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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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Im in a very difficult position. I have 3 kids (13 yr boy,

Resolved Question:

I'm in a very difficult position. I have 3 kids (13 yr boy, 10 yr boy, 6 yr girl). I'm there step-mom. I've been married to there father for 3 yrs. The kids mom in the last two yrs. has really gone down hill. Drugs, two misdaminer convictions for domestic violance and all around became a horrible person. She (the mother) has always been verbally abusive to the kids but now she has had a few large freak outs on the kids. One was her kicking all 3 kids out of her house makeing them out of her house and saying horrible names etc. The next week she physically assulted the 10 yr old. Draging him out of the car on a st. side and closed fist bunching and kicking him while he was on the ground. We have temp full custody and she has non professional supervised visitations. She is telling the kids she might goto jail, loose her house and reck her life because they talked to the cops. These poor kids have been so hurt and damaged by there mom. They are acting out like never before. My husband and I have been talking to them when they break our rules etc. No improvement was shown. Now its discussion and small punishments. No improvement. My next step I think is discussion and medium punishments. I'm just very scared that I might be doing more harm then good in some ways. If you can give me some pointers and maybe some books and websites that could help me. Thank you so much.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

The children's oppositional behavior is a direct expression of their uncomfortable emotions (anger, sadness, anxiety) related to the abuse they have suffered. They all need to be in regular therapy right now...weekly or even day treatment (which is daily). I would ask their primary doctor about the services in your area.

Now to your is a great book about oppositional behavior:

You can get it on Amazon too.

The main concept to remember is to also use positive discipline techniques:
Praise and reward the good behavior...a lot!!
Give each child special alone time....especially with Dad;

The book will go into more detail....
Good luck....
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The family has been seeing a therapist for the last 4 months. We do family sessions and individual sessions. It definatly has been very helpful. My main current question is... What is the next step in punishing the kids? Right now if they yell at someone they have to go to there room right away for 5 min. Should I raise the time by 5 min. per incident that day? Should I be doing something else?
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
So the consequence for yelling is to room for 5 minutes...right?
The first next step is to introduce the positive discipline mentioned above. So if they go through a whole day without breaking this rule (no yelling)...they get a reward (a star which leads to a greater reward).

The time out in their room should be one minute for each year of age. I wouldn't do anything different than that....just work out the reward system for obeying the rule.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Since there are so many negative aspects that are affecting them what is the order of importance?

There stresses that I know of...


1. Seeing there brother get severly beaten by their mother.


2. Going from seeing their mom 50% of the time to only Sat. and Sun. 8-5 with a non professional superviser (Their Grandmother)


3.The stress that their mom keeps telling them that she might go to jail because of them.


4. The stresses of being their age (13 , 10, and 6)


5. They have had continues verbal abuse from their mom. Example: Making them pack some of their stuff up and kicking them out while calling them horrible names and saying she never wants to see them again.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
The expert excepted my question and then went off line.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
The expert excepted my question and then went off line.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,
I believed that I had answered your original question. Then you asked a different question. I will look at it tomorrow and reply if no one has answered.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I did not mean to upset or put you down in any way. I'm sorry if I did. I was confused because 17 min. after reciving your answer I had a related question that I submited. The computer told me that you excepted and were working on my question. Then it said you were off line. I'm just very concerned about my step kids. Also, it's starting to really wear on my husband and my sanity. I look forward to your responses. Thank you
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
No worries...I was not upset just explaining my thinking about it.

There is no way to prioritize these stressors. They are all considered trauma and I would classify them all as severe. It is important that each child get time alone with a therapist to process this trauma. There are therapists who specialize in trauma therapy. The therapy known as EMDR is an excellent approach for the trauma that they have endured. Each of the situations is addressed directly and processed with the help of the therapist. I would highly recommend this approach:

I hope this helps...
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