At OUR wits end with SS9
Eeek, sorry it is long! Background: I have a BS13 who I split 50/50 custody without a CO, CS etc, my priority. SO moved into my home April 2019. SS was 5 then, living w/BM. The CO was grey due to SOs job. He worked at the railroad-on call 24/7/365-impossible to have a set visitation schedule. They have 50/50 custody on paper still. SO would get SS every opportunity possible & I immediately saw he was behind in life. BM never had a job, collected excessive CS, asked for it early, wanted more, was verbally abusive, married a felon, taught SS no basic skills. July 2020, BM says she is moving 2 states away w/husb to care for MIL. They leave in 2 wks. No family there, BM a horrible mother & we request she leave him to live with us. She dropped him like a hot potato & ran, but continued to collect CS until the state put an emergency stop on that. Anyway...
SS9 is an absolute mess (expected). Forget upon arrival he was too fat to do anything but this onion seems endless. My SO & I are on the same page with parenting, discipline, rules, etc & but this kid is destroying us. My SO immediately quit a career he loved at the RR and took a $60k paycut, because he knew needed to be home every day for SS. New job-working weekends so eventually found a job w/weekends off, another small pay cut. Had to sell his beloved truck. After a year of searching got SS a counselor (worthless year wasted of no progress) so found new one. SO swears something is wrong w/SS in the wiring (I agree) but no one who matters seems to see it. I honestly feel SO has done everything possible for SS & us as a couple & has sacrificed so much. I really don’t know what else he can do.
I was very actively engaged w/SS for almost 2 years but it was wearing on me quickly as giving him attention seemed to just increase his hunger for it. I couldn’t get any air. He saw BM 2x for a total of 10 days in the 2 years she was gone. She rarely called but gave him a tablet which she threatened to take away constantly if he didn’t call her or reply on Snapchat. The conversations typically were BM making SS feel guilty, asking if he missed her & empty promises/lies. He has clearly been abused, neglected, guilted & blamed & it hasn’t stopped but there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it but continue to deal with the fall out. We also found he was left alone a lot at age 4 or so with video games & garbage food as a babysitter. We are SURE more has not been uncovered because the counselors say he doesn’t really talk about anything other than being left alone. He once told me he doesn't want to talk about his mom & get her in trouble. Screaming RED FLAGS.
April 2022 BM moved back here as fast as she left & he has spiraled since. In school, in life, in general. He has gained significant weight, has no motivation to do anything & it’s a fight to get him to go outside or do anything alone. He is obsessed with TV/electronics. He goes to BMs every other weekend, holidays & a week at a time this summer. I need the break because I work from home so I always have him as SO works outside of the home. SO has no other family to help & my family won’t take SS because he is too much for them & annoying. The trade is he returns absolutely wrecked. Sleeps 12+ hrs, lies, sneaking food, attitude, mouthy, has zero motivation, self confidence, doesn’t care to follow rules, just acts bizarre…the list is endless. He has such serious food issues that I now won’t do anything outside the home that includes him because he ruins it for everyone. Actually, I don’t want to do anything inside the home either (family games, etc) & no longer participate in any of his activities. I refuse to pick up slack for a BM who is capable of participating in sports practices & lives close yet chooses not to be bothered. Any appointment on her time is always missed. I have disengaged to levels that probably aren’t healthy for a child in my home but I don’t know what else to do. I admit I have likely added to his issues by doing this but I am out of patience with it all & trying to save myself. I am very particular in my home & this kid is an absolute slob, his father agrees. You can show him something 10x and he is so inconsistent with it to the point I believe he just doesn’t care. There is no other reasonable answer. OR, he can do it 50x for me but if dad is here he acts like he’s never been shown before. He says “Dad” 500x a day & I want to scream. 99% of our bickering surrounds SS & most of our irritation (that includes my BS13 being irritated by SS). Everything about him drives me insane & I guess I expected after 3 years he would have been doing way better than he is progressing to understand basic tasks, follow rules, deal with easy things a toddler can understand, and so did everyone else around me who is aware of the situation. They are puzzled & also convinced something is wrong with him. I could give 10 examples a day of stuff that I just don’t find “normal” (lots of odd blank stares like no one is home upstairs when you talk to him or ask basic questions) but until a dr agrees, diagnoses him & gives us tools to address it, that’s a moot point.
Yes, I feel sad for a child who didn’t choose to be here, was used, abused & discarded by his BM, has a father who never wanted him in the first place & was basically guilted into it (long abusive marriage story for another day) and has sacrificed so much & looks like it all hangs by a thread anyway. SS will never know that about his father & SS has NEVER been treated that way by his father, EVER, he loves him & clearly has moved the damn earth for him. SO knew he had to do the right thing & take him even though it’s about to kill us all. It’s an absolute horrible, heartbreaking & infuriating situation. I will be honest, I think so many days we should have just let her take him when she moved because I don’t know if I can take another 9 years of this getting little to no traction no matter how hard we work. Unlike most stories I read on here, my SO doesn’t wear rose colored glasses, isn’t Disney Dad & is literally about to die trying to save everything and dammit, we don’t know what else to do here. My SO checks every single box but his kid is a mess, he fully agrees & os frustrated too, he is & has done everything he can & I don't know what's left.
Any of you wise ST peeps got any brilliant gems of wisdom up your sleeve?