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3 Bumps

What would be some signs of someone trying to take my place as a mother?

I have a neighbor that is VERY close to my kid's which is OK to an extent. The reason I'm asking this though is because it doesn't always seem like she's encouraging my kid's to talk to me about the things they talk to her about. And I don't know if this makes any sense but she (my neighbor) didn't raise her daughter, her stepmother did so sometimes I feel like she's trying to get with my daughters what she missed out on with her daughter. And I know this may sound like a stupid post to some, but it's bothering me and I'm looking for some advice or thoughts. And I have to point out that without the topic even being brought up, she made the comment that I'm not trying to take your (meaning me/mine) place, I know they're your (meaning again me/mine) kids? When she said it, I felt like, who are you (meaning my neighbor) trying to convince, me or you???

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:52 PM on Aug. 21, 2013 in General Parenting

Answers (10)
  • How old are your kids. If they're pretty young I think I'd limit the amount of time they spend with her. Parenting is hard enough without having someone usurp your role.

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 9:55 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • How did she get so close to your children?

    Answer by virginiamama71 at 9:58 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • Is their a reason your neighbor is so in your kids lifes? Like a sitter? If not, stop your kids going over to her house.

    Answer by louise2 at 10:03 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • What are your kids talking to your neighbor about that they aren't sharing with you? Does your neighbor have the same values as you do, or would you question the advice she's giving them? I'm only asking this because my stepson's mom has accused me of trying to take her place as the mother, and I honestly haven't ever done anything to deserve the charges. It's true that my stepson talks to me about stuff that he hasn't shared with either of his parents, but I think he just finds me less threatening or more approachable. I've always encouraged him to open up to one or the other of his parents. So in a way, it's good that your kids have a trusted adult they can talk to, as long as she's not going to tell them ideas that are against your views of the world. It also depends on the ages of your children.

    Answer by Ballad at 10:42 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • Trust your instincts, if you think she's overstepping, she probably is. As pp said, younger kids need to be limited from too much contact with her. If they are older pay close attention because teens are always looking for "the cool mom" to open up to. Unfortunately, the cool mom is always chock full of bad advice and is usually still hung up on her teen years herself. GL

    Answer by tessiedawg at 10:48 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • You wrote the signs down yourself.

    Answer by gdiamante at 12:24 AM on Aug. 22, 2013

  • Too much left out to make this anything but confusing.

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:26 AM on Aug. 22, 2013

  • I can understand how you feel, as if she is vicariously working through her guilt from not raising her own daughter by making it up with "parenting" your daughter without your permission. It's also a valid concern that someone else may be conflicting how you parent, causing confusion for the kids. It's like you telling your daughter, no you can't have that, but then she undermines you and says, yes, you can have it. You have every right to be bothered. I would start out with having a private talk with her to let her know that you appreciate that your kids can have neighbors as a safety precaution but that your kids are showing signs of confusion and that you can't effectively parent when someone else is giving them other messages. Tell her you prefer to handle some things. You may need to start taking them to a park to play for a while so she can't access them as easily to influence them. Maybe she needs a pet to stay busy

    Answer by hellokittykat at 1:30 AM on Aug. 22, 2013

  • She's your neighbor, not a stepmother or a relative or someone living in your house. Just tell the kids not to go over there anymore, stay outside to supervise them, and if you see her approaching them, tell her to get away from them. She can't usurp your role unless you're stepping back and letting her. She only has the ability to be involved in their lives that you allow her to have. If she was a stepmother, you'd have less control, and if she was a relative or someone living in your home, you'd have less control and probably be concerned about keeping the peace. But she's a neighbor - screw keeping the peace. Tell her to back off, and if she doesn't like it, too bad.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:50 AM on Aug. 22, 2013

  • What exactly is bothering you? The thing you identify is that your kids talk to her & it doesn't always seem like she's encouraging them to talk to you about those things. You also make some guesses as to her motives, and mention that in a conversation with you she made it clear that she recognizes that the kids are yours & she is not trying to interfere.
    If you're concerned because she seems to welcome/encourage their confidences & you wish she'd encourage them to talk to you, then that's what I'd address.
    My guess is that these are teens or at least older kids & they enjoy talking to this woman. That could be for a variety of reasons & there is more than one dynamic possible. It doesn't have to be an undermining or unhealthy situation to trigger discomfort, either. That can happen for a variety of reasons.
    You & she obviously talk. Perhaps she tried to clarify her intentions in response to some reaction she perceived in you.

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:38 AM on Aug. 22, 2013

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