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I'm at a complete loss, as is my husband, on how to deal with this situation. I'll try to be brief. All input is welcome. Thank you.

My husband has sole custody of his 3 boys. I have primary placement and majority time with my kids. We live over an hour apart for about 4 years.

His ex-wife began sending him text messages of pictures, memories, songs, vacations, and the like. Stopped and turned to messages of hatred, anger, gross/inappropriate images, and the like.

His oldest began living with me (essentially) but turned to telling me he hated me, my husband and I would never work, damaging my property, and causing harm to my children through physical and emotional means, including an effort to ruin our first family vacation (partially successfully) and spreading inappropriate rumors about my oldest at school.

My kids have accepted my husband and his children with no ill will, anger, conditions since day one. Normal jealousy and time issues, and sibling comparisons/battles but nothing outside the home and nothing overly destructive. My ex, as well, has never said anything to my boys negative. Only in the beginning he inquired if my ex husband was/is good to the boys and how relationships are with his kids. Normal.

Influence on issue: Ex-wife has no rules in her home, does not monitor what the kids do including on the internet, what they eat is catered to the kids (mainly the youngest who is now 9), nor chores or responsibilities. In our home, where 5 of the 6 reside the majority of the year (90%+) there are rules, responsibilities, expectations, consequences for actions as well as rewards, variety of meals (sometimes loved and sometimes not), as well as careful monitoring of behaviors and influences including video games and the Internet.

Mom wants her youngest boy but not the middle boy as she has no influence over the middle, and extreme over the youngest. The oldest also has heavy influence on the youngest. So, mom and oldest brother every time they have the youngest say things to him like, "I hate her," "She is a bad person," "She is not your mom," "Her kids are not your brothers," "You don't have to listen to her," "Is she feeding you, "Has she touched you," "Is she mean to you," among other comments. They even called Child Services which came back "unfounded" on me, the stepmom.

Problem: His 9 year old has acted out for over a year against me and my boys. Most recently Child Services suggested counseling for his youngest to help resolve issues, but $3,000 later there are no changes. My husband thought military school to get discipline and appreciation in kids life. Until a new development. This week the 9 year old said he hates me (not a first time), he believes his mom and brother about me, does not want to change his behavior toward me and will not change his behavior, he will not accept me, and that the counseling has done nothing to change his opinions or his intentions in our family home.

Question: What do we do? How do we approach the problem?

Thank you.
There is nothing you can do about her behaviour. The only way to deal with the alienating parent is to basically ignore whatever she says or does. Do not retaliate or respond to the child with any blame for stuff that he is obviously repeating. Treat him with the kindness you have always shown him. This is an issue which will be ongoing until he is old enough to work it out for himself. We have had much of the same trouble with my son's ex wife, but the children are now older and they look back and know that we were always kind and loving to them, no matter what their mother said. He will have that same memory of you in the future and that is when things will improve. The counselling did not work because the mother was probably actively undermining it. Hang in there, Sera





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