whom is also my step-son. I also have a step-daughter age 10yrs that lives with us on a PT basis. My common-law hubby works full-time long hours and I am a stay at home mom with back problems that prevent me from working and depression (which has increased a great deal over the last 2 yr). Our 4 yr old is always on the go, nothing makes him happy for more then 2 mins, he is verbally and physically aggressive towards me and his younger brother (often for no reason). We have entered counselling but are only in the early stages and have also been referred to a specialist to have further testing done with him. I just dont know how much more our family can take... our older children are becomming resentful because much of our attention and time is spent dealing with him and our youngest is following much of the behaviour he sees comming from his older brother and also is doing things to get himself in trouble to get attention ( I believe).
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    Lots of gentle hugs, first of all. Trust me, you're definitely in the right place.

    I don't have a whole lot of experience with very young difficult children; mine are a bit older. However, I do think the specialist is a good move to start.

    Since you have 2 10-y/o kids - could you maybe enlist their help? Sometime when he is napping, or after he goes to sleep (if this is possible), say, "I know we spend a lot of time on difficult child, and I bet you wish we had more time for you. What do you think we can all do - me, Dad, and you guys - to make that happen?" Including them may help.

    Others with more experience or info will be along, I just wanted to welcome you and maybe suggest that one little thing.

    More hugs - I know they're needed!
  3. We do try to something with them later in the evening when our DC1 is in bed but alot of the time it is even past the older kids bedtime by the time we get him settled. We have tried to talk with them explain that we know it is difficult for them and that they are very important to us but they are still too young to understand. They can't understand that he is not doing these behaviours on purpose. The hardest part for them to understand (us too) is how easily he can go from acting nicely and co-operatively to a full blown temper tantrum. I just don't like that it is putting stress on our other children (they are too young for stress), and it is to some degree putting a damper on their childhood.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    This is awful, I know but... Can you get him in his room and just close the door?

    Many times Onyxx will stop her little tantrums if she is getting no reaction (detaching). Such as trying to throw a hissy fit because we threw out her sketchbook full of marijuna leaves. She yelled at me, "Why don't we just throw everything else out?!" My response (BAD day at work) was, "OK. If that's what you want to do." Calm, no reaction. She changed her tune immediately. (Not that she does this all the time, but it worked that day.)

    Just a thought???
  5. Whenever he starts into a tantrum he is excorted to his room, although it doesnt seem to make it any shorter if it ignorned he can go on for an hour. He too will say those thing like if he breaks a toy and we tell him it's garbage now then he wants us to throw out everything. We usually ignore the request but he will continue to push the issue by throwing his stuff out of his room, usually we just ignore this also until he calms down but as I said before he seems to get so "locked in" to the tantrum it takes a long time before that happens. When his tantrum is done if you try to put the stuff back he will say he doesnt want it or "doesn't deserve" it and if you push the issue it's right into another tantrum.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Well - if he's throwing his stuff out of his room - call his bluff. Gather it into a large garbage bag and take it outside. And continue to ignore him. You say he can go on an hour or more, but then you try to put stuff back - which is attention - don't. It's in a bag. Outside. He said he didn't want it, you "believed" him.

    And he knows that, most of the time, you won't ignore him. Or it wouldn't go on. After a while he'll get the hint. And honestly? Have family "fun" time - play a board game, laugh so he can hear what he's missing. This sounds cruel, but... He will get the point. If he doesn't tantrum, maybe you will let him have fun - maybe no rages for a week, he can stay up 10 minutes later one night. But you have to mention this when he's calm.

    Onyxx rages less now. It used to be every day, multiple times a day - now it's down to 1-2 times a week. I did mention to husband that when he gives in, he makes it worse for her in the long run.
  7. sosotired

    sosotired New Member

    Welcome. Sounds like you have your hands full.

    It can be a very difficult balancing act. The best approach I've found is to explain to easy child that it's no different if difficult child were in a wheel chair or had Downs syndrome. difficult child would still need constant attention and it would take away from time you could be spending with the other children but doesn't change the situation. I remind them that I love them both however I also give extra pats on the back to easy child for being so reliable, helpful, understanding, patient, etc. It's almost as if the extra 30% of your time you invest in difficult child, you have to invest the same in your other children. Of course this leaves -90% for us but that's how child rearing goes. It's the luck of the draw.

    I would definitely move foward with getting him evalutated. Consider starting regular appts with a Child psychologist for weekly or bi-monthly coundseling as well as a nueropsych evaluation if you can manage it (cost prohibitive if not covered by insurance). The quicker you get ahead of this the better.