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Thread: Where did we go wrong?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Well, I just woke up to my littlest little bear throwing up all over his bed...he did a number on it. So I got him cleaned up, got the sheets (and the stuffed puppy) in the wash, moved him and his brother, who shares the room and therefore the smell, into the guest room, and was just getting ready to tuck them back in when the older one (Nic) starts to ask something "on behalf of" his brother. Now this has always bothered me, because they do it the other way around too, so I told Colton to ask me himself.

    I was not expecting him to ask for PERMISSION to run to the bathroom if he had to throw up again! The poor boy thought we would be mad if he left his room to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

    Now, these kids have been traumatized in the last couple of years by the still fairly recent (in the grand scheme of things) divorce of their daddy (my DH) and mommy (who is pretty crazy, all things considered). DH's ex-wife basically tried to make him into a giant evil bogeyman that does nothing but drink, yell, and beat little children. (For the record, he does not drink around the kids, yell NEARLY as much as she tries to say he does, and I have never seen him so much as swat the hand of either of those boys. The most physical I've ever seen him get was to push the younger one out of the way of his size 13 workboot when the young one ran into Daddy's legs.) I had thought we were over that - the ex-wife seemed to be behaving, while not reasonable, at least not in a villifying manner towards DH, and the boys always seem very happy to come to our house and spend time with me and their Daddy. And now this.

    Please, has anyone else ever seen this? I don't understand how things could get to the point of a child throwing up in his bed when he could have made it to the bathroom (and I asked - Colton said he would have made it.)

    Did we do something wrong? And how oh how can we fix it?

  2. #2
    Magdalena's Avatar
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    All I can say is continue to reassure the children that you love them and that they are home. They will feel it in their heart and see it with their own eyes that they are safe with both of you. My prayers go out to all of you.

  3. #3
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    You don't say their age but I guess they are quite small.. all you can really do is tell them you love them, give lots of hugs and reassure them whenever you can.. children are pretty good at eventually working things out for themselves. Best of luck, I know it isn't easy for any of you.

  4. #4
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    Sorry forgot to say I don't think you did anything wrong

  5. #5
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    i'm not discounting your description of situation. but it's at least possible this has nothing to do with what he's heard from "her".

    how often do we tell our children to go to bed and stay there? that doesn't make us bad parents. we usually forget to give them the list of reasons we hope they'd get up anyway when it's really the best thing to do.

    praise him for being a good son and "citizen of the household" and then tell him it's ok to get up if he needs to visit the toidy, to let you know he's sick, etc.

    grownups are as confusing to kids as they can be to us. it may be that a little clarity is the only thing needed in this situation. ;-)

  6. #6

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    One other thing...you might explain, someday when it's comfortable chatting with the kids, that each house (mommy & daddy's) has different rules. If they're confused, or not sure, please ask - you'll be happy to clarify. Explain it like, 'If someone is ill or needs to use the bathroom, you're certainly allowed to get up and go...but not to play for 30 minutes when we're supposed to be trying to go to sleep.' and 'It's always OK to wake me up when you're sick - that's what I'm here for! I want to know if you're sick so I can help you.' or any other real situations you can think of. They will understand then, and more with time, that each house has separate guidelines and daddy's is not evil...no matter WHO says it is. I find kids can (and do) understand and get used to these ideas very quickly.

    (And maybe this is a rule in their own house, and they simply ASSUMED it was in your's as well? Maybe it's mommy's rule after all?)

    Just a thought...
    Debbie in Austin

  7. #7
    Senior Member redvette54's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you, it's not easy being a step-mother. I have 3 step-children and they are grown now. I've been in their lives for 5 years now. The youngest was 14 when I married my husband. They used to think badly of their Dad, many of the same reasons you listed and more. After many long talks with my step-son, it took awhile, but he has figured out his mother and her lying. He's 22 and she's still lies about everything. I've told him, he needs to just accept her as she is and respect her because she is his mother and let the lies go in one ear and out the other. It won't take long for the kids to figure out whats going on. PM me if you want to chat.

  8. #8
    Senior Member trueimage's Avatar
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    Maybe it was just because he wasn't feeling well. Everyone has odd behavior when they're sick. He may have thought you were mad that he had thrown up and made a mess. When mine were little and sick I always placed a trashcan or huge bowl next to them where ever they were. 'Just in case'. Hope the kiddos are feeling better soon.

  9. #9
    Member ameriguat's Avatar
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    I came from a bad childhood. I won't go into detail but I can say when kids feel threatened or told firmly not to do things they do two things. 1) they do them, because they want attention (I was that kind LOL) or 2) they don't do it because they are scared of what might happen.

    The only thing you can do is love them. Its that simple. Of course you should sit down with them (like above comments) and reassure them that if they're sick they're not going to get into trouble and just come to you. It will get better with time but they need trust. If they can trust and love you, they'll come to you.

    The reason why they get each other to come and ask questions for them is that you won't get mad at the person asking, and they feel safer that way. Don't get angry when they do it, just next time they do it go over to them, and sit down with them (AT EYE LEVEL) and talk to them in a calm voice. Yelling can do numerous things a child, from making them insecure or reflecting it on their peers.

  10. #10
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    Kids can not tell that they will be getting sick soon. My kids always did it on the bed until they were older. I got bed liners to protect their beds and did a lot of laundry. As of one talking on behalf of the other, is part of being siblings. They can probably complete each other sentences and since the little one is sick the older one feel protective. Remember that they spend time with you and your DH and time with Mom, but the only thing that is constant in their life is each other. Don't let it get you mad. Is normal behavior and I would be glad is there. They are showing real love and caring for each other and in the long run that is the best thing you can expect from them.

  11. #11
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    You are the secure person in their lives. Just love then talk to them on their level. Hugs never hurt.
    Blessing to you.

  12. #12
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    I just wanted to add that while it "bothers" you when one brother speaks for the other, it seems to work for them and is something they need to do...maybe just let them do what they need to do and in time they will feel safe enough to speak up directly.

  13. #13
    Senior Member hannajo's Avatar
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    You didn't mention how long you've been in their lives, or how much time they're at your house.

    I'll just add another perspective. As a child, I spent lots of weekends at my old aunt's house. I remember waking her up in the middle of the night to ask her if I could use the bathroom. I was very close with her, very comfortable at her house, and there were no kinds of issues like you've described. I think she probably thought I was scared of the dark, so she actually would take me to the bathroom. I wasn't scared, but at the time, I just felt like asking was the polite thing to do. Looking back now, I can see I was just being a dumb kid.

    I hope these issues get taken care of sooner than later. Chances are, they probably have lots of confusion about how to please adults right now. They want everyone to be happy, and to be happy with them. They are very fortunate to have a dad and step-mom who love them so much. I hope the little guy is feeling better. Keep us updated.

  14. #14
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgmoby
    One other thing...you might explain, someday when it's comfortable chatting with the kids, that each house (mommy & daddy's) has different rules. If they're confused, or not sure, please ask - you'll be happy to clarify. Explain it like, 'If someone is ill or needs to use the bathroom, you're certainly allowed to get up and go...but not to play for 30 minutes when we're supposed to be trying to go to sleep.' and 'It's always OK to wake me up when you're sick - that's what I'm here for! I want to know if you're sick so I can help you.' or any other real situations you can think of. They will understand then, and more with time, that each house has separate guidelines and daddy's is not evil...no matter WHO says it is. I find kids can (and do) understand and get used to these ideas very quickly.

    (And maybe this is a rule in their own house, and they simply ASSUMED it was in your's as well? Maybe it's mommy's rule after all?)

    Just a thought...
    Debbie in Austin
    As the mother of step-children (thank goodness they're all grown up!!!)....this is the best advice. Children assume things -- get confused -- need reassurance. Given this is the first time for major sick all over the place, now they'll know it's okay. It's hard, I feel for you, but keep reassuring them.....they'll feel more comfortable after time.

  15. #15
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Patience and love, peace and quiet---that's all you can do. As a step-mother of children with an equally or even more so crazy mother, I can empathize. My dh's ex told the kids that she and her new husband were to be called Mom and Dad and that they were to refer to the dad and me by our first names. When they asked me about it, I just asked what they wanted to call us. When they asked if it would be all right to call us mom and dad I said that would be fine. In fact, why don't you call whichever ones you're with mom and dad then it won't be confusing and you'll always be with a mom and dad. They liked that and that's what they did. Don't run their mother down to them, that only makes them defensive and leaves them with a feeling that they have to choose which "parent" to believe. Be honest, loving, have a few very firm rules and don't waver on them. This will set boundries that will form a comfort zone for them. And most importantly, treat them with the same degree of respect that you expect from them. You'll do fine. I have 4 step children and they all treat me with love and respect---the same way I treat them.

    Once my step children asked why their mother didn't call or come and see them. (Boy was that an opportunity to tear into that woman) I thought about it for awhile and then asked them if they ever wondered why I was so insistant that they learn to prioritize their responsibilities. When they said yes, I explained that when their mother was young nobody taught her to do that and that right now she had her priorities mixed up. I told them that maybe one day their mother would realize that they were far more important than traveling in a semi with her new husband and would want them to live with her again. I also told them that it might not happen, she might never learn to prioritize but that she was doing the best she could to see to it that they had a good home by letting them stay with us. I told them that she was showing how much she loved them by making sure they were taken care of even though I was sure she didn't really want to be away from them.


    okay, forget what I said about being totally honest, sometimes you have to fudge on what you really believe in order to make the children feel secure and loved by all parents.

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