Need advice~how much to tell SD!

sassymom12September 12, 2010

My DH has full custody of 10yr SD.Her BM has been in jail since end of July & was just released.She wants to see SD next weekend. Here's the question:SD is asking why her mom hasn't called or come to get her~I think we should tell her the truth & DH doesn't know what to tell her. Do we tell her or just let her think her mom was ignoring her?

Thank you!

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silversword

What have you told her so far? Mom hasn't come to see you since July BECAUSE............ Or have you been ignoring her?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 2:19PM
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sylviatexas1

If possible, I'd say Dad & Mom need to agree on what to tell their daughter.

If that just isn't possible, the truth is better than a lie almost every time;
just talk it over in advance to figure out how to tell her in such a way that it doesn't create more issues in her mind & in her heart.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 2:35PM
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sassymom12

No we have not been ignoring her.Before BM went to jail,DH told her she needed to have her own place in order to take SD overnights.BM was sleeping on her sisters floor & taking SD to horrible hotels to spend the night & then driving or parking all day in the car until drop off.
DH did tell SD that until her mom had a healthy place where SD could sleep in a bed she wouldn't be having overnight but would have day visits.SD was relieved & said "good,because I'm scared at those hotels."
BM quit calling or having contact & DH & SD would call & leave msgs but BM didn't return them.BM & DH will not agree on what to tell SD-BM will lie & say she was too busy at work, didn't have a cell phone,etc...when DH trys to talk to her she hangs up & that's the end of it. BM is not involved in anything in SD's life.The only reason she's calling now is because her mother moved back to our state & gma wants to see her.It's very sad & heartbreaking for SD.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:00PM
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seekergal

Possibly it would be best if she is encouraged to ask her Biological Mother where she has been? Let the mother explain her lack of contact.

If then the BM doesn't do this, tell the SD (the father tell her). It is better for it to come from the father because technically it is his biological daughter. This is wise advice I have been given and it has worked. We can care deeply for our stepchildren, but they really need to deal with certain things with their biological parent.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 1:04PM
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deborah_ps

Whether you believe the bio mother LOVES your SD or not, the message should ALWAYS be that you know she does. And that's all you know.
Because the BM is messing up her life at this moment does not mean she doesn't love her child. And at the end of the day, your SD only wants to believe that her BM loves her.
I bet your SD cares how you and your DH view her mother...because believe me, she believes her mother is a reflection of herself.
We all want people to think the best of the people WE care about don't we?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 1:32PM
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silversword

I would let mom tell her. Just tell her gently "you're going to have to ask your mama that honey".

And I agree with Deborah.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 1:40PM
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justnotmartha

My SD's psychologist actually told us the exact opposite. DON'T tell her "we know your mom loves you" as the answer to any/all of mom's wrong doings or issues. Mom hasn't called for a month, ignores calls and ignores texts. . . but she loves you? Is that the message we want to give our kids about what love is?
We were told to say we can't speak for her mom and unfortunately only mom can say why she does something. We don't bad mouth or pass judgment - just tell her we aren't her mom and can't answer for her.

We do all want to believe the best about the people we love. . . but at the same time we don't want our kids to find that behavior acceptable because mom does it and mom loves me.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 3:43PM
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mattie_gt

justnotmartha, my SS's counselor said the same thing. The counselor's response to SS is "That's a strange way to show someone that you love them". DH's and mine is, like yours, usually more along the lines of we don't know why BM does the things that she does.

I think if there's any serious question as to whether or not a child just wants reassurance (i.e., Mom has to miss a visitation because she's on a business trip) or if they are really starting to question a parent's behavior (Mom has to miss visitation because she's out getting high with her latest boyfriend), it's better to not try to push them in one direction or the other. Unfortunately not all parents do love their children, and some who do do not treat them at all appropriately.

Any time as a kid I said anything about my father's behavior, my mother's response was that she knew that he loved me. I really wish she hadn't done that, although I know she meant well. Because that's what I learned from it - that it doesn't matter what men do so long as they tell you that they love you. Not something that you want a young lady to think, as you can imagine.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 4:04PM
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seekergal

This is a situation where it can help if the father explains to the daughter that he knows the her mother loves her, but he doesn't know why the BM doesn't contact her. Encourage the daughter to ask her BM why she doesn't contact her - possibly via phone message, letter, etc???

If the BM doesn't answer this question, the father can still help his daughter see that even though the BM loves her, a persons "actions" don't always seem to line up with what they say or feel. Loving someone and showing it are two separate things. One's an emotion and the other is an action. It helps if both the emotion and the action are in sink with one another, but they always aren't. It will take time (and continued good communication between the daughter and her father) for the daughter to hopefully understand this. As she ages, this should help her have the ability to understand also.

Good luck and hope all turns out well.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:17AM
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