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Tamara
Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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My long-term boyfriend has two children, age 4 and 7, who visit every other weekend.

Customer Question

My long-term boyfriend has two children, age 4 and 7, who visit every other weekend. Their behavior is disruptive to the point that they yell at servers in restaurants, run around in stores, etc. They are developmentally behind in reading, bathing, dressing, etc, and the 7 year old is obese. Their mother believes that she needs to be their "friend" and sees no problem with their disruptive behavior. She states that they are just children. It appears to be easier for her to not deal with their behavior or focus on their education or life skills. We are getting to the point that we are ready for them to leave soon after they arrive (although that is not communicated to the children) and our weekends with them are exhausting because the children will not obey. Both of our parents agree that the children's behavior is disruptive and exhausting. Their grandfather even stated that "These kids will make you have a **** heart attack!"
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Tamara replied 6 years ago.

Tamara :

Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today. What would your question be? Tamara

Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience: 20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
Tamara and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Sorry about that. My question is how to deal with this. Initially my thought was that if we were consistent with the children they would eventually learn what behavior is acceptable at each home. I also thought by taking them to stores, restaurants, etc, and telling them in advance what behavior is expected and what the consequences of not behaving would be that they would eventually "get it." We have been consistent for over a year with them and it is not working. They are becoming more disruptive. Even at home they are loud and out of control. If you give them direct instruction for basic tasks (bathing, dressing, etc) they will not follow them. For example, I will stand outside the shower while the 7 year old daughter takes a shower. I will tell her every step to take-wash your face, hair, etc, but if I stop for even a minute she is pulling the squeegee off the wall and playing with it. If I didn't direct her she would never get the bath accomplished. She does not even dress herself consistently and can barely tie her shoes. My thought is that she is 7 years old and should not need that level of direction. She is behind in reading because her mother doesn't place a value on education. She is obese (size 12 pants) because her mother has no interest in nutrition. Their mother thinks she is their friend instead of their parent. She is 35, but puts entries on facebook about jello shooters (jello made with some kind of alcohol) and partying. She also has two older teenage daughters, and doesn't seem to care what example she sets for them. Their is no hope of getting custody of the children, because she does take care of their basic needs and the children love her.

 

My question is how do you teach them what behavior is acceptable when their mother doesn't discipline them? We have them 4 days a month and she has them the rest of the time. We want them to want to come to our house, but we also don't want to be miserable (or the kids to be miserable either because we are always correcting them). By the end of the weekend we are absolutely exhausted. Any suggestions? Speaking to their mother about this is not an option because that has been attempted and she sees nothing wrong with their behavior.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I never got an answer.
Expert:  psychlady replied 6 years ago.
You both can work on this issue but remember it is best that the punishment come from the parent as much as possible. You have to have clear and consistent boundaries as you are trying to do to maintain their behavior. They will rebel in the beginning but you have to stay strong. They will begin to respond and you will see small changes. They will begin to know that they can't do certain things at your house and adapt to those boundaries. Begin to reign them in through consistent consequences. What they do at her house is a side issue. You may use a token economy system at first where they earn privileges. You can buy these at any book store and is sometimes called a chore chart. Don't let the title fool you. You can substitute lying, yelling, disobeying etc

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