Help! Manipulative teen stepson w/ bossy bio mum(10 Posts)
My SS spent the summer with his bio mum (we live in the USA, and as usual now that it's time for him to come back, she is starting arguments and fights with my s/o to try to get SS to stay with her. Except this time, she told us all the things he was teling her about living here. Meanwhile he's on the phone with his dad, telling him he can't wait to come home and his mum is trying to manipulate him into staying there. Yet he's told her that his dad has anger issues and he doesn't feel like he can talk to him, that I ignore him and his dad spends all his time with me and we leave him out and don't do anything with him, things of that sort. None of which is true, and none of which we have ever heard from the SS. He is a very manipulative child- having had a sister just like that, I tend to see it right away while his dad either chooses not to or is honestly blind to it. While he was here with us he would tell us how his mother was never home, she was always either working or out partying, and that he was forced to babysit his sister all the time and had no freedom, and also that her ex husband used to beat him with belts. Nevermind that her children have been taken from her more than once due to drugs and parole problems, which is how he ended up here with us in the first place.
My question is what should I do?! I told my husband that I felt SS is manipulating both him and bio mum to get what he wants. He didn't disagree with me. I think a big part of this has to do with his bio mum is more lenient than his father with things like grades and behaviour- bio mum is blaming us for his slipping grades, when I've watched my s/o do literally everything he can short of holding the kids hand and doing his work for him to try to help him. I am at my wits end with both SS and bio mum.
What exactly has he done wrong, sorry? Is the stuff about his mum not true? It sounds from your post that it is, and more.
And perhaps he does feel like that about his dad and you and simply confided in her, it doesn't mean he doesn't love his dad or is "manipulative". Nobody is perfect.
To be honest it sounds more like he's had an incredibly tough life if the stuff about his mum is true, and has been the victim of manipulation.
It also sounds like you are unfairly projecting your feelings about your sister onto your poor stepson
No, none of what he has said is true. I thought I made that clearer, but maybe not. When he is here, he likes spending time with both me alone and together with me and his dad. Or at least he says and acts like he does- he likes hockey so we take him to hockey games. Same with baseball. He goes to the rec center to play basketball with his friends, and when his friends aren't there and we aren't working, we go and play with him. He has had a tough life but his father and I are trying really hard to make it better - which is why I am asking for advice. I don't have kids of my own and I've only been in his lifte for a little less than four years.
Im not projecting my feeling towards my sister onto him, not only because I don't have any hard feelings towards her but because I am calling it like I see it. She'd tell a different story to each parent to cause tension and fights to get what she wanted. This looks exactly like what SS is doing. Wether on purpose or not, that's what I see.
You can't tell me it's not a kid playing one parent off against the other when he's telling his mother he feels like he can't confide in his dad, but telling his dad he can't confide in his mother.
Clarifying - none of what he said about his father is true. As for the stuff about his mother, I do know the drugs and parole problems are true as of the time he was conceived and the time he went into his father's custody. The time in between I have no idea, and as for her ex hitting him with belts, I don't know if that for a fact happened either as I didn't know her at thay time.
When you say he's manipulating everyone to 'get what he wants', what do you mean? What does he want?
It sounds like he's had a very difficult life.
How do you know that what his mother is saying is actually what SS has said? Or not exaggerated? She's clearly not an impartial reporter.
I don't know how old SS is but it's fairly typical as a teen to start to feel your parents don't understand you, are more distant etc etc. Perhaps she is latching on to fairly mild age-typical comments and exaggerating.
In terms of what you should do, I would follow his Dad's lead. What else can you do? You don't want to alienate either of them.
So what he's saying about his mum is true or at least not a definite lie?
It sounds like you have been great with him but it's a difficult age and he's had a difficult life so what he's saying may be either his perception, his desire to get attention from his mum or something she's exaggerated rather than simple "manipulation".
At any age during their teenage years kids are still (maybe even particularly) vulnerable. I can understand your frustration but please cut him (lots of) slack.
Consider especially that he too could be being manipulated by her.
He has had a difficult life. Which is why his dad and I are trying so hard to make it better. I don't know what he wants- he's already at the age of where he can legally choose which parent he wants to live with without needing legal intervention, so if that's what he wants all he has to do is say so. And he knows that, we discussed that with him before he left - made sure he knew his decision on where to live was his alone to make, and that whatever he chose he'd be supported (by us, at least.) so I really have no idea - I really only use the term "to get what he wants" because I'm assuming there's some kind of logic behind it... And I've watched him tell these same kinds of stories to get himself out of trouble. But I really don't know.
Yes, at least some parts of what he says about his mum is true. The rest is believable, given what I have heard from third parties about her, but I really don't know for certain. Based on that Id also believe that yes, she manipulates him.
He is 16, by the way. Didn't mention that earlier.
There's certain little things that his mother has said that makes me believe I came from my SS- she and I have never met, and the only mutual connections we have are my husband and SS and she has made snide little comments regarding me that she could really only know if someone was telling her, which makes me think he is at least telling her something. You are right though as far as believing everything she tells us he said- I don't know for sure. I'd never even considered that.
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