Alright, I will try to make this as short as possible, but there needs to be a little bit of backstory.
I just recently moved here (in the beginning of April) to Indiana to be with my boyfriend. In that time he had been fighting for custody of his kids which was just rewarded to him about a month ago. The kids are essentially really well behaved, but I know things were and are hard for them because their mother is a piece of work, and that's putting it incredibly lightly. I spend most of my time with them because my boyfriend works 2nd shift as his job and is gone from 2:45-12 midnight. So I'm the one doing lunch, dinner, homework, bedtime and all that stuff for the duration of the week, minus the days they visit with grandparents and such.
Sara (8) has been wonderful, and we've both done very well with each other. She needed that maternal figure because her own mother is lacking in that department. (I could tell you the story, but we would be here forever. Basically, she manipulated Sara into believing lies and other such things. She also told both Sara and Ryan(6) she didn't ever want to see them again). However, Ryan and I, though we get along, are having issues with his attitude.
EVERYTHING I ask or tell him to do, I get talked back to, whined at, yelled at, and it's never just a simple thing. It turns into a production. Now I know things with his mom are hard and we've had the conversations of "You need to use your words to talk to me, I promise I will listen" but it helps to no avail. I'm sticking to my guns, but it's just hard. I know he's going through so much, but I can't allow him to walk all over me. I've talked to Kevin (Boyfriend) and he gets on Ryan as well for the attitude, because he recieves the attitude from Ryan as well, and every now and again Kevin will pop him on the butt for it. I refuse to do that, it's not my place. But I'm running out of ideas. I take things from him, I send him to his room, I sit down and I talk to him on his level, but it just seems to go in one ear and out of the other...
I need some kind of advice, maybe there's a better way to handle it?
ETA: We have them both in counseling, and boyfriend and I have been consistant with the punishments, and I do take into consideration the struggle both the kids are going through with their incubator (because that's all she was). I was in a similar situation as a kid, so I understand a lot of what they're going through.