I am in a six year relationship with a woman who has two kids, a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.
We have moved a lot. The child's father has been incarcerated for most of the child's life. He has only female friends and is highly socially anxious. We recently learned that he had been exploring gay porn online for many months and assume he is gay.
He has been treated with stimulant medication for ADHD on and off since he was 8, and this school year he has gone from "forgetting" to do much of his schoolwork (which has been his excuse for years) to actively refusing to participate when his "screen time" was curtailed after he began failing many subjects.
We have tried many behavior charts and behavior management programs over the years, most recently the Kazdin method. All attempts have failed. The child is now in personal counseling and his mom and sister are also seeking treatment for depression and other issues. His mother has some ADD and possible borderline personality issues but is seeking treatment. He is willing to forgoe rewards that he values highly rather than comply with small parental requests, and he is not fazed by having straight F's on his report card - in fact he seems to be punishing us for attempting to set limits with him.
I think the child hates me as the unwanted step-parent who constantly attempts to support his mom's behavior management programs by reminding her that she is not adhering to her own agenda (she often fails to monitor his compliance with chore charts, and he often lies about having no homework or about having completed his chores).
I find myself in the untennable position of sitting back and watching this cycle repeat endlessly in a negative downward spiral. Due to my poor relationship with the child I now feel that any attention I show him can backfire. If he is bad and thows a rock through our window I want to punish him, but I think he is doing it to get negative attention and I find myself doing that at times.
Rarely, he will begin to do his homework and I will say something encouraging, and it seems to mean very little him, and he stops doing his homework. There are no certified Kazdin therapists in our area and I have not been successful in reaching anyone at their office for specific advice. What does a person do when a child has beaten his parents at behavior management?