(Closed) Vent – annoyed with stepson, need some perspective

posted 7 years ago in Parenting
Post # 17
889 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

@TripleNickle:  I don’t think you’re being a control freak, and I totally understand why you’re annoyed. Honestly, that would drive me nuts. That said, I do think you need to refocus your frustration from Chris to your husband; Chris is 5, and he’s going to get excited about things. It’s his job as a kid to get excited; it’s you and DH’s job as parents to decide when it’s okay to be loud and when it’s not.

As far as when he’s playing a game, I’d let that go (as long as he’s at home and not in a public setting where it could be disruptive to a lot of people). If he took to screaming every time he did anything playtime, I’d have to talk to him but if he’s just excited and having fun, it’s probably because he’s having such a great time at your house. 🙂 Plus, any future kids will likely do the same things when they’re playing together.

The screaming for attention needs to stop, though. He probably does it at his other household too, and because both parents likely respond to it, he continues. I doubt that it’s meant disrespectfully or to be ugly. You and your DH need to become a united front on this one, because that’s the only way to get the message across to Chris. Have a talk with Chris (after you and DH have talked) and let Chris know that from now on, we need to really use our inside voices. Tell him that he can yell if he has an emergency (and give him examples of what an emergency is), but that if he needs to ask you something/talk to you/etc., he needs to come find you and ask you/talk to you (or DH). Then, if/when Chris yells for one of you that first time after your talk, go to him and say, “Chris what is the emergency!?!” It will likely not be one, so reinforce your rule. If it continues, and you know it’s not an emergency, don’t yell back, don’t run in there to him. Let him figure out that you won’t respond to him like that and the same will go for your other kids.

Post # 18
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

The yelling for excitement is something he’ll just grow out of eventually. Yelling for his dad is a habit which can and should be broken, but you need to have a LOT of patience with it. 5-year-olds need a ton of repetition and practice to develop a new habit, especially when trying to replace an old one. Don’t expect to tell him a few times and then start getting frustrated when he’s still yelling– it may take a while, so keep reminding him gently.

When he does yell for one of you, practice the whole scenario again. You or your husband should walk up to him and NOT respond to his question/need, but say, “What should you do when you need me?” When he responds correctly (without trying to get you to answer his question), say, “Okay, let’s try it the right way.” Go back to what you were doing and let him come to you and say excuse me or whatever you want him to do. In the beginning, every time he does it correctly you should acknowledge it, i.e. “You came to me so politely, it makes me happy to help you.”

Kid noise can definitely be tiresome. Sometimes you just have to shake your head and laugh at how loud they are to get yourself to relax and brush it off. Just remember to stay patient and keep smiling, because he’s just an impulsive, high-energy little thing who’s probably trying to please you.

Post # 19
416 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I agree that you and your husband should get on the same page about this.  I know kids are loud, but you should be enforcing the same rules (and maybe have DH discuss it with Chris’ mom so you’re being consistent across households).  Maybe if Chris yells, you don’t come, but if he walks over and comes into the room to ask for you, then you jump up, so he understands that that’s the way to get what he wants.  I think 5 is old enough that this is a reasonable goal to work on.  Good luck.

Post # 20
63 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@TripleNickle:  I don’t think you’re being too controlling.  I can’t stand a lot of loud noise.  sit down with your husband, tell him you think Chris is awesome and you love having him around, but you need him to help Chris break the yelling habit.  Then tell Chris clearly that you love him and want to be the best stepmum in the world, but you’re not used to kids and that the yelling hurts your ears and that when the baby comes, he will wake the baby.  I truly believe that kids want to be good, and they want to be praised.  They want you to like them and if he knows yelling hurts your ears then he’ll try to stop.  Every time he yells yells, firmly and calmly tell Him not to yell and to come to where you are to talk to you.  You have to be consistent.

Post # 21
681 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

He’s a five year old boy, if screaming is your biggest problem consider yourself lucky. This post breaks my heart. It doesn’t sound like uyou have opened up your heart to him and this boy will see that. My daughter is five and has to go on court ordered visitations with her dad. You know what she asked for for Christmas? She asked to never have to go back to her dads again and when I asked her why do you know what she said? “My step mom doesn’t love me, they love their baby more”. She’s only five and already picks up on it and likely your step son does too. Saying you don’t hate your step son is not enough, you have to open your heart to him. 

Your husband obviously sees your indifference as well and that WILL cause marital problems. For the happiness and for your family I hope you will be able to become a positive step mom to this boy and not let little things bother you so much. Will it be such a big deal when your baby screams, when your child is happy and screams from excitement, or when your baby does the normal kid thing and calls to you from the bedroom? 

Post # 22
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Sometimes the best thing a parent (or a stepparent) can do is to help their children learn acceptable behaviors, even if it feels strict at first. Make sure your husband understands you love and care about Chris, but that not only is his behavior grating on your nerves, but it will also make it harder for him at school, with friends, etc. in the future if he doesn’t get it under control.

You need to take some of the behavioral suggestions that other bees here have been making, and agree, together, to enforce it 100%. That’s how kids learn, and that will keep the painful “learning” stage as short as possible. In fact, I don’t know what your husband’s relationship to the boy’s bio mom is like, but it’d be particularly helpful if the three of you could be on the same page, so that he has consistent expectations wherever he is. Asking him to play by a different set of rules at mom’s house vs. dad’s house can make it harder for him to learn.

Otherwise, my suggestions are exactly what other bees are saying. Tell him yelling from the other room is unacceptable, and tell him why it bothers you. Don’t be mean, but don’t sugar coat it. After you’ve talked to him about it, you both have to agree that when he does it again (because he will, because kids need time to learn things like that) that neither of you will respond. If Chris gets upset about it, just tell him that he’s always welcome to come ask you questions in the room you’re in if he needs something.

As for yelling while he’s playing, if you think it goes above and beyond just getting excited, I’d recommend instituting a “cool down” space for him. Kind of like a time out, but don’t yell at him or anything. If he’s getting too rowdy and yelling too much, tell him you’d like him to just take a break and cool down a little bit because he’s disturbing the people nearby. it’s important that he doesn’t feel punished, but that you can help him to relax a little bit and teach him how to think of others around him and how his yelling hurts them.

You can do all this without scolding, and if you and hubby are both 100% consistent and don’t give in, it won’t take long to break him of this. Just make sure your husband REALLY UNDERSTANDS that you love and care for Chris, and that you don’t want him “gone”. But truly, helping Chris with this behavior will help everyone in the long run.

Post # 23
794 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I don’t think you are being unreasonable at all.  That behavior would have NEVER been allowed in my or my DH’s home growing up.  My children will be raised the same.  5 is most definitely old enough to understand that yelling for attention is not acceptable.  I get that children get excited and squeal during games but as you have already said that is not the issue.  I am really shocked with the amount of people saying you are being mean and that excessive screaming is totally normal.

Post # 24
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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+1 to all of you.

I am surprised how many people think this is controlling. To me it seems like you are simply trying to encourage what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. I agree with PPS that you need to be on the same page with biomom and DH to get anything accomplished. Of course kids will be loud at times, but it seems to me based on your post that he is in permanent state of excitement and doesnt have much quiet time. I think it is definitely worth bringing up that this is for his wellbeing and success in school, with friends, and with life. Parents will not want him to come for play dates if he is overly rambunctious. I dont think you are wrong at all, but you do need to be careful in how you phrase things as to not hurt DH or SS

Post # 25
2861 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@Mrslovebug:  I totally agree. Obviously we weren’t there to hear her tone, but for her DH to get sad and say ” Don’t worry he will be leaving soon” … ouch. That breaks my heart. Step son needs to learn to not holler for every little thing, no doubt about it. But at the same time kids are not quiet. Especially not 5 year old little boys ( I have one myself). That’s something you are going to have to get over. And for the love of God don;t frame the conversation about him needing to be quiet based on YOUR future child. I’d be beyond hurt if my Fiance approached me about something my son was doing based on that. 

Post # 26
2029 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I am struggling witht he same behavior from my own child. I try to say, “Yelling isn’t how we show each other we love one another. When you need Daddy, come down and speak to him directly. That’s how we show we love and respect each other.” It might help in your case to couch your reaction in terms of love, since your partner was clearly not feeling the love earlier.

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