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Ignorance is NOT Bliss When it Affects Others!

unbroken1's picture

Hello all, PLEASE help me cope with this.

My husband has "ADD" and so does my stepson. BUT, my stepson ALSO inherited from his mother VERY mild retardation (she is undiagnosed but every time I am in public I get asked if he is slow and the same happened to my mother in law whenever she was in public with his mom).

He is almost 10 and completely incompetent. My husband thinks its JUST ADD, but it isn't. He cannot function at all beyond a 5 year old. He has to be completely supervised and guided through every little thing. I can show him how to do something correctly 90 times and he still won't know what to do the next time he is asked to do it. He never listens, never remembers, never ANYTHING a normal child would do. He can't make friends, can't succeed in sports, is constantly bad at school. The kids is FLOUNDERING and my husband doesn't want to deal with it because his ex is such a psycho and she makes everything so difficult.

I have no right to take my SS to get the help he needs, so I'm at a loss. I'm very close to giving up on him and letting him fail in life because I am just too exhausted by this 10 year old toddler!!


moeilijk's picture

That sounds really really difficult to live with. Unfortunately, other than reporting the problem to some kind of agency - which may or may not do a thing - you can't do more than the parents to raise this child to be a functioning member of society.

I feel for you. Good luck with this. You need to disengage so that you're not so involved, but for most people that's a long, slow and challenging process.

onthefence2's picture

If your husband can't convince or even trick his ex into getting help for their son, she isn't "slow." If she is so slow, why can't he win with her?

I have seen a kid like you describe in a 4th grade class. He was SUPER high maintenance. I mentioned to the jr high resource teacher that she was going to have her hands full with him when he gets there and she told me that he was NOT special ed in any way and had been tested numerous times. I would just watch him in astonishment and couldn't believe he tested with a normal IQ, no LD, etc. If your stepson attends school, they have probably already tested him. If he were "slow" both parents would know it. If he is not, and both parents are coddling him, that is another problem entirely. If neither parent will parent sufficiently, and you can't stand to watch the child suffer, make contact with his teacher and let her know what the problem is. She might be able to offer support and help you reinforce behaviors at school. If the teacher can't or won't offer any support, try the school counselor. You might also find some of your expectations are too high for a child his age. The teacher will be able to help you with that. Do not call CPS unless a child is in serious physical danger. You don't want these people involved in your home and the child might end up in a physically more dangerous place.

Orange County Ca's picture

Without the parents support as a step parent you're helpless. I doubt if the school authorities will even discuss the boy in any detail with you without the father's presence - and for good reason. All you can do is try and help the father see the light but beware of becoming a nag.

You can't save them all and maybe not even this one.

thinkthrice's picture

There should be another syndrome--CPD Coddling Parent Disorder

I used to call this LOB Lack Of Belt

morethanibargainedfor's picture

I have the same problem with SD13. She sounds very much if not exactly like your SS. She is 13 but is at the level of a 7-8 year old. She needs constant supervision and needs to be walked through everything in life. Simple tasks like grating cheese and cutting her food are too difficult for her and if you try to show her how to do something properly she gets upset and gives up. She does not have the ability to understand or predict consequences. You can tell her 50 times a day to not let the dog sit with her on the couch but she will still do it and doesn't understand why you are mad at her when she does it. She does terrible in school and is at a grade 2 level in her math and language.
She has also been diagnosed with ADHD and that is the only diagnosis that BM has accepted and pretty much refuses to acknowledge that there might be something more wrong with her. SO can't really do much about it because BM is psycho and wont let him be involved in school or medical. I am truly convinced that SD has FASD but haven't suggested this to anyone as I can imagine it would be a touchy subject for all involved. This has been going on for years and years, SO has kinda just given up. At the beginning of our relationship I was pushing SO to make doctors appointments and go see the school about SD but every time he tries to get involved BM goes nuts and makes crazy threats. I thought, if her own parents don't care then why should I?

My advice is to distance yourself from it all. Enjoy the time you have with him and do not involve yourself with health or education. Be there for him when he needs/asks for help, but don't push the issues. He's not your kid. I know its hard but it will get easier over time

unbroken1's picture

You definitely know how I feel! He is 10 this October and can't even make a sandwich, cut food with a fork and knife, pour milk without spilling. NOTHING. And we don't do everything for him, we ALWAYS make him fend for himself. Yet, every day he wakes up with a clean slate. EVERY DAY his baby sister is still asleep when he is getting ready for school, so he is supposed to be quiet... yet EVER day he slams everything. We spank, we time-out, we ground, we punish. He still craps his underwear for God's sake. I'm at my wit's end with this child. Very close to washing my hands of him so I can focus on MY 2 kids and telling hubby he's on his own. I get him ready, to the bus, from the bus, do the HW, bed time routine, everything. If we were normal that's one thing... or even if my hubby would acknowledge that he needs professional help. Hubby says he is "just retarded like his mom" yet won't get him help. I am so aggravated...

morethanibargainedfor's picture

The only reason we don't get too involved with getting SD help is because BM won't let us. Would your BM have a problem if you guys wanted to get him some help? Maybe your DH doesn't want to be involved but would he let you take control? If both BM and DH wouldn't have a problem then I suggest taking him to a doctor and see if you can get a diagnosis. I would do that in a heartbeat for SD all on my own if BM would let me.
I feel bad letting SD fall through the cracks and giving up on being involved but honestly there is no other way. If you have any opportunity to get a diagnosis for this child then do it if you feel it is what you want to do. Don't do it because you feel you HAVE to. I honestly feel like my SD has Fetal Alcohol spectrum disorder, but sadly unless BM admits to drinking while preggo, there is no diagnosis.
The main thing I have come to realize is that punishment has no effect on these kids because they don't have the capacity to understand that what they are doing is wrong and punishment doesn't effect them the same way it would a normal kid.
We had an incident last week where SD got in trouble for something and SO laid into her and said some things he shouldn't have, and some things that would make any 13 year old girl cry her eyes out and be embarrassed and apologetic, but nothing. She showed no emotion and 5 seconds later asked if we could stop for ice cream. She didn't get it. I don't know what it is, and I pray every day that someone will give this kid a proper diagnosis, but she just doesn't understand anything. She is literally like a 5 year old.

I know how you feel and how hard it is dealing with this kind of child. Hugs to you and I'm here if you need to talk or vent.

unbroken1's picture

Nope, ignoring the problem is one thing they agree on completely. She doesn't want to deal with anything ever, not even the rash he gets EVERY time he has to go to her house for visitation, and my husband doesn't want him labeled...

My husband is traumatized by how his mother handled his ADD. Excessive counseling several times a week, being put on drugs, etc. When he moved out, he stopped taking meds and never looked back. He has not problem functioning. Haas been at his career 12 years, moves up every time a promotion is available. Doesn't do drugs or drink or smoke. He thinks his son will turn out fine as well. BUT, his ex is mildly retarded (they were teens when they dates, as my husband puts it, he thought she was just "ditzy"... now she is 30 and still dumb as bricks). And my SS clearly got the gene from her. ADD makes you difficult, not completely stupid and unable to function.

He is in such denial it kills me. Reading all the posts about "disengaging" inspired me. I just wrote out the new rules which do NOT involve me raising this kid for my husband. If he won't get him help, he can deal with him on his own.

morethanibargainedfor's picture

Good for you. Stay strong. There is no reason why you should have to take on this burden on your own.
The only thing you have to think about and talk to DH about later on down the road is what happens when this child cannot function in society. We are sort of stuck because we know that SD will probably not be able to get a normal job and if she does she will probably not have it for long because she does not understand responsibility. She thinks that she can come and go as she pleases. She misses months of school at a time. My worry is what happens when she is out of high school and cant get a job. Who is going to support her. She is not far enough on the spectrum to be considered for Government assistance so basically if she cannot support herself when she is older, there is no help for her.
Your DH needs to think really hard about what is going to happen to his child when he turns 18 and how he is going to function in normal society. Right now he is young, so he could grow out of it. I would say if he hasn't improved by the time he is 12-13 then DH needs to be concerned and realistic about his future

Pilgrim Soul's picture

It sounds like a developmental disorder that will NOT get better on its own, and someone has to break that wall of denial your husband has put up bc precious time is being wasted. The earliier the interventions begin, and the more intensive they are, the better the outcome.

You need to do several things: find a reputable child study center ( at a local university?), call and do an intake, then most likely you will be sent forms for your husband to fill out. Have him fill them and give similar forms to SS's teachers. Request in writing that he be evaluated for special education by the school, but preferably rely on your own evals from a private center/clinic. Tell your husband that it will do no harm to have him tested - he can always refuse the services later.

He owes it to his son to get him appropriate services. His unwillingness to deal with issues at hand is very short-sighted. The kid needs a better school, probably. There are state agencies that could help with after-school activities. You need to get him diagnosed and then reach out to people who are lnowledgeable about his condition. Some of the best resources are other parents.

Using ADHD as an excuse to do nothing will backfire. ADHD's impact on a child is less pervasive, still very palpable, but not as global.

Generic's picture

"Just retarded like his mom?"

Are you freaking kidding me? I mean, is he trying to make a joke? Or does he truly think this? If he does, why is he so dismissive? WHO SAYS THIS FLIPPANTLY ABOUT THEIR KID? And why did he mate with someone "retarded" in the first place? I'm trying not to laugh. . . because the whole thing is offensive, but this guy . . . he doesn't sound like a genius himself.

I would get in touch with his teachers. But honestly, if he has such developmental delays as you say, a teacher would have mentioned something by now. They are the professionals and by 3rd or 4th grade, they would have caught delays.

. . . retarded like his mom. . . Seriously, that will be in my head all day.

Steph0820's picture

I have a SS11 toddler. BM is like an episode of shameless. Complete deadbeat with an array of mental illness. My SS13 completely has ADD & SS11 is just dumb as a box of rocks. Both have always done bad in school. DH will not get them tested for anything because he doesn't want them to be dependent on meds like their mother. As far as school goes I have just given up. It's so tiring after 5 years of everyday trying to reteach whatever they have learned that day. I figure if the school needs to hold them back it would probably be a good thing. SS11 has no idea what month the 4th of July is in because going into the 6th grade doesn't know the months. He watches baby shows with my BD2 & yells out in answer to a question (what color is this kind of thing) & is super proud of himself when he gets it right....yes he has gotten some wrong. I really don't know how this kid is going to graduated high school! My DH knows this & has also tried to help him. We have just come to an understanding that he'll just work at a low end job & pay is own bills when the time comes.