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Dr. Ficus, MD
Dr. Ficus, MD, Pediatrician
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 733
Experience:  17 years in general pediatrics and mother of two great kids!
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My stepmother commented to me during a stressful time about

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My stepmother commented to me during a stressful time about a month ago, "You don't take care of your kids." I was too stunned to reply, and absolutely devastated. I didn't know what she meant, either. Our two-year-old triplets are happy, healthy, and very loved. I later confronted her and asked her why she said that, and she told me it was because she was concerned that we weren't following up on our son's slightly curved leg or our daughter's preliminary diagnosis of mild autism. We, in fact, have been working closely with their pediatrician relative to these issues; she is monitoring our son's leg at each well-child checkup, and our daughter is scheduled for a complete evaluation at a child study center. When I informed my stepmother of this, her response was that she wasn't aware of these things, and that I didn't communicate the information to her; she never asked me to do so, and I am not a mind reader. The end result was that she did not apologize for what she said, and the incident was so upsetting to me that I do not want to be around her. How do I get past the sting of that comment, and now feeling like people think I am a bad mother?

DrFicusMD :

I'll do my best to try to help you with this issue. If you're available for chat, lets get started.

DrFicusMD :

I'm so sorry to hear about this and from what you've told me here everything you have done has been appropriate.

DrFicusMD :

It's easy for parents to be critical of their children, especially step-children. The next generation never does what they did (information changes, science changes, advise changes, the world changes) and they find that frustrating. It's generally a lack of information on their part and a failure to understand how science and parenting change over years.

DrFicusMD :

Your reaction is certainly reasonable and I think you're right to feel as though you're parenting has been questioned.

DrFicusMD :

It's a tough place for you. I'm sure it puts a strain on your relationship with your father and this time of year it makes things especially difficult.

DrFicusMD :

If you really want to get past I would suggest that you set a time with her (without the kids in tow so you can focus on the discussion) and calmly explain to her how her comment made you feel. Explain to her that it was hurtful to you and that it gave you the impression that she didn't think you were a good mother. Explain to her that it didn't occur to you that she would expect to know details of her evaluations but that you would be happy to share that information with her in the future. All she has to do is ask. Hopefully being able to speak with each other calmly (that's the hardest part---I tend to start crying :o) ) will help close the issue. It would be nice if she apologized to you, but you should be prepared that that may not happen. If she bristles at the discussion or begins to attack you again you can feel that you've done your part to mend the relationship and the ball is back in her court. At least you can feel like you've tried.

DrFicusMD :

I hope that's helpful. Be sure to reply to me if you have questions or I've left anything unanswered. I hope things work out for you and that you two can get past this conflict.

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