So I've been lurking and trying to find a similar situation in the forums with no luck. Quick background... DH and I have SS12 and two bio kids 5 and 6. I have been in the picture since SS was 2 years old. From ages 2 until this past year there was no official agreement between DH and BM. BM controlled when DH would be a part of SS's life, and would often keep him away for months at a time (living in same town, refused to return phone calls, making false CPS reports, the whole nine yards). This situation went on for years until 2015 when DH accepted a job out of state. BM agreed that SS would be able to come visit, but once we left refused to return phone calls or let SS travel. I am not naive in seeing DH should have legally fought for his rights at any point in those 8 years. I brought it up several times, but DH elected to continue to deal with BM on his own. After 3 years we moved back into the same town as BM. BM finally filed for "official" child support, and we were able to get a custody agreement on record as well. Per new agreement we have SS 50% of the time (week on/week off). At that point BM was also on board because SS was "out of control" and she was wanting our help to "fix" him after years of having zero rules/responsibilities at her house.
Things went well for the first couple months. However since the summer DH has had to travel for work. We knew this was going happen and as DH works long hours even when he is home it was not a huge change for me and BioKids in how the house is run. The original plan was for me to continue with the 50% custody agreement to keep SS on routine, and atleast have structure/rules half the time. BM is on board with this, as SS was starting to make some progress. He passed sixth grade by the skin of his teeth and with the school's knowledge that we were working with him.
This school year has been awful. SS is difficult at best if he is not allowed to sit in front of a computer/TV all day. He will escalate any redirection into a full blown power struggle, drags the younger kids into the drama, and at this point I refuse to take him places because of his attitude/behavior. To save my sanity both DH and BM agreed that to shorter weeks with me when DH is out of town.
I feel I am pretty well equipped to manage behavior in general as I have a social services degree, and have worked with troubled kids in a residential setting. So I know the basics. However I cannot manage him AND my two children when I am alone. Were we in a different setting I would have other adults to help divide forces when necessary. But at this point with SS I feel like it is not a positive situation for him, myself, or bio kids when he is here and there is a behavior that needs to be addressed.
DH is staying out of town and working for 12+ hours a day. This will not go one for forever, but will last atleast a few more months. The school has given up on BM supporting them and is now contactng me or DH directly to deal with behaviors. I'm just not sure what to do anymore. I am no longer effective in managing the behaviors, DH is busy in the provider role. I feel like if I totally disengage I'm letting DH down, as we have always agreed on more traditional home roles (he does all the providing, I do all the "domestics"). I am on board with holding down the household, but I am at my wits end with SS. I'm to the point I am dreading our days with SS. DH is aware, but is only able to back me up so much over the phone. Quitting his job is not an option.
- FWIW I also believe that ther is still hope for SS, but BM continues to make excuses for his behaviors and "parents" with blinders on. And honestly I don't believe that she has the tools/ability to really buckle down with him. Though she wants to see a change, I don't know that she will ever be able to recognize how here own behaviors contribute. -
I really do want to help this kid, but I'm concerned about the mental toll its taking on me and the impact it has on biokids. Any advice is appreciated.