You are here

SS scared my 5yo

oatsnhoney's picture

Hi all,

Could use some differing opinions. I'm farely head strong in my parenting and in this instance.. I'm not sure what the best move is. The dynamic is this..  I have 2 SS's. One is almost 18, the other 14. They have, I think, a borderline personality mother. She is a yeller and belittler in private, and a fake super mom in public. She will beat any person in a debate by sheer persistance. She just talks and talks and knows everything, and is always right. I have long since checked out on that front and have no care at all about her. My DH deals with her. She used to bother me early on but no more. 

Early on I read all the positive parenting books, invested in the skids when they were at our house. Did it all. Homework, playing with them, dinners, teaching, guidance..  but my DH, bless him, is a lazy parent. So anything I'd try implement, like a time out, he would only do with my extra encouragment.. otherwise he'd let things slide. Plug them in to devices or tv. He also has a short temper so he can speak with exasperation at their behaviors. They both have ADHD. The youngest an over energetic dare devil, who shines in a room, but goes overboard and causes disruptions. And the older SS who has always had social issues..  meaning.. isolation behavior, body issues, meanness, but super smart so he never had to work hard at anything. I always pushed my DH to not "save him" if he got a bad grade. Let him learn failure and consequence. But as they grew, I learned that both DH and BM were not interested in my approach. I came to a place where I accepted these where their kids, and its their chioce. 

Now the problem..  I have my own child. DH and I have a 5yo. For the first year I pretty much did it all myself. It became very hard very fast. DH would still not be strong on house rules, and wasn't a bit helper. So disengagment grew. I contemplated leaving him but did not want to be separated from my child. And I love DH, just feel his short comings are tough on us. 

For the most part, we all co-existed ok. The Skids minded my rules, but I always have to ask them to do this or that, or not do this or that.. every.. single.. time. They retained nothing. It bothered me a lot. And DH would not back it up. Lazy parent. As teens, they were never limited on their phones and now they pretty much have them glued to their faces like Aliens. 

My son is now 5, and I work very hard to make sure he is happy, growing healthy, has activities, learning about equality, giving, learning, perseverence, kindness, joy..  its the most important job I have. He's a great kid. Super sweet, funny, and smart. He's also sensitive, and does not like loud sounds.

The past year has been hell for my DH. SS17 first declared he was trans. Which we are all fine with. Well my DH had a hard time but accepted it. We still dont know if that's real.. since he's a very masculan teen boy. But whatever, he doesn't need to know now, just be happy is all. Then.. SS17 declared he does not want to live. In panic'd desperate, weird hide his head in a couch behavior. Thank goodness that was all at BM's. But what it meant for us is my DH was gone a lot to the hospital. I had younger SS some times since DH and BM were busy with SS17. I just tried to make a good time for my son and SS14. And when my son was in bed I'd give SS a chance to talk it out. He's a good kid.

Things have ramped up and gotten worse. I warned DH that our son who is only 5, can not be exposed to suicidal behavior. We made a plan that if anything went down, Dh would remove SS17 immediately from the house. We had a long chat with SS17 and he thanked me for giving it a try. We had ground rules. But also spent a lot of time talking about him, his feelings, warning signs. etc. I found a great LGBTQ center he could go to and he loved it. Then.. he started drinking. Then pot. Admitted to "dark thoughts" but never explained more. Then put a belt around his neck in front of his cousins (thank god my son didn't see that). All these incidents resulted in hospital time, or more rules to shield my son, and save SS14 from the drama. Luckily my son was not exposed to any of it. But each time, DH and BM were very quick to grab any little kernel of "he's ok now" so they could go back to normal life. Any idea I had for DH to check in with the Drs etc was ignored. So I grew more and more ticked off. BM said nothing when SS17 went off his meds on his own. DH  never checked in with the Dr on how he was doing. Then SS called from a bridge, wanted to jump off. Instead of sending him to inpatient, they decided to handle it themselves. Sigh.. 

Meanwhile SS14 is afraid to get in a car with him and I have been sleeping with my son with his door locked every time SS17 was at our house. Then a few weeks ago, once again I had to ask SS not to say gay or queer in front of my son. And its not for any bad reason.. my reasoning is this.. until SS17 is ready to be "out" we shouldn't tell my son. because I do not want my 5yo to have to lie in public. If SS is going to be a SD.. then that's great.. but my son should not have to remember.. its a SHE in the house and a HE at the store. Its too confusing for a 5yo. And I dont want my 5yo to accidentally "out" SS17 when he's not ready. DH agreed. But.. never truly explained to SS. Also remember DH  never follows thru on rules.. so the skids never retain them. I have told SS17 not to use certain words around my 5yo. its not rocket science. But he did again, so I said please don't.. and SS17 FLIPPED THE SH*@ OUT!! in front of me, my 5yo, DH and SS14. He was screaming FU($* THIS FU*@# THAT, F&@(*, FU!$, FU#$ over and over banging walls. DH jumped up and ushered him outside. I brought 5yo upstairs. DH called BM. Neighbor came outside. They were out there for 20 minutes and he was screaming the whole time. I texted DH he needs to leave. (SS17 has a car). DH didn't respond. I then called him and DH said "He wants to leave, I dont want him to drive like this". I said "He leaves or I call the police". SS is BIG, not a small frail kid. He justifies all his antics, even when it was him hitting a girl on the bus when he was in middle school. I dont' trust DH can handle him. And I'm scared. My 5yo is saying he's scared and his heart is beating fast. 

I am LIVID. All these years of me pressing DH to parent properly, and  him not doing it. I totally called this. I said if you don't give  him consequences he will never learn them! BM was a whack a do. They created this and now I have to deal with it?? NO WAY. Later that night DH said he thinks SS17 is crazy. Literally. He has a screw loose. He doesn't know how to help him. I didn't even bother asking if he's spoken to the Dr recently because I already know the answer. I told DH.. I just have an uneasy feeling. And as a female, and parent to a small child. I need to follow my gut. I can't have him around. Of course this puts DH in an awful position. He agrees in one breath and then gets mad in another. I told him I know people with mental illness and addictions. And I know what "being on the program" looks like. And I have seen zero effort from SS17. All I see is him snowing people and not taking responsibility over and over again. And you two saving him over and over. 

Honestly I don't think they are caring for this problem correctly. Which means SS isn't being helped as best as he could be. And the side affect is my small child and myself are at risk. That's how I feel. But now.. its Christmas. So far things have worked out that the every other weekend visit hasn't been at our house. But usually we have them for a big chunk of time over the holidays. I feel myself waivering between giving it a try.. to saying NO, LISTEN TO YOUR GUT... its your job as a Mom to protect 5yo. 

When every 5yo asks if SS14 is coming to visit, he never says SS17. He used to ask for them both,  now he only asks for SS14. The past little while he's been acting out getting angry. I've been working on it and he's relaxing back to himself. We had a chat that night about what he witnessed. And again he brought it up how SS17 made him sad, and he doesn't like loud noises. We had a chat then too. I don't want to over do the talking and make it big in his mind. But honestly.. he has NEVER seen a human act like that. 

What would you do?? Whats the right thing to do? Risk my 5yo being exposed to try create harmony, when I have no control over SS17's treatment or parenting? Or ask them to keep that work outside of our home to protect my 5yo.. putting my DH in an awful position and further straining our marriage.

ESMOD's picture

I don't understand why SS14 is not allowed to come for visitation.. I think his life and access to his dad shouldn't be limited because of his brother's behaviors.

As far as the older boy is concerned.. obviously, it would seem logical that the boy not be allowed to be around your 5 yo unless he is being monitored.  Honestly, it sounds like SS17 needs more counseling.. if the dr he is seeing isn't working out with meds.. he needs to see a diferent one.  However, I understand you have no control over that.

My line in the sand would be that SS17 is not welcome for visitation unless he is actively pursuing his mental health recommendations.. including any medications.  Also, he is to not to be allowed unsupervised time in your home.. If he is there.. your husband is there with him. 

Now, as far as certain words.. I'm not sure what context those words are being used.. like if the boy is referring to himself as something.. or whatever.  Also, 5 year olds probably hear a lot of stuff and say things that surprise and confuse people all the time.. mostly just laugh and shake your head.. as in "I have no" and move along.  I don't think hearing words is particularly damaging or dangerous.  Now, seeing someone mimic suicide etc.. that is something I would definitely not think is good.. but again.. the rule would have to be that your husband is there with ss17 the whole time.  That probably isn't realistic given the fact that your husband probably works.


Again.. I think you should be having the 14 yo over.. but I think you have a valid concern when it comes to a 17 yothat is not on his meds.

oatsnhoney's picture

Agree with you on the 14yo. It has kind of worked out since SS17 works. So most of the time SS14 comes Friday - and Sunday DH drives him back but spends time with SS17 too before drop off. Luckily SS17 is very busy.

But last time DH wanted to go with us (5yo and I) to a festival and didn’t want to only get SS14. I asked, so SS14 is being punished for SS17’s actions? He can’t come if SS17 isn’t? And DH said yes. He doesn’t want SS17 to feel abandoned. I said, but it’s a consequence for actions? Aren’t you telling him that and using it as a learning opportunity? He will be an adult in 5 months, he needs to know the world has serious consequences when adults act like that. You should be teaching him. Encouraging him to make amends with me and talk with 5yo. 

deaf ears...


futurobrillante99's picture

I would like to know why SS17 who your DH thinks is crazy is DRIVING? He can't be too crazy if he's holding down a job. I don't really like the word crazy, but he must have a functional mental health issue.

If he's dangerous, I wouldn't like the idea of him being able to drive anywhere - to your house - off a cliff.

Is this child seeing a therapist? Is he under the care of a psychiatrist?

I agree with you that SS17 should not be allowed in your home and SS14 should be welcome. In fact, your DH needs to know what SS14 NEEDS a break from the mess with BM and SS17 or he may be influenced by them.

If DH wants to go to a festival and include SS14, then he offers SS17 another outing for just the 2 of them so SS17 feels special.

oatsnhoney's picture

He has had 3 jobs. First he was fired for being to lackidasal. 2nd fired for backtalking the manager. 3rd is now, its been a couple months. Yes he's very functional as in..  he wants money, so he will get to work. He wants to get into college, so he will do his SAT's and college visits. And he talks a great talk. The flip side is.. he completely breaks down and won't budge, just yells "NO!! I DON'T WANT TO LIVE" for like 2 hours at BM's house. I've seen video. When he was young he would do this during certain homework.. throw himself to the ground and stay there. Its very odd. I always told DH, (because they were sending younger SS to therapy for impulse control).. that younger SS is not the problem. He will be ok. Its older SS.. he has social issues, can't fit in, is awkward, is so smart he never fails so never has to work hard.. that is who should be in counselling. 

deaf ears...

Yes, I did say SS14 needs a brake and to bring him. That he needs time away from the screamer BM, and the sullen, isolating, or flipping out SS17. SS14 told DH that he flips out like that at BM's house once a week. 

Your good idea about the festival would all on deaf ears. The response would be "how do i go just get SS14 and not SS17? What do I tell him?" Which I would have responded, well he knows he is not allowed at our house while things are volatile doesn't he?? To which DH would have replied, "he doesn't know that so much anymore. I can't just abandoned him. The therapist says he is fearful of being abandoned". Now before you break out the tissues.. I strongly feel SS would say that to keep from getting in trouble and get his parents to coddle him. I have said this to DH, who agrees that  may be true.. but being suicidal how can he risk it? 

futurobrillante99's picture

These episodes seem like tantrums more than legit mental illness, but I’m not a doctor.

My Autistic son would have meltdowns during homework. Feeling overwhelmed was legit but his tantrums were to avoid doing what he didn’t want to do.

oatsnhoney's picture

And yes seeing a therapist. I’ve pushed DH to get more involved with the Dr, but .. 

DH is scared of him driving. SS14 doesn’t want to ride with him. Yet he has a car. BM wants him to have it. She doesn’t want to be driving him around to work and back. And wants him to learn to manage it before he’s 18 and off to college.

beebeel's picture

My older brother terrorized me and our little brother for years because he refused treatment for mental illness. It's not just the direct, actual terrorizing that left an impact : it was the fights between him and our parents, fights between our parents about him, fights with other family members, fights with strangers that put him in jail more than once. Fights. Fights. Fights. And he was NEVER responsible for any of it.

Listen to your gut and do NOT sacrifice your child's need for a stable home for this kid. I would be firmly against allowing him any contact with your 5 year old until he has been on meds and working through his shit for at least a year. My older brother is never around my 2.5 year old because it is the only way I know he won't traumatize my child.

Rags's picture

This isn't rocket science and hindsight being 20/20... when SS/SD?-17 freaked out you should have called the police to have him removed from  your home and immediately contacted your attorney for a RO/PO keeping SS/SD?-17 away from  your home and family.  He has grown increasingly unstable and volatile.  At this stage you and your DH need to protect your younger two and give them a chance at the ages that they are and a chance to grow up in a calm stable home.

You may also want to consider forced emancipation for SS/SD?-17 since rules do not seem to be something he is interested in following.

This kid needs help but no one can help him until he decides to help himself.

His Trans/Questioning status is irrelevant. His behavior is the issue.  Confront the behavior.  Force accountability on him for his behavior.  Your DH needs to pull his head out of his ass and focus on his 12yo and his/your 5yo.  The 17yo should not be allowed to adversely impact their childhoods.  Because DH has failed to effectively deal with this it is time for you to deal with it. Call the police and get this kid gone.

IMHO of course.

Good luck.

oatsnhoney's picture

I agree, but how do I get that across to DH who will be offended, anxious, angry, stressed and defensive at this type of stance??? I really feel for his position, but not to a point where I should sacrifice my own.

Our marriage has already grown further. We are friends and put differences aside. But they are not solved. We slip into my life your life mode a lot. I work to forgive our differences and distance so the house can be happy and peaceful for my son. But this toxic crap is circling my quiet life.

How does a RO work? If there is a next time I am pressing panic on our house alarm immediately. I already decided. It silently alerts police to come right away. We also have a camera outside now so any antics would be recorded. 

DH believes in never leaving his kid. Which is great. I think that too, about MY kid. SS is not my kid. But he’s also not great at actually parenting or emotional intelligence. He has other wonderful qualities but we are opposites on parenting front.

DH will say this is his home too. He will say that stance could push SS over the edge. He asks how long I’m going to feel this way and I’m being too cold.

SteppedOut's picture

Sometimes you can't make others understand without them getting angry/defensive/et al. That is NOT on you, it is on them.

It sounds as though you have been more than reasonable. 

Does your husband not understand all this is not ok for a five year old (and your other SS for that matter). Should EVERYONE be sacrificed to SS mental issues? Really? That is ok to him? 

Sometimes people just don't agree. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations. 

Stand your ground with your boundries, if you feel that is best for YOUR SMALL CHILD. No way I would allow all that around my little one. 

oatsnhoney's picture

They are supposed to come Friday. We’ve been avoiding talking about it. I think he’s hoping SS17 will be busy so he won’t have to deal with it. 


futurobrillante99's picture

The panic button is a good idea. Sometimes the only way to get someone help is to involve the authorities and take it out of the parents hands.

blayze's picture

Gah!!! This ridiculous situation is so terrible for you. I hope you’re getting enough me-time as well as time with people who love you!  It’s hard to not let other people’s problems to take over your life when you have to deal with your man’s baggage!

Since DH didn’t bother to study and learn parenting skills, he lost his right to be offended or angry at YOU for not putting up with the toxic human he created. He’s allowing himself, his wife, and his other children to be affected by his mistakes. He is straining your can only help so much.

Can you honestly say you did your best helping SS when he was younger? You weren’t even a parent, but it sounds like you were the only one trying! 

You either deal with this indefinitely (which will also strain your marriage) or you don’t accept bs in your home.  Nor blame! Nope, DH can’t blame anyone but himself. 

The “kid” is smart enough to get good grades but not smart enough to not swear in front of a 5 y/o? 

Oh well, too bad DH. See SS elsewhere. 

And sorry, not sorry, I don’t think people magically become adults at 18. Ages 15-17 are young adults in my opinion. Most of my girlfriends had lost their virginity by 15 so I can’t call young people “children”  on par with a 5-6 year old. I have a 13 year old that I am training for adulthood... my expectations are that he acts like a young adult - including knowing when to behave. You TEACH your children to be adults. Your husband failed, and now you’re all suffering for it. 

If there’s one thing I learned in this whole stepparent game- take care of you and yours because no one else will. 


oatsnhoney's picture

It helps to know others see my point of view. No me time really with loved ones. All my family is in another country. I moved here for work then met DH. Only relatives around are his.

New_to_this's picture

I feel for you. Your SS18 needs a lot of help. I would say listen to your gut and don't allow SS back into your home under any circumstance. But, I understand it's hard when you are actually the one dealing with the situation. When you feel for your husband and what he's dealing with. When things are calm for a few weeks and DH says that things are normal now, that he has things under control. When you are trying to save your relationship for the sake of your child.

I have a mentally ill SS who is 14 years old. He doesn't have as many issues as yours, but he has enough that I don't trust him alone with DS3 and I avoid being in a house with him alone whenever possible. Additionally, I have an 18 year old SD, who I like and is by all means normal and well-adjusted. My DS3 has no idea of the problems SS has, but your DS now knows and doesn't want to be around his older brother. I think you should respect that. I don't think you should allow SS18 in your home this holiday for an extended period of time and you should not force your DS to spend time with him either.

My SD is now 18 and in college. She goes to BM's house or our house when she chooses. But, when we dealt with SS issues when she was a minor, she was forced to go where he went because DH and BM wanted them together. I felt bad for SD. Two years ago, SS didn't want to live with us and made claims of abuse, possibly so that he could live with BM full-time (which was something that she didn't want, but to not look like a bad mother, was forced to take on). SD, who I'm sure didn't want to live with her mother was required to because of SS's actions. BM's full-time stint didn't last long, but while it was going on everyone who knew our situation felt bad that SD was required to live with BM. Since you seem to like your SS14, I think you should try to lobby for him to spend time with your family without SS18. But I also know that's hard when BM and DH want to think that everything is normal and don't want to make waves, so they stick the two together.

--figureditout--'s picture

I don't have experience with the gender identity other than my own son stating he was bi about 2 years ago; it was a non-issue as my boys are both teens and we have friends who are LGBTQ. What I do have experience with is mental illness, suicidal tendencies and drug and alcohol abuse.

My boys were 5 and 8 when SD started her downward spiral.  She was 12-13 at the time. SD lived with us full time. Her mother was not a part of her life at all and we were told that she is bipolar.  My boys grew up knowing that their sister is sick inside her head and that it is not catching. Unfortunately, they got used to the cops being called out and their sister going to the hospital for 3 days at a time. They saw way too much for their ages. The boys are 13 and 16 now, and far more mature than their peers due to this.  I will probably catch heat for this, but if you can shield your child from this shitshow, do it.  My boys childhoods were stolen from them by our focusing on her along with our drinking problems.  

oatsnhoney's picture

DH got home from skid visit. Just a dinner and drop back at BMs. The weekend at our house visit is looming. He didn’t bring it up and neither did I. DH could be thinking any one if these:

- I am ignoring this issue until forced to figure out at the last minute. Then I will ask wife “what do I do about skids?” 24 hours before they are supposed to arrive. (Cue my honest answer and his defensive anger crap.)

- I hope SS17 is busy so I can ignore this.

- SS IS busy so I am saved this weekend.

- I think enough time has passed that wife will cave.


i hate having this looming. I think I need to just sit him down and say.. we can’t leave this unorganized. We need a plan thru the new year so we aren’t stressed with the anticipation of a fight. 

amyburemt's picture

inpatient hospitalization. but saying that also realize our mental health system in this country is broken. Has your dh had him tested for drugs? If someone is on a bridge threatening to jump, dh and bm shouldn't just go handle it. This kid needs help that no one can give him but professionals. your dh needs to sign him in somewhere long term before he turns 18 and then it can't be done.

oatsnhoney's picture

Preaching to the choir! He’s done 3 ten day inpatient stays. 3rd time they said he’s getting too comfortable here and not doing the work. We recommend long term. Only option for long term was state hospital. DH had visions from the movies and said no way. So he’s been doing twice a week with therapy. Then SS dropped it to once a week (no one told me), they SS stopped his meds (BM didn’t tell DH), then SS started smoking pot daily and BM flipped out. Said he’s your son too, I’m kicking him out. She simmered down. Then the bridge thing, then 2 weeks later the Flip Out at my house.

i will never agree to SS living with us. I’d get a lawyer and RO.