Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms wrote in, Cathryn replied​.
Cathryn's Mailbox
2 Youngsters I can't control.

3 yr old SS crying all the time!

A bio-mom worried about new stepmom in her daughter's life- can we help?

About ready to throw in the towel!

About to become a step parent and am terrified!

Bio mom badmouthing me to my stepson & he repeats to me & my kids.

Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do?

Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.

Bio-mom is online stalking & has issues w/ pictures of skids.

Bio-mom physically assaulted me & telling skids it was the other way around?

Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what?

BM doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on?

Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS-revised

Dealing w/ bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me?

Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family

Dealing with SD at my young age

DH finds out he has a daughter-I feel terrible

DH sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do?

DH w/3 bio-kids not trying to bond w/ my 2 bio kids.

Do I love my ss? I don't know.

Does the BB help or hurt with issues?

Don't know where I went wrong

Ever Feel Like Leaving?

FDH feels guilty about leaving BM & allows her to excessively call/text/email him.

Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help!

Feeling like the enemy in my own house: Teen SD

Feeling resentment towards my SS & can't connect

From BB- A Ritual for you & your beloved

From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that?

Help w/situation that dad, biomom & skid all agree on but I don’t feel is best

Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS

How can I find the right balance & Boundaries?

How can I handle my SD8 who loves negative attention?

How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family when I'm more realistic about it?

How do I deal with a lying SD, her bio-mom & the ex-step mom?

How do I deal with all the hurt and anger?

How do I help her understand that chores and rules don't mean that I don’t love her?

How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend?

How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices?

How to deal w/ unkind skids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship?

how to deal w/SD choosing bio-mom for school play?

How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$?

How to handle it when skids away Christmas Day?

How to help ss, when BM encourages him to lie?

How to help when bio-mom returns

How to let go of the single life I thought I saw going to live versus being SMOM?

How to make transition easier for skids?

how to step back in after stepping out?

Husband still feels guilty, his kids in their 30’s

I am frustrated with my skids 99% of the time...help!

I feel jealous of DH's ex & unheard by DH-Help!

I feel left out & sort of invisible w/ grown SD’s

I really love my FDH, but really wish his daughter didn't exist?

I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson

I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter

I want my bed back

I would like to know how to change my attitude towards my new inherited family

I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me.

If you're in the mood for SMOMS Pep Talk-read this!

Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough

It's too much work- I need help from DH & Family!

Jealous of sister-in-law & Skids-what can I do?

Just jealous or maybe time to leave?

Local support stepmom groups???

My DH doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt

My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night.

Need better coping skills but..how to do so…

Not a step mom yet but need some guidance

Open for your Questions in March 2015

Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!!

Self-Pity-it's an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic

Someone to talk to when things come up or whenever?

SS5 keeps throwing his BM in my face! Help!

Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter

Stubborn DH and sexually active teenage SS

teenage step daughter & car...Ugh!

the problem is my partner...why is he fighting my efforts?

Transitions and Coparenting Struggles

Trouble coping w/BF's newborn & ex.

Venting Guidelines- A Requested approach

What are reasonable expectations?

What are these letters?

What boundaries do I need to set with husband and sd?

What can we do about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help!

What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old SS

What to do when Bio mom starts turning step daughter against me?

what to do when step child stops saying I love you?

When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your DH?

When BM causes drama, how to prevent that impacting my relationship w/ the skids?

When to call it quits? What to do?

When winning more important to bio-mom than getting along

Why do things Skid's say bother me so & what to do?-Updated!

Why does it bother me that my skids don't recognize how much their father does for th

Why does my ss's rudeness bother me so?

Why does my stepson Idolize his bio-mom????

Why don't I matter in the family?

Why so jealous? What about irrational fears?

How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend?
Dear Cathryn,

SD has been faking illness to get attention.  
Most recently she started staring off into space in the middle of conversation.  
I told her to stop and she did.  
She went back to BM's house and did it there.  
BM wanted to take her to the hospital for epilepsy testing.  
SD admitted she was doing it for attention from BM.
 
Not two hours after talking to her about lying she lied to me about having cramps. Her cramps suddenly went away when DH wanted to go out to dinner and I said SD wasn't filling up to it.  We again addressed lying and took away all electronics.  Next day SD complains of head ache while we are eating dinner.  Her head didn't hurt too much to laugh at DH jokes but did hurt to much to eat dinner.  We sent her to bed early.

We want to ask BM about taking SD to counseling.  
However, DH says BM will not react kindly to this.
What else can DH and I do to impress upon SD lying is unacceptable?

Thank you, SG

CATHRYN’S REPLY

Dear SG, Thanks for writing in. Seems lying and skids is a common behavior. I hope that you have registered on the board so you can get the opinions and suggestions from the many women who have been dealing with this for years.

Lying, a way to get attention, feel powerful, attempt to manipulate, show disdain, etc seems a tangled way for stepkids to get attention, just as you suggested. skids and kid are experts at using the negative behavior to connect and get the attention of adults but everyone pays a terrible price for that choice.

I wonder... what if you told her directly the 3,5 10 healthy acceptable things she could do to get everyone’s attention? What if you told her an if/then list of ways to get the attention she needed in ways that are AOK for you all? This is a different approach from trying to counter-control her behaviors but one that has worked in many cases.

What do I mean? Well, what if you asked her if she’d like to have 30 minutes before bed with one on one attention from you, her mom or dad or bio-mom BF? What if you told her that whenever she felt lonely or sad or scared or bored (whatever you think is going on) that she could “make a reservation” to spend some time with you, her Dad, etc? What if you all started a couple of new rituals at your house? Like at meals, everyone gets a few minutes to talk about their day (the indians used to have a talking stick and when the person talking-had the talking stick, no one interrupted). What kinds of new ways can you create her getting attention for doing positive things that are fun for all?

Are you up for some creative new projects that would give her a chance to shift her creativity from lying to some craft or family project. I don’t know how old she is so you’d have to conjure up some age -appropriate ideas.

What about consequences? Can you lay out the consequences of lying (both incident related and more importantly the issue of trust.) Can you explain to her about trust and how her actions are wearing away trust, which is something she is going to want from you as she gets older. Does she know the story of the “Boy who cried wolf”? Losing the trust of the adults in her life, and all that this means as she gets older, could have a greater impact/meaning to her than losing her games. I know it sounds odd, but sometimes children view these punishments as the price they have to pay to get the attention they crave so deeply.

I don’t know if that is what’s going on with your SD, just lots of food for thought.

My favorite book about teenagers may help, if she is a teen or preteen. (Get out of my life, but first can you drive me and Cheryl to the mall? by Anthony Wolf). He also wrote a book about younger kids and I bet it is a good one as well, maybe something to check out and write a review for us, if it is of value.

From a personal perspective, watching stepkids do things, get away with things and not have to do things that we differs from our childhoods can stir up a whole bunch of rage within ourselves-from seemingly nowhere. I know this first hand. If there’s any chance that her actions could be stirring up more anger in you than may seem expected, this could signal a chance for you to free up some feelings fro your past. Did you lie as a child? Did you get in trouble? What would have happened to you if you did whatever she did? Were you punished in ways that were unfair to you as a child? What feelings does the child, you used to be, have about whatever your SD is doing?

Giving your time and attention to your own thoughts and feelings will always be a good use of your time. I hope something here is helpful to you.

Best Wishes, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055
609.206.2009
Cathryn@smoms.org