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Do you think they *know*?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I feel like I have discovered a secret... Really... I have worried about things for too long, and now I am finally coming at peace with things.

The more time passes by, the more I'm certain of the fact that stepkids KNOW "things"...
What I mean by that is that I think they KNOW when parents are trying to belittle stepparents for no reason, or when stepparents overstep their boundaries. They KNOW when parents are saying nasty things about each other without any valid reason. They KNOW it even if they choose to go along with it for some time... But even if they act up, and repeat things in a mean-spirited way they still realize which of the parents/stepaprents is acting out of greed, bitterness, crankyness, or love and patience and self-sacrifice...

Do you agree?
post #2 of 32
Ummmmm, I think I agree. LOL. Children are capable of picking up on who is being the "bad guy" and who is not. I don't think that they continue to recognize that if they are mimicking the nasty behavior. Instead, I think they will eventually believe the negativity because it's what they've been taught. DSD was recently told by her BM over the phone that it was our (DH and I) fault that she cannot see her. I snapped the phone closed. I refuse to allow it.
post #3 of 32
I think you're right. My stepdaughter's Mother did everything you could think of to make me, my Hubby and my son (a then 6 year old!!!) look bad. My stepdaughter believed it for many years, but this last year, her Mother has backed off, bigtime. Turns out, Katherine's been calling her a liar. I guess it backfired!
post #4 of 32
I hope you are right.
post #5 of 32
Kids are so much smarter than people think ..
My 7 year old knows so much about all aspects of his 2 family situation
without us having to say anything to him ..
post #6 of 32
They know a lot.

One thing they tend to not get right, though, is everyone's respective role in the parental break-up. Never mind that you'd not met any of them until a year after the split.

(Yes, we've hit a milestone -- SD blamed me for the fact her parents aren't living together anymore. I got that and "YOU AREN'T MY REAL MOM" in the same week. Gotta love 5.)
post #7 of 32
Do you think they know even when you pretend everything is hunky-dory all of the time?

We never say a bad word about DSD's mom in front of her. I think (?) that she is pretty good about not saying bad things about us. We try really hard to make it appear as if we get along. And a lot of the time we do.

But there is always some sort of tension there.

I wonder if she will someday pick up on it.

But maybe not, since her mom plans on moving halfway across the globe. But if that falls through, I do wonder how it will all play out.
post #8 of 32
I really hope that DSD realizes that we aren't as bad as her mom says we are. But I'm not convinced. Of course her loyalty to her mom trumps all. And, although we never say anything negative about her mom, of course her mom does not exercise the same restraint. We hear all the negative things she says about us parroted back via DSD. Plus, she always calls to give DH crap for things when DSD is in the room with her listening.

The unfortunate thing is, if she does eventually realize her mom is telling lies, that's going to more emotionally damaging to her than believing the stuff she says.

Sometimes I really want to pull out that Auntie Em line: for __ years I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you, and now - Well, being a Christian woman I can't say it!
post #9 of 32
I read a book about step-parenting really early on, and it made that point really clear. There is nothing a step-parent can do to damage a child's relationship with their parent, and if you tried, the only relationship you will damage is YOUR relationship with your step-child. Even if you try subtly...

The authors said that if there is something negative about their parent, or something negative about their relationship with their parent (their parent is controlling or overly permissive, or whatever) the child will figure that out for themselves as they grow up, just as they would with both parents living together. As a step-parent you want to protect the child from the bad relationship, but someone told me the best you can do is to provide a different kind of relationship and to give them the love and support they might need if they someday have to come to terms with their parent's problems.

The absolute best thing my parents and step-parents did for me growing up was to make me believe that they all got along. As far as I knew, they were all great friends. I knew they were very different as parents, but as far as I knew they all respected each other as parents and no one ever tried to make me choose anyone over anyone else. My mother encouraged me to call my step-mother to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, and took my to buy a card or a present if I wanted to. To this day, my mother cannot say something negative to me about my father without 5 minutes of disclaimers before she spits it out. I now know that it took a LOT for them to do the things they did, and as a step-parent now, I thank them frequently for the great example they gave me.

That was my long-winded way of saying "Yes, I absolutely agree!"
post #10 of 32
Yes, they know. I can remember having it figured out really early...like 3 or 4. My nieces are 7 and 8, my brother and their mother are divorced, they know the whole real deal.
post #11 of 32
deleted for personal reasons
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by angilyn View Post
I don't agree. My SS has swallowed every bad thing his mom says about his dad completely.
I don't think it is necessarily something they "know" as in something they understand and can find a healthy way of coping with... I think some parent-child relationships can be really unhealthy, like the one your ss's mom and her kids sound like they have. I guess I believe that in the long run it is something they can come to understand, and that if we should be there to support them and be there when they do discover or start to come to terms with the problems with one of their biological parents or their relationship with a bio-parent... but that could be when they are a teenager, when they are an adult, when they are in therapy...

That idea is what gets me through some really tough times, so I am gonna stick to that belief, whether it turns out to be true or not!! I'll take my coping mechanisms where I can get them....
post #13 of 32
Deleted for personal reasons
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by angilyn View Post
There are situations such as those that exist in parental alienation syndrome where children completely accept views of alienating parent as their own view even when presented evidence to the contrary. This is actually a fairly common syndrome and is present in my SS and his mom. He has been sytematically brainwashed and damaged. Evertyhing good we do is twisted and turned around to seem evil. Here is an example: On vacation we took him to a live pirate dinner show. We all had a great time and had our picture made with pirate gear, hats, guns, swords. Later he told anyone that would listen that the picture shows us pointing our guns at him which proves we want to kill him and hate him. We were pointing our guns in his general dirrection but were just clowing around and doing what the photographer has said. Now the BM says it is evidence of our meanness towards him. I do pray that he will see the light someday but some of these kids never do...

Trust me, at 13 he knows. He is very confused, probably tortured emotionally if what you are saying is true. He may be acting out of fear, obligation or loyalty, but he sees through it all.

Why is his father not pushing for him to be in therapy? If the situation is as you say he is going to be a very confused and probably angry young man - he already is. He is going to look at his father and wonder why he didn't do something to help him (if his mother is as you say) and at his mother and wonder why she burdened him with all of what she is piling on him.

Kids know what is really going on, you are giving this kid no credit whatsoever. He may not like you of his own accord, lots of kids have a problem with their stepparents. He may be very angry that his parents are not together, most kids wish that their parents were still together. You are laying a lot on this kid and its not fair, he is probably doing what he can do to keep the peace and survive if things are as messed up as you say.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle View Post
Trust me, at 13 he knows. He is very confused, probably tortured emotionally if what you are saying is true. He may be acting out of fear, obligation or loyalty, but he sees through it all.

Why is his father not pushing for him to be in therapy? If the situation is as you say he is going to be a very confused and probably angry young man - he already is. He is going to look at his father and wonder why he didn't do something to help him (if his mother is as you say) and at his mother and wonder why she burdened him with all of what she is piling on him.

Kids know what is really going on, you are giving this kid no credit whatsoever. He may not like you of his own accord, lots of kids have a problem with their stepparents. He may be very angry that his parents are not together, most kids wish that their parents were still together. You are laying a lot on this kid and its not fair, he is probably doing what he can do to keep the peace and survive if things are as messed up as you say.
The bolded are mine. Why are you questioning Angilyn's story? Why are you blaming HER for laying alot on her stepson when it's his MOM who's trying to hurt their relationship? Like most children in situations like this, he's possibly feeling torn between his Mother and his Father and Stepmother, but it would make sense for him to pretend to, or even convince himself to hate his Father and/or Stepmother, if it meant that by not doing so, he would lose his Mother's approval and possibly her love. Unfortunatly, children will do anything to continue to be loved by a parent, even if it means completely denying the other parent, even if he THINKS his parent will stop loving him if he loves the other parent, too. I was in a similar situation when my stepdaughter was younger. Her Mother outright told her (at age 4) that if she loves me, she must not still love her Mother and is trying to make me her Mother instead. (Thankfully, her Mother has pretty much mellowed out since then, so that's not very common anymore.) I would be LIVID if someone had implied that it was somehow my fault that she didn't like me or that she was in that situation, or had implied that I was exaggerating or making things up when I said something about it. "If things were as I said..." :
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle View Post
Trust me, at 13 he knows. He is very confused, probably tortured emotionally if what you are saying is true. He may be acting out of fear, obligation or loyalty, but he sees through it all.

Why is his father not pushing for him to be in therapy? If the situation is as you say he is going to be a very confused and probably angry young man - he already is. He is going to look at his father and wonder why he didn't do something to help him (if his mother is as you say) and at his mother and wonder why she burdened him with all of what she is piling on him.

Kids know what is really going on, you are giving this kid no credit whatsoever. He may not like you of his own accord, lots of kids have a problem with their stepparents. He may be very angry that his parents are not together, most kids wish that their parents were still together. You are laying a lot on this kid and its not fair, he is probably doing what he can do to keep the peace and survive if things are as messed up as you say.
Wow. How rude and hurtful. I can't even post about how angry this post makes me, I'm too upset right now.

Angilyn, pm me if you need to. I understand, I really do.

So, cycle, what's "blended" about your family?
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaffyDaphne View Post
So, cycle, what's "blended" about your family?
Maybe she was a stepchild once, or maybe her partner remarried. Maybe she had stepchildren once.

However, even if there was nothing 'blended' about her family, she would still be welcome to this forum.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
What I mean by that is that I think they KNOW when parents are trying to belittle stepparents for no reason, or when stepparents overstep their boundaries. They KNOW when parents are saying nasty things about each other without any valid reason. They KNOW it even if they choose to go along with it for some time
Yeah, most definitely. I was a step kid at age 7 perhaps, and my dad was always bashing my mom and making mean comments about my step dad.
My brother and I definitely both knew that he was blowing smoke.

But you're right- I'm sure I DID use some of those mean things when I got into fights with my stepdad. You know, anything to push buttons, and all.
Though, and I don't know how much of a difference this makes, we got along most of the time (my stepdad and I). He knew that I liked him most of the time, and we did some fun things as a family and all had a good time, and all that.

And my mom and my step dad didn't let on one negative thing about my dad, until we were old enough to understand some of the things he did (stole money from my mom to buy pot, so we had no grocery money, threw glass bottles at her, things like that). But we were teens at that point, so it had been YEARS of them knowing that he talked crud about them, and they didn't say anything bad to us about him.
I'm sure I was aware of it at that time, but especially now I have a lot of respect for them for doing that.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by norajane View Post
Maybe she was a stepchild once, or maybe her partner remarried. Maybe she had stepchildren once.

However, even if there was nothing 'blended' about her family, she would still be welcome to this forum.
That's why I'm asking, I don't know what her experience is in blended families.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by angilyn View Post
I don't agree. My SS has swallowed every bad thing his mom says about his dad completely. They both also love to badmouth me at every opportunity. He is 13 and has an unhealthy husbandly like relationship with his mom. He is the little man and to keep his little man position he must think, behave and be just like her. He has told me that his mom had even shared with him what she and his dad had done in the bedroom--she shares everything. To keep this powerful position of confidant he must close his eyes to anything good in his dad and me.Unhealthy, you bet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by angilyn View Post
There are situations such as those that exist in parental alienation syndrome where children completely accept views of alienating parent as their own view even when presented evidence to the contrary. This is actually a fairly common syndrome and is present in my SS and his mom. He has been sytematically brainwashed and damaged. Evertyhing good we do is twisted and turned around to seem evil. Here is an example: On vacation we took him to a live pirate dinner show. We all had a great time and had our picture made with pirate gear, hats, guns, swords. Later he told anyone that would listen that the picture shows us pointing our guns at him which proves we want to kill him and hate him. We were pointing our guns in his general dirrection but were just clowing around and doing what the photographer has said. Now the BM says it is evidence of our meanness towards him. I do pray that he will see the light someday but some of these kids never do...
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
The bolded are mine. Why are you questioning Angilyn's story? Why are you blaming HER for laying alot on her stepson when it's his MOM who's trying to hurt their relationship? Like most children in situations like this, he's possibly feeling torn between his Mother and his Father and Stepmother, but it would make sense for him to pretend to, or even convince himself to hate his Father and/or Stepmother, if it meant that by not doing so, he would lose his Mother's approval and possibly her love. Unfortunatly, children will do anything to continue to be loved by a parent, even if it means completely denying the other parent, even if he THINKS his parent will stop loving him if he loves the other parent, too. I was in a similar situation when my stepdaughter was younger. Her Mother outright told her (at age 4) that if she loves me, she must not still love her Mother and is trying to make me her Mother instead. (Thankfully, her Mother has pretty much mellowed out since then, so that's not very common anymore.) I would be LIVID if someone had implied that it was somehow my fault that she didn't like me or that she was in that situation, or had implied that I was exaggerating or making things up when I said something about it. "If things were as I said..." :
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaffyDaphne View Post
Wow. How rude and hurtful. I can't even post about how angry this post makes me, I'm too upset right now.

Angilyn, pm me if you need to. I understand, I really do.

So, cycle, what's "blended" about your family?
Before everyone jumps to conclusions take a step back, I know as a mother (not a stepmother) I may be the enemy here but take it easy.

See angilyn's two post at the top (the top two posts I quoted). I have bolded what I meant about her laying a lot on the 13 year old. In particular the first post, she is directly laying responsibility on him. Thats what I mean about her laying a lot on him, he is only 13 and he is obviously, as a lot of kids from divorced families, stuck in the middle. He is doing what he can to survive, he lives with his mom, he has been through years of manipulation and being used as a pawn.

Harleyhalfmoon, I am saying much of the same thing you are saying, but in her first post she really laid a lot of the responsibility on the 13 year - read what I bolded. How is what I am saying any different than what you are saying?

I wasn't implying that she was lying, but there are two sides to every story and I am sure that the mother's story is vastly different than angilyn's - thats all I was saying. We are only hearing one side, so if it is actually exactly what she says then this is my opinion. In her first post she sounds angry at her stepson and she is saying he is doing this this and this. He is obvioulsy a confused child who needs help, not people laying the responsibility of maintaining equality between his parents on him.

There was nothing rude about my post, I'm not sure where you saw rudeness.

Oh, and I was a stepchild, I know far too well the dynamics of blended families and the differences in stories depending on which side you talked to.
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