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#31 of 52 Old 10-15-2007, 08:27 AM
 
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I've been thinking about your question for over an hour, and don't think I have come up with any firm opinions or ideas, and I'm not an expert, but here are my thoughts. I should mention we have a blended family situation, although my partner's children, now 18 and 20 (they've been coming to stay with us for 15 years) lived full time with their mum. My partner and I have two children, 11 and nearly 4.

I was babysitting when I was 12, but I think I was too young - I had situations that were beyond me. The legal age is 14 where I live. I wouldn't leave my younger children with a 12 year old.

I share your shock that bm suggested such a thing, and my first reaction was that it was OTT. Twelve year olds are still innocent, or hopefully still are.

Then I considered the fact that yes, they are not birth siblings, and that some children are sexualised that young. Also, I don't know your personal situation.

So yes, it could happen.

But I am assuming you and your husband are capable parents, and that you are intuitively connected with your children. In which case you would probably know if your 12 year old was sexualised himself and likely to pass it on to younger children. Are we talking about flirtation or something more serious? Parenting calls for intuitive calls of judgement all the time. Fear is not always the right guide for parenting.

If you are tuned in to your kids, then you intuitively know what they are ready for, what they are capable of.

The problem is, your husbands former partner has a different criteria. She isn't tuned into your children, doesn't know them as well as you do, and her only concern is her own children. If I was her, in that situation, I would find it very challenging. Hopefully, rather than reacting to fearful thoughts in a controlling way, I would raise fair and reasonable issues tactfully.

If she is open to reassurance, your husband could reassure her that your son is not sexualised, if that is the case, which I'm guessing it is since the suggestion shocked you, and that you as a matter of course observe the behaviour of the children, know instinctively what they're up to, and you can assure her there is nothing to worry about. Keep an eye on the situation, but in a way that preserves the childrens' innocence. Keep everyone's best interests in mind, including your son, including your partner's children.

If you are not sure, or have any doubts about the safety of the situation for either your children or your husband's children, then err on the side of caution. Listen to your intuition. Seeing my 11 year old and his friends, it's obvious who is sexualised and who isn't.

Having said that, I flirted with my cousin from the age of four til 14 but there was never any chance of it being acted on because we were none the wiser; to have interfered with our friendship would have been the wrong thing. That alas, was a more innocent age.

My partner's children from a previous marriage have babysat my children, with the oldest, the boy, babysitting from the age of 14. Some 14 year old boys would have been a bad choice for babysitting, but he was not. The main problem I found was that when they were younger, they didn't send my son to bed when he needed to go, and when they were older, the daughter was too interested in her own social life to do the job well, although the kids were still safe. But all in all, they helped us out when we had no money to spend on babysitters to alleviate the stress of parenting. It wasn't a bad thing. We would have pulled the plug if we'd found the situation detrimental.
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#32 of 52 Old 10-15-2007, 08:56 AM
 
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i have to add, having read some of the other posts, that a 12 year old looking after a toddler plus three others isn't a good idea. That maybe is the real issue.
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#33 of 52 Old 10-16-2007, 04:10 AM
 
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But I am assuming you and your husband are capable parents, and that you are intuitively connected with your children.

If you are tuned in to your kids, then you intuitively know what they are ready for, what they are capable of.

The problem is, your husbands former partner has a different criteria. She isn't tuned into your children, doesn't know them as well as you do, and her only concern is her own children. If I was her, in that situation, I would find it very challenging. Hopefully, rather than reacting to fearful thoughts in a controlling way, I would raise fair and reasonable issues tactfully.

If she is open to reassurance, your husband could reassure her that your son is not sexualised, if that is the case, which I'm guessing it is since the suggestion shocked you, and that you as a matter of course observe the behaviour of the children, know instinctively what they're up to, and you can assure her there is nothing to worry about.
These are pretty big assumptions and ifs. I would venture the guess that most folks do think they are capable parents, that they are intuitively connected to their kids, and that they can guage what they're ready for, or if they're "sexualized." Lots of parents miss a lot, to wit, the legions of adults molested as children whose mother never knew, etc.

I think it is grossly unfair to paint the biomom in this situation as being "only concerned about her own children." I find her request reasonable and understandable regardless of whether she herself knows the stepmother's 12 yo son and adores him herself. She's got every right to make reasonable requests of surrogate mothers of her children. And it isn't necessarily because of anything that may have happened to her or unnaturally skewed her opinions in any way, and no one really has any position questioning her about it at all.

She made the request; if she wanted to enlighten anyone about why she made it, she probably would have already. I think it is a huge sign of respect and trust that biomom believes her request will be honored.

I don't think it's for the step mother to "find out why" or "find a way to reassure her." It places a question before the biomom that casts doubt on her ability to parent her own child... she, after all, is probably intuitively connected to HER child, and maybe her dd has communicated something. Maybe not. Maybe what will reassure her enough to come to you with more information is doing as she asked; doing the honorable thing. And not questioning her, or doubting her ability to know what her child needs.

How about focusing on how important it is to the enduring happiness of the whole family constellation to respect the biomom's request, plain and simple? How about looking at this from her point of view? She's asking, nicely, and it is reasonable without even considering the sexual inappropriateness fears/ possibility. Why rock the boat over this?

Oh, and to whoever said you can tell the children that have been sexualized... this is very, very wrong and could be terribly misleading, imho.

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#34 of 52 Old 10-16-2007, 09:43 AM
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Hi everyone,

Today, my step childrens mother, brought it to our attention that she is not comfortable with him babysitting because she is worried about the kids becoming sexually curious with each other. She thinks we should not be leaving them together unsupervised to avoid any chance of someone, being tempted to act out sexually with one of the other kids.
I was so shocked and upset by this because our kids are being raised as brother and sisters.
Am I wrong to feel completely insulted that she would think that we would put any of our kids in a situation where they could be in danger of being molested? and that it could be my son doing it?

I'm curious to hear your opinions on this...I am at a loss for words.
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I find her request reasonable and understandable regardless of whether she herself knows the stepmother's 12 yo son and adores him herself. She's got every right to make reasonable requests of surrogate mothers of her children. And it isn't necessarily because of anything that may have happened to her or unnaturally skewed her opinions in any way, and no one really has any position questioning her about it at all.
The request that the 12 year old not babysit, I agree is reasonable. That the children are never left unsupervised is not reasonable at all without some further explaination.

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She made the request; if she wanted to enlighten anyone about why she made it, she probably would have already. I think it is a huge sign of respect and trust that biomom believes her request will be honored.
But it's not all about her, the OP is a "biomom" too. If the wife-in-law has a reason to believe that the 12 year old is capable of molesting the other children, then she needs to state what those reasons are for several reasons -- first, to ensure her daughter is safe and also, if she has reason to believe this, then the step-mom needs to have that information in order to get her child help so that other children are not harmed. Sexual predators don't victimize out of "horniness" they victimize out a specific mental illness that needs to be addressed. That's why it disturbed me upthread for some posters to imply that hormones could drive a young man to sexual predation -- it simply isn't so.

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I don't think it's for the step mother to "find out why" or "find a way to reassure her." It places a question before the biomom that casts doubt on her ability to parent her own child... she, after all, is probably intuitively connected to HER child, and maybe her dd has communicated something. Maybe not. Maybe what will reassure her enough to come to you with more information is doing as she asked; doing the honorable thing. And not questioning her, or doubting her ability to know what her child needs.
Again, the honorable thing if there truly IS a reasonable concern is to speak to the stepmom about it, not simply dictate whether stepsiblings can be alone together in a house that is not hers.[/QUOTE]

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How about focusing on how important it is to the enduring happiness of the whole family constellation to respect the biomom's request, plain and simple? How about looking at this from her point of view? She's asking, nicely, and it is reasonable without even considering the sexual inappropriateness fears/ possibility. Why rock the boat over this?
Again, I don't think it's reasonable at all to insist that stepsiblings are always "supervised" in the OP's own home. As a stepmother, I would and have done many things to make my "wife-in-law" comfortable, but I'm not going to adhere to unexplained, unreasonable expectations in my own home just because she wants me to and asks nicely.
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#35 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 09:35 AM
 
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I do think this is a matter of respect for the bio-mom. I have also read statistics that young men are far more likely to molest a younger child than are young women. It may have been in Gavin DeBecker's book, The Gift of Fear, or Protecting the Gift. While a 12 year old may seem innocent, you do not know what he has heard or seen at school. Now there is talk of making contraception available in middle school. I prefer not to leave children unsupervised, especially if someone else's child is visiting my home. I prefer to have doors open if the younger kids have gone into another room to play. Kids can be curious. Bored kids can get silly in various ways. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I think that caring for that many younger children is a lot of responsibility for a 12 year old and that the bio-mom's request should be respected. In an emergency, letting him care for them would be a different story, but as a regular thing, no. Really, what do you need to do and where would you need to go that you'd have to have him babysit anyway? If you need to go to the store, take the stepkids with you and leave yours home with 12 yr old if that's what you want to do.
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#36 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 10:42 AM
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I do think this is a matter of respect for the bio-mom. I have also read statistics that young men are far more likely to molest a younger child than are young women. It may have been in Gavin DeBecker's book, The Gift of Fear, or Protecting the Gift. While a 12 year old may seem innocent, you do not know what he has heard or seen at school. Now there is talk of making contraception available in middle school. I prefer not to leave children unsupervised, especially if someone else's child is visiting my home. I prefer to have doors open if the younger kids have gone into another room to play. Kids can be curious. Bored kids can get silly in various ways. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I think that caring for that many younger children is a lot of responsibility for a 12 year old and that the bio-mom's request should be respected. In an emergency, letting him care for them would be a different story, but as a regular thing, no. Really, what do you need to do and where would you need to go that you'd have to have him babysit anyway? If you need to go to the store, take the stepkids with you and leave yours home with 12 yr old if that's what you want to do.
But these aren't kids "visiting" your home, they're not on a playdate, they are family. These kids are siblings.

Again, I definitely agree that a 12 year old should not be supervising/babysitting that many young kids, but the message that it sends to ALL the kids, not just the boy, is unacceptable to me. This is not some stranger off the street, it's family. As I said, if bio-mom has a legitimate reason other than "he's a boy" to ask for the kids to be supervised together, that's one thing, but she should say what that reason is so it can be dealt with.
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#37 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 11:12 AM
 
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But these aren't kids "visiting" your home, they're not on a playdate, they are family. These kids are siblings.
No, they are not. They are step-siblings who have only been living together for two years.

I would respect the bio-mother's wishes on this issue. I think it is the only decent thing to do. I understand the desire to defend your son, but OTOH molestation does happen, a lot. And if she does not have the trust you do about whether the situation is safe for her children, that matters.
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#38 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 11:43 AM
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No, they are not. They are step-siblings who have only been living together for two years.

I would respect the bio-mother's wishes on this issue. I think it is the only decent thing to do. I understand the desire to defend your son, but OTOH molestation does happen, a lot. And if she does not have the trust you do about whether the situation is safe for her children, that matters.
I'm sorry, no they are not what? Family? On a playdate? Or siblings?
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#39 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 12:20 PM
 
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One thing isn't clear here- which kids are whose? OP said the 12 yob and 3yob are hers, is the other boy hers as well? Are the two girls the stepchildren? If the girls are the stepsisters, maybe that is why their mom is concerned about an older boy being in charge. Is the 8 yog the stepsister? If so, is she comfortable with the older boy being in charge? Maybe the children expressed concern to their mom or are uncomfortable with the oldest boy being in charge. I am not saying he is irresponsible in any way or incapable of actually caring for the younger kids. How often are they together? If it is only a couple of weekends a month, I don't know if that is enough time to feel brother/sister close to the other children. If they had all been raised together since a young age with oldest boy usually being in charge the dynamic might be different. The oldest stepchild might not like the situation as they have been displaced as the oldest. If I were the mom I would not want to feel uncomfortable with what was going on in the other home while my children were there. Everyone has different comfort levels. Some parents don't care if their children run in the streets with whoever stops by. Some don't want T or M rated videogames. Some don't want TV. While the mom may not be able to control what her kids are eating/viewing at the dad's home, if she doesn't feel her kids are safe when there because the 12 yr old is in charge, she should have her wishes respected.
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#40 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 12:26 PM
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One thing isn't clear here- which kids are whose? OP said the 12 yob and 3yob are hers, is the other boy hers as well? Are the two girls the stepchildren? If the girls are the stepsisters, maybe that is why their mom is concerned about an older boy being in charge. Is the 8 yog the stepsister? If so, is she comfortable with the older boy being in charge? Maybe the children expressed concern to their mom or are uncomfortable with the oldest boy being in charge. I am not saying he is irresponsible in any way or incapable of actually caring for the younger kids. How often are they together? If it is only a couple of weekends a month, I don't know if that is enough time to feel brother/sister close to the other children. If they had all been raised together since a young age with oldest boy usually being in charge the dynamic might be different. The oldest stepchild might not like the situation as they have been displaced as the oldest. If I were the mom I would not want to feel uncomfortable with what was going on in the other home while my children were there. Everyone has different comfort levels. Some parents don't care if their children run in the streets with whoever stops by. Some don't want T or M rated videogames. Some don't want TV. While the mom may not be able to control what her kids are eating/viewing at the dad's home, if she doesn't feel her kids are safe when there because the 12 yr old is in charge, she should have her wishes respected.
Yeah, you're right that the details are fuzzy. But she (biomom) didn't just have a problem with the babysitting dealeo (I would too, I think that's reasonable) she said they should not be together unsupervised specifically because of some vague (so far as we know) suggestion that she feels one child might molest/prey on another.

What does "together unsupervised" mean, in that case? In the basement while mom and dad are upstairs? Playing a board game while mom does the laundry? Riding bikes in the woods behind the house? See what I mean? Unless she has some reason to request this (and is willing to share it) I think it's an unreasonable request.

My SS, fwiw, is quite definitely a sibling to his sisters, even though he's 10 years older than one and 13 years older than the other, and he certainly wasn't "visiting" us or having a playdate or something when he was with us, he is our family!
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#41 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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As a parent, I don't know if I'd be comfortable with a 12 yob watching my 8yog. Not that he has bad intentions, but because boys that age are more "informed" shall we say. We don't know the dynamics of their relationship, whether the kids are all happy together or if any of them dislike or are uncomfortable with each other. If the three oldest are boys, then the little girl might not like the way they talk or act when alone together. That is what I meant by being silly. Kids in a group alone don't always act like they do in front of adults. Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable letting the kids go off alone biking, playing in the woods, etc. I remember reading a number of years ago in a very conservative Christian magazine how children in some very conservative Christian groups had been molested by friends/relatives. The parents thought, oh, the kids were off playing in the barn, woods, etc. - isn't it great they can run outside and play like that? Maybe the mom is most uncomfortable because the kids are stepsiblings and doesn't feel that they have the natural aversion to each other that some brothers and sisters might- ie- ewww, my brother is SO gross, he forgets to wash his hands- yuk, my sister whines all the time, etc.
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#42 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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First of all, I understand why you might feel offended. You know your son. You trust your son.

However, I don't feel that the request is particularly unreasonable. 12 is a little young to be watching that many kids; 12 (even 10) is the early stage of puberty (I was a late bloomer, but I definitely had 'curiosity' about boys at 10). I didn't necessarily read it as YOUR CHILD MIGHT MOLEST MINE, but more like, hmm, maybe our kids might experiment. But I could be naive.
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#43 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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I agree that 12 is pretty young to be caring for 4 kids.

Since other posters have already stated how I feel about the topic, I'll just add this...

I was left in charge of my 2 sisters starting when I was 12. They were 10 and 8. It created a lot of resentment and control issues between the 3 of us. I felt like I was their mom, and could boss them around. Our teen years were very hostile because of that. Just to add another side to the coin.

Sarah, partner to J and mom to DD1 April 30th, 2002 and DD2 May 5th, 2012. love.gif

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#44 of 52 Old 10-19-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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I'm sorry, no they are not what? Family? On a playdate? Or siblings?
Siblings. They are step-siblings, and the length of step-sibling relationships counts, IMO. This is not a lifelong situation.
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#45 of 52 Old 10-20-2007, 04:19 AM
 
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Yeah, you're right that the details are fuzzy. But she (biomom) didn't just have a problem with the babysitting dealeo (I would too, I think that's reasonable) she said they should not be together unsupervised specifically because of some vague (so far as we know) suggestion that she feels one child might molest/prey on another.

What does "together unsupervised" mean, in that case? In the basement while mom and dad are upstairs? Playing a board game while mom does the laundry? Riding bikes in the woods behind the house? See what I mean? Unless she has some reason to request this (and is willing to share it) I think it's an unreasonable request.

My SS, fwiw, is quite definitely a sibling to his sisters, even though he's 10 years older than one and 13 years older than the other, and he certainly wasn't "visiting" us or having a playdate or something when he was with us, he is our family!
In your scenario, I can't help but notice that the younger daughters are actually YOURS, and they are in YOUR house, where YOU could monitor your stepson or entrust him as YOU wished. The biomom in OPs scenario, did not have that luxury, she has to entrust her darling daughter completely to a man she has NO influence over anymore, presumably, and a woman who she likely might never in a million years even be friends with, nevermind entrust her dd to.

OP's sdd's biomother, it appears, is up against a stepmother who refuses to even give her concerns the thinnest wisp of respect, like you; who is insulted by it, like you seem to be; which is so very, very selfish, to make it about her and not the child's safety, or at least the biomother's COMFORT in having to leave HER child in the care of someone else. I find that so very heartbreaking. If it was a Movie of the Week, the roles would be very predictably cast, which I share not as an insult to you/op, but in hopes that you can step outside yourself and see the big picture... it's not about you and your mothering. It's about biomom and her child; and THEIR needs while you are enjoying the child's company and biomom has to entrust you with it.

Imagine in a few years' time, how if you are big enough to respect biomom's request, unquestioningly, the whole stepfamily dynamic will be so much stronger and happier for all? Probably, no molestation or sexual curiosity would ever be explored between the kids, but the relief and gratitude that the biomom will most likely feel toward you (OP) will come back to your home in waves of good feelings. Respect would be the fastest way to reassure biomom. Respect her request, and try to see how tremendously respectful toward you she is being to come to you. I mean, how would you feel if she just went to your husband and asked HIM to tell you this request? She came to you.

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#46 of 52 Old 10-20-2007, 10:04 AM
 
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As the mother of a young man who HAS been placed in the position of watching sib/stepsibs at that age, my concern would be quite different. I would be worried that he would be accused of something he didn't do by a stepsib who was jealous/angry/feeling left out, etc. I was very uncomfortable with him being put in a position of authority over children who he had no real relationship with (not saying the boy in question in THIS situation has no real relationship with the other kids), especially knowing that one of them was known to manipulate situations to her advantage, while the other had a crush on my daughter. Just not a position I wanted him to be in.

Yes, I'd be somewhat taken aback that the other kids' mother felt my boy might do something, or allow something to happen, but I'd also be relieved to absolve him of that responsibility.
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#47 of 52 Old 10-24-2007, 08:44 AM
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OP's sdd's biomother, it appears, is up against a stepmother who refuses to even give her concerns the thinnest wisp of respect, like you; who is insulted by it, like you seem to be; which is so very, very selfish, to make it about her and not the child's safety, or at least the biomother's COMFORT in having to leave HER child in the care of someone else.
I didn't think the OP was anything like that! Her initial post was very kind, I thought, and honest about her feelings and asking about how others felt. I don't think you are being fair AT ALL about the OP. (And, as an aside, wouldn't you feel the slightest bit insulted if someone implied that your child was a sexual predator but refused to supply any reason for that implication? That's not very realistic or kind, imo.)

And it IS about the child's safety -- all of the children's safety. As I said, if the bio-mom has a legitimate reason to fear that her daughter will be molested, then she needs to share that with the son's bio parents to protect not only her OWN daughter but other children. If her feelings are based on discomfort from her daughter, then that ALSO needs to be addressed so that the daughter can feel at home at her other house. There's just no reason that I can see, and I'd be interested in hearing where I'm wrong, that it would be LESS helpful, useful, and safe for the bio mom to refuse to explain what her concerns were based on (that was what I was originally responding to, the idea that the bio mom shouldn't have to or need to say anything other than "I don't want X,Y, or Z" -- in some cases that's appropriate, in cases where it will greatly impact family life (the kids can't ever be alone together, the stepdaughter is almost certainly going to feel not part of the family if she is constantly monitored, the boy is living with an unspoken accusation of abuse over his head).

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I find that so very heartbreaking. If it was a Movie of the Week, the roles would be very predictably cast, which I share not as an insult to you/op, but in hopes that you can step outside yourself and see the big picture... it's not about you and your mothering. It's about biomom and her child; and THEIR needs while you are enjoying the child's company and biomom has to entrust you with it.
No need to be heartbroken on my account, I promise! I've turned circles and moved mountains to make sure the bio mom in my situation knows that I understand how unpleaseant and hard it must be to have someone else helping raise your child without her consent (not that she acknowledges that, but that's another story.

You're right that it's not about me. It's not about the bio mom in this case, either, I don't think, not with something as potentially dangerous as either 1) true accusations of molestations -- dangerous to the daughter -- or 2) false acccusations of molestations -- dangerous to the son. If this were a more trivial accusation, I'd feel differently and advise the OP to let it go and try to make the bio mom happy if possible without completely disrupting her own home, but this is a BIG elephant in the room, and needs to be addressed, imo.

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Imagine in a few years' time, how if you are big enough to respect biomom's request, unquestioningly, the whole stepfamily dynamic will be so much stronger and happier for all? Probably, no molestation or sexual curiosity would ever be explored between the kids, but the relief and gratitude that the biomom will most likely feel toward you (OP) will come back to your home in waves of good feelings. Respect would be the fastest way to reassure biomom
I hope you're right in the OP's case, but believe me, it's not the case for all of us blended families. Not at all.
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#48 of 52 Old 10-24-2007, 08:49 AM
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As the mother of a young man who HAS been placed in the position of watching sib/stepsibs at that age, my concern would be quite different. I would be worried that he would be accused of something he didn't do by a stepsib who was jealous/angry/feeling left out, etc.
Yes, this is a point that I don't seem to be able to articulate well. It's dangerous for the boy, as well, to have that accusation hanging unjustifiably over his head, and the OP has a responsibility to the safety of her own children, too.

This is not the sort of accusation / request that can or should be handled by simply saying "ok". It's not like "please don't feed my daughter meat" or "please don't allow my daughter to read Harry Potter." It's something that is much more serious, both for the daughter, the son, and, if God forbid the implication is true, for other children the son comes in contact with. Sometimes when you go "there" with an accusation/implication, you need to be ready to back it up and deal with the consequences, because the accusation/implication is too serious to either acquiese to or ignore.
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#49 of 52 Old 10-24-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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The concern over sexual molestation, or accusation of sexual molestation is not the crux of my argument here. It is respect for the biomom's request; a request solidly based in her rights as the biological mother with primary custody; and the facts of life and human nature, which includes sexual curiosity in the teen years, and in the case of elder siblings and younger siblings, the dynamics of pre-maturely assigned authority.

I don't think it can be made clearer than what has been said on the subject here. Some people are so knee-jerk defensive for boys' reputations... this is a reaction borne of a society that also breeds a prevalence of woman-bashing. It's two sides of the same coin. The scales are so unbalanced, it speaks to the blissful ignorance of many of us that bad things can and do happen right under our noses, largely because we *do not want* to see it.

Good, thoughtful, caring, balanced and aware men and boys understand, accept and go the extra mile to PROTECT the women and girls in their lives. They know how they and their friends occasionally talk and act about women and girls when no one is there to censor them.

In my experience, it is the mothers of boys who have let their egos get the better of them in thinking that by virtue of a child being THEIR son, that he will be good, through and through. And it just ain't so. They think that their son will be good to women, because he knows HER, and loves her and so, (she thinks), he respects her, and therefore, must respect all women. And it just ain't so. It's more important how he saw his father treat his mother that teaches him how to feel towards women. And it is also so very impactful how our society continues to objectify and mistreat and devalue women and girls. It's a bit of an uphill battle for mothers to teach reality to them in this climate, but it is very doable and very necessary, because, the values you teach him about women are the values he will most likely visit upon his daughters. Progress toward higher ideals in this area must continue. It's a job for Supermom. The future creates the present on the backdrop of the past. You should know the past of our culture, and see a better future, for your granddaughters' and your grandsons' sakes.

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#50 of 52 Old 10-24-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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[QUOTE=DaffyDaphne;9524917]I didn't think the OP was anything like that! Her initial post was very kind, I thought, and honest about her feelings and asking about how others felt. I don't think you are being fair AT ALL about the OP. (And, as an aside, wouldn't you feel the slightest bit insulted if someone implied that your child was a sexual predator but refused to supply any reason for that implication? That's not very realistic or kind, imo.) UNQUOTE

It didn't sound to me like the biomom implied OP's son was a predator. I think one would have to be ultra defensive to take it that way. To me, it is so common-sense reasonable a request, and does not assume anything untoward about any of the parties involved. It simply speaks to a knowledge of human nature and being present in the here and now.

Also, your defensiveness for the OP calls into question whether or not it was clear to you that I was referring to you with my comments, Daphne? Not just the OP... so please, don't paint my remarks as being directed at the OP, and not moreso, at yourself and your posts. I say this because your defensiveness there exaggerates the kernal of my message to the OP, while deflecting it away from you.

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#51 of 52 Old 10-25-2007, 09:38 AM
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It didn't sound to me like the biomom implied OP's son was a predator. I think one would have to be ultra defensive to take it that way. To me, it is so common-sense reasonable a request, and does not assume anything untoward about any of the parties involved. It simply speaks to a knowledge of human nature and being present in the here and now.

Also, your defensiveness for the OP calls into question whether or not it was clear to you that I was referring to you with my comments, Daphne? Not just the OP... so please, don't paint my remarks as being directed at the OP, and not moreso, at yourself and your posts. I say this because your defensiveness there exaggerates the kernal of my message to the OP, while deflecting it away from you.

VF
Um, I'm really not feeling defensive at all. I know it's hard to "hear" tone on a message board, but truly, I think we're just discussing, ya know?

I addressed, I thought, specifically your comments about the OP and moved on to your comments about me (assumptions which were kind of startlingly outrageous, imo, since you have no idea how or whether I've accommodated my stepson's mother on this sort of issue or even larger ones...) so I really don't see how I'm "deflecting" anything:

In a nutshell:

1) My problem is much less with biomom's request than with the many people on this thread that have insisted she has need or obligation to speak to her exhusband or his wife about her reasons. I've said over and over that if there is a problem it SHOULD be addressed, and all kids should be protected, and that can only happen if BOTH sides are honest and open with one another, not one side, bio-mom, simply issuing a request without explanation and expecting it to be followed simply because she said so.

2) No, the biomom does not have an inalienable right as the primary custodial parent to dictate what goes on in her exhusbands home. When the child is in his custodial care, he is the child's custodial parent and has the right and obligation to make parenting decisions. Hopefully, both parents will listen to one another and respect one another's opinions and desire when the child is in the other parent's custody.

3) It bothers me a bit that the stepchild is not considered a real part of the family, it seems, by some posters here. My stepson is a vital and important part of our family, beloved by my husband and his sisters, and the thought of (without good reason articulated honestly between the parents) pushing him "out" into "other" status is heartbreaking to me.

4) Everyone has a right to set the rules in their own home, even ex-spouses and evil stepmoms. As I've said, I think it's unrealistic and damaging to the family unit to expect that the children will never be allowed to interact naturally. No watching a movie in the basement, no riding bikes in the park, no going on a bughunt in the woods, without a parent watching eagle eyed lest something untoward occur.

5) Last, a true sexual predator doesn't need a closed door and a bed to molest -- nor do normally "explorative' kids need them. The little boy next door is just as likely -- indeed, more likely -- to show the little girl his pee-pee, the school bus driver just as likely to pat her bottom, the gym coach just as likely to peep into the dressing room. Why is all the attention on keeping stepsiblings away from each other unless, again, there is specific information or evidence that these two particular children may explore or become exploitative? It's unrealistic, and punitive, and unless we want to raise our beautiful daughters in cocoons, I think it's better to empower them with defensive skills, including "tell an adult," "uncomfortable touches," etc. than to try to orchestrate perfectly natural interactions with family members from afar.
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#52 of 52 Old 10-27-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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Oh-Kay. I find your rationale disturbing, Daphne. You put words in my mouth... words like "dictate," and "inalienable." This "discussion" just went from zero to sixty and I'm getting out of the car.

But I think it's because you're being a good, tiger mother to your stepson, and because you really, really feel your blended family is an absolute, which is wonderful and most likely very accurate. And because the term "sexual predator" came flying out in this discussion somewhere, and it got latched onto... and that got things inflamed out of the proportion that the op's question was proffered in. I just don't think her situation and "sexual predator" belong together, not at all, and I'm sure she doesn't have any need for me to say that, but I'm saying it anyway. It just does not need to be leapt to from "I would like my daughter to enjoy the safety of being supervised by adults rather than a teen boy, brother or not."

So I'd just like to make a real clear divide between that inflammatory term and this particular OP's family; and, your family, as well, Daphne. I can't blame anyone for getting riled about it in their own mind, but I would prefer that we don't stoke up a neighborhood bonfire where we just need a little candlelight.

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