Our expert says:
Why, if the other kids, his brothers and sisters, have been brought up by the father and later with you, has this single child been separated out, and brought up by the grandparent ? WOuldn't this make any child feel discriminated against, excluded, and perhaps resentful ? Maybe he feels that his lies being extra attention to him, even if it is unpleasant attention.
Maybe he feels that for some reason it is YOU who has chosen to exclude him from the rest of his family and sibs ?
The person most at fault here seems to be the father, who has no right to opt out and "not get involved" in problems with his own son. And his literally running away from the situation is childish, cowardly and irresponsible.
Like Purple, I can't help feeling sorry for this poor little fellow. Imagine how he must feel. A child psychologist could help assess him and advise you in detail on how to handle the situation better. But do sit with the child and talk with him, calmly and pleasantly, about how you're worried about him and how he behaves, and how he must feel as though he is being treated unfairly and differently from the other children. Ask about how he feels, and what you might do together to make things better all round.
His father sounds generally neglectful, but the boy may feel that its only him being treated in this way, and may assume that the other kids get much better treatment from his father and you, when he is not around.
Your frustration is very understandable, but understand that the kid must feel even more frustrated and powerless. Make him an ally, not an enemy.
Try giving him special attention and pleasant interaction whenever you can catch him behaving well, and instead of hitting him ( which never works, and just teaches him that it's OK to hit people when you have the upper hand ) withdraw that attention when he misbehaves, giving him a "time-out" instead, explaining why this is happening, and timing it according to his age, eg 10 minutes.
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