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Author Topic: How to talk to SD  (Read 4029 times)


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How to talk to SD
« on: Dec 21, 2006, 12:51:44 PM »
Any advice?

Sd is coming ot our home tomorrow and I need to have another "discussion" with her. I am so sick of it. It seems like everytime Dh or I spend time with her some issue needs to be resolved. I honestly don't know if it is her being a drama junkie like her mom or if it is her being a teen.

Anyway, on Thanksgiving morning BM called our home to complain about silly crap. Some of it was her telling me that it was upsetting to Sd that I made her call me "Mom". I NEVER did that! I always thought it was inappropriate in our sitiuation and made it a point to raise Sd that way for the past 10 years. The way BM recounted the story Sd told her, I believe that Sd lied to BM.

Sd also told me that BM has considered Dh and I married for years. We have been together for 12 years, but just married last year. On Thanksgiving BM said that that wasn't true and that I was not SD's family until last year.

Years ago SD also told BM that I hit her. The story was that she misbehaved and I punished her by waking her up with a nap with a spanking. Sd admitted that that didn't happen, but her excuse was that she must have dreamt it happened.

It used to be that Sd and I would chat on IM for hours. One night Dh was out of town and SD and I were Iming. She knew it was me. When we were done BM called asking for DH. I told her that DH was out of town and BM called me a liar because SD told her she had been IMing him. SD said that she was confused because she was sick and mispoke.

Anyway, Sd is always lying to make me look bad to BM or to make BM look good to me. I know SD gets the stink-eye if she contacts me at all or talks about me.

I need advice on what to say to her. I want her to stop being so afraid of her mom and stop feeling the need to defend her mom. In the least, I need to tell her it is unacceptable to lie.

What do you got?



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Well, she's in a sticky situation
« Reply #1 on: Dec 21, 2006, 02:00:02 PM »
because BM obviously rewards the bad things she says about you. But I'd tell it like it is - say you know she feels some pressure sometimes to make BM happy by making you look bad but that it's really wrong to make things up, even if it relieves that pressure a bit, so it's best just to say "I'd rather not talk about that right now" instead. That's what I would go with.

It's hard to get kids out of the lying habit (esp when they are rewarded somehow), but you do have to speak up.


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RE: How to talk to SD
« Reply #2 on: Dec 21, 2006, 03:16:31 PM »
How old is she?  I have SS's and I thank god everyday they live with us!  I can't even comprehend what would have happened if it would have went the other way.

My son's on the other hand thought that their dad was a saint, and I kept the truth from them, and I am still doing it.  He hasn't had any contact with them for over 2 years and it isn't for lack of trying, he just refuses to  do anything WITHOUT his wife..to quote his last email..."his wife comes first"...well then whatever, I will just file that email away for our son to read later.

He is anxiously awaiting the file I have on hand for him when he is old enough and mature enough to handle the truth.

My SS's are aware of BM's bull, and they too have caught her lying, defend her, and I am sure I am the wicked witch of the west over there, but I know they do it out of protection or fear of retaliation.  They were quick learners.  My oldest SS is also patiently awaiting to see how it all went down.  He has even asked to see it all, and for now I think he is waaaay to young for that kind of let down.

Fact is, the kids KNOW, and when they get old enough to defend themselves or tell it like it is, your going to see a huge turnaround.  I would flat out tell her...if you think this is the way such and such is, let her know that when she is old enough you will sit her down and answer every single question with the proof in the file you have waiting.

Another scenario that I just came across was with my best friend's son, he lives with his Dad, equal parenting, no bad parents involved, just he had to live somewhere and he was better off there.  The child also has a SM.  I wanted to pick his brain about how kids feel when they get older, what they think about their SM's.  My best friend  HATES  her with a passion, like most BM's do, and what I know of her she is just a go by the CO kind of person no room for extra.

He told me that he knows his mother hates his SM, but he just can't hate her because of all the things she has done for him over the years, the love, support, and she basically raised him...and  his BM was very involved.  There were no long, knock down, drug out custody battle either.  He truly did play both sides of the fence when he was with the other parent to keep the peace.  When his BM spoke poorly of the SM, he'd go along with it, when the SM did the same, he would do the same.

He flat out admitted it.  So the moral of this long ass story was...ummm..oh yea... that even though her words really hurt and she is getting lies shoveled to her by the pound, that's alot of garbage that is just too much for a teenager.  She's doing it to protect herself, but she should be getting the truth from you.  Don't sugar coat it, this is what she has been programmed to do and how she deals with her mother's crap.  Don't be too hard on her and don't take it personally.  Truth is she probably really loves you but who can she tell that to?  She can't exactly sing it from the roof tops at her BM's house.

Ok, off my soap box now..


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This is difficult
« Reply #3 on: Dec 22, 2006, 06:50:07 AM »
And I can relate.  I read some into what you posted here and forgive me for not knowing the specifics of your situation.  Here's what I read though:

1.  Your SD's mom is against her having a relationship with you
2.  Your SD feels she has to please her mom at all costs

What this spells for you is that you become the safe-guard for your SD.  I'm guessing that down deep she knows that you are there for her and that you care for her.  She probably also cares for you.  HOWEVER, the natural inclination of a child to please its parent and to be wanted and loved by its parent is greater than that of the child to treat an inferior person with respect, common courtesy, etc.  

My advice to you is to just have a heart-to-heart with your SD.  Tell her that you are aware that she is lying, over-exaggerating, etc when it comes to relaying information to her mom about you.  Tell her that you are aware that she is conflicted and feels pulled in several directions with respect to how she connects with people.

Don't accuse her mom of anything - heck, don't even bring her mom's name up in the conversation.  Doing so will put your SD on the defensive right quick and you'll lose the intent of your conversation.

Explain to her that you care for her, but that you cannot allow her to misuse you.  And that the door is always open for her to come and talk to you.

Then, realize for yourself that some of this behavior is manipulative to take the heat off of herself - if she and her mom are arguing, it's easy to push the dad/stepmom button with her mom and get herself out of the hot seat.  What you and your DH need to do when her mom calls and is ranting about something that SD says happened in your house - adopt the 'my house, my rules; your house, your rules' methodology.  If you didn't directly see something happen, and especially if it is not within your regular time with her - let it go and let her mom handle things.  And tell her mom that - "I'm sorry you and SD are having a difficult time.  I'm sure you'll figure out the best way to handle it."  And then HANG UP.  Don't offer suggestion, don't say 'boy, wait til SD gets home from this one......'   Because you don't know how much twisting her own mother is doing of what is happening.

Now, also realize that some of this behavior is survival for herself.  Like with the IMing......how do you think her mom would have reacted if when she was asked who she has been chatting with for the last 1/2 hour - if she had said 'Oh, just Ref'?  I'd bet $100 that her mom would have blown a gasket and gone off about how Ref is not a part of her family.....blah blah blah.  So to spare herself - and not anticipating that her mom would call - she says she was chatting with her dad.

Yes, let your SD know that it is unacceptable to lie, and that she should feel strong enough to tell the truth no matter what is going on.  But - be willing to understand that she may not be able to stand up for herself yet with her mom.

My SD is 17 and still doesn't always have the gumption or confidence to stand up and call her mom on the lies that she is told.  Every once in awhile though.......she does.  And I have to admit that I smile a little smile to myself and think 'maybe she's starting to get it.'


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This is what you should do . . .
« Reply #4 on: Dec 23, 2006, 08:17:05 AM »

First how do you really know SD is lying about you? Could it be mommy dearest is blowing things out of proportion and sd is going along to keep peace with mom?

I wouldn't bring it up at all. In the grand scheme of things it really isn't that big a deal. Eventually, sd will grow a brain and make her real wishes known to everybody. If she knows you and dh love her and she loves you the rest is survival.

I have traveled down that road and from my experience, she will decide for herself, based on what she KNOWS to be true.

I did find however, sd was happier when we let the crap her mother spewed roll off our backs and stopped the confrontations. We just let it go. And since we were the ones tring to keep peace and mom was the one screaming all the time she learned who really wanted her to be happy. Also when she saw mom lying all the time to us about her thoughts and feelings and lying to her about us, she questioned all the things her mother told her about us and decided to form her own opinion.

We have a wonderful relationship with her now. we see her frequently and she is a big part of the family. (much to mom's displeasure) But she does see her mother for who and what she is and doesn't much like what she sees anymore.

The Witch


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She is here
« Reply #5 on: Dec 24, 2006, 05:17:07 AM »
and it is like everything is fine. She is talking up a storm and laughing. It is completely normal and good. That is the confusing thing over the years is that she asks so freaking happy here and then turns around and says such crap about us to her mom.

I know it is done to make her mom feel better, but it still hurts my feelings. I think after some time away from here, she starts believing her lies to her mom. SD has said some awful things to me and my husband. She doesn't do it to our faces (unless we make her talk about things she mentioned over the phone or in letter form). She usually says them on the phone with BM in the background egging her on OR she writes them in a letter, with amazing similarity to BM's writing style.

Over the past 12 years, I have gotten a good sense about SD. She lied all the time as a kid, usually to try to impress. Everyone thought it was a phase. As she gets older, it is harder to tell that she is lying, but she still does. Unsually to impress or to make her mom look better. I think she lies to me mostly to pump-up her mom.

BM is a mega-drama queen. She blows almost everything out of proportion. I seriously considered whether the events that she recounted were her lies or SD. BM said stuff like "Then when you went to the grocery store with SD this summer you didn't tell someone that she was your daughter?" and when I said no she said, "Then SD didn't come home and have to have a talk with DH about you calling yourself her mom?" She seemed like she was trying to catch me in a lie , so it is hard to believe that she was lying herself, you know?

Your advice was really helpful. I think it will change my tactics on how to deal with SD. I think I will still talk to her a little about the conflicting information, just to try to keep her from lying about me to BM in the future, but I don't think I will make a big deal out of it. An hour long talk with be shaved down to five minutes.

One of the problems is, BM disowned her entire family. SD's family on her mom's side is just her mom. DH has his family and my family. I think SD knows that she is the only one BM has and BM depends on her completely. She also knows that if she pisses off her BM she could be written off as easy as BM wrote off her own mother. In DH and my family, we've had our disagreements but we NEVER walk away from each other. It is much safer to piss us off than her mom.

860-some days left...... can't wait.



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RE: She is here
« Reply #6 on: Dec 24, 2006, 07:23:01 AM »
I think hagatha has given you some wonderful advice.

You gotta figure out how to talk about some of that stuff, without directly talking about it.  Divorce Poison talks about this and that some approaches to difficult subjects contain trigger words where the child will just shut down instead of listening and you gotta figure out how to get around that so that they listen.

My home is a much calmer environment than my son's home with his dad.  Heck when it was "our" home, it was much calmer than either side of our EX's.  And the children all picked up on that.

And they (particularly on his side) learned that life doesn't have to be full of drama and stuff and on his side, all three have decided over the years to make a change as a result.

You're a good step-mom.  Keep it up!


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Everything went pretty well
« Reply #7 on: Dec 27, 2006, 06:13:36 AM »
SD knew that BM called and yelled at me and DH Thanksgiving morning. She actually told DH that she thought it was messed-up. Anyway, we had a little talk.

Told her that her mom mentioned that somethings were upsetting Sd and I wanted to make sure I could do what I could to make sure she was not upset.   I told her that her mom recounted a story about SD and I at a store and me calling myself Sd's mom and how Sd was so upset that she had to have a discussion after with DH. SD just scrunched her face and said that a little girl at the store called me her mom ( It obviously didn't bother me any because I don't really remember that). She also said that my mother called me her mom. I told her that my mom is loopy and shouldn't have said that but I have no control over it. She just needs to know that I am not trying to be a mom but a friend and an adult she can come to, basically a SM.

I also told her that if I am around too much and she wants to be alone w. DH all she needs to do is say something. I am very happy to be on my own and I don't need to be there all the time. I have always made that clear to her, but BM feels that SD is upset about it. She still seemed a little unclear about why her mom said this stuff.

After that, things were cool again. I think I handled it right by making it a concern BM has for her feeling and my concern for her feelings. Oh well, I will never really know.

Our home is very calm. DH and I rarely fight and very very rarely raise our voices. We don't wallow in drama like BM. SD has had a pretty good time her, as far as I can tell. We talk a lot about her bfriend and other friends. We talk about her health (apparently she is sick all the time at BMs, has missed her period for 4 months and has migraines). I pretrend like it is not a big deal, but how dare BM not tell DH of any of this? Ugh. We go to the gym every few days and SD is so happy going there. Sure she rolls aroung on the balance balls for 5-10 minutes, but she loves some of the equipment and I am happy to introduce her to some fitness.

Anyway, we are having a good time and there have been no conflicts, just a couple of chats.

Thanks to all of you for your advice. It really did change my appoach and I think it helped a lot.



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