I'm leaving them.(18 Posts)
Name-changed, but some of you will know my backstory.
Two weeks ago, my DSS deliberately set our kitchen table on fire while we were out of the house. This past weekend, he pushed me up against a doorframe and injured my back (not seriously, but a painful abrasion), while screaming at me that he wished I was dead etc etc, in front of my two-year-old.
This is only two in an escalating series of incidents (other things broken and smahed, lots of disrespect to STBex and myself, horrible attitude)
The consequences my H and I had agreed upon were:
4 weeks without phone or laptop
x-box taken away for foreseeable future
he missed watching two football matches on the telly that he wanted to see
he pays for the table (which belongs actually to our landlords and MUST be replaced)
I also told him that I wasn't comfortable with him being in the house unsupervised, or going out with his friends unsupervised, until he'd owned up to the seriousness of what he'd done and accepted responsibility for it (his position is that he was driven to it and also that he is very depressed; there has been no apology and no attempt to put things right, only sulking about being punished).
Obviously, he needs counseling and help. I have been telling my STBex this for almost five years. Now he may actually get it (DH got him on a waiting list a few days ago). But he has also been allowed to do things without any consequences whatsoever for most of his life and has very little by way of rules and boundaries. STBex and I had agreed that we were going to treat both aspects - his emotional health, and his behaviour.
But STBex saw a parenting counselor today who told him that the punishment we have set is too excessive. So now STBex doesn't think we should handle it this way.
I am leaving. I want to go tonight, but I can't manage it alone.
Should have said -
He is 15 and 6' tall.
His mother is not in the picture.
I'm not sure I know who you are but this sounds appalling. Pleased to hear counselling is being arranged at long last but TBH I'd be frightened to remain in my home with someone like that - whether they were my own child or not. Plus you also have a much younger child to protect.
The punishment seems fair and reasonable to me. I've imposed similar on my own teenager in the past for much lesser transgressions. It makes him take responsibility for what he's done - paying for table, and also gives consequences which are unpleasant (but hardly draconian) as punishment for behaving dreadfully. I can't think why this parenting counsellor would have thought this excessive and would like to know what they suggest otherwise. Or indeed what your STBex imagines is a fair response to it all.
You must feel very let down. It's clear the boy needs help but you also have the right to live a normal life and not feel scared and/or ruled by an unpredicatable and violent teenager. I hope you can get away soon ..... there must be a large part of you thinking that all this could quite probably have been nipped in the bud so to speak if only your STBex had tackled his son's issues years before. I always feel very sad when I read stories like this where families are torn apart and damaged because parents are reluctant to parent properly and things get completely out of hand. Very sorry for you.
It sounds as though you are in an impossible situation and understandably you want to protect yourself and your 3yo when you have been let down by your STBex.
Do you have somewhere you can go to tonight? Do you feel safe enough to stay until tomorrow morning (just thinking that your 3yo might find it a bit frightening to be woken and taken away)?
Sending you a big hug, this is a terrible situation to be in.
You need to protect yourself and your little one first and foremost.
I can't offer anymore advice than has been posted, but, if I were in your shoes, I would be leaving as well.
My STBex says "he didn't assault you because he's a psychopath. He assaulted you because he is unhappy."
So, that's ok then.
I guess the counselor's position is that because stepson is unhappy, he is behaving badly, and that taking away his phone etc will only make him more unhappy.
To which I say, bollocks.
I have given my stepson back his phone, and told the older kids that DD and I are moving out.
Thanks for the kindness. I am ok here tonight physically, but I really don't know how I am going to handle the practicalities of the breakup, and I feel pretty decimated.
I'm so sorry OP, it sounds like a hideous situation.
Big hugs xxx
Oh OP, that sounds dreadful. I hope you are ok this morning.
I agree with catsmother entirely, definitely agree that DSS should be paying for the table - what he did was arson or at the very least criminal damage. If he did that at work or at school the consequences would be serious. I might have only used one of the other punishments though, perhaps not all of them. And what he did to you was an assault. I would have called the police potentially in your situation. If your DSS did what he did to you to someone in the pub for example, he could be arrested.
It is so sad, the result of a lack of boundaries and parenting for this young man. He sounds as though he is angry at life, and needs some help badly. But that doesn't mean that you should have to live with it. Yes, he may have assaulted you because he is unhappy - that needs to be addressed - but I don't get the counsellor's position. Isn't letting him get away with stuff because he is unhappy precisely what has led to this situation?
Look after yourself. xx
I actually think the "forseeable future" punishment is wrong. Simply because there is not much incentive to improve behaviour if there isn't a time limit on things. Kids need to see an end goal. Everything else seems fine to me especially the paying for the table.
However, the emotional abuse he is put you through is far far worse than the table incident (which in itself is pretty scary) and he certainly needs help and support from an outside agency. X box/phone withdrawal is not really going to have a lot of effect on such an emotionally distressed young person. There are much deeper issues going on here.
I think you are right to want to leave to protect yourself and your DC. If you were experiencing that sort of abuse from your partner everyone would tell you to leave. This is no different, you are being abused in your own home and you should not have to put up with it.
Either DP works with you to ensure that you are not subject to this abuse again or you leave. You need to see some action and not be fobbed off by your DP.
Jesus I took my 4 year old's comfort blanket off him for the first time overnight last week because of 2 incidents of bad behaviour in a week at school!
Obviously it's very different but absolutely I think a 'child' of 15 still needs to understand that with bad behaviour comes unpleasant consequences. That's not to say the consequences will improve the behaviour - that level of angst and aggression in a teenager of course needs professional input. How horrible for you, it must feel like you've got a ticking bomb in your home.
Anyway, your punishments seem very reasonable to me!
And yes, absolutely leave to protect yourself and your little girl. Getting advice from counsellors etc is great but if you're not comfortable with the advice then your DH should hear that. After all the counsellor hasn't met your DSS yet. You've been living with him for years.
I think you're right to leave. I wouldn't want my young child to be in a house with a volatile teenager who sets fire to things. i don't care how unhappy he is. You and your child need to feel safe.
Thanks, all of you.
I have spent last night and today trying to figure out what steps to take next; leaving is a hard choice not just emotionally but practically!
It helps to hear that I am not over-reacting to want out.
STBex wants so badly to minimize the seriousness of the behaviour. It makes it easier for him.
So what can we do to help you practically, welldone. Do you have friends or family you could stay with tonight?
So sorry to hear about this OP.
I don't think you have a choice tbh. If this was on the relationships thread and instead of your DSS, you were talking about a DH/DP, everyone would quite rightly tell you to protect yourself and your child and get out.
It's still DV and abuse even if its from a 15 year old and you can't live like that and there is no point minimising this behaviour, espcially when you are not even at the point of him understanding the seriousness of what he has done.
Women's Aid might be worth a call to get some practical help and advice.
Sorry to be slow in replying. I've been trying to catch up on work because on top of everything else, this has meant I am behind there, too.
I don't have family here, or the kind of close friends that I could turn to for help. I went out last night with a friend and told her some of it, and she has said that I could stay there, which was really a relief as she seemed to completely understand what I needed and why I was so upset. I haven't left. I don't want to leave and break up my DD's family. And I love my husband/STBex. But obviously I want her to have a safe and secure home life.
I will call Women's Aid, thanks. I think I also need to get some counseling - fast - to help me figure this all out, whether the situation can be fixed at all or if I have no choice but to end my marriage and/or move out with DD.
Have been talking to my husband. He doesn't want us to go, and we are now actually talking instead of arguing. He's back on board with our original plan of discipline, he says. That's a positive step. But I need to see how it pans out, and whether he lives up to it, and especially, that it isn't just lip-service. I think I also need to talk directly to my stepson tonight. I need to hear from him a promise that it will never happen again. Don't worry, I don't mean that that promise would make everything ok, or even that I could believe it, but I think it would be a start in getting him to acknowledge what he's done.
Hi OP, it sounds as if you have made some progress, which is good.
You really need your DH on side with this. I appreciate he must be really torn, but you can't have you family put at risk in this way. It is good you are now talking about it.
I think you need be very clear about your boundaries here.
I would start by making a list for you both to present to DSS and having clear consequences up front. You need to be a united team in discussing this with him.
I would also not shy away from telling him that if he threatens the safety of the household again in any way then the impact on the family will be extreamly serious.
I agree you need to talk this through with someone and again would suggest Womens Aid. At the very least they would be able to point you in the direction of appropriate support and counseling if they are not able to help you directly.
Best wishes xxx
What an awful situation for you - at least you are talking again.
I would say, re the punishment, that for me the timescales are the problem - 4 weeks and 'for the foreseeable future'. I'd imagine that a situation where he can 'earn' back these privileges would be more effective (and I don't mean financially, I mean in terms of his behaviour.) If he hasn't had any rules or boundaries (and I can only imagine how unbelievably frustrating that must have been) then you need to start really simply, making sure the punishment is effective and immediate, but that he can redeem himself. Otherwise you get into a battle of wills where he does worse and worse things to see what you'll do.
Have you discussed the new discipline plan with DSS?
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