Special challenges for children of divorce.


Hi John and Team,

My boyfriend and I share custody of his 10 year old son. We have his son for two four-week blocks in the summer and then every other weekend during the school year. We are trying to figure out how to correct his child's major behavioral problems when we are faced with not having him for more than four weeks at a time, which is only in the summer. We believe he needs the "kicked out of the garden" method for probably three to six months. We are currently reading The Well Behaved Child. Most of the scenarios are for households where the child lives with both parents or one parent full time. Unfortunately, his child's mother is not on board with us at all. She does not communicate with us, and raises her son completely opposite from how we do. He has rules and expectations to behave correctly at our house, whereas he has no rules or standards at his mother's. It is very stressful when he comes back to our house because he is used to being a wild child and is extremely disobedient. We remind him of the rules and usually end up applying a consequence straight away after he comes home. He always tests the boundaries each time. This past four-week block was a nightmare. He spent two weeks in his room for aggressive behavior, had zero television and electronics whatsoever, and an early bedtime for the four week block. He was also removed from playing summer soccer. However, it was like he was biding his time until he went back to his mom's free-for-all household. We think he probably needs more profound consequences, but it is hard considering we just don't have enough time to follow through and it is sad to spend the entire time we have him essentially without him. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

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