Author Topic: When someone else tries to scold your kid...More BG 20  (Read 8036 times)

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lynnetteleigh

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When someone else tries to scold your kid...More BG 20
« on: September 08, 2013, 12:26:20 AM »
BG: My DH and I live in a different state from his family(about a 15 hour drive). So we only see them about once or twice a year. He tries to set up a week or 2 that his son(my stepson, age 5) stays with his grandmother(MIL) for each of these visits. During one of these visits my stepson was left unattended near a pool with his 8 year old cousin. My stepson jumped in without any floatation device and was saved from drowning by this cousin. My MIL mentioned this after stepson was back with us and brought it up like "Just incase he mentions it...".

The situation prompting the question is:
So I was home alone with my stepson and we were eating lunch. He starts telling me this "story" that he prefaces with a "don't tell my Dad this story because it's so embarrassing". Then proceeds to tell me this very detailed story about how when he was at his grandmothers during the last trip they were standing outside her apartment and a man and woman got in a fight and the man pulled a gun. He said his and his grandmother stood "still as statues" so the man wouldn't see them. I questioned him a lot during this story and some of his answers didn't make sense.. but then the detail he gave me in other answers made me text my DH. The almost drowning incident made me think this could be a very real thing that he was told to stay quiet about. I also asked my DSS if he had seen this on tv and was confusing it with real life. His grandmother had told me that they had watched the show Castle while he was visiting last time, which from what I can tell is not an appropriate show for a 5 year old....but she kept claiming he was playing on an iPad while the show was on and not paying attention to the tv...

Well my DH immediately confronted his mother about this. Asking if she asked my DSS to keep anything from the visit secret. When my DH got home he questioned my DSS more and it turns out DSS really just made up some elaborate story. He was scolded. Told that if he makes up stories he needs to start the story by telling us it isn't something real. DSS was extremely upset and crying when he realized that his story had made us extremely worried and had us questioning his grandmother. They tried to call grandmother so DSS could apologize but she didn't answer. DH texted his Mom that it appears that DSS made up a very detailed story and how the details he was giving us had worried us.

About a week later DSS calls his grandmother on video chat. She seems very happy to talk to him, does not bring up the story. My DSS then asks to say hi to his grandmothers boyfriend.  As soon as boyfriend gets on he goes "so I want to talk about this story you made up". My very talkative DSS stops talking.

DSS has spent less than 2 weeks around the boyfriend in the past 2 years. He is in no way a grandfather figure to my DSS. This is not someone I feel has any right to scold/explain why something is wrong to my DSS.

My DH was not in the room when this happened. DSS seemed to be really enjoying talking to his grandmother so I just said loudly "DSS tell your grandmother about school and what you've been doing there" and gave him a couple examples of things he could tell her about. They moved on with the conversation. Boyfriend did not interject anymore and grandmother still didn't bring up the story.

My questions is what do I do if the boyfriend brings this up again? Grandmother seems to accept that it was just a mistake a child made and that discipline was handled. But I feel that if I have to "scold" the boyfriend it will start a feud. I was thinking if it's brought up again a statement from DH or I saying "DSS was already disciplined for this. Do not bring it up again" would be appropriate. But this situation also leads me to question how should this be handled in general when someone scolds a child when said child has parents present? My initial reaction is to go into protective mama bear mode of my DSS(Really wanted to yell at boyfriend but I held back).

This boyfriend hasn't shown much of an interest in getting to know DH or I. So I'm not really worried about damaging a relationship with him. More damaging the relationship with MIL by proxy.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 11:49:51 AM by lynnetteleigh »

sweetonsno

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 12:42:43 AM »
I'd ask your DH to talk to your MIL. She should discuss it with her boyfriend and let him know that she's okay with the outcome.

I agree that parents should handle the discipline in a situation like that and that you would be within your rights to tell the boyfriend that you've already discussed it with DSS. That said, the boyfriend is the one who was your MIL hurting. It's understandable that he'd want to defend her, especially if he didn't realize that you had already discussed things with your DSS. It also sounds like he doesn't really have a good handle on the average maturity level of 5-year-olds.

In general, I don't think it's okay to scold a child that isn't your own unless perhaps there is a safety issue. (They're hitting another child or trying to run into a busy street.) Even then, I don't think an "official" scolding is acceptable. I just can't imagine delivering an urgent "stop!" in a calm voice.

*inviteseller

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 12:46:05 AM »
Your MIL has not shown herself to be very trustworthy, so the story DSS told needed to be checked with her.  Once it was discovered to be made up, you, his parents, took care of the discipline and DSS wanted to apologize to MIL.  It was done and over so MIL's BF had absolutely no business saying a word to a DSS, especially as he has no relationship with him and was not involved.  I would just watch any future interactions with this man and step in, like you did, and redirect.  I also would not allow MIL unsupervised visitation anymore.

AnnaJ

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 12:55:06 AM »
Your MIL loves her son and grandson (and hopefully you) and is willing to forgive the fact that your stepson lied (and yes, telling a story and insisting it's the truth is a lie) and that your husband 'confronted' her over the fact, meaning that he thought she bullied your stepson into not telling you about a dangerous event. 

That's a lot to forgive, and it's great that she did so; however, her boyfriend doesn't love your husband and you say he doesn't know your stepson well.  He does, presumably, care for your MIL and saw her hurt by what happened and - not surprisingly - is upset.

I don't think he has a right to lecture your stepson, but I think it's reasonable for you and/or your husband to explain to your stepson why MIL's boyfriend is upset. 

Danika

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 01:07:57 AM »
My take is that what SS said was in fact, partially the truth. And that MIL and possibly her BF told him to keep quiet about it. Then, when you verified with MIL, they excused it as SS is a liar.

Maybe BF wasn't scolding SS for making something up, he was scolding SS for mentioning what happened at all because SS was supposed to keep his mouth shut.

I just don't get a good feeling about MIL or her BF. They shouldn't have been encouraging SS to keep secrets from his father ever. What other secrets do they have SS keeping. I just see red flags.

I, personally, would worry less about BF scolding SS and more about SS being with MIL unsupervised without his father around.

lynnetteleigh

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 01:26:46 AM »
Your MIL loves her son and grandson (and hopefully you) and is willing to forgive the fact that your stepson lied (and yes, telling a story and insisting it's the truth is a lie) and that your husband 'confronted' her over the fact, meaning that he thought she bullied your stepson into not telling you about a dangerous event. 


Just to clarify he did not really insist over and over that this story was true. He told me the story. I questioned it. Told DH and the "confrontation" with is mother was something like:
DH:Did you tell DSS to keep something secret from this last trip?
MIL: No? What did he say?
DH: That someone pulled a gun on his girlfriend and you guys stood really still so he didn't see you?
MIL: CRUD MONKEYS! NO! Nothing like that happened!

And the only reason that happened was because she did keep DSS almost drowning secret for about a week and only mentioned it because she was afraid he'd tell us.

DSS admitted it was a made up story almost immediately to DH. I'll admit I wasn't as forceful in my questioning because I had told DSS multiple times that if an adult tells him to keep something a secret he should tell me, his dad or his mom. He is around a lot of adults I don't know due to him spending time in another state with his mom or with DH's family(and DH admits that grandmother isn't the most trustworthy). So I do really want to drive home that he can tell us anything. I felt really bad about the whole situation turning into what it did because DSS is a very good kid and I do feel like I should have been able to figure out this was a story vs real. This is the first time he has ever made up a lie this elaborate.

I know that boyfriend was most likely defending the grandmother. However the fact that bugged me the most was that she heard boyfriend saying "i'd like to talk about this story you made up" and she didn't say anything. If she was ok/not ok with the story and apology that was the time for her to bring it up with DSS or me. Instead she stayed silent.

Maybe BF wasn't scolding SS for making something up, he was scolding SS for mentioning what happened at all because SS was supposed to keep his mouth shut.

Part of me still suspects part of what DSS said was true because of the way boyfriend reacted(or that at the very least they were watching very inappropriate shows with him). Since we do not live near them though there is no chance that they will have him unsupervised anytime soon. At this point I'm more worried about them making DSS feel worse by harping on something he already feels bad about.

cicero

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 06:16:18 AM »

About a week later DSS calls his grandmother on video chat. She seems very happy to talk to him, does not bring up the story. My DSS then asks to say hi to his grandmothers boyfriend.  As soon as boyfriend gets on he goes "so I want to talk about this story you made up". My very talkative DSS stops talking.

DSS has spent less than 2 weeks around the boyfriend in the past 2 years. He is in no way a grandfather figure to my DSS. This is not someone I feel has any right to scold/explain why something is wrong to my DSS.

I don't want to be an alarmist, but this jumped out at me. Not the fact that the BF was *scolding* your DSS but the fact that there is some kind of "secret" or "lying" or "making up stories" going on and the fact that your DSS clammed up when BF got on the phone.

Call me crazy and over protective - but my creepometer went off.

Hopefully this is *just* about the story he made up, but I would discuss with DSS the whole "good touching/bad touching" and the importance to *not* keep secrets that don't feel right.

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bonyk

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 08:19:23 AM »
In hindsight, I think you should've cut him off immediately with "We've already handled that, BF.  DSS, tell Grandmother about school."

FWIW, My creep-o-meter does not go off at all with this.  I think DSS got quiet because he was embarrassed.  The story was probably something he saw on TV. 

rigs32

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 09:36:33 AM »
I can completely understand why you are upset, however, does the bf have any kids? I don't have kids and if a 5 year old lied about something that happened while visiting my house, I would expect to have a chat with them about it.  To hear that the child's parents would expect me to never address it because they already have would NEVER have crossed my mind.  I would have wanted to explain how such a story made me upset and how it could get me in trouble, not scold or otherwise punish.

Sounds like you might need to communicate your parenting expectations to gm and bf in a bit more detail.

LeveeWoman

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2013, 09:43:51 AM »
I can completely understand why you are upset, however, does the bf have any kids? I don't have kids and if a 5 year old lied about something that happened while visiting my house, I would expect to have a chat with them about it.  To hear that the child's parents would expect me to never address it because they already have would NEVER have crossed my mind.  I would have wanted to explain how such a story made me upset and how it could get me in trouble, not scold or otherwise punish.

Sounds like you might need to communicate your parenting expectations to gm and bf in a bit more detail.

The setting for the story was at his grandmother's apartment, and maybe I've missed it, but she and her boyfriend don't live together.

Pen^2

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2013, 10:12:29 AM »
I can see that the grandmother could have been upset or offended by the whole thing, although to be honest, if a child made up a similar story about me and a parent asked me about it, I wouldn't be offended because safety trumps etiquette. It's what a good parent does. I would be worried, sure, about the fact that the child is making up weird stuff, but I would not hold it against the parent because it's the right thing to do.

That said, let's suppose grandmother was offended and bf was upset/protective over this. He needs to talk to the parents, then, not the five year old. You don't solve things by talking to a kid that young. If grandmother wanted to bring it up, then fine, but it didn't involve the bf and it was clearly a touchy subject that he knew SS felt bad about. I don't see any reason for him to bring it up except to scold SS, which isn't his place to do. Grandmother's to some extent, sure, but not his. It doesn't involve him. He should have talked to the parents in this situation if he felt a need to. Maybe, and this is giving him a big benefit of the doubt, he hugely overestimated the maturity level of five year olds.

I wouldn't let SS have any more unsupervised time with grandmother. She covered up a drowning story for a week(!!!), and only told the truth because she didn't want him to tattle on her? What planet is this okay on? Her reason for coming out with the truth hardly suggests that she'll do the right thing again in the future. She wasn't sorry she did the wrong thing that almost lead to a child's death. She was sorry that she might have gotten caught. Watching unsuitable television with a child in the room is far less serious, but still not acceptable. What if it was hardcore pornography? "Oh, he's just playing on the iPad, he wasn't paying attention," obviously wouldn't cut it. It's an excuse that just doesn't work. If a child is in the same room as a television, a person, or anything else, then they will learn from it to some extent. Clearly he was paying attention enough to make up a story which was horrifying enough to need to be checked out. Maybe grandmother has gotten better since she almost let her grandson drown, but she still has shown herself to not be quite responsible enough to be watching children. The fact that she made excuses about the TV show implies that she knows it was the wrong thing to do, but did it anyway.

*inviteseller

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2013, 10:23:16 AM »
I can completely understand why you are upset, however, does the bf have any kids? I don't have kids and if a 5 year old lied about something that happened while visiting my house, I would expect to have a chat with them about it.  To hear that the child's parents would expect me to never address it because they already have would NEVER have crossed my mind.  I would have wanted to explain how such a story made me upset and how it could get me in trouble, not scold or otherwise punish.

Sounds like you might need to communicate your parenting expectations to gm and bf in a bit more detail.

But this is coming from a person who does not really have any interaction with the child, or his parents.  Also, there has been an instance of dangerous 'don't tell' behavior that the OP's know about, how many more do that not know about?  TBH, I feel OP's DSS DID see something, whether a movie, or tv, or real life and was told don't tell.  And the reason he is now changing his story and saying it is a lie is because he is scared of the 'don't tell'  issue.  A smart adult knows to never use the don't tell line for anything other than a birthday surprise..not for their grandson almost drowning (the more I think of that, the more angry I get, not just about the irresponsibility of grandma, but of telling this poor child to keep such a scary thing from his parents so she doesn't get in trouble).  The boys reaction to grandma's boyfriend could be telling too.  I would never allow my child around these 2 unsupervised at all, if I even allowed them to see him.

Pen^2

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2013, 10:29:19 AM »
I can completely understand why you are upset, however, does the bf have any kids? I don't have kids and if a 5 year old lied about something that happened while visiting my house, I would expect to have a chat with them about it.  To hear that the child's parents would expect me to never address it because they already have would NEVER have crossed my mind.  I would have wanted to explain how such a story made me upset and how it could get me in trouble, not scold or otherwise punish.

Sounds like you might need to communicate your parenting expectations to gm and bf in a bit more detail.

But this is coming from a person who does not really have any interaction with the child, or his parents.  Also, there has been an instance of dangerous 'don't tell' behavior that the OP's know about, how many more do that not know about?  TBH, I feel OP's DSS DID see something, whether a movie, or tv, or real life and was told don't tell.  And the reason he is now changing his story and saying it is a lie is because he is scared of the 'don't tell'  issue.  A smart adult knows to never use the don't tell line for anything other than a birthday surprise..not for their grandson almost drowning (the more I think of that, the more angry I get, not just about the irresponsibility of grandma, but of telling this poor child to keep such a scary thing from his parents so she doesn't get in trouble).  The boys reaction to grandma's boyfriend could be telling too.  I would never allow my child around these 2 unsupervised at all, if I even allowed them to see him.

Aye. Although we don't know about the gun incident, the notion that an adult would actually try to convince a child not to tell his own parents about him nearly drowning makes me sick to the stomach. Personally, I wouldn't let such people see my child unsupervised again as a minimum, and depending on where they fell on the spectrum of "apologise-make excuses" I'd never speak to them again. It's just so very, very wrong. To further realise that this tiny five year old is growing up with the idea that lying to one's parents about danger and death is a normal thing to do is horrifying. Perhaps that was the original seed of this current situation.

LeveeWoman

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2013, 10:30:57 AM »
I can see that the grandmother could have been upset or offended by the whole thing, although to be honest, if a child made up a similar story about me and a parent asked me about it, I wouldn't be offended because safety trumps etiquette. It's what a good parent does. I would be worried, sure, about the fact that the child is making up weird stuff, but I would not hold it against the parent because it's the right thing to do.

That said, let's suppose grandmother was offended and bf was upset/protective over this. He needs to talk to the parents, then, not the five year old. You don't solve things by talking to a kid that young. If grandmother wanted to bring it up, then fine, but it didn't involve the bf and it was clearly a touchy subject that he knew SS felt bad about. I don't see any reason for him to bring it up except to scold SS, which isn't his place to do. Grandmother's to some extent, sure, but not his. It doesn't involve him. He should have talked to the parents in this situation if he felt a need to. Maybe, and this is giving him a big benefit of the doubt, he hugely overestimated the maturity level of five year olds.

I wouldn't let SS have any more unsupervised time with grandmother. She covered up a drowning story for a week(!!!), and only told the truth because she didn't want him to tattle on her? What planet is this okay on? Her reason for coming out with the truth hardly suggests that she'll do the right thing again in the future. She wasn't sorry she did the wrong thing that almost lead to a child's death. She was sorry that she might have gotten caught. Watching unsuitable television with a child in the room is far less serious, but still not acceptable. What if it was hardcore pornography? "Oh, he's just playing on the iPad, he wasn't paying attention," obviously wouldn't cut it. It's an excuse that just doesn't work. If a child is in the same room as a television, a person, or anything else, then they will learn from it to some extent. Clearly he was paying attention enough to make up a story which was horrifying enough to need to be checked out. Maybe grandmother has gotten better since she almost let her grandson drown, but she still has shown herself to not be quite responsible enough to be watching children. The fact that she made excuses about the TV show implies that she knows it was the wrong thing to do, but did it anyway.

Those are very concerning. I wonder if her boyfriend's attempt to chastise him was a way to take the heat off of grandmother for her failure to supervise.

Goosey

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Re: When someone else tries to scold your kid...
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2013, 10:41:50 AM »
Did your husband and son apologize to the grandmother?

If not, I think they owe her one. This stopped being a matter between just you, your husband and your son when your husband scolded his mother over a fib your son told you about her. He brought the grandmother and her support in to it.

I don't think this is a safety trumps etiquette thing - there's no evidence the kid is in immediate danger. And I don't think it was inappropriate for the boyfriend to bring it up because he was probably the one comforting the grandmother when she was unfairly confronted. And I think any accusation of deeper and darker dangers because the bf dared bring up an issue that hasn't been resolved to the satisfaction of everyone that was hurt by your son's actions is ludicrous.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 10:43:25 AM by Goosey »