Karis's picture

Advice on how to deal with Mom who is just ruining her relationship with her daughter.

First off, I'm not entirely sure that this is the correct forum, as she doesn't have any documented mental illness, if it's the wrong one, I'm truly sorry and will repost in the proper forum once someone tells me which one it is.

My soon-to-be step kids have been living with us since 2005. My fiance was awarded sole physical and legal custody of them after a 3 year long custody battle in which it was proven that their Mom's boyfriend (now husband) was abusing the children. He (the mom's husband) is not allowed (and has not been allowed) any contact with the children. (If there is any more detail needed, let me know!)

Two years ago, there was a major change in my STB-SD's attitude towards her mother. She(the mom) had canceled their visit, stating she had to work late. I texted and called her that day, trying to find out if she would like to have them the next day instead, she didn't answer me. My STB-SD also texted her that day, because she wanted to know if she could make plans with her friends the next day, or if her mother would be having them. Mom also didn't answer her. Since she works about 10 mins from where we were at the time, I decided to drop by her work and ask her, also giving her time to see the kids if she couldn't have them the next day. She wasn't there. I went in by myself and asked for her, the worker there said she had left at her normal time. I did not tell them this, but they did notice that I got back into the car without talking to her, so I did tell them she wasn't there, but also stated that she might have been called to a different franchise or to a work meeting or something.

At 10:30 that night, Mom finally texted her daughter, stating that she was sorry that she didn't answer, as she was at work. STB-SD took this as a lie to her (even though I had given her more options that may have happened, she also refused to talk to her mother about it). Ever since then, she's been disillusioned with her mother.

She turns 16 in a few days now, and for the past few months, Mom has been telling her that when she's 16, she can decide if she wants to have contact with her step father, she can decide if she wants to go to holidays at their place, with the step father present. She also has been telling her that she can decide to come back and live with her Mom, and that she "knows" that's what she wants. Also, for the past several years, Mom has taken the visitation time to bad mouth my fiance and I. My STB-SD is SICK of it. Her mom cancels their visits all the time now, a few months ago she didn't see them for nearly 2 months straight. She only has one day of visitation and, until a month ago, it was for 2 1/2 hours. For the last month, she's had them for 4 hours one day a week. I take them to all their visits and pick them up.

Her Mom never just talks to her, it's always yakking about how awful my fiance and I are, or telling her how great her step father is and how nice it will be to have her living with them again. My STB-SD hates going there, hates sitting through this all. She will not, however, talk to her Mom about it. She's afraid that it will turn her visits into even MORE bad mouthing and accusations of us turning her against her Mom.

I'm just so at a loss here. She really should have a good relationship with her Mom, her father and I try so hard to excuse her Mom's behavior and give alternatives to what STB-SD tells us she thinks is happening. I go out of my way to make sure that the Mom is informed on everything, I copy report cards to give to her, I make sure she knows about school events. When my STB-SD had her first homecoming dance, I went and picked up Mom and took her with us to go shopping for the dress. I have offered to drive up there on different days, at whatever times she wants, so she can see them. I can't understand how she can say that we're not trying our best to give her the opportunity to be with and know her kids. We do not bad mouth her as she does us, in fact, we do the exact opposite and say NICE things about her.

I want to help my STB-SD, but I can't think of anything to do anymore. Any ideas?

Thank you,

StickAFork's picture

At 16, SD is getting old

At 16, SD is getting old enough to see her mom for who see is. I wouldn't speak badly about her, but SD will figure it out. Sadly.

Stick a fork in me... I'm done...

Karis's picture

Yeah, I think that's probably

Yeah, I think that's probably what's happening. She's realized that Mom chose her new hubby over her kids, and I think that it hurts her. Sad My STB-SS is doing the complete opposite and defending Mom to STB-SD and going out of his way to be "Mommy's little boy".

I just wish that I could talk to their Mom and tell her myself what she's doing, before she has NO relationship whatsoever with her daughter. :-\

Thank you,

Karis's picture

Ok wow, I can certainly see

Ok wow, I can certainly see what you mean. I guess I never really thought of it that way. I have, over and over again, explained that the abuse was in no way, shape or form her fault. She also knows that we feel, and have always felt that the abuse was wrong, wrong, wrong. We also have NO problem vilifying the SF. Eye-wink I have talked to her about perhaps going to counseling again (She's gone twice, once during the court proceedings, and once for several months when she was 11 because Mom was telling her that, at 12, she could decide to move back with her and it was causing her all sorts of problems at school) and she did say she was honestly thinking about it. Then she said that she didn't want to go, because she doesn't see how it would help her. My STB-SD and I have a great relationship and she comes to me with any and all of her problems. When the problems are about her Mom, she and her father and I (I usually just sit and listen so that I know what he's said to her) talk about them. She's also gone to him on her own volition. She doesn't feel that he understands her though, or that he understands just what her mother will do should she try talking to her about this stuff, because he's always telling her that she should talk to her Mom about all of this. She's absolutely DREADING her 16th B-day because of all of this.

I just want to make everything all better, like I did when she was younger with a "boo-boo" and it frustrates me that I cannot.

Thank you,

Edit: I should probably mention that my fiance has not seen, nor spoken to his children's Mom in about 2 years or so.

Orange County Ca's picture

I agree with the others who

I agree with the others who want you to stop making excuses for the mother. She is what she is and you can't cover for her forever. Should the girl ask a question you cannot answer simply say so. "I don't know".

It's Ok to tell her "I wish your Mom....." whatever but no coverups. My ol Pappy told me that "Disapointment is a part of life" and unfortunately she'll learn a little earlier then you had hoped.


I've observed humans for 70 years and dogs for 10. I prefer the dogs.

LRP75's picture

Please stop giving

Please stop giving alternatives to what her mother is doing. You are just teaching the girl to explain away bad behavior. This is going to become a huge problem when she gets older and in relationships with other people. She's old enough to validate what she already knows to be true. Teach her how to trust her own instincts and to listen to that voice inside and to be able to make decisions based upon that instinct. For the love of God, please stop teaching her to explain away bad behavior.

I don't cater to crazy.

Karis's picture

Well, I honestly never

Well, I honestly never thought of it as teaching her to explain away bad behavior. It's just that we don't KNOW if it's for one reason or another (Like with her not being at work, she absolutely *Could* have been at a meeting or another store). She's asked me, on occasion, if her Mom actually cares about them (her and her brother). While honestly sometimes it sure seems like she doesn't, I feel the need to say that "of course she cares about you guys". Is that something I should have said "I don't know" to?

I just want to help my STB-SD to be happy again, I wish she could be looking forward to turning 16 instead of wishing it wasn't going to happen. She's extremely worried that her Mom will go through on the ideas she has about having her around her SF. I have told her that if that ever happens, she can leave their residence and use her cell phone to call me to come and get her. If she feels especially threatened, her grandmother and aunt(on her father's side) live in the same building and to go to their apartment. In fact, when she misbehaves and gets grounded from her phone, her father and I make a special exception on the grounding for her to have her phone at her Mom's, just in case.

My fiance keeps telling her to talk to her Mom about everything that she is feeling, but, as I said earlier, she is very worried that it will make the visits even MORE unbearable. :-\

Thank you,

StepKidto3Momto3's picture

You can reassure your SD that

You can reassure your SD that the court will not allow her to choose where she lives at 16. In some states, if mom can prove a change in the child's circumstances, only then will the child be even asked her opinion. You haven't mentioned any change in her circumstances, so mom is out of luck.

Counseling may be a good thing in that if mom somehow gets it to court, the counselor can testify (if she thinks it is not in 16s best interest to live with mom, that holds a lot of weight).

Love your children more than you hate your ex.

Thirty million children are currently living with one parent and their parent's SO. We owe it to them to get this right.