F/U To SS with Violent Fantasies and Behavior

Updated on March 27, 2013
L.S. asks from Madison, WI
15 answers

Hi Mamas,

Since several people asked me to give an update, I decided to post this as a new question. I'm not sure if the ''so what happened' alerts you that I posted a follow up, so I'm doing it this way. Sorry if this is bad mamapedia etiquette...

I spoke with my husband again about my SS (who is almost 9) about his violent drawings and actions. For one night, he (hubby) did agree that SS is acting inappropriately and agreed to call the school counselor. However, he's since changed his mind and refuses to take any action. He says that I'm trying to imply that SS is a 'psychopath' and he doesn't believe that to be true. I tried to explain that I think SS needs help to manage his anger, that he's most likely being bullied himself and that we need to help him, not blame him. I even said that we're failures as parents if we do nothing... My husband will not bend...it's the same stance he (and SS's bio mom) has taken for years about other issues. I called his teacher and asked if I could speak with her privately. If my husband ever found out I called the school about SS without his knowledge it would lead to SERIOUS marital trouble. The teacher said the school can't promise any confidentiality if I brought a problem to their attention that needed to be addressed. So I do have the option of speaking to the school, but I'm very afraid that would do significant harm to my marriage. However, if things continue as they are that will be the outcome anyway...

In the past few days, I've seen SS do other 'sneaky' mean things to his little sisters (they are 17 months and just-turned 3). For example, the baby was trying to take a toy away from him, and SS waited until she was leaning backwards and pulling hard, and then let go so she flew backwards and fell into a footstool. He did this literally right in front of me. He said he knew that she would fall, but tried to justify it because she was taking his toy. He was punished but did not apologize. Btw, he has never voluntarily apologized for anything that i can remember. he either doesn't care or doesn't understand the concept...im not sure which to believe. He also knocked a toy out of my 3 year old's hands so hard that it flew across the room. He did this when he thought no one was watching. There was no provocation for this.. She was just walking by him and he just felt like being mean. These incidents both happened in the past couple days. I know these few things don't seem like much, but to me it's obviously part of a larger pattern. For those that asked about my SIL's reaction after the 'playing baby' incident...after that, they refuse to let their kids see SS at all. They said that he has always been sneaky and they know that his dad will not stop or discipline him, so they just cut him off. Although this has completely ruined family gatherings, I don't blame them at all. I've never left him alone with my girls either after that first incident. However since my husband refuses to acknowledge any problems with SS, I can't trust him to watch all 3 kids together. When I shower, run an errand, whatever, the girls have to come with me every time. It's a real drain on me the weeks that SS is with us. And now that I know about the drawings of "destroying little girls and sending them down a black hole so they can never come back"; he draws little girls "because they're the easiest to destroy" (details in my last post) I can't even sleep well when SS is here. I lock his bedroom door (from the inside, it's the only way it locks), and put a monitor in both the girls' rooms and turn them up super loud. Then I lay there worrying half the night. Right now I don't think he would do anything seriously violent to them when he knows that we're here. But the closer he gets to puberty, the scarier it is. And I also have to try to hide my 'surveillance' from my husband. If he thinks I'm treating SS any differently than a perfect angel, he usually gets angry. Even my disciplining SS often results in a fight between us. And I don't mean spanking or anything like that...I mean no tv or video games, go to your room, that kind of stuff. Even speaking sharply to him can sometimes set my husband off. I don't know if hubby acts like this because deep down he does know that SS is different and he's trying to protect him, or if it has something to do with divorced dad guilt and worry that I dont love SS, or because hes the 1st and only son, or what it is.

I can almost see how this is so hard for my husband to recognize. SS isn't a monster, or always mean and angry or anything like that. He generally a happy (though REALLY quirky) kid. When he is outwardly mean or angry, i can usually see why he feels provoked (it's the sneaky mean that comes out of nowhere). Of course I have no idea what happens at school or at his mom's house. SS will very rarely admit to being bullied or teased, and if he does mention something, he'll then deny it if you try to question him or bring it up later. And my husband has no experience with other kids, so he really has nothing to compare SS to, aside from kids at soccer practice and the very rare occasion that SS has a friend over (i believe thats happened 3 or 4 times in 3 years). I think my husband really believes SS is just awkward. I believe he's ASD and probably more than that.

I know something has to be done, but the only way I can think of to intervene could potentially lead to the end of my marriage. Once SS hits puberty, if nothing has been done, that's likely where things are heading anyway. I love my husband with all my heart. And aside from these problems with SS, he's a wonderful father. But where SS is concerned, I fully agree that he's failing him and our daughters. I don't want to jeopardize my marriage, but I truly don't see any way to avoid it.

And to S.H: I think about what you said all the time. You're so right. if he hurts another child, it will be our fault. Mine more than anyone, because I'm the one that recognizes and acknowledges how much of a problem this is.

So that's where this stands. I'm still just as scared and confused as before. But thank you all very much for listening and confirming my suspicions...even though I really wish they didn't have to be confirmed :-(.

What can I do next?

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answers from Miami on

I think that I would accept the marital problems and expose this to EVERYONE. The school, the pediatrician, CPS. Once one knows, all can know.

You should talk to a family lawyer too.

I think that I would rather be divorced from your husband (sorry) than be in the middle of when this boy turns into a 17 year who does something terrible. (Again, I'm sorry. Your husband doesn't believe that his son could become a psychopath, but I'm not willing to make the same assumption as him.)

I think that if you get a lot of people on your side of this that he will HAVE to accept getting him help, maybe court-ordered help. I'd also talk to the judge about making sure your children are never alone with the boy.

Unless you talk to a lawyer, you won't know the law. And you need to know what your options are.

Good luck,

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

I think you ought to call CPS - it can be done anonymously, so no one will ever know that you did it.

Seriously - your husband refusing to treat his child's health (and mental health is as important as physical), that's neglect.

Report it, or someday you may wish you had.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You HAVE to protect your little ones and others, I can't stress that enough, and I know you know that. Your SS needs to be seen by his pediatrician for referral to someone who can help him. And you can talk to his school which will probably suggest the same, but if they present it to your husband it will make him accountable to them, which will take some of the pressure off you. You have some difficult decisions you need to make, but maybe that's what your husband needs to take you seriously and help his son.

Prayers and best wishes.

ETA - I don't know if those advising you call CPS are aware, but having done so on a family member several times until a clear picture manifested itself, I can knowledgably say, while they are supposed to be confidential, they are often ways your identity becomes known. Me and another family member were identified outright on numerous occasions, by social workers and a police officer CPS had called. All the person called on had to do was ask, I was there, I know. So while you may at some point need to call CPS, 1) Be prepared your name may indeed be given to your husband, 2) Also know that your daughters will no longer be allowed to remain in a home once CPS considers it dangerous to them, otherwise you can be charged with child endangerment, something you could face anyway if your son's problems are not dealt with. No easy answers, I'm very sorry.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm so sorry about your marriage being endangered. that's not something to take lightly. but i'm afraid you must face the fact that it's already seriously endangered. you're not really a family, you and the girls are held hostage on a regular basis, not so much by a troubled little boy but by his dad who is refusing to help him.
risk your husband's wrath. with love and sensitivity, make this conversation happen.
:( khairete

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ADD: Just to reassure you - YOU are not jeopordizing your marriage - YOUR HUSBAND IS, by not being strong enough to do the right thing for all of his children. By basically threatening you with the end of your relationship out of denial that his child needs help, he's playing games with you and NOT showing you the love and respect you deserve. If you love him, you may have to "play hardball" to get him to step up. If you feel you can talk to your SS's mom in an "I'm really worried for your boy", go for it. The child needs someone to step up, and if you can't legally, maybe you can push someone else to do it.

ORIGINAL: Call CPS as they do protect identitity of callers and ask them about this. It will probably come down to the safety of your girls over your marriage, and the girls will have to win. Perhaps talking to an attorney would help, as you see the child needing help and wanting to make sure he is taken care of. Perhaps you can give the school permission to escalate the reporting so that something has to be done? I don't know if you have family you can turn to, but it might be a good idea to set up something where if you need to leave your husband, even for a short time, to prove that you won't put up with his blindness at the risk of your children's safety and his child's well being, then do that. It may be uncomfortable, but dad may see that you're not just being "mean" and that he's being stupid - hopefully.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on


I am so sorry you are going through this. I hope you come to a place, soon, when you are willing to risk your marriage in order to get this child some help. Having your husband be mad or even leave is likely going to be less stressful than what you are currently dealing with. I'm sorry to say it-- it's not pleasant to hear. I'm concerned that you will find your marriage an empty comfort should something happen to your little girls.

I wouldn't wait any longer, personally. It may take you risking it all to make your husband see that he cannot live in denial any longer. That you actually are truly scared for your girls. Waiting until this boy does anything *more* serious than deliberately hurting a younger, smaller child and doing it in a sneaky way....?

You may have to be the brave one and make the appointment with a family or couples therapist to start with. Be prepared to leave with the girls for a while if need be. I'm so sorry.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Nanny cam then show hubby an edited video so it takes out all the lax time between incidents? This way he can see that his child is hurting his other kids.

Then tell him what you want the outcome to be. Either a choice between this child or you and yours. Or therapy, counseling, etc.....

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Has his school noticed any troubling behaviors? If he really is a troubled kid, I don't think it would occur in only one setting, the home. He'd also exhibit signs of it at school. So, maybe talk to the teacher and ask her/him if they notice anything out of the ordinary with your SS, and ask for updates. At least that way the concern can be coming from an outside source, and not just from you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I think you should call SS's mother and have a long talk with her. Quit asking permission from your husband for everything. He's not willing to listen, perhaps she will be.

Don't try to hide it from your husband in any way, but don't let him boss you around either. He married you and made you this boy's stepmom too. And you have every right to protect the other children in your family.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am sorry that you're going through this. I'm a step mom myself and my husband is a step-dad to my oldest son. I totally understand both your concern and your husband's over-protectiveness/defensiveness. Your concern trumps his feelings right now. I know it's scary but I think that talking to the school is the right thing to do. You may want to give one more warning shot to both your husband and your SS's mother. Yes it will blow things up but this boy needs help.

The times I regret most in my marriage and parenting are those when my mom-radar was screaming at me that something was off with my SD and I deferred to my husband's judgement and actions, which were that nothing was wrong and there was nothing to be done. I distinctly remember conversations where I would implore him to wake up and see that something was wrong. Where things with her mother just didn't add up. But no, I listened to him and stayed out of it and when her mom abandoned her to us when she was 13, over the next few months we learned that it was what I imagined and more - her 'estranged' step-father was actually living with them, doing drugs, abusing his wife, and beating and tasering dogs in front of the kids for fun. She slept on a mattress on the floor and had no light in her room. She had to lock her bedroom door to keep her brothers from stealing from her and destroying her things. She was left with a step-relative who was abusive. She was frequently screamed at and intimidated or ignored. And all of this happened under our noses, seeing her every weekend, for 7 years.

Please have the courage to do what's right. Yes your husband and your SS's mom will be upset but they'll get over it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

You need to speak to a counselor -- psychiatrist --- psychologist who's practice is limited to children with mental problems, or violent behavior. I would contact a domestic violence shelter or hotline and explain your concerns to them.

Bi-Polar Disorder and Schizophrenia are showing up a lot more often in young children than ever before. Some say it's the GMO foods. This boy needs help, his parents are hiding their heads in the sand.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow, Lynn, this is a tough one.

I feel bad for the little boy, because he has been traumatized, probably by his parents' divorce. He is jealous of the new family.

Assuming there is nothing mentally wrong with him, which is possible, nine years old is still young enough to change his path.

His father needs to take a VERY active role in his life. He needs to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him, loving him, nurturing him, and doing activities together. He should have his son join a sports team and your husband should coach it. Lots of outside time and hikes with him. Lots of hugs and reading/whatever else from dad. I think this boy is crying out for attention from dad. Does dad actually spend any time with him, or just passively ignore his behavior?

I know it's hard, but you should be as loving as possible to this kid. He probably feels your emotions toward him.

PLEASE insist that your husband start spending a lot of quality time with his son. It's not too late to change this, but you are right: if this continues until his teen years, it's not going to be pretty.

Dad can change this.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

You know the right thing to do. This little boy needs help. He is not going to get better by ignoring the situation. He is going to get worse, and he will injure himself... or one of your daughters.

You are worried about hurting your marriage, but isn't it already damaged because the two of you aren't working together to help ALL of your children?

I want to say it again: you know the right thing to do. Your step son's health and well being, and that of your own daughters, is far more important than worrying about whether your husband is on board. If your husband gets really mad at you for going behind his back, you're going to feel awful, right? But you're going to feel a million times more awful if your SS hurts one of your daughters and you didn't do anything to stop him.

(I just reread my answer and want to add, I feel for you. I would not want to be in your shoes. Your situation is incredibly hard. But please stay strong. Do what is right and what is needed. Many hugs.)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

So sorry that you find yourself in this situation. It is probably the hardest thing you'll ever experience.

Can you get some nanny cams and set them up in strategic places to record these incidents to play for your hubby.

I think hubby is not trying to protect his son, he is trying to ignore the fact that his son is not perfect. I had that same problem with my SS and the mother of his child. I tried to tell them she exhibited signs of autism, but no one would even consider it. My SS mom and HER MOM actually called me to try to convince me I was wrong. I didn't argue. She wasn't my grandchild so I let it go. Unfortunately, she went without any intervention or services until she got into school. Then, the mom, her mom, SS's mom and her mom all tried to argue with the school that X was just as normal as any other child in kindergarten. It literally took a couple of years before they would allow her to be in special ed or get her any services. That was way too late and X still suffers from their inaction.

I think you have to decide what you want/need more. Your marriage or the safety and well-being of your daughters. Perhaps if you told hubby you are considering moving out with the girls until the issues with SS are addressed, he would understand how serious this is.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

i think you should tell your husband that he is YOUR son to not J. your step son and you love him enough that you need him to get help. stop looking at it like the girls are your main concern and do what you would do if your daughter was doing this. you would fight for your kid to get them help...J. like you should with him. dont take the stance of only protecting your kids take the stance with your husband of protecting your son together and making sure he is ok.
Is he this way with you too? was he like this before the girls? perhaps you can spend alone time J. you and him and get a feel for if he is J. provoked by the girls (which would still be bad but atleast you have soemthing to work from)
also do his teachers have problems with him? i'm sure if it was an issue with his mental health they would

it seems you interact with him as if he is J. your step son or husbands son. perhaps he picks up that things changed once the girls were born and could see the diference and is taking it out on them?
either wya he needs therapy and help

1 mom found this helpful
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