In the short time we've had A & M, we've been told by two other sources who know their mom that she is a "master manipulator". One happens to be the SW.
We've had a total of two visits with mom. This weekend will be the third and will be an extended (2 hr) bday isit for A. While on the phone with mom last night, we spoke about the upcoming hearing and she started to cry. Of course, I play the sympathy role and tell her to take it easy and everything will be ok. She changes the subject to the weekend visit and, in that whimpering, crying voice says "I can't bring a cake...will you bring a cake?". I'm like "Sure, we'll see what we can do.". She says "Can you make it a Thomas the Train cake?" HUH....yeeeeeeaaah.."we'll see what we can do". She then, in that same high pitched, sobby, whimpering voice says "Can you bring balloons too?" You can probably see the expression on my face by now. I say "Uuummm, maybe if we get time.". She goes on to say "Can they be silver and blue balloons?'. :mad:
Finally, towards the end of the conversation she goes on to tell me that she bought gifts for both boys...BUT she says "I don't have any wrapping paper...do you have any wrapping paper you can bring?". OH MY GOSH!
At this point I just said "have a good night and we'll see you in a few days". My husband says "no way, we'll bring a few cupcakes"..."we ain't here to take her requests and we ain't the bank of XXXX" NOTE: We are in fact having a bday party for A at our house this weekend, so he won't miss out on any of the cool bday stuff.
How do you deal with the master manipulator mom's? Do you ever want to just call them out? How have they tried to manipulate you?
I would just say, "I'm sure whatever you can bring will be special." Then leave it at that. I'm the foster mother because I'm more functional and can do things like arrange a cake and balloons. I'm not going to help dysfunctional appear functional. Sorry, I'm just mean I guess.
BoysParent
How do you deal with the master manipulator mom's? Do you ever want to just call them out? How have they tried to manipulate you?
I've put myself in these positions so many times I've wondered if I would ever learn. It starts out as an innocent request or question and ends up being a whole big pile of....you know what.
Experience is a wonderful teacher though:eyebrows: I've had bios request to call their children and a few sentences later sum it up, "Yeah, so, I can't wait for you to call me so I can talk with the kids." I politely remind them that our original agreement (2 sentences ago) was for them to call ME.
I once had parents go on a school field trip with their child only to show up and "forget" to bring lunch money. I didn't realize that lunch was provided. Instead of returning the money, they bought their child a trinket at the gift shop (I'm sure it was done with all the grandeur they could muster). Could have been worse I guess, they could have just kept it.
I've had bios ask me for money, in front of their children, b/c they "haven't eaten all day". When I declined, the kids started crying and that night at dinner they just kept saying how unfair it was that they were eating and their parents weren't.
I have provided whole bday parties like this before. I would rather prop the parents up in small ways than deal with children's sorrow when they realize that they're parents really don't care.
Yes wow. How long have you had the kids? It must be one of those area things, because for the first while they really do not like contact here. Nugget was with us for months and we didn't offer our number (our idea, not the counties) until we knew bm was safe. We have never spoken to Frogger's bm outside of court and in the presence of the CW. I have been told she is a manipulator and in our little contact I have already seen it. No way is she communicating with us outside proper channels.
It's sad, but give them an inch and they will take a mile... The more drugs they are on and kids that they have had in the system, the more they know how to manipulate and extend how long that the kiddo's are in the system.
We always do a party at home for our foster kids. I had one boy who had been here for 3 days and had a birthday. I did what I could for him and invited some of the neighborhood kids. As for providing things for a visit with parents, I might bring a cake,but it won't be anything super special unless I happen to have the decorations they asked for in my stash.(I make and decorate special cakes for friends instead of buying presents)Otherwise, it would be whatever I feel like making. Often parents have this false sense that we as foster parents are rich and compared to them, I guess we are, but that doesn't mean I will spend mega$$ on a cake for their visit. That's their job to do that. I think it's part of them being able to show that they can parent. Seriously. How hard is it to get a cake mix and some frosting in a can?
While we always want to do things for the FKs (and often do at the sake of covering for the bioparents), my husband's philosophy is that sometimes we need reality to be the teacher. It feels 'mean' at the time, but loving a child through it hopefully means something.
I haven't had this happen yet to me, but in my brief encounters with current placement's mom, I know she'd be exactly like this. I saw her at work on manipulating the judge! I could see steam coming out of CW's ears as mom blamed the CW for something she hadn't done. Somehow, the way she stated it turned it around completely and it totally seemed like CW's fault! I know the back story and know it isn't, but wow. Her sob story to the judge was unbelievable because it was believable! She was made this plea to us if she could just have some pictures... Mom has two visits per week and spends them taking hundreds of pictures on her phone and posting them all over FB. Really? REALLY? I can only imagine her requests if I had more contact with her. Due to the history, there purposely hasn't been any up until that hearing.
fish_out_of_water
I've put myself in these positions so many times I've wondered if I would ever learn. It starts out as an innocent request or question and ends up being a whole big pile of....you know what.
Experience is a wonderful teacher though:eyebrows: I've had bios request to call their children and a few sentences later sum it up, "Yeah, so, I can't wait for you to call me so I can talk with the kids." I politely remind them that our original agreement (2 sentences ago) was for them to call ME.
I once had parents go on a school field trip with their child only to show up and "forget" to bring lunch money. I didn't realize that lunch was provided. Instead of returning the money, they bought their child a trinket at the gift shop (I'm sure it was done with all the grandeur they could muster). Could have been worse I guess, they could have just kept it.
I've had bios ask me for money, in front of their children, b/c they "haven't eaten all day". When I declined, the kids started crying and that night at dinner they just kept saying how unfair it was that they were eating and their parents weren't.
I have provided whole bday parties like this before. I would rather prop the parents up in small ways than deal with children's sorrow when they realize that they're parents really don't care.
well fortunately my kids weren't old enough to know what was going on. i thinkit's awful birth parents would ask for money in front of their kids. ours never did anything like that.
i did the phone call thing with their mom when she was off for 6 weeks due to 'maternity leave'. yes, she got a whole 6 weeks off from visiting her kids and attending apointments because she had a baby. i certainly never got that when i gave birth! she wanted phone calls every friday but in the end managed to only make half of them. and one of those was an hour late by which point i was onto an activity with them and unavailable but we called her back later.
CaddoRose
We always do a party at home for our foster kids. I had one boy who had been here for 3 days and had a birthday. I did what I could for him and invited some of the neighborhood kids. As for providing things for a visit with parents, I might bring a cake,but it won't be anything super special unless I happen to have the decorations they asked for in my stash.(I make and decorate special cakes for friends instead of buying presents)Otherwise, it would be whatever I feel like making. Often parents have this false sense that we as foster parents are rich and compared to them, I guess we are, but that doesn't mean I will spend mega$$ on a cake for their visit. That's their job to do that. I think it's part of them being able to show that they can parent. Seriously. How hard is it to get a cake mix and some frosting in a can?
pretty hard for some of them. when my klittle guy turned 4 (3rd bday with us) he had an overnight visit with mom, she promised a party with her daughter and grandkids, gifts and cake. when he came back he said 'she didn't have a party forme, you did. ' i asked her thinking surely he was confused and she said they just got too busy in the two days adn one night she had him to actually make a cake and blow out candles.
Well, we just got home from the bday visit with mom. My husband and I agreed to buy a mini cake and a little number 3 candle for mom's time with bday boy and his little bro. She requested the visit be at Chucky Cheese, so we assumed she was going to be ready for the expense. Sure enough, half way through the visit she finds my husband and tells him the boys are hungry and want pizza. My husband just tells her "we gave them a snack before we left, so if they don't get pizza here they should be ok until we get home." Her response, "but I told them they would get pizza." My hubby just shrugged and walked off to the next video game he wanted to play.
Yes, I do feel sorry for mom, but I am not going to open that door. We bought the cake, extended the visit and extra hour and made sure the kiddos had something in their stomach before the visit.
We didn't "hover" at all during the visit. We wanted her to feel comfortable, so we just pretended to be another totally seperate party at Chucky Cheese so others wouldn't catch on to what was going on. We've shown this woman respect, given privacy and accommodated her visit requests. I sure as heck hope she doesn't continue to try to manipulate us.
There were a few things at the visit that I did witness from across the room which I will have to start another thread about.
Thank you guys so much for your feedback. It is nice to learn from you all how you respond to manipulative behavior so that I can use your tools.
My boys mom is a master manipulator She had a homestudy in her state a worker who meet with her for 2 and half hours saw it.
Luckly she is in another state and my kids are 17 and 15 so the choice not to talk to her. And she can not be a master manipulator with them so she doesnt bother to call them or even talk to them online or text them anymore.
I try to find the good in their parents and tell them there mother wants them back and loves them. But do not think they will ever go live with her.
Some of the things our last bio pulled.
"I am going to take Muscle Man shopping for our visit. He really needs some cloths". So I let them use the gift card from the clothing allowance. They come back with a new Ipod.
"I just can't get to the meeting to take Muscle Man to the DMV cause my tire blew and I am on the side of the road and cars are about to hit me. sob...." So UberGeek goes over and changes to her spare tire for her. We miss the meeting but oh well. Next phone call is "The tire place has always taken care of me before but now they want $35 for a used tire replacement" Our answer, Well, then you will have to pay them $35. Your spare tire will be fine to use until you can get the money.
Next thing I know she is calling me to see if I will take in her 18 year old daughter who has just been kicked out of the house she was crashing in. "Just for a little while till she can get back on her feet". Umm, I don't think CPS will let us take in adults without a background check. (that is my story and I am sticking to it!)
There were countless other times too. It amazed me how much she manipulated me into even after I saw what she was doing. It is my nature to help so hard to say know and be uncharitable. But wow. She just was a master at getting what she needed without having to work a bit for it. Car, rehab, halfway house, surgery, immigration lawyers, private school for Muscle Man, all on "grants"
Yep. DD's BM is famous as a master manipulator. I was warned and early on put the shield up
There's a fine line between sympathizing and "owning" her problem. (aka boundaries)
When T is in full drama mode, I may say "yeah, that sucks".. or if its in email, i may ignore it for a day or two.
I don't ever say "things are going to get better"
The second you start trying to help - even with encouraging words, you are marked as a soft touch
Honestly, whether the kiddo has a cake with their BM or not.. it doesn't matter to the kid. Certainly not balloons.. Kids learn at an early age what to expect from their parents.
hang in there
phxmama
Good for hubby! So who bought the tokens?:flower:
Funny thing. She had money for tokens but not pizza. If she had put any thought into it, she would have spent that token money on 1 all you can eat salad bar plate which all three of them could have ate off.
I wonder if she will call and complain to the SW that we didn't buy the kids any lunch during her visit.
I guess she shouldn't have picked a venue that she couldn't afford.