SS16 overheard me dissing BM

lady_qNovember 8, 2010

Yes, I did it! I opened my big mouth and allowed myself the brief luxury of venting my dislike of BM. I'll explain;

SS16 was supposed to stay after school for a football practice and DH was to pick him up when he got off work. So I come home from work and SS is sitting in front of the TV. So I ask him why he's at home. He say's football was cancelled and he came home on the bus. So, I ask him if he called his father to let him know that he didn't need to pick him up. SS says no, but he sent "ME" a text to let me know that FB was cancelled. I check my phone -- no text, and I tell SS so. He insists that he sent me a text. So, I say show me the text you sent me. Immediately, he does the whiney "Oh, I forgot" routine. And then started whining about how his phone was dead and he needed to charge it and that's why he couldn't send a text -- even though he was sitting right next to the house phone and could have used it at any time! This is a routine with him -- he's a habitual liar about everything. So I said to him that it was extremely thoughtless of him to not call his father to let him know and he made some sarcastic remark back and I left at that even though I was very angry.

So later that evening after dinner, I was in the kitchen with DH and discussing the earlier conversation between SS and I. SS was downstairs on the computer and I honestly didn't think he could hear us. Anyway, I made a remark that SS was just like his mother in that he doesn't care about anyone but himself! And to some degree this is true...he can be extremely selfish and self-centered without giving any thought to anyone elses feelings (which is a strong trait of his mother). So SS overhears the comment...but doesn't say anything about it until two days later (to his father). He was very hurt by it and told his father that it was okay for me to be angry with him, but it was unfair for me to bring his mother into it. And he's right about that. Of course, I didn't intend for him to hear it and I'm really sorry that he did.

I want to apologize to him for what I said, but I also want to be prepared for a frank discussion with him. For instance, if he asks me why I think that about BM -- how do I explain to him without going into too much detail, and without lying to him about it. He's 16 and I think old enough to hear some truths, but how far do I go without hurting him further? Any constructive advice would really be appreciated -- I need to have this discussion with him soon.

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Wow. This just came up in my life, actually. I've had a hard time not telling DD what a bizotch her paternal grandmother was... and what came to mind is this:

My considerations are not her concern.

In other words, my opinions about people she loves, as long as they are not people who will do her harm, are none of her business.

My opinion is probably harsh.

You need to apologize. My father told my DH once that I acted "just like her mother" when he riled me up enough that I finally left the house... then made that comment. It hurt ever so bad. And I may have traits of my mother, of course I do! But I am not her. And to insult a child by remarking that they are like their mother is cruel and unnecessary.

It was unfair. I can see why you did it, as a SM, but as a Skid it's not ok.

Tell him "I'm sorry, I was wrong". At 16 he is not old enough to hear "some truths" from you. I NEVER want my SM to tell me JACK $hit about my mom. She doesn't have the right to talk smack about either one of my parents.

No matter what you will hurt him. Have you ever heard "I can call my Mama a fat ugly lazy bizotch but you'd better not say one word about her"?

What is your goal? For him to realize what a loser she is? It's not your place. If she really is a loser, he will find out on his own. Anything you say will just turn him against you. And probably make things worse with his father. And he will probably tell his mother. I know I would when I was younger.

HE'S 16!!! Of course he can be selfish!! That's a teenager trait, not just a BM trait!!

One could also say you are insensitive, overreacting, and overinvolved; a "typical SM"; and that would also be true, to a point, right?

My point is generalizations like that don't work. No good comes of them. I understand your frustration, and I understand you weren't trying to hurt him. You aren't a bad person. But this is not your place. Apologize and then zip your mouth.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 11:53AM
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I agree with silversword. At 16, SS either already knows his BM is self-centered or doesn't want to know. And a SM discussing a BM with her step-kid is a very dicey proposition.

We may know that BM cheated on DH. We may know that BM threatens to take DH to court for custody if he doesn't drop CS cases. We may know a lot of things - but really, most of them are none of our business and not directly related to the child or to us. BM may be a manipulative, lying, sneaky piece of work - who is a good or at least adequate mother.

I do think that if a step-child was older (late teenager or adult) and had a very good relationship with the SM and asked about BM it might be fair to answer. But even then I'd stick with things of which I had firsthand knowledge and witnessed myself, and which affected SS, or which directly affected me (If BM assaulted me so I had to get a restraining order).

If it was solely things like BM lied to DH about paying for half of a plane ticket, and I had to cover the cost because he couldn't afford it - well, DH is the one who had a child with her, and I'm the one who then married him. So it's not really any of SS's concern and he shouldn't have to have a bunch of adults pointing finger at each other. SS will figure it out on his own soon enough.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:34PM
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"One could also say you are insensitive, overreacting, and overinvolved; a "typical SM"; and that would also be true, to a point, right?"

While I appreciate your advice, Silversword, and I do know what I said was wrong, I have to strongly disagree with this comment.

I am a full-time mom to SS and have been since he was 7. BM has had very little interest in this child since he was born, and my DH practically raised him by himself (even though BM didn't actually leave the marriage until SS was 5 years old). When I came into the picture, the only words I could find to describe SS was "wild-child". He had no structure in his life, had no understanding of boundaries between adults and children, and had no idea how to behave in public -- and this was as much DH's fault as it was BM's. So, yes, I got very involved. SS needed it desperately. Now he's an overall good kid (except for the lying), and it took a lot of work from both myself and DH to get him where he is today.

I don't think I'm insensitive at all. In fact, I would say I'm over-sensitive to the way we treat each other as a family. I expect everyone to be respectful of each other and, yes, I get upset when that doesn't happen (as happened when SS neglected to call his father and save him the trouble of driving to his school and waiting for 20 minutes before realizing SS wasn't there).

Overreacting -- maybe. I'm always double guessing myself when it comes to SS. Because he's not my biological child, I'm never completely sure of what he expects from me and I'm always worried that I'm not giving him what he needs emotionally. And, of course, I'm always frustrated with what I perceive as BM's disinterest, except where it's to her benefit, or makes her look good to her family.

Typical stepmon -- I'm not sure. I don't personally know anyone else who is in the same situation as me, so I have nothing to compare myself to. I prefer to think of myself as a typical MOM. I've been down this road once before with my own son, who is now 32 years old, with a family of his own. I think I did a great job raising him and I'm proud of the way he's turned out -- even though I made lots of mistakes, as all young parents do. But, I like to think I've learned from them and have used that knowledge to help SS become a better person.

I will apoligize to SS, but I need to prepare myself for the possible questions he has. I will not lie to this child, but I will certainly not say anything negative about BM to him. I just need to figure out how I'm going to do that.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 2:17PM
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You may be a full time mom, but you are still a stepmom.

It was insensitive to say that he was like his mother in a negative way. Calling him selfish and saying he doesn't think of anyone but himself "just like his mother" is overreacting just a tad considering the circumstances, don't you think?

If you had said to him; "it was selfish of you to make your dad go out of his way and not to notify us. Plus, you lied about texting us." that would be one thing. But you didn't, instead you were snarky about him and his mom behind his back. THIS behavior reminds me completely of my SM. Kvetching behind my back to my dad, and them making reference to my mom. All it did was make me defensive of mom.

Yes, SS did not think of his father. It was not a good decision. But I think on a scale of damaging things, what you did was much worse.

It is a "Typical SM" thing to do: to compare a child's behavior to that of their disfavored parent. I do it ALL THE TIME with SD and DH. And when DD comes home from Dad's house, we see his bad behaviors that rubbed off on her. The difference is that your SS overheard you. When we do it, SD is back at Mom's.

I'm not trying to be hard on you, this is a very common thing to happen. But as a stepchild myself, I'm telling you my opinion:

Don't say anything about BM. Tell him it wasn't your place and you are sorry, you were upset and he shouldn't worry. Let his dad tell him anything, if anything at all.

As long as BM is not physically, emotionally or otherwise DAMAGING him, it's none of your business to make comments on his mom to him.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:00PM
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I tell my SD that irregardless of how her mom feels about us or how we feel about her... we don't have to like each other... that we love her & want the best for her. (and I also made the mistake of speaking for BM by telling SD that I'm sure BM loves her & wants the best for her too... which may or may not be true, it wasn't my place to say)

You don't need to lie to him, but you should clarify that it was wrong to use that comparison & that the focus should be on the bad habit he has, not where he got it or who he's like. I struggle with this when my sister is "just like our mom" or my husband is "just like _____" and that may be true, but it doesn't help find a solution when you focus on who's to blame for the problem.

Our rule, we don't discuss BM at all unless SD is gone visiting BM, in school, or has absolutely NO WAY of overhearing anything we say... like in the car driving down the road. I don't know if you are or are not an insensitive person, but it is a bit insensitive what was said as well as saying it when he was home, even though you didn't think he would hear, the possibility is always there if the child is home & can walk in.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:09PM
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Ima, I tell SD (when she gets concerned) that all I care about is that her mom treats her good, takes good care of her, and loves her. If she does those things, that's all that matters.

Not only do I think it's wrong for a SM to say bad things about a birthparent, I think it's wrong for a birthparent to do that to the other parent. No matter what you say, it's colored by your "adult" perceptions and experiences.

My X is a selfish, childish, spoiled man. He exaggerates, is self-absorbed and grandiose.

My Sd's mom is a money-grubbing, materialistic, selfish, manipulative woman.

My job is to make sure the kids in my care are loved and cared for. If and when they figure these things out, it's not going to be from me.

My DD worships her dad. If I told her of some of the things he did... how confused would she be? I tell her only good stories about him.

Someday, when she's an adult, if she comes and asks, I think my response will probably be that we were different people then, and we made mistakes. No one should be judged for the sins of their parents.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:20PM
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I wish we had the luxury of discussing SS and BM with SS out of the house. The truth is, the only time we get any privacy at all is when we go to bed at night. And, DH and I have a standing rule that we do not discuss SS or BM in the privacy of our bedroom -- it's our sanctuary and neither one of them belong in there, physically or otherwise. When SS is at school, we are both at work. When we are at home, SS is at home, unless he has a sporting event -- in which case, DH is usually with him. On weekends, SS is usually here at home with friends playing video games or whatever.

We don't have the luxury of sending SS off to be with BM on regular scheduled visits -- he goes with her 4-6 times a year. So, we have little choice but to discuss things when we have a small window of privacy. I really did not intend for SS to hear what I said, and I suspect that SS was closer than he said he was so that he could hear what DH and I were discussing. No, I'm not insensitive, Silver. Far from it. But, I do think you are a tad oversensitive about a SM's role. And I'm sure you have your reasons for that. I don't know if your SM played any part in your upbringing, or if your children have a SM that is not particularly nice to you or your children. But, I'm not doing anything but trying to be a mother to this child, because the one who gave birth to him is not interested in the job. Yes, there are days I resent that and days that I wish I had the freedom that she seems to have. But, the bottom line is that I'm here doing it and she's not, so therefore, I have the right to express my feelings and vent to my DH if I want to. The fact that SS overheard it is unfortunate, and as I said, I'm sorry for that. But, I will not tell him that it is not my place. My place is being a parent -- HIS parent, and I'll keep behaving like his parent even though there's no blood between us.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Lady Q - You have told us that you have been a full-time SM to SS for almost ten years. You have told us that you are his parent because his BM is not interested. Yet when SS did something wrong you said that he was "just like his mother". Um, wouldn't that be you?

I am a full-time SM as well, as are many of us here. My SS is eight, and can articulate quite well why he thinks I am his "mom", as opposed to his BM. But it goes both ways - if SS behaves badly I don't get to blame that on some inherent character defect which he inherited from his mother. I don't get to take credit for all the good and blame her for all the bad. (Just for most of the bad!....j/k)

I'm not saying that you do that, or even thought that, but just as you are sensitive to your relationship with your SS, he probably is as well. He must have been very hurt and may have felt that you were saying that when he behaves badly, you were disassociating yourself from him.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:46PM
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You owe the kid an apology. A sincere, no strings attached apology. You were wrong.

I doubt SS is under any illusion that his BM is perfect, but what you did by comparing him to her in the manner that you did is make him feel tainted by who he is and where he came from.

Can you understand that?

An apology session should not come with a planned discussion of of all BM's faults and undesirable traits. You did not mean for him to overhear, but he did. What he heard cuts right to the core of his self being. You didn't just label him selfish and it is not the time to discuss with him truths of his mother. I'm sure Dad is not perfect either, but I doubt you would plan a tactic to discuss all dad's faults with the kid and analyze the the whys and hows.

My 2 cents suggests you sit down with the kid and apologize. What you said was uncalled for and unfair and that you truly regret having not only having him overhear it but in saying it. Then lapse into a discussion on how disappointed you are the he was being selfish, as a family unit it is important to be considerate of each other blah blah blah.

You don't have to lie to him about his BM, but you'll do him no favors to spill out whatever it is you feel and think about her...whether true or not. This discussion is not about him being the son of BM, this discussion/apology should be about his role in the household of your family and the importance of each household member.

If the kid wants to discuss his mother and the whys and hows, best you send him to his father to direct his questions. I get you really don't agree with that...but bottomline is, this is his mother, good, bad, indifferent. Blabbing out all the truths and all her ups and downs is not for you to shine the light on no matter what role you've played in his life.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:56PM
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Thanks everyone, for your honesty and your advice (even the parts I don't agree with!LOL). You've all given me something to think about and I will sit down with SS -- tonight hopefully -- and apologize to him for saying what I said. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:15PM
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Lady Q, I think I might understand what's going on. If I remember correctly, you're the one with the SS who is being told by his mother how she would have been there, and would have acted as a parent, and would have, would have, would have if only DH would have let her, correct?

So you've spent almost ten years of your life taking care of a child who was not yours, correct? Your time, your energy, possibly your money, all willingly, freely and happily given to this little boy who so desperately needed a mom. But now this little boy is a teenager, and instead of any appreciation for all of the sacrifices you've made, instead you may be hearing about how his "real mother" would have done this, that or the other - all of which you know that she certainly could have done but chose to let you do instead.

That has to hurt. I can understand why you'd want to dump a nice cold bucket of reality over his head. But I think you already have a plan in place to accomplish this (the one where he is going to make his own plans to see BM, who is already begging off). If he's behaving badly for right now, well, then he is treating you like his "real" mom - he's sixteen!

He's going to figure it out very soon. Wait it out, vent to us meanwhile, and I think someday you'll be thankful that you didn't tell him the gory details.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:19PM
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Thank you Mattie.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:52PM
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"It is a "Typical SM" thing to do: to compare a child's behavior to that of their disfavored parent. I do it ALL THE TIME with SD and DH."

Ditto. I get frustrated with behaviors of my SS (he is 8) because it's so clear they come from his mother. It frustrates me, particuarly because I feel a lack of control. My DD is also 8--lives with me full time, and there are plenty of times I don't appreciate the bad language or behaviors SS brings into our home. It's stuff that flies with his mom but NOT in our home. And honestly---it annoys me that it even enters my DD's world. Not that she won't be exposed to crap at school's different when it's in your house. KWIM? And I DO blame BM for that. I really do!

SS is with us (me and his dad, my DH) half the time. We do a 5-5-2-2 split: he's with BM for 5 days, us for 5 days, BM for 2 days, us for 2 days, repeat.

Straight up 50-50 custody.

I take care of SS primarily when he is with us---pick him up from school, fix dinner, help with homework, the works. DH gets home from work anywhere between 6-9 pm, depending. Works all day Saturdays.

I'm responsible for SS but I'm *just the SM.* Sometimes I feel like a damn glorified nanny and, yes, there are times I am extraordinarily frustrated with SS's whining, his disrespectful behavior, etc.

And when he gets like that I do two things:

a.) shut my mouth and remind myself going between two homes/two sets of expectations is tough for him

b.) shut my mouth some more

Believe you me, there are times I've wanted to say, "Does your MOTHER allow you to act like this?"

I don't. I bite my freaking tongue.

I do agree you owe SS an apology.

That said, I fully empathize with your feelings and second Mattie's last post. It must be soooo hard to be the primary MOM in this boy's life, only to have his mom belittle all you've done as what she "would have done."

Woulda, coulda, know.

Small consolation to you as you've given and sacrificed so much for him. :( BUT trust--that he will see his mom for what she is (self centered) when he's ready. YOU don't need to tell him because, honestly, that will only sabotage your relationship with him.

Let him see her for what she is on his own terms.

(((HUGS))) I understand the pain and frustration behind your outburst and I do not think you're a bad person, just someone who maybe said somethning she shouldn't have.

As have we ALL.

Apologize, and then don't dwell on it. You made a mistake, make it right with a sincere apology and move on. :)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:59PM
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Never in a million years would i tell DD or about DD that she has negative traits coming from whoever. I would never say anything wrong about her father neither to her nor to anyone else.

SDs often talk to me about how crazy is their mother, I think it is inappropriate of me to engage in such conversations and I find ways to let them know: I am not going to discuss it. SO sometimes says that SD22 is sloppy and lazy like her mother. i tell him it is wrong thing to say, yes she is not very neat but it should be left at that.

It is demeaning and degrading to discuss how negative traits of someone else's child come from their parent.

In any case you made a mistake, you are wrong, apologize, and do not go into frank conversations about anything. It is nto your place to judge his mother.

If i learned that DD's SM is telling my ex that DD is just like me in this or that sense I would be upset. And if DD overheard, she certainly would let SM know how inappropriate she is. Your SS is too nice. at 16 my DD would not hesitate to tell people what she thinks of them speaking poorly of her mother and father. She would not be shy about it.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 7:07PM
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To a certain extent I have to disagree! GENETICS play a HUGE part in a child's overall makeup. And I, being the fairly blunt person that I am, see nothing wrong with having a child or young adult take a nice long look at themselves in order to see what needs to be improved, sharpened, strengthened or what not... Self-awareness is our friend!

Example: As my stepdaughters have gotten older (16 and 18 now!!) we have come across some less-than-desirable issues that we felt needed to be addressed (i.e., they NEED a boyfriend because otherwise they don't feel special; they actually change themselves to fit what they think the boyfriend wants; they become super absorbed with their boyfriend that nothing else matters - including their best friends, etc.). These happen to be the same things they have seen their mother do time and time again (if a guy isn't into children - then she isn't into her children either; this guy likes rap so she wears baggy clothing and starts talking "rap"; this new guy likes country music so she wears cowboy boots every day; this new new guy rides motor cycles so she dresses like a biker girl and gets a few tatoos). Despite the fact they have lamented over these issues for years, they themselves are now exhibiting those very same issues. And it is our job to help show them, albeit gently, the path that is so obvious to us but not so obvious to them. We reminded them of all the hurt they have felt over the years (being pushed aside for every joe, dick and harry) and reminded them of their current activities (how they were currently acting with their own boyfriends) and asked them if they saw any similarities... It was an eye opener and obviously opened a larger can of worms (i.e., why they felt they needed a guy to make them happy, etc.), however, there is nothing wrong with self-evaluation and self-awareness of one's own natural weaknesses, etc.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 9:40PM
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of course genetics play certain roles yet it is inappropriate for a SM to tell a stepchild that he/she is as selfish, dirty, lazy, dumb or whatever else as his mother/father.

and if she is saying it to this child's father and kid overhears appropriate step is to apologize without planning on explaining to him how bad is his mother.

I disagree lonepiper, it is not SM's job to point out mom's faults to a child or speak negatively of his mother, period. SDs' mother is awful person, yet how is it my place to point it to them?

This kid is awfully nice and polite dealing with it. Most kids/adults wouldn't be.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 5:29AM
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I apologized -- he accepted. He didn't ask any questions, I didn't offer any excuses or opinions. We've moved on.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 7:42AM
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"I apologized ... I didn't offer any excuses..."

I love apologies without excuses! It drives me crazy when someone says "I'm sorry, but...." and then thinks that that was an apology. No, it was not! It was a passive-aggressive way to elaborate on why it was not their fault.

I will accept an apology with an explanation though, i.e., "I'm sorry I was late. I missed the bus. From now on I will leave the house earlier to ensure that that does not happen again."

Lady Q, I think that that is another way that we model behavior for kids to emulate. Adults who don't fully apologize but try to excuse away their behavior should not be surprised when the kids do the same thing.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:19AM
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Good for you lady q. You made a mistake, realized it and apologized.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Lady, I think you took what I said a little far. I'm not saying you are insensitive. I'm saying that was an insensitive thing to have done. Your stepson is not selfish, that was a selfish thing he did. If you put a label on him, one could turn right around and put a label on you.

A "typical" selfish thing for a teenager to do is to not think of others and how their actions might affect others.

A "typical" SM thing to do is to be insensitive about a child's birthparent.

You are not inherently insensitive just because you did an insensitive thing (nor are you alone!! :) and he is not inherently selfish because he did a selfish thing. Do you see where I am going?

Yes, stepchildren are oversensitive about a stepparents role and how they perceive us. Many of us are. Because we want to be protected by our parents, and we are protective of our parents. Believe me, it hurts a lot worse to overhear something bad about ourselves from someone with "mother" in their name (and he shouldn't have been listening to you two, but, hey, that's what kids do, right?) than it does from other people.

I have had only one legal stepmother, and she had nothing to do with raising me. But I have had many pseudo-stepparents, one long term relationship that lasted from age 6 until adulthood, and several in-between on the other side.

Unless a stepparent is there from day one and the birth parent never comes back, there will always be the question of "do they love me" and "is it unconditional" etc.

And I empathize with you not having a second alone to discuss things with your husband. But he's 16, right? Perhaps you could leave him alone in the house and take a walk around the block next time?

We all judge other adults in our lives. Most adults would feel bad if they overheard someone saying that about them. Imagine you saying this to your husband:

"Your sister is so selfish, she is just like your mother!"

Now imagine your SIL or MIL overhearing it.

"GENETICS play a HUGE part in a child's overall makeup. And I, being the fairly blunt person that I am, see nothing wrong with having a child or young adult take a nice long look at themselves in order to see what needs to be improved, sharpened, strengthened or what not... Self-awareness is our friend!"

Lonepiper, I agree, but I think telling a person to their face that their behavior does not work is far better than saying derogatory things about them where they could possibly overhear.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 11:09AM
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Perhaps I am mistaken but I don't believe I ever advocated saying derogatory things about them where they could possibly overhear. Actually, my point was discussing the issue right to their face... Derogatory in nature or not. I think sometimes we take being "PC" a little bit too far. Would you tell them if they have their skirt was tucked into their panties? Would you tell them that perhaps they need to see a counselor for the issues their having? Why wouldn't you tell them that you have noticed such and such actions and perhaps they need to do a self-evaluation.

Side note: Obviously all this is dependent upon the relationship you have with your stepchildren. Each relationship is different and this may very well NOT work with everyones situation!!!!!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:21PM
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We have actually done something along the lines of what Lone suggests. . . sort of. SD15 will complain about her mother's behavior often, for example "I hate that my mom puts her boyfriends before her family or friends." So, if we see SD doing the same thing we might say "SD, we've noticed you seem to be putting your new BF before your family or friends. We think you may have some insight into how that makes your family and friends feel?" It seems to give her a reality check that for one, her mother may not be perfect but neither is she, and that two she needs to be mindful that she doesn't emulate those behaviors she knows to be hurtful or harmful. She often says her mom is an example of the life she doesn't want to have. As horrible as that sounds. . . I'm glad she can make that distinction and hopefully not follow her genetic lead.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 11:35PM
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    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 12:27AM
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good for you lady q, you did it the best way possible.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 7:29PM
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lonepiper, discussing child's behavior is fine. saying to a child perhaps they might benefit from counseling or their skirt is tucked into their panties or some of their actions are unkind is one thing. Saying that they do all these things because that's how their moms/dads are is a completely different uncalled comment.

When SD used my laptop without permission, I told her that I think it is totally wrong for number of reasons. I did not tell her that perhaps she is as inconsiderate as her mother. I do not think discussing their birthparent into their face makes it any nicer. Discussing their mother's/father's negative traits is not stepparent's responsibility, in their face or behind their back.

I think no matter what relationship stepparent has with a child discussing how bad are their moms/dads is a "no no".

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 7:42PM
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I have to agree with PO1 on this one Lone.

"Actually, my point was discussing the issue right to their face... Derogatory in nature or not. I think sometimes we take being "PC" a little bit too far. "

I don't think it's acceptable to bring someone else's behavior into a discussion about my behavior, especially a parent. That's putting the child on equal ground as the parent.

It's one thing to say "I feel it was selfish of you when you didn't let us know you wouldn't be there; therefore we wasted time waiting around for you" and it's another thing to say "I feel it was selfish of you ... and is reminiscent of your mother's behavior".

Asking a child if they recognize this behavior pattern in others is one thing. Using a parent's faults (unless your own) to point out their faults doesn't work, in my opinion.

I will tell DD that her behavior doesn't work, and give her a real-life example of how that behavior didn't work in my life, but that's my own experience, not comparing the faults of two other people, one adult, one child...

When I was crying and very upset with my father, and left the room in tears and he told my husband I was acting "just like her mother" (whom he has not seen physically in 4 years, saw only infrequently (1-2x a year) for the past 20 years) it really hurt my feelings. I cannot believe that if he had told me that to my face it would have made it any better.

It wasn't an effective way of communicating his problem with me; basically he was irritated that I wasn't acting how he wanted me to act. So he made a snarky comment.

If he had said "you know, when you run off crying that's the same behavior your mother employs. Do you see how that doesn't work?"... I would have told him that if he acted like such a jerk to anyone BUT me or my mother they would have punched him out rather than leaving the room in tears.

My point is that when you compare two people it's from your personal experience and prejudices about that person. It doesn't mean you are right or wrong, it just means it's a biased opinion. And chances are someone will get their feelings hurt.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 11:10AM
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