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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 husband has 2 boys aged 9 and 6 who live with their

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My husband has 2 boys aged 9 and 6 who live with their mother, her husband and a 1 year old daughter. My husband and I have them every weekend and during the holidays. Of late, the 9 year old has reportedly been more disruptive at home and says horrible things to his mother and throws 'hissy fits' when he does not get his own way, he would seem to be very disrespectuful and the younger one was recorded telling his mum she was the worst mum in the world and if she told her husband he would wake up the baby and would hurt her (mum) when we have them my husband does not smack but shouts and I find that I dont get much cheek from the older one as I pull him up but get major tantrums with disciplinging the younger one he screams and has to be put in his room and have to hold door closed to get him to observe a time out. I very much say once they apologise that its over. They have both been spoiled by mum and dad likely making up for divorce and difficulties with that but my worry is if we cant control behaviour now how are they going to be rounded adults and what kind of teenagers will they be. I realise boudaries and some consistency is required but need some guidance. mum expects us to punish for bad behaviour at home and it seems to be mum who definately gets the worst of it and she seems to not be coping with it
Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry that you are having these problems with your step-children. It sounds like they have become very difficult to deal with. The main issue here is one of discipline and consequences. It is very important that they have appropriate discipline for their acting out, and that they not be allowed to get away with this poor behavior. I'm going to recommend a couple of books that you can get online: Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries by Robert J. Mac Kenzie and Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery by Judy Arnall. I would suggest you get these books and read them in order to get some ideas about how to handle their behavior more productively.

In addition, if you have a working relationship with their mother, I would suggest that the four of you (parents) get together to talk about the boys behavior and come to some conclusions about discipline that you will all agree to follow and be consistent with. The more consistent you can be between the households, the better this will work. You don't want them to be able to play you off each other, which seems to be happening a bit now.

If this doesn't seem to get some positive results, then you will have to look further into having them talk with a child psychologist who can help figure out what the problem is and work with you on some solutions. But I suspect some firm boundaries, consistent discipline, and cohesion between the parents will take care of a lot of the problem.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We have tried the meeting up, there used to be a time of annimosity between the males due to cheating and divorce but this is greatly improved, I might add they are separated 4 and a half years. Both children seem to be sorry and apologetic afterwards but it seems to fall on deaf ears when there are recurrences the next day. The older one is less of an issue at our house and it is the younger one who acts out and throws tantrums and huffs and screams inappropriately more. they were recorded by mum telling her she is the worst mum in the world and I dont believe they mean it. As it is I had to go and get them and she was upset on the phone to my husband and saying she wanted to walk out. She also had a premature baby - 5 weeks early who is now almost one. Having spoke to the children today here, the oldest one says even though mum says she tries to give them all equal attention he says he does not and he always gets the blame, he also understands that this is because he is older. the younger one states it is because mum is softer than myself, dad and stevie (her husband). There is obviously stuff that goes on that we dont know about but we all seem to be at a loss with what to do. I know all children can play up especialy on the holidays but their behaviour at times is so unreasonable. Can you give me some examples of boundary settings for each age group as I am wary of making the situation worse or being the wicked step mother.
Hi again. It really would be beneficial for you to get the books I suggested. There are so many different situations that need to be addressed here, that I think you would get much more from these books than from me trying to explain it in this format. The boundries are going to be around what behavior is acceptable and what isn't, and what the consequences will be if they don't do as they are supposed to. Please get the books - it will give you a much better understanding of this than I can do here. Good luck. Please click accept. Thank you. Tamara
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Am a little dissapointed you could not offer anything more than to direct me to a book for the answers. I realise there is no quick fix but would have expected something more solid than that which the lay person already knows. I have clicked accept but will not be recommending this service.