Anger Towards My Step-son's Defiant Behavior Has Led To Marriage Problems
I have a 13 year old step-son who I have been raising for 4 years now. He has issues with defiant behavior, stealing, and lying. I have become frustrated and angry at the behavior and at the lack of concern his mother shows towards his behavior. We argue over how to deal with the behavior and how to discipline. This has gone on for 3 yrs.
It is putting a ton of stress on the other children (mostly our 4 yr.old daughter). The last argument led to my wife turning violent and hitting me repeatedly while I tried to fend her off and get my daughter out of the house and someplace less stressful. After being hit several times I defended myself by restraining my wife.
As I left with my child she called the cops and had me charged with domestic battery. I am now facing charges and she has filed an order of protection against me so I cannot see my daughter. She is planning to use my military past, PTSD, and anger issues against me.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation sounds extremely painful and stressful. Step families when the parents disagree on parenting styles can be very challenging, to say the least.
There has been some research on what works and doesn't work with step families that might be helpful to you, or at least interesting. It has been found that the biological parent always needs to be the primary parent in terms of discipline, guidance and direction. When the step parent moves into this role (especially without the support of the biological parent), it never works. The child will resist the parenting of the step parent, no matter how appropriate that parenting might be. Again, this is just research, so take it for what it's worth to you. It might help to explain why you've had so much trouble with your step-son.
Of course, this will only be useful to you if you and your wife get back together, or if you end up in another step-parent relationship.
Meanwhile, I strongly suggest that you write about your experiences--recent and past, using the guidelines on this page. This has also been found to be helpful, by the way, with resolving PTSD issues.
Check out these quotes on relationships, and see if there's anything there that might be helpful to you as well.
Believe in yourself, and focus on the best possible future you can imagine from the goodness in your heart.
My very best to you,
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