How do I navigate a difficult step child?

I am the mom of 3 kids ages 9, 6, and 4. My 9 year old is my step son but we have him alot because his mom isn't very hands on. My step son has ADHD and many behavioral issues. At home he is the youngest and here he is the oldest. He lies and steals all the time. He hides toys that aren't even his just so his siblings can't play with them. He steals snacks and hides the wrappers and then when I do a deep clean I find a large amount of snack wrappers hidden and we know it's him because when it started his siblings couldn't open the snack packages on their own. He breaks the other kids toys out of anger and then tries to hide the evidence. He doesn't follow basic simple rules and often time will get his younger siblings to do things so they get into trouble and not him. He tells his siblings regularly that he wishes they were never born because here he was the only child. I've tried everything from doing things just him and I and rewarding good behavior but it never lasts long. I'm at my wits end.bhe is physically abusive to his youngest brother leaves bruises and everything. While at his mom's house he gets passed around to babysitters or his older siblings watch him. He comes back and hasn't been babes and weeks and stinks, his nails are long and gross and isn't dressed for the weather. We've done the cost thing nothing happends. I just don't know how to do this anymore. I love him like my own and my hubby doesn't know what to do. His mom states he is good when there, but that's cuz she buys him things to make up for never being around. We get no help for him cuz she has primary residence so she gets housing, food stamps, medical everything for him while we have to pay everything while he's here. We have him alot especially with virtual school going on cuz she pulls the single mother card, like she is the only single mother out there. I can't help but feel used by the whole situation. She gets benefits for him even though we have him and are struggling bad. I try and talk to my hubby about it but he feels bad cuz he knows he gets pushed aside when at his mom's. So I guess what I'm asking is what do I do? This isn't fair to my other children and I should feel used or like a built in baby sitter. I just don't know what to do anymore and it's really making me struggle with my depression and anxiety. Any advice would be amazing and appreciated!
69 Likes

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do I navigate a difficult step child?

1 Like

Don’t let him around your kids.

5 Likes

Take full custody of the kid and raose him roght and give him the stability he needs, and make the mum pay support and then you can get all hos benefits for medical etc

19 Likes

He needs someone to talk to. He is highly bothered.

12 Likes

Sounds like he needs some kind of therapy (behavioral?) to help him cope with his aggression and other issues.

19 Likes

I wont watch my husband’s child anymore he has to be home in order for her to be here. She does not listen to me an then she had wrote in her dairy that she wished her younger sister that her dad I an I had together was dead. Girl is nine I have 3 kids of my own one with major heart defects I dont need the extra stress

10 Likes

I’m sure there’s a custody order… so with that being said, it sounds like it may be time to take it back in front of a judge for another hearing and get full custody. There’s no stability at bio mom’s like he needs. Bouncing back and forth isn’t helping any issues.

11 Likes

Therapy.It’s attention seeking, and definitely because he can’t emotionally regulate himself.

12 Likes

Definitely sounds like an emotional regulation disorder, but the question is why? Learned behaviors from somewhere. Has not been taught any coping skills,etc.

7 Likes

What would you do if he was your biological child? That’s the same thing you need to do for him.

19 Likes

Therapy. The expense comes with the kid. If the expense is too much get full custody and child support from the mother. But he’s a child that needs help and is relying on the adults around him to do what is best for him and take care of him… As his step mother it’s yours and his father’s responsibility to get him help. There’s a reason for the behavior and you won’t fix it until you find out why he’s acting out. Keep an eye on him around your children and teach him right from wrong.

9 Likes

Get full custody and get that baby some therapy. :heart:

6 Likes

You knew this b4 you married I’m sure it’s just nit a sudden realization … this should’ve been settled b4 your marriage

11 Likes

Research reactive attachment disorder and ODD. My advise is to find a good psychiatrist. You may have to see a few to get one that you guys understand. But 100% worth it

6 Likes

Why not report this and get custody of the child instead? It’s obvious you lobe and care for him more than his biological mom. So let your hubby get custody and then see how you can take him for therapy as well as other help. He may adjust. But if that’s too much, then just let him visit and go back but don’t let your kids be around him. Then put him under watch and let him know he’s being watched.

At this age, full custody and raising him your selves will be his best bet because he is still moldable and teachable.

7 Likes

It really sounds like he needs some counseling and you and dad should get primary custody. I fear nothing will change if his situation doesn’t change. He’s crying out for help. A lot of the behavior issues you’ve described are typical with ADD/ADHD. Is he on any medication or treatment of any kind for his ADHD? My youngest has ADD without hyperactivity and what prompted me to take her in for diagnosis was her temper/anger issues. She’s been in counseling since her diagnosis 2 yrs ago and she’s like a totally different kid. She’s so much more enjoyable to be around and has learned to control her temper and stop lashing out. A lot of people think ADHD/ADD is just being hyper and having trouble focusing but that’s just a small part of it. You have trouble with impulse control, quick temper, racing thoughts that make it difficult to sort out and the list goes on. I have ADD as well so I understand this very well. It sounds to me like he’s struggling much more than anyone realizes.
I wish you the best of luck.

7 Likes

Dr. Green is a child psychiatrist in Muskegon and he is one of the best. Give him a call.

1 Like

It sounds like you love him but It also seems like you don’t " treat him as your own" if You see him as a financial burden that you shouldn’t be responsible for. Why not take him in and give him the love and attention he seems to be lacking. Therapy would probably be beneficial for both of you. Good luck

11 Likes

You could contact DHS and provide evidence that you have him more than she does and you can start getting the benefits for him rather than her. You just have to prove to the state of Iowa he stays with you more…

8 Likes

he sounds like he is needing a ton of love. troubled children ask for attention in the worst ways

11 Likes

Are u sure he has ADHD ?
I’ve known children that behave this way to have been sexually abused . Just saying

5 Likes

Take it to the courts. Prove that you have him 90% of the time. And pay for more than half of his stuff. You’ll get the help and not her

2 Likes

First off counseling may help him , also if his ADHD isn’t treated it could make matters worse . A lot of the behaviors seem to be attention seeking and ADHD possible ODD which is common with ADHD children .

6 Likes

So, he sounds neglected in his other home and confused in yours. I suggest counciling !!! At his age an agreement of rules should be talked about. Kids aren’t “bad” without a reason.

6 Likes

CPS Involvement. Court. Full Custody. Child support from mother. Therapy. Unconditional love.

7 Likes

I started texting and I just smh at how messed up my situation is as well. I do my best to keep my bf 13 year old and my 8 year old separated at all cost! They arent allowed in a room together without either of us there. Hes the true definition of misery loves company and my 8 year old is a free spirit and big heart so she feels like he has no alternative motives but I swear no matter what he does. The whole situation is exhausting and his mom is a pos! She “thinks” shes this great mom sadly she is miserable too and handing the torch over to her son. I had to step away I started resenting and it was not a good road to be on! When its her fault he is the way he is and she is too caught up in this cloud thinking she’s the best parent because he’s behind in child support! :roll_eyes: I could tell you stuff that would blow your mind! Ill just say 1. She thinks it is the dads obligation to go back and fourth to pick up and drop off and when he can’t and asks her too she says to the son if he wasn’t behind in child support I might… smh she still wouldn’t!

Do your best put your babies first no matter what! I have made it very clear I love my bf but will not live miserable around his son and my kid comes first! That circus isn’t mine!

1 Like

How come mom isn’t around yet she gets primary benefits? Something not adding up here. Sounds like you should just spend some one on one time with him and he’s not feeling the love.

6 Likes

Empathy. Lead with empathy. How are you handling it when he acts out? What’s your response? Probably feels pretty crappy his bio Mom isn’t hands on. Also, what do you mean by “stealing snacks”. Why does he feel like he has to hide eating them? Pick your battles and when you do need to communicate something to him, remember you’re setting the example of how you would like to be communicated with. You’re the adult. Show him the compassion and grace you would like to receive. Remind yourself of the tough situation he is in and be his greatest cheerleader and advocate. What you speak to him he will become in his mind. Remind him of all the good you see in him and how proud and thankful you are to have him as part of your family. Speak love. :heart:

4 Likes

It seems like maybe he is not being treated the way in either home. You don’t babysit your own child and kids are expensive, it costs money to feed them and provide, both of which you’re complaining about. He might be having trouble adjusting to the homes and dealing with the way his life is. He needs counseling.

8 Likes

He needs behavioral therapy. This type of therapy allows him to vent and discuss his feelings, establish verbal communication vs physical damage, as well decision making skills ( How should I handle this properly?) His school can help you find an agency that provides this service. It is covered through insurance probably requires a co pay. The counselor will / can visit the homes involved observe the dynamics and help him and adults to establish a key system to help him. I have done for many young children with ADHD.

4 Likes

Questions just pm me.

You need to tell Winz and the ird the situation and go to court and sort make sure you document everything sounds like he needs counselling I could say love but I don’t think he would care and throw it back at you

3 Likes

I’d keep track on a calendar back date as far as u can remember and get a lawyer so u get some of the child tax benefits for him atleast.

3 Likes

Also don’t label him stepson when introducing him . It calls attention to him and has a negative effect on him because it draws attention to him.

9 Likes

We tried hard to keep our ADHD sons off meds. It made things much worse. Sometimes medications are needed. Please PM me, I will tell you about our experiences. We have 1 boy ( adult now) with extreme Impulsive ADHD, and our other son (12) with Combined ADHD and ODD. Medication and counciling saved our whole family

7 Likes

Get legal advice about having him full-time and getting payments, his mum needs to be charged with neglect and the first thing he needs is a stable home. Document how he looks, what his wearing and take photos of him when he leaves for his mum’s and when he returns. Get him to a child psychologist, you and he need a professional to work out his behaviours and why he acts out. It’s great he has you, he needs you. Don’t neglect yourself, are you on meds for your depression, do you have someone to vent to? Maybe see a professional yourself as well. :heart:

8 Likes

I am not even gonna read other comments before I respond. First and foremost take pictures of when he comes, and when he leaves. Dad needs to go back to court expeditiously, and file for more custody. Secondly, my stepson also had the same issues. The ONLY thing that has helped him is consistency and therapy, along with the proper medication. I came into my stepsons life when his mom cheated and left dad….so that was a total nightmare. I’m telling you he was bad bad….putting holes in walls, breaks every toy, lashed out in anger, all of it.
ALL
OF
IT.
Hiding snack wrappers and all. That deviant behavior is…phew.

Consistency is key in our house. Punishments like taking away things he really likes doing, and earning them back. Also, talk to him. When he gets angry, sit down with him and allow him to express how he feels and if he can’t find the words, help him. Spanking and physical punishments just don’t work. They won’t. And above all else, don’t treat him differently just because he is so bad. It’s been two years, and the difference here is night and day. Had it not been me allowing him to express how he feels and respecting his feelings, we wouldn’t be here. Also….my stepson has sensory issues (comes with adhd) and their brain is not like ours one bit. They hear a lot of noise and they get overloaded…tv, music, other kids chatter. They get frustrated and don’t respond well to lots of stimulation. That’s our case though…it takes patience and lots of unconditional love. My stepson is my world as well as my other step kids and had it not been for that love and understanding, we wouldn’t be here. I wish you the best of luck and I hope in some way this helps.

14 Likes

It doesn’t sound like you love him like your own. Get him help, he is 9 yrs old… Just a little boy.

13 Likes

I recommend joining Gentle Parents Unite and reading all of their educational units. They’re very helpful and they have some that specifically cover the kinds of issues you’re having.

Keep doing what you’ve been doing, like one on one time and recognizing good behavior. Keep working on changing the over all dynamic in the household.

From what you mention about him being passed off to babysitters, I think he’s really struggling with feeling neglected and unwanted by his mom. You can’t fix the situation with his mom but you can mitigate it by showing him unconditional love and affection on your end.

Keep trying. It’ll get there.

3 Likes

Honestly maaaaybe get dcs involved and ensure he is safe at moms? I know it’s controversial BUT we went thru something almost identical with our youngest (technically my step daughter) and her mom was a well hidden closet alcoholic who ignored and abused her and never spent time with her. My baby acted out bc she didn’t know how to handle the huge difference in stability between her two homes. Dcs gave us full custody and mom got visits, we asked dcs to order therapy for our girl, and within months she was a different kid.
It took a lot of patience and kindness even when she was AWFUL, and I mean AWFUL! I kept telling myself to be who I needed when I was struggling as a child. She’s now 10 and a completely different kid. Therapy did her wonders! As well as “gentle parenting” where we did ALOT of repeating ourselves and ALOT of talking about feelings.
Again. I know it’s not everyone’s approach but it did work for us. It took 6 months-1yr for dcs to see thru moms act, but I documented EVERY SINGLE thing good or bad in a notebook. The whole who what when where. I took pics when we picked her up and when we sent her home, and I print off alll text between mom and us. If you need anyone to vent to Im available if need be. I know how hard it is to watch a child you love soooo much but didn’t grow in your belly suffer and watch them be so frustrated.
Keep being patient and kind. They see it even if they don’t show it. My sweet girl is my world, it just took some time for her to let go of the chaos and she needed her other mother and her daddy to advocate for her. Even if we didn’t accidentally stumble across the abuse we still had made the decision to figure out what was causing her behavior :yellow_heart:

9 Likes

Also with adhd he could be overstimulated or overwhelmed by emotions/things happening in either home and he doesn’t have the ability to do anything constructive so he may be acting out for help. If that makes sense.

8 Likes

Learn more about neurodiversity and supporting lagging skills, and meeting sensory needs, etc…
Livesinthebalance.org and http://self-reg.ca are both great resources

1 Like

If you have him most of the time and mom willingly gives up her designated time, take it to court and screenshot every time she says for y’all to keep him.

Next note from stepmom to stepmom of an ADHD child. It’s not easy, not even close. But often times the lies, behaviors, etc are because his executive functioning doesn’t work the way it does for neurotypical kids. It was along battle against my son’s biomom to get him on and bc nothing else worked and he so desperately wanted to be good and be “normal”. It made a world of difference for him. While I know that may not be your option, but it’s something to consider. He can even tell us that he feels better with his med. Emotional dysregation is also part of it and they can’t control the impulses and the huge emotions they experience. Getting him counseling would be a good idea, especially with having a blended family dynamic and two vastly different households. If there are concerns about his treatment at mom’s, then make a cps call. But keep up the one on one and praise him for every good little thing he does even if it’s things like thanks for getting dressed this morning ing that was really great, etc. When I first met my son, he had a lot of things he had to learn to process through and it honestly got worse before it got better, but you just keep moving forward and remind them that tomorrow is a new day and that they have the power and choice to make it a good day. I highly recommend the ADDitude adhd group for parents.

4 Likes

I would let his father punish him. He’s just going to end up hating you and nothing you say or do is going to matter in the long run in my opinion and experience

2 Likes

You need to gt help on dealing with children with ADHD. There’s alot of levels to this kids life that must be impossible for him to navigate. Call a family meeting. Get a social worker involved. The behaviours you have discussed can be typical of an adhder and he will need help to change them. Poor kid.

6 Likes

He needs some counseling and behavioral therapy. Do you think starting any type of medication would benefit him? It is not for everyone. I think going to court and starting there may help some. Start keeping track of when he gets there, how he is dressed (like whether appropriate for the weather or not), if he is dirty (has been bathed). I would say tlal to your husband and see what kind of outcome he is looking for. Does he want him full time so he can provide better care? Does he want better communication? Does he want maybe financial help from the mother (as far as food stamps, etc)? This is all questions you both need to ask yourself. You honestly don’t sound like you love him like your own. Maybe you’re afraid to? I am unsure of the whole situation, but start there and go through all the questions…

2 Likes

If you view him as your own why do you feel like you’re a babysitter for having him more than bio mom does? Discuss this with his Dr. He likely needs therapy possibly behavior modification. Maybe meds. My sons have adhd and we didn’t want to use meds for a long time and it was a dumb decision my kids suffered bc of it and they’re doing much better now with meds. Also try talking with him hes still young so he is probably having a hard time communicating his feelings so its coming out in the form of anger and frustration

5 Likes

Tell your husband to ring and get benefits because he has him most of the time and if he doesn’t well it’s your husband letting you financially be left in hardship not the ex or the 9yr old. As for the rest of it to me it sounds like his dad lacks in discipline and you should be having this chat with him and stop blaming the child for every petty little thing especially if he has ADHD you gotta work out a balance that suits you all. I’d also be telling the mother to pull her socks up too and start taking more care of her son and hubby saying he feels sorry for his son or feels bad that’s a cop out his letting his son do shitty things that he knows his not suppose to and pulling the “ poor kid” card when NO if his smart enough to hide the evidence his smart enough to know he shouldn’t do it. Fair enough he has problems but to me it sounds a lot like dad and mum are also the problem and it’s putting a strain on everyone including the other little ones which mind you I wouldn’t tolerate I don’t care who’s kid he is if he is 9yrs old leaving bruises on my 4yr old his heading straight back to his mother where he came from!

Be kind and listen. Keep your opinions to yourself. I’m not saying that you don’t have a right to your opinion but to keep your own sanity, just be quietly available. Good luck. I’d you didn’t care you wouldn’t have posted so it’s obvious you care.

2 Likes

Two books will help you tremendously one is called the connected child. Foster parents use this frequently. The other book is called the explosive child it works wonders for kids who have ADHD or odd which it sounds like he might be bordering on. That is a total lifeline for children who don’t do well with normal discipline and have the behaviors or describing. If it were me I would document everything and I would go to court to gain custody of the child. It sounds like he is being neglected in his other home and that is causing behaviors spilling into your home because he feels safe. Children act out when they feel safe so thank you for giving him that safe space .

5 Likes

First I would get him in therapy. If he stays with you the most and you have registered him for school then you have the legal papers to file for stamps, and medical assistant.With ADHD I don’t know how true it is but I’ve read a lot of parents say giving coffee or cutting out red dye from the diet has been a life saver. Also at that age he’s probably acting out for attention as he sees he is the only one being dragged back and forth and not in a stable home. Again with the toys especially the snacks it seems as if he doesn’t get these things at home and he’s just wanting to enjoy the snacks and prevent the kids from having something he can’t. If he smells and is dirty when he comes back no one is looking after his personal hygiene so their probably not caring much further. If it’s something you want to do maybe talk to your husband and see if you could get custody of him. He needs someone to care for him on a consistent basis. If you care for him imagine how he feels. I would be upset about the bullying and toys also but it kind of breaks my heart to read he’s this desperate for someone to love him. Try talking to him and having one on one days and see if he’ll open up to what the cause of his behaviors. You’d be surprised what a child will reveal when they know someone really loves them.

4 Likes

That is so sad. My daughter is 9yrs old and she NEEDS consistency, attention & good Communication.
Her behavior shows when I’m slacking on any of those. He’s 9yr and he’s obviously not getting any of those needs met. Sounds like y’all need to take mom to court and get custody of him and give him those things & therapy. I know it’s probably hard to love him but remind yourself he’s ONLY 9 he needs love unconditional love as if he was your biological child.

Just love him and don’t fight with his mom. Encourage him to find a life outside. Cadets or sports that are regular and get involved. Show him his is worth your time . Every family has difficulties and are different. Encourage and empower yourself and the child. Just love him with time and patience.

4 Likes

I am sorry you are struggling with this but agree with Jamie Lee York :100:, sending peace n love

I’m not someone who is for medicating children unless they absolutely need it, but this might be a case where it could be helpful to everyone, especially your son. I would seek behavioral counseling and get started on a low dose of ADHD medication and see if it makes a difference. Hang in there mama, sending you love!

1 Like

He needs to see a therapist!

Ask yourself how would you manage this is it was your own child. He is 9. Love always wins in the end. And get professional help. Put the child’s needs and feelings above your own he is the one that needs help.

6 Likes

Change is really hard for kids with adhd. I suggest you read anything and everything you possibly can from what the brain difference is, executive function, impulse control. Once you understand what the impacts are of adhd, you’ll get a better understanding of where he is mentally, and how to best help him and yourself. Hopefully his mom has him in therapy and he has a support system he sees regularly? Parenting a neurodivergent child is much different than parenting a neurotypical child. My best advice is to research and try to understand how his brain works.

Try and remember this

6 Likes

My advice to you, after raising 8 children including 2 step children, 2 adopted and 4 I gave birth to. Love and listen. I’d change everyone’s diet to much less sugar, organic and nonGMO foods. No caffeine. Really restrict fast foods, especially McDonalds, no soda pop, artificial sweeteners and High Fructose Corn Syrup (very toxic) and preservatives. The experience I had with my 28 year old’s behavior issues, was food allergy. Wheat was the biggest culprit effecting her behavior. The dyes in foods are terrible. Many are high allergens. We went to a highly recommended holistic doctor. I am serious when I say we saw an improvement within days. In 2 weeks she was “normal”. Today she is an amazing mom and wife. Then again we adopted our foster children. One was Reactive Attachment Disorder. It was quite challenging. Diet did wonders. Much therapy. Today she is a great, beautiful mom with 3 young girls. And Pray, Pray, Pray. Btw: I am thoroughly convinced, through experience, ADD and ADHD is food related. Sugar. Garbage in, garbage comes out in multiple ways.

6 Likes

He needs counseling and a physical outlet DAILY. Around like he’s not a kid that can sit inside all day

:point_up_2::point_up_2:also totally agree with diet!

1 Like

Poor kid. Kids learn by what they see and have done to them . That being said not only is he swapping homes , he is swapping rules , and from being youngest to oldest. With that being said , how is he treated by older siblings at other home? Do they sneak food and lie? If so its a leaned behavior to get what he wants. Your doing great. A lot of talking. To you its a kid stealing and hiding snacks. To him it might be making sure he gets some or enough to eat when he is hungry. Try letting him have free access to fresh fruit and healthy snacks but he has to sit at table. Keep in mind he may eat it all until he gets use to having it there.

2 Likes

He might be testing ya and lashing out because his mom is absent, maybe try taking him for a walk by himself with ice cream something and talk to him with his dad and you. Also sounds like he’s jealous of younger siblings so he might feel left out as well, because even if you include him kids notice every time their sibling gets attention.:black_heart: I hope this helps

1 Like

My boy is 12 and still goes through these phases with his dad because he has only seen his dad 10-12 times his whole life and takes on kids that aren’t even his, and my son acts out terribly and on top of that he is taking adhd meds and a medication for mood swings too, so when it’s talking to his dad ever few months on the phone, everything else is my fault, we tried counseling he wouldn’t talk to much, just try and talk to him one on one and he will eventually tell you what is wrong.

1 Like

Regulate his environment. :heart:
For a child with adhd, he’s already stimulated by everything around him. Being passed around at his mum’s would have his body hyper stimulated, so by the time he comes back to your house, he’s most likely super wired. 💁

Keep yourself calm and regulated, he will pick up on it. :innocent: Self regulation will help your anxiety and depression also.
Support him and listen to his needs. Love him.

2 Likes

Some of this advice is good for a child with no medical issues and a bio mom who cares. This child sounds like he is neglected when with his bio mom. I say I believe this by you say…comes there stinky and dirty, inappropriate clothing and by his behaviour, you cannot tell me he only acts that way when visiting you and his dad. You and his dad should keep a record if everything, take him to a doctor for evaluation and advice and maybe medication and therapy. Since he is with you most of the time and if you can you should see an attorney about getting full custody so the child will have some consistency in his life regarding love and care. I assume your hubby pays child support. My question is why is he not being cared for properly. Good luck with whatever you plan to do for him. going forward

4 Likes

I mean he sounds like he needs counseling and parents who care enough to get that going … stealing snacks you feel like a built in babysitter and you don’t get any benefits for him … do you feel them same feeling with your children?? When you married did u know he had a child are you a stay at home mom while his dad is working bringing in the money there’s his share why does he feel the need to steal snacks do you feel like a built in sitter for your own as well ?

4 Likes

I can’t say on a lot of the other things cause I’ve never experienced but when I was a child when I got adopted I had a problem with the snacks and wrapper hiding problem and through therapy me and my parents learned it was a instinctual survivor thing that I had subconsciously learned because I wasn’t fed by my birth family for long periods of time so I’d stash it or eat alot at once and hide the evidence, I did it with snacks because I wasn’t old enough to cook or prepare food for myself and even though my adoptive family fed me very well my brain was always in survival mode because it’s what it learned from a baby until I was 5 when I was adopted the issue lasted for many years after being adopted though.
Your step son is probably being neglected and abused in his mothers house.

3 Likes

Ummm, there are a few things you can do. Let the kid stay with his mother and get regular visitations.
You could document how often he is there with pictures and video. Record behaviors and evidence of his behaviors like the wrappers and such.
If he isn’t medicated he may need to be or his meds adjusted. Many don’t agree with meds but he is violent and injured people and destroys property even with consistent parental involvement. He may be misdiagnosed as well.
He is neglected at his mothers house and that needs to be documented.
You can advise the mother that if she doesn’t provide a copy of his medical card and info on his doctors you will report her for fraud and child neglect… she could lose benefits for LIFE.

1 Like

If he is abusing your other child like you stated then he shouldn’t be there.
You should be sticking to the court agreement, documenting everything. The not being bathed, inappropriate dressed for weather. Also, inform the state that you have more than she does so you can get help.
Get him into therapy since he has state insurance.
You also need to protect your other children otherwise you are letting them see that his behavior is correct and soon they will act like that.

1 Like

He needs serious help now or he will just escalate and seriously harm your children. I still have nightmares about my ex’s kid. He was so bad I would just have to cancel everything and watch him like a hawk when he was over.

2 Likes

He’s got issues with bio mom not doing her job, then he comes to your house and you are doing yours. He’s got to be angry that his life is different.

1 Like

Have u thought about learning about adhd so u can understand his behavour more I have adhd is he a hyper adhd or an aggressive adhd there are lots of ways you could help him its just learning abiut it that will help so much and my son he also has adhd and yes it can be hard at times but just rem his brain is different my son finds it hard to listen because he can’t focus for long enough there are lots of ways to deal with challenging behavour sounds like he just needs guidence in channeling it in the correct way just rem his brain works different to your other kids so you need to talk to him in a way he would understand and lots of physical activities will help to get rid of some of the energy routine is also the key he may also feel abit left out in a way he knows ur not his real mum and his mum dosent sound to botherd about him and it could be abit confusing to him he could be trying to get ur attention weather its good or bad attention its still attention in his eyes i have an adhd book it’s really good and can help u learn ways of dealing with certain situations get urself some books and learn about it hinestly that will help alot he may also bennefit from abit of therapy and medication and certain foods will also add to it so a good suitable diet also will help

4 Likes

If it’s obvious he is not being properly cared for at his mother’s than his father needs to go fir full custody especially if yall are able to prove the differences between households as far as his hygiene care is concerned. He needs STABILITY and not back and forth like it is especially if there is such a drastic difference in how things are done…ie discipline routine etc…

10 Likes

Have dad do one on one with him while he is there without the other children… like maybe take him to lunch , a park something but let him have just some time alone with his dad let dad sit down and talk with him and explain that he still has to follow the rules at your house and if he dont get caught lying, stealing , what ever that before he goes back to moms … dad can take him out to lunch or do something that he would like to do with just dad time but he has to earn it … the next time which it up make it just your time but make it something he wants to do even if it’s to go get ice cream … make it a special time

2 Likes

He’s learned through bad behavior that he’s rewarded with attention. This most likely started from an early age. You need to understand something, children get hurt by the things they don’t understand. Such as why your step son is acting out so harshly. In his moms house, he isn’t a thought on her mind. She’s to busy with her own life and her own selfish needs. At your house he grew accustom to getting that one on one time kids need with their moms. What gives them confidence and self esteem. Well, your time is now stretched. You have two littles yourself who are young, very needy ages. Imagine being 9 years old, having abandonment issues, going to the house you’re constantly neglected at even though you don’t want to go there, and then when you get home from said place, you get to watch your siblings get treated a lot better than you did. The hiding snacks should warn you head on that she’s not feeding him while he’s there and he’s scared to get caught eating. That should bother you, my kids are younger than him and know they can always have a snack. May not be junk food like they want every fine but they are NEVER denied food. Your step child is being abused and is scared to say something. These are learned behaviors question is, is he learning it from your guys house or moms? Cause someone’s being mean to someone there and teaching him it’s okay to treat people like that.

3 Likes

Sounds like he needs family therapy.

2 Likes

Let me tell you this if that boy isn’t taken care of and you know he’s not at his mom’s why not get temp custody he’s a mental health client he receives benefits.
Think research " best interest"

Document everything give him baths and clip his nails keep an eye on him if he does this stuff right in front of you somebody needs to be talking to him about he shouldn’t be doing that stuff you may be need to keep a constant eye on him I know that’s hard but that’s what you have to do sometimes with kids.

How does he behave t school? There are programs at most schools that can help. These special classes usually integrate into regular Ed classes. Sounds like he needs major help. That plus family counseling might make a difference. Good luck my dear.

Unpopular opinion. left someone for something VERY similar. I felt used. So I had to think of me and MY children. I felt that it wasn’t fair to them, especially when we were happier before them.
It may sound mean BUT you have to think of YOU too.
Good luck.

2 Likes

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do I navigate a difficult step child?

Maybe try putting him in therapy. Normally I don’t make that suggestion but if he is hurting the siblings then something needs to be done or have da take her back to court and explain

6 Likes

He will have medicaid still if he was visiting you, use it and put him in behavior therapy.
If you and husband know how his home life was with his Mother why are y’all not in Court fighting for custody. The
boy has 2 parents time for the father to step up, if mother is not. Built in babysitter?!? How about being a Mother figure he needs. I’m sorry but you seem more interested in the child’s benefits he receives.

3 Likes

Sorry you are going through this, if you guys have him most of the time request a custody modification, make sure you keep track of every single time he’s with you guys, pictures, videos and receipts. Maybe if he’s with you guys he can get some needed medical/therapy attention. If your husband refuses to do anything legal, put your foot down and follow court order visitation, until you get a resolution. It’s not fair that you have to deal with his behavior and the parents are just acting dumb to the whole situation. PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN FOR YOUR SANITY!

9 Likes

The boy needs a mum and to feel loved .
He’s showing those traits at yours because he feels safe to do so. They are a cry out for attention and love and he only knows how to get negative attention … try to ignore the bad and give him as much love as possible. Teach them all to give each other as siblings lots of love and tell each other daily/when you all wake up and go to bed that you love each other… make it a thing.
He is still so young . You have enough time/years before he is a teenager to be able to turn this all around for him and you all as a family before things get worse ! You can do this.
Good luck :yellow_heart:

8 Likes

Keep trying, and don’t give up on him, I’ve been told that when a child misbehaves like that it’s because they are looking for attention, positive or negative- it doesn’t matter, as long as they get that attention. Kids crave it and when they don’t get it they will do whatever it takes to get that attention.

Don’t give up look into some resources that may be able to help and definitely do not feel like a built in babysitter , you do exactly what you would do if it was your own child I know when it comes to the financial part you can only do so much as a step mom but don’t give up on that sweet boy

Loving him as your own means sacrifice.

You need to do something to help him. He is obviously being mistreated by his mother. Fight for him. and I would suggest counseling. It will help with his lieing stealing and anger. But I think he’s doing these things because he wants love so bad. And he doesn’t feel love from his mom. That’s very sad.

I have a step son, who is younger than yours (7) and I have him full time so my situation is not exactly the same as yours, but reading your post made me think ALOT about him. When I first got him, he was almost identical to what you described your step son as. And he still has some of those behavioral traits. Which I think are just who he is. But the MAIN thing that helped was treating him like a man…I know that sounds fucking crazy, and obviously there are boundaries but boys are just young men. They need to feel respected and heard. But also have their momma to rely on. Which it sounds like your son doesn’t. so maybe take the high road and step up as his mom. Cuddle him when hes just sitting on the couch watching his favorite show (as small and putting your hand on his shoulder or just sitting close) and listen to him when he gets overwhelmed. Not give him what he may demand or give in on his punishment but let him feel heard. And one BIG thing that I started with my step son that he is responding amazing to is giving him a day of the week. Fridays are his day, that means if we go to a park he gets to chose which one. Or chose the music in the car, he gets to help cook dinner. And he gets 15 min after bedtime, once all the other kids are in bed. To spend with either I or his dad or both to whatever he chose (whith in our set boundaries) which is almost always playing a board game. But he also has to clean the main bathroom and his closet and any other random chore that may need to be done. It was hard at first for him to grasp the concept but I highly recommend trying it!..it makes him feel important and gives him some control like men like lol Just remember he’s still young and needs a momma, he’s a boy so he needs the support and respect but your the boss…good luck momma!

8 Likes

He’s 9 still a child, talk more with him ask how he’s feeling,how’s his days,let him know, his behaviour is not acceptable, use consequences, follow through,show him you both care/love,talk to all siblings together, don’t be quick to judge,cut his nails for him,help him to be clean with guidence, possibly doesn’t get from his mother, make time for all siblings to play together,go to park,

Go for custody and speak with social worker about neglect in the home … document everything I are pictures and ask yourself is full time better for structure and rules you can’t apply anything without consistency… even interm custody and supports instated for him while he adjusts they may look at the behaviour and say trial custody run and see what happens

1 Like

therapy for him alone, and for the whole family (your household) to help find a good family dynamic that will work.

2 Likes

He’s attention seeker

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do I navigate a difficult step child?

As you’ve said he already has Adhd and other issues, try educating him and your others on what that means, I used to think it was being naughty not sitting still etc but when I met my partner with adhd, I joined a group to understand it abit more and its really really hard for them to do simple tasks, they think all at once or nothing, it’s not as simple as people think it is. But maybe by educating him about what’s going on in his head he will be able to understand and manage it better, the same with his behaviour issues. Also he’s probably horrible to the other kids because he doesnt have any structure at his mom’s and can probably get away with everything, he wants the attention or he’s lashing out because he’s struggling and feels like he doesn’t fit in, although you say you treat him as your own (that’s great!) but if he sees how easy it is for them to do tasks that he’s struggling with yet he’s older, he will just not try or get frustrated and lash out.

2 Likes

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do I navigate a difficult step child?

1 Like

My son has severe adhd. If you ever need to talk feel free to reach out to me. I suggest researching adhd alot and finding a parenting style that works for his needs. Keep him super active and give him body breaks… examples: trampoline, punching bag, healthy outlets. Learn with him ways to slow his brain down also if u have him most of time maybe hey hubby to apply for main custody because then hes not bouncing around and going with two diff lifestyles.

27 Likes