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A quick rant about the DSC's mum

(36 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Mon 25-Feb-13 12:57:01

DSD's (age 15) Mum is still adamant that she is not going to go away to College in September; despite signing the application form and taking her to the open day last week. She takes every opportunity to tell DP and DSD that it "won't be happening". DP and I are doing what we can to support DSD, but we now realise that their Mums behaviour regarding this is having an affect on DSS as well.

DSS (age 9) stated confidently this weekend that his sister "isn't ready" to go to College. I had to try hard not to laugh out loud when he said it, as the words were so out of context for a 9 year old - he is repeating parrot-fashion what he hears his Mum saying with absolutely no idea what it means!

I was quite tough on him, and insisted that he explain to me what he meant, and what DSD would have to do differently in his opinion to be "ready" to leave home. He floundered about, coming up with things that he couldn't do which he thought that DSD would need to be able to do before she went away, and eventually he said that because DSD doesn't do what she is told by her Mum, then she's not ready to leave home.

There was sheer bewilderment on his face when I told him that I thought he should be very proud of his big sister for her ambition and determination and for being brave enough to choose to do something that will be a bit scary but exciting at the same time.

It's just so sad that his understanding of maturity and adulthood is compliance with his Mums wishes. In the past, he seems to have been frightened to express an opinion that contradicts his Mum; now he doesn't seem able to think independently from her; his views, opinions, likes and dislikes are entirely dictated by his Mum - and he repeats them openly, even though he doesn't know what they mean.

theredhen Mon 25-Feb-13 13:38:09

NADM - I have a 9 year old DSD who talks just like your DSD. Words that she has obviously overheard from Mum, on things any 9 year old should have no interest in.

I too try and discuss her "opinion" and it often falls at the first hurdle and she says she "doesn't know why" she feels like she does or just goes quiet or tries to change the subject.

I had a "discussion" with her this weekend when she tried to insist that I do something her Mums way. I refused and explained why. She just kept saying "but it's what Mum does". hmm

Even DSD2 who lives with us, sometimes seems to misunderstand the difference between having an opinion and being "right".

I think you just have to keep on questionning DSD about his "opinions" and being open and honest and hope that your influence has some effect on him.

theredhen Mon 25-Feb-13 13:43:25

Sorry NADM, I'm referring to your DSS above not your DSD as I'm sure you can work out. blush

mumandboys123 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:24:59

why does a 15 year old have to 'go away' to college?

purpleroses Mon 25-Feb-13 18:53:55

Love the idea that she'll be ready to leave home when she does as she's told grin. I think a lot of us would still live at home if we'd had to wait for that day to come!

He is only 9 though - I don't think many 9 year olds can for, and articulate, an independent point of view. They do just parrot other people's, and then play them off against each other - it's all part of the process of working it all out. And a view on whether his sister's old enough to leave home isn't an easy one to really have a grasp on when you're 9. I guess all you can do is to help him understand that this is an issue where the adults and DSD don't all agree. He doesn't need to have his own view on it yet though.

purpleroses Mon 25-Feb-13 18:54:31

sorry - should read "can form and articulate...."

NotaDisneyMum Mon 25-Feb-13 20:19:58

mumandboys Lots of people do!

There is only one College within daily commute of us and neither that nor the Sixth Forms offer the vocational subjects she is interested in.
The College she has applied to is totally geared up and experienced in offering 16 year old placements and is close enough for DSD to come home at weekends.

Stepmooster Tue 26-Feb-13 04:28:40

Hi NADM, if DSD mum has signed the forms, what can she do to stop her DD from going to college? Are you in a position to look after DSD at weekends when not at college? At 16 I was ready to leave home, I left when I was 17 for college over 300 miles away. Best thing I ever did, and no amount of hassle from my mother would stop me, in fact it made me more determined. Support your DSD, reassure her she will be fine I am sure she will flourish at college.

Xalla Tue 26-Feb-13 05:35:36

Where we live is very rural. I have a soon to be 16 year old brother in law. He too wants to study something not offered by our local college or sixth form and is going off to a specialist college about 90 minutes away as are a gaggle of his mates. They're all very 'ready' (chomping at the bit)! Of course it's a big step but it's a milestone to be encouraged and celebrated.

I would imagine your DSD's Mum is worried about losing what little control she has left over DSD. In a step family situation I guess the fear (for Mum) is that your DSD may choose to align herself more with you and your DP in terms of her adult value system and the choices she makes once she's given the opportunity to be a bit more independent. I can understand Mum's point of view but I also think it's a very selfish stance to adopt. I hope your DSD does make it to college in September.

As far as your DSS goes, I would imagine Mum is lobbying hard to keep him on side. He's still young. I'm sure as his rebellious teenage years approach, he'll start to think more independently. Especially if he gets to see his sister doing so.

allnewtaketwo Tue 26-Feb-13 06:10:19

I disagree that the ability to form a POV is strictly age related in that way. DSS2 was able to form and express opinions years ago, even where these were in clear disagreement to those of his mother. My own DS is full of opinions and frequently tells me I'm wrong. But DSS1 (17) is unable/unwilling to form or express opinions outside of his mothers, and repeats her mantras in parrot fashion.

I think it's down to personality, and hampered by parents who simply do not want their children to have opinions outside of their own. And they can get away with this when the children are young, but heaven help those children when they're adults with no thoughts or ideas.

NADM must be infuriating to watch this. Hope your DSD ends up doing the course she wants

theredhen Tue 26-Feb-13 07:14:10

I also agree it depends on the child / upbringing. When my ds was 9 he might listen to what adults told him but he was also capable of realising that not all adults agreed and that some times one adult was wrong and that might have included me. Anyone could have questioned him in his opinions and he would have been able to provide an explanation even if it was to do with monsters or something!

My dsd however will tell you that mums way is the only way. When she's questioned she goes quiet and can't explain her reasoning on something simple. I've even seen her struggling with homework where her mum has told her she likes something but she couldn't explain in her own words, why she likes it. Dsd is incredibly opinionated but her opinions have no reasons behind them.

Pinkshaman Tue 26-Feb-13 08:41:00

As someone who grew up with a mum who forced opinions on me I would have found it crucifying to be our in the position of having to explain my mums opinions and then having them challenged.

My confidence was pretty low as it was, and to have someone challenging my opinions in the ways being described made my confidence about speaking out or expressing an opinion even worse.

I do get what it's like having a step-child parroting their mums opinions and values, dsd's mum and I are poles apart. But please have a think about how you are approaching that you have a different opinion as you may well be making it worse for him.

allnewtaketwo Tue 26-Feb-13 08:56:51

Pinshaman - just out of interest, did you agree with your mum's opinions? I'm curious on DSS1's behalf whether:

a) it hasn't occured to him that it is possible for him to have opinions of his own, as she has actively quashed this possibility for so long, or
b) he has his own views but has become scared of voicing them so voices hers instead

theredhen Tue 26-Feb-13 12:16:21

pinkshaman - Your point is a very good one and one I have considered at length many times.

I think it's a case of finding a balance. I know that questioning every opinion of the DSC (or anyone else) would be terrible for their self esteem. Who wants to be constantly questioned on why they like apples and not bananas etc etc.

However, when I can quite clearly see that it's not their opinion and is the opinion of their Mother, I will pull them on it by gently asking why they think like that, I probably do that less than 30% of the time.

I actually think I owe it to the kids to pull them on it. To help them to think independently and to question not only their Mums opinions, but everyone else's too. I encourage them to understand that everyone has an opinion but often it is just that and it doesn't mean that one opinion is necessary "right" compared to another.

I didn't pull them on it for several years and I feel much happier in myself now because I feel I am having a positive input in their life rather than not getting involved by biting my tongue.

Eldest DSC is now struggling with friendships, relationships etc because whilst her peers are growing and developing, she is unable to flourish as she should be doing because she is unable to articulate her feelings and needs so comes across as arrogant, rude and demanding.

allnewtaketwo Tue 26-Feb-13 12:47:45

I wonder what sort of effect it has education wise as well. Certainly for Arts related subjects, the ability to challenge and form independent opinion is absolutely crucial

theredhen Tue 26-Feb-13 12:52:11

It's not surprising that all my step children do well in maths rather than arts subjects. Their father is also that way inclined too though.

Certainly my dp is now aware through counselling how important listening to others opinions now is. smile

allnewtaketwo Tue 26-Feb-13 12:53:18

Yes interestingly DSS1 is only interested in maths and sciences and does best at these

Pinkshaman Tue 26-Feb-13 13:35:30

I wouldn't have questioned whether I agreed with her opinions at 9. I started to as I got older into my late teens I think but it was really hard to express them as I was shot down in flames or ignored.

I think it's really tricky ground to challenge what you know is their parent's view - step families are a minefield as it is. And IME stepchildren will be very protective of their parents, even if they do have a different opinion themselves. I think that if you aren't used to forming your opinions then to have two of the most important people in your life (ie a stepmum and a mum)having completely different ones will throw you into turmoil. There's definitely a balance to be struck and caution needs to be exercised. I think there are probably ways of encouraging children to think independently - which I think is really important - without necessarily putting them on the spot about what is known to be their parent's opinion.

I am very much of the I don't have to make you wrong for me to be right school of thought now, there are just different opinions and different ways of doing things - and I do feel that that approach stood me in good stead when I was dealing with dsd and her mum.

allnewtaketwo Tue 26-Feb-13 15:11:41

With DSS1 (17) I don't ever seeing him have the will or inclination to disagree with his mothers opinions. I can only say I hope he never gets married, because the poor wife's life would be a misery, such is his need for validation by his mother

Sorry bit off track there but made me think!

Pinkshaman Tue 26-Feb-13 15:29:00

He's still very young. People can and do change, or maybe he won't change and he'll find the relationship that is absolutely the right match for him. Seems a bit sad to be wishing he never gets married hmm.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 26-Feb-13 15:50:04

pinkshaman I think there is a difference between asking my DSS to explain why he thinks his sister "isn't ready" for College and telling him that he is wrong and that of course she is.
I understand that his self-confidence may take a hit when challenged; but what about DSD? Even if she had both her parents unwavering support, she would still be feeling a bit nervous and anxious about taking the big step to leave home - and this is the first time she has defied her Mum, so hearing her younger brother confidently assert that even HE doesn't think she is ready for College is going to put a big dent in her self confidence, too.

If the DSC have repeated racist, discriminatory or bigoted opinions then DP and I have challenged those, too. I really don't care if they parrot their Mum's opinion about Burger King meals for instance, and will let it go, but when they express racist views then DP would be failing as a parent if he didn't make them aware of the possible consequences of holding and expressing that opinion.

purpleroses Tue 26-Feb-13 15:58:09

I doubt your DSD's going to take too much notice of what her 9 year old DB says regarding her leaving home. She must be old enough to realise that he's just repeating their mum. Your DSS is too young to have a sensible opinion on whether DSD is old enough to leave home, but he may know that he doesn't really want her to go and that he'll miss her - that could be partly what's beneath what he's saying - but he's articulating it along the lines that he's heard others say.

Agree with you about racist or bigoted views though - I do always pick my DSC up on those fast if I ever hear them (we get a bit of anti-state school rubbish spouted out that's come from their mum most often)

allnewtaketwo Tue 26-Feb-13 16:26:20

Pinksham, i know a poor woman who's married to a man like this and her life is hell and her husband won't do anything against his very controlling wishes. Wouldnt wish that on anyone. But clearly I was being flippant above in any case, personally its no skin off my nose whether he gets married or not grin

Theydeserve Tue 26-Feb-13 21:55:33

so you brow beat a 9 yr old - made him"bewildered, he floundered around".

All very well to sit down and explain what it means but your post comes across as you belittling a 9 yr old. He may be parroting but did you really need to do it like that?

You sound like you enjoyed it.

allnewtaketwo Wed 27-Feb-13 06:02:48

I didnt read it at all as "brow beating" and contrary to enjoying it, the OP sounds like she found it frustrating, not like fun hmm

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