Little did we know how much more painful it would be. Nothing hurts more than having my step daughter say she hates me and wants no relationship. Little did we know how much worse it could get.
To: Husband’s Ex-Wife
Sent: Nov 7 , 2013 12:28 PM
She stopped coughing and seems to be fully recovered. She hurt her wrist playing basketball at the rec center that seems to be cleared up too. She still does not brush and floss her teeth regularly, we need to be consistent between both houses and help her develop good hygiene she tells us you don’t watch her or remind her to do these things so if this is not the case you need to talk to her about lying, we doubt this is the case and that you do remind her. When she came to our house at the switch she had rashes in the creases of her elbows and knees that required hydrocortisone, you should keep an eye out and have that on hand it helps her stop itching. She seemed to sleep very well while she was with us.
She has a tendency to immediately want to defend and argue for herself if she is ever told she is wrong even if she is wrong. This escalates and we had several times over the past week where she spoke very disrespectfully and raised her voice. It is also hard to get her to consistently take responsibility for cleaning her room and helping around the house. At our house she has to make her bed every day and pick up her room.
ST Math is an issue, she says she is not watched at your house and she said that you do not check her ST Math, again we don’t feel this is the case you probably want to talk to her about it. She is falling behind in the group average in her class but she thinks there is something wrong with her ST Math (there is nothing wrong it just takes work to move up the percentage point). We challenged her to speak to her teachers about it. Please follow up with her on this and if you are reminding her about ST Math you might want to talk to her about telling us you don’t as we do not believe that you do not remind her. Lies are not good and she needs to know we are on the same page. Reading at night for 30 minutes is part of her daily homework. She says she doesn’t read at your house and you do not check up on her, we don’t really think this is the case you might want to talk to about this. It’s important that she is doing the same things for her school at our house and your house if we are going to build any consistency for her.
Before you left we agreed to her coming back to your house yesterday. There was a lot of confusion given that your flight was late and the information had to go through him. Your husband and I have not had any contact per his request in the absence of you being around there then is zero communication. On Halloween she met up with him and ended up spending the night at your house of which all had to planned through her. Having information come through the children regarding scheduling only sets us and them up for confusion, frustration and potentially compromising safety. If we can’t figure out a way to organizing a schedule between the parents which would involve your husband when you are not home then we suggest you have full custody and we can have visitation. Our home is constantly disrupted by this and it remains a major issue on our side. This doesn’t work and I need a confirmation that you and your husband will agree to communicate scheduling through the parents, not the children, and if we cannot agree and we continue to manage this through children you need to agree to take her full time going forward.
From: Husband’s Ex-Wife
Sent: Nov 8, 2013 9:02 PM
Subject: The switch
We have the same challenges at our house you mention in your emAil and we keep reminding her for he same issues, shower, brushing theets she also needs to help in our house needs improvements but she takes care of her pets really well .I do ask her to read every night and I do check if she does the math on line .. For communication between the two houses I will make sure to inform you every switch days and last my husband’s phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
To: Husband’s Ex-Wife
Sent: Nov 8, 2013 9:10 AM
Not sure how many times I need to ask this question for you to actually do it…this at least the 5th email I’ve requested you to copy my current wife on all emails regarding our daughter…
Just let me know how many times I need to ask so at least I have an idea when you finally do it.
This is called co-parenting.
From: Husband’s Ex-Wife
Sent: Nov 8, 2013 10:13 AM
Subject: Re: switch
I have no obligation to do sow you can forward my emails to her if you like
To: Husband’s Ex-Wife
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2013 10:52 AM
Subject: Our Daughter
I wanted to talk to you about the parent teacher conference. The feedback we got on is very concerning. She is being viewed as the problem child and parents are asking the teacher to not have their kids sit next to her. She is so frequently so distracted in class that she misses most of the lessons and as a result is not proficient in any of her subjects. This will make homework at home very difficult for us because we are now required to be teaching her the concepts that she didn’t grasp in class. The teacher struggles so much in controlling her that she has asked for the special resource teacher to sit in on more class time so she has more time to teach the other kids rather than tending to her. She doesn’t complete the work in class to hand in and rarely hands in her homework but now makes up lies about why she isn’t. She is arguing and yelling with the other kids and now the teacher makes comments like “she seems happy this week” as opposed to being unhappy other weeks.
She also recently told us that you ae not checking or asking for her weekly report from school and it if it a bad report she will throw it away so you don’t see it. She is always still throwing away her homework like last year. She misses out on Fun Friday regularly instead of getting in trouble at home. Also, in class she has to sit in a special chair when the kids get on the carpet when they change subjects because she doesn’t transition quietly and is too disruptive. The lack of consistency of paying attention to her school and holding her accountable in the same way at both house is teaching her to lie and manipulate between the houses and if we do not change something the next coming years are going to be extraordinarly more painful than it already is.
In the first grade we talked about dyslexia and concerns for her learning, after exhausting all resources at Stella Maris we pursued LJES for a review and diagnosis of her learning disabilities, after the third grade and some progress but not enough we sought a final diagnosis of dyslexia and a recommendation that we address her anxiety and consistency between the homes. We then started therapy which lead to trying two weeks on two weeks off to help with her anxiety issues. That didn’t work as she has gotten further behind in school as a result of extended periods at your house and no communication between the homes when she gets reports home from school that she is not doing well. So we are now going on four years of trying different things and the end result is her progress in school is not where it needs to be. Nothing we appear to be doing is helping her get caught up in school so she feels confident.
This year is absolutely critical before the Middle School change and it is very frustrating to approach you with a suggestion to help and you have no interest in even trying to be open to a new approach. She asked to live with us after your Portugal trip and you refused. This week she has asked again and told us that you confronted her about why she is saying that. We cannot make this her problem or make her feel badly for expressing her needs. She needs help and she needs someone consistently holding her accountable for her schoolwork. It is not easy for her. If we do not do something we are looking her probably requiring medication in High School to be able to focus enough on what she needs to get done.
We suggested that she stay at our house not because we want her full time or to take her away from you but because it something we have yet to try to HELP her. We did not tell her or ask her but she told us you confronted her and asked her why she would say that she doesn’t want to live with you. In the future so she doesn’t feel bad you might want to talk to us first. This is our effort to try and collectively come up with a strategy to get her on track before the end of the year. Her teachers are hopeful that with some extra help and change at home that she can catch up by the end of the year.
She tells us at your house you let her play before she does her homework. At our house she is held accountable to get all her homework done before she can play. She is not allowed to have play dates during the week now, especially with her being so behind in school but she is frequently on play dates at your house when we talk to her during the week. She for sure does NOT get a play date if she gets a weekly report that says she was talking and being disruptive in class and this should absolutely be reinforced at your house. She did say that when your husband is around he always checks in on her homework but you don’t and if she needs help she says you always send her to her big brother who usually tells her he is busy or she is afraid to ask him because he is busy. We discussed all this with him and he said he will help more when he is at your house and she asks for help.
What we are doing now is clearly not helping her make progress. Something has to change. She needs consistency and structure, probably more so than other kids because she has so much stress and anxiety. We need to be doing the same things in regards to her school at each house if you refuse to be open to her living at one house during the weeks for the rest of the school year.
I know you are going to say no as you always do and it comes across like you are ignoring the fact that your 11 year old brilliant daughter can barely read without consistent practice or do math at her grade level. Look forward and know that when she gets into High School and still has all these problems it is unlikely that she will get into any college and it’s all because we did not do something drastic to help her today.
Our daughter needs consistency and one parent holding her accountable because from what she tells us you are not going on line looking at her homework that is due for the week and holding her accountable for it or asking her for the weekly reports to sign and give back to the teacher when she is at your house. I can’t hold her accountable during the weeks she is at your house and I don’t trust you can do it well enough to get her up to grade level, especially considering that homework starts most fights between you guys.