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Fairytale, neutrality or brutality - what do you do?

(13 Posts)
chelen Thu 30-Jun-11 14:27:15

Hi all

Just wondering how you deal when the other parent lets your step children down (or of course if you have an ex who lets your own children down)? If for example his mum has said no to something, we know she could go but doesn't want to and therefore tells him she 'can't'.

When you have similar situations and your step children ask you about it, do you play along with the fairytale line (I'm sure she would but she just can't), stick to the neutral (I'm sorry you're sad she's not coming) or go for the brutal (I'm guessing not but some might feel like saying 'If she wanted to come she would')??

I should explain that my SS' mum is not very involved, regular contact but rarely does anything extra and says no to 90% of requests from my SS, so we're coming up against this a lot right now.

Thank you!

aurorastargazer Thu 30-Jun-11 16:35:37

just stick with the barest truth and however much you may dislike the other parent, you must never put them down to the child.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 30-Jun-11 17:19:07

We used to reinforce the fairytale, but on the Putting Children First course we recently attended, it was explained that this can actually confuse the child if they know/think that you are 'covering' for the other parent.

We now go for neutrality - "I'm sorry you're sad/cross about it".

What rips my insides apart is when DSS7 makes excuses and justifies why his mum can't/won't attend sad

marycorporate Thu 30-Jun-11 17:20:48

I beleive the neutral is best. It's not lying or condoning the behaviour, it shows that you are on their side but it's not disrespectful to the other parent.

How many adults have you heard say how much respect they had for their parents/ step parents who let them come to their own conclusions about the people in their lives? I've heard heaps.

It is really hard though. I often fantasise about telling my DSD what a coplete waste of space her mother is and in my head she says "oh, you are so right, what a bitch, I shall come and live with you and we'll all be happy ever after" Sadly, it would never happen like that.

marycorporate Thu 30-Jun-11 17:21:49

I'm sorry to derail but really interested to hear more about the course notadisneymum could you PM me pls?

aurorastargazer Fri 01-Jul-11 11:26:40

<me too please nadm smile>

how are things today chelen?

greencolorpack Fri 01-Jul-11 11:32:38

Marcorporate, it's not good to think about telling a child that half their genetic heritage comes from "a waste of space", doesn't that make dsd a half waste of space? Speaking as one who was told by both parents on a regular basis that the other was a bitch/bastard, I grew up thinking I was wholly a waste of space if you added up my genes. Not good. I know you're only thinking it and not saying it.

Interesting thread, I have dn living with me, his mum is a placefiller, is utterly passive, makes no decisions, dn sees her and she just watches telly and smokes all day and does what her mum tells her to do, she has mental health problems and is on loads of drugs to keep her on the straight and narrow. I'm at a loss to explain to dn how and why she is like that and the fact that she loves him anyway in her own limited way. Really nobody knows what goes on in her head, she's a complete mystery. Poor dn must feel let down when comparing his mum to other mums.

aurorastargazer Fri 01-Jul-11 11:35:37


Libby10 Fri 01-Jul-11 12:25:52

It depends on the age of the kids and the context. DP's ex never takes the kids away and has not been there for them at important times in their lives. When the kids were younger it was easier to be neutral but when the eldest kept pressing DP as to why his mum never took them away eventually DP told a reasonable neutral version of the truth. There is no need to be brutal but lying about the situation affects your own relationship with the kids.

aurorastargazer Fri 01-Jul-11 12:59:14

dp told me last night that his son had said to him that his mum never asks what he's done at school - i can't imagine not asking him and dd how they've got on sad

NotaDisneyMum Fri 01-Jul-11 15:16:35

greencolorpack - I think that a lot of the hostility towards stepmums from their DSC can probably be attributed to the "comparison" the DC make between the disappointments from their own mothers and how that contrasts with the positive experiences they have with stepmum sad

It is tragic that even young children sometimes reject someone who loves and cares for them - but probably easier for them than accepting that their own mum isn't perfect sad

marycorporate Fri 01-Jul-11 15:58:14

greenspace hence my only fantasising about it.

chelen Fri 01-Jul-11 22:33:40

Hi, thanks for all your posts, always helpful to hear how things are with others. Things are ok here but like NADM I also find it so hard when my SS makes excuses for his mum. I just hate watching him ping back and forth between 'my mum's really disappointing' and 'my mum's the best in the world' - which I guess (hope) will settle down as he gets older and forms a more stable, rounded POV.

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