U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-24-2019, 03:35 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,754 times
Reputation: 24

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Yes. There is no rule that says step-parents can't be disciplinarians, like normal parents (hello?), unless your wife won't allow it, OP. You could regard this run-in with the law as a crisis point, and tell your wife something needs to change in the way the kid is being managed at home, or things will only get worse. Maybe she'll see the wisdom in that, and will open up to a fresh discussion about your role. Remind her, that adolescence is right around the corner for this kid, and it won't be pretty if serious steps aren't taken now, right now.

You two could also consider some kind of parenting counseling sessions, or a marriage counselor who covers parenting issues, or something. You two really need to figure out a solution, because the status quo obviously isn't working.


BTW, you haven't told us yet, what kind of "normal boy behavior" he "keeps getting caught" for. Really curious about your definition of "normal boy behavior". It sounds like there's a lot more to this story.
This sounds terrible but she, the wife, thinks the parenting failures come from me and his dad, and to both of us its pretty obvious that she is the one who creates the negative influence. I love my wife but she has problems with male authority.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-24-2019, 03:55 PM
 
13,023 posts, read 6,227,390 times
Reputation: 10834
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj224 View Post
wherever and whenever I intervene Mom tends to disrupt it, been discussed multiple times and on occasion she will allow my to set the tone, the way I do with the girls. We disagree. I'm much more praise when good and pray when bad, but Mom naturally runs interference and he knows it so our relationship is not "You have to listen to me" more talk to me buddy dont lie to your parents.

He lies to get out of trouble, curses with his friends, half asses cleaning, etc.

He is also the only person in the house that will ask if you need help with anything. There is still good in him.
Per the bolded --- I have nothing against praying. In fact, if a friend asks me for a prayer, I will do so. However, if your only response to bad behavior is to attempt to pray it away, that is far from being enough.

Hindsight is 20/20 vision so what's done is done. However, for anyone reading this thread --- If you want to create a blended family, make sure to get some counseling before doing so. Counseling will bring up issues like parenting styles. If one of you is permissive and the other is a disciplinarian and you can't meet in the middle, it won't work out and it's time to move on.

I've seen what happens when the parent and step-parent can't get on the same page. A relative of mine got involved with a woman who was psycho. They never married but had 2 kids together. Mommy Dearest did a number on the older child (a boy). Eventually they split up and relative got the kids. The boy said he never wanted to see his mother again and his mother said she didn't want to see him (nice, huh?). The girl, who is 6 years younger, still visited her mother. Relative ended up marrying a childless woman. When it came to the kids, she figured that since she was the step-mother, she couldn't discipline. If the kids cussed her out and refused to do as they were told, she would do nothing. When relative attempted to discipline the kids, step-mother often went behind his back and undid it. The kids were in counseling for years, and it didn't do much good. The boy ended up being a druggie who stole from his father. Relative ended up cutting ties with his son. The girl ended up putting on weight, became depressed and now lives in squalor.

How much better things might have been if relative and wife got into counseling and worked out details before entering into marriage. Hard to say how much that would have helped the kids because their Mommy Dearest did some damage.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-24-2019, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
6,534 posts, read 7,798,922 times
Reputation: 15971
I hope, for this boy's sake, that the court orders both parents and step-parents into family counseling. All four of you need to be on the same page with discipline and raising this youth. I say that I hope the court orders it because if there is a custody battle I suspect there is a lot of tension and arguing between mother and father. It's really created a chaotic, unstable life for this kid. Think about being 9.5 years old and NOT knowing where you will live next month. Children need consistency and stability. I suspect the kid has not had much of either.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2019, 01:30 AM
 
4,126 posts, read 3,781,104 times
Reputation: 11328
First of all, you sound like a very good step parent. The history you gave was comprehensive and coherent. But one thing wasn't clear: Mom was adopted, and there were definite issues with her parents - were the people you described her adoptive parents, or was that history of her biological parents? Does she know the history of her biological parents?

The behavior of this 9 year old boy is very outside the norm. Not as bad as killing a bunch of animals, but still very unusual. Breaking windows at an old, abandoned factory where half the windows are already broken would be more the norm. Spraying graffiti on a public wall, like a highway underpass, together with an older kid, pretty normal. The victim in those cases is pretty remote - no clear ownership, no real damage. Vandalizing cars on private property like this - not normal. It's very clear who the victim is, and very clear that real damage is being done - and he knew it.

Personality traits are strongly inherited. There are many, many examples of people adopted at birth, who when they find their biological families, find that they have much more in common in terms of personality traits with their biological family than with their adoptive family. And from what you have described, it sounds as if he may have some strikes against him on the inherited personality traits front. Cutting brakelines is a highly sociopathic act - that's his father, and the man was in his mid 30s when he did it. Add in a divorce and custody battle, and you can get a very angry kid who acts out.

You of course have more riding on this than the average step father, because you have been with the boy for a lot of years, and because you have biological children with his mother. Anything you and his mother do will have little to no effect, because he spends alternate weeks with his father, and clearly, there is no cooperative parenting going on, if they're in a custody battle.

If I had a child who had done this, I would arrange for the child to be constantly supervised, preferably by a kind and charismatic person whom the child likes and wants to please, who would provide guidance for the child. But I don't think that is possible in this setting, even if you could find such a person, because he spends only every other week at your home. It sounds as if he's also getting into trouble at school, although now he's out for the summer.

How does he behave towards his younger siblings? Is he aggressive towards them? If he is, I'd be very concerned that he could really harm them.

If you're not worried about him harming other children, and if there is no wonderful older person to take care of him all summer, I'd put him in daycamp, and keep him constantly supervised outside of daycamp. He should not be allowed contact with the boy he did this with. Yes, he should work to make restitution, but realistically, he and his companion did many thousands in damage, and there is no way that he can earn enough to pay that back. Also, will he work? Prison and hard labor isn't the answer for this kid. Guidance and constant supervision is - and if he's forced to do hard labor that he doesn't want to be doing, he's just going to get angrier and angrier.

The fact is, in this situation, there is not all that much you can do, other than to be a positive presence in his life. Do you like this kid? Can you like this kid? If you can like him, and spend some time with him just being a warm, supportive step father for him, and make him want to seek your approval, and please you, that may be all you can do. You work, you have younger kids who are your children, whom you owe attention. Even with everything that you might do for this kid, he may still grow up to be an adult who does wrong - in fact, the chances are pretty high that he will. The best thing you can probably do for this kid is to love him, and treat him with kindness, and model good behavior for him. He may wind up a better father some day, for having seen your parenting style. He may wind up a better person than he would have been, for your having been kind and attentive to him, as a child.

Getting him involved in good activities that include doing good for others (such as volunteering together to work on a habitat for humanity home, or helping elderly in your community, possibly through a church program) might help him see that it feels good to do good things for people, rather than vandalism. Any form of positive activities you can get this kid involved with would be a very good idea. Keep him busy with good, character building activities, so he has no unsupervised time to get into trouble with.

You and your wife should plan and budget for the fact that this kid is going to need constant supervision until he is no longer your legal responsibility. Only after a long period, possibly years, of good behavior, should this kid be given gradually increasing amounts of unsupervised time. Be prepared for behavior to get worse once testosterone hits - which on average is age eleven. Know that this kid could commit another impulsive criminal act. Supervision will help to minimize the chances of this until he's old enough to have more self-control. I know it's a long way off, but this kid may not be ready to drive while he is your wife's responsibility.

I wish you and your wife luck. You're gonna need it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2019, 01:38 AM
 
4,126 posts, read 3,781,104 times
Reputation: 11328
One more thing. You say the kid is argumentative. Try to see this as a good thing. Maybe this kid will grow up to be a lawyer. See if you can get him involved in a debate club as early as possible. Often it helps to view our kids' frustrating traits as their possible strengths.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2019, 06:33 AM
 
16,597 posts, read 14,069,693 times
Reputation: 20560
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj224 View Post
As the title says, my 9 1/2 year old step son just got picked up by the police for Vandalism. Has been suspended from school before and regularly sees a counselor, his parents are currently fighting for custody with a trial in July.

FACTS are:
  1. Spray painted cars on private property
  2. Broke window of garage where cars were stored, unlocked
  3. Scraped at least one vehicle with knife found on property
  4. Spraypainted curse words on driveway
  5. Broke box of light bulbs found in a vehicle

Excuses are:
  1. Didn't think they were of any value
  2. Thought is was a small junk yard

It was pretty obvious that it wasn't a junk yard and while some of the cars were older. One of them was a corvette with 33,000 miles on it.


How would other parents handle this?

MOM is currently:
  1. Pissed
  2. confused
  3. searching for rationalizations

Biological Dad is currently
  1. Probably pissed
  2. Probably confused
  3. Most likely blaming mom in someway
  4. Possibly quetioning himself

He hasn't been fully informed on all the details yet as our week on week off custody just switched so he's got almost a week before he gets a chance to really get into it.

Stepdad (Me) is currently
  1. Wondering what we should do
  2. Comparing the bad things I did as a kid that thankfully wern't caught and how they compare in age and level of badness
  3. Debating how much of an OBI-Won Konobi I want to be
  4. Is this kid Anakin or Luke?
  5. Can I even help him?


Backstory:

Mom:
  1. Adopted by Grandparents
  2. Father in prison during youth
  3. Mother in and out of her life
  4. Dropped out of high school
  5. Physically abused by Ex-Boyfriend
  6. New boyfriend 13 years older than her got her pregnant
  7. Had kid at 21
  8. 2 "happy" years
  9. Met me
  10. Left boyfriend
  11. Married me
  12. Had another kid with me 7 years later. Girl

Biological Dad:
  1. Raised by parents
  2. Graduated Highschool
  3. Graduated trade school
  4. Works blue color job full time
  5. Met mom
  6. knocked mom up
  7. loved mom but wasn't working
  8. begged mom to stay
  9. mom left
  10. Cut brakes of Mom's car to "keep her from leaving"
  11. Convicted felon, no jail time
  12. Mom still split custody
  13. married Step-mom few years later


Step-dad (me)
  1. Raised by parents and 2 older sisters
  2. Straight A student till Highschool the 3.5 GPA
  3. Marine 5 years
  4. Wife
  5. Daughter
  6. exwife
  7. Government Job
  8. 6 figure salary
  9. Clean Record
  10. Church Softball player
  11. Former Boyscout

Step-mom
  1. Seems nice
  2. no other kids
  3. kindy ratty looking
  4. cuts hair for a living
  5. Loves the boy



I just want to help and I feel like I'm the only one who sees where this is heading.
Currently me "punishment" for him this summer is:
  1. I will find a book and we will read it.
  2. Might put him in Scouts


Everything punishment else wide is up to the courts and the parents and the victims.

Looking for suggestions, ideas, camps, and books that may inspire him to behavior better.

Thanks for reading.
Punishment ideally would be to go back to the place he vandalized and clean it up. For a child this young, he can't actually see the consequences. Cleaning up his mess would help him make that connection.

As for reading and scouts, they are good ideas but not punishments and shouldn't be presented as such.

Question, was he alone when this happened? Where did you think he was?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2019, 08:35 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,624 posts, read 70,508,089 times
Reputation: 76608
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj224 View Post
This sounds terrible but she, the wife, thinks the parenting failures come from me and his dad, and to both of us its pretty obvious that she is the one who creates the negative influence. I love my wife but she has problems with male authority.
So she's in denial about her own role. Well, you could present joint parenting counseling as a way for both of you to get on the same page, and find out what works best for troubled kids, like it would be a learning expedition for both of you, and you could go so far as to smooth the way, by acknowledging her concern about your supposed parenting failures (interesting how she doesn't notice that your bio kids are doing fine, though), and say that attending sessions together would be a way of correcting any errors you might be making. (Anything to get her to agree to parenting counseling with you, right?)

OP, this isn't a time to roll over and play dead, chalking the situation up to not fixable, because of the kid or because of the wife or whatever. It's a time to find solutions, find work-arounds to obstacles, and to not give up on the kid.

Again, if the fact that adolescence is right around the corner for this kid doesn't scare the H out of you, there is no stronger motive to persevere. Granted, you're in a tough situation. It's too bad your wife can't appreciate the parenting side of you, but you need to try every possible approach to convince her to get help together with you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2019, 08:39 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,624 posts, read 70,508,089 times
Reputation: 76608
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrah View Post
I hope, for this boy's sake, that the court orders both parents and step-parents into family counseling. All four of you need to be on the same page with discipline and raising this youth. I say that I hope the court orders it because if there is a custody battle I suspect there is a lot of tension and arguing between mother and father. It's really created a chaotic, unstable life for this kid. Think about being 9.5 years old and NOT knowing where you will live next month. Children need consistency and stability. I suspect the kid has not had much of either.
Here's a great idea, if everyone can get along. OP, there must be a lawyer involved at this point? Are you getting a lawyer for the case? You could ask the lawyer to request that the judge make parenting counseling part of the decision.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2019, 08:44 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,624 posts, read 70,508,089 times
Reputation: 76608
Quote:
Originally Posted by parentologist View Post
First of all, you sound like a very good step parent. The history you gave was comprehensive and coherent. But one thing wasn't clear: Mom was adopted, and there were definite issues with her parents - were the people you described her adoptive parents, or was that history of her biological parents? Does she know the history of her biological parents?

The behavior of this 9 year old boy is very outside the norm. Not as bad as killing a bunch of animals, but still very unusual. Breaking windows at an old, abandoned factory where half the windows are already broken would be more the norm. Spraying graffiti on a public wall, like a highway underpass, together with an older kid, pretty normal. The victim in those cases is pretty remote - no clear ownership, no real damage. Vandalizing cars on private property like this - not normal. It's very clear who the victim is, and very clear that real damage is being done - and he knew it.

Personality traits are strongly inherited. There are many, many examples of people adopted at birth, who when they find their biological families, find that they have much more in common in terms of personality traits with their biological family than with their adoptive family. And from what you have described, it sounds as if he may have some strikes against him on the inherited personality traits front. Cutting brakelines is a highly sociopathic act - that's his father, and the man was in his mid 30s when he did it. Add in a divorce and custody battle, and you can get a very angry kid who acts out.

You of course have more riding on this than the average step father, because you have been with the boy for a lot of years, and because you have biological children with his mother. Anything you and his mother do will have little to no effect, because he spends alternate weeks with his father, and clearly, there is no cooperative parenting going on, if they're in a custody battle.

If I had a child who had done this, I would arrange for the child to be constantly supervised, preferably by a kind and charismatic person whom the child likes and wants to please, who would provide guidance for the child. But I don't think that is possible in this setting, even if you could find such a person, because he spends only every other week at your home. It sounds as if he's also getting into trouble at school, although now he's out for the summer.

How does he behave towards his younger siblings? Is he aggressive towards them? If he is, I'd be very concerned that he could really harm them.

If you're not worried about him harming other children, and if there is no wonderful older person to take care of him all summer, I'd put him in daycamp, and keep him constantly supervised outside of daycamp. He should not be allowed contact with the boy he did this with. Yes, he should work to make restitution, but realistically, he and his companion did many thousands in damage, and there is no way that he can earn enough to pay that back. Also, will he work? Prison and hard labor isn't the answer for this kid. Guidance and constant supervision is - and if he's forced to do hard labor that he doesn't want to be doing, he's just going to get angrier and angrier.

The fact is, in this situation, there is not all that much you can do, other than to be a positive presence in his life. Do you like this kid? Can you like this kid? If you can like him, and spend some time with him just being a warm, supportive step father for him, and make him want to seek your approval, and please you, that may be all you can do. You work, you have younger kids who are your children, whom you owe attention. Even with everything that you might do for this kid, he may still grow up to be an adult who does wrong - in fact, the chances are pretty high that he will. The best thing you can probably do for this kid is to love him, and treat him with kindness, and model good behavior for him. He may wind up a better father some day, for having seen your parenting style. He may wind up a better person than he would have been, for your having been kind and attentive to him, as a child.

Getting him involved in good activities that include doing good for others (such as volunteering together to work on a habitat for humanity home, or helping elderly in your community, possibly through a church program) might help him see that it feels good to do good things for people, rather than vandalism. Any form of positive activities you can get this kid involved with would be a very good idea. Keep him busy with good, character building activities, so he has no unsupervised time to get into trouble with.

You and your wife should plan and budget for the fact that this kid is going to need constant supervision until he is no longer your legal responsibility. Only after a long period, possibly years, of good behavior, should this kid be given gradually increasing amounts of unsupervised time. Be prepared for behavior to get worse once testosterone hits - which on average is age eleven. Know that this kid could commit another impulsive criminal act. Supervision will help to minimize the chances of this until he's old enough to have more self-control. I know it's a long way off, but this kid may not be ready to drive while he is your wife's responsibility.

I wish you and your wife luck. You're gonna need it.
Another great idea! This could take the form of an apprenticeship, where he could learn carpentry skills from you (if you have carpentry skills). Something along these lines is another thing the lawyer (I hope there's a lawyer) could request as part of the sentencing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top