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How do you deal with a spouse who is in denial of your child's behavior?
An_254348 posted:
I am having a very difficult time with this. Here's my story. I am open to any advice.

My wife and I were both previously married. The child in question is my step-son. He is in 1st grade.

When I read the wikipedia page regarding the signs of hyperactive and impulsive traits, I see my step-son. He exhibits every single one of those traits in spades.


  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Talk nonstop
  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  • Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, doing homework, and story time
  • Be constantly in motion
  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities

My step-son does all of this. And not just occasionally. He is this way all the time.
  • Be very impatient
  • Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  • Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  • Often interrupts conversations or others' activities

This, too, is him to a "T".

He cannot sit still in any setting. He makes noise from the moment he wakes in the morning until he falls asleep at night. He is never quiet. He interrupts conversations constantly. He's very rude about it too. He needs his demands met immediately or he gets angry. He hates taking turns. When he boils over, he hits. He frequently "growls" at his mother or me when we tell him he cannot do something, or that he must stop a certain behavior.

In school, one thing or another sets him off, and he has a meltdown and cannot refocus, so they cannot re-admit him back to the classroom with other students. So he gets sent home.

He had his annual checkup this fall before school and the doctor said his hearing and eyesight are fine.

Last year we tried to send him to Kindergarten. He was sent home repeatedly for the first few months, until his mom had enough and withdrew him from school altogether. She home schooled him after that.

This year, same story.

We have had some knock-down, drag-out fights about this, my wife and I.

I have looked at his behavior and the symptoms of ADHD and am convinced that he is a poster child for ADHD hyperactive/impulsive type. She believes there is absolutely nothing wrong with him and that he's "just 5" ( when he was 5) and now he's "just being 6". She thinks I'm dead wrong about the ADHD.

We have other children. Some mine, some hers. None of them exhibit this child's behavior.

If this were my biological child I would go to a doctor immediately and ask for an assessment. His behavior is very disruptive to our life. It's not just school - his behavior makes our home life a living hell at times. He's difficult on vacation, out at restaurants, anywhere.

I don't see him as a defiant child. I don't think his behavior is intentional. I think he cannot help himself. I want to help him; I want to have a doctor do an ADHD assessment and see if he really has it and if we can treat it. There are moments when he can be caring and loving. But most of the time he's just a whirlwind, and when he's angry or frustrated it's devastating.

My wife is in complete denial and I know if I bring it up again she's going to flip out. It could mean a serious problem for our marriage. She simply will not entertain the idea that her son is anything less than normal.

I don't know what to do. I'm at my wit's end with this child and his behavior. I want to help, and I can't.
momuv4girls responded:
Whew, I read every word of your post, and if what your saying is accurate, then an evaluation is in order - - and not from your "typical" Dr., but a smart, experienced Child Psychiatrist.

As for your current wife - its really a shame she doesn't want to see any thing is wrong, she is doing this young boy no favors by refusing to seek out professional help.

Behaviors like this do not just go away....they increase, and sadly the boy will suffer (along with family members).

If your wife truly is adamant about not seeking treatment, then I would take my children and move out, because you can not force her to seek help.

Take care,
Amanda45290 replied to momuv4girls's response:
Sounds like you have done your research. You cannot pressure your wife into this. You're right, she is in denial and can be going through a grieving process.

I'd suggest validating her feelings, express your concerns and discuss a plan. Tell her you don't think he's doing these things on purpose. Have this conversation when things are calm and neither of you are stressed. A plan could be that you request an evaluation through the school to get the child setup on an IEP. Or read "The Explosive Child" together. Early intervention is key and helping any child to do their best will be good for everyone. Look up Sensory Processing Disorder...this may be a good place to start and is less daunting then trying to take on an ADHD diagnosis.

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