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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Psychologist; Parent
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I am the step mother of a 4 and 5 year old. Their mother has

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I am the step mother of a 4 and 5 year old. Their mother has left the state, and hasnt seen them for almost a year. Not because of work, because she was evicted and had to stay with her mother. To get her character, I will say she has never worked, spent money given to her on herself, drugs, and who knows what else. She's never been able to "care" for children properly, and gets very annoyed being around them. Custody has not been determined yet, although they permanently stay with us. This is not a parent situation who has left for good, so as i have read about this, we cannot technically say "your mom had some problems and left" and start the healing process. The daughter is the only one who asks for her, and asks why she left her. Their father just says she is working far away. But who knows when she will come around?? Shouldnt we be telling them some kind of truth? Mommy has problems, and when she is better, she will come see you. I've read to obviously make sure they know it is not THEIR fault, and to not bash the other parent. But to just keep telling lies? Shouldnt they know SOME truth? Inside we both wish they didnt remember her, and she would just disappear, as I have become their actual mother, and would love to be just that. I am stuck on what to do....please help.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Yes, you need to tell them some sort of truth. As you have stated, you k now to make sure they know it isn't their fault and you do need to protect them a bit, but if you keep lying to them, then when they get older and realize that you weren't truthful with them, they will start to not trust you about other things. I trust you will say the right things, as you already seem to have a good handle on the situation. Not bashing their mother and making sure they have your support and know it isn't their fault are the most important things. If they know that you and their father are a good support system for them, that will be very important to them in the future. If you are as honest as age appropriately possible, they will appreciate that and it will pay off in the long run with them.

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