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So hard to know whether your feelings are justified or not...

(13 Posts)
riverboat1 Sun 09-Aug-15 19:24:08

Just got back from 2 week holiday with DP and DSS (10). Although DSS is generally a good kid and we get along well, I found him increasingly trying on this holiday...he started out just over-excited, but this developed into a permanent hyper-verbal know-it-all mode, contradicting lots of things people (us and friends) said just for the sake of it etc. Not in a really mean or rude way, but just this constant undercurrent of 'I know best about everything' which I found quite trying and rude. DP however wasn't annoyed by it - and he isn't a particularly soft parent, he does step in and discipline regularly, but this side of DSS doesn't seem to register with him as being any sort of issue. He would laugh at DSS or ignore him when he was saying ridiculous things, rather than actually say anything to him about it.

Anyway I spent the holiday biting my lip and telling myself it was probably normal ten year old behaviour and I should let it go since DP didn't think anything of it. And it wasn't like it was a bad holiday or anything, on the whole we had a really nice time.

So today, back at home, DSS's mother (who I love) came to pick him up and stayed for a coffee. And less than 5 minutes after she had arrived and been chatting to DSS who was still in you-are-vaguely-stupid-and-I-know-it-all-mode she cut in and said to him 'excuse me, why are you speaking like this, this isn't a nice way to speak!'....and I just wanted to hug her! I was so relieved to know it wasn't just me who found it inappropriate and something that he should be pulled up on. And at the same time I was KICKING myself for not speaking seriously about it to DP earlier on in the holiday and getting him to actually tell DSS he was being rude rather than just ignoring it and treating it as a joke.

I generally try to stay away from discipline issues with DSS, leave it all to DP, and I do think that stepparents are probably more inclined to be hyper-aware of less than perfect behaviour than parents, and less able to be forgiving of it, so I always try to take this into account. Plus I am aware that I generally have a stress-free stepchild and situation. But this has made me think that actually some instincts should be trusted, and if anything I have done DSS's mum a disservice as we have handed him back to her having let him get away with this low-level rudeness for too long, which she is now going to have to try to break the habit of.

The trials of being a stepparent...just when I think I've got it cracked it turns out I haven't...

pretend Sun 09-Aug-15 19:28:26

That's a lovely post riverboat!

It must be so hard to gauge it as a stepparent, and although you found it annoying, by biting your lip at least there wasn't a confrontation on holiday which could have turned it sour.

Did you tell your DH about the incident with DSS's mum?

I read it thinking "God I wouldn't put up with that know it all attitude" so well done to his mum for putting him straight. However I know I wouldn't have said anything (maybe something jokingly?) to someone else's child so I don't think you were wrong not to.

God it's a tight rope! But well done for doing a great job! thanks

riverboat1 Sun 09-Aug-15 19:58:27

DH was here when she said it! Though he didn't particularly say anything about her comment. I am debating bringing it up with him and saying I think we were too soft on DSS during the holiday and that I found him quite trying, but then again maybe I will wait until we next have DSS and see what happens then.

pretend Sun 09-Aug-15 20:20:26

I don't think there would be much of an issue with you saying something mild or jokey to DSS would there? Or would he ignore you completely?

I'm thinking along the lines of "no one likes a know it all DSS grin". Too much maybe?

NerdyBird Sun 09-Aug-15 20:33:08

Maybe approach it as, DSS mum obviously pulls him up on it so in the interests of consistent parenting you (as in DP and you if nec) should too.

Then you're not directly criticising either DP or DSS and will be supporting mum.

pretend Sun 09-Aug-15 20:35:17

Good idea nerdy

wheresthelight Sun 09-Aug-15 21:52:11

Nice to see step parents getting on with the kid's rp!! And good to know she is backing up your thoughts

Definitely agree with nerdy' approach

Wdigin2this Sun 09-Aug-15 23:36:29

That's fantastic that you get on well with your DSS's mum, it makes life so much easier! But, as she pulled her son up about his 'know it all behaviour' in front of his father, I think they'll both have got the message....
Son; 'I'd better not try that attitude again'.
Father; 'I'd better not let him go that far again' .
Hopefully, the situation will be resolved and you won't have to be involved! But if your DP brings the subject up, let him lead the conversation, but give your opinion if it's asked for!

EatSleepRepeat Mon 10-Aug-15 00:39:19

I think you should bring it up, river. If your dh didn't notice dss doing it it may not have registered when mum pulled him up. I would just say "oh when mum said that I'd have to say i agree with her because xyz",

thepurplehen Mon 10-Aug-15 06:28:46

My dsd4 is like this! Dp notices but rarely pulls her up on it and her mum actively encourages the behaviour. I'm glad you got the outcome you did.

startagainonmonday Mon 10-Aug-15 16:02:02

My DSS aged 11 is exactly like this. DSS is the youngest of four, we all went out for a meal yesterday and the contradictions and know it all attitude were driving me and his siblings bonkers (that and narrating everything out loud like he's Stampy). Unfortunately DH doesn't really notice and step in, he doesn't deliberately ignore the bad behaviour as such but is so good at zoning it all out that he's genuinely unaware of much of it. I worry for DSS because it makes him hard work to be around so his siblings are distancing themselves from him.

I guess this is a phase lots of DC go through at this age, glad you have his mum on side at least, I also agree with Nerdy's approach.

swingofthings Mon 10-Aug-15 18:08:31

Ha ha, I enjoyed reading your post because after only one paragraph, my first thought was that it sounded just like my kids! They used to be so much fun to go on holiday with, it was our best moments, but the last two, I wished I'd left them behind! They are lovely, well behaved children, but on holiday, it's as if they revert into stupid immature kids who think they are funny! They are rude like they never are at home, know it all, only want to do what they feel like doing...I could go on. The last hols, I lost it and told them it was the last time I was taking them. We came back and they returned into my lovely children.

So now I'm facing a dilemma, do I go again with them hoping we go back to having a wonderful time like we used to, or give up until they become adults and start acting like it!

Tryharder Thu 13-Aug-15 07:02:13

I think as a step parent who has an active and ongoing role in a child's life (ie not just Dad's girlfriend 'du jour') you have a right to step in and correct bad behaviour.

You don't have to be a great disciplinarian but an 'oi you, wind your neck in' type comment would not be inappropriate IMO.

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