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Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

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Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

Casual scribe

Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

There are ongoing issues with my step son and I just need to put pen to paper so to speak.

I feel so sorry for this poor kid.  He is 14 years old.

He has developed very quickly a learned behaviour of aggression and violence when he doesn't get his own way.  Unfortunately his Mum isn't coping with it and is now walking on eggshells and there are very little consequences for his actions.  He has refused to come to our house for fortnightly visits any more and even his mum admits is because he knows we have boundaries and accountability at ours.

Police have been called to the house half a dozen times due to violent outburst etc.  Twice suspended from school in the last two months (not including the Christmas holidays in between).

He really is on an extremely slippery slope.

Counselling has begun and I hope there is a breakthrough but its going to take a long time. The severity of the issue is glossed over somewhat with the counsellor and the son will refuse to go if his dad says he wants to join in on the sessions.  Hubby is going to make an independent appointment to give the counsellor the true background.

Has anyone had similar situations?  It's a fine line when dealing with separated families and interference between parent roles and family breakdown.

We are also concerned for the younger step son who is 11.  Whilst his personality is very different and he has not been estranged from his father in the same way we hope that things don't impact on him.

Hubby would love nothing more than to maintain and strengthen his relationship with his son but I get the impression that the son is not capable due to the issues to have a meaningful healthy relationship with anyone.

We really don't know where to turn. The police won't do much - I guess they just expect that the parents will take action to help the boy but one doesn't really make a decent effort and the other ones hands are tied.

So sad.


Re: Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

Hi Musicmumma,


You seem a very caring and concerned person. Certainly interested in your step-sons welfare and wishing to help in any way possible. Thats great.


Compassion, love, kindness and having boundaries in place are all positive attributes so keep this up because one day they will be meaningful for your step-son. Don't give up.....hope is always there and learned behaviours can be changed.


I can fully empathise with your step-sons mother....."walking on eggs shells" and not having consequences in place is probably not the way she wishes to parent but with her sons aggression....she is more than likely concerned for her safety.


The fact that you and your husband have been willing to have your step-son over in the past would have given her a break from the behaviours she has been dealing with and hopefully one day he may be able to return to your household and be respectful of the boundaries in place. For the moment, though your step-son must be really suffering to be behaving in this manner.


Counselling will hopefully be a big plus and I would continue with allowing your step-son to see her/him. Even if you all feel that the severity of the issues at hand are not fully recognised by the counsellor at least your stepson has been willing to go. Let him go alone. Your step-son will need his privacy to ventilate to someone outside the family. If your husband wishes to see the counsellor privately, then I wouldn't tell his son at this stage about this because he needs to continue with getting some one to one help for his issues.


I would suggest that for the time being you continue to be the supportive person you have been. Maybe suggest to your husband to get some counselling for the ideal world one day hopefully he and his son could get some therapy together. But for might be best to focus on their individual needs. The sons mother too could do with some counselling as she must need support. This, however, is not your responsibility and is a decision the mum needs to make for herself.


You are doing a wonderful job, musicmumma and the family is most fortunate to have you in their lives. Continue to support the other step-son by providing him with some fun times in your household....siblings always need to be recognised and appreciated for who they are because the emphasis is often on the child who is struggling.


Most time you see your step-son, let him know that you and his dad will not give up on him....that you love him but not his behaviours!


Good luck with it matter how difficult it can get through it!

Casual scribe

Re: Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

Thanks for your response.  And thanks for your support of my role (which isn't much really) but I think my own internal issue is being so close to something and not being able to help much.

I do feel for the boys mother.  I just don't think she understood what the outcome of her parenting style would be. None of us have a raising teens instruction manual do we lol. 

The poor boy has learned this exact behaviour from her - I am sure she didn't anticipate that there would be a complete switch in power with the exact same behaviours. 

That is, it used to be mum using aggression and manipulation and son being compliant and pleasing and now it's the complete opposite with son being the aggressor and manipulator (with actual violence added) and mother is compliant.  She has a short fuse and unfortunately he does as well.  Recently, for example, she used a knife to cut the wifi modem lead out of frustration and son took a hammer to the home safe trying to smash it open to get the modem out.

So yes, now it is at the stage where they are in a stand off.

A lot of the time, apparently, the younger one is asleep when things happen but sometimes not and it upsets him greatly. He is well aware that the police have to keep coming to the house - even if he doesn't hear or see his neighboring buddies have been telling him.  We worry about him and the impact it is having on him.  He is a very resilient fella but hmmmm the longer term impact is a concern.  Mum wont agree to the younger son spending more time with us as she thinks that the behavioral issues of the older son are separate to the younger son.  I wish it was that easy to put a box around it but as a past victim of domestic violence I know that you don't have to be the actual person assaulted to be a victim.  

Hubby has been referred to a counselling service offered by Victim Support Services through the Dept of Justice which will be great! 

I also agree that we will just step back and allow step son to engage with his own psychologist and wait for son to invite dad into the process.

We will do what we can from our side to make ourselves as well and strong as possible to that when the day comes to pick up the pieces we have something left of ourselves to give.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  It means so much.


Re: Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

I have a similar situation I’m dealing with Involving one of the two stepsons second marriage. The older one is 16 and has violent streak he has mental illness so that complicates things further. For approximately last five years since I met my wife it’s been a difficult time with his real father who gave up rights and abandoned both boys, trouble at school, out bursts and most recently an attack on myself. I felt hopeless and didn’t respond to the attack for fear I would be arrested. I did call the police and unfortunately he had to stay in the home because he’s a minor. He also has a problem with marijuana, CBD oil THC. He currently attends counseling and a behavioral specialist he’s been to inpatient on occasion. My wife is a successful nurse and knows all about these issues but there’s really no where to turn when these violent outbursts occur. I’m worried about the safety of myself and my family as my real kids come over here for visitation frequently. He has all types of knives and gadgets, small weapons etc. My biggest concern is if he attacks me again am I able to defend myself there’s really no good answer to that question it’s a gray area as I reside in Illinois.
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Re: Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

Hi Martin19,


That sounds like a really stressful and risky situation. While I cannot give advice on long-term management, I would always advise to call emergency services whenever you or anyone in the house feels at risk. I wonder whether it might also be worthwhile consulting with police about any other management strategies/how to respond in the moment if he is violent?





Re: Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

Are you still here? I have a similar situation that has gotten wildly out of control and now social services and police are involved. The kid ran away after being punished and manipulated authorities into believing that we are evil monsters, but forgot to mention that he steals, lies, in manipulative as hell, has been in 2 different psychiatric hospitals, has seen counselors and police who have all called him out on his manipulation, labeled him as narcissistic and "Budding personality disorder" of course once the child makes an outcry, you can't just produce these witnesses right off to clear things up, but have to go through the legal system, which is a long, expensive, grueling process.... I hope you have found some relief. Would love to share stories and support, if you're still around- I know this post is old, so- here's to hope. 


Re: Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

You struck a chord with me. I have been putting up with z violent stepson for 7 years now. I have tried everything from paying for him to get z private education to buying him a camera when he gig into photography. Nothing works, at the slightest hint of a disagreement he gets very angry. Threatening to attack me. The last row was a couple of years ago, he kept saying he was going to hit me, so I told him to go ahead, he did, it didn't hurt. I said, "next month you are 18, and I can hit you back". That held him for a bit, but he still trys to wind me up and now he is 21 he towers over me. The daft thing is, he wants to train to be a lawyer. I have not spoken to him for nearly a year now, it just ends in z row. His mum says if I ever hit him, I am out.

Super frequent scribe

Re: Step Son is Violent and Manipulative

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Hi @Maxliberson 

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, it sounds like there's a lot of difficult family dynamics happening with you, your partner and stepson. It's really great to see that you are reaching out for some support.


You mention that you haven't spoken to your stepson for nearly a year, does he live elsewhere now? Has he been violent to anyone else in your household?


I can understand that dealing with all of this must be very frustrating, but would like to acknowledge that threatening to be violent towards a young person is never OK. Do you have any strategies in place to help with the anger you feel when he becomes aggressive towards you? Do you have anyone you can talk to or give you support around this? Lads & Dads looks like a really great community that you might like to have a look into.


I imagine this must all be having an affect on your relationship with your partner too, which must be hard to cope with as well. How are you feeling about that side of things?