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Need help, really don't know what to do about mornings.

(16 Posts)
ThisWayForCrazy Tue 01-Oct-13 12:26:25

Sorry, this will be long as I'm just going to put everything down, whether its relevant or not.

My stepchildren have had an awful past 4 years. Their father was forced out of his home (he had met me, I am not the OW, his wife had already left him), their mother got a court order to get them back, however moved them to her parents and carried on with her life. Children were passed back and forth between relatives, staying no longer than 2 weeks in any one place, although this is all within one community and their school/friends remained a constant. It was inconsistent and they had no idea one day to the next where they would be and who with. Contact was denied for nearly a year, then contact was made difficult (us having to stay close by, going to collect them each morning, returning them at night for days in a row, everything we did was questioned in front of the boys). My relationship with the children has always been a positive one, I enjoy being with them and vice versa.

We have had continual contact now for 2 years, 5 weeks of the year split over 4 visits. This is due to distance. The two eldest children have over those 2 years expressed continued interest in living with us. To the point where we have to force them back in the car to return them. Very distressing for everyone involved. We have been in talks regarding stability for the children, we were/are able to offer a stable home, where they will have one parent living with them on a permanent basis and not passed from pillar to post. We had also stated that we would not continue with a residency order if their mother moved back to live with them and parent them on a permanent basis (with help from family obviously). In the final stages, just before this went to court their mother returned to live with them, although throws this in our faces over and over in front of the children (we do not engage in these instances as we will not discuss things in front of the children).

Within two months of her moving back she asked if we would take over parental care of the eldest child. They are the one who has taken the brunt of this awful fiasco. Mother often confiding in them, or taking things out on them. Really quite horrific. So following their visit in the summer one child remained and the younger two returned to their mother. This has all been working quite well, things seem to have calmed down and all three children seem to be happy with the current arrangement. Although it has been up and down, emotional and hard work.

And this is where I get to the current issue. He is a lazy so and so, would rather be on his ipod/watching tv/on his netbook (all things given to him prior to living with us) He previously had no limits on these things, which we have imposed. He can use his iPod as and when he wishes with two conditions - 1. He must have completed his homework. 2. He is only allowed to charge it once a day. His netbook it set up to allow him to access sites for homework and after a certain time it will turn off (or he would stay up til god knows when) His tv only works in conjunction with the netbook. Sundays there are no rules apart from the time the netbook turns off in the evening and his homework for the week has been completed. He is aware of these rules, continually tries to flout them (but that's being a tween for you), but agrees with the rules in principle.

His bedtime on school nights is 8:30 (he is 11) and he has a malt drink to help him get to sleep as this can be difficult. He is almost always asleep by 9:30. He has to get up at 7 as we leave the house at 8 and I have two other children to get up and ready too. One day last week and also for the past two mornings he has totally refused to get up and dressed. Resulting in my husband doing it for him. He plays the ragdol game collapsed on the floor etc while my husband is putting his socks/pants/school clothes on him. It is really frustrating and upsetting for everyone. We have tried talking to him (he totally switches off - this is not a new thing if something happens that he doesn't like and also did this with his mum) Once he has his clothes on and comes down for breakfast there is no issue.

Please, has anyone any ideas?? This can't happen every morning, getting him to school, others to childcare/nursery and work it is a huge problem.

Other info - My eldest child has ODD, I am used to dealing with teen defiance, but he would shout/scream whatever his problems was. I couldn't always fix it, but at least I knew what I was dealing with!

ThisWayForCrazy Tue 01-Oct-13 12:26:51

Oh shit, that's long. Sorry shock

purpleroses Tue 01-Oct-13 13:20:24

Does sound like he's had a tough few years, BUT his behaviour sounds quite normal to me! Moaning about screen time is par for the course for 11yo boys in my experience.

The morning thing sounds more of a problem - How does he get to school? Is it possible for you to take the younger ones and leave him to make his own way? My DD used to be dreadful in the mornings until her brother moved up to secondary. From that point onwards I no longer hassled her, but let her decide her own timing (as she was only making herself late, not him). She didn't like being late for school and soon got herself much better organised.

My DD's school did have one DC taken in in their pyjamas once - causing much amusement amongst the other parents as we must have all threatened to do that at some point in time. Would that work as a threat?

But you say he's 11 - does that mean he's just started secondary? If so, would it be worth talking to his tutor about it - with him with you ideally - as they may have some idea why he could be so resistant to go. It's a big change for them getting used to secondary school.

ThisWayForCrazy Tue 01-Oct-13 14:17:22

He has just started secondary. I know the screen time moaning is usual, but I stick up them as it's unhealthy otherwise.

ThisWayForCrazy Tue 01-Oct-13 14:20:30

Sorry - helpful 3 year old hmm

Unfortunately he has to be taken to school due to catchments in this area, it would be a 50 minute walk shock

Either I take him or my Dad does as he goes passed our house and the school a few mornings a week.

We have a settling in parents evening next Tuesday so will talk to his tutor then. X

Mojavewonderer Tue 01-Oct-13 14:50:57

I know how frustrating it must be for you but after everything that poor kid has gone through I would say his behaviour is better than I would have expected.
I don't have any advice I'm afraid but I do hope it gets better for you which I am guessing it will once things settle down and that will take time of course.

purpleroses Tue 01-Oct-13 15:23:23

Could he cycle or get a bus? If not just yet, then maybe something to work towards in terms of his independence.

Talking to his tutor at the parents evening sounds a good idea. It's hard getting boys of that age to tell you what's wrong - and 10 times harder when it's a DSC who you've not got that close relationship built up with that you might have with your own. I find talking about my own school days - subjects, teachers, getting detentions, friends, kids I didn't like, etc - is a good way to open up a discussion.

louby44 Tue 01-Oct-13 19:14:51

I have a 10 year old DS so completely sympathise with the laziness and obsession with ipod/ps3 etc. He turns his TV on sometimes at 2am as can't sleep???

Is there anything that would motivate him to get up e.g. a trip to MacDonalds, swimming or something at the weekend if he gets up every morning? I'm just thinking he needs to see a reward at the end and turn it into something positive.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 02-Oct-13 07:58:35

Either I take him or my Dad does as he goes passed our house and the school a few mornings a week.

I wonder if this is part of the issue? He's likely to be craving parental attention and care, which his mum avoided and delegated responsibility to others - and now, in his eyes, Dad is doing the same?
Can Dad take him to school - even temporarily until a routine is established?

Kaluki Wed 02-Oct-13 10:14:14

Regarding the Ipod / screen addiction he sounds exactly like my kids. The rules you have set seem very fair and reasonable.
As for the mornings, it sounds like attention seeking to me. He desperately wants his dads attention and he gets it when his dad is dressing him and fussing over him doesn't he?
My dc are a nightmare in the morning and I'm sure if they thought I would dress them they would let me!!!
I say call his bluff and put him in the car at 8 regardless. He will soon sort himself out when he realises you mean it. Could his dad spend more one to one time with him later on in the day and make a bit of a fuss of him if he can get himself ready on time in the mornings?
I sympathise. I'm really not a morning person and this would drive me mad.

TheWinterOne Wed 02-Oct-13 10:35:49

I agree with Kaluki, call his bluff. Also agree that it's an attention issue. The ipod thing is a normal teenage thing.

Does dad spend one-to-one time with him when he's home from school? Could they do something together after school and after homework so it doesn't feel like a constant chore to him? So it breaks it up as in he's done what's asked so before bed he can having some unwinding time? I get that's where the ipod comes in but instead could dad do something with him - even asking him to help with the dinner - just the two of them could help with one on one. ?

Mornings are madness in this house. DD has to have every strand of hair perfect before we leave and DSD (when here) takes a while to come round so we often have to wake up slightly earlier to give her time to come around otherwise she's like a tortoise getting ready - and that's just two of them without the rest that have to get ready.

fairy1303 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:03:11

I agree with China.

DSD has this - because of the issues with her mother and feelings of abandonment, we are very careful to ensure dad does lots of the care - he takes her to school couple of days a week and they have special DSD and dad time where she chooses the activity. If he can't do school run can they have some concentrated quality time each week?

ThisWayForCrazy Thu 17-Oct-13 12:14:17

Just thought I would update. We've had a few mornings where the threat of going to school in his pajamas has done the trick. This morning, however, he was still in his pjs outside the school, refusing to put his uniform on and refusing to go in to school. It was hubby who took him today and of course, ended up bringing him home, dressing him and taking him back. I won't be able to do this, I don't have time. Today I was able to take the others to nursery before work. I won't be able to fanny around. He's been warned that I will just drive off. But can I do that? Is it an acceptable humiliation? Do I view it as a natural consequence? This morning he just collapsed on the pavement wailing, in front of the other kids. hmm

I've suggested hubby speaks to the doctor, gets a referral to camhs. He's so mentally screwed up from everything. But I don't want to make things worse as his mother often threatened to "take him to a doctor who will send him away to naughty school" confused

We give him love, support, strength, patience. But I'm running out and so is hubby.

ThisWayForCrazy Thu 17-Oct-13 12:15:07

Oh and also, I've increased my work hours, husband has reduced his so he is able to be at home more in order to try and help.

Kaluki Fri 18-Oct-13 10:51:43

shock he actually wailed on the pavement in his pjs in front of the other kids???
That is disturbing imo.
I would definitely seek professional help for him.

ThisWayForCrazy Fri 18-Oct-13 20:45:40

I think it is too. I'm starting to think he needs some serious help. I will continue to encourage hubby to make an appointment. I feel it's overstepping the mark if I do.

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