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DSC's behaviour(14 Posts)
This could get long so I apologise in advance..
I have been with DH for 6 years, he has 3 children from a previous relationship the youngest of which is 8 years old, and we also have a DS together who is not quite 6 months. They come and stay with us around 2 to 3 nights a week and always have done.
The eldest 2 of the SC have been challenging in their behaviour over the years, mostly rudeness and playing their parents off against each other and we have dealt with it and moved on. In general we all get on well and the older 2 are very good with their baby brother.
The youngest however has become increasingly difficult to the point I've even considered staying at my mums when they visit. At best he's rude and doesn't listen to a word he's told or do anything he's asked to do, and answers back every time anyone speaks to him. I appreciate this is fairly standard behaviour for an 8 year old. At his worst however he has complete meltdowns where he will scream the place down, slam doors, stamp his feet and run around the house and up and down stairs deliberately stomping his feet and banging on the walls as he goes. He knows full well what time the baby goes to bed and generally does it when he knows baby will be asleep. My DH can't even shower him without him screaming and kicking off, and he can't leave him alone without him picking a fight with one of the elder 2 who do a fairly good job of ignoring him most of the time but will occasionally engage in a scrap or bicker with him. DH has attempted to deal with the behaviour but without much luck. He attempted to discuss it with his ex who basically admitted he's like it at home and he's much better with an iPad suggesting we should just buy him an iPad..
The other issue is how he behaves towards the baby- at best he is very rough. I don't know many 5 month olds that would appreciate having their toys thrown directly at them. After an occasion where DSS deliberately crashed a tower of blocks on top of my DS which he found hilarious despite how much it upset DS, I haven't really allowed much play between them for DS's own safety as DSS just seems intent on hurting him.
He also deliberately torments my dog- taking food/chews/toys off him and then crying that he's been bitten. The dog has never bitten him and is incredibly tolerant of him.
I am now at a point where I can't leave my dog or my son alone with him or even anywhere near him, and obviously I don't leave the baby and the dog together either which as you can probably imagine is quite tricky with 4 kids in an average sized house. I can't put my baby to bed in the evenings until DSS goes to sleep because he just wakes him up, and then in the mornings DSS will deliberately wake everyone up by 5.30 anyway (his latest is banging on the side of the bath with the toilet brush)
His behaviour has always been challenging before the baby came along so I don't believe it's because of the baby. My DH spends most of their contact time alone with them or with all the children so they have his full attention a lot of the time but also get to spend plenty of time with their baby brother. I am basically at a loss as to what to do. I have always left the parenting to my DH to do so I don't get involved in the disciplining and the only time I say anything to him about his behaviour is if my DH isn't present to deal with it himself, and I've got to the point where I don't even bother unless he's hurting my baby or my dog because it's just not worth it. DSS ignores me when I speak and laughs when he's told off. I'm worried the situation is just going to get worse as my DS gets older and I don't want to stop a relationship between my DS and my SC but at the moment it just isn't fair on my DS. I've always suspected my DSS would benefit from being assessed for additional needs and my DH was in agreement but his ex didn't like the idea of it and refuses to discuss it.
Your DH doesn't need his ex's consent to get his son evaluated. He can bring him to the GP and explain his concerns. If he has PR then it's his right to do so. Even if mum doesn't engage you might get some support and some ideas on how to manage what sounds like a truly unhappy 8 year old.
It would be a shame for your other two DSC to miss time with their baby DB but for now, while DH can’t manage his behaviour, I’d remove myself and baby, and dog if possible, when they’re over. Your DS isn’t safe and your responsibility is to him, he’s tiny and vulnerable.
What consequences is DH using for the tantrums, noise, waking the baby and hurting the baby? It sounds like he’s given up and that’s not helping anyone. How is DSS at school, do they have concerns about his behaviour? Clearly leaving him to be patented by a screen isn’t the answer and if the two homes can’t be consistent it’ll be hard to institute change. My priority would be keeping my baby safe and you need a frank conversation with your husband about that. All kids can play up and being jealous of a new baby is common but throwing stuff at him is downright dangerous and needs to be dealt with.
The school suggested he was assessed by the SENCO due to the fact he was soiling himself at school, and it was then recommended that he was assessed by someone else with play therapy I believe it was called. His mother didn't like the idea as DSS made comments that didn't show her in a very good light. I don't know if it's still ongoing or not.
DH has attempted to discipline him in the same way he would the older 2, like removing devices etc but the second he goes back to his mothers he knows he will get them back. It's the same for things like hobbies or activities, even if DH says he can't go his mother will always let him and DSS knows this. DH has attempted to send him to his bedroom etc and this is normally when the meltdowns start. The other issue we have is that the earlier he is sent to bed the earlier he will wake up the whole household. We've had wake ups at 4am...
Other than that neither me or DH have any idea how to deal with the behaviour, as he just laughs when he's told off. DH has attempted to discuss it calmly with him and he just ignores him or says very little about it.
I think you can contact social services for help. It seems something is definitely going on with his mum (comments) and with the soiling and struggle to get her to agree to treatment they might be able to support you.
I have no advice, OP, just a lot of sympathy. Sounds like you’re doing all a step-parent can do. It sounds really tough
Your DH (if he has PR) can consent to the assessment. I wonder whether the school would open a TAF.
If he has worse issues with his dm maybe he is jealous your baby has a relationship with you and he doesn't? Could you designate him a job that refers to the dog and one for the baby? Maybe help feed dog and pour the bubble bath for the baby? If he wasn't only dh's ds you would be interacting with him - he is your ds's sibling and you not just dh needs to be showing him he is included. Try now or the years ahead will be hell...
Agreed he has been a terror but please don't write him off just yet.
@Beachbodynowayready I probably didn't put it very well in my original post, he is very much included in looking after both the baby and the dog and always has been. I spend plenty of time with him and with them all as a family but have always been mindful of allowing them to spend time with just their dad so I do often do my own thing when they stay. I have tried to include him in things like helping bath the baby where it's just me and him, or tried to show him ways to play nicely with the dog and unless he's upsetting someone he isn't really interested unfortunately. He just wanted to splash the baby in the face which he's not really old enough to appreciate, and he only ever wants to take stuff off the dog to try and upset him. I didn't mean to sound like I've written him off because I really haven't
I would be tempted to just stay at my mums when they visited until your DH gets his behaviour under control.
I wouldn’t want to leave my baby/dog at risk.
Alternatively I might get him an iPad. Not the best parenting, but if it kept the baby/dog safe then I’d try it.
He sounds very similar to my 6 year old who has autism and adhd.
I would talk to your DH, he can push ahead for referral to the paediatrican, consent to Senco involvement etc.
He can refer the matter to social services as medical neglect if his mum is not meeting his needs by denying there are issues.
He doesn't need a diagnosis if mum and dad don't want one. But he does need support, the parents need help, and don't keep mainstream parenting him. It won't work. Trust me.
@ThisMustBeMyDream this is my exact worry that he's being told off all the time and punished for something he might not actually have that much control over. I haven't been brave enough to mention ASD to DH but I've suspected it for a while. I don't know loads about it and would never pretend to be an expert on it but a lot of the little things he does seem to suggest there's something that needs addressing. For example he's funny about textures and the way things feel on his skin, the reason he screams in the shower is because he doesn't like water on his face etc. He's got issues with certain textures of food and still doesn't eat proper meals at 8 years old. He also runs around banging his hands on his own head which I find really concerning. I also think he looks totally vacant a lot of the time as if (without sounding nasty) he's on another planet, you talk to him and it's like he's not even there even though he could be looking right at you. And then there's the bed wetting and wetting himself at school. All of this has been discussed with his mother who doesn't think there's anything wrong with him and blames DH's parenting. I don't even think his ex is honest with DH about what the school have said because she has most of the involvement in pick ups etc and doesn't tell DH about any of it. She was very cagey when she mentioned the play therapy the school wanted to do, and was still adamant the school aren't concerned for him either.
DH needs to pull his socks up, and get his son some help. It makes me so sad to think of a child being so misunderstood because their parents refused to acknowledge that they had additional needs.
I'd say his first step would be to arrange a meeting with the school senco, and take a list of your concerns. See if they share any concerns. Then go from there. If they try and refuse and state they need mums permission or whatever - they don't. Take the BC and ID that proves he has parental responsibility. He is on an equal footing to mum and they can not refuse to engage in your DH accessing medical care for his child.
Is your OH on the 8 yo birth certificate? If so he needs to engage with the school and have the information coming to him too.
The child's behaviour needs addressing and his needs assessed.
I don't understand why parents ignore advice regarding their child's welfare.
Can I play devil's advocate here and maybe your DSS is just a bit of a brat. It seems every child that is misbehaving is classed as having some form of special needs. I'm not saying he might not have issues but it could also be a complete lack of structure.
I would very much be strict with him and explain any poor behaviour won't be tolerated in your house. When he goes home to his Mum unfortunately you can't control how she parents him.
One thing that bothers me immensely is when my DP makes a threat of punishment to his DC (such as you're not allowed your phone for the rest of the day if you continue misbehaving) then doesn't follow through. The children know it's false threats.
Definitely try your hardest to keep your dog and DS away him DSS. And any misbehaving needs to be punished. Have a naughty step or go to the bedroom without any entertainment for a time out needs to be installed.