Finding my stepson hard to like

(7 Posts)
FigureOfSpooch Thu 11-Jun-20 10:27:13

I've posted on AIBU but didn't get a response, this probably the best space for this anyway!

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.

He is 7.

OP’s posts: |
sassbott Thu 11-Jun-20 12:25:07

I think you know what the problem is, as you’ve said it. You have a DH problem.

7/ 8 is a notoriously tricky age for boys. It’s when (for my three anyway) they navigated from being a little boy to a bigger boy and were finding their feet. Physical engagement is a part of this (again in my experience, I saw an increase in general playfighting)

That being said, the incidents you have cited (being called into school and called to a friends house for hurting a friend) are huge red flags. They are pre lockdown (so the behaviour was before all of the current conditions). They are not funny, or cheeky, or ‘boys being boys’ (if that line is being used).

One of mine once got into an incident in school. It was sports related but both my exh and I worked very closely with the school to address the behaviour and we saw no repeat in it.

What I’m saying is children can try and push boundaries at this age. But it requires firm parenting and boundaries to state ‘xyz is not acceptable’, to ensure the behaviour stops. I would find this behaviour unacceptable (and irritating) in my own children, so in my view this is isn’t about whether this is your child or not. A child is acting violently and the parents are treating it as some sort of joke.

It may be funny now with a little 7 year old, it becomes less funny when they’re teenagers who haven’t been taught how to regulate their emotions, and lash out when they feel like it.

How old are the other siblings and what do they think about being hit/ scratched and the dad laughing it off?

Ladyconstance Sun 21-Jun-20 13:33:56

I feel your pain! Very similar situation with my stepson. I’m not sure who I’m more annoyed with:him or my partner for not raising him with decent minimum standards of behaviour Made worse by partner’s poor wife dying of cancer 😞 before I met him and his kids so everyone connected to this child lets his behaviour go. He’s untouchable. Uses his mum’s death for his own advantage, turns on the tears, gets 11 hours of screen time during weekends, is dishonest and ignores authority. This poor boy can’t regulate his feelings at all, or understand that the world doesn’t revolve around him. It’s cringe worthy to watch. I’m also concerned for his future. I’ve tried expressing this gently, and also very directly, to his dad and to him. It just causes massive rows and I am bad cop all the flipping time. Ultimately, I accept this is not my child and I can’t change how he was raised. I can’t force his dad to raise him differently. It is sad but not my problem to fix. Screw it. I am friendly and polite to the boy but do nothing out of my way for him. If Dad tackled this behaviour and wanted my support, it would be a completely team effort. But he doesn’t. Accept what you can’t control, keep biting your tongue and maybe one day it will get better.

Tamara125 Tue 23-Jun-20 22:50:01

Really feel for you! Do you have any children of your own? I have 3 SS 5,7,15. Since lockdown Ive noticed a change in the 7 yo behaviour, and he's becoming rude and feisty- yesterday called me a fat pig infront of sanction or punishment. I disengaged from him straight away, and when they went home I said to my SO that if he thinks it's OK to be like that and answer back to me all the time, I will go out whilst they are here and stop having them when he's at work. Didn't take the news well at all, but is there anything worse than having to put up with it!!

When he goes back to school, will it change? As sometimes wit what's going on it's a lot for them to take on and maybe he is venting his frustrations.

Sounds super silly, but I actually have a rule when I'm watching the boys that there is no touching each other - no pulling clothes no fake 'I'm just giving him a cuddle' or I was sitting there first business ... That way they fight less and aren't getting in each other's way. My SO critics me when I do implement rules like this, but if it makes them more bearable to be around, then that's what I have to do to keep sane.

Cherryrainbow Mon 29-Jun-20 15:30:14

Sometimes the parents need to hear it from the school, I understand it may be a while before he's back depending on decision to return with lockdown stuff going on. A lot of schools will take it seriously to the point that suspension/expulsion is real risk. And certainly at 7 the expectations would be not to display the behaviour you have described.
What I would suggest gently to the OH is that another child or parent won't see a 'cheeky chappy'. There's always going to be that person out there who is going to respond by hitting back harder; whether they find that person or not could be a matter of time. What would he do if confronted by a rather angry parent? Or what would he do if someone did to his son what they he does to others? Would he laugh it off as oh what a cheeky boy or would he annoyed?

MeridianB Mon 29-Jun-20 18:46:58

The violence is REALLY worrying. It sounds regular, too. The damage your DH is doing by not dealing with it is bigger than he realises because those siblings will feel really let down. Are any of them your children?

You have a DH problem. Sit him down and talk to him seriously.

@Tamara125 good for you! I hope you don’t relent until your DP addresses this. Don’t give in!

3isntacrowd Wed 01-Jul-20 13:27:25

I've had similar issues but luckily my DH was on the same page as me, SS mum is not.
We have 2 other children in our house 9 and 13.
We've been banned from seeing him and also SS doesn't want to see us.
He has no rules in his house, he's 10 and has no bedtime, rarely goes to school because he feels sick (I think it's more being tired)
Doesn't have proper meals (pot noodles, finger foods) can smash things in the house, throw tantrums and cry and demand money for fortnite.
In our house we allow non of that. We aren't strict but have basic rules for example, bedtimes (age appropriate), not allowed to be on devices all of the time (definite no whilst eating) proper meals,we don't force feed or give things we know they don't like but ask them to try things and 9/10 they realise they like it and if they're too full to eat their meal there is no pudding.
We have had minimal contact for 18m now and it's mainly asking for more money or giving us abuse.
I don't have any involvement in it anymore as it made me physically ill and I was on diazepam for the first time in my life and I will never let myself get like that again.
I think you're doing the right thing by saying you will go out and you won't have them alone. If your Partner doesn't want your input then don't be his babysitter or you'll make yourself poorly - good luck

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