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Question
Posted by: Stepmom | 2012-06-05

Stepson Lied

He is 10. He lives with his gran parents. His father has custody. But when the mother left (he was 6 months) the father let the granny raise him not far from us. His other children live with us. As he works 12hour shifts the children are left to me to tend and fend for. I hardly see the 10 year old, as i don''t go to the granny''s house due to lies he has told about me and they believe him and the father will not defend me. When he is with us on the odd occasion he is disobedient, looks for fights, lies, breaks things etc. I try to ignore this where possible but about 2 months ago i took my shoe and gave him a hiding (and told his father) and said enough is enough. From now on you will be punished because being nice and asking and pleading does not work. Next i heard from an aunty he is telling everyone i am mean i hit him with a cricket bat. The next time he was at our home i asked him to please tell me when i supposedly hit him with a cricket bat? He went red in the face and asked his dad to take him to his granny which he then did. I have not seen him since.

Now he will be coming to stay with us for 2 months full time as his granny has to go away.

I don''t know how to handle this. The father has no interest in getting involved and if i discuss it with him he gets in his car and goes out. I said we need to put the child at the table and sit down and discuss this - sort it out - clear the air, the father say''s no. He spends little time with his kids and he will not do it.

I can''t say the child is not welcome because its their home. I can''t let him rule as he not only abuses and agitates his brother and sister but my children as well.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

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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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Ricky | 2012-06-06

Hitting a child does not make anything better - it worsens an already bad situation. It will make him resentful towards you and others. He needs to know his limits and must respect the rules etc. in your home, but he also needs to be treated with love and kindness & mdash  you never know, it might just change the way he is towards you and the others. Good luck, you are in a very difficult position.

Reply to Ricky
Posted by: Purple | 2012-06-05

Think how that little boy feels. He is the only child who doesn''t live with his dad. He feels like a visitor in what is meant to be his own home.

He is 10,, he probably can''t express himself that well.

Hitting him is no way to solve the problem.

Why don''t you calm down and try to resolve the situation by trying to build a positive relationship with the child.

Its not nice that he lies, but it does seem like its done to get attention. Perhaps giving him more positive attention will start to have a positive impact.

Why don''t you try to spend some time with him doing fun and nice things and getting to know him and build a relationship with him?

Why don''t you phone the grandparents and ask to meet with them and ask that if they have concerns about his time with you that they raise them directly with you.

Remember that you are the adult and its up to you to take the first positive steps.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-06-05

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.

Reply to cybershrink

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