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A 9 yr old who grew up w/ no discipline

In short my husband deployed I have the step-son. He has been out of hand. Arguing, yelling, not wanting anyone to tell him what to do. I have started discipline where he does things around the house to earn tv, video games etc. It seems the more we talk to him the worse he gets. He doesnt know compassion, how to be unselfish, how to care about someone besides himself, and how to talk about someone besides himself. We go to a therapist to help with the problems. But it seems things are getting worse. I feel bad but I told my hsb I cant take care of him a year w/out any help cuz it was going to take more than me to help change him. What more can I do? We are going to send him to my hsb sisters house and tell her what is going on? I'm lost I dont have kids of my own but raised my brother. How to help a child do has never learned to care about anyone but himself?

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Asked by Anonymous at 2:25 PM on Apr. 5, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Answers (4)
  • I really wish I had an answer... I don't. Sorry for your situation it must be hard.


    Answer by BlooBird at 2:32 PM on Apr. 5, 2010

  • There is a thing called Executive Function Disorder. It sounds like he may have something like that. I'm not a doctor but my grandson has it. If he has that or something similar then you cannot change him, the damage was done at an early age to him. The good news is that you can learn to deal with him and get him to act more in tune with what you want. It does take time but please don't hit him. If he has this disorder then he can't help himself and hitting him will only make him more angry. The more you punish him the more he hates himself and acts out. Ask the therapist to help you with behavior modification tips to change his behavior gradually. That's more effective than punishing. Punishing is only going to make things worse. So try to calm down and pick your battles with him, don't try to play "I'm the boss, listen to me" type of stuff. You can do this but it won't be easy. Tell the SIL too if you give up on him

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:48 PM on Apr. 5, 2010

  • He could also be just outright acting out. I mean, he isn't with his mother, (you did say you are the step-mom, right?) and now his Dad is deployed (GONE) for a year or more? I would be acting out too. These kids are resilient but not without resistance and defiance. He could be feeling a lot of different things now, Like for instance, 'Mom is not here, what did I do to drive her away, Dad is gone, I must have done something to make him want to leave too, Lets see what I can do to drive SM away too."

    At this point, I would maybe talk to him... dare I say Man to Man... But talk to him in a way that says, I love you and I want to be here for you, I don't want to leave you. Explain that you need him to step up and help you, that he has to in a since be the man of the house while his dad is not there.


    Answer by AaronsMom79 at 12:14 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • Tell him that a man doesn't act that way and should be respectful and well behaved. That it is going to be hard for BOTH of you while your DH is gone, but that if he will let you, you would like to tough it out with him.

    I sounds to me like he is just really struggling with everything. Boys take things to heart more than we seem to think, and it seems like he is holding it in and lashing out, it could be anger, fear, hurt, and all of the above....

    While I know you want to send him to your SIL, I urge you to hang in there and be the constant for him right now. He needs you. I'll keep you guys in my thoughts.. Good Luck!

    Answer by AaronsMom79 at 12:19 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

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