smileysunsh... asks:


I am a step-mom to a 9 year old boy; I've known him since he was 4 and recently, his dad, mom and I in addition to school are having A LOT of problems with him.

Our son is smart, A-B report cards, only missed 1 on the TAKS math test, and then the behavior column of the report card...N's with TYPED NOTES, "does not respect others" and "does not follow directions".  We are at witt's end.  Last night his teacher called his mom and let her know that he had officially had his WORST two days of the school year.  She called us which led to an evening of conversations and our son stating "I've just been bad lately".  

For the last several months he has been rude, sassy, disrespectful *especially towards women*, and just plain awful to be around.  The thing is, he knows he's doing it.

We have grounded him, taken electronics away, sent him to bed early, made him apologize to people.  Most recently, his dad told him if he had another weekend like one recently where he was just mean to me all weekend, his room would become vacant and everything would be gone.  It's seems to have eliminated his attitude towards me but it seems like now it's moved further to school...

Suggestions, help...We asked him if anything was wrong last night at our house, his other house, if there were problems...anything...What now?

In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Blended families
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Apr 2, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like you're very frustrated with your step-son's behavior.  I can understand that you feel like you are at your wit's end with him.  I'm sorry to hear that you're having so much trouble in controlling his behaviors lately, but please know that things will get better!  

You mentioned that he's only recently begun to act this way, so that would lead me to believe that something has happened recently that is making him act out.  It's great to hear that he's doing well academically, so you can rule out his behavior as a way to avoid doing school work that is frustrating or hard for him.  Are there any big life events going on in the family that could be causing him stress?  For example, have you moved recently, had a baby or adopted a child, had a death in the family, or a change in the family's financial status including loss of a job?  Take a few moments to think about what stressors you may have as parents and realize that they may be having a trickle down effect on your step-son.

There are many questions that we could ask to get more specifics on your situation such as what are the teachers reporting what he's doing specifically at school to be disrespectful and rude?  Is he being physically aggressive, or is he displalying more verbally abusive behavior toward other students and teachers?  

It sounds like certain consequences have been effective recently in the home.  That's great news.  If it's working, keep it up.  I would also suggest meeting with his school counselor and teacher to come up with an effective plan for consequences that will continue at home for his negative behaviors during the day.  Because consistency in discipline is important, he will be less likely to continue those behaviors at school if he knows he will be punished at home for them and he knows that you and the school are on the same page.  

Even during those times that you are very frustrated and angry, remember to praise him for those times he is acting appropriately.  Verbal praise is a good motivator for kids to continue doing good!

If you would like to talk to someone in more depth about your situation, please feel free to call our free hotline and talk to one of our crisis counselors.  We're here to help you 24/7.  We can be reached at 1-800-448-3000.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Boys Town National Hotline

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