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Sooo cross - DD's Dad's girlfriend has told my daughter the facts of life

(45 Posts)
zanywany Mon 29-Oct-12 11:37:55

I am fuming. My DD9 has just come back from her overnight stay with her Dad and his girlfriend has decided to give my daughter a chat about sex and the facts of life! Bit of background, I have a DS12 and DD9 and I split from my XH 6 years ago. He has been with this girlfriend for 2 years, she has a DS9 and they are about to move in together. I am engaged and 5 months pregnant, my fiancee has 2 ds's.

I feel that she has taked away from me a special mother/daughter 'talk' and I wanted to be able to expain things to her not someone else. Also I haven't had this chat with her yet as I don't feel that she is ready at the moment and she hasn't been asking any questions (she is a huge chatterbox so if she was curious she would ask). My XH was in the room when this was going on but didn't say anything.

As a step parent to be myself I would never do this and I feel angry that she has crossed what is in my mind an unwritten boundary!

NotaDisneyMum Sun 11-Nov-12 11:05:12

Unfortunately, there are a lot of parents who actively undermine the 'parental adult figure' that the step-parent endeavours to be.

Many (mainly) RP believe that that a step-parent has no right to be a part if their DCs lives at all, and expect the step-parent to limit their involvement with the DCs sad

On more than one occasion, I have been criticised for supporting my DP and fulfilling the role that he wants me to play in his DCs lives; instead, I am expected to refuse to support my DP in favour of solidarity with my DSC mum, instead!

mdoodledoo Sat 10-Nov-12 22:49:41

I'm genuinely perplexed by the original premise of this thread.

I'm a SM and have found myself in this sort of situation a few times where the kids (6 & 9) will ask me outright about something - a recent example was 'what's a condom?'. My choice has been, and I think is likely to always be, to answer with age-appropriate honesty and without drama. What am I supposed to do with that question if not answer it - am I supposed to say 'you'll have to ask your Dad/Mum'? What does that do to my relationship with the kids and their trust and respect for me and my role as a parental adult figure in their lives?

I really try to be empathetic about the difficulties of my role for the kids Mum - and I NEVER knowingly undermine her to them, or to any other children or adults, and it's surprised me how often other adults think I would like to engage in a conversation which is just basically slagging her off.

Being respectful of Mum is a principle that I think it critical for my healthy relationship with the kids as the years pass and they become adults. I appreciate that few women would want another woman involved in the raising of their children - but that is the reality of step-families. As a step-parent I am involved in the raising of these two children - and sometimes that's going to stray into territory that their Mum might wish it didn't - but unfortunately that's just the way it is.

ladydeedy Mon 05-Nov-12 14:38:14

I dont think this is worth getting het up over. After all, you are pregnant and this may raise questions for your DD in any case. If your DD doesnt understand yet at 9, then it's good for her to hear from another adult, better than another child at school at least. The "talk" from my mother was excruciating in the extreme. I much preferred to learn about it at school or from my (older) female cousin who was much more relaxed and helpful in explaining things. Your DD may have found it more helpful to receive the information from someone who is not her parent.

I know my DSS asks me a few sex education/biology things because he trusts me and doesnt want to get into some crazy conversation with his mother who would use the opportunity to threaten/frighten him about it!

brdgrl Mon 05-Nov-12 13:17:03

But your DH was involved, by your account of the talk he was present the entire time. He made the decision to let it go forward - he just let his partner do the talking, it is not that different from if he'd given DD a book or sat her down in front of a video (and probably better!). That was his decision. Which as her dad he was entitled to make. It might have been nice if he'd told you he was planning on it, but it sounds like he made the decision 'in the moment', as often has to be done. I do think you are being a little unfair.

ajandjjmum Mon 05-Nov-12 13:16:56

How the devil has your DD got to 9 without asking questions? DD started around 4 and DS started showing a vague interest around 7, but there's never been 'a talk', just a gradual filtering down of age appropriate information.

They're telling me now though! grin

seeker Mon 05-Nov-12 13:13:41

Well, she most definitely should have been told by 9 whether she asked questions or not- so she's done your dd a favour.

zanywany Mon 05-Nov-12 13:08:59

Monstroneous - I do think that I should have been the one to talk to my DD about this as I know my XH and he would have been embarrased doing it and resorted to talking in metaphors. I wouldn't have had a problem though if he did decide to as he is the parent the same as me so of course has as much right to precious moments as I do. I was annoyed because it was his girlfriend doing the talking, he by his own admission wasn't involved.

I understand what you say about taking on board what my daughter says which is why I often verify what actually happened with my XH or listen to what my DS has to say as he is older and very trustworthy. If I think that my XH and his girlfriend are right in handing out a particular punishment but my DD complains to me about it I wlways back them up and tell my DD they have been right.

As I mentioned earlier I am also a step mum to be to my fiance's 2 boys so can see things from both sides. I think step parenting is very hard to do and appriciate this

notactuallyme Sat 03-Nov-12 10:57:46

I just don't understand this sort of thing. I don't understand why the mum has to be the one to get all the special moments, to be the first to raise any issues etc. When dd had a stepmother I was thrilled that she liked her and got on with her; I would want her to be comfortable (emotionally and physically) with her dad and whoever he was with. Does it really matter?

Some things yes - trying alcohol, getting a mobile phone, hair cuts etc. Conversations? Not so much.

Monstroneous Sat 03-Nov-12 10:47:29

Hmm, but a a kids mother, do you have any more right to 'precious moments' than her father? There's no automatic reason why "the talk" should have happened at your household, rather than his, if you see what I mean?

From your posts, it sounds rather more like you have much more of an issue about this than your daughter does, and so when you reduce it down to bare bones, that makes it not a child centred issue, but rather a sensitivity around how the adults deal with things - and therefore, probably not worth raising with childs' dad.

I was interested that you have also been upset by "you might get away with that at your mothers'..." I would be very careful here about taking on board too much of what your daughter says about the other household: In separated families, they do learn to say what the parent wants to hear and so I'd be cautious that stuff like this isn't relayed in order to please you - the difficulty is that DD may also be saying similar things to her father about you if this is encouraged or endorsed. I'd say the correct response is "well, there are different rules at your dad's house".

None of it is easy, for sure, but the childs' dad has as much right to parent in his own house as you do - and if he sees fit to bring his girlfriend on board with that, then you are kinda stuck with it. Wading in to tell him what his girlfriend can/ can not say is probably not appropriate unless you'd be happy for your ex to text you and tell you how you should speak to the kids on your time.

lunar1 Fri 02-Nov-12 15:40:53

You are a better woman than me OP. If someone said they were going to batter my children I dont think i could have any kind of civil relationship with them after that.

I guess the talk is not a huge deal if it was isolated but with every thing else added it your ex and his girlfriend sound like a nasty pair.

zanywany Wed 31-Oct-12 10:11:37

Colditz I have not said my daughter is embarrased to ask questions and if you knew her you would laugh at the thought, she has simply not asked. I have hid nothing from her as I do not feel it is shameful - not quite sure where you get that idea from!

Purpleroses yes she has threatened to 'batter' them and I have spoken to my XH about this, discipline in their household is not a problem but threatening behaviour isn't right.

colditz Tue 30-Oct-12 16:47:34

You are making such an issue out of nothing, I'm not surprised your daughter is embarrassed to ask questions! Both my children know the facts of life, and they are six and nine. It's biology. It's part of education. Why on earth would you hide it as if its something shameful to be passed down from biological mother to biological child, like a skin complaint?

purpleroses Tue 30-Oct-12 16:37:47

I have a DD and DSS - both 9, and tbh could easily imagine having a conversation with my DD on the facts of life, and if DSS was in the room would include him without a second thought

Well maybe having read this thread, I'd be more careful now - but I've always answered questions from my DCs as they come up, and they've tended to do so in dribs and drabs rathter than as one "talk". I would generally assume that by 9 most children would already know the basics - or else they've have pieced together stuff from other kids and got some sort of idea. If my DSS was in the room, it would feel wrong to exclude him from the conversation, and I'd like to deal with sex like any other topic with my DSC rather than making it some sort of taboo.

But sounds like this has hit a nerve because you're feeling generally that she's overstepping the mark. I think the discipline in their house is something you have to let them get on with (assuming she's not seriously threatening to "batter them"confused) but maybe if there are other things you'd rather she didn't do, then you could spell it out to your ex what these are. I'd assume that dealing with non-urgent medical matters, schools and clothes-buying are generally the preserve of my DSC's mother and my DP, but not me.

poppins76 Mon 29-Oct-12 20:01:37

I am a 'step-mum' to 2 kids the same age as yours 12 and 9. They don't see me as a 'step-mum' but more of a big sis. They tell me about all the antics that they get up to at school and we have a giggle.
Your ex-husbands girl friend may well have the same sort of relationship and your daughter may feel comfortable discussing things with a 'big sister' rather than a mum.
Just an opinion. It's difficult on our side too as we are thrown into a situation and only try to do our best for the children. Good luck.

zanywany Mon 29-Oct-12 19:19:35

I think they do feel disloyal sometimes MsMadeline. Whenever they tell me about something good she has done or that they have had a good time with their Dad/girlfriend I do try and encourage them and let them know that I am pleased that they are happy as I don't want them feeling like that.

zanywany Mon 29-Oct-12 19:12:09

I had already had a chat with my daughter about periods a couple of months ago, it was specifically the technicalities of sex and what happens that I didn't talk to her about because I don't think she is ready yet and also she doesn't ask. She is very inquisitive and asks alot of questions but not about that subject. I guess there could be some truth in my dd feeling more comfortable talking to her about it.

Things are better between them now but in the past they have come home in tears at the way both my XH and gf treats them, they didn't feel important to him for quite a while and would be very tearful thinking that he doesn't love them anymore. They are both extremely strict and it is the gf who handles all the discipline in his house which I think causes resentment from them when she shouts at them/threatens to 'batter them' rather than their Dad handling things. I talked to him about this at the time to try and resolve it and although he clearly dislikes me he did realise in the end that I want them to be happy when they visit him/them and that I was doing my best to make that happen rather than take their side.

Hope this makes sense. I am aware that children often can play separated parents against each other so always try to find out the truth of what has gone on before I react. I hope I see it from both sides as I am a bio and a step mum.

brdgrl Mon 29-Oct-12 17:44:54

To me, the fact that her dad was in the room makes a lot of difference. He tacitly (at least) endorsed the situation - which puts it on the same footing as if he'd been the one to tell his DD the 'facts of life' himself.

And since he decided, as her dad, to tell DD these things (or what he did do, which was to use a surrogate - a video, a book, or another female relative or friend), then really, I think YABU - he's her parent too and has as much right to make the decision about when she's ready as you do. Ideally, of course, you and your XH would have agreed between you when and how, but short of that, he does have a right to talk to his daughter about sex - or to let others do so.

Sorry you are upset about it though. I do think that it doesn't have to take away from you having your own special talk with her, and I am sure you will still find that a special shared experience with your DD.

digerd Mon 29-Oct-12 15:50:24

I was told about periods and that it was to be a regular monthly occurrance at 10, by my auntie - mum was too embarrassed !! But when I asked auntie how the egg was actually fertilised she got flustered and told me that would be explained after I had my first period. I knew already, so was a bit bemused. Been told by another girl at school.
When I did get my first period I cried and mum gave me a cuddle.

bananaistheanswer Mon 29-Oct-12 15:42:55

YANBU. I think this is one of the areas that is v v tricky when you are separated. Not nearly the same thing but my 7 yr old DD had been asking loads of questions about how babies were made and I trawled the Internet for age appropriate books until I found 2 that were just what I thought was needed. Sat with her, read books, answered questions and she was happy with that. Then ex decided that he would show her a warts and all documentary about child birth, which has pretty much traumatised her hmm He doesn't get 'age appropriate' at all. So, not quite the same but I get your frustration.

CailinDana Mon 29-Oct-12 15:23:46

Perhaps she was trying to bond with your DD? In a sense I would be pleased that after a rocky start my DD now felt comfortable enough to have a conversation like this with the girlfriend - it indicates a certain level of closeness. Plus it's often easier for girls to talk about things like this with other women besides their mother, due to the embarrassment factor. You never know, your DD might have been dying to ask you about all this but never had the chance to find it out.

IMO, and this is just a personal opinion, 9 is really too old to be clueless about this kind of thing. She could start her period soon and she should at least know all the biology behind her reproductive system. Chances are she's already heard a fair amount of guff at school and was relieved to have some clarification.

It's not really fair to be possessive over this "moment" if you're not going instigate the "moment" in timely way. Your DD clearly wanted to know about it and standing in her way because of your own issues is a bit unfair really. You don't like the girlfriend, fair enough, but she was kind to your DD by including her in a conversation that interested her, about a difficult topic. She essentially responded to your DD in an interested and sensitive way.

I can see where you're coming from, but really you've let this drift for too long and if it hadn't been the gf opening your DD's eyes then it would have been someone else.

MsMadelineashton Mon 29-Oct-12 15:09:25

Your dss is having a period confused tee hee

I was constantly told I was to have nothing to do with giving dsd any advice or support etc then the day her period came (aged 10) she called me and asked me to come home from work because she'd told her mother and her mother wasn't happy to come and collect her from ours until the usual time which was 4 hours later. Dsd wasn't comfortable with talking to her dad.

Thank goodness I was there. And thank goodness my dd has a wonderful sm who will step up for sure if it happens to dd on her watch.

If I'm honest, I would rather it happens with me and nearer the time ill ask sm if she can please call me when it does. I will drop everything for dd and sm will be happy for me to. We both put dd before our egos. Thankfully.

livinglife Mon 29-Oct-12 14:46:41

I feel for you but I've asked my husbands ex wife how she would like me to handle DSS's period in the event it happens when she is here and also wanted to know what she has told her daughter about the facts of life so I could deliver the same message. She has refused to let me know and has basically said it has nothing to do with me and in the ever her period arrives her dd will speak to her father. Something he is not comfortable with. We are having DSS a lot over the next few months and I want to get it right and not give her conflicting messages should her period arrive when she's with us. I feel I'm in a no win situation. I've tried to respect her mothers role but also want her to know she can talk to me and not feel embarrssed.

MsMadelineashton Mon 29-Oct-12 14:42:41

Oh definitely. If you arrived at the sex-talk situation with no existing issues you'd probably feel very differently. What are the negative comments and how do you handle it?

Could you sit down with your ex and talk about it? What is happening there that they are crying and not wanting to leave you!? 9 and 12 are pretty grown up to be so traumatised by visiting dad. Forgive me but if they were mine I would be seeking some help. Nothing heavy, but talking through their problems with someone who is removed from the situation could help. If step mum is being negative about you, and this upsets you, they are probably feeling disloyal to you when they go there which is unhealthy.

zanywany Mon 29-Oct-12 14:16:26

I'm in 2 minds MsMadeline as to whether it is just a case of answering questions when my DD was there or whether she did attempt to 'steal a precious moment' I prefer to give people the benefit of doubt but have been having increasing problems with my XH and his girlfriend undermining me and putting me down to my DC's, to the point that my DS feels uncomfortable at having to defend me alot of the time.

I have done alot of talking/supporting with my DC's in the last year to help to improve their relationship with their dad and his girlfriend (up until 6 months ago they would be in tears when I picked them up saying the never wanted to go back and were really unhappy with them) so I think the least they could do is back down on the negative comments about me. Sorry probably going off the original thread now.

MsMadelineashton Mon 29-Oct-12 13:28:08

Thinking about it, I feel for SM - she was put on the spot by her ds and probably felt uncomfortable but did what she thought was right at the time - cringe!!

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