Serious issues with 5 year old boy, Overwhelmed stepdad, new baby

I have a great little boy who is 5. He has been getting into some trouble. I was a single mother for years, and now have a boyfriend and a new 9 month old little boy! I am sure the changes that have taken place have made a difference in his life. However he loves his baby brother. There are issues that we need direction and help with! I also need some help with the whole "STEP" family thing.... I love my boyfriend hes awesome, he is just a bit overwhelmed, and needs some direction. HE is actually the stay at home parent!

Angelia,
I hear that your five year old has had a lot of changes, and while he loves his new baby brother, there are some serious issues. I also hear that your boyfriend is a great guy but is also the stay at home parent with a nine month old and a five year old stepson, and is over-whelmed and in need of direction.

You don't describe the specific issues, but here are some suggestions that I hope will help:

1. Make sure that your boyfriend finds other stay-at-home dads to connect with. Moms' groups are not always welcoming to dads, and what he needs is support, camaraderie, and role models. He needs to see what is normal from experienced stay at home dads and their kids, so he doesn't flip out when he gets overwhelmed (as all parents do sometimes.) It is no longer so hard to find stay-at-home dads in most towns. He could try posting on a forum like DadsStayHome or look at the map of dads' playgroups that Rebeldad put together.

2. If your five year old has serious issues, you need to get help for him now. Does he go to kindergarten? If so, the school could be helpful in getting you to a good counselor. If not, you could ask your church for a referral. Finally, every state has child development specialists and can refer you to counselors.

3. Spend as much time as possible with your son. With a new little brother and a new stepdad staying home with him, your five year old needs you more than ever. Make it a point to spend special time with him every single day, that is just for him, without the baby around.

4. Be careful about discipline. Often inexperienced stepparents (and parents) look for obedience over connection. Your son will only behave if he feels good about himself and connected to you. Please read the sections of this website on Positive Discipline, and on Positive Parenting Your School Age Child.

I hope this helps.

Blessings,
Dr. Laura

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids

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