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O-U-C-H...That stung...realllllly stung

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm sitting here with my jaw on the floor. Um, what just happened? Is my DSD learning to manipulate reallllllly well or does she really feel like this? WTH?!?

Anyway, she asked me for some baby carrots and I gave them to her. I told her she needed to sit at her table to eat them. She sat there for 2 minutes then got up and walked to her room. I stopped her and said, "No you need to eat them at your table." That happened 2 more times. So then she says she's done and gets up and tries to go in her room. She had a handful of carrots. So I repeated what I told her earlier and had her sit down. 2 minutes later she's heading for her room. This time her hands are empty but I'm still watching her. She takes 2 steps and a bunch of carrots fall out of her pants. Okay, not a huge huge deal...Yeah she was dishonest but it was about carrots...a few carrots were wasted...That sucks but I'm trying to be calmer with her. So of course through out all of this I'm asking her why she wants to take them in her room and I explained why she can't take them in her room. After the carrots fell out of her pants I told her that was enough. I wasn't happy that she had lied to me a few times and I wasn't happy that she wasn't following the rules. I told her she needed to go sit on her bed and think about it....about what it means to be a liar.

She goes in her room. Comes out about 5 minutes later and tells me that if you're a liar people won't believe you even when you're telling the truth. So we talk about that for a minute and then I asked why I had to tell her so many times to stay at the table. She says she doesn't know. So I told her to go sit on her bed and think about that. She does. She comes back and tells me there are two reasons why she doesn't like to listen to me. First reason is because she likes to do what she wants to do. Second reason, "I'm someone else's child." That part right there is where my "emotional jaw" hit the floor. Excuse me? What? BM has never parented DSD. Never. NEVER. IF BM did parent DSD I could potentially understand why she might not want to listen to me. I could see how she might want to be loyal to her mom...or maybe her mom would instruct her not to listen to me..I don't know. But her mom is never around and has never ever told her what to do. She's never set a rule. She's never reprimanded. Nothing! Of course I don't show that what DSD's said has hurt my feelings. But come on! I asked her what she meant and she looked like she was struggling with her answer. She finally says, "Well, you're not my mom." Double ouch.
post #2 of 22
I wouldn't take to heart. I was kindo f in the same situation in that my BD was NEVER around. I didn't even meet him until I was 23. BUt I remember thinking to myself "I don't have to listen to you, you're not my REAL dad." Of course I never said it out loud. I think you should feel honored in a way, because she feels safe enough to say what she is thinking. You can just respond with, "I may not have given birth to you but no mother could love you more than I do." Or something just to reinforce how much you love her and that you are a permanent fixture in her life.
Gossamer
post #3 of 22
you didn't mention how old she was. little kids don't know why they do the crazy things they do. All she knew is that she was sitting on the bed until she came up with a reason for not listening to you. So she starts thinking "hey maybe it is just because she is not my biological mom". it may have seemed like perfectly scientific reason to her. or something to get her off the hook. i don't think she was trying to hurt you. or even realized how hurtful she was being. she was just trying to figure out why she wanted her own way so bad.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
She is 6. Which I think is plenty old enough to tell me why she was doing what she was doing. If it had happened once...if it wasn't intentional...then that'd be different. But she intentionally disobeyed me 5 or 6 times in a matter of 10 minutes over carrots! I don't think she was trying to hurt me...when I said "manipulate" I just meant that maybe she made it up thinking it would get her off the hook. I'm not angry with her. I'm kind of shocked though.
post #5 of 22
I had one day where my own child said "I wish you weren't my mom!" to hurt me and another child I was caring for said "I'm glad you're not my mom!"

Kids say hurtful things for lots of reasons that range from testing to see what happens to full-blown teenage manipulation with the full intent to be mean.

It's part of parenting. As adults, we have better control over our emotions and we need to learn to step away.

Personally, I would have ended the carrot thing way earlier than you did.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah well call me a pushover...I don't like to starve my kid even if she is misbehaving. The issue wasn't the carrots..it was her being sneaky and then her reason for being sneaky that bugged me.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthly_Joys View Post
She is 6. Which I think is plenty old enough to tell me why she was doing what she was doing.
6 year olds aren't known for having a completed ability to articulate the full depths of their emotional motivations. The way you were talking about her I thought she was much older than that.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Um...I think at six if I ask her why she did something she should be able to tell me something more than "I don't know". I'm not asking her to write out a term paper on her reasoning. I want her to think about her actions and the consequences that happen because of them. She was able to tell me that she shouldn't lie because people might not believe her if she was telling the truth. I mean..if she's capable of putting that together I don't think I'm out of line for asking her "why". I'd rather discuss the issue on kid friendly terms then spank her or send her to her room where she'll start playing and it won't even occur to her that lying and not listening is wrong.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthly_Joys View Post
Yeah well call me a pushover...I don't like to starve my kid even if she is misbehaving. The issue wasn't the carrots..it was her being sneaky and then her reason for being sneaky that bugged me.
???? That's not what I was saying at all. It just sounded to me that it wasn't about the carrots for her either. If was starving her attention would have been on the carrots and sitting there eating them wouldn't have likely been an issue.

But she obviously wasn't starving, she was focused on something else, whether it be just testing limits or something more.
post #10 of 22
I thought she was 5 when I read your original post.
Mostly because of the 5 minute timouts, I guess.
I think she was definitely not hungry, because if she was, she would have eaten the carrots.
I think she was being manipulative and sneaky.
And I think you handled it very well.
She may or may not have meant it when she said you're not my mom.
Well, it is true. She may have just been stating a fact.
But like gossamer said, a good response to that (if it happens again in the future) would be, "I may not have given birth to you but no mother could love you more than I do." Or something just to reinforce how much you love her and that you are a permanent fixture in her life.
post #11 of 22
*I'm not the mama of any step kids but am jumping in from the New Posts...

6 yo's are notorious for this kind of thing. Even my own (Birth-)son has said this kind of thing to me. :


I think at this point your expectations are a bit skewed. 6 is a hard age -- definitely back into testing limits, pushing boundaries, and LYING starts, and seeing how much they can get away with... that's all part of this developmental stage.

Give her some time, seriously. 6 is still very young.
post #12 of 22
how is she a liar? Honestly confused on the liar part. I see her trying to be sneaky but not being a liar.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthly_Joys View Post
I'd rather discuss the issue on kid friendly terms then spank her or send her to her room where she'll start playing and it won't even occur to her that lying and not listening is wrong.

Again, ???? I didn't say anything about not discussing it. I was just noting that 6 year olds are not always cognitively capable of fully understanding or talking about their motivations. Sometimes when they say "I don't know" it's true!

The point being, it might make you feel better and less upset at the whole thing if you considered that you might be attributing motivations to her actions that are beyond her developmental stage.

Nonetheless, I'll move on. I don't seem to be making myself clear and you don't seem receptive to what I am trying to say.

Good luck with it.
post #14 of 22
my step dad was the only male parent i ever had. i had a "daddy" who never parented me and by the time i was six or seven i knew i had a dad for life who did all the real father/ child rearing things. i understood the difference.

that didn't stop me from saying things like "i hate you" ad "you're not my real dad" that all ended for about 5 or so years until i was 13 and died out again pretty quickly when i understood that he was the one who was up worrying about my schooling or staying out. even though he and my mom divorced he was the one who took me in when my son and i needed a place to stay and is shopping or cloth diapers for #2. he's clearly my dad.

just something to illustrate the point that 6yo's often operate in a relm beyond explanation and that i think DSD's behavior is quite common. maybe you should try being upfront w/ her. tell her why it hurt you and ask if that was her intention. tell her you couldn't love her more if you had been her BM and try to see if you and your DH can have a convo about what family means in your family. she may be at an age where she's getting alot of messages about family and what's "normal". she may be learning what "normal" step parents do and is conflicted about the fact that you function more like a "normal" mother. not a guilt trip just honesty. sometimes it's good for kids to understand that we're human.
post #15 of 22
I would never have accused her of being a liar. That is a harsh accusation that carries a huge meaning. She said she was someone else's child after you called her a liar. Maybe she was hurt and the normal 6yo reaction was to hurt back.

Words are powerful.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by offwing View Post
I was just noting that 6 year olds are not always cognitively capable of fully understanding or talking about their motivations. Sometimes when they say "I don't know" it's true!

The point being, it might make you feel better and less upset at the whole thing if you considered that you might be attributing motivations to her actions that are beyond her developmental stage.
I have a hard time remembering this in the moment when DSD is having a rough time. But it is something that I feel is important to keep in mind.

Kids act out for all sorts of reasons - and at 6 they may not know why.

As far as the "You are not my mommy" thing, I think that it is just a natural part of the whole step parenting thing. Just like at some point pretty much every kid (and teenager) says "I hate you" to their bio parents (and probably step parents, too).



Don't read too much into it, she's just a little girl.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by offwing View Post

The point being, it might make you feel better and less upset at the whole thing if you considered that you might be attributing motivations to her actions that are beyond her developmental stage.
That's my thought, too. It sounds like she's trying to express some emotion she's having (maybe she's at the age where she wants to "define" things - my DS went through that at about 7). While you realize that you're her "mom" and she will no doubt realize that some day too, right now it might be confusing for her to try and wrap her head around the "bio-mom-who-doesn't-mother-me" vs. "live-in-mommy-who's-always-here-but-didn't-birth-me" thing.
It's a complicated emotion that probably is really hard for her to articulate at this age.

From your description, it sounds like she used the carrots to create a situation where she'd have a confrontation with you, so she could say "I'm someone else's child" and see how you responded.
I think she was trying to create a space for you to explain why her mommy situation is different.

I really don't think she's trying to manipulate you. I think, in her own 6yo way, she's trying to have a very complicated discussion with you. Just my take on it.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by woobysma View Post

I really don't think she's trying to manipulate you. I think, in her own 6yo way, she's trying to have a very complicated discussion with you. Just my take on it.

i take slight issue with this but totally agree with the sentiment. if as you suggest the child is using situations like carrots to see what will happen or to create space for some discussion then she is absolutely manipulating SM. she's not, however doing it with malice. it's actually quite smart of her. she's learning social relationships and figuring out how to navigate them. being a kid can be a scary thing! maybe she feels like this would be a way to start the discussion w/o having to say/explain things she doesn't quite understand or maybe without risking too much in the way of looking/feeling vulnerable. instead of asking "what if you don't love me like i'm _really_ your child" she can just let her fear rip and see what your reaction is. adults are 10 feet tall and bullet proof right?!

my 3yo just did this between when i posted last and i thought of you. DH is the man he calls "daddy" and the man he used to call daddy lives in a different state (title switch is DS's idea). DS sometimes lies saying that "daddy hit me" or "daddy broke the toy" i know this is not true because he says it when DH is in the room or w/in earshot and is clearly looking for a reaction from both of us by lieing! we both try to go to him and offer snuggles remind him not to lie and try to spend some time with him. it's my way of reminding him that i won't take sides but that his SF is not stealing me from him. if it becomes tiresome we drop the snuggles and firmly tell him that he must tell the truth and i try to step up time spent together. my reaction would be different if DS looked in any way distressed or showed signs of abuse. instead he says these things clearly looking for answers about the structure of our family and a desire to just plain test limits.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebarkingbird View Post
i take slight issue with this but totally agree with the sentiment. if as you suggest the child is using situations like carrots to see what will happen or to create space for some discussion then she is absolutely manipulating SM. she's not, however doing it with malice.
True . I guess that would be "manipulative" in a way.

I was thinking, when I read the OP, that Earthly was saying she was manipulating by pulling out the "you're not my real mom" phrase as a way to get out of trouble in the carrot situation. I don't think she was doing THAT, but you're right, she's still manipulating the situation for her own needs in my scenario.
post #20 of 22
Well, it could have been worse. She could have told you that you were the worst step-mum in the world, that she felt like Cinderella because she never gets any fun, etc. etc. etc. Six is a HORRIBLE age - go and see the many posts over in the childhood years and in GD. They don't want to be babies any more, but they don't want to stop being babied either. It's horrendous.
And yes, my two have tortured their stepdad pretty mercilessly over the last two years between them, though we've kept stepping in and saying "stop and listen to yourself. Did that come out right?"
We also fine people for the use of the words "I don't know"- a penny in the charity pot, because I was hearing it so much it was literally driving me insane. The boys are 8 and 6.
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