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Stonewalling - how can a DC deal with it from a parent?

(35 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Tue 18-Dec-12 18:51:02

What advice can my DP give his DD (15) to help her deal with her Mums stonewalling?

DSD is trying to sort out her post-16 choices, and her Mum (who she lives with) refuses to discuss it with her, or with DP - she has told them that DSD is going to have to do as she is told - but hasn't told them what that is!

What communication tips/strategies might help when it is the parent who is stonewalling the child? I'm all out of suggestions - and can see DSD aspirations drifting away with the constant effort required angry

exoticfruits Tue 18-Dec-12 19:07:20

Get DP to ask her what the options are and what she wants to do-then she can tell her mother. She is old enough to make the decision-it is her life.

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Tue 18-Dec-12 19:08:38

What does she need her mum to do?

exoticfruits Tue 18-Dec-12 19:25:00

Step 1 does she want to to A'levels?

if so
a at her present school?
b elsewhere? (if so where)

Step 2 if she doesn't want A'levels what does she want to do?
vocational college course.

Step 3 tell her mother what she wants to do.

It seems very weird if a mother decides for a 16yr old and she just has to do as she is told. A recipe for disaster in the 'you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink'.

Could she have the choice of living with you if the mother is impossible?

NotaDisneyMum Tue 18-Dec-12 19:56:17

What does she need her mum to do?

She doesn't need her mum to do anything - although it would be far easier on her if she had her mums support rather than feel like she was being forced to choose between doing what she wants to do and keeping her Mum happy.

she has a clear idea of what she wants to do, but Mum is refusing to discuss it. Mum hasn't come up with any alternatives, either though.

exoticfruits Tue 18-Dec-12 21:04:16

Quite simple then- do what she wants to do.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 18-Dec-12 21:24:31

It's not that simple when you're 15 though - she is seeking her Mums approval but can't even secure her engagement sad

purpleroses Tue 18-Dec-12 22:39:44

She should meet my DSD who seems to be quite fantastic at just "telling" either of her parent what she intends to do. Or more often not even telling them, but just making the complete assumption that it will be her decision, so if she bothers to let them know then that's very good of her hmm

I realise though that not all 15 year olds are so self-assured. The bottom line is that her mum cannot tell her what to do, but your DSD can't force her mum to approve of whatever she wants to do. She may have to face up to doing something her mum isn't happy with.

Has she talked to the school about it? If whatever she wants to do is sensible in the school's eyes then they might be able to talk her mum round. Otherwise if her mum's just stonewalling, then can't DSD just fill in whatever application she needs to do, get your DP to sign it off and leave it at that? Her mum will either have to talk to her, or let it lie.

Are you sure your DSD is being truthfull with you though? Is it possible she does know what her mum wants her to do, but knows that her dad has different ideas so is claiming she doesn't know what her mum thinks to avoid the conflict?

NotaDisneyMum Tue 18-Dec-12 22:57:35

No, DSD seems to have it spot on - her mum has told DP that DSD won't be doing what she wants to do but replies "I don't know" when he asks what her own alternative suggestion is. She's opposed to what DSD wants to do but won't engage in a conversation about why not or what she thinks is a viable choice.

The school careers advisors are already involved; they are also very supportive of DSD, but won't make contact with DSD mum solely on DSD request.

It's such a shame it's come to this - there myst be some effective way if dealing with stonewalling, surely?
It makes me realise exactly how damaging/effective stonewalling can be sad

exoticfruits Wed 19-Dec-12 19:07:19

It is a pity that the careers people can't talk to her-it sounds as if DSD needs outside help.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 19-Dec-12 22:04:24

I've been really disappointed with the lack of support from her school over the last 3 years; they have a very hands off approach and consider that any contact with parents should be parent-led, and ANY information about the student should only be disclosed with the students express permission.

DSD Mum can be a bit of an ostrich, and avoids issues she isn't comfortable with by ignoring them - and it certainly seems to work, as people tend to give up, and either drop her as a friend, or let her have her own way, rather than keep battling to engage with her.

I'm having to work really hard to stay detached from this issue - the outcome will have a HUGE impact on me personally. If DSD decides to defy her Mum, then she will be living here, and I've committed to financially supporting her, including giving her a job, if she does get a place on the course that she wants to do.

exoticfruits Wed 19-Dec-12 22:09:53

Would that be so bad?

NotaDisneyMum Wed 19-Dec-12 22:34:32

exotic Which bit?

Financially supporting DSD will significantly impact on my own DD and myself, so it is difficult having to stand on the sidelines and wait passively for that decision to be made by others. As a family, we're living below the poverty line at the moment, so every extra meal, bus fare, book we have to buy means other things have to be stretched a little thinner - but it will only stretch so far!

As for DSD living with us, and working for me; I have no idea if it will be a bad thing or not!
Until three months ago, she had refused to acknowledge my existence for over 2 years, and since then, I've spent no more than a few hours with her when she is prepared to defy her mum and comes to visit for dinner. I don't know her, and while all this is going on, I can't really spend a lot of time with her because because her time with DP is spent with the two of them trying to sort out her future - which I can't be a part of until it actually happens!

pinguthepenguin Wed 19-Dec-12 23:12:52


Get your DP to ring connexions and ask for an appt with dd. They are brilliant.

Also, I'd ask the question that another poster asked earlier, are you sure dd is telling the truth? I just don't see why mik would stonewall her dd over this? It's weird, I mean, if mum was pissed off cos your dsd wanted to study underwater basket-weaving I would understand that. But what is it that dd wants to study that mum won't discuss?
I always understood 'stonewalling' to be literally blanking someone. Is that what jar mum is doing?

NotaDisneyMum Thu 20-Dec-12 00:17:22

pingu Yes, she is stonewalling both DSD and DP about the same issue - she said "I refuse to discuss it and I've told DSD the same" to DP on the phone when he called her yesterday after she had ignored several emails asking to discuss it by phone or in person.

DP and DSD have been in touch with Connexions - they are being wound down here and they only advise about Apprenticeships now; and that's not what DSD is interested in as there are none in the field she wants to pursue.

Oh, and it's not underwater basket weaving. Her mum is pissed off because DSD wants to leave home and study at a specialist college where they provide supervised/managed boarding for 16/17 year olds; it's one of the best in the UK. I understand her worry, and I'm sure I'd be the same if it was my DD - but I definitely don't understand her reaction which imo, is abusive and very damaging.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 20-Dec-12 00:26:05

I just don't see why mum would stonewall her dd over this? It's weird

Unfortunately, this is the attitude that many people respond with when they hear about an emotionally abusive mother. They just can't get their head around the fact that not all Mums put their Dc's first and assume that he has got an axe to grind.
Imagine how my DP feels when that is the reaction he gets every time he tries to seek help and support for his DD sad

pinguthepenguin Thu 20-Dec-12 00:56:57

No no Disney you misunderstand me I think. I don't think mums are incapable of emotional abuse ( far from it), I was/am just perplexed at the idea of stonewalling someone- your child, regardless of parental gender. It's just....^weird^. I mean...isn't it?

PoppyPrincess Thu 20-Dec-12 01:01:10

And exactly what is her mother going to do if she doesn't go along with her choices? Will she throw her out? Refuse to support her? All because she wants to decide her own career path for herself?!
This sounds like an absurd thing to say!
I don't really enjoy my job and I envy people who love their jobs, I would love my kids to have jobs they love. Love your job = love your life.
Yes of course every mother has aspirations for their kids to turn in to brain surgeons, stock brokers etc but above anything else we want out kids to be happy.
I think DSD should make her own mind up and tell her mum if she won't support her choices she'll move in with dad

theredhen Thu 20-Dec-12 06:08:44

You can't make her mum not stonewall her. I suspect she feels she's losing control and she's not ready for that. I suspect she had her own timeline for that and dsd is not playing ball. Is this a recent change of plan for dsd? Boarding at age 16 is probably not what mum was expecting.

I think this is just a lesson that all kids have to learn, that they're parents aren't perfect, aren't always on "their side" and don't always make the right decisions.

It's not nice for dsd but its a part of the detaching process.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 20-Dec-12 07:17:57

It's just so SAD hmm

There is a wealth of advice and support on MN and all over the Internet to help women (and men) whose partners use stonewalling as a way of manipulation and control - but nothing to help when those same people use the same technique on their DCs.

Yes, if DSD really wants to 'follow her dream' then she'll have to defy her mum (and grandmother), and risk rejection - but what a hell of a thing to have to face at 15! It's hard as an adult to deal with parental disapproval; it must be far more difficult as a teen.

I'm not sure weird or absurd are the words I'd use - no matter how bewildering it is for observers, it's the impact on DSD that is the issue, but DP is struggling to find suitable support because the focus seems to be on the unusual nature of DSD Mums behaviour rather than the impact.

There definitely seems to be a lack of information and advice for DCs in this situation - there is lots of advice for partners and even managers are who are faced with this, but its not really transferable to a parent/child relationship, because that link cannot be terminated in the same way as other relationships.

exoticfruits Thu 20-Dec-12 07:35:08

I can see it is a very difficult one.Could DP not go to the school and discuss the problem as a start?

NotaDisneyMum Thu 20-Dec-12 07:39:00

exotic He has!

They are supportive of DSD, but won't make contact with her - they encouraged DSD to suggest her Mum called them, but she just won't!

exoticfruits Thu 20-Dec-12 07:43:00

Unfortunately DSD has a straight choice- she does what she wants to do or she keeps her mother happy. It is easy to say do the first- I suspect she will keep her mother happy- but it is short sighted of the mother because it will damage the relationship ( which doesn't sound too healthy anyway). I don't see what can be done if the mother won't budge because it is only the 2choices.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 20-Dec-12 07:58:07

exotic I'm desperately seeking an alternative, I know.

I'm not sure I can believe that DPs ex is the only mother ever to behave like this, so how come when a spouse is stonewalled the advice is a lot more comprehensive than 'leave the bastard' - but when it comes to DCs, that seems to be the only option?

Izzyschangelingisarriving Thu 20-Dec-12 08:02:46

Because no one know what to do when a parent behaves like this - relying on a child to defy and emotionallying abusive parent - when said child is conditioned to please the parent - is an incredibly difficult thing.

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