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Jekyll & Hyde

CastleJJ's picture

After my last blog post, SS10 changed his tune and became a perfect angel again. I just don't understand it. He was a terror this weekend; rude, condescending, entitled, superior to everyone. And two days later, he was sweet, well mannered, and considerate. He has been saying "please" and "thank you," he has been helpful around the house, and he has done as he is told without argument.

DD just turned 4 months old and it was discovered that she needs a helmet to correct her plagiocephaly (flat head). SS accompanied us to the appointment on Monday because we didn't have a sitter. He expressed concern at the appointment and spent time helping us pick out designs for her helmet. He has been very helpful with her since, trying to calm her when she is fussy, playing with her during tummy time, watching her baby shows with her. Tonight, he had a friend sleep over and he asked his friend to go play in the basement with him so they did not wake DD. When getting ready for bed, he kept super quiet to not wake her up. He did all of this unprompted. 

I know that this kid is likely highly conflicted. He is stuck in the middle between BM/GF and us, even though we aren't trying to put him in the middle. He knows he has to be a certain way to appease BM and GF and he probably knows he will be interrogated after each visit. I know he is in an impossible situation, but I just don't get the Jekyll and Hyde complex that we experience, constantly flipping between both during visits. 


The_Upgrade's picture

I guess the only thing you can do is pull him aside and thank him for his efforts. That the last few days haven't gone unnoticed. As much as it grates, it'll puff up his ego and hopefully encourage more of the same behaviour.

ESMOD's picture

I think this is a good point.  We have to condition them in a positive way too.. so when you see good.. point it out and celebrate it.  

JRI's picture

I must say his "good" is very considerate and empathetic for a 10yo boy.  At least you know he does have those qualities deep down.


Winterglow's picture

I actually feel sorry for this kid. His mother is conditioning him to feel a certain way about you and your DH, she is never htere for him, she's pushing him at her GF, making him overperform and then he gets to your place ... and he's treated like a human being, he's only expected to do normal things for his age, he doesn't have to strive to get approval, in short, he fits into a normal family life with you. No wonder he goes from being a little shite (when he rmembers what he's been told chez BM) to being a normal little boy (because he's being treated like one). I wish he could spend more time with you. OTOH, he's building his supply of happy memories right now and they will serve him later, I hope.


CastleJJ's picture

I feel the same way. I know that 6 weeks per year is not enough to make a huge impact, but I'm hoping the memories he is making impact him in some way and benefit him later in life. I hope he continues to stay in our lives and doesn't PAS out during his teenage years. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

Were you around any other adults this week? I wonder if he is trying to look superior either around your family or adults that are his elders that are not a doctor or a professional. You said he had a good week until the camping trip where he was around a bunch of his elders. Sounds like this week, he has been around you, DH, DD a doctor, and then someone his age. You have talked about how BM is highly educated and likes to in summary show she is the smartest person in the room (from what I gathered) I wonder if he is picking up that trait now from his mother and wants to look better and more intelligent than the other adults in the room. Just my immediate thought! I am glad he has been very considerate of your DD and probably helped make that appointment easier since after the weekend I bet you were dreading taking him along for it beforehand. 

CastleJJ's picture

He was around my parents and some of our neighbors before this past weekend and was fine. My Mom provides daily childcare for DD, so he has seen her daily. It was just a weird shift. I can't pinpoint the cause. Good thought though. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

Your parents since it seems like they see SS often when you have him, etc. but felt like you talked about other adults being around and maybe that he was trying to show off.

It could just be him reverting to how BM and GF want him to act when with them, since they say how special, gifted, and above he is than his peers. Sometimes with SD we will have moments that I am like who are you? Because she does not act that way around DH and I, but then I think she realizes where she is and our expectations and she changes her tune.

TheAccidentalSM's picture

I wonder if BM and GF are telling him how you, your family and friends are beneath them and him.  He knows from experience this isn't the case for you and your parents.  But maybe adding others into the mix lets the BM/GF refrain kick in.  *unknw*