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"Missing" people you've never known

PoisonApples's picture

BM's father died before either child SD7 or SD5 were born yet these kids will go on and on and on about how they 'miss' grandad Pat. BM has also filled their heads full of crap about how grandad pat is sitting up on a star looking over them (think Mustafa in the Lion King).

Now, I know people are different but I can't see ANYTHING healthy about teaching kids to have false emotions. Keep in mind that these kids are completely lacking in empathy or compassion for any living them but themselves. Through BM they learn to 'fake' emotions at the appropriate time and I think teaching them to act like they miss this grandfather who died before they were even born only reinforces that.

Skids are gone with BM now to her family's yearly 'let's all get together and talk about how much we miss grandad pat' retreat so I know when they come back they are going to be going on and on about how much they miss the old guy. Problem is, the weekend they come back we are going to a star party and will be looking at stars through telescopes all weekend. I'm sure the topic of grandad pat sitting on one of them is going to come up and I will not play along with this kind of silliness. I (and SO) will tell them that stars are very hot fiery objects and that nobody, dead or alive, is sitting on any of them.

This is yet another area where we will have to 'undermine' what BM is telling them. There are so many. I don't like it. I wish it didn't happen but I cannot play along with this stupidity without also putting these idiotic ideas in my own child's head and I refuse to do that.

Any suggestions?


LizzieA's picture

Use it as a teachable moment. "Yes we miss people when they are gone, that is why it's important to treat people well while they're alive and with you."

As far as sitting on a star, how is that different than saying someone is up in heaven? A lot of people tell children that to comfort them that the person is not really gone. And you might not agree with BM's faith but I'd tread lightly before you let your contempt show. I wouldn't like it that if someone did that to my kid. (read your other blog about communion) My kid--I get to teach them my faith.

PoisonApples's picture

Oh yes, I fully intend to stay out of it. When I say I, above, I mean We, as in the attitude of SO and I as a team. SO would be the one to do all the explaining.

PoisonApples's picture

But these kids don't need 'comfort' because he's gone! He was long dead before they were even conceived. The kids never knew him so they couldn't possibly 'miss' him or need 'comfort' now that he's gone. THAT'S the part that I find so weird.

Oh, and BM doesn't have a 'faith' except when it's put on for a show.

Yes, I can respect that someone wants to pass on their religious beliefs but as I said, their father is not religious. Doesn't he have as much right as the BM does so far as religious education goes?

BTW, I NEVER belittled any faith with any of my children. I handled it by exposing them to MANY religions and MANY different beliefs - including non-belief, making sure they had a complete picture and could make their own INFORMED decision.

I think it's telling when someone insists that a child only be exposed to ONE idea, as if they are afraid that if given a more complete picture they'd choose something else. Limiting what a person is exposed to in an effort to ensure they accept that idea as 'the only right way' is actually a form of brainwashing.

However, having said that, I still would never try to convince other people's children of any religion that what they've been taught was wrong. These kids are in my home though and around MY child and, most importantly, their FATHER and I are in agreement on this issue. I DO have a right to interfere if MY child is being exposed to something I don't want her exposed to. Her half-siblings coming around and talking about dead people sitting on stars, for example, is not an idea I want my child buying into and I couldn't care less what BM thinks about it. The best interests of MY child will come first before BM's feelings - always and forever.

We will not tell her not to make communion. We will not participate in it on any level and we will make sure she is educated as to the diversity of beliefs out there so she can make her own informed opinion when she's old enough.

stormabruin's picture

"But these kids don't need 'comfort' because he's gone! He was long dead before they were even conceived. The kids never knew him so they couldn't possibly 'miss' him or need 'comfort' now that he's gone. THAT'S the part that I find so weird."
I agree with this. I don't think the real issue is about them thinking he lives on a star. What would be troubling for me is the fact that BM is encouraging them to feel things that they have no reason to feel. It confuses words & makes it hard for kids to express what they truly feel when BM is making them believe they feel something they don't. They didn't know him to be able to "miss" him. Perhaps it'd be better to say they "wish they'd been able to know him". That's a different feeling. Missing something means at one time you had it & now you don't & you wish you did. They never had him to miss him. It sounds like BM is trying to make them feel a closer draw or connection to him than they really have. Our BM does that with DH's kids. She uses words with them to make them feel a closer connection to her & her family & friends & more vague distant words when discussing their feelings about DH & his family & friends. In my opinion, it blends in with brainwashing.

PoisonApples's picture

EXACTLY stormabruin. You said exactly what I think on the topic.

These kids already don't seem to have any real emotions except when it's a selfish one. I've blogged on their total lack of empathy and inability to show compassion before.

BM is teaching them to fake emotions. This is just another example.

I think it's very disturbing and will not suit them well into adulthood.

stormabruin's picture

I have an example of the effect it has had on DH's daughter. BM comes from a long line of dysfunction. Not trying to be mean or sarcastic. Her family is truly one in a million with the mental illness, suicides, relatives marrying in-laws & stepfather marrying stepdaughters. Skids always refer to any close friends or people by marriage as their "cousins". BM has taught them this. Well, the only actual cousins they have are DH's neice & nephew. SD became friends with some girl related to someone who married into the family & refers to her a her cousin. The girl refers to BM as her aunt. There is no actual relationship, but BM wants SD to have a close connection to this friend, so she tells her they're cousins. Well, apparently SD & this "cousin" had a falling out & SD posted on her FB page yesterday, " Dont you hate when family members are 2-faced and, they try to blame everything on everybody else except for them selfs? You cant talk about someone else being f*cked up when you are too(:". She made a point to call her out as a "family member", thereby making the situation feel more dramatic than it would be had she simply referred to the girl as her "friend".

PoisonApples's picture

Some people just don't do 'reality'. It's like everything in their lives is fantasy. I really can't understand it.

BM's whole family is that way. SO told me that when one of BM's sisters would break up with a boyfriend they'd give him all the photos of them with the guy and he'd put them in photoshop to 'remove' the boyfriend then the photos would go back on the mother's wall or mantle.

Really, really weird. It gives me the creeps.

hismineandours's picture

To me this is a small issue again, if the bm and therefore the kids want to think of the afterlife as someone sitting on a star perhaps watching over them-what the heck does that hurt? It's not what I envision the afterlife to be, but then that's just my opinion and personal beliefs. My oldest two childrn's father is deceased. He died when they were very young-2 and 9 months. My 2 year old especially "misses"him. Not him as a person because she has no memories of him, but rather the idea of having a biological father. It is a loss. And she has grieved not being able to have what so many other kids take for granted. Now, I am not sure a grandparent is quite the same but evidently grandpa pat was pretty important in this family.
I would be angry as a bm, if whatever vision i choose to share with my kids about their dead father-whether it was sitiing on a star, floating in the clouds, up in the sky, or his spirit inside of us-was undermined by a sm or anyone else for that matter. if the kids bring it up, I would just silently gag but pay no attention to it. if the kids truly do push you to give your opinion I would give it, but respectfully allowing them to understand that everyone is entitled to believe however they choose to. It might be a great gift that you could give them to teach tolerance for differing opinions and respectful ways to handle that.

PoisonApples's picture

The problem is that they tell this crap to my DD. I have to correct it because I absolutely do not want my DD to believe this stuff. My DD will eventually argue with them that this is nonsense.

The best interests of my DD trumps BM's right to teach her kids nonsense.

Holly's picture

My parents would often talk about relatives that were dead when I was a kid and I used to wish I'd known them - I felt I'd missed out. Maybe after all the talk in BM family about Grandad, they feel sad and this is there way of expressing what they missed.

But do you have to 'correct' them? Can't you just say something like "well, that's a lovely thought but I personally prefer to believe that my granda/auntie/pet dog/whatever is in heaven" (or whatever you believe). Factually I know people don't rest on stars but emotionally it doesn't stop me feeling better when I look up the night sky and think of my dad - and I'm in my 40s!

Your skids don't live with you, they will have far less input into your dd's belief system than you will. And I also agree with whoever said it is possible to use this as a teaching moment about compassion. Sometimes one persons nonsense is another persons hope.

But then, I'm still a believer in Santa and magic and that love conquers all - you'd think I'd know better Wink

Chavez's picture

Wow, she encourages them to "miss" a relative they never knew? That's just WEIRD! One of my grandfathers died when I was 2 and I never really "knew" him so how in the world could I miss him? :? Pushing off those emotions on children is wrong on so many levels.

StepMomJane's picture

I'm sorry, but I'm cracking up over how creepy this is. A grandpa they never knew sitting on a star watching them?! Lord, this sounds like something the BM in my life would cook up. Fake emotion is her specialty. She still smiles and talks to me like her best friend. Weird.
Others are saying it's not a big deal, but teaching kids to fake emotion is a bad path. Especially if your DD is involved.

PoisonApples's picture

Oh yeah, and BM also told them that even though they weren't born yet when he was alive they were 'the twinkle in his eyes'.

That's BM all the way. All drama, all fake emotion, all sap but absolutely NOTHING concrete and nothing REAL done for the children at all.

libby's picture

I really dont see the harm in this, Even though the man died before the children were born, he is still their grandpa and have a right to know him.

I personally find it cruel that if the kids are to believe that their grandpa looks down on them from a star, that you as their stepmother would say something to discourage this belief. Why not just say that's nice and move on?

This is their BM father, they may have been close and want her kids to charish his memory. I have a grandfather I have never met, but even as an adult I love hearing my mother tell me stories about him. (maybe its like the adopted child that wants to know the their bio parents) a way to connect.

Her family her belief, her children, I dont see the harm in allowing them to believe Grandpa pat is sitting on a star watching over them.

PoisonApples's picture

I personally find it cruel that if the kids are to believe that their grandpa looks down on them from a star, that you as their stepmother would say something to discourage this belief. Why not just say that's nice and move on?

Uhm, because stars are fiery balls of gas and no one is sitting on them! That is not a belief. It's a fact.

If she were telling them that red is black and green is white or the 'cat' is spelled 'xyz' would you also say that they shouldn't be told the truth? Why would I let them confuse my child with things that simply are not true?

PoisonApples's picture

They are also their father's children and HE thinks telling them this crap is so not good. Besides 5 and 7 are old enough to know that dead people don't sit on stars.

Anyway, the issue wasn't so much the sitting on stars bit. It's more the making them believe that they 'miss' someone they never knew bit, the false emotions. That is what I find so disturbing.

As I said, we'll spend the next weekend looking at stars through telescopes. They'll see that they are fire, nothing else so I'm sure they'll come to their own conclusions about whether or not anyone is sitting up there looking at them.

Most important of all, I am not required to have MY child exposed to her nonsense just because she wants to confuse her own children with it. As I said, the welfare of MY child will ALWAYS trump BM's desire to tell her kids a bunch of sappy crap.

mom2five's picture

That makes a lot more sense. Let them figure it out themselves. That way, you don't end up looking like that bad guy.

libby's picture

They are kids - REALLY? I mean whats the harm? -

Children so young don't understand death.Its no different than telling your child that Grandpa Pat is a guardian angel. I just don't see the harm? Lots of religious beliefs believe when you die you become a spirit - Do you know for a fact that a spirit can not sit on a star - Logically yes - but for someone that believes that the spirit or soul lives on - no you can not

Religion and beliefs are not explainable by science! Adam and Eve vs. Dinosaurs.

It is not your place as a step mother to sway their beliefs. Religion is a personal thing.

You raise your child to believe what you want them to believe. Allow her children to believe what they want to believe. And when it come time that the children discuss it teach them to debate and respect each others beliefs.

PoisonApples's picture

...and yet another person who misses the whole point of the blog and jumps on the 'BM has a right to tell them whatever she wants' bandwagon.

aggravated1's picture

I am going to go buy a lottery ticket right now, and I will share it with you two if I win!! LOL

mom2five's picture

I'm not sure how I feel about this. My mom's dad died before I was born. I really feel like I know him and he knows me.

I don't think people's spirits ever really die. We inhabit earthly bodies for a while and then go on to something else. I'm not sure what. But I don't believe we just disappear after we die. Energy can never really be destroyed.

And I have the right as a mother to teach my children my beliefs. We are Christians. But to me it isn't even really a religious issue. If anything, I take more of a Buddhist or Hindi view on this kind of stuff.

stormabruin's picture

My mom's mom died just before I was born. She is the only member of my family that I know of who shared my birthday month & my birthstone. She knew I was on the way & willed her rubies to me so I could have something of hers. I, too, love to hear stories about her. She was a pediatric nurse & loved children & was so excited to meet me. I wish, very much, that I could've known her. I feel sad that I didn't get to, but I can't say I "miss" her. I can only say I wish I'd gotten the opportunity to know her.

As far as teaching a child that someone lives on a star, I suppose if that is indeed being taught as a religious belief, as a parent, it's her right to teach that. However, if it's something where she's actually convincing a child that someone is living on a star just to make them feel warm & fuzzy & it has nothing to do with religious belief, then in my opinion, she's just lying to them.

hismineandours's picture

Again-you may not miss the actual person (how could u if you never met them) but you can absolutely miss and grieve the idea of the person. What my dd experienced at a young age, was grief. She did miss out on something, on someone that other people do have. She lost a chance of knowing a potentially fantastic person who could have been integral to her life. So I imagine it is hard for 5 and 7 year to put all this into words so it's ok to say, "I miss grandpa pat". And I understand that your bm is a piece of work, but is it really so unbelieveable that she may experience genuine emotion at the loss of her father. It is hard to explain death to children and since it can be an extremely scary concept for children MANY people put it into "nicer" terms. Evidently bm's way of doing this was to say he is sitting on a star. Do you all really think she literally believes her dead dad is sitting up there on a star? And my guess is that even though the kids are 5 and 7 that they literally dont think their dead grandpa is in space, hanging out, and sitting around on a star. I doubt that they are processing it on any deep level and as they continue to get older and mature they will figure out that it is just a phrase and not literally true. kids believe all matter of silly things when they are little-they believe they can be superheros, they believe their mommies and daddies are the strongest, smartest people in the world, they believe money grows on trees-whatever. Kids figure out all these things on their own. It's the process of discovering rational thinking-they need to be able to process these things on their own rather than having a kindly stepparent there to let them know that things they believe are just wrong. I remember when my dd was 3 or 4 and ss was about 8. my dd would say all sorts of silly things as that is what kids that age do-he was always there to tell her how stupid she was and how wrong she was. I am not saying you are telling your skids they are stupid but you are letting them know they are wrong-I remember getting on him and telling him to knock it off and that he didn't know everything either and it wasnt his place to tell her what she needed to think or believe. ideally, in your situation bm can share her beliefs and your dh can share his as well without having to actually say anything about bm. These things dont even have to be discussed in the same conversation. And then as the kids grow and mature and move into rational thought they will choose the thing that makes the most sense to them.