Need advice about overbearing stepmom

Jamey - posted on 01/25/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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My kids' stepmom recently created Facebook and Myspace profiles for my 11 year old (both sites require age to be over 13). She changed the passwords so my child cannot even access them. I am extremely angry because both profiles are fully public and I feel she has placed my child's safety at risk AND overstepped in her role as stepmom. We are talking about a woman that introduces herself as thier mom...she even calls them "my children". I have repeatedly asked her to respect the fact that I am their mom and not her. She says she IS thier mom and she can do whatever she wants..and my ex backs her up no matter what she does. HELP....how do I handle this woman and her constant interference. I don't know how much more I can handle.

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Irene - posted on 07/01/2013

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First, let me send you a electronic hug for what is clearly a stressful situation.

A couple notes:
(1) You do not actually know what occurs at your ex's home...children often tell parents what they want to hear. Try not to ask about the other house as there is nothing you can actually do about it.
(2) You cannot control her, you can only control your reaction to her. Your child is not in danger so try to find a way to detach from the chaos she is causing in your life. Being stressed out is letting her win.
(3) Focus on your relationship with your child, not what is occurring in the other home. You being stressed and angry won't allow you to be the loving mother you need to be.

Patricia - posted on 06/28/2011

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As far as I'm concerned, this stepmom needs to step off and get a stern slap of reality (not literally, of course)! It seems to me that perhaps she is purposely seeking to antagonize you, with the support of your ex. This is a clear case involving the best interests of the child, for which a judge will seriously consider whether your ex is promoting and fostering a positive relationship between you and your child. Here, it is clear that your ex is permitting his new wife to essentially replace you as the child's mother, particularly by letting her make parental decisions (signing forms, referring to herself as the mother, etc.). Further, the fact that the stepmom is making inappropriate decisions, under the guise of being the 'untouchable mom', by creating social networking accounts shows that your ex is permitting decisions that reflect a neglect for the child's best interests. Such accounts potentially expose your child to predators, foul language, inappropriate advertising/images of a sexual nature, etc., which could prove highly detrimental to your child's well-being and safety. These are issues that a judge will seriously consider.
You also indicated that your ex sought to modify your existing child support order or sought to deter a modification initiated by you and, b/c of that hearing, he is now seeking to modify visitation as a result, most likely to then re-evaluate support in order to receive a reduction. Judges do not look kindly on fathers who try to avoid child support through increasing visitation - particularly when the latter is a direct result of the former. It would be an entirely different situation if he sought to increase visitation w/out support ever being an issue, b/c that would reflect a genuine concern for the child's well-being and/or a strong desire to have the child more often in his home. Here, that is obviously not the case. It may be (and I could be wrong) that your ex is resentful of paying support, he is seeking to irritate you and his new wife is his co-hort in making your life miserable, and your child, unfortunately, is caught in the middle. I suggest seeking counseling for your child from a child psychologist who specializes in dealing w/kids affected by divorce. If you can't afford that, there are all kinds of resources in most towns/cities. It's important to learn the impact of all this on your child.
Some more advice I have is to document everything! If you can gain access to the social networking profiles - do so and take screen shots of everything you find. Gather all the pictures you can of all that you do/have done for your child (happy ones), and document any lack of involvement AND over-involvement of the stepmom in your child's life in order to show inconsistencies and inappropriate behavior. Have your child draw pictures of how the family is viewed - see where the stepmom fits in (if inappropriate, that can be part of your documentation). Do you communicate w/the stepmom via email? If so, print it all and highlight inappropriate statements. If not, begin communicating by email and make sure to respectfully address any issues you have had or those that arise, in a calm manner, and see if you can get her emphatic statements about signing forms/making decisions as the 'mom' in writing. Emails are admissible in court proceedings in most jurisdictions. Don't grill your child, but try to get a sense of what goes on at dad's house w/stepmom & take notes (psychologist may not build a relationship in time for your next court date/hearing). Get copies of anything that stepmom has signed as a parent - this is VERY important! Don't forget doctor visits/medical forms, signatures for prescriptions, tardy/absence notes for school (if applicable), forms for school (records, notes to teachers, report cards, lunch forms, field trips, homework that needs to be signed - anything!) Even if in some circumstances it would be considered okay for a stepmom to sign things in the absence of the father, you're trying to establish a pattern. Are there any 'firsts' that the stepmom has tried to experience w/your child instead of you, or any out-shining w/gifts? Try to show that. Have there been any injuries while our child has been in the care of either your ex or the stepmom? All of these things need to be considered, and anything else you can think of. The bottom line is - your description of the problem sounds like it's going in a legal direction. Although it's important to get along w/your ex and his wife, you also need to do whatever necessary as the mom to protect your rights and those of your child. I know this isn't easy, but I've been both a stepmom and I'm a mom dealing w/my ex husband's 2nd new wife since our divorce. I completely understand how delicate the balance is between stepping on toes and being respectful, and I also know what it's like to feel overwhelmed.
Your attorney s/b able to provide more advice and, hopefully, a list of things to gather up in preparation for court/a hearing/mediation. Keep your chin up and know that I will have you in my prayers, as will many others, I'm sure, who read your post:-)

User - posted on 01/27/2010

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As far as the facebook/myspace profiles are concerned, use them in your upcoming court case to show that your ex should not have shared custody because he and the new wife are irresponsible. The court may insist he remove them and not set new ones up again.

As for this woman signing permission papers, send registered letters to all your children's schools, clubs, organizations and sports teams specifically forbidding her to sign permission slips, and that all permission slips must go through you as custodial parent.

As far as letting this nasty mean person get to you and make you feel angry and sad and not in control, this is what you do:
Have nothing whatsoever to do with her. Channel all your communication through your ex. Ask her no questions, make no comments to her directly. If she asks you for information pertaining to the kids, tell her that if (the ex) wants to know that information, he can ask himself. If she says that SHE wants to know that information tell her that if (th ex) wanted HER to know that information, he would have told her it himself. If she says that he can't tell her because he doesn't know this particular set of information, then repeat the first statement and tell her that if (the ex) wanted to know that information he would ask himself!!! If she continues tell her "look, I think I have made myself quite clear, if you want information go ask (the ex), I have nothing to discuss with you. Now SHE is angry, and sad and feeling not in control. hehehehe

Lulu - posted on 05/01/2012

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I have a very similar situation. My 12 yo son has a step-mom who introduces herself as his mom, tends to his school stuff when he's over there, signs paperwork asking for a guardian signature (including telling doctors that she is his mom), and basically rules the house. My son't father is rarely even home when he during his visitation time. His father just stands back and lets her and is extremely defensive and attacking towards me when I state that she is not a legal guardian and she is not his mom and should not be signing anything ever asking for a a parent/guardian signature.
I have taken the route that Joan mentioned. I am insisting on communication only with my son's father. The main problem is that he won't step up and be a dad and likes having her take care of everything. I am not responding to any communication from her except to say (like Joan mentioned) that she should talk to his father and if his father doesn't know then he can call me. Additionally, I am going to court with a very detailed parenting plan that specifically states that only parents can take my son to doctors, only parents will discuss scheduling changes, sign paperwork etc....
It has been absolutely necessary to specify in that plan the term 'only parents' throughout it, and I am hoping that it will solve a lot of the problems. Another very important clause that I am putting in that wasn't in there is the right to first refusal, which states that if the child isn't in the parent's care then the other parent gets the child (i.e. if the child spends a lot of time with the step mother without the father around, then I am given first priority for that time. She has no rights to that time whatsoever). It is unfortunate that it has come to this point, but she will not stop unless a judge orders it. The worst thing that I have done is engaged in a back and forth with this woman. The best thing I can do is to NOT ENGAGE. I have to remind myself of this often.

Paula - posted on 01/31/2010

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what i'm going to say might make u made but here goes. first u need to sit down and look at it this way your kids know that u would not allow them to be on one of those sites so they did the only thing that kids do they went to someone else and that happens to be there stepmother and they went to her cause they know that u'll don't get along and what ever the reason for that is between u'll and sence they see the are going to continue to use that to get what they want now as far as going to court and using that against there father it's only going to show your kids that u are not a united force against what ever crap they can think of to throw at u'll so the way i see it u and your ex and his new wife need to sit down and talk about how to deal with the kids. instead of fighting each other u'll need to stand together ever if u'll can't stand each other u'll should never show that to the kids cause then they know what ever they can't get from one they will get from the other so think about sitting down and talking this thing out before it gets out of hand and even though she is not there mother by blood she is they mother when they are with her sometime u just need to let someone else in and help with the raising of the kids so to end this i'm going to tell u this a stepmother is just that a step away from there real mother when your not there they turn to her for advise so u and her have to come together and agree to put the kids safety before the dislike u'll have for each other

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Gbunny64 - posted on 06/29/2013

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Periods. Your friend. What an unbelievably atrocious post with no punctuation and horrendous grammar. And the content of your post -- as other have said, have you even read what was going on? If you had, I would hope you wouldn't give such unhelpful advice.

Donna - posted on 06/24/2013

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sorry to hear about all these problems with the step-mother .It appears to me that your dealing with a narcissistic personality.Your story parallels mine so much.
Her favorite pass time is causing trouble,Then calling the police acting like she is the injured party.The police just told her that they were not coming anymore for nuisance calls.She lies to the children and about them making them get punished by their father for something they may have said.I need help too.The children are starting to blame me for starting these occurrences .
If anyone can give advice or where they got help,it would
be most welcome.

Sarah - posted on 02/04/2013

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hey.
i have other kind of problem IM a STEPMOM to a 9 year old boy..he usually stays with us 2 weeks every month. and my problem is that boy loves me (he calls me a mom , says i love you, i want to cuddle with you- it was his own wish, i was the one who use to call him a stepson), we have very trustworthy relationship. we learned together how to fry a egg, how to make a popcorn in the microwave and so on.
but so called mom doesn't like it!!. she even can be proud over him. she literally hates me. that boy is so scared of her (his own mom) because mom treats him like a buddy not like a kid. Mom should be that one who sets the rules and boundaries what kid can or cannot do.
Every time when he comes it takes ca 4 days to adjust with the rules. we eat behind the table, we clean after ourselves, we go to bed before 9 pm (not at midnight, like its in the other house).
I respect THE MOM rules but every 9 year old needs a discipline, if you don't mold them now when you should then?!
I just keep myself quiet don't interact and set her house-rules. When its her time then its her time. But at the same time i wish she could respect our home rules.

So all stepmoms aren't bad!!

Jennifer - posted on 04/03/2012

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I too have dealt with this for eleven years. I was 16 when I had my daughter and 18 when I had my son. I made pretty poor choices in my youth and because of those choices, my ex had custody of our two children. I have been a part of their lives since they were born, but when my ex remarried his 10 years ago, they have done everything to keep me out of the picture. We share custody of our children but I've never gotten any respect or support from my ex or his wife. In fact they belittle me in front of my kids. Now that my daughter is almost 18 she treats me poorly. She only wants to spend time with me when she wants something. It makes me so sad and I have such a hard time dealing with this. I wish she knew how much I love her and my son. I never wanted things to be like this and the step mom calls my kids her kids, she acts like I'm not even their mom. My kids never call me I always text or call them. My parents can't contact my kids because my ex blocked their number from my kids cell. Now my daughter is going to the Navy and I want to spend as much time with her as I can. However, she doesn't seem to see the importance of seeing any of my family like my parents. I am at my wits end. I don't know what to do. The justice system has failed me time and time again. I've tried getting custody of my kids but becuase of small town politics and the step mom working for the DA's office, I haven't had a fair shot. Sorry I just needed to vent.

Sarah - posted on 08/30/2011

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Paula Awad - did you actually read all the previous posts before making your suggestions?!

Karmin - posted on 11/04/2010

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I completely agree and sympathize, I just found out my kids step mom has posted that my kids are hers on her facebook - Oh and get this she also belongs to this Circle of Moms. She has information on here about MY children. I did not allow this...and I doubt their father even knows. My kids are with me full time - all but 4 days a month, and many, many times when they see their father, she is not even there or doesn't participate in whatever they are doing (upstairs with a headache...probably posting on facebook). So anyone see's posts from STELLA WILLIAMSON KOWALCZYK on this sight, please note these are not her children and I will be looking into the legalities of this situation.

Jamey - posted on 01/31/2010

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My child did not ask nor help create these profiles. The stepmom made them herself, and controls them. Basically she is fraudulently posing as my child. My kids do not care for the stepmom and would not ask her for advice..in fact they have told thier counselor they wish they could cut thier dad and stepmom out of thier lives completely. My older girl...already is counting down the days til she can legally make the decision (in Montana its age 14) to not continue visitation with her dad. He is an abusive alchoholic and my children have witnessed his abuse and been victims of his abuse. Unfortunately I never called the police so there is no police reports documenting the incidents.

Jamey - posted on 01/31/2010

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Thankyou all for you opinions...this situation is driving me crazy! As moms we try to protect our kids with everything we have and legally I have no choice but to send my kids with my ex or risk being held in contempt of court. When my kids are with thier bio dad I can't protect them and him and his wife constantly do things that endanger my children. After much discussion with my attorney we are filing to reduce his visitation even more and have the judge make it clear that these kind of actions are not safe for the children and if THEY...(I feel its important the judge directs this at both of them) continue this behavior then we will have not choice but to request supervised visitation or a removal of his parental rights. (That would be my first choice anyways so my husband could adopt them like my kids want). So now the battle begins to bring all the evidence of his poor judgement to the judge. *sigh*

Patricia - posted on 01/29/2010

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WOW...........Can you take this woman to court over this???? This isn't just annoying behavior, this is a VERY DANGEROUS situation. I am praying for you as I type this that you can find/already have a VERY good lawyer, one preferably who specializes in not only family law but perhaps other specialties. Like other women have said getting this Myspace and Facebook Evidence and taking this to a judge I would think would help a lot....this woman should not be anywhere near your children....make family members and other people who are close to you and your children aware of this situation, contact your childrens' school(s) and let them know of this situation and GET HER NAME OFF ANY EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST! As a matter of fact FORBID these schools to release your children to this woman for any reason..............
Again you and your family are on my heart and in my prayers.........please let all of us her know how everything is going.......................

Tia - posted on 01/28/2010

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My son is11 also and he has his own facebook account. I have it set up so that everything he views is sent to my email address, that way I can screen his friend requests, inbox conversations etc. Granted, my son has skipped a grade, therefore all of his friends are older than he is and that was my decision to permit him to have the same responsibility as his older friends for obvious reasons. However I think if you are worried about your child's facebook displaying personal information about themselves you could try to talk with THEM about safety so they are able to learn to take precautions for themselves. The stepmom obviously does not see a point in working together to raise these children (which must really be hard for all of you, including the kids) So i would just work on establishing a bond with your children so they can understand where you are coming from as their concerned mother. That way they are not going to resent you for overriding their stepmom's decision (which could leave you susceptible for future manipulation) and you are letting the kids know that you trust them under these conditions as long as they follow your rules (which are safe). As your children get older they will learn what they can get away with and you dont want them to think of you as the "bad guy" otherwise the parents that let them get away with more will be the ones they will go to in the future when they have real problems...and I am sure that you would rather have that opportunity to give them advice then the step mom. She is probably just trying to get them to like her. The dynamics of your situation is tough. But the more you resist these obstacles the more confusing it becomes for the children. I am not saying for you to not be concerned or angry because if someone was trying to overlook my opinion completely as a mother I would feel the same way!! Just try to understand where you kids are coming from if you cant get through to the stepmom or the father :) Good luck!!

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Wow what a cheek! I would be livid if someone put my kids on facebook without asking me first. Shes probably doing it just to get to you but I agree you should use it as evidence of how irresponsible this woman is in court. Your going to have to be careful with this woman.

Tanya - posted on 01/26/2010

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As a stepmother, my first question is who does she live with you, or her father and stepmom? As far as introducing herself as Mom although you find it offensive you may want to talk to your daughter and see how she feels about it. This action may be done at the discretion of your daughter and her relationship with her stepmom. My rule is I always try to never step on my stepkid's mom's toes but my stepson calls me Mom and it is his choice. However, I do not draw attention to it and encourage both stepchildren to foster a strong and loving relationship with their mothers. As far as the MySpace profiles and Facebook profiles as previously posted here I would try contacting the sites or speak with her father about talking to her stepmom and removing them for your child's safety.

Jamey - posted on 01/25/2010

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I have tried...still working on getting them removed. Unfortunately it won't stop her from creating new ones. I am going to talk to my lawyer about it too because we are going to court in 3 weeks because my ex doesnt want to pay child support and so it trying to get more visitation. (He filed the papers the day after he lost the child support hearing to modify). I really need to find a way to make the stepmom realize she is NOT thier "MOM" and has no legal right to sign parental consent for anything especially since I am the custodial parent to begin with.

Tanya - posted on 01/25/2010

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You are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. Both my daughters have stepmoms, and although I try and teach them to respect their stepmothers, I also have to remind at least one of the stepmothers that I am the Mom. And if she wants my support she has to back me on that whether she likes me or not. I am greatful that my daughters like them, but I make sure they know who Mom is. As far as facebook is, try reporting it somehow. If you can report abusive behavior on here, I am sure there is some avenue to take in a situation like this. Couldn't hurt to look into it. Hope it all works out for you. Take Care

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