Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

My boyfriends son is driving a wedge between us…

Home Forums General Chat My boyfriends son is driving a wedge between us…

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  • #962335 Reply

    Thank you so much for this. I do agree with a lot of this and I answer my own questions a lot….it’s not easy to be in this situation.

    #962337 Reply

    I can understand being annoyed by a kid. I don’t have kids, and I definitely find them cute and amusing, but they can annoy the shit out of me. This kid’s behavior sounds hard to take. But you lose the plot when you go off for paragraphs about this kid being the problem with your relationship and how he should act when he’s a prepubescent child who’s obviously dealing with a lot of stress and doesn’t have adult coping mechanisms. Diagnosing him is out of line. You expressed your concerns to his dad, he’s not interested in pursuing them, and what you see is what you get.

    It’s not fair to any of you to keep trying to make this work when you can’t stand the kid and he’s super freaked out by you. Wrap this up and move on.

    #962360 Reply

    It’s not the kid messing up your relationship. You’ve overstepped boundaries by insisting something is wrong with him when his father doesn’t agree with you. Nearly all the behaviors you list as examples of his bad behavior are most likely because of parenting issues. Your real issue is with your boyfriend’s poor parenting- and you’re taking it out on his child. He has made it clear ha the doesn’t see it the same way. If you don’t want to be subjected to this- breakup. No good father would ever put his girlfriend before his son. So if you’re hoping to stay his gf while hating his son- that’s not going to ever work.

    #962762 Reply
    avatarCanadian Gal

    Several points here 1) your feelings to the child; 2) truly trying to appreciate his perspective and coming from on from his view; 3) your focus on being in control of the situation; 4) think about strategies; 5) change and ADHD and 6) counselling. First and foremost look up the fundamental attribution error, because I see it throughout your post. In a nutshell, it’s when someone attributes positive attributes to all their actions, and negative attributes to the actions of others. It flows throughout your letter. But here’s a break down of the issues.
    1) Feelings for this child; I think what everyone is responding to in the comments here, is that the tone of your note clearly indicates the contempt and negative feelings you have for this child. And this is with your attempt to carefully try and write it objectively. If we the reader get this sense then I can guarantee you that the child gets this sense. When a child feels that someone does not like them they will have overblown reactions to that person. You don’t like him, you didn’t like him from your first meeting, he senses this tension, he senses these feelings. He doesn’t know how to articulate this person doesn’t like me, and so he has the melt downs. You’ve indicated he has melt downs with his mom but I can only speak to the situations that you have described.
    2) His perspective: Everything in your post is about how you feel about his behaviour and nothing about trying to understand his point of view. The sitting in the front car seat thing, did you ask the kids how they wanted to do this? Did you flip a coin to determine who would sit in the front seat first, or did you just tell them your daughter would sit first and then him? Did you tell them that if they couldn’t agree they would both sit in the back? (and by the way the American Paediatric Association would say a 9 year old is too young to sit in the front)
    3) Control: Also, everything in your interactions above appears to be about control being dictating to him, and him resisting with all his might. It was a kind gesture to give smarties to the kids, but was it your daughter’s known favorite and not his? In the lines of giving up control, give the gift, but don’t expect a certain reaction, you have no control over this. What you do have control over is your own reaction.
    4) Strategies: He reacts badly, your reaction, oh I didn’t realize you don’t like smarties, what’s your favorite so I know for next time. He is melting down. Ok, tell him you and your daughter are just going to go into the next room to play a game of cards, and when he’s ready to chat or watch a movie, you are happy to come back. What strategies did the family try to engage with him? What are the consequences when he doesn’t wish to engage?
    5) Change and ADHD: In a life where he has had no say in his parents splitting up, his father bringing this other woman and her child into his life, he is pushing back and trying to get some control. You indicated that you have done a lot of reading on ADHD, so you may already be aware that children can display ADHD symptoms when they go through a lot of changes in a short period of time. When things settle and they feel safe and comfortable again the ADHD behaviour can be greatly reduced. I also want to stress that non being in compliance with adult direction does not make someone ADHD. Maybe the child should get assessed, but unfortunately the father doesn’t think so. And I think his reluctance to take your advice on his son could be that he sees that you do not like his son, and his instinct is to protect his son, and whether consciously or not he sees this as an attack on his son.
    6) Counselling: The only way this will work is with serious family counselling. However, I need to stress this cannot be about finding what’s wrong with his son. You have to go into it with an open mind to finding out what your role in all this is, and how you can be a better person for all these people. If you go into family counselling thinking to vindicate yourself or to try and fix other members of the family, then you should skip the counselling and end the relationship here. In all honesty, ending the relationship may be the best way ahead for everyone involved, for the boy, his father, your daughter, and yes for you too.
    Sometimes in life people click, sometimes they don’t. And unless you can unhate this child, then you should walk away from his life, it’s not fair to him. The irony in your post is that your biggest criticism about him making things all about him are actually age appropriate behaviours for a 9 year old; however not so much for someone say in their thirties or forties.

    #962794 Reply
    avatarBeen there

    I am a stepmother to a kid with terrible behavior (truancy, lawbreaking, drugs, alcohol, stealing, property destruction, you name it), and it is truly draining and awful. As a step parent you don’t get to make decisions like “this kid needs to be evaluated for ADHD” or “we need to go to family counseling” or “we need to change our parenting style.” And yet, all the consequences of those actions not being taken still significantly impact your life. And your relationship, and your kid’s life, and it is FRUSTRATING not having any control over what happens in your own home. Especially when you see it impact your own kid negatively.

    My honest advice is that when you marry a person with kids, you marry their kids too, and if every member of the family isn’t a good fit for you, you should seriously consider moving on. This stuff only gets worse with time in my experience, because as you said, troubled kids when they go unchecked often become troubled teens. This is the kind of situation that tears families apart. If you can see from where you are currently that this isn’t workable for you without significant changes, honor that and end things.

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