We started back up with exchanging notes about how my step daughter was doing weekly. We were desperate to help her with her school and ultimately her confidence. We were so afraid of her belonging outside the home with people who were not her family, getting mixed up with the wrong people who do not care about her. She got so much freedom and independence at a such an early age, we all know where that leads too.
We started this again despite the issues we previously had becuase we knew she needed us all to be on the same page. Knowing what her mother said in court after all this happened and how she denied her daughter ever struggling here she agrees with us and says she sees the same. But to the court her daughter’s only issue was her father.
This exchange is oddly normal….
CC: Husband’s New Wife
Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2013 11:58 AM
Subject: The Switch
We want to get into the practice of touching base on the days that our daughter is switching houses. We told her that each week you and I will be touching base about how the week was and discuss anything major that happened. This will help create more consistency for her which is critical for her school year. 5th Grade is a big year and she has a chance to be completely at grade level this year before the big change of Middle School next year. She needs to believe that we are always talking about what happens and are on the same page. For this week: You need to know that the teacher sends home every Friday a little page of paper that is a report on how the kids week was and it needs to be signed and returned the next Monday. She forgot it at school on Friday so she won’t have it to turn in signed on Monday. This week she also forgot to tell us that she is reading the book club book with her teacher at 7:45 each morning. We are reminding her that school comes first, we need to help her get in the habit of remembering to bring it home every Friday.
We helped her get an iPad with her Birthday money. Big brother and I made it “safe” with any internet browsing. He created her own Netflix that is parentally coded to only give her access to age-appropriate movies so we have been rewarding her with free time on her iPad. She has her STMath app on it and Keynote which an app the us in school to write papers. She has a childproof case on it for protection and she knows to take care of it. She said she is worried about her little brother messing with it, we said she need to talk to you about it.
She is writing beautifully, ask to see her paper she wrote on the first day of school it shows she is fully capable of writing and at the last IEP meeting this was identified as a big struggle. So she got asked to be on the school Newspaper. She said she told you but we want to make sure you knew she was asked to be the photographer and voted Captain of it too. The more confident she is at school the happier she is, we all agree that it is important to get her on track in school.
With the diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety & Depressed Mood it is clear that the biggest roadblock she has is switching between our homes. We noticed since big brother has come home the frequency of outbursts of talking back, hurt feelings and dramatic events like the hair pulling event you guys had or her crying to come here have pretty much gone away. Have you noticed any changes? We told her that it is important to talk about her feelings and this school year if she comes to our house upset about anything that happened at your house we are going to call you and help her talk to you. Us getting in the middle of it has created stress and she is old enough now to start dealing with these issues directly with you when they happen.
Feel free to do the same on your side. Did you get a copy of her STAR Student Report? Her test score last year for math was 351 or the low end of proficient and this year she was 432 or the low end of advanced. Getting her into the habit of reading was the only frustration we had this week, she procrastinated every night until we got the last book of Dork Diaries, she brought this book in her back pack.
Reading is the biggest opportunity this year. Both psychologists have told us that the more emotional stressed she is the worse her working memory is (remembering to brush her teeth everyday still not a habit everyday at our house not sure about yours?) We got her two new toothbrushes, one for here and one for your house, and the worse her visual processing (reading) gets.
At our house she has been trying hard to be ready for bed and reading for 30 minutes. We have noticed it takes a long time for her to fall asleep, sometimes over an hour. When she is tired she can’t stay focused in the morning to get ready for school and when at school she interrupts and is moodier at home. Is she this way at your house?
We are trying to figure out how to change this. This week she asks for playdates last minute. Here we tell her she has to plan at least one day in advance. During the week here she only gets play dates on Wednesday and Friday. Right now it is too hard for her to stay organized for school to have any more social stuff.
Maybe that will change as she becomes more responsible. We talked to her about being respectful and honest at BOTH houses to everyone. I think it is important that if she is talking back or lying that she expects the same consequences, whether with you or with us.
Here iPad privileges and playdates will be taken away when she is disrespectful to her parents or being dishonest. If we start having some of the same issues, maybe we should try this? She’s been talking a lot of Hi-Tech High and telling us that you are putting her name in the lottery?
From: Husband’s Ex-Wife
Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2013 11:58 AM
Subject: The Switch
i think giving a resume after each switch day would help a lot each family to follow true what is started both in school and at home.
she is acting in a much happier way since big brother got back and since the switch every 2 weeks got installed.
To answer your questions, we are experiencing the same struggles and seeing the same improvements in our home.
Our consequences to lack of respect was no phone before but now, her iPad will be it.
we are not having issues with her being honest but more of her becoming respnsable of her things and remember her school things, brushing her teeth etc….but its a working in progress. falling a sleep and waking up in the morning is still hard but should get better soon when she adjust to the new school days schedule.
will keep you posted.