not as good as I thought :-(

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-1999
not as good as I thought :-(
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 10:42am

Technically, things are better on the respect front regarding DS10.  He even got excited about earning stuff back through positive choices with his new chart.  Things have been calmer in the house as all 4 of us are working and acting as a family again.  Good, right?

This is so ridiculous I can't even stand to watch myself type it.....

Yesterday I sent DS10 and DS5 to school in coats because of the Nor'Easter.  DS5 left his big coat at is nana's house over the weekend so he was wearing an old one that DS10 had outgrown.  He had been doing so for the last 3 days and DS10 had even been told that he'd outgrown it and that should have been it, right?  No.  DH and I had a great day yesterday reconnecting and talking about future plans.  I still can't drive cuz of the vertigo stuff so he drove and we went in together.  DS5 wasn't wearing a coat and the teacher said they couldn't find it.  He had it in the morning but it disappeared.  So while we tried to figure out where it may have been left, I look at DS10 who is WEARING IT!!  The whole time he played dumb and said he thought that was his, that he thought he had it the day before & must have left it so he put his big coat in his backpack and wore that one.  Ummmm...??  And meanwhile DS5 is young, didn't realize it and the teacher had no idea.  Also, while everyone was looking for DS5's coat, DS10 must have been smugly thinking "hahaha..."  Yet another manipulative conniving stunt. 

I did call DS10 out on it and told him to take it off and give it to DS5.  He tried to play dumb with me and I said I didn't believe it and that was it.  End of story.  We all got in the car and went home.  I proceeded to make dinner and forgot the incident.  (In my eyes it was done.  They both had the right coats on.)  Apparently that wasn't good enough for DH.  He thinks I should have continued on about not looking out for his brother, not paying attention, etc etc.  Regardless of what I did, it wasn't good enough.  Don't get me wrong... I was pissed and still am.  DS10 pulls this crap all the time and leaves DS5 hanging out of jealousy.  (He's even admitted to that.) 

While we're eating dinner DS10 is sawing his meat with the knife like it's a saw.  He has weak hands and has had OT for that in the past.  His handwriting was atrocious and they had to work on that in his IEP at school too.  It has improved so they deemed the service no longer necessary.  Ok, he's functioning, that's fine.  He's always tried to whine about not being able to cut his meat or whatever.  Mostly a ploy for me to give in and cut things for him.  (I haven't done that in years.)  Both DH and I want our kids to have good table manners.  We don't let them eat like animals and I am always pointing out when DS10 eats like a caveman.  (Honestly, his paternal side does and I know he gets it from there.) 

DH looked at me funny then back to DS10 cutting.  I noticed he was still sawing and I addressed it.  Apparently that wasn't good enough because after dinner DH goes into another one of his tirades about why I didn't say anything about him holding his FORK like a neanderthal?  That I was giving DS10 another free pass; that I obviously don't think manners are important.  What was my problem?  Why can't I just get it?  Why can't I just be a focused parent who pays attention? (all his questions to me) 

Of course now, nothing I say is right or good enough.  I remind him that DS10 has weak hands and I'm told that I need to work harder to enforce the strength.  I mention that DS10's handwriting at work is slipping and then I get told that I'm not following up with him.  That I'm not giving him the time and energy he deserves.  That I know DS10 is a difficult child with problems and instead of working to help him through them I just enable him to get off the hook & get away with stuff.  Which only makes his problems WORSE.

I am so fed up.  I don't know what to do.  I do love my whole family whole heartedly.  Believe it or not, I do agree with alot of what DH says.  And it's not just me.  Even our babysitter, the school daycare provider, his therapist and many others agree on how difficult DS10 is.  I know in the past I've felt major mommy guilt about divorcing his dad, about his "disabilities" and trying to excuse stuff for him cuz he is different.  I don't want to do that anymore and don't think I am.  I know there are a lot of old habits that are hard to break, but I'm also at wits end. 

I can't belive I have spent this morning thinking about boarding school.  Not just to get him out of my hair, but to maybe help him.  If he can't succeed in my house, he needs to be somewhere he can thrive.  He deserves that.  He is such a smart boy but gets into so much trouble at home for being manipulative on top of everything else.  DH was bull---t last night.  He said he can't believe a 10 yr old is running our house and making us fight.  "He's winning and he's probably laughing in his room right now.  Hahaha, I made them fight."  And to make matters worse, DS10 put himself to bed at 7:15 pm (bedtime is 8:30) because he knew we were fighting about him and he didn't want to have to face/interact with us. 

I know DH was making a mountian out of a molehill last night, but he swears he wasn't.  That "it's all the little things that add up".  I have ADHD myself, I don't notice all of these little things!!  I am also forgetful... I forgot to finish asking DS10 last night why he would take his brother's jacket when he KNEW they were looking for it.  Now DH is demanding that I tell him what I want out of these kids.  Because I say I agree with him but I can't follow through. Ugh.  I'm so frustrated.... I hate this.  I hate being a wife and I hate being a mother!

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 11:24am

I hate to continue saying this, but have you and your DH tried counseling, together?  Or even family counseling?  Honestly, a lot of these things, even my DH and I don't always communicate well, but we will tag team.  If I am disciplining, if he wants to add or follow up on something, HE DOES IT.  You can't read your DH's mind, even if you are on the same page, that doen't always mean that you are going to think and do exactly as your DH does.  He should be stepping up and backing you up on things.  Also, my ODD and my DH do not get along, they never have really, but just because she does things that he doesn't agree with or like, and him and I end up fighting about it, that doesn't mean she (or your son for that matter) purposely did it to get you two to fight.  He's a kid, and he's going to make mistakes, and stuff, but that doesn't mean he is always purposely doing stuff to get your guys' goat.  If sending him to his dad's or boarding school will make his life better, and help him in the long run, then it is something to look into.  But I would really tell you to look into counseling for you and your DH or as a family to try and work on these issues as a group.  You are having so much pressure put on you by both your DH and your older son, that that is not fair to you, and I have a feeling, ADHD or not, those pressures and stresses make you disconnect from things and just plain not want to deal with it at times.  You need to learn to cope with things, and your DH and you need to learn to work together better and communicate with each other better instead of him always going off on you because he doesn't like the way you did something, when he can easily step in/up and help the situation out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 1:44pm

I agree w/ arryl that some counseling is in order.  I believe that you said that you were going fof counseling--what did that T say about all of this?  But everything just can't be all your fault.  First of all, I don't know the history of 10 yr old DS, like how bad his behavior is, but really your DH makes an issue out of every little thing.  If he didn't like the way DS was cutting his meat, why didn't he just tell him "Son, please stop holding your fork that way" and show him how to do it--would it have taken more than 10 seconds for him to do that?  Instead he berates you because you aren't reading his mind that this would bother him.  Frankly I wonder if he even likes your son or resents that there's extra work because of his disabilities.  For him to say that your son "made you fight" is ridiculous.  No one else can MAKE you have an argument.  It was his choice to start an argument & berate you instead of talking to you like a normal person.  Do you know that's a typical tactic of abusive people--every time they yell at you or do something else bad to you, they will say that it's not their fault--that you made them get mad?  They take no responsibility for their own actions.  It must also be terrible that your son knows that you & DH fight over his behavior--I bet he doesn't feel very loved right now.  I was married to a 2nd DH & had 2 kids from the 1st marriage.  My son was little when we got married and some things that DH did upset him and he told his father.  Because my ex & I have a good relationship, my ex told me.  I told my ex in no uncertain terms that if it came to choosing between my kids & him, he'd be the one out the door--and eventually that's what happened and I do not regret it one bit.  I know it's more difficult since you & DH have a child together, but I think when you are at the point of wanting to send your child away because your DH is getting mad at you for his behavior, something is just not right there.  Your DH should be working with you to learn how to address DS' behavior in a constructive way, not just blaming you for everything that he does wrong and standing by himself & doing nothing to help.

I am curious--what exactly has DS10 been diagnosed with?  And would his father take custody of him if you said it was ok?  Maybe he's acting up cause he knows he's not wanted at your house--like "I'm going to get in trouble anyway, so I might as well do something wrong."  I think instead of calling it manipulative, you could say that kids live up to the expectations we have of them--so if people expect them to always do something wrong, might as well fulfill it.  I could see that w/ my exH's father--exH was the oldest of 5 kids and he was the only one who was abused by father & also the only one who did a lot of things wrong.  It was kind of a vicious cycle.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-1999
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 4:15pm

I think the reason DH isn't helping and is just sitting back watching (only to critique later) is because he feels he's done the discipline, boundaries, etc for 6 yrs while I enabled. So now that I'm "getting on board" it's like he thinks he can just sit back while I flounder. I hate this. I thate this so much. the thought of shipping DS10 off to a boarding school is killing me, but it seems less painful than where we all are now. DS10 feels unloved and I feel beliittled and berated. Neither is good. I miss being happy. I miss enjoying my family.... now all I do is panic over the few hours we are all together.

DS10 was diagnosed w/ADHD & PDD-NOS 5 yrs ago. He has been and still is a VERY challenging kid. DH has said that he loves him & wants the best for him, so if he can't thrive in this home (which he's not) that maybe he needs to go somewhere that he CAN thrive. I highly doubt DS10's dad would take him as he constantly comes up with excuses about taking him for long periods of time. At least he takes him every other weekend and it's been every weekend since this stress blew out of proportion. Even DS10's therapist doesn't think his biodad would step up to the plate. And since I've tried multiple things and failed, I don't feel like I have any other options. I want what's best for him too. And it's like being here is not healthy for him.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 5:23pm

I don't know your background, as I am not a regular here, but have a few quick thoughts.

Do you and your DH have an agreement that you are to do the actually parenting of DS10?  In a lot of second marriages, the step-parent stays out of all of that and if so, then your DH did do the right thing by waiting to talk to you about it.  Now, what he said is a different story, but never-the-less, he waited - as he should.

I also wonder if this is more of a maritial issue.  Often times what seems to be a parent/child issue, is really an issue between the adults. 

For what it is worth, my SO's DS has horrible small motor skills.  I totally know what you mean about cutting meat and holding the fork.  I honestly don't know if you can change the way they hold the fork.  DSS is 18 and still holds his fork like that and has a horrible time cutting meat.   Luckily, his large motor skills are excellent, and his hand eye coordination, which has been a blessing for him.  He is excellent at sports. 

Lastly, it is just plain hard raising kids in a blended family.  It just is.  Especially when you two have a bio-child and even more compounded if your DH doesn't have any other children.  Honestly, I don't know how people enter a R when young children are involved.  I was always the one with the young kids.  :)   Kind of still am.  My SO moved in with me and my youngest when she was 6 and his youngest was 12.   Some days I think he must have lost his mind.  I don't think I could do it. 

Anyways, back to my original thought.  Although yes, you and DS may need counseling regarding behavior and parenting, I still think the other posters are right that this is possibly a marital issue also.  

Hang in there and keep us posted.

Serenity CL-Making a Second Marriage Work




iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 11-09-2012 - 2:39pm

I just had this thought--do you think that your DH likes your 10 yr old at all?  I know some kids can be very challenging but there are times you still enjoy being with them & doing things as a family.  Do you think your DH is putting this idea of sending DS away in your head, not because he thinks it would be good for him, but because he's tired of dealing with all the problems and wants him out of the house?  I have to say that I had a difficult DSD--she was a nice kid (we got married when she was 12) and then all of a sudden when she went to high school started doing a lot of crazy things.  If I am totally honest, I didn't like her that much--we were very different, she was different from my DD and I didn't like the drama--she & her dad would fight and then it would affect me & the kids.  We even had DSS at our house investigating--but that was her dad's fault for hitting her because of something she did wrong.  She shouldn't have done it but he definitely should not have hit her.  End result was that in her senior year of high school she moved in w/ her grandmother--and I was not sad to see her go.  Now with all that being said, I was always nice to her, did the same things for her that I'd do for my kids, etc.  In fact she sent me a letter about the fact that I was the only one who stuck up for her with her dad & she felt bad about all the trouble she caused.  But he could be feeling like this is not his kid and he's tired of making the extra effort and dealing with his problems--another reason that counseling for the whole family would be good.