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Having a day!

AshMar654's picture

I am tired this week and just having my fill of things all in all. As I talk to people I work with who are not step-parents or have ever tried to parent a child who was partly raised by g-parents, DH, and aunt sometimes, I realize they have no freaking clue!

I am constantly running into issues with SS, mainly really bad habits he developed from living where he did before. I think we finally are getting a control on the lying, YAY. Now it is constant talking back and arguing everything. He did this before but so much worse lately. Yes I have to catch myself a lot to not bicker back and just say stop enough. DH and I both correct it all the time, but it persists and I know where he learned it. Yes I blame my MIL and FIL for this as this is something they always did, MIL much worse. She would stoop to a kid level and argue back all the time with everyone. Anyway not really the point.

I was talking with people I work with and they are like just don't tolerate it, nip it in the but, punish him, give him a good swat on the butt. I have tried most no swatting on the butt. As they are telling me things and I am taking it in, I simply think to myself how long does it really take to undo what happened for almost 9 years. Do these people know how hard it is to keep your calm when you are coming in and trying to undo? Do they understand how hard it is to not totally flip on the child because you know deep down it is hard for him because that is what he grew up knowing for almost 9 years.

I do not deal with BM's or stuff like that I do deal with other step-parent crap of undoing all the bad habits and trying to mold a much better unspoiled child. I do not have many people around me that have raised a child that was not theirs full time. My Aunt did maybe I should talk to her she lives in another state. Oh man is it hard some days. I love him and treat him as my own. Today is one of those days where I just want to scream into a pillow to just let out the frustration.

I wish sometimes I had more people in my life that have been through a similar situation so I could get some really good guidance and lean on a little. I know people on here but it is not always the same. I knew I was taking on a lot but does not mean it does not take its toll someday. I hope that DH and I can undo all the bad habits but I wonder because we are going on two full years soon and some stuff has improved but when will the rest of it?

Sorry for the vent just need someone to listen who can actually commiserate.


oneoffour's picture

He is having the Last Word. He wants to have the last word and will wear you down until you give in. Yes, his grandparents indulged him and allowed him to play the equal adult. However you inherited this child. I had a few of my own children try this with me. Learn to ignore him. When he doesn't take no for an answer turn around, look him in the eye and say "If you have a problem hearing me then we should get your ears checked. No is no. I will not talk to you again until you change the subject. I am not giving in, I am not arguing with you. I am over 18 and you aren't. So that makes me the adult and not you. The more you argue and try to get your own way the more you lose privileges. The next mean word out of your mouth or an attempt to argue even more means 1 hr less wifi time. And yes, I will shut it off. Think very carefully before you respond."

I call it the Mary Poppins Conditioning. Make yourself into Mary Poppins. Firm but fair (and practically perfect in every way!) You have to tell yoursle fto disengage from his claptrap and loving the sound of his own voice. I would also add "This will never get you a girlfriend. Girls don't like know it alls who argue all the time." But that is just me.

AshMar654's picture

Thank you! I will continue to the path of not giving in and setting him straight. When I tell people around me how hard it is to break some of the bad habits they tell me to be tougher take more away punish harder. I agree but they really just to not understand how hard it can be to undo 8 years of g-parents indulging him and letting him get away with it. It is exhausting at times.

Too bad he is no where near interested in girls right now. Not even close because maybe that would work.

TwoOfUs's picture

I agree with this.

Kids are manipulative little effers and they know that if they can get you talking and arguing or justifying yourself to them they have a better chance of getting their way / wearing you down. 

My parents were really good about this...especially me dad. I can’t tell you how many times me or one of my siblings tried to start something with one of my parents and my dad just shut it down and said: “We don’t argue with children.” Or “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Or. “This is not a democracy. This is a benevolent dictatorship.”

Whatever the saying...He made it very clear...we did what we were told or suffered the consequences. 

As we got older, we had discussions about rules and expectations...really even when we were young both parents would converse with us and explain their reasoning to us...but only AFTER we’d complied. Compliance first...then discussion. 


SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

How did your fiancé address the lying until now? BM has been MIA since FSS was a baby, right? 

AshMar654's picture

He would take things away and punish him. When he was out of town and g-parents were the only ones there and the aunt well he got away with it. They would joke about it and think it was funny not DH but the g-parents.

BM has been MIA since his 4th b-day. It changes all the time first it was 2 than 3 and now 4. She would pop up here and there before that since he was a baby. Not set schedule not set visits. I think months would go by between the times she would see him. They stopped after his 4th b-day.

Again I am not totally sure because I hear different things all the time. It has been at least 6 years.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

I feel like you've signed yourself up for a lot of disfunction. This kid has so many layers of things to work through (mom abandonment, gparents undermining dad as the parent then flitting off to retirement). And you're there trying to treat everything like it's ok and just a few more months of stability and firm rules will make it better. This kid has already learned that punishments aren't forever so all he has to do is wait it out. He's also learned that caretakers aren't permanent, all he has to do is waits ut your relatively strict household and you'll be gone too.

AshMar654's picture

Um ok. I think you have missed the parts where I am married to my DH and I have started the process of adopting SS. So I am will be in his life for the long haul and trying to show not everyone leaves. His dad has been there the whole time and is stable.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

I mean, all I'm doing is validating that you're having a rough time and using your own stories to show I understand your frustration and you want to.. argue? You said yourself in this post that the kid has had at least 6 people involved in raising him and helping to mold his character in 10 years. That's a lot of change for a little guy and I'm sorry you're feeling so frustrated that you're dealing with all of this. 

Livingoutloud's picture

I’d find child psychologist or a therapist. Kid might need to talk to someone 

I am suspicious that they give you different time frame when BM left. Makes me wonder 


AshMar654's picture

Me too. I find it all very confusing. DH has been pretty set on his time frame he has always said around 3 maybe 4. I found out he was not home when she came on his 4th b-day to drop off a card. I think he was away for work. So I get why DH is a little unsure. They rest of them it has been all over the place.

Livingoutloud's picture

How could he not remember when mom completely stopped seeing SS? “Around 3” or “maybe 4” just isn’t the same thing. Originally you said they told it was earlier than that. It’s fishy.  

beebeel's picture

Well you can't claim dad was always present and stable if he wasn't even around enough to know when the mom stopped seeing her kid.

I suggested two years ago that you and your then BF could benefit from parenting classes, but you didn't want to hear it. Many members here have given you excellent advice on being a SM, but you argue with them. Several here have suggested finding a therapist for SS (again for years) but you argue with them, too. Is it a coincidence that your SS is argumentative?

It's impossible to help someone when they constantly shoot down your advice. You have this mentality that absolutely no one understands you and your family dynamics. Many here can relate with exactly what you're going through, but you come after them as if you're so different from the hundreds of sms here. I deal with many similar circumstances in my DH's family as you are dealing with yours. I have tried for YEARS to help you, relate to you, give you the benefit of the doubt, etc., yet you refuse to try anything different from what you're stubbornly doing. 

Venting is fine. Everyone needs to vent sometimes! But when the venting is over the same shit, different day, month after month, year after year, at some point you need to actually implement the advice you're given and try something new. Why? Because I'm out. I'm done. This is my last attempt. Many others here have already given up trying to help you. 

Livingoutloud's picture

I agree with beebeel that it’s impossible to offer advice if you never take it or even respond to it. I suggested to find him a therapist and you just ignored it. And it’s possible that SS is argumentative and doesn’t listen because that’s how adults around him are.

And no your DH wasn’t stable presence in SS life at all. If he was, then why isn’t he blamed for what’s going wrong with SS? If he was the one who raised him then he is to blame. Otherwise you have to admit that SS was raised by other people until you came to the picture and now is raised by you.

Also you and dad supposedly are the ones raising him for the past two years. So why is how he turning out is someone else’s fault? You two need parenting classes and need to stop blaming others on how your kid behaves. Your punitive style of parenting isn’t working 

SS needs help and you two refuse to seek help for him. Because you again know everything better. 

AshMar654's picture

Thank you living out loud and beebel. I am pretty sure in past post I have said we might have to try therapy. I am not totally closed off to that and neither is DH. I have discussed it with him as a possibility if things do not improve. I do take advice on here I am sorry that I did not sit there and tell everyone that I have talked about that with DH.

I am pretty sure I have even admitted that DH has screwed up in the past and he even admits he is a lot to blame for how things are. I thing I have said that in past posts as well. I have listened and taken advice on here. I am just tired and frustrated. It is coming up on two full years and I think it is still going to take a lot more time to undo some of the bad habits that were and still are there. Finally got a handle on the lying and I am pretty happy with that. All in all SS is a really good kid. He does well in school his teachers have always said great things about him. He is one of the smartest kids in his grade. The day care teachers say they wish they had more like him. I know what we are doing is working.

I had to work with him on sitting at the table correctly firmly on his butt in a chair. He use to like push off the chairs and he broke several living with g-parents, yet no one ever corrected it including DH. He destructive behavior has gotten so much better. Now we are working with the attitude. This weekend DH was not pleased about SS saying he was out of pants to wear to his practice the next morning right as he was going to bed. SS said something the next day so DH said fine here you go you fold all your own laundry. He showed him how and walked away we came back about have way through both of us saw he was doing it half fast and made him redo things. There was much more of that this past weekend.

Back to therapy we will do it if we both feel it comes to that. He pushes limit with me and DH and no one else. If I really thought therapy would do a benefit right now I would take him. Also if we could afford it I would take him but it costs plenty of money until we hit our deductible. There is also that to consider. We talk to him and explain things to him and we are trying as parents. This post was more about me just being tired and not having anyone to relate to around me. I appreciate the feedback on here and thought I might not say in every post I will go do that does not mean I do not take it in and use some of it. I never claimed I knew anything better but I have read many post on here and most people are dealing with a BM, I do not have that. There are some on here that can really grasp my situation but not everyone. It has been trying and I have appreciated a place to vent. When I vent all people do is give me the same line send SS to therapy, or DH was not a good dad. I am feeling I can not longer vent on here because I am not taking the advice and going and doing as I am told.