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To ask for your advice. Struggling with DHs son(26 Posts)
I appreciate this situation may be heightened due to lockdown but DHs son has always been this way and I'm starting to find myself getting really irritated.
He can be such a lovely boy and I don't dislike him generally, we have a good relationship. But he can be so annoying (want for a better word?) In terms of his behaviour sometimes. He is rude, cheeky, never does as he's told, he can also be violent toward his siblings when they fall out, not just a usual sibling scrap but things like smacking them with hard objects, pinching and scratching their faces etc... He is very much what one would describe as the class clown I guess? Likes to show off and do the opposite of what he's asked for attention.
My grievance is with DH. Because he really doesn't do much about it. He thinks he is hilarious and just a 'character' but I am growing more and more concerned and if I'm honest, aggravated by the situation. DH and his ex had started to be called into school (before lockdown) due to some fighting and other issues, they were called to pick him up from his friend's house just before lockdown too because he'd hurt his friend in an argument.
I just find him so difficult to be around a lot of the time, and I can feel myself getting irritated by the way he behaves when he's here. DH thinks he's just funny, and a bit of a cheeky chappy, I feel like it's very annoying (perhaps because he's not my child and I'm able to look at it from a distance? I don't know). I don't want to feel like that but when I also don't really have a huge amount of sway over his life/discipline it is getting harder and harder to 'like' him.
I KNOW this is a parent issue, I understand that they need to be doing more. They baby him a lot though and just seem to not want to accept it. To them he is just a funny character, a bit cheeky.
It's not just me either, my mum has commented before that she believes there may be some issues there, not in any way trying to be offensive, but she mentioned it to me out of concern, but I feel like I can't say that to DH for fear of insulting him/his child.
Sorry it's probably important to mention age, he is 7.
Bumping. I don't have any suggestions other than your DH stepping up to parent, but it sounds tough.
Are his siblings the DC of your DH and ex or yours and DH's? Just wondering what they're like and why DH may be different with his son? If they're full siblings, why wouldn't it bother your DH that one son is hurting another son/daughter? Why is he on the son's side and cutting him slack?
They are full siblings.
To explain properly, DH will tell him off. He doesn't just laugh off the times he is violent, he does tell him to go to his room and he does shout but it's not enough imo. It's sort of a 'get to your room' and then 10 minutes later it's a hug, maybe a bit of a chat about how we shouldn't hit and then its forgotten and that's it.
Which I think is fine if it's not a regular occurrence but it's quite clear to me that he has some sort of anger issues and that a quick telling off and then a hug and a chat to make up isn't going to sort.
Hmm, sounds like you're right. TBH, your DH's response is the same as I would do with mine, so I can't say that he's being unreasonable as it's enough of a punishment in most cases. But apparently it's not working with the son you describe and there could be deeper issues as it's causing problems outside the home too and he may need more sustained help with managing his feelings so he doesn't lash out. Very hard for you to intervene though if the DH is touchy about it.
Thanks. Yes I do feel it's hard for me to intervene. I'm just sad because it is affecting the way I see DSS and I don't want it to but it is very hard to like someone who displays this sort of behaviour whilst nothing is being done about it.
What age is the other sibling? Could you say to your DH (not in the presence of either child) that the other sibling is getting really affected by it but is just hiding their feelings because they know the punishment is only 10 mins and they don’t want the brother getting more annoyed on the return?
I think far too many parents of boys laugh off violent behaviour and then wonder why their DSs continue to behave badly and get into trouble at school.
I honestly think you have to say something. What if the siblings were really hurt? How would you feel then? Also approach it from a school point of view. This behaviour could be very difficult for him at school so it needs a different attitude to discipline and an acceptance that it’s very serious.
Ideally, there's a way to couch it as wanting help for DSS rather than it being about inadequate punishment or anybody being in the wrong. So it moves on from any implied criticism or past incidents and becomes about preventing it happening in future which surely everyone wants. Again of course it's him who should be reading up on better ways to manage his son's behaviour to find out what methods and support might help, but if he won't, then maybe you have look into it so you can at least make some constructive suggestions... very cautiously!
He does sound as if he needs help. He will soon, if not already, be known as a difficult child at school and treated as such. Other parents will want their DC to avoid him, he won’t be included in invitations etc.
So it’s entirely for his own benefit to help him to control his anger. Really difficult if his own father can’t see that. I would persist with expressing this and emphasising that it’s because you love the child, not dislike him, that you are persisting.
I hope you get through to your DH.
What did the parents say about the school calling them in and him being sent home from a friend? Were concerned or did they blame school/friend's parents?
It's harder under lockdown as there's no school/friend's parents highlighting the problem so easier for them to brush it off
If they have been called into school already I imagine he is already being labelled as “a bit of trouble”. Class clowns don’t generally hit their peers with hard objects.
What did your DH and his ex do after they’d been to school? Did they speak to your DSS or ignore it? Are they being consistent at home with what school have advised?
I also think too many parents of boys laugh off violence as boys will be boys. Whatever the reason for it it needs to be addressed now - the older his is the less willing people will be to intervene supportively and it won’t be long before he could get himself in real trouble. Once he’s up to high school he could potentially be arrested if he decides to hit one of his classmates with a hard object.
Yes as pp said, I hope you can through to your DH. This is not hilarious, it may well, if not nipped in the bud, turn into something serious. At best, also as pp said, he won't have any friends. At worst who knows. It's possible in time your DH and the boys mother will get fed up with continually having to sort out school problems, but the sooner all the adults start changing things the better. Well done to you OP, because you recognise it and want to do something, but need their back up. Must be very frustrating.
Thank you. I know you are all right and I need to have a conversation with DH about it. I just feel like I'm insulting his child and he will take what I'm saying wrong.
He is difficult though, I don't think they are completely unaware of it, they just don't seem to want to do anything about it and don't want to accept that he can be naughty. I know DHs ex can be quite aware of it, she has been in tears to him before a couple of times due to his behaviour but it gets forgotten within a day by both of them.
I'm very reluctant to bring up him having an 'issue'. I really really don't want to come across as being offensive but I do think there is something going on in terms of anger which needs addressing, along with the other aspects of his behaviour. As I've said he can be very rude sometimes as well, to adults as well not just other children.
The child has probably been affected by disruption in family life at some stage plus new siblings. Sorry you may have said up thread (I know you said your children are his dad's) but has his mother got others, either with the same father or someone else? Although not intended he may have felt pushed out, hence his behaviour. Maybe attention seeking, and it's the only way he knows how.
Sorry I haven't been clear.
I do not have children with DH or anyone else. All of the children involved are DHs and his exes, they are full siblings with the same parents.
This boy is getting ten minutes in his room after the other children are scratched and having hard objects thrown at them. How would your DH feel if he was physically abused in his home on a regular basis.
That’s the problem OP, the other DC are being hurt and they are not being protected. They will blame their parents for not stepping up and protecting them in later years.
I'd do a house rules chart and what the consequences are if you break them for all the kids. Eg I have a no hitting, nipping, wrestling rule. If broken its 10mins in bedroom (mine are between 7 and 11). Rinse and repeat. Again swearing or cheek gets one warning then up to their room.
Ten minutes in his room isn’t working for this child, I would be furious and my DC would have known it. I can’t think of anything worse than having DC being violent to each other.
This child should be in his room for at least a half hour with nothing to do but think about what he has done. He would be expected to apologise to his siblings and he would have no television, iPads, phones and so on for 24 hours.
Violence is never acceptable and the parent needs to show he is very cross at this type of behaviour. Nip it in the bud right now.
Your DH can still be a loving parent, but one who doesn’t tolerate violence and protects all his DC.
I’d approach it as “this punishment isn’t working, do you want me to help you look at alternative ways of dealing with DSS lashing out?”.
I teach older kids, but often when they lash out it’s because they haven’t been taught safe and sensible ways of dealing with anger.
I too think 10 minutes in his room might not even feel like a punishment. It’s not stopping his behaviour so it’s ineffectual. Parents let DC have toys in their bedrooms so it’s just play in another area of the house.
Obviously the current situation doesn’t help but perhaps spending more time outside to tire him out and making sure he’s as engaged with activities as possible.
DC don’t always play nicely but there needs to be greater consequence for rudeness and violent behaviour. I’d control what he likes. Remove what he likes. I’d not put him in his room to play. I think DH should ask for advice from the school as well. They have an interest in him behaving more appropriately and the SEND Co-ordinator might be able to help with rewards and punishments and how his parents can help improve the situation. His dad might reject all of this, but if he lives you, he should listen.
I doubt his mum is pushing it aside if she’s cried over him. You tend to keep a brave face and keep going but I suspect she is I tried but not showing it to you. I think that’s understandable. Would she accept a friendly word from you, or is that a step too far? I think you might need to know how to protect her children when they are with you, but this might not be acceptable to her or your DH. It would really worry me though.
I thought you were going to say he was 14 and my reply would have been to tell DH that he's lucky his friends parents/school didn't call the police. That's where this behaviour has the potential to go.
As it it he's 7. He might be naughty sometimes; he's a child and that's ok. The important thing is how the adults around him respond to teach him appropriate behaviour and how to handle difficult emotions. You could approach it as the current consequences aren't successful in that teaching so he/you/they both need to try a different approach.
There are lots of good anger management resources that his school can likely provide with guidance on how to use them. They'd probably be thrilled to be asked for them if they've had to call parents regarding this behaviour already.
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