How do you know if DSC is being coached by RP?

(42 Posts)
dignifiedsilence Tue 16-Apr-13 08:56:33

I am asking this question purely out of interest. I have read so many threads on this I just wondered other than them actually telling you themselves has anyone noticed changes in their behaviour that would suggest them being told how to behave around you as a SP?
Thanks in advance smile

Lostinsuffolk Tue 16-Apr-13 09:18:23

Yep. MyDSD (she lives with her mum) was told to cause an argument once with her brother (lives with us) over Mother's Day which she admitted when we asked her why she was asking strange questions at the tea table. She then admitted what my DP's Ex had asked her to do.

When me and DP got together I had the same thing as DSC's were told I was horrible and should not be trusted (I was not OW, Ex had multiple affairs).

Hope that helps. smile

dignifiedsilence Tue 16-Apr-13 09:55:12

Yeah I am waiting for all this to happen to me to be honest. LO has been quite happy with me around but last 2 weeks she has been really funny with me. She seems a bit stressed whereas before she has been quite happy. I am wondering if it is with all the changes at home alately (see previous thread) or whether the drip fed poison has started from her mum and rest of her family. The older kids are so bitter and twisted I dread whats in store for me. x

Kaluki Tue 16-Apr-13 12:36:21

Mine are definitely.
DSD is a mighty mouth though and always lets it slip that "Mummy says...!"
Usually its just petty stupid things though, nothing major yet. The worst so far was that we took them all to Alton Towers with a group of friends and they were both told not to go on any rides at all so we were a bit hmm when they both refused to join in with the others. We carried on without them and eventually DSD let slip that mummy told them all the rides there were unsafe (even though she had taken them the year before!)
Sad cow - she hates them having any fun with us. Now we don't ever tell her what our plans are so she can't coach them.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 16-Apr-13 14:38:30

Where do I start? I appreciate our case is extreme, but has been textbook in terms of the DCs behaviour.

DSD became very defiant and rude; she also deliberately damaged items in our home that she knew were important to DP. She was coached by her Mum by text while with us; her mum would send texts saying how she couldn't cope without the DSC but not to worry, and that DSD should 'make the best of it'. She eventually rejected DP completely, while still expecting him to know about her life and to accept/tolerate her rudeness. For instance, 3 months after refusing to speak to DP all the while I was a part of his life - she texted me asking me to buy and wrap an Xmas gift for her Dad to put under our tree from her - but she had refused to even speak to him on the phone or visit at Xmas!

DSS is quiet, withdrawn, and regresses or freezes when experiencing something his Mum disapproves of. One afternoon, he was with DP, my DD and I, all playing together in a local pool and managed to avoid all eye contact with me, even when throwing balls to me etc!
Fear. He is terrified of getting it wrong and 'accidentally' enjoying something that his mum disapproves of - in the early days we'd see him suddenly remember and stop engaging in a game or activity that he was enjoying. Now, he just won't get involved in anything going on with us.
DSS has also had physical symptoms that the GP attributed to anxiety sad

Rooble Tue 16-Apr-13 14:46:00

Notadisneymum: really interested to read your post as your DSS's behaviour reflects mine when I was in his position. But I absolutely wasn't coached. My mum would have been mortified if she'd known I was afraid of enjoying myself, but in all honesty I felt ripped in two and UTTERLY disloyal to her if I felt even a smidgen of enjoyment.
But it was nothing to do with anything she said or did - all to do with the way children tend to hold themselves pointlessly accountable for their parents' unhappiness

dignifiedsilence Tue 16-Apr-13 14:52:20

Rooble at what age were you when you felt like this? Just wondering because DSC is only 4 and her mum and dad have never lived together so one can only assume this is the only life she has known. Maybe its different for different circumstances I don't know.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 16-Apr-13 14:58:21

roobie How did you know that your Parents were unhappy, though? If they'd both been supportive and encouraging about your contact with the other - why would you feel disloyal?

DSS mum has made no secret of her opinion, which is that she and the DSC would be better off never seeing DP again - so in their case, there is direct negativity, but I'm sure that personality plays a big part in how DCS deal with their parents separation.

dignifiedsilence Tue 16-Apr-13 15:05:23

Good point NADM. To be quite honest I am dreading the years ahead. The DSC has lots of issues including no bedtime so its incredibly difficult to watch to be honest.

Rooble Tue 16-Apr-13 15:53:44

Dignifiedsilence - I was 12+
NADM - logically, from an adult point of view, I know my mum would have wanted us to be happy at my dad's house. At the time, from a child's pov, I knew my mum was unhappy because due to our family circs at the time I was very aware that she was very publicly humiliated when my father left her for the OW. She always encouraged us to go there, never said anything negative to us about my dad or the ow - but we were old enough to feel in our own minds that she had been done wrong to. It is very hard to explain but I really think adults often underestimate the level of responsibility children (unnecessarily but naturally) feel.
However, this doesn't explain at all why a 4yo would do it, and also doesn't mean that there aren't some mothers who do try to poison their children against stepmothers. But it's all very complex and never black and white. sad

dignifiedsilence Sun 21-Apr-13 16:52:49

Ok so rather than start another thread I thought I'd mention this here. DSD 4 has been completely blanking anything I say or do over that last few weeks. Can I please have some people perspective on this? My theory is she is being told to ignore me by her mum and other family members. We had the beginnings of a good relationship and she seemed very relaxed in my company then all of a sudden...massive change!!
What do you think I should do?
Thanks x

dignifiedsilence Sun 21-Apr-13 16:54:59

My point being it is getting progressively worse

NotaDisneyMum Sun 21-Apr-13 17:34:12

dignified I suggest you start by reading a copy of "Divorce Poison" by Dr Richard Warshak.
DP and I wish we'd read it sooner when DSD started to behave in the way you describe.

dignifiedsilence Sun 21-Apr-13 17:42:01

Thanks NADM I will take a look. Somehow I would be more accepting of the situation if they had ever been married or lived together iyswim? But they haven't and I didn't break them up I came along 4 years later. Its so ridiculous isn't it? I will have a look now and thanks flowers

mumandboys123 Sun 21-Apr-13 22:06:34

all children want, dignified, is a happy family and their parents living together. I don't think it's anything that they need to be coached on or told about, I just think that that's the society 'norm' that we live in and that's what children desire: to be normal, to have a normal family, to feel normal. You are standing in the way of all that. She isn't old enough to be able to express it or even understand the way she is feeling, but you're an obstacle to her happiness and that much she does understand. If she makes your life miserable, perhaps you'll go away.

I do struggle with threads like these. I don't think it's as black and white as children being coached by the other parent. Most of us didn't have children to have to wave them off into another family and have to be supportive of that. I think Rooble is also right - that children feel a lot of their parents emotions, feelings, distress, happiness. They don't have to be told 'mummy is sad when you go to daddy's house' to be able to pick up on her sadness and feel guilty about that - and they of course know that mummy is very happy to have them back. And we forget that in their heads, they may well feel they are missing out on something at mum's house - I know my children always want to know what I'm going to do, where I'm going, who I'm going with and although I always have 'adult' weekends that don't involve children in any way, they usually ask if we can go to the same place the next weekend so they can see where I was.

It's very difficult but automatically assuming the worst closes lines of communication with the ex and draws a battle line that perhaps doesn't need to be there.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 21-Apr-13 22:37:43

They don't have to be told 'mummy is sad when you go to daddy's house' to be able to pick up on her sadness and feel guilty about that - and they of course know that mummy is very happy to have them back

But why is "mummy sad"? Why is there sadness for the DC's to pick up and feel guilty about? Why is mummy 'happy to have them back"? Why did she consider that they had left?

Beamur Sun 21-Apr-13 22:48:41

There will be a whole spectrum of behaviour going on in different set ups from parents speaking very openly to their children about how to behave/not to behave and to more subtle influencing - both good and bad.
I used to find it mildly irritating that my SC's Mum used to drop them off at our house with the instruction to 'be good'. I know it was just an off hand comment and meant nothing, but it could also mean that she thought she had the need (or right?) to try and influence their behaviour at Dads house, even though (taking a point to it's furthest here for arguments sake) how they behave - good or bad - is a matter really for him to deal with when they are in his care.
Given how bitter so many break ups are, it's inevitable that children will pick up on that and either be swayed by the parent they feel most sympathy for, or try and make sense of it themselves and get it wrong.

mumandboys123 Sun 21-Apr-13 23:12:14

oh ffs....seriously? Of course I'm sad to see my children go off to dad's house. I didn't have them to wave them off into some on else's household where I have no say in what happens to them, how they are disciplined, what they do....so f***ing shoot me! And yeah, more than happy to have them back. F***ing ecstatic most weekends as they are a huge part of my life, I love being with them and doing things with them... I'm not a f***ing robot with emotions that can be switched on and off to suit their step mother (oh, apparently the latest one is no more...sigh) or anyone else.

Like most RP's, I facilitate contact, I do what needs to be done and I do it with a smile on my face and a nonchalant wave of the hand as they run off down the driveway. I have full and active weekends when they are not with me and lots to tell them when they return, just as they have lots to tell me. I welcome them back into our home with open arms and a smile and a kiss and a hug and I tell them I missed them because I did miss them and I won't pretend otherwise.

You might not feel sad or guilty or anything at all negative about bringing your children up in a separated family and seeing them hurt yet again because another woman and her children have disappeared out of their lives. But I do. Do I express it? Do I actively seek to keep the children with me at all times by asking them not to leave me or texting them or phoning them 15 times a day? Do I give then a choice of seeing dad or coming out with me and eating their body weight in ice cream? No, I f***ing don't because that would be wrong. They need their father in their lives and they need to have a relationship with him which is as stress free as possible. And that's what I do. But should they occassionally note that I am a bit down or that I hug them extra tight, I'm not gonna feel guilty for loving them.

You don't want taring with the 'wicked step mother' brush? Then accept that sometimes life is what it is and that RPs don't set out to cause problems or be difficult. We just want an easy life, free of hassle without anyone and everyone trying to second guess our every move and assume everything we do is about upsetting the ex.

Beamur Sun 21-Apr-13 23:20:26

My DP was (and still is) sad when his kids are not with him. He doesn't say so to them, but he just misses them being there all the time as they would be in a family that hasn't split up.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 22-Apr-13 06:30:32

You don't want taring with the 'wicked step mother' brush? Then accept that sometimes life is what it is and that RPs don't set out to cause problems or be difficult. We just want an easy life, free of hassle without anyone and everyone trying to second guess our every move and assume everything we do is about upsetting the ex.

So when my DSC Mum says to DP that she doesn't want her DCs to spend time with him - that's just her wanting an easy life, and DP shouldn't assume that she's doing it to upset him?

Right.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 06:44:11

I think 'should they occasionally note that I am a bit down... I am not going to feel guilty for loving them' could feel like a heavy emotional burden to a child.

LookingForwardToMarch Mon 22-Apr-13 07:02:30

Yes they sometimes do. Mine and my sds relationship was developing nicely until her poisonous mother stuck her oar in.

It started with small incidents. Sd was brushing my hair and styling it with little clips when her mum rang. Mum must have asked her whay she was doing said' doing Lookings hair and making it pretty'

All of a sudden sd got very upset, shouting no and the phonecall ended. Sd told us her mum told her to backcomb my hair so it looked like a lion and then get some scissors and cut it!

Sd was 7 at the time, she is now 10 and has been more withdrawn and distant from me at every visit.

Makes my blood boil that she was perfectly happy and enjoyed my company before. Now I have just had my first dd ( who despite mums protests IS sds sister) and we are starting to see an improvement.

Just sucks that a rare few motherd would rather hurt their dc than let them be happy in the nrp family.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 22-Apr-13 07:09:28

Mummy is sad because she never had DC's to send them away EOW, midweek & half of all school holidays...

You can hide it as much as you like, but it's still there.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 22-Apr-13 07:12:54

I know that my DC's need a good relationship with their father - in fact, I insist upon it.

But it doesn't stop the sadness at night when I can't look across my room and see my 2yo's angelic face in bed, does it?

allnewtaketwo Mon 22-Apr-13 07:20:23

Back to the OP
I used to be able to tell because DSSs would ask questions of an adult nature that there was simply no way that children that age would have thought of

I think as they get older , it's not so much that they're coached, but children can come to adopt their parents views, and clearly when a child spends eg 85% of their time with one patent, then it's most likely going to be that parents views they adopt. This tendency is so much greater IF the child is actively discouraged from having thoughts or opinions of their own, such as my DSSs. And that's clear because it pervades every aspect of their lives, to the point they're alienated from their peers and a normal teenage life

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