He can only do this if you are allowing it, who turns the TV on ..who puts the shopping channel on ..just keep the TV off .. he will soon find something to do..Does his Dad play games with him and your son, maybe the grown ups could find something for them that will excite them, parks, ball games ..Reading ..board games, children love them .get connected with him good luck...
What does he do is you play with him? Can you get him to play hide and seek (I never met a 4 year old that didn't love that) or build tall towers out of blocks, create mazes for toy cars to drive through, wax paper the slide at a park, etc.?
I know some kids can entertain themselves with their toys by themselves, but not all.
It does sound like he might be depressed - or at least very bored. Does he live all the time at your house, or is he just visiting?
Hm. Well, I'm thinking back when my boys were 4 (they are now 6 and 7) and at 4, they still liked playing with me! They wanted that interaction. Do you ever sit and play with him or get him started in a game? Many kids really do love going out to a park with mom (step or otherwise) and swinging, climbing, running and playing but sometimes they will want mom to help them a bit.
So, I must also ask about the situation. Kids from broken homes--- which is an accurate term for how many kids feel when their parents split up--- have difficulty with the transitions. Perhaps he is slightly uncomfortable at his dad's place and does better with his own mom. That is not a knock on you---- but if mom is the primary caregiver for him---- he might have difficulty relating to your style or home. At 4--- for example, I never told my kids to "go play" like I do my now 7 year old. I did as I said above and helped them get started or played with them or took them somewhere with THEm being my primary focus of what I did for the day. Other moms parent and ran their day to day with the kids differently. So my child coming into a home that was run differently would result in a child that seemed 'different'. He very well could be sad and missing his mom which is different than depressed.
Anyway, I'd have his dad get involved and talk to his bio mom. What is he like there. Does he go to preschool or day care? What is he like there? I'd plan some things to make him feel special in your house and make sure he gets a little one on one time with either you or his dad every time he visits. Try not to compare him to your son as no two kids are the same.
The last possibility is one that I did encounter with my older son. He has something called sensory integration disorder and believe it or not--- he had a hard time knowing what to do with toys. Imaginative play is something that child developmental experts look for to identify problems. Are you sure he knows how to play with the toys? And you do not have to be stupid to have these types of problems as my own son is very very smart. But playing with a toy requires motor planning function. You'd hear a complaint at school such as "he wanders the room" as another example of how motor planning issues impact a child. Anyway, just a thought to add to the mix in your thinking.
Step kids need some extra time and effort sometimes especially when they are little. good luck and hope it all works out.
When my DD was 4 some of her favorite toys were items that weren't really toys. For example: credit cards, toilet paper tubes, pots, pans, wrapping paper, etc. We just let her play with what she wanted as long as it wasn't a safety issue. I bring this up because she wasn't that interested in most of the toys we bought her. Now that she is 5 she's still picky about her toys, but she does show interest in them. She has a few favorites that she loves.
When children enter a blended family it's important that all the adults come together and support the children. Put the differences aside and figure a good plan of action for the kid.
Well I have noticed that he only acts this way when its just he and I. My son is always around but he plays nonstop....My stepson goes to his mothers every other weekend. He lives with his daddy and me, he has for 2 years now. His mother is not his primary caregiver, we are. When we were going through our legal issues with the mother, he wasnt allowed to be around her.... During this time he and I got much closer but now that he gets to see her again, he treats me totally different. I believe she says bad things about his daddy and myself. When we pick him up from her, he wont even talk to or look at me or his daddy. About a year ago or a little more, she was still giving him a bottle when he went to see her. I think that the mother makes it really difficult for us. Also another issue is the age of the people we are talking about here, the father is 23, the mother is 23, and Im 27. The mother has always chosen guys and partying over her son. Thats why the father and his family was raising him. Then when he and I met I stepped up and took on the role as mother for him cause I knew he needed that love and to feel comfortable. I have rules though where he didnt used to have to follow rules at all. I think that made a lot of difference too in his life. Anyways, I will try some new games and see where that gets us. Thanks everyone =)