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Hi ladies...been awhile since I've been on JM. I have been so busy with life and work that I haven't had a moment to get on here. I hope you are all well!!
I am having a little bit of trouble with my fiance's son; some of you may remember a posting I did a few months back about some of my concerns about his aggression towards other children.
Well, Ryan is almost 6 years old. He has been through alot because his mother left him, his brother, and my fiance for another man almost three years ago. She moved to KY with that man and had a baby with him. My fiance was granted custody in June 2010. But mom took him back to court in April 2011 to regain custody. That battle went on from April 2011 to this February 2012, where my fiance was still granted custody. Ryan wanted to go and live with his mother, but my fiance doesn't want him to leave and the judge gave made him the primary custodial parent.
The entire time I have known Ryan, he has shown a lot of aggresion to other children and even animals. He is repeating Kindergarten next year because of immaturity issues amoung other things and he has been in therapy for over a year.
Despite therapy though, Ryan is still very aggressive to children. Last week he kicked a little girl on the playground because she "wouldn't go inside her house". He says things like "I'm going to cut of your head" "I'm going to kill you", and continues to hurt others. Yesterday my son Leyton who is 4 took a book Ryan got from the book fair, and wasn't reading, and Ryan physically attacked him and scratched the side of his face severly. I work in a childcare center and this type of scratching is considered ATTACKING. I have worked with my fiance, overlooked some behavior of Ryan's, but this pushed me over the edge. I told my fiance that he has to do something about Ryan's aggression, he can't overlook it, and he flat out said that my son shouldn't have taken the book. He refuses to see that this is severe and oneday Ryan is going to do this to somebody in school and assult charges or expulsion will result. But my fiance refuses to see it. He is letting this behavior be ok and isn't doing anything to stop it. We fought so badly about it this morning that he basically shut down and said that maybe he and I shouldn't stay together.... I have stood beside him through all of this court stuff, tried to accept that Ryan is hurting and has issues from what occured with his mother, but I am tired of the other children being hurt by Ryan and his dad doing NOTHING about it! I know his dad is overwhelmed with the behavior, but ignoring it won't make it better. I know that he isn't telling the therapist about some of Ryan's aggression because she thinks he is doing much better and is now only seeing him once a month...this is foolish and complete bull because Ryan is not doing better! My fiance just isn't sharing the whole truth.
Please please please advise me here ladies! I need help and need to know what to do. I am completly at a loss here.
I love my fiance and his children...I really do...
You fiance's son is obviously hurting due to issues with abandonment and possible physical abuse (or borderline physical abuse) in his past. His instinct right now is to hurt others because others, such as the adults in his life that he should have been able to trust, hurt him. He needs to experience unconditional love and for quite a while to undo the damage that's been done to him as a child. That does NOT mean ignoring the behavior. First of all, he should spend a lot of quality time with his dad. His dad (and perhaps you also, if he trusts you) should talk to him about his feelings of being hurt in the past and constantly reassure him that no one will hurt him again. Then he should talk about how he has hurt these other children. Ask him how he felt when he was hurt, and if he wants to make someone else feel that way. Chances are, he will say no. Emphasize that you love him no matter what, but the behavior is unacceptable and he will have consequences if he hurts someone. Then spell out what they will be (grounded, no tv, whatever) and then follow through. When you (or his dad) follow through, be sure to constantly emphasize that you love him no matter what, but you'll like him a lot better when he stops hurting people.
If you can convince his dad to read some positive/gentle discipline books, that may give him some ideas on some things he can do discipline-wise that involve staying calm and not traumatizing further, yet getting the message across that the behavior must change.
I'm sorry you're going through this. This sounds like such a difficult situation. Has he been evaluated for medications? Has he been diagnosed with anything? Has Attachment Disorder or Bipolar Disorder ever been ruled out? How long has he been seeing this therapist? Sometimes if they've been seeing someone for quite awhile and no progress is being made, a change in therapists is helpful in order to get a second opinion the diagnosis and to offer a fresh perspective as to how to deal with the behaviors. However, your fiance really needs to be honest with the therapist about his son's behaviors in order for any of this to work. Hopefully when you're fiance sees how much this is affecting your relationship, he'll decide he needs to take it more seriously and listen to your concerns.