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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have been married for 3 years. I have a 5 year old son,

Customer Question

I have been married for 3 years. I have a 5 year old son, and I have a 5 yr old step son. My step sons father died due to drinking. My question has to do with my step son. It started with him being very mean to my son, which I chalked it up to adjusting. It then changed to my stepson hitting himself in the the face, which I recorded to show his mother who was in disbelief. He has also chocked out my son when mad. He has also attacked me with a spoon which sounds silly, but he kept repeatly stabbing me with the spoon. My step son, laughs when his mother and I argue. He stares at me with dirty looks, which ive also took pictures of because she is in disbelief. I have tried bonding with him, but he will act as if im hurting him, he will fall and say I pushed him etc. He doesn't consider my son and I family.Just recently he has started making up stories saying that I am coming at him floating with knives. Which scares me for a child to say that. I know that my son is no angel,. My wife doesn't discipline my son so he does act up with her,i tell her to discipline him. When I talk to my wife, she feels as if im nit picking her son, and that I hate him. I don't hate him, but it is ruining our marriage, because I feel like my son and I our the outcast. She gets very angry when I try to speak about my feelings with her when it deals with her son. and then trys to compare my son to hers. She states she wants to work on her and I, but I am just filled up with resentment. I don't know if her son just has anger issues. I have asked to go to family therapy she says she doesn't think that will help. Im not sure what to do anymore. I think her son may be autisitic or add. I just would like a peaceful home life, but I don't think it will be that way unless her son changes. She says she talks to her son and the behavior stops, which is does but just changes into something different. What should I do.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 2 years ago.
This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.
Hello, I am very sorry that you are having these issues with your step-son, I can understand how distressing this can be for you and your family. First off, unless your step-son acts like this in other setting (e.g. school) this is not ADHD or an Autism Spectrum Disorder, as the behavior would be present along all settings. There is a possibility that your step-son may have something called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) where he has sever anger, temper tantrums, delinerately trying to annoy others, arguing with adults, blaming others for his own mistakes, and vindicative. Here is a good link to learn more about ODD if you are curious
What you described regarding her step-son is very serious and you have documented some of the behavior as well. I think family therapy should be encouraged at some point, but for right now your step-son needs to see a Child Psychologist/Psychiatrist for a complete assessment and treatment approach. You can try to talk to your wife about how there is no harm in having her step-son see a Child Psychologist/Psychiatrist as you have shown her documented proof of the behavior and the stories he makes up about you (floating knives). I would agree with you that this behavior is a major sticking point to your marriage and living comfortably in the home and it needs to be addressed with the proper professional, so I think you should encourage that towards your wife. Also explain that you are of course open for family therapy and working on a compromise with all family members so that the home can be peaceful, but you do feel that her son needs to be examined by a mental health professional as his behavior can only worsen without treatment.
I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. I truly wish you all the best and I hope you and your family can get your step-son the right treatment so that this issue can be overcome quickly. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.
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Expert:  Dr. Z replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I noticed that you viewed my answer and I was checking in to see if you have any further questions or concerns that you would like me to address on this issue?
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