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When your child is the skid that the step parent can't stand....please help :(

confusedsm11's picture

Short background...SS4, DD6, DS1. DD6 is not DHs. Anyway, DD6 has always had some issues. She was diagnosed ADHD last year but the program we went through was junk and left it. After DS1 was born, DD6 behavior turned around dramatically until the past few months. DD6 is getting more and more out of control. She is very angry, has alot of hatred towards herself and others, is just out right defiant. She is worse with DH and SS, WAY WAY WAY worse. DH wanted me to let him "take control" as DD6 never had a father figure and he thought he could "fix it". I tried to give him that but I keep pointing out to him, when the kids aren't around, that he is overly punishing DD6 yet SS4 is tormenting her and pushing her on and he doesn't even get spoken to. For example- all 3 kids in the backseat, DD^6 in the middle. She says SS4 hit her in the head with his head. DH straight out told her she was lying and she needs to stop making up stories. 2 seconds later DH and I both look back at the same time and SS4 is hitting DD in the head. I whispered to DH that maybe he should apologize as clearly he was hitting her. He said no that SS did not hit her the first time and that DD was lying. DD starts crying, which is odd bc she is usually full of rage. We get home, she refuses to get out of the car. It looked like DH was being rude to her so I went over and said "what are u yelling at her when she is crying" (ok I was wrong for saying anything) he then calls me a fucking bitch in front of both of my bios and storms away. DD comes into the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner and SS starts to torment her. Well, DD LOST IT...I mean she was so hysterical that I was terrified. DH tried talking to her and SS was still trying to mess with her and I freaked. I told DH that she is having some sort of psychitic break and to just leave her alone. I made her a plate and took her outside. I then went to my neighbors who is a social worker and started talking to her about what I should do (I already have a psychiatrist appt for DD). DH starts sending me nasty text messages and after we got inside the house was making rude statements to DD6. He is always being sarcasticly rude to her, he gets mad when she says she doesn't believe in God (I mean FUMING), they are always in constant debates. DD dislikes him I believe bc she sees SS get away with murder and DH yells at her FOR EVERY SINGLE THING SHE DOES WRONG. Now, I get it to an extent. I dont like SS. He interferes with my life and I could seriously live without ever seeing him again. I'm assuming that is how DH is feeling about DD BUT instead of disengaging like I did, he is going completely over the top. Again, DD NEEDS help, she has alot of angry and self hatred, etc. But I feel like us always yelling at her trying to "fix it" or "put some fear into her" is going to push her over the edge completely. Quite frankly I'm tired of watching SS cry and get away with everything and DD gets scolded for leaving the door open or for walking near SS. After he made his comments to DD6, I snatched her up and went to my moms. I felt bad leaving DS1 but thought it would be best for him (he cant be outside bc of sickness) to stay home. I told my mother there was a good chance I would be back tomorrow iwth my bags. I just don't think there is any reasoning with DH. He makes me feel like a failure as a mother and a wife. I am doing the best I know how with DD, I really really am but I can't just let go and give him control when I dont agree with what he is doing. I fear for DD. I don't know what exactly started her issues but I need to help fix them. I know DH wants her to get the help but he is going about it the completely wrong way. I don't want to leave but I don't want to stay. I don't want to share custody of DS1...I just don't want any of the mess that comes from breaking up a blended family. I wish there was a way to get DH to understand I'm not trying to give DD a scapegoat to punishment but she has already cut herself on purpose before I just don't want her to hurt herself. I don't want to be the reason something bad happens to her. I just think we should stop yelling ALL OF THE TIME at her until we see the psychiatrist and maybe they can shed some light onto what is going on with her. Sooo ladies, as most of us are the evil SMs, do you think DH is right? Should I give him more control? From what he says, he feels the same way most of us do about DH and Skids and "guilty parenting". I might guilty parent some but in a situation like this, where I fear for her safety and mental health, I think it's ok to cut the kid some slack. Sorry this was so long but I am truley at a loss for what to do next.

hismineandours's picture

Gee this is tough. I am very biased as I am one of those wicked sm's-who has a ss with "mental health" issues. I heard the "he cant help it"'s for quite a few years when he was younger. He is 13 now and horribly unbearable to be around for any length of time (for ANYONE to be around)-noone ever disciplined the kid because they always felt sorry for him because of his adhd, because of his bm, because he was a child of divorce, because he had a wicked sm, blah, blah, blah-so his parents were always cutting him slack.

It sounds to me what your child needs is strucutre and discipline. Kids thrive on it-especially adhd kids and others with mental illness. They need predictability and routines. Sit down with you dh and make some household rules and consequences (for ss4 too). This is classic-with your dh being too strict and you trying to compensate by cutting slack and she is able to see this interchange-she will continue to think your dh is an ass (because you are letting her know that as well with your actions), he will continue to feel unsupported and angry and take it on her-and she will become a pawn in the conflict that you and he are not able to work out. I am not judging you as I have most certainly been there and still am at times. I have always told dh that a big part of MY problem is not ss but him-because he will not play on the same team as me. If you keep playing for different teams, your dd will pick up on that and become manipulative and try and play the two of you off of each other.

confusedsm11's picture

My DD is rather unbearable to be around...not all the time. She is worse when DH and SS are home but I try not to make excuses for her. Yesterday was the first time I asked him to leave her alone. I fully acknowledge she needs help. I agree she needs structure and discipline but DH way is to constantly yell at her and accuse her of things she doesn't do meanwhile she sees SS doing these things and no punishment. THere is no way him/I/we can do anything for her as she this SS with no punishment. I am ALWAYS telling my husband that I want to work together, that we need to be on the same page, DD DOES set us up on purpose to get a fight going. So I tell him we need to get on the same page. You need to stop fighting with her like she is an adult. You can't believe everything that comes out of her mouth, etc. but it all means nothing to him. Im all for coming up with a punishment that we BOTH agree on. I'm not really up for my daughter hysterical on the floor shaking and DH screaming at her like she was a piece of shit. I'm sure you never have done that to your SS. I just wonder why men think its ok to speak to young children (especially girls) like that but if we were to talk to THEIR children that way, it would be the end of the world. Again, I'm not defending DD but I am honestly to the point now where I am scared for her and I'm not blaming a mental disorder bc I don't really know what it is. I just want to fix it but DH gives no support.

Anon2009's picture

I think it's time to find DD a new program for help. Her pediatrician will have the addresses and phone numbers of programs/help for her in your area. They'll also have the phone numbers of some experienced child therapists in your area. DD might benefit from counseling too. Get DH involved in both her help in dealing with ADHD and counseling. This way you can both get on the same page.

About SS- he's 4 and that seems to be a fairly common behavior in kids that age. It's up to DH to correct it and remove SS from the situation (ie. a timeout) if he doesn't stop after being spoken to once.

Some things to think about- Is your DDs dad involved in her life? She might feel jealous of SS and DS because their dad is involved in their lives if hers isn't.

I'm sorry you're going through this. My thoughts & prayers go out to your family, especially DD.

herewegoagain's picture

I know it might sound crazy and strange, but I do understand what your DD is dealing with. I was the same when I was a child and was taken to psychologists who basically did nothing for me. It seemed that anything set me off, and it still does. I see that in my son as well. What has worked for my son and me is to learn to relax. Yes, it sounds crazy and stupid, but believe me it works. Get your DDs room to be a very peaceful place. Put all toys out of sight and anything that is too stimulating. Get her a beanbag or swing for her room (Ikea has an awesome one very cheap). Get her some soft music she likes, get her a kid's Yoga tape...every once in a while go into her room with her and lay down on mats or the bed and teach her how to take deep breaths, listen to soft music...dim the lights...Let her take long baths to relax her. I know it sounds too simple and stupid, but it works wonders. I have a kid's yoga tape in my living room and anytime I feel out of it or my son starts flipping out I take a deep breath, ask him to take the yoga mats out and we do the kid's yoga tape together. Then I play soft music and sit holding his hands and tell him to close his eyes and count to 10. I have been doing this a few years and not every day, just when he seems overwhelmed and is also wearing me out. He is autistic, ADHD, OCD, etc...etc..etc...There is a book about social situations called "The Social Skills Picture Book", you can find it on that with has helped my son has such things as "when you get angry instead of doing X do count to ten, take 3 deep breaths, etc..." My son still gets angry, but now comes to me a few minutes later and says "mama, I was angry and counted to 10 and took 3 deep breaths...I feel better"

Much luck to you...It can be draining dealing with kids like this and your DHs attitude does NOT help, but only makes it even worse.

PS - the biggest thing that puts me over the edge and also my son is changes in "what we will do next", ie. if out of the blue I tell him "go take a bath now", and I push it, he flips...if my DH says to me "we have to leave now because you are ready, but he had already told me we would be leaving at a certain time, I start freaking out...literally my heart starts racing...same for my son. PLEASE DO THIS WITH YOUR DD...from now on, try as hard as you can to think instead of saying "go take a bath", say "in 10 minutes you need to go take a bath"...the countdown for her outloud...nicely...hey such and such, 9 more minutes before you have to take a bath, 8 more minutes before you have to take a bath...ok, it's bath time! You could also get her a timer (a cheap egg timer or something) and tell her and show her that the time is running out for whatever you need her to do. I know it sounds stupid, but honestly it works.

Cali81's picture

I'm sorry that you're going through all of this it does seem like a tough situation for anyone to be in. However it sounds like there might be some more deep rooted issues here that should be addressed.

DH sounds like he might also benefit from a bit of therapy. He shouldn't get verbal and disrespectful toward you or anyone especially in front of the children. Also arguing with a 6yr old about her beliefs is just his acting like a child himself.

Have you tried to have a heart to heart with DH about how all this is making you feel without the arguing and fighting? You might need to do that and in this case maybe having a mediator or just a neutral party there would help to guide the conversation along.

Having a blended family doesn't have to be a terrible experience for the parents or the children but communication and understanding are a MUST! So in order to help the children the parents should first work on getting on the same page. You might even want to try writing him a letter to tell him how you are feeling. That might work as a first step to effectively communicating to him how you feel about the family issues, writing is good if you feel like anytime you talk to him it just escalates into a screaming match. Plus sometimes when we write we have the time to express ourselves and say the things we really mean without getting caught up in the moment.

These are just some suggestions and I hope it helps. I know we all want the best for our kids but sometimes it mean that we have to get better in order to help them out.

I wish you the best and I hope that it all works out for your family.


confusedsm11's picture

You've got it except I don't punish SS. If I disagree with something, I mention it to DH and let him handle it how he sees fit. I may raise my voice in general but never directly at SS. It caused too many problems so now I just kind of treat him as a visitor. DH disagrees with my attitude towards SS but it's the only way I can peacefully exist in this house right now. I'm not as hard on DD but I still punish. She was grounded by me almost every day last week for talking back. I don't just sit around and let her do these things, there are consequences for her actions but when she fights those consequences, DH loses it. I tried getting him to set rules for all the kids. We started a new behavior modification with DD (which we both originally agreed on but after using it, it really wasnt effective) but he told me that SS did not need to use this system. SS doesnt have any behavioral issues, etc. DD questioned why he never got punished and DH gave her some stupid answer. In the past week, I have made DD take out the recycling, clean her bedroom, clean the yard, clean the garage, donate toys to charity, write 100 times I will not talk back, etc. I AM trying to work with DH and I am actively trying to help DD get better. She is so sad now. She never smiles, laughs, etc. She is getting more and more angry with DH and SS bc she sees the favoritism on his end. He told me to start telling her I'm going to tell DH, DH is going to get mad, etc to instill fear in her and all it is doing, from what I see, is making her think DH is really the bad guy and I'm allowing him to be overly mean to her so she is pulling away from me further. DH doesn't think all kids here should have the same rules- yet he agreed that SS4 and DS1 should have the same rules...which is interesting bc hte only rules DS1 has is to not go in the bathroom or climb the stairs! lol

madstepmom's picture

Honestly, I think that your DH sounds mostly at fault here. Him trying to control your DD and yell at her will not help her out at all, and calling you names in front of the kids is aboslutely horrific and inappropriate. Hatred and anger breed more hatred and anger, so your DD seeing DH acting that way will only make your DD worse. She needs love, patience and understanding, and to feel like she's getting a fair shot, not being singled out as the scapegoat all of the time. That is going to do so much damage to her so quickly, she's only 6 and that is such a fragile young age. I understand that she is probably very frustrating to deal with for your DH, but if he can't handle it, than he shouldn't be with you. Kids come first, and please put your daughter first and surround her with love and understanding, and yes, lots of firm guidelines and help. Just don't subject her to someone who's going to tear her down and ruin her for life. I definitely understand that having the DS with the DH makes the whole situation much more complicated too... I wish you the best with the situation, it sounds like a heartbreaking one to be in!

hismineandours's picture

I agree with you that he should not be screaming at her. How is that helpful to anyone? Ask him perhaps how he would feel if you screamed at ss everytime he did something wrong? I like the relaxation ideas, coping skills basically. Start working with your daughter on these ASAP. SS4 wont be the first person to "torment" her or get her going so the sooner she learns to deal with these sorts of things the better.

The other thing I would work with her on is "respect" toward your dh. I realize when he screams like a fool he's not acting very respectful in general-but you might want to work with her on not questioning him why ss doesnt get punished or arguing with him about religion. (I understand he does not need to argue with her either)-but my dh is such a man too-he will not tolerate the kids questioning him about his decisions and such. I've been in a pickle before when there are times he was wrong and my kids are old enough to know it-but the kids have learned to not question him and respect him and if they have concerns they can discuss with me later and if I have concerns I will talk to dh later about them. But in general I dont feel that he does need to discuss ss4's discipine with your dd6. Kids almost always see some sort of inequity or unfairness even at times when there is none.

My ss13 was a total butt this weekend. I asked him to do a couple of simple things (Like put something away after he used it). He wanted to stand there and argue with me about why he shouldnt have to do it. Sometimes after he argues long enough there may be one thing he says that could make sense and if one were so inclined they might be swayed to support his position-but that's the point. There should never be an argument. He should do what I ask of him, when I ask, whether he thinks it is fair or not. Luckily, my dh did an awesome job supporting me this weekend. If he had not that would have just encouraged ss to argue with me more. You have to show support for your dh in front of your dd even if YOU disagree with him (as long as it's not abuse)otherwise it will just create more disrespect and arguments from her. I think telling him to "leave her alone" probably wasnt the best move (not that I dont understand why you did it)-but it probably would have been bettr to ask her to go to her room and cool down-and then discuss the situation with dh when he cools down.