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October 29th, 2005, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 133
Hello, all! My name is Emily. I am 27, married to Brandon (30), step-mom to Ryan (11) who lives with us full time, and expecting a daughter in February. I usually hang out on the February DDC board but lately my stepson has been stressing me out, and I thought this might be a good place to come for some advice and support.

Here is my situation:
When DH and I got together, my SS only stayed with us during the weekend. His biomom has remarried and has three other kids, and her husband is really a big jerk. That house has gone through drug addiction (the husband) and domestic violence, then finally homelessness, and so my SS came to live with us (of course). His mom lives in the same neighborhood as us, just a few streets over. In the beginning, my SS was not happy about living with us at all. He wanted to go to his mom's house all the time. Now, he never wants to go there and sometimes cries when it's time to go over. Keep in mind, we never make him go there; in fact, we've asked him many times if he'd like to just stay with us and he always says no, he wants to go over there, but then he cries. At this point, he spends less than 24 hours a week at his mom's house, and DH and I really think the only reason he goes at all is because he feels some sort of obligation to his mom and half-siblings.

He has always been a pretty good kid, a little strange (very into sci-fi and horror movies and such, which is strange to me because I don't get into any of it ) and a bit behind developmentally (other kids his age are starting to care about clothes and hygiene and he really doesn't care about these things at all). Lately, he's gotten more and more withdrawn, cries easily, and won't talk about his feelings. His grades have fallen (this is his first year at middle school, so maybe that is to be expected), he's developed a bit of an attitude, and trying to get him to do his chores is a completely futile struggle sometimes. He's also reverted back to some past behaviors which we thought we'd solved (eating candy and sweets on the sly, getting in the bathtub and not bathing or washing his hair, etc) and we are starting to get low on patience and running out of ideas. I really do not know what to do at this point. I am trying to support my husband, but I know that something is wrong with my stepson that we can't get him to talk about or that he just won't deal with. We've told him over and over that he can talk to us about anything, without fear of being in trouble for what he says, but he still won't spill it. It's so frustrating. I don't know if perhaps he is upset because he will no longer be the only child at our house, or if his stepdad has started to get physical again with his mom (talking to her is pointless, absolutely pointless), or what is going on. I just talked to my husband earlier and he caught him eating candy for breakfast-again!-and we just had a sit-down discussion with him about this earlier this week.

I am just at a loss. Having never been a parent before, and now trying to help parent an 11 year old boy who isn't comfortable with affection or responsive to discussion is difficult.
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October 29th, 2005, 04:12 PM
magilatuzzi's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Posts: 4,599
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First off, welcome to the board! Some of the things he is doing i think are pretty typical 11 yr old boy stuff... particularily the bathing.. I have an 11 yr old boy too. Rough! lol He also has a tendancy to bottle things up. Have you considered a counselor maybe? Or, if that is not a route for you, here is what i do: My son is very close to one of my very good friends, and for some reason will tell her anything. When something seems wrong, she will take him for lunch or something, and generally he spills to her. She in return lets me in on what he says, but we are very careful in that he doesnt know she tells me. I helps out greatly! My problem now is that she just moved 4 hours away, so soon I think I will be in the same boat as you! Wish I could be of more help to you... best of luck... prepuberty is hard enough without the added things!
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