problem child

My boyfriends son has been giving us a lot of grief lately. He is 5 1/2 years old and very spoiled. For the last few weeks, whenever he comes to stay with us, he starts crying when it’s time to go to bed and starts saying that he misses his mom. My bf will let him call her if it isn’t too late at night but it doesn’t seem to help. He only does this when it’s time to go to bed because he sleeps in a bed by himself and we won’t let him sleep with us. When he is with his mom and her boyfriend he sleeps with them sometimes. When her bf is in the field (for the military) he sleeps with her and when her bf comes back he has to sleep in his own bed. They stay up until 11:00 or 12:00 at night playing video games and he expects to do that when he comes to visit us. Everytime he starts crying they go buy him toys and video games and pretty much do whatever he says. I have never heard them tell him no.

Well here’s the problem. Last night my bf’s ex dropped David off at his house and David started crying saying he didn’t want to come to my house because he didn’t want to sleep by himself… so my bf stayed at his house last night and told him that they would go to the mall today and play video games and get him a new toy. He also said that he’s probably going to have to stay at his house everytime he has David because he doesn’t want him to throw a tantrum. Is it just me or is this little boy manipulating his parents?

I just want to know what can be done to help David get over this thing he has of sleeping with his parents and crying at bedtime. They have taken him to a psychologist but it doesn’t seem to be helping. I don’t think they are telling the Dr. that he has slept with them since the day he was born or that they are constantly buying him toys when he throws tantrums (rewarding him for bratty behavior basically). Any advice.

There is mor( to this story but it would take up a lot of space to go into everything.)

That John Denver’s full of shit man!

Sounds like you’ve got it right. The parents are not playing by the same rules, so the kid is taking advantage.

I think the second part of your second sentence says it all.

“I drive way too fast to worry about my cholesterol.”

Call me old-fashioned, and somewhat out of the loop, but IMHO it is this poor kid who is being taken advantage of.
He must be extrmely bewildered to be bounced back and forth between households that have different rules and regulation.
He is the victin, not the perpetrator.

ooops, typos, sorry!

This is not uncommon at all. I have manny friends and acquaintance who have a kid or kids, and are no longer married to the other parent. The kids are quick to pick up playing one parent off the other and it can get really out of hand when the parents are not getting over their divorce (or split).

I’ve seen the kids straightened out most often when the parents manage to put aside their differences and co-manage bringing the kid up - i.e., similar standards of behavior required and agreed upon, with regular (daily) communication about the kid. Alternatively, if one parent departs the situation entirely, the kid doesn’t have the ability to work the parents against each other. I know two families where the parents have remained antagonistic and it’s been a major struggle and the kids have had various academic and behavioral problems.

I agree that he is the victim but what can I do to show his father this. I don’t want to tell him outright that it’s not healthy for David to always get what he wants and be rewarded when he cries and throws fits because I don’t want my boyfriend mad at me for saying it. I don’t want to tell him how to raise his kid but what’s happening right now can’t continue… it’s not in David’s best intrests. I want to know how I can share my opinions without making my bf defensive about his (and his ex’s) parenting.

That John Denver’s full of shit man!

Which part is that?

That John Denver’s full of shit man!

Rachelle, you have my sympathy. It won’t be easy, but when David visits at your house, he needs to abide by your rules.

The split can’t be easy on him though. Sounds like the kid’s trying to have some control over his life, can’t blame him for that.

But it’s up to the parents to set limits – let him control which cartoon show he watches, not where he sleeps. Does your boyfriend want his home life dictated by what a five year old? Who’s in charge?

Geez, I thought most parents knew that sleeping with their kids is a bad idea.

I can’t see an easy time ahead for you. It’s hard to butt out when you see people scewing up a kid, isn’t it?

I don’t think you can. Nobody likes to hear other people’s opinions of their rotten kids, partly because it reflects on their parenting. If you tell your bf his kid is spoiled, you’re saying he spoiled his kid.

Do you have kids? If you do, are yours better behaved? If you don’t, then your boyfriend’s gonna think you don’t know what you’re talking about.

My hubby’s youngest was 13 when we met – spoiled, selfish, manipulative, lazy – not a pleasure to have around.

I know there’s a big difference between 5 and 13, but when Shan was at my house, I was able to get him to do things my way. He cleaned up after himself, went to bed where and when we told him to, ate what we ate, stuff like that. He still ran the show at his dad’s place though.

It didn’t take dad long to see that the kid was a lot more likable when he wasn’t in control.

Your alternative is to spend as little time as possible around David, and hope that continued therapy helps his behavior.

And I’ll bet there are some books out there that might help.

Gee, I just read my post. Wasn’t very helpful, was it?

My solution was mostly avoidance of the kid, and therefore the problem, but since David’s only 5, that’s not going to work for you.

Here’s hoping some Dopers who’ve been through this will do better for you than I did.

I am an assistant Early childhood Educator, and a camp counsellor. I wokr with children a lot.

Basically, every truth you hear on this board or anywhere else will boil down to two things.

Conditioning. If you train your child to do something, he or she will become acustomed and that will be that.

Love. If you love your child, pay attention to him or her. Empty praise is just that. Emtpy. It’s not being kind to your child, saying nice things, buying things for it, but spending time with himor her that will improve your child.

Love and conditioning. Sounds like a good book. Anyone?

“Mmmmm, 64 slices of American Cheeeeese” – Homer Simpson
If you need a graphic solution, http:\\Piglet

I’m a firm believer in routines and schedules for kids. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. My daughter is in bed by 9:00 and up at 6:30 every day. She eats at about the same time everyday and takes a nap at the same time everyday. She is extremely polite for a 2 1/2 year old too. She says “please” and “thank you” when she wants something and asks for what she wants… she doesn’t demand. I just wish there was a way to show Davids parents that this is the way David needs to behave. There’s no excuse for a 5 year old staying up past 9:00 during the week or 10:00 on the weekends. This kid stays up till 11:00 or 12:00 every night of the week! What’s he going to be like when he’s in school full time and not just afternoon kindergarten!!

My bf says he is going to take David to the psychologist and talk to him to see what can be done but I don’t think it’s going to help. I don’t see my bf telling the Dr. that David has slept with them since birth and that he always gets what he wants when he wants it because he knows that if he told the Dr. that, the Dr. is going to tell him that is 2 of the worst things you can do for a kid. I guess I’m just going to have to stand my ground and not accept what’s happening. He’ll either get tough with David and tell him “this is where you’re going to sleep and if you don’t like it that’s too bad”, or we’ll just stop seeing each other. I would really hate for something like this to break us up though. Especially since this problem can be so easily corrected. I just don’t think it’s fair for me to have to live like this… my life with my bf being controlled by a 5 year old!

That John Denver’s full of shit man!

Why is it they throw kids to shrinks whenever kids do something they don’t like? I was. It really pissed me off too.

Sounds like the kid has everyone wrapped around his little finger. Seems the folks are more afraid of the kid than the kid is afraid of the folks.

Anyway, forget the bribe part ASAP or it’ll be going on forever.

If you want the kid to fall asleep, and this is what we did for a kid the same age, take him for a walk in a stroller or a car if he is too big. Drive around until he falls asleep, they eventually do. Bring him home, carry him to bed. You can always put him in your bed & when he falls asleep, go sleep in another bed, like his.