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BM is now the wicked stepmother

1dad4kids's picture

SS11 arrived today and hadn't been here 10 minutes before asking to speak with me privately.

Turns out while he was here last, BM took away his oldest StepSister's phone for "doing something bad" so StepSister took off to her Mom's and refuses to come back.

SS11 confided to me that StepSister said something bad about each member of the family. He said BM told him that StepSister said he hogs the electronics. I didn't ask what she said about the other members but SS11 said BM wouldn't tell him because it was so bad.

I asked him why he thought BM told him what StepSister said about him. He said he figured it was because he asked. He seemed a bit defensive so I just said "I was just wondering if you'd thought about what your Mom's goal was for telling you". He said he thought maybe just to let him know. 

He also said BM told him he wasn't allowed to talk to younger stepsister about it, since she was probably confused and feeling angry. 

I asked SS11 how he's feeling about it and he's mad at StepSister. He said that he "got her back" by said she has electronics in her room so if she thinks he's hogging them she can go elsewhere. 

He also said this whole thing reminded him of when StepSisters mom got the StepDad fired. I said I didn't know the details about that and he said that the StepDads BM "lied to his job". I feel like it would have to be one hell of a lie to get fired from a job you worked at for 15 years. 

I told him there are 3 sides to every story, and that neither the StepDad or his BM are telling the whole truth. I said it was the same with StepSister and BM. He agreed he didn't know all the information. I asked him to just be supportive and not to choose sides. He said he tries but he's not allowed to talk to his sister's about it so he only knows one of the three sides. 

Bravo BM. 

I'm not entirely sure what SS11 was hoping to gain by talking with me, I think mostly he just needs a neutral party to hear him out. He would never go to his Dad with this kind of stuff. 


lieutenant_dad's picture

Kids who ask questions do so because they don't fully believe what they've been told. They may not know how to articulate the feeling of "trust but verify" and "taking it with a grain of salt". Until kids are learning how to reason, the world is pretty black and white. Your SS is at an age where he's realizing it's not that simple.

He knows you're a stepmom, and a mom. He also probably knows, or feels, that his BM isn't always right. He may not think she's a liar, but that she just may not have the whole story. You can help provide perspective that he may not realize he needs. He also knows you'll stay pretty neutral, as you assume.

You handled it well. You put it back on him to think it through, you gave him advice on not taking sides unless he knows the whole story, and you didn't let him trash his family. This is all really good, and he'll either continue to confide in your or he'll realize you won't gossip with him and he won't come back in the future. Win-win.

1dad4kids's picture

In the moment I can remove myself and I try my best to offer him the support and advice he needs. 

But when we're done I get angry towards that idiotic BM

lieutenant_dad's picture

Trust me, I get it. YSS is having several realizations and took a huge leap forward in maturity in recent months. It's good, but it also comes out of ET being a dumba$$. It's hard not to be angry at adults acting like teenagers and the teenagers act more mature.

JRI's picture

He realizes you are a fair, non-judgemental person who can keep a confidence.  That's a good relationship to have with him.  It's good that you didn't badmouth his mom altho I'm sure in your mind, you had plenty to say.  

I learned over the years not to say anything negative about the step family members to any of them, including talking down one of the kids to another.  This is a ticklish situation since SD59 is so problematic, even to her brothers.  If they bring her up, I'm non-committal but I try to be honest, too.  It's a tough balance.  I try to stay with the facts, not opinion.  A few months ago, OSS56 asked what I thought would happen to her in the future.  I said, "Im not sure, what do you think?"  

Steplife, never easy.....


1dad4kids's picture

56 is pretty late to be wondering about the future. 

Steplife is truly never easy...

JRI's picture

My DH83 is "handling" the SD59 issue now, ie, we are subsidizing her living expenses and he is keeping tabs on her, responding to emergencies, car trouble, etc.  I think SS56 is looking ahead to when DH passes and worried he will get stuck in that role.  It could happen if his boundaries aren't strong.  It wont be me because Im moving.