DDJF1979's picture

I feel like i'm losing my mind just a tad

Anyone else feel like they're drowning sometimes? I have a 4 year old SS, a 12 year old SD and a 1 1/2 year old son of my own creation. My SD is no big deal, she doesn't actually live with us most of the time but she's a great kid. My SS is what's driving my nuts. I love the kid with all of my heart, I really do. But I have no idea what i'm doing. I've been with my fiancé for about a year now and we're getting married in June, we've known each other for 6 years as well. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship thanks to his help, and he had been recently run over by his insane ex wife because "the voices told her to" but that's another topic to discus.

Anyways, my SS was completely spoiled by his mom, no boundaries, ran around everywhere, incredibly rude etc. but she never cared. Through all the work I've done with getting him on a schedule (I'm a stay at home mom) teaching him manners and how to ask for things, reading with him, loving him, being there for him, she still thinks i'm a terrible person even though i'm just loving her son since she's not mentally ok enough to be around him and he wants a mom figure. He calls me by my name, but I just feel like I'm too hard on him. He's only four, and i've never dealt with young kids like this before. I was always the youngest kid around, grew up in the middle of nowhere for most my childhood and even then steered clear from kids, so I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING. My fiance is incredibly supportive, but it's still hard when I don't know if he's lying or bluffing, or if his tummy really does hurt. He lies quite a lot and not having maternal instinct for this kid is driving me absolutely out of my damn mind.

Anyone have any suggestions before I lose my mind completely? I just feel like i'm doing a terrible job.

TwoOfUs's picture

Stop it. Stop all of it right

Stop it. Stop all of it right now.

If you can't care for SS without the resentment (and most women CAN'T care for someone else's kids full-time with no compensation without resentment), then you must stop for your own mental health and the health of your marriage.

You aren't a free live-in nanny. SS is your fiance's responsibility to deal with, not yours. This doesn't mean that you can't ever do anything to care for SS, but it does mean that you shouldn't be the PRIMARY caregiver in his life. Tell your fiance how you're feeling, that you need a break...and find a good pre-school for the little darling, at the very least.

granny goose's picture

You know what, Hon? Sounds to

You know what, Hon? Sounds to me like you're doing your best to improve your SS’s behavior. You've stated that you love the boy and that his dad is supportive; that's more than half the battle. However, it’s important to remember that you fiancé is the boy’s father and the majority of parenting, particularly discipline, is his responsibility. If you let parenting SS become an obligation, you’ll be building a lot of resentment for the future.

You must learn to ignore everything that his biomom has to say about you; do not let the woman take up ANY space in your head.

There are numerous books available on parenting as well as classes. In addition, you need only go on line to find sound recommendations for coping with difficult little ones, some very age specific.

It’s good to hear that your SD is a relatively easy child. However, I can tell you from bitter experience that SD’s, most particularly teens and tweens do not stay nice for long. Once the honeymoon period is over (6 months in my case), they evolve from Jekyll to Hyde. Don’t come on too strong or get overly involved in the girl’s life. Better to cast yourself in the part of caring aunt or older friend, as it will save you a lot of grief in the future.

Rags's picture

You are doing great. Quit

You are doing great. Quit second guessing yourself. You have saved this kid's young life.

A parent is an example, mentor, confidante, advocate and disciplinarian, not a buddy.-Rags
If you can't listen and learn then you will have to feel.-WLR
If you want to be a part of my life then use your head or STFU and do what you are told.-Rags

moeilijk's picture

It sounds like you're doing

It sounds like you're doing good things! I can understand the uncertainty you feel though. There are two themes of the kinds of things that have helped me, just in terms of parenting.

First - support.
* This has taken the form of arranging play-dates and eventually finding one or two moms in a similar boat to befriend. I used local FB groups and - because I'm really friendly and speak a couple of foreign languages - I just start talking to other parents at the park or whatnot if I recognize the language.
* I have joined a couple of homeschooling groups and religious groups and mommy groups which, even if I disagree with some, is at least a place where I can find that out. Figuring out what values you DON'T have can really help direct your activities as a parent/caregiver.
* I have read books and articles (and this site, lol) and figured out what I care about as a parent. There is lots of information out there, but if something doesn't ring true then it's not going to work for you or your family. You are not supposed to do everything, just keep them (relatively) safe and guide them lovingly!
* I have friends and family who I trust to give useful advice. I don't always try it their way, but once I understand why they make their suggestions, I can figure out what I need to do. An example is getting my 3 year old to stop getting so upset over little things... I've helped her understand her emotions up to this point, but now I feel I would be coddling if I comforted her when her sock doesn't go on correctly. (eye roll) So I am now working on giving her perspective: Kid, look at me, you can see I'm calm, there's nothing major happening here, your emotions are too strong for this situation, once you decide to calm down, you can start fresh, I'm here for you if you'd like a kiss before you try again. Slow going but I needed someone to give me the words to say - I had the forest, I needed the trees.

Secondly - Limits
* You can't get it right all the time. But you can set limits about what's ok.
* Discipline is a very positive part of parenting.
* Self-discipline is when you are wise enough to enforce a boundary before you lose your mind/temper. Eye-wink

In your situation, I'd look at themes - when are you noticing a behaviour issue, how do you usually resolve it, what isn't working for you, what do you think underlies the behaviour etc etc. Remember, as much as this kid has heavy baggage from the past, he's now in the stage of testing social limits - so that's testing limits in his relationship with his primary caregiver, you. The more you are clear and firm, the safer he feels, and the more equipped he is to go out into the wide, wide world.

Good luck! PM me if you think I can be of more help!

Second -

~ I've seen a lot of turds in my day, I may be able to identify the mammal of origin. ~ Said taushalove in possibly the most helpfully hilarious post ever.

granny goose's picture

Hey Moe, That's some grand

Hey Moe,

That's some grand and heartfelt advice for ANY parent or, in my case, grandparent. One of my most repeated actions is getting to the grandchild's eye level and telling them, "Don't sweat the small stuff!" I've made them repeat that expression so many times that now I simply give them the look when the milk gets spilt or the toy gets (accidentally) broken; they practically repeat the words along with me.

You're a wise woman, Moe, and you're doing a lot of things right.