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Unfit Stepmother

Posted by Good Fortune , 04 December 2010 · 1544 views

Shamelessly seeking vindication here. Even DH says I went too far. I'm even scared to write this.

Youngest stepdaughter has been cutting the cat's fur. Yes it's funny. Wackford now has a choppy thing going on at the back of his head. So I asked the 3 girls who did it. Even asked DH if he did it. Long story short, the only person who would possibly have done it is the youngest one, but she denied denied denied it.Despite being seen with scissors! Even though she knows nothing more than a telling off would ensue, she continued to deny it.

Her lying got the better of my usual good nature and I got a pair of scissors and threatened to cut her sister's hair, the middle girl, who is delightful and never lies. Middle girl got very upset and started crying and STILL the youngest girl didn't own up. DH then shouted at the youngest child and eventually she apologised to us and (when asked again!) confessed.

I don't know what came over me! Total over-reaction. Reading it back it sounds like sick, psychological blackmail. I took one child hostage in order to get the other to confess! It's almost biblical! I thought that the sight of her sister distressed would make her own up. I am concerned that her character is fixed and she will use deception to suit her needs all through her life. I get so cross when she lies. Oh blimey I hope I don't letters! But she is naughty, then lies about it and is happy for someone else to take the blame.

But what do I even care? They aren't my children. Not my problem. The cat's fur will grow back. I cat my cat's fur when I was a kid.

2 things spring to mind:
DH and I shouldn't have children because we would disagree on discipline.
Disciplining children is HARD! Parenting is HARD! I think whatever I did I'd be wracked with guilt!

Anyway, we've all kissed and made up and I cuddled the middle child and apologised for scaring her. Then I added, jokingly, "The thing is, nobody knows if I really would have done it!"
And DH muttered, "I do!"

Dont feel bad. LOL. My youngest son is a fibber, and it is SO frustrating. When your stepdaughter learns that there are consequences to telling lies she will get it and hopefully stop. Not sure how old she is but my son is now 9 and is starting to really understand what happens if he fibs.

Good luck but dont be too hard on yourself...
Hang in there GF!!

I think all parents occasionally wander towards the dark side.

In fact, I distinctly remember arguing with my mother, her chasing me out of the house (me in my jammies) both of us shrieking to beat the band, her chasing me across the garden and into the garage, and chasing me around the car. She lost it. I was probably pushing it.

I survived.
And I continue to survive, hopefully to inflict myself on any children which may miraculously be created through the joys of ART.

Not sure this is helpful, but just wanted to post my support for you.


Ps. Oh - and I actually had an evil stepmother too.....now she was a evil self-serving manipulative bitch. But that's another story and I'm sure you're nothing like that.
((GF)), ((Wackford)), ((Middle child)).

Personally, I think you'd be an amazing mum (feel free to adopt me if you don't mind having a 'daughter' older than you). And, yeah - it is hard and guilt is a fairly frequent visitor. Not quiet as frequent as worry, but .... Most of us wander into the 'darkside' one way or another at some point. What's important is wandering back and being big enough to own up to it. You score on both of those.
Dec 04 2010 06:29 PM
Don't be too hard on yourself GF....stuff like that happens in my house on a daily basis! I could give you 20 stories just like that one. I suppose the first couple times I probably felt bad too....but over the years I have gotten over it. I don't spank my kids but a little psychological manipulation can come in handy sometimes. lol There's nothing wrong with the kids wondering if mommy is going to go a little psycho. Makes them think twice before they really do something bad!

Seriously though, you didn't mean to scare your step-daughter like that. We are all human and sometimes we get a little carried away. But that's the thing about being a parent. Sometimes we screw up. But that's how we learn and that is how we become better at it. And your step daughter learned a valuable lesson too. She learned that sometimes people can hurt other people without meaning to, and that when that happens she should step up and admit it and apologize. So good job GF. Well done!
First, a good laugh...and I second LilyGirl's post as this doesn't seem all that psycho in my world of parenting. This will hopefully be one of those stories your kiddo's will tease you about in about 20yrs. If anything it demonstrates that you are very much like a mother to them or at least were acting like one! AND you apologized so important in raising good kids, you have to teach them why it's important to apologize and how to, as well.
First of all, lmao!!!! Second, we all overdo it sometimes. You owned your actions and apologized, just like you expect the little one to own her lies. As for the lying, I don't know how old she is, but I do know that in most cases it's just a phase. Annoying, but it passes.

ps How does the cat feel about his little barber? hehehe
I thought you were going to say that you cut a big choppy piece out of the back of youngest daughters hair. That would have been funny :banana: Especially if you blamed the cat and said HE knew who cut his hair and was only getting back at her! I can think of lots of worse things that you could have done. Don't beat yourself up, we've all done things in the heat of the moment that we aren't proud of later. I think the fact that you apologized afterwards will help validate for the girls that you didn't intend to hurt their feelings, you just didn't want to tolerate the lying.
I agree with everyone here, could have been way worse.. and we all over react sometimes... i too have a step daughter... she is wonderful and i have been in her life since she was a baby she in now 12... we get along great!! But there have been times i have over reacted too.... I also look back before i had my son and i can see 2 things.... how wonderful it was that we had her through all of our years of IF struggles, we still had a child in our lives... but also had hard it was to deal with a child that was my husbands and not mine while i struggled for so many years to concieve.... I love my step daughter so much... but now that im not living with such sadness and always in an IF funk i find it so much easier to deal with other kids too.... You said sorry... all made up... dont beat yourself up........ and im sure you and your DH will do fine working out disipline for your children together, its just like marraige alot of team work and communication but all worth it in the end.....

Ps.... Hopefully you dont have 2 deal with a call from the childrens mother over this when they go home....
Dec 04 2010 11:21 PM
I have a mental picture of the scene and now I'm giggling.
I dont know how many times I have taken toys or tv away from all the kids because I know that it will make the innocent gang up on the guilty and they will confess out of fear of their siblings.
Not likely the best approach but sometimes moms (and stepmoms) just do what works.
Dec 04 2010 11:48 PM
I agree this will be quite the funny tale and will end up as one of those stories that you will laugh about in years to come. Don't worry there isn't another parent that I know of that hasn't gone to the dark side on more than one occasion. You acknowledged and apologized for it and good thing you didn't have to follow through on your threat cus that would have been a drag. She sounds like a smart girl and will test the boundaries again because that's what kids do and what is part of growing up.
When my daughter was 14 she went through this rude and obnoxious phase and would slam doors-well I then told her that privacy was a privilege and that if she couldn't be respectful I was going to take her bedroom door away. Sure enough she slammed it again and I had to follow through and take her door away even though that was the last thing I wanted to do and then I was forced to look at her messy room for a month.
So, sounds like to me you are a great step-parent/mom because you were aware of what happened and able to talk about it as a family and then be reflective of the situation with others.
When I was young (possibly the same age as your youngest) I did the EXACT same thing. I took a gob of hair off the cat and denied it with the scissors in my hands. Mom promtley took the scissors out of my hand and took a hunk of my fringe right off! I was devestated! She said "now you know how the cat feels". I spent the weekend looking like a complete twit with my bangs missing a perfect square of hair and then mom took me to get a hair cut on Monday. I went from half way down my back hair to a bowl cut.
I never cut the cat's hair again.

I think your little experiment gave some great insight into your youngest character. Now you know for certain that she is infact a liar and manipulator and clearly has no sense of morals when it comes to others being hurt for/by her. So now - if you choose, you have some work to do with her to understand compassion and empathy and the like. I know she is step.... but clearly no one else has stood up to the bat on that!

Best of luck!
    • papoose76 likes this
Number 1: I happen to think that your strategy was a good way to have some insight into how her mind/personality feels about her deceiving you about cutting the cats fur!

#2 I have a scenario that might help for next time. When I was little my cousin and I would not let my little sister play with us at something or other. She told my dad. My dad wanting to seem the hero took me and said cousin into a bedroom next to where my sister was and told us to scream loudly as he hit the sole of his shoe with the broom handle. We did. He then told us that we were hurting my sisters feelings as much as the spanking he had given his shoe would have hurt us has he delivered it to our bottoms so we best smarten up and play nicely. We walked out of that room total conspirators, rubbing our backsides and apologizing to my dad ( and then my sister ) for not playing together nicely. I actually have such fond memories of that event! So maybe next time try talking with all the children privately and let them (the non-liars) in on the plan before hand to avoid anyone getting too scared. They will likely feel like a million bucks to know that you have a little secret together.

#3: Motherhood, and obviously, step-motherhood, are tough jobs. Guilt and the title go hand in hand. You did a great job if you ask me - the best you probably felt you could at the time anyway, I'm sure. Don't be so hard on yourself!
    • gibasgirl likes this
GF, you're not an unfit step-mother. Sometimes kids push us to the limit wether or not they are biologically ours. Guilt, you will feel of course, because you're human. I'm sure many parents overreact at times.
GF....don't be so rough on yourself hun, my stepson lies a little...DH & I know where he gets it from (HIS MOTHER!!)

Teaching your step daughters right from wrong...truth from lies....good from bad...is good parenting on your part as far as im concerned.
Ok..so threatening the middle child with hair loss might have been a little over the top LOL..but hey...it worked didnt it :P
I am a stepmom too, and this made me laugh out loud!! :P I agree with the others, and hopefully it worked and she will not cut the cat's fur again. What's important is to correct the behaviour right away, and I think you did just that.
Good Fortune
Dec 06 2010 12:32 PM
Haven't checked back in for a couple of days as I was too scared!
I still regret upsetting the middle child. It was a twisted thing to do. I really thought she would own up at that point, but she obviously thought, HELL NO! Let my sister lose her locks! I don't know if it was insightful or not. Would I have owned up? Yes. I would have.

I am concerned about a side of her character and so's DH.

I think I'm absolved in middle child's eyes, as I spent all yesterday afternoon watching her do athletics in high heels in the cold. (I was the one in high heels, not her.)

For the record, I didn't apologise to youngest SD, but I did thank her for apologising to her sister, to me and to Wackford.

So far no letters.

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