Dealing with boyfriend's baggage
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March 15th, 2013, 03:09 PM
Learning to walk in faith
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Near the land of cream cheese
I'm not really sure what else you can offer if both he and the boy's mother refuse to believe the behavior is more than normal "rough housing". I have 3 stepsons ranging from 13 to nearly 4. Yes, they rough house. My oldest stepson, however, has also been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and mood disorder NOS and has struggled with violence and impulse control since he was tiny. It's *very* different than when the other two boys shove each other around or wrestle with each other. He's been on various combinations of medication since he was 5 years old, and the most recent one has helped the most (and he still has trouble with violent thoughts and threats).
I would assume it's easier for your bf to convince himself it's normal while his son is so young. It's easier to intervene when the violent person is 7 years old. I'm not suggesting his son has the same level of issues that my oldest dss does (because I'm not a professional and I've never met this child), but there is a large difference in what's normal rough play and what's indicative of something bigger. How would your bf respond to the idea of even an evaluation? If there is nothing unusual, then the evaluation will prove your bf right. If there is, it might help to hear it from a third (trained) party.
It wouldn't mean he's a bad parent, or that his son is a bad child. On the contrary, these things are usually bigger than any particular parenting choices and understanding them better simply helps everyone in the family know the best way to approach things.
Either way, in the meantime, you need to make decisions about what's safe for your son. We had to make some very painful choices last year regarding the way we spent time with my oldest dss because it became a real concern that someone could get hurt. We got a lot of resistance from his mother, and while she's traditionally been on board with his diagnoses and medical care she suddenly decided he wasn't actually dangerous (she has been pushed into walls and kicked in the stomach on more than once occasion, and he has drawn knives in her home on more than one occasion). She's responded by encouraging my stepson to believe that dh is just mean and punishing him and we just don't love him as much as the other kids. She also believes we just want to keep one child with her for more of the time because we want to control her (he's going to be 14 this year and she regularly leaves him home alone anyway). None of it is true. Not one word. What we've wanted all along was for her to put him back into therapy, but when she decides someone's intent is to wrong her or control her or she can find some way to be angry at my dh and I for ANYTHING, she will be.
And it's my dss who suffers, and the other children who are at risk because she would rather make a point against her ex than pay attention to the fact that what she's doing for my dss now isn't enough for him.
It's not a fun place to be in for anyone, but you need to ensure that your child is safe. Obviously, the best course of action would be for the boy to get an evaluation, get help if he needs it and his parents alter the way they parent him in order to best set him up for success in the future. While you can make suggestions, though, if his parents aren't on board there really isn't much you can do to push treatment for your bf's son. At best, he sounds angry and like he has poor examples for expressing that anger, and would really benefit from something that would give him better avenues to express it and process it.
You're going to need to ask yourself if you would feel safe in your home if you moved forward together and lived together. How about, if nothing changes, in a few more years, when your dss is bigger and physically intervening is more difficult? What about if you have to leave the boys home together? What if you have children of your own with this man? Would you feel comfortable with infants and toddlers in the house with him? I'm not trying to be overly dramatic, but they're questions we've needed to consider in my house. Maybe your answer is yes to all of these things.
Maybe he will simply grow out of it. I'm not there so I don't know. I just think they're important things to consider while you're deciding whether or not you can see a future with this person.
*Excitedly expecting baby girl number two!
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Last edited by Keakie; March 15th, 2013 at
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