Should I encourage or discourage?

Deborah - posted on 06/09/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My SD is 7 and at that age where she speaks her mind without realising it hurts people. Its mostly to her BM. At our last visitation whenever she wanted me she would say mommy her BM asked "what" and Eva would pop off "not you, her" and point to me. I know this hurt her BM you could see the hurt in her eyes. I never corrected her am I wrong for that? She has alot of unresolved anger issues with her BM and is now expressing it(Her BM abused her when she was little.). She no longer asks about her unless we're at a visitation with her. Eva just had eye surgery and she didn't even want her BM there. (we werent going to allow it anyway since it was scary enough without the added confusion from her BM.) Half the time anymore when she's refering to her BM she says her name and not mom. She told me I am her mom. I never correct her for her opinions of her BM am I wrong for all this. Should I let her keep her opinions? I don't want her to think she can't express her opinion.





****Just to add a note-She has called me mommy since about 2 minutes after her daddy proposed, we have never stopped her from thins because this is the choice she made. I don't concider her my step daughter either. I'm the same way with her brother and sister****





~~~"Some children grown in your heart instead of your stomach"~~~

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I would let her express her opinions, but maybe you also need to have a conversation with her about people's feelings and how easily they can get hurt. My sd is also 7 and does this too, and I don't correct it. When she sees her bm (for 2 weeks every 3 months) she calls me Mommy and her bm (name) Mommy. Her mom HATES it, but she needs to get over it and realize that I am the one raising our daughter. It seems like your sd's bm needs to realize that too, but I think you should get your daughter to understand how she hurts her bm's feelings (away from the bm in a private conversation would be best I think). Maybe she can have a special name for the bm that she can use, even just adding the word Mommy after bm's name would probably help with the hurt feelings a bit.



I know you said the bm abused her, so people may not think that the bm "deserves" the title of Mom, but I honestly believe in treating all people with the same resepect that I would like to be shown and while it is hard at times, I find my life is so much more positive because of it.



Good luck!

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17 Comments

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Petra - posted on 06/16/2010

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Wow... are you sure you want to feed into this? If your husband is telling you the truth, she is using you to hurt her mother. You are the adult and should be setting a good example for your stepchild - you are in charge of what she calls you as you set the boundaries and make the rules. If you didn't give birth to her, haven't legally adopted her and her birth mother is still involved in her life, you may want to think hard about what is appropriate here. Please bear in mind that this will come back to haunt you later in life - "you're not my mother" is something you'll likely hear over and over and over once she figures things out and you could be setting yourself up for some serious arguments with an angry teenage girl. I know a lot of parents like to leave this decision up to the kids, but kids have no real understanding of these situations until they are much older. You wouldn't let her decide how much candy she eats or whether or not she has to shower or brush her teeth or go to school... Put yourself in the birth mother's shoes, or any other mother's shoes, and then decide if you think it really is a good idea to shape her notion of who her mother is in this manner.

Deborah - posted on 06/15/2010

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I talked to myhusband and evidently Eva has always been like this towards her BM. Once She called her grandmother "mom" in front of her BM because she knew it would hurt her BMs feelings. He says it's because she only has bad memories of her BM. He said he has sat down with Eva on serveral occassions in the past and told her how hurtful saying those things is. He said she stopped with the mean comments. Then her BM all of sudden left the state for a year and half and never called or communicated with the kids, thus creating more bad memories for Eva. (During that year and a half Matt and I got together and married.) There is a chance that the BM will take off again since shes never been around for long periods of time. We are going to sit down with Eva before the next visitation and re-remind her that her words hurt and sometime she should think before speaking. She knows I love her as if she were my own and I dont consider her my stepdaughter but my daughter. It's the same with her brother and sister. Thank you ladies you really helped.

Anna - posted on 06/14/2010

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wow danielle, thats really nice to read. all BMs should take a leaf out of your book! we like you!

Natalie - posted on 06/13/2010

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I would let her call you whatever she wants, my sk call me by my name and mom sometimes I just let them say whatever they want, sometimes my sd will correct people when they call me hr mom she will say shes my step mom and i let i don't get offended and sometimes she will say when i go to introduce her to someone she will say if someone ask you who i am tell them im your daughter dont say step daughter you are my mom. I think sometimes kids are torn by us sm who take care of them all the time and there loyalty of there bm. So I let her and her brother call me whatever they feel comfortable. I know sometimes when they call me mom i get a feeling of guilt because they have a bm and she loves them made a few dumb choices by moving away and as the kids sees it choosing her husband over them, she is there bm and is doing what she feels will better her kids by letting us have them and make all the decisions. Or at least that's how i like to see it, cause i still have a hard time wondering how she dont want all her kids with her..The bm has to understand she made mistakes and maybe in the future if she changes and makes amends with her child she will call her mom as well but even if she choses not to the bm will have to respect that and continue her relationship with her daughter calling her by her name.

Sarah - posted on 06/12/2010

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I agree with jessica howecer she is still old enough to understand that words can hurt so maybe sit her down and explain to her that it hurts BM and thats not the 'growen up' thing to do. put it into a senario she can understand. eg how would you feel if you best friend suddenly doesentcall you her best friend anymore and calls some one else that? how would it make you feel? prompt her to the response you want. It may or may not work. good luck!

[deleted account]

Gosh Danielle I wish all BM's were like you- good on you for being such a great role model for all the children in your life.

Danielle - posted on 06/12/2010

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I personally would let your SD make up her own mind about what to call you. My daughter calls her SM "mommy Rachel" and she has since she was about 3yo. She asked me at one point if I cared and I told her she can call her SM whatever she is comfortable with as long as it isn't a swear word. We tell all of our kids that. My daughter also calls her stepdad "daddy" but her BD "dad". My one SS calls my "mommy Danielle" while the other still calls me "Ms. Danielle". I think it is easier and less stressful for the kids to let them decide what to call the adults in the family as long as it is respectful. Which brings us to the respect issue. I think you should tell your SD that she can always talk to you about how she feels and that you will be happy to help her work on ways to convey her feelings in a respectful manner but she needs to be respectful of all adults. We have the same problem with our niece who lives with us. She has a lot of anger towards her parents and we had to teach her how to express her feelings in a productive way that wasn't hurtful to others.

Anna - posted on 06/12/2010

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dont get me wrong i HATE my SDs BM! but i always correct SD when she slates her mum. she knows who her mum is and at one point kept calling ME "mum"
her mum has put her through ALOT of shit with men (some she married) in and out of the family home, beating eachother up in front of the children.
she knows herself what has happened and until she is old enough to give her mum what for i encourage her to be respectful to her BM and family, mainly to stop her from getting into trouble and being shouted at by "boyfriend of the week"
i hear you ask why dont you take her out of the situation? we have tried but social services always recommend residence with the mother!
which is understandable because my home is unstable because me and my boyfriend keep arguing over this very situation.

[deleted account]

I agree with Holly and Christine- I wouldnt correct her on calling you mom- she's chosen who she feels the most comfortable with in that role- sorry if this sounds brutal but BM's got no one but herself to blame for that. However I agree she needs to learn to express herself in ways that dont hurt others' feelings- all kids needs to learn this at some point and I think sometimes when kids come from abuse situations we can forget that- I know I did with my SS's til I realised THEY had realised it and were capitolising on it- LOL!

I agree with Holly, maybe a private conversation where you first talk about being mindful of other people's feelings in general and then a brief bit at the end about how this specifically relates to her mom.

My youngest SS is nearly 12 and like yr SD he really dislikes his mom as a result of the abuse, he's actually told me he hates her and thinks of me as his mom (although he doesnt call me mom) and that if he never had to see her again he wouldnt- and while I have no sympathy for her for this (yr a much bigger person than me that you can feel for yr SD's mom) I still think it's an important lesson for him in behaviour and in conflict resolution skills. So I've said to him that I do believe his mom loves him but that she has problems with how her emotions work inside her and that's why she's the way she is; but that either way she is his mom and he must show her respect and that he needs to find a way to be around her b/c she'll always be in his life. I've also explained that in life we sometimes have to be around people we dont like but we have to find ways to function civilly around them. It's not perfect but it's the only way I can explain the situation to him.

Betty - posted on 06/10/2010

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I understand that kids need to be able to express their thoughts but most of the time when something unkind is said it is'nt at all helpful. "If the person can't fix it, don't even mention it" that will be the next thing I teach SD but she will need to be a bit older to understand that. Your SD is probably ready to learn that but it takes time and should'nt be a huge focus.
Kids are kids, try not to make her feel bad about stuff like this because she has untill she is 18 to learn and grow from her mistakes(with your help anyway... I'm still learning).

Betty - posted on 06/10/2010

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I tell my SD that if she can't think of something nice to say she should'nt say anything, she is only 4 and this seems to be working. When she slips I just find a good time to ask her, "did it make you feel better to say that?" and she always says something like, "no, it made me feel worse".
Maybe you could have a quick talk with SD right before visits so she remembers to only speak kindly to BM. If she can learn how to be polite to BM, she will be able to show kindness to just about anyone and that will make her feel better about herself.

Christine - posted on 06/10/2010

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I agree with Holly (like usual, haha) She's at that age where she doesn't realize the impact her words can have on other people -- especially an adult. Sometimes kids need to have it pointed out that 'grown-ups' have feelings too and even kids can hurt them (and it's shortly after this that they realise that grown-ups can make mistakes, too... So beware! lol) You might want to just point out that while you appreciate/like/love that she is comfortable enough with you to call you 'Mommy', she has also hurt BMs feelings. Then just see where it goes from there. Good luck ;-D

Kristy - posted on 06/09/2010

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you may not be her BM but in her eyes you are. it may hurt her BM but what she has done to her daughter would have hurt more. she sees you as the one that pays attention to her and provides for her and cares etc. you were the one that was there for her and if your partner hasn't corrected it, then i dont see any thing wrong. i have never asked my step kids to call me mum and i never would. but my SK were in a similiar positions but not the same. it is the birth parent of who ur with that gives the heads up as i see it. i know it can hurt BM and SM but some times it has to be tough . Just talk to her and explain to her that what she says at time can be nasty and it hurts. Talk to her regualy and let her know you will always be there for her. she may feel different when she is older. she may not. she is a female and they are better at their opinions then males i have learnt. opinions are healthy but at times not to the person they express it to.

Amy - posted on 06/09/2010

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You take care of her She is Your child..You are her mother. She feels that way about you. I don't correct my SD when she calls me her mom to people at school, activities, ect..If it hurts bm im sorry but she has to realize who is taking care of this sweet child. As far as letting her have her opinions I say its healthy.

Jessica - posted on 06/09/2010

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I would say let her express her opinions. If she wants to call you mom let her. Remember she is just a kid.

Jessica - posted on 06/09/2010

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I would say let her express her opinions. If she wants to call you mom let her. Remember she is just a kid.

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