Dss -12 bullying ds -9. I feel terrible!

(13 Posts)
Fragglewump Thu 20-Dec-12 10:29:06

Most of the time the boys get on fine and are really close but obviously the name calling and bullying have been happening under our radar. This makes it even worse for ds as he adores dss and never goads or provokes him it is all one sided. Unlike dss's relationship with dsd which is much bickering and goading from both sides. The latest is that dss mum has refused to discipline him as he's too upset and it looks unlikely that he wants to come here anymore. To be fair if I was 12 I would rather stay in the house of no rules than the one where I am forced to confront any bad behaviour so no real surprise. However I am trying to do the right thing in my own sphere of influence and have sorted counselling for ds.

UC Wed 19-Dec-12 08:11:04

purple's experiences sound very similar to mine. I have 2 DSSs, 11 and 9, and 2 DSs, 8 and 6. We live all together 50% of the time. DSS1 and DS1 have taken several years to get to a stage where they sometimes play together, but more often than not do not choose to. Lots of poking, prodding, winding up by DS1 to get DSS1's attention. Lots of sarcastic comments and snideness from DSS1 to DS1, and some lashing out and hitting when DS1 gets really irritating. Lots of tears here too. There has been, and still is, resentment on both sides, although it is lessening now. And of course, DP and I feel guilty sometimes that we put them all in this position.

There are all sorts of things tangled up in this I think - DSS1 and DS1 were both used to being the eldest, and it has taken DS1 a long time to adjust to being 3rd in age out of 4 when he's here. The "pecking order" between the 4 of them needed to be established. DSS2 and DS2 had always been the youngest, and this has seemed to be easier for them than for DSS1 and DS1. Also DSS1 sometimes gets jealous if DS1 plays with DSS2 - they get on pretty well most of the time. That has eased as DSS1 has got older, and develops more of his own individual interests. We do the same in the car, we don't encourage them to sit together, although we have tried getting them to do activities together which has worked on occasion.

The other day, DSS1 shouted specifically for DS1 to come and see something funny on the computer - again like purple, that wouldn't have happened 6 months ago. Also DSS1 has, from his own choice, gone out and bought small gifts for all the others for christmas this year, including DS1. You have to grasp the small signs that they are seeing themselves as a family!

I read in a step parenting book that it can take years for relationships in a step family to shake down. I think this is so true. DP and I sometimes joke that they'll all settle down and sort out their pecking order just in time for them to start leaving home!

purpleroses Tue 18-Dec-12 15:05:33

Not much use blaming his mother I don't think. His behaviour in your house is for you and your DH to sort out really.

No, I don't mean that you should always separate them and never let them together, but some times apart might help when they need a bit of space. Your DSS may need some one to one time with his dad, or other configurations, rather than always being in a family of 6.

My DD and DSS (both 9) didn't always get on well when we first moved in - quite a lot of sneaky prodding/shoving/etc of DD when noone was looking (resulting in many tears), as well as DD winding DSS up and then him lashing out to shut her up... they mostly play separately now - DD with DSD and DSS with DS, and if we go out, we make sure we don't put them next to each other in the car. The times when they are both together there seems a lot less tension between them now. My DD was also quite jelous of me being at all mummy-ish with DSS - I've tried to back off being at all tactile or anything with him when she's around, but also had quite a direct discussion with her about it, reassuring her that I was still her mum and she was very special to me, and that also seemed to help her to get used to sharing me. Was sat on the couch next to DSS the other day, about to watch TV, and she came to join us and snuggled in next to DSS and not next to me! That would have been unheard of 6 months ago. So things can get better I think.

Fragglewump Tue 18-Dec-12 07:11:06

You are wise women - being so close to a problem has left me feeling so trapped and blinkered! Apparently dss has been telling his mum for months he doesn't want to come here which would be awful for dh and indeed the other dcs. At the moment me the bitch woman would secretly be pleased as the ripples caused are poisonous and exhausting. We know that now we are aware the bullying is continuing then sanctions will be applied here and so temporarily at least dss will have a rougher ride if he is mean which of course will only make him more determined up avoid us. Which seems like a thankless and hopeless position. I am still v cross and feel angry with his mum for not acting on his lying behaviour! Dh is very good and determined to protect ds from any more hurt and to ensure dss knows the boundaries. Is separating them and doing seperate activities our only weekend option??? That seems sad when we're a family of 6!

ElenorRigby Mon 17-Dec-12 22:28:17

Fraggle it's perfectly natural to be angry, I'd be ffing furious if DSD called DD similar to how your DSS has to your son.

I think purple is right at 12 your DSS should have sanctions you can use in event of continued similar behaviour. Yes you need to help him with some of his issues but at the same time he should know you will not tolerate him bullying your DS.

Is there a chance if you do put your foot down he would vote with his feet? Would your DH be afraid of this?

purpleroses Mon 17-Dec-12 18:30:07

I have the same gap between my DS (nearly 13 ) and DSS (just turned 10) - they share a room. Fortunately they mostly get on pretty well, but I think it is a slightly tricky age gap. Their relationship is quite one-sided as my DSS, looks up to my DS and is always asking after him, wants to show him things, etc - whereas my DS finds DSS rather annoying a lot of the time. He's just getting to that age when he wants to be around his own peers and doesn't have a lot of time for 9/10 year olds.

We also have a lot of kids when they're all here (6 altogether) - but the good thing about a group of this size is that there is reasonable opportunities to separate the ones who aren't getting along well. Can you do something with just your DS and one of the girls? Or just DSS and one of the girls? Is it worth thinking what are the trigger points for DSS getting cross - are they trying to do something together, or is DS just the punchbag simply because he's there? My DSC, like yours, have to deal with my DCs living with their dad, when they're not there. If they mention this, I usually point out that their dad works long hours in the week, so doesn't actually spend a lot of time with them - ie try to reduce the scope for jelousy on that count.

But really by 12 your DSS ought to be old enough to learn that there are certain ways that it is not acceptable to treat people. I disagree that there aren't any sanctions you can use if you only have him 4 nights a fortnight. Who gives him pocket money? Could your DP arrange with his ex that he will give some direct to his DS (and thereby allowing him to withhold it for bad behaviour)? Or what about time on computers or watching TV - both of those could be withdrawn. It's best with punishments if they are used at the time of bad behaviour, rather than later, so good if you can think of things that work at your house, rather than asking his mum to impose them later. Just time out in his room (with computer mouse, ipod, etc removed) to reflect on bad behaviour might be a start.

Fragglewump Mon 17-Dec-12 17:33:36

Thanks for just listening it has been a roller coaster and yesterday I was so angry about it I scared myself. Dss says he is jealous of ds due to fact that he is so nice and never gets angry (even when used as an emotional punchbag it seems) and also that ds lives with HIS dad! Which is understandable but we can't undo the past can we!!!

ElenorRigby Mon 17-Dec-12 16:35:11

Oops sorry if you misunderstood me. What I meant was that from DSS's view point he misbehaved and shortly after he got his own room. However seeing that all the children got their own rooms that's probably not the case.

DSD10 has misbehaved towards DD5 but not as bad as your DSS misbehaviour.
One day she broke down bawling saying she didnt know why she did it but she hated herself for doing it. On a separate occasion she said she was jealous of DD sometimes.

Could he be jealous of your DS spending lots of time with his dad?
How did be behave to your DS when you first got together? Being 2 years older than your DS he may have been jealous from early on.

Its is important to try and find out what is going on your DSS and from there try to sort it. If that doesnt work, Id say you have to protect your DS.

Fragglewump Mon 17-Dec-12 12:17:25

Sorry to be clear dss didn't get his own room for bad behaviour!!! We have extended the house so that instead of the girls sharing and the boys sharing each child has their own space. Have taken steps today to get help for both boys ie bully and bullied as during chat with ds he said it had made him feel bad inside (so sad!). Dss doesn't know why he does it apart from he loses his temper. He says he's not being bullied himself and everything is okay at school. Just feel very sad and frustrated and impotent! Having 4 kids is tricky enough but this is hard for everyone.

ElenorRigby Mon 17-Dec-12 12:06:30

Hmm as you are working together, which is great, (hell would freeze over before DSD's mother was helpful) I think all you can do is try to find out what is going on in your DSS's head (jealousy, wanting to split you up etc etc) and damage limitation/ protection for your son.

DSS's getting his own room for bad behaviour may have made things a little worse?

You need to protect your son, maybe arrange for activities out of the home when DSS is there.
Very difficult situation!
How does your son feel about whats gone on?

Fragglewump Mon 17-Dec-12 11:54:31

His mum imposed sanctions last time - removed Xbox etc. But the latest revelations only came to light yesterday. He lies all the time and denies everything which is infuriating as the other three children all see and hear his actions. Had another family meeting involving his mum yesterday. She said he lies at home all the time too even over basic things like 'have you made your bed'. My dh and I have similar views and he is very clear with dss about what is and isn't appropriate but we feel powerless as when he's only here 4 days a month we can't ground him or stop clubs or other privileges. 😞

ElenorRigby Mon 17-Dec-12 11:44:14

What consequences has your DSS had for his bad behaviour? How does his dad discipline him?

Fragglewump Mon 17-Dec-12 11:37:23

Both dh and I have 2 dcs with our exes. Been together 7 years married for 4 and now we are struggling! Dss age 12 has always been grumpy/difficult but can also be very funny and charismatic. A while ago he was really bullying my ds by name calling And using quite sophisticated techniques to hurt ds I.e. asking him what he cared about (books) and threatening to burn them all. We had to get his mum over to talk through it so that he could see how unacceptable this was. Very painful for everyone involved. At the time boys were sharing a bedroom and dss wanted his own space. We have now changed out house to give him his own room even though he is only here every other weekend. It has now come to light he is doing it again calling ds a spazz, retard, stupid, and an f***ing c***. I want to help him as he's clearly struggling but need to protect ds who has been hurt by an extended period of bullying. It is so hard when we can't impose sanctions as he's not here my much. Help please.

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