Step-son in trouble and I want to help, but...

  • I have a question. I have four children from my first marriage and two step children now with my second marriage. My four live with us full time, the two are split between my husband and his ex-wife. For some background on this, I will complete my degree in psychology this summer and I currently work in a drug rehab unit in the State Prison. My oldest step-son has gotten into trouble for drugs just recently and is determined to do what ever it takes to get away from his mom. This woman really doesn't like Cory or myself and has point blank stated that she would rather he go to prison than live with us. We are currently working to get full custody of the two boys but we can't seem to get things done fast enough before the next wave of problems comes at us. Cory and I do tend to differ on our opinions of what to do for the child due to our different backgrounds, but nothing that we haven't worked through so far. I know what to do to help the child, I just don't want to over step my bounds as a step parent, yet I really don't want this child to just be tossed by the wayside due to his mothers pride or feeling that this isn't my biological child so I should keep my distance. How involved should I get? I have some real concerns if he comes to live in our house about the effect it will have on my own children if I don't "lay down the law" with him as I would with my own.
  • Get your husband to step up more, but do NOT give up trying to get custody/help this child. If you have to get your county/state Child Protection Service involved, do so. Don't worry about what his mother is going to feel/do/say. If he is her priority, she will want what's best for him, regardless of who arranges it. If not, her feelings have to take a back seat. The essential thing is to let this boy know that he is of utmost importance to at least some of the adults in his life and that they will fight for and protect him when he makes bad choices. I work with children who have been identified as having emotional/behavioral disorders. Many, many times just having one adult there for them, come what may, decides whether or not they make progress. Also, do not forget his sibling. He/she may be having as many problems that just aren't as evident. Often a sibling will try to swallow their feelings and become the "perfect child" to avoid causing more problems and pain. That sibling needs just as much help and positive attention.

    You are right to be concerned about the children already in your household. You have to make sure that you have safeguards and strict guidelines in place and that both you and your husband are dedicated to consistently (the magic word!) enforcing them. If you don't, the arrangement will be sure to fail. Please call whatever resources you have in your city/county/state for help. They will give you experienced and objective advice/support that will be invaluable.

    God bless you for you love and caring. There are too many children that go without.
  • VKJ51...great advice!

    Muffin, you have to light a fire under your husband's butt...this has to be dealt with asap....If the mother says she'd rather see the child in jail than live with his father, then that is abuse!...Call CPS... The child needs help now... get him into counseling...and if your husband's insurance will cover it, then get him into a rehab program fast! The sooner the better.
  • Stepson
    How old is your stepson? I'm in Texas and here they can decide where they want to live at the age of 12. My stepson lives with us. I can understand your wanting to help him. Is he still messing with the drugs? Just remember, he's going to be around your four. We've got my husbands son here and even though I wanted and have done everything I could to help him I'm living a total nightmare and that's all it's been. Thinking I was doing the right thing has backfired on me completely. I wish you the best of luck.
  • Step son in trouble
    DON'T GIVE UP ON HIM, but think about this too. How will his drug problem affect the children at your home now. Drugs don't just go away because the child is moved to a new home. He may need, temporarily, a new environment with very clean cut rules that he has to follow to the letter. He definately needs counciling. Drugs are a way of blocking out what's hurting you. He's begging for help. You as his step mom can only love him; I feel it's up to his father to take on the role of his father and step up. If he doesn't and the situation gets bad enough; well you don't want it to get to that point. You are, by the sound of the compassion in your posting, a loving parent. Support your husband and help him step up to help. He's probably dealing with a bit of guilt (whether founded or not) for "abandoning" his son. This feeling may not be real but it doesn't stop him from feeling guilty. Guilt is sometimes a real barrier to mobility. He's stuck between two families, as are the other two boys. They don't want to hurt or hurt anyone any more than they already do. Inaction could be the hope it will just go away. Drugs do not just go away. Most of all handle the whole thing with prayer.
  • I agree...Never Give Up on him!!! My eldest son...actually he is my Step-son, but we got rid of those nicknames al long time ago in this family, but it took alot of time to merge our kids into on "group".
    Anyway, he got into trouble and was very into doing "Anything" to push all our buttons...drinking, pot...skipping school, fighting, and the best thing we ever did was to have meetings were held every week and we did some one on one time with each of them too. And NO, they did not like it at first, but we ARE the parents and we put out foot down really hard.
    All his acting out eventually started to ease up and in time stopped all together, because he was allowed to say anything he wanted and he knew that WE as a family could find a solution. Anger about his parents divorce, Our marriage, peer pressue and being unsure about his "status" in this family all contributed to his acting out and his rage...yes, I said rage! He would actually get violent at times...but when he realized what was happening in his life and that we would love him no matter what his short commings were things got a little easier and he would talk more freely with us and his other sibblings.
    Talk to your hubby and see how he feels about your involvement! Mine thought it was Great and was relieved to know that he didn't have to handle this by himself. Just be sure to approach your son a little at a time and see if you can get him to open up to you...and believe me, I am a big advocate of Family Meetings... but remember the the family meeting anything can be said, so don't get your feelings hurt and act out yourself, because that is not going to help...and no judging!!!!! What you son has to say to you and your hubby might be out of anger at first and no matter What it is...they are HIS feelings and they need to be respected!!!
    In time things will get easier and things will is the greatest healer!
  • Step son troubles.
    You didn't mention the child's age, but I think some kids are just naturally wilder then others and have to experience some hard knocks on their own to mature. If we jump in and save them, they rely on us to help them out of all their jams. I think I was fairly rebellious. I had to handle it on my own and I think it made me grow up faster. I turned out to be a compassionate adult, and I think I "over-helped" my daughter. After you make your wishes known, and a child refuses to follow your wishes, let them experience some defeat. It is all part of growing up.
  • Re: Step-son in trouble and I want to help, but...
    Originally posted by Muffin
    How involved should I get? I have some real concerns if he comes to live in our house about the effect it will have on my own children if I don't "lay down the law" with him as I would with my own.
    I applaud you for wanting to help this boy. However with your background you know that your husband has to be the one to "lay down the law".
    {{{HUGS}}} to you as I don't know if I could do that having four kids in the house.