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Advice needed...violent stepson...


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  #1  
September 9th, 2012, 08:51 AM
ElizabethS's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I used to post on the boards awhile back but have been so busy I haven't had a chance to really frequent the boards recently. I, do, however, have a serious issue at hand and need some advice from someone else from a blended family.

My husband and I have been married 3 years, he had two previous sons from two previous relationships (a 6yo and 4yo). I had two children as well, a now 4yo and a 6yo soon to be 7yo. We also have had two children together since getting married, one is 2 and the other is 4 months old.

We have had some blending issues, mostly with his soon to be 6yo. He lashes out and slaps (not hits...SLAPS HARD and leaves hand prints) my 2 year old. He's also gone for my 6yo's throat, and scratched, hit, and bitten. The biting has subsided, but the slapping and scratching hasn't. Most of the time my husband is at home so I will let him deal with the discipline...putting him in time out, and having discussions with him. If I have to I will start putting him in time out until my husband can assist me. We are always consistent in how we discipline (i.e. time out and then a discussion and then make him apologize), and my husband always backs me up in situations where he wasn't immediately present.

His 6yo has hit me once or twice, and we have taken swift action. However he is getting more and more and more resistant to my authority. I tell him...my house, my rules. I have had to physically pick him up screaming and kicking when my husband is not at home to put him in his room into time out. He will spit at me, kick at me, scream how much he hates me, and tell me he wishes I would die. My children are witnessing this violence and I hate it. I don't react most of the time, or I'll tell him I'm sorry that he feels he hates me but he has to listen to me.

Today it went from zero to sixty in a few seconds. I stepped out of the room to try to lay my 4 month old down for a nap, my husband is gone renovating the house we are moving into in a few weeks. His 6yo slapped my 2 year old three times hard...my 2yo was crying and had hand prints all up and down his arms. I came in and calmly told him to give me the WII remote that I was taking the WII away and putting him in time out. He refused to give me the remote and kicked at me. So I physically grabbed ahold of the WII remote and then he launched up at me off the sofa screaming bloody murder than he hated me and wished I would die, I'm holding my 4 mos old in one arm and he slapped me in the face, started swinging at me, I pushed him back on the couch to get him away from the baby and he started kicking the crud out of my stomach...millimeters from the baby. I had to walk away and put the baby in his pack n play and then came back and told him to go to time out. He refused, spitting at me. I had to physically pick him up (no easy feat) and carry him to his bed where I left him in time out. I called his dad and had him talk to him on speakerphone since he refused to take the phone. He eventually apologized to me after a long talk about how we DO NOT hurt other people.

I am so furious right now. My children are raised in a violence free home and now I feel like every other weekend the house is full of violence. I KNOW his mother doesn't permit this type of behavior in her home and I have no idea why he has such rage towards me. I try my hardest to converse with him and ask him to share his day with me and ask how school is going and genuinely try to get to know him but he has a wall up.

I'm to the point I have to protect myself and my children. If this violence DOESN'T get better or stop I honestly don't know what I will do. I love my husband very much and we have a beautiful family together but this is the source of so many arguments behind closed doors with us that its really creating a strain.

WHAT are we doing wrong here?
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  #2  
September 9th, 2012, 09:15 AM
ShesaDreamer's Avatar If Only. If Only <3
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It sounds to me like getting him into some couneling would be a good idea. Does he see his BM at all? I know that with my 10 yo DSS that his mom used to tell him to do or say things to me. And he would act out because she told him that if he was really mean then we would send him to live with her. Actions like that are very concerning, because if he will hit your 2 yo then what would he do to the 4mo if he got mad. It sounds like he is dealing with some serious anger issues. I would try some family sessions so that you can explain what is going on then branch off into some solo counceling sessions. It really worked wonders for my 10 yo. I hope that you can get it setteld soon.
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  #3  
September 9th, 2012, 09:56 AM
mom2more's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Do you know where this behavior is coming from? Is his mom in an abusive relationship? Does she bad mouth you to him or make him think you are the reason his parents are not together?

No matter what the reason behind it, it sounds like you are doing everything you can to change the behavior. There has to be some reason why a child that young is acting out like that. It does sound like counseling would be a good idea before he really hurts somebody, or makes your 2 year old start acting like that.

Lots of luck!
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  #4  
September 9th, 2012, 02:29 PM
.Katie.
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It sounds to me like he is unafraid of consequence so he feels like he can do whatever he wants.

I am a gentle parenting advocate, but it needs to be age appropriate and at 6 years old he is old enough to know what he is doing is wrong. IMO once the behavior involves physically hurting others all that gentle parenting goes out the window. If my six year old hauled off and hurt one of her sisters in the ways that you describe, she would get lit up, no joke. I'm not usually one to encourage physical discipline but that kind of behavior is UNACCEPTABLE. Especially to someone so much smaller than him!!!

Take him to a counselor if you need to, but kids test boundaries and he has learned that he can control and bully his siblings because he isn't afraid of the repercussions. If all I had to worry about was a talking to and sitting in time out, I would probably continue the behavior too!

In other words, LIGHT HIM UP. I would be WAY more worried at the emotional damage your two year old is going to harbor from sibling abuse than any guilt over disciplining your six year old for something he KNEW he shouldn't be doing!
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  #5  
September 9th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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I'd look into what he might be exposed to at friends' houses or his mother's house. When you're having issues like this, things that are innocent for other kids are a no go. No violent gameplay, movies, cartoons or video games...the violence has to be cut out and it can be in the most unsuspecting places.

Also, M is intellectual. So when he gets like this he responds a bit to what we're saying. If he says he hates me I let him know I hate his behavior so I guess we're just both mad right now. And it makes him pause. It's ok for him (your stepson) to see that what he does is upsetting to the family. We don't lose our control obviously but he has helped for him to see the impact of his actions vs his actions getting him what he wants like they do in his other home. He was expecting his actions to make us sad and our sadness to make us give him what he wanted. He just learned bratty behavior makes Daddy and J angry and I don't get what I want for even longer.
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  #6  
September 9th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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I'm guessing this is a situation of sibling jealousy. It's not uncommon for kids to act out when there's a new baby in the house (4 months is new).

I think counseling is the best thing. He need to learn how to deal with his emotions & frustrations. If it were me, I'd find a child therapist asap.
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  #7  
September 9th, 2012, 04:46 PM
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I agree with the counseling. not just for him. but for you and your husband to get some good help on how to treat this behavior.
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  #8  
September 9th, 2012, 08:16 PM
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I have to agree with therapy. Personally, I would probably light him up too, but in all honesty what is that going to teach him? It's doing exactly what you're trying to teach him not to do. I hope you can get the help that is needed.
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  #9  
September 10th, 2012, 06:28 AM
Doodlebug06's Avatar Doodlebug
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I had these issues similar with my own bs10 at around age 6 or 7.
He was hitting me though and threw a bakugan ball at my face, which bruised my face and I almost thought I was going to lose a tooth.

I did something most probably wouldn't agree with.
I promptly drove him to his dads and pulled him out of the car (while he kicked and screamed) and I left him there and told him he wouldn't be coming back to my house until he decided he wouldn't do that again.

I left him for a week. And yes his dad "lit him up". There's no way I was allowing this behavior to start and get out of hand. My 2 year old witnessed that abuse the first time and I wasn't having it. Period.

My personal opinion is that I'd remove him from the house everytime he does it. Does he enjoy visiting with his dad? Or do you think he may be acting out so he can go home?
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  #10  
September 10th, 2012, 07:09 AM
Doodlebug06's Avatar Doodlebug
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Also do you have permission to spank him?
Personally if any child did what he did while I was holding my infant, I'd likely tear him a new one and so would dh. He wouldn't sit comfortably for a week...
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  #11  
September 10th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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  #12  
September 10th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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Honestly I think kids act out at this age because they have emotions that they aren't equiped to deal with. Lighting them up does more damage than good. Yeah you might stop that behavior but other negative behavior usually starts at some point.

DD went through a stage like this at 5-6 because of her bio father. I took her to a child therapist & she was taught how to deal with her emotions. It did so much more than spanking ever did.
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  #13  
September 10th, 2012, 03:56 PM
.Katie.
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I agree that counseling is a good idea but him hurting his 2 yr old sibling needs to stop like yesterday. It would be one thing if he was acting out towards an adult, quite another when it's a smaller child. That's just not right.
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  #14  
September 10th, 2012, 05:22 PM
Doodlebug06's Avatar Doodlebug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Katie.
I agree that counseling is a good idea but him hurting his 2 yr old sibling needs to stop like yesterday. It would be one thing if he was acting out towards an adult, quite another when it's a smaller child. That's just not right.
My point. I'd remove him from the house every time it starts. To be blunt, it only takes minor head trauma to be fatal to a 2 year old. And very very minor head trauma to be fatal to a 4 month old. Just sayin...
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  #15  
September 11th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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I wasn't condoning his behavior nor saying that it's ok for him to hit a 2 year old. Nor did I say it shouldn't be addressed. Keep him away from the 2 year old. Supervise at all times. And get him counseling ASAP.

Teaching a child to stop being violent by being violent only continues the cycle of abuse. Beating the snot out of the kid temporarily stops him from hitting the 2 year old because he's busy getting hit himself. But the resentment will grow & his violence is likely to escalate.

There are ways to mitigate the situation short term without additional violence but long term counseling is the key. Bullys learn to be bullys often by being bullied themselves.
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  #16  
September 11th, 2012, 02:57 PM
Doodlebug06's Avatar Doodlebug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My2miracles
I wasn't condoning his behavior nor saying that it's ok for him to hit a 2 year old. Nor did I say it shouldn't be addressed. Keep him away from the 2 year old. Supervise at all times. And get him counseling ASAP.

Teaching a child to stop being violent by being violent only continues the cycle of abuse. Beating the snot out of the kid temporarily stops him from hitting the 2 year old because he's busy getting hit himself. But the resentment will grow & his violence is likely to escalate.

There are ways to mitigate the situation short term without additional violence but long term counseling is the key. Bullys learn to be bullys often by being bullied themselves.
We rarely ever spank. Rarely. But I have had instances where u felt necessary.

I think I'd remove him from the home in every case.
And I'm sorry but you CAN'T watch a child 24/7. You can supervise yes...but fatal injuries takes SECONDS. While you're in the bathroom, folding clothes, changing clothes etc. or while you're sleeping. An innocent baby or 2 year old have no chance against a bigger kid with anger issues....
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  #17  
September 11th, 2012, 08:23 PM
.Katie.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My2miracles View Post
I wasn't condoning his behavior nor saying that it's ok for him to hit a 2 year old. Nor did I say it shouldn't be addressed. Keep him away from the 2 year old. Supervise at all times. And get him counseling ASAP.

Teaching a child to stop being violent by being violent only continues the cycle of abuse. Beating the snot out of the kid temporarily stops him from hitting the 2 year old because he's busy getting hit himself. But the resentment will grow & his violence is likely to escalate.

There are ways to mitigate the situation short term without additional violence but long term counseling is the key. Bullys learn to be bullys often by being bullied themselves.
I'm not talking about hauling off and "beating the snot" out of a kid and then leaving them in a heap on the floor not knowing what just happened. That is abuse.

I am talking about explaining to him that if he is going to make the choice to hit/hurt his siblings, and other means of discipline aren't working that maybe he needs to be spanked to see how it feels to be hurt by someone bigger than him. Every action has a consequence. It's kids that don't learn the consequences to their behavior that go on to be bullies imo.
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  #18  
September 12th, 2012, 03:56 PM
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I have issues like this with my six year old but his started way earlier, when he was three.

At the beginning of this year he tried to stab his 3 year old brother with a screwdriver that he snatched while I was in the basement doing laundry. He's that fast.

He has told another child that he will "cut him open and watch him bleed". NOT apprioriate behavior at all for any person, child or not. He would bite. He would push his brother down the stairs. He would punch, kick, hit etc. I knew things had to stop and stop SOON before I had my child (who is now five months old) and the things happened to him.

I placed him in a hospital for children with behavioral/psycho-social issues. He has been hospitalized twice. Last time was last Septmeber. While it killed me to do this, I knew that he needed help before he tragically injured someone. He has been great since starting counseling here recently and really, starting school has done wonders for him.

He has never hurt the baby. He squabbles with his brother (but I know that's to be expected -- can't stop all of the quarreling with siblings) but the violence has stopped. He meets with the school counselor once a week as well.

There are times when sibling rivalry is to be expected but there is a point when it goes too far and normal disciplinary methods don't work (i.e time outs, groundings, priveleges revoked etc)

I think counseling is a great idea! While my method was unconventional, I was at my wits end with what to do. The hospital gave me great methods and tricks as to how to deal with an overly aggressive child and they have helped me keep my cool at times as well.
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  #19  
September 15th, 2012, 05:53 PM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
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Have you considered having him evaluated? I have to be real honest - violence like that just isn't normal. My oldest dss will be 13 next month and has/had a lot of the same behaviours. He has pulled knives on several occasions, from age 5 (when he chased his then-4 yo sister around the house with it) to age 11. He also has a history of making graphic death threats, hitting or choking people (including adults) and destroying property. He has shoved his mother into walls and bookshelves repeatedly and may have broken her toe once. He is diagnosed ADHD, ODD and mood disorder NOS. The physical violence has decreased in the last year but he has also had his medications ramped up in the last couple of years. If he misses a dosage or doesn't sleep well (or any other factors) he's at risk to be dangerous. We're currently not having him for overnight visitation out of concern for the other children, as he's not in any therapy (and we can't do much about it - bm doesn't think he needs it). He's got a juvenile record for assaulting a bus driver about a year and a half ago.

He's not a bad kid and we love him, but the behaviour is simply not normal and not safe. He needs real help. His brain cannot function properly without medication and ongoing help. It's not a death sentence, but it's something that no method of parenting alone will fix. Please look into having your dss evaluated - I really feel like a lot of this is more than normal boundarilessness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmtejese View Post
I have issues like this with my six year old but his started way earlier, when he was three.

At the beginning of this year he tried to stab his 3 year old brother with a screwdriver that he snatched while I was in the basement doing laundry. He's that fast.

He has told another child that he will "cut him open and watch him bleed". NOT apprioriate behavior at all for any person, child or not. He would bite. He would push his brother down the stairs. He would punch, kick, hit etc. I knew things had to stop and stop SOON before I had my child (who is now five months old) and the things happened to him.

I placed him in a hospital for children with behavioral/psycho-social issues. He has been hospitalized twice. Last time was last Septmeber. While it killed me to do this, I knew that he needed help before he tragically injured someone. He has been great since starting counseling here recently and really, starting school has done wonders for him.

He has never hurt the baby. He squabbles with his brother (but I know that's to be expected -- can't stop all of the quarreling with siblings) but the violence has stopped. He meets with the school counselor once a week as well.

There are times when sibling rivalry is to be expected but there is a point when it goes too far and normal disciplinary methods don't work (i.e time outs, groundings, priveleges revoked etc)

I think counseling is a great idea! While my method was unconventional, I was at my wits end with what to do. The hospital gave me great methods and tricks as to how to deal with an overly aggressive child and they have helped me keep my cool at times as well.
Your method was unconventional, but so was the behaviour you've described. You absolutely did the right thing. I'm glad he's doing better!
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