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Dear Wendy

My boyfriends son is driving a wedge between us…

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  • #962308 Reply
    avatarErin Ruby
    Guest

    I’m at a loss as to what I should be doing anymore…

    My boyfriend and I have been together for over 2 years. He has a son (9) and a son (14). We don’t live together…we live an hour apart from each other. I used to think it was a horribly unbearable thing…but over the last year, I have realized that it is a blessing in disguise. His son just turned 9 and is a manipulative, miserable, self-centered child. It’s all about him. I truly believe that he has ADHD and may also be on the spectrum. There is absolutely no issue with that. My 9 year old Daughter was diagnosed with ADHD a year ago and I have done copious amounts of research on the topic. Not only do I see many signs in his son that I saw in my Daughter….I actually see more as well as things that lead me to believe that he is on the spectrum for autism.

    Here is a bit of a rundown of some of the signs I have noticed:

    – Temper tantrums. Now at 9…he shouldn’t be having temper tantrums, especially when unprovoked. I can understand losing your temper if you were bullied on a daily basis or something…but that isn’t the case. He is spoiled and entitled in my opinion. I have done enough research to know that older children should have some amount of emotional regulation….but he flies of the handle for no reason. Last weekend, he lost his mind because I put a song on that he didn’t like. In previous tantrums, he has gotten upset that my daughter wanted to sit in the front on the way to the grocery store and then he sit in the front on the way back. That wasn’t good enough….he wanted to sit in the front both ways or he wasn’t going. He has gotten upset because I bought him smarties for an at-home movie night. What kid doesn’t like smarties? And instead of being grateful that he got anything….he freaked out. This is my biggest concern. It isn’t fair to have to leave the room or even the house because he is having a full out meltdown because it is so uncomfortable to be around. All signs point to him not wanting me around and I’ve kinda given up in trying. I actually despise being around him and the thought of having to be there when he is there, makes me cringe and really anxious.

    – He doesn’t often make eye contact. He will for a second maybe. It sounds awful but even just looking at him straight in the eyes…I can tell that something is up. He also doesn’t talk to me. His Dad still has to tell him to say ‘hi’ to me when I come over. Two years in and the kid has had maybe one or two conversations with me. It’s like starting back at zero each time we are around each other. Please trust me when I say that I am not a horrible monster and have given no reason for him to not like me. Though I have kind of given up in trying lately, I have tried to do fun things for the kids. I buy them little treats for each holiday (Easter, valentine’s day, Halloween) and leave them for them boys to find when they are at their Dad’s next. Buy water guns, sparklers and bubbles for backyard fun. I do my best to find out what they like for their b-days and Christmas, I do my best to be involved but not invade their space. I leave nothing of mine at his place as his 9 year old seems to not want me around, so leave no trace of myself. I really do my best to keep a distance.

    – He doesn’t seem to have any empathy toward others. If it benefits him or affects him, that is when he is either happy or really pissed off. We have to make exactly what he wants for meals or he gets upset. We have to watch movies that he wants to watch or he gets upset. He cant regulate his emotions at all. He has a very bad temper. His Dad responds with bribes and talks to him like a toddler. “If you’re a good boy today, we will go get ice cream later.’ Kidding me? He isn’t 4….and bribing for good behaviour is a horrible way to parent in my opinion!

    – He fidgits, interrupts all of the time, talks constantly (I mean, non-stop and to himself alot!) and does not stop moving. He gets up from the table while eating to dance or go get a toy or do something not related to meal time. Like nearly every meal. When he sleeps, he literally does circles in his bed. The sheets are ripped off, the pillows on the floor, he’s fallen out of bed. This is ADHD at it’s finest….I have seen a lot of this with my Daughter though over time, she seems to be growing out of some of it.

    – I think his motor skills are lacking as well. He cant hold utensils properly. He holds them like a caveman would and spills food all over the place, at every meal. There are just as many pieces of food that end up on the table and floor as they do in his mouth. He will get milk all over his face when he drinks and then walks around with a milk moustache as he can’t drink properly and doesn’t think to wipe his mouth. Its very strange…he can put together a full Lego kit but he can’t get food into his mouth without spilling. He sometimes even uses his hands which grosses me out.

    This is a short list and I could go on and on….but it give you an idea of what I am up against. What everyone is up against, as everyone is affected by the way he acts. It puts a damper on the mood of the ‘family unit’ and causes everyone to retreat.

    I just feel like I cant win as I have talked to his Dad about this whole situation and the fact that I think his son needs to see a professional and while his Dad listens, he doesn’t seem overly concerned and doesn’t believe that a professional needs to get involved. I think he is naïve and doesn’t want to admit that there is a serious issue. But I foresee the future for this boy as being a troubled one if his parents don’t come to grips with the fact that he is unstable and angry. As someone put it….bratty kids turn into bratty teens who turn into bratty adults.

    I’m so sad about how things are and I love my boyfriend very much, but I don’t know how much longer I can do this!!

    #962314 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    Omg. He’s 9!!! Holy Christ. He may or may not have an emotional or neuro thing going on that he could use counseling or treatment for. He might have issues adapting, at 9(!!!) to his parents’ split and his dad dating a woman who can’t stand him.

    He’s a child. You’re a grown woman who just wrote a creepy NOVEL about everything that’s wrong with a little kid.

    I couldn’t even get past the Smarties thing. Why wouldn’t you ask a kid what they want for their movie treat? Isn’t that what normal people do?

    #962315 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    But anyway, you need to break up. You actively can’t stand his kid, and that’s not good for anybody.

    #962322 Reply
    avatarErin Ruby
    Guest

    FYI….I had tried to surprise them with treats for the movie night and instead of thanking me or even telling me that he didn’t really like smarties so I knew for the next time….he got upset about it. Simple common courtesies like “thank you”….don’t register with him.

    Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate it.

    #962323 Reply
    avataranonymousse
    Participant

    Break up with your boyfriend. It’s gross to me that you have literally kept a list of all the wrongdoings of a nine year old….with literally nothing bad or alarming on it. Stop telling his father that he has ADHD and stay out of it.

    What was that you wrote about bratty adults? Look in the mirror.

    #962325 Reply
    avatarbrise
    Guest

    I don’t get what is your goal here. Do you want us to agree on your diagnosis? It is for his parents to address this issue. You have talked many times with your boyfriend about your opinion on his son. Maybe this kid does have a mental condition, maybe he is very disturbed by his family’s divorce, maybe he can’t stand you and can’t cope with your presence, maybe he is terribly badly behaved. But you can’t do anything about it. I would retreat and stop making it my problem. Don’t see your boyfriend at his place. Don’t play the stepmother. Don’t do anything with your BF’s children. Just don’t see them. Meet him only for evenings out or the days he doesn’t have his kids. I don’t think that it can work long term like this anyway. So state to your BF: I won’t be involved with your kids anymore. It is unbearable and damageable for us all, so let’s see each other kids free. You will see his reaction and take it from there.

    Focus on your own daughter’s issues: it is good that she is diagnosed and treated, but don’t project her condition on this little boy. All you know is: it doesn’t work. So protect your daughter and back off.

    #962326 Reply
    avatarbrise
    Guest

    If you really want to give it a chance, it is not by “framing” your BF’s kid as dysfunctional or autistic. You can request, as your boundary, that you all see a family therapist (a systemic approach of your blended family). Then you will have an objective point of view and it will give some clarity. It can only help.
    So either that or you stop meeting his kids, or you simply break up.
    You are way overinvested anyway. Stop all and set your boundary – without accusing this kid of a condition you are not competent to diagnose.

    #962327 Reply
    avatarOracle
    Guest

    You came into this child’s life when he was around 7. That’s way too old to do any disciplining or parenting on your part. You are not the mother, you are just a girlfriend. Does the child have problems? Probably. This is driving you nuts and is not doing the child any good either. I can not see it being any good for you daughter also. This is not going to work out. You need to MOA.

    #962328 Reply
    avatarER
    Guest

    Thank you Brise. I posted out of sheer frustration and was looking for constructive criticism on how I can make this work….or IF I can even make this work. I’m totally open to ideas because everything I have done has failed.

    In all honesty, The first day that I met his kids, his son had a meltdown within the first few hours. I know it isn’t me per se, but I do think that being in his life makes him angry. I say this because he is upset a lot. When we have tried to act like a family unit (my Daughter being with me) he gets upset when things don’t seem to go his way. ie: She sits in the front seat to go to the store, we don’t agree on a movie that he wants to watch, she puts a song on that he doesn’t like, etc. His behaviour makes everyone walk on eggshells and to me, that is very unhealthy. My Daughter has her impulsive quirks, but she is a pleasant, happy kid to be around.

    I would never, ever shame anyone for having a mental disability. I’m not a monster! I have talked to his Dad about the fact that if he does have a disorder, now is the time to deal with it because socially….things will get worse for him as he gets older. Things will also become more challenging for the household because his tantrums could turn violent! He has be known to hit his Mom during his tantrums. I don’t want to be subjecting myself or my daughter to this.

    Sometimes it helps to have an outside perspective on things so that your eyes can be opened to things you may not see or realize. Just like I was looking for with this advice forum….instead I was attacked for being upset, exhausted and frustrated.

    #962329 Reply
    avataranonymousse
    Participant

    No one attacked you for being exhausted or frustrated.
    I criticized you for keeping a laundry list of everything he’s done “wrong” according to you. He’s not your child. It’s none of your business. You’ve spoken to his dad, and he doesn’t agree with you. It’s time for you to back off. You’re literally picking apart the actions of his child, which probably have more to do with his two parents than anything else. Stop. The truth is you are the person causing the wedge. He is not your child to parent.

    #962331 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ
    Guest

    You’ve actually answered your own question.

    You wrote “I don’t want to be subjecting myself or my daughter to this” and “his Dad listens, he doesn’t seem overly concerned and doesn’t believe that a professional needs to get involved” and “I don’t know how much longer I can do this!!” — so, you break up.

    Your boyfriend and his son are a package deal. He has demonstrated that nothing is going to change and in staying with him, you will be subjecting yourself and your daughter to this behavior for, well, possibly ever and you “despise” being around his kid. So, this is a deal breaker for you. It’s okay to realize that your family and your husband’s family are not going to blend in a manner that creates a happy and healthy environment for everyone. Sometimes that’s the way it is.

    But anyway, break up with this man. He is not the one for you.

    #962332 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ
    Guest

    *boyfriend, not husband.

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