Hello, and thanks for visiting JA.
The first thing is that you and you partner have to make sure that you are in total agreement as to what standards of behaviour are acceptable, and which are not. That way, he cannot play one off against the other. Discuss this with your partner, and get things really clear.
These boundaries must include no violence, no threats of violence, no swearing and so on He needs to understand that if he ever hits you again, the police will be involved.
Children of his age are rather liable to push things to see what happens, and what they really need are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ just makes you easier to manipulate, and anger just teaches them to be angry when they in turn are faced with a difficult situation
In your situation, recent events within the family will (despite all you have done) have left him feeling a bit insecure, and he is going to need a lot of reassurance and support when he is behaving well. You need to re-evaluate your parenting style a little, perhaps, although I must say that what you have been doing so far is pretty good.
He is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do.
Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through. If you don’t he’ll just get confused. Please make sure though that all his small successes are praised and occasionally rewarded. Consider what sanctions you might use – no mobile phone, cut in pocket money (which in fact should be earned by doing chores, not just handed out), no computer or games for a while, no washing done foe him. Privileges should be reinstated after he demonstrates that he has earned them by not crossing the boundaries you set.
Choices are not always about punishment - they can be offered in advance.
When it does come to punishment, try to make sure that it is something that will have an impact "That is it no more money this week." And make sure you vary it otherwise it becomes stale, and therefore more or less ignored.
Ask him too, what he is prepared to do to change his behaviour in future – tell him to research what might help him, what help he feels she needs, and even consider a ‘contract’ between you. In other words, involve him in his own change, with a prospect of a small reward for success.
Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.
Never, never be blaming or accusatory. Tell her how you feel about his behaviour, and make sure he understands that while you love her, his bad behaviour is hurtful and will not be accepted.
I’m going to suggest that you get a copy of the book “How to talk so teens will listen, and how to listen so teens will talk”. Its ISBN is 13: 978 1 85340 857 1
Not only will it help you turn things around round it is also a good read!
Best wishes, NormanM