I am a step-mother to two children.
They obviously come from a split family. This past year that the Father and I have been together, and court proceedings for custody continue, we have noticed huge attitude changes in both children.
Our eldest is a female aged 5. It came to our attention that in Feb '13 the mother's partner was abusing her. Then, more recently, we found out that it was all lies started by the mother and fed through this poor little girl. She has had ups and downs regularly.
Since such a change in their lifestyle their behaviour is horrible. She has been regularly, hitting her brother, swearing, back chatting, pulling our cats tails, drawing on walls, using rubbish from our household rubbish bin as a toy, hiding food in her room, being disruptive and breaking things.
This is really abnormal behaviour for her. At the beginning of the year, she was a gorgeous little girl who was not like this. I know where the changes are stemming from, the majority of which are routine changes and the mother's lifestyle. She will have the children up to 11pm and later and her house is a mess. The children get shoved to the side and chooses to not spend the time with them. Our girl has picked up on these bad habits, especially the lying. The mother will say to the daughter "Daddy doesn't even love you" "Daddy is nasty". We know this because the Mother says these things at her Kindergarten.
Our boy had developmental issues. He didn't talk until not long after he turned 3, and he has extremely flexible hands making the use of his hands difficult. As the Occupational Therapist stated, it is like he is double-jointed in his hands, but is not. Our boy has anger issues, which stems from these development issues. If we cannot understand him, he will break things, if something wont work, cars will get thrown around his room. Toilet training has been very difficult, and we are still suffering it. And sometimes he just does not think. He is very much a copy cat of his sister, destroys things, pulls the animals tails, etc.
We have a bedtime for them of 7 o'clock so they get the rest they need. They get to do loving activities with us, like I have taught our girl to write, Taught our boy to use scissors, do puzzles, play with toys, and they get fed well here. I have even come to the point of seeking advice from a dietitian as our boy was coming home with either severe constipation or diarrhea. And in 2013 our boy returned home with salmonella poisoning, which the mother had not bothered to acknowledge and take him to the doctor.
I am at loss with how to show this love, yet still discipline accordingly so they will grow up to be the beautiful children that I know they are. Our current discipline (naughty chair for 5mins) is not working anymore. They sit there and tolerate it, they will tell us what they did that was naughty, yet 5mins after the naughty chair they will do it again. I even had them sit down with me and the father and write down the house rules, so I know what they consider to be naughty but that didn't even work. The children are starting to cry themselves to sleep, so something in the back of their minds is not happy, and they wake up at early hours of the morning asking my partner to talk about Mummy.
I need new tactics, can someone please help me?