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How do you react if DSC's are told information by their mother?

(29 Posts)
MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 00:08:45

Just had a massive chat with DSD regarding the fact that she had allegedly said she hated me. I wanted to sort it out so I sat down and told her to tell me everything. She didn't want DH to be there - not sure why.
Anyway she was coming out with so much stuff that she shouldn't even know IMO. Stuff about how much her mum earns and that it's not enough and we should pay more, the fact that we went away for the weekend when it was her weekend and that we should have made it another time (it wasn't her w/e, her mum had messed w/e's about then conveniently forgot)....oh there's more but I can't remember as it's late.
Anyway, she was soooo upset, and quite rightly so - I would have been if I'd have been told all this.
I had to correct her on a few things, as assumptions had been made by her mum about things which weren't true. I felt bad doing this, as I don't like to argue a point through the child, ie your mums wrong, but if I
Hadn't, then she would be left thinking a lot of things that were not true.
I feel so wretched about it all, like I have stirred it all up by defending us - would I have been better not to say anything?
I didn't bad mouth at all - just kept it very matter of fact.

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 00:09:35

Sorry forgot to say, she is 10.

ladydeedy Mon 01-Aug-11 07:45:56

i think it's important to just be factual. it's really really tough though. We have had the same and it's awful when you know blatant lies are being told about you and that a child so young obviously believes everything their mum says to them.
It's really wrong of her mum to talk to her about some of that stuff - money etc. I'm not sure what you do about that though - often in my experience, if the mother is on her own (i.e. no partner to share/discuss things with) they can sometimes lean on the child and start to treat them as an adult and discuss things that are wholly inappropriate.
When my DSSs were young they were told all sorts of things by their mother - all I can say to you is that later (years later....) they do understand. They see the pattern of lying and bitterness and they'll see the truth in what you do. Dont be tempted though to say "your mother is a lying cow" smile, but more "oh, that's not true because...".... and leave it at that rather than argue the point. I am sure that's what you did anyway as you sound a very caring and nice person!
it is so so hard though, and I sympathise.

theredhen Mon 01-Aug-11 07:46:57

Nope. You were right to tell the truth, as long as its done in a calm way without blame. Life brings difficult situations and it does a ten year old no harm to learn that.

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 08:59:48

Thank you for your responsessmile.
It was done in a very calm way, but in my head I was seething!!
I can't understand why someone would deliberately upset their child with all those worries. Perhaps she doesn't realise what she's doing.

glasscompletelybroken Mon 01-Aug-11 09:35:43

"Perhaps she doesn't realise what she's doing."

I think that's charitable of you mojitotime!

MJHASLEFTTHEBUILDING Mon 01-Aug-11 11:43:00

Message withdrawn

WkdSM Mon 01-Aug-11 12:39:10

We were in exactly the same situation - got together when ss's were 3 and 6, and have gone through many years of 'Mum says this' with them. We refused to engage them in this type of emotional abuse.

When they were older we did try and tell them what had happened from our point of view - but in a very non-emotional way. I have always refused to say anything negative about their mother - even when they have been slagging her off!

The elder one is 20 now and has told me in the last couple of months how he really respects me for how I never said anything damaging about his mother (and still do not) - my most agressive comment being 'well your mother is entitled to her opinion' - it is a hard furrow to plough but I always thought it was better to take the high moral ground.

Of course - have ranted with DH and to friends on on here - never said I was an angel!!

chelen Mon 01-Aug-11 14:08:30

Hi, from the other side - we are the resident family - we have shared info about the fact that maintenance is paid. The difference is giving facts e.g. 'and your mum also gives us some money to help pay for things you need like school uniform and sports stuff' vs giving judgments e.g. ... but the money isn't enough/isn't paid on time or whatever complaints (we don't have any complaints as it goes, but where people do it is sharing the complaints that puts pressure on the kids).

We have incidences in the past with SS' mum telling him things like she's moving house without tipping us off, which means we end up finding stuff out from SS, but a lot of stern words from my OH seem to have worked. Currently we have the opposite problem - mum tells us things that she doesn't want to tell my SS, and I think it would be better for their relationship if he knew, but she is generally not keen on negative feelings so avoids topics which might upset my SS.

Overall my OH has worked hard not to pass judgment but will gently correct factual inaccuracies sometimes. If my SS is really in fairy story mode about his mum (he periodically rewrites the reasons his mum did/does certain things), I don't correct him. If he is saying things that are factually inaccurate about our household, I do correct him.

I worry about the odd occasions where we have been really angry about something, tried not to pass comment but my SS simply MUST know we are mad at his mum. but I am not sure how anyone, however saintly, can never let slip their irritations?

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 14:46:23

At the moment it seems to be a lot about money.
DH has paid same amount of maintenance for years. Ex used to be married to a man who was quite comfortable so she could afford lots of nice things, but now they have split up she is with another man who is not as well off. She moans to DH now that the maintenance money is not enough, even though it is over what the CSA suggest, and begrudges the fact that she has to work 2 days a week because DH's money doesn't cover everything!

It winds me up because I was under the impression that maintenance was a contribution, rather than the father being responsible for paying everything? It is quite a substantial sum anyway and she doesn't have rent or bills to pay so I'm not sure what it gets spent on (though judging by all the expensive clothes I've seen both her and dd in, and a brand new £16,000 car, probably that!!)
Anyway I'd never dream of bothering DSD with ANY of this nonsense, but she feels the need to, and as such DSD says that they are poor and that Daddy must be able to afford to give mummy more money because he has a new iPhone hmm

It's hardto know what to say in response. Nothing?

MJHASLEFTTHEBUILDING Mon 01-Aug-11 14:54:52

Message withdrawn

ladydeedy Mon 01-Aug-11 14:58:13

ooh dear, yes we have had "Mum says you and dad go on too many foreign holidays and she hasnt had one in years - it is so unfair and she needs one more than you do...".
I just grit my teeth and say, "oh really? Well we all have to live according to our means..." Whether that used to get back to her or not, I have no idea! But considering it's me paying for holidays and so on, I think it's not my problem that she is jealous! I

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 15:17:22

Yes ladydeedy I see where you are coming from. We've had a few nice things recently as I inherited money from my grandfather - DSD has been included in them - ie a few pop concerts, days out etc, but I think dsd's mum assumes it is DH who has paid for it all so she gets annoyed that she can't afford it too. She's had a lot of money over the years, including a cheque for £100,000 when her and DH sold their house, but it all seems to have gone on god knows what as it wasn't reinvested into property.
I just don't feel like DH should keep handing over extra money over and above his regular maintenance to someone who doesn't seem to be able to control their finances sad.

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 15:19:44

Also your comment about mum needing a holiday more than you grin - what planet are these women living on? How on earth can you decide who needs a holiday more than someone else?
Just feel so angry and sad for the poor children having to act as a go between.

ladydeedy Mon 01-Aug-11 15:29:55

I absolutely agree! EXW also comments on our house, cars, the "hours" I apparently spend in beauty salons/getting nails done, the amount of times she THINKS we go out to eat and where... I have a well paid job and DH does not and never has, really. Not a problem at all and the main thing is he is WONDERUL and I adore him. But what gets me is that EXW thinks she should living the same lifestyle as us just because that's what DH is now enjoying! Although she did not have foreign holidays, money, etc when they were married... It makes me laugh (kind of..!). smile

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 15:41:02

Yes I TOTALLY know what you mean - same situation here. It is such blatant jealousy. The way I see it for our situation is that DH's ex could have had the days out/concerts etc but a series of bad decisions have led her to the place she is now.
She chose to leave DH for another man.

She chose to fritter away money that could have been a huge deposit on a house for her and DSD.

She chose not to work.

She chose to then break up with this man who was providing for her.

She chose to move in with a man who earns what he does.

She chooses to now only work 2 days a week.

She chose to buy a brand new car.

She chooses to only wear the best brands of clothing.

Yet somehow DH and I (and our toddler ds) are responsible for her being "poor" grin.

WkdSM Mon 01-Aug-11 15:50:01

It is a real shame when the children are used like this - we have had it all from 'your father has left me without enough money to let you play in the football team (£1 or so a game), to 'mum says you are spineless prick because you always do what Mrs Wkdsm says' (we talk things over rather than scream at each other as she did with DH and her new DH) to (at 3 years old) 'Mum says you and WkdSM are horrible people'.

Rise above it - although it is annoying that youngest SS now uses all these comments to wind DH up.

The only time I was tempted to say anything was when exW new DH caught her in an 18month affair with his BF - was tempted to call her and ask her what it felt like to be a baseless whore (one of her favourite names for and to me!) - but I did not................

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 15:58:05

Yep it's awful for the children. When DSD was 4 she was sitting on the loo one day and she suddenly came out with "my mummy doesn't like you. She says if she sees you in the supermarket she is going to be very cross and shout at you".

Who SAYS that to a 4 yo?

Poor DSD has spent her whole life on tenterhooks, worrying about who she might bump into with her mum sad.

She's so damaged emotionally and I feel so helpless sad.

ladydeedy Mon 01-Aug-11 16:10:02

Oh Mojitotime this is so similar to our story! EXW left my DH for another man. DH gave her all his portion of the equity so should could get the house she wanted "for the children". Then she split up with the other man. By this time DH and I had got together. She then decided she'd like to get back with my (now) DH but he said no way. She then got the two kids to share a room so she could let out and make money from the 3rd bedroom which she "desperately needed so that the boys could have a room each". Funnily enough no lodger has stayed for more than a couple of weeks.
She is so so bitter at how her life has turned out, despite it being as a result of what she CHOSE to do. Leave a loving husband, never better herself to get a better paid job (but moans all the time about how much she hates it). Expected DH to keep paying her more and more money.
Apparently it is all my DH's fault, and she simply cannot bear the fact that we are happy. She even told the children that we are responsible for the fact that she got breast cancer! Because she was so stressed by her "dire financial situation" and he wouldnt pay her more money (although like you, was way more what the CSA would judge). Nothing to do with the pack a day of cigarettes that she smokes...
Now we just find her amusing/sad/pathetic but I know my blood pressure used to go through the roof every time I heard any of this stuff...
Those poor children...

MojitoTime Mon 01-Aug-11 21:57:18

My god it's almost the exact same story as we have. I could write a book on the ludicrous things we have been accused of. I once called the police be because she was harassing me non stop (phone calls threatening me, voicemails, texts, turning up at the house and shouting abuse) for weeks. They said that I could have had her arrested but I decided against it as didn't want DSD to be left while she was carted off. Anyway, they went round and gave her a talking to and a warning, but then she went on for months/years about how damaging it was to DSD to have seen two policemen in the house and that she was having nightmares and wetting the bed. And it was all my fault, the evil woman that I am....hmm

ladydeedy Mon 01-Aug-11 22:05:22

I have a police story too! How weird is that! Will PM you tomorrow....

Smum99 Thu 04-Aug-11 11:36:36

Like you we tend to correct the factual errors or when DSS is worried about something he has heard - an example was when DH ended spousal maintenance as ex had remarried (as agreed in the court order and even then he continued to overpay for several months) she would tell DSS that he couldn't have school uniform because daddy had stopped paying money.

I do think there is a line however that we have to manage - we ignore most comments as I realise DSS will eventually understand the truth however if the objective or result is to alienate the non resident parent then I think a more robust approach has to be taken.
Mostly I loath that the children are in this situation - it absolutely doesn't need to exist. My ex and I have a very civilised relationship and our DCs would never make such comments.

In our case the ex also had multiple affairs, subsequently remarried and divorced several times yet she doesn't appear to accept responsibility for her choices..is this a common theme?

Whata Thu 04-Aug-11 21:44:34

There is the flip side my poor little DCs are fed all sorts of rubbish by OW.

My 3 yr old came home telling me that OW likes me and me "hating"her made her cry. He kept telling me she is nice and I must like her because he did and it was OK to. I was making Daddy upset by being horrible to her etc

I explained to my poor confused DC that it was OK for him to like OW, but I am afraid I never would. I refuse to lie to my children. i do my damndest not to slag her off despite intense provocation, I know she can treat my DCS badly and there is nothing I can do about it and try not to give her cause to do so.

Very very hard on both sides.

MojitoTime Fri 05-Aug-11 11:42:08

The most recent thing is that we were all going to go shopping today, but DSD's mum has told her that is she is not allowed to go to the local shopping centre or into London in case there is a terrorist attack.

Therefore DSD is frightened to come along and now will have to stay at home with DH while I go out with DS.

Whata - Whilst I think it's wrong that your children are fed things by your DH and OW, they are obviously "aware" that there is tension and that you are "being horrible" to the OW etc. I know you don't want to lie to your children, but I also don't think they need to know whether you like OW or not.

Whata Fri 05-Aug-11 18:53:32

mojito -sorry you are so way off telling me I am wrong.

there is absolutely no way the DCs could not know that something was up. OW was one of our best family friends, she used to come round to the house and we would take all the DCs out together - that unsurprisingly has stopped but then maybe I should have continues that for the sake of the DCs!

so when they ask me why OW can not come round anymore, I tell them we are being silly adults and had an argument - what else would you like me to tell a 2 and 4yr old because the actual truth really is quite foul.What do you suggest I say to them, when you and her DCS had your naps in the after noon, Daddy and OW used to shag senseless in every room of our house. ( again her words not mine)

She is the one who says "being horrible" - word she uses in her texts to me. She tells DCS that she would love to come round and play like old times but that I am being horrible by not letting her, because I do not like her anymore.

So when my DCs ask_" do you like OW, because she likes you". Then what the hell do you suggest I say to them?

Please enlighten me - because they are being told enough lies as it is on the other side, they sure as hell do not need more from me.

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