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Son came home sunburned today

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
My ex's mother has skin cancer and my children are very fair skinned. I lecture my 6 year old every time they go to their dads about making sure they get sunscreen. He and I have argued since they were babies about the importance of sunscreen and he'd always 'forget'.

What do I do? Any suggestions? I sent him an email with a pic of the burns and just wrote "please use sunscreen. Seriously".

My message is not getting across.
post #2 of 46
I would probably take your son in to his doctor and have the doctor write something up saying that it is medically necessary given the family history of skin cancer that the children always have sunscreen. Have her be specific about what kind, how often, etc. Then send it to him via email and registered mail. Talk to an attorney about what you can do legally as well. You need to start documenting.
post #3 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophmama View Post
My ex's mother has skin cancer and my children are very fair skinned. I lecture my 6 year old every time they go to their dads about making sure they get sunscreen. He and I have argued since they were babies about the importance of sunscreen and he'd always 'forget'.

What do I do? Any suggestions? I sent him an email with a pic of the burns and just wrote "please use sunscreen. Seriously".

My message is not getting across.
Sorry, but there are just some things you're not in a position to control. Your ex either just doesn't care what you think about sunscreen, or he intentionally resists using it because he'll be damned if he's going to feel like he's obeying your instructions during his parenting time. You've made your point. You're right. Continuing to nag implies that he didn't understand you the first time, or didn't hear you, or you didn't phrase it properly, or he forgot. None of those things are true. He is choosing to do what he does knowing your thoughts on the subject and you can't make him act differently.

I notice that fuller-coverage swimwear is becoming more popular - especially for boys. It's reminiscent of surfing wetsuits - water T-shirts or one-piece outfits with sleeves. (When I was a kid, that kind of stuff was the poolside equivalent of wearing your grandmother's housedress to school, but gradually people are developing better sense.) Why don't you buy your kids some of these suits and send one or two per kid, for them to KEEP at Dad's house? That won't fix sunburned noses when they're playing in the yard, but it will protect shoulders, backs, etc. if Dad's not going to use sunscreen.

Also, continuing to nag your 6-year-old about this is harsh. I understand the impulse. But at that age, it's really his parents' responsibility to enforce sunscreen use - and it's not the kid's responsibility to fix his Dad's irresponsibility!
post #4 of 46
This could be a serious medical concern- I would also ask a doctor to back you up. My kids have come home badly burned, and it has not concerned me too much- but we have an olive-toned family and no cancer on either side, so a couple of burns seem ok.

If they have severe burns often, and your doc says the risk is high for your kids, not putting on sunscreen amounts to neglect. That trumps his distaste for doing what you tell him to do.
post #5 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post

If they have severe burns often, and your doc says the risk is high for your kids, not putting on sunscreen amounts to neglect. That trumps his distaste for doing what you tell him to do.
Are you serious? Neglect? I've had CPS called on me before - for LESS than forgetting sunscreen! Come on people. He forgot sunscreen. Did they get 3rd degree burns? Are they blistered and bleeding? That would be cause for concern - but a little red isn't going to get anyone's attention.

sophmama - don't make a huge issue out of this (unless they are severely burned with blisters and bleeding) b/c if you do, it will look like you are trying to be overly controlling of the father and his parenting. I would also send them WITH sunscreen, and say something like, "They have sunscreen in the backpack, b/c of the family history of skin cancer I would appreciate it if you helped them put it on when outside. Thanks." - and then drop it and don't mention it again.
post #6 of 46
I "neglect" my kids by not using toxic sunscreen on their skin (until I recently found a healthy one on Mercola). I use surf shirts from Lands End and LL Bean and sunhats instead. Get him a hat and a long-sleeve surf shirt and longish swim trunks.
post #7 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kindermama View Post
I "neglect" my kids by not using toxic sunscreen on their skin (until I recently found a healthy one on Mercola). I use surf shirts from Lands End and LL Bean and sunhats instead. Get him a hat and a long-sleeve surf shirt and longish swim trunks.


Can you link it? The sunscreen that is. I'll try googling in the meantime.
TIA.
post #8 of 46
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
Sorry, but there are just some things you're not in a position to control.


Also, continuing to nag your 6-year-old about this is harsh. I understand the impulse. But at that age, it's really his parents' responsibility to enforce sunscreen use - and it's not the kid's responsibility to fix his Dad's irresponsibility!
Disagree. My child's safety is something I can absolutely control. Or enforce if necessary. Skin cancer, severe burns may not be a concern to you Jeannine, but it sure is to some of us.

Also, I nag my kids about several safety issues when they're with their father - hats, sunscreen, seatbelts, road safety... all issues he is (and admits to being) lackadaisical about.

The level of immaturity shown by 'intentionally resisting' suggestions made with regards to the health and safety of shared children is so disgustingly over the top, I can't even believe it.
post #10 of 46
Big yeah that to Ceinwen. To me putting a kid in a position to be painfully injured and at the same time increasing their risk of an aggressive, deadly, fast hard to catch cancer (melanoma) is the same as smoking constantly in a closed up area with kids and letting them play with the lit cigs. Bad, bad bad!
post #11 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions. I know I may sound like I'm over-reacting to some. This has happened many times before, even when we were together.

My ex objected to the swim shirts I used to use. I know the lotions are risky too, but he will be taking them to the pool a lot this summer and he's always been forgetful about sunscreen/shirts/etc.. It's actually evident that he used sunscreen partially this particular time - there's a white adult handprint on my son's arm. He just failed to put it on his shoulders or back or face. My daughter is only burned on her lower back.

Regardless of your opinion on sunscreen, sunburns are not acceptable. I do not take them lightly.

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer. My ex's mother has skin cancer. A person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.

I'm all for live and let live. I do not share any opinions about any lifestyle issues that I disagree with in his care. He does actually tell me what to do with the kids and it's all delusional crazy stuff he's imagining is happening or else it's something he's just wrong about (he's P.O.'d that I let my 3 year old son go without underwear if he doesn't want to wear it - he's barely potty trained and it's easier w/o).

I have also talked to my daughter endlessly on being sure she buckles up and that her brother is buckled up because it was a VERY frequent problem with their dad for years. Yes I am maybe putting pressure on her and in an ideal world communicating with her dad (I've gone through lawyers for that issue as well) - does not work. The only thing that has changed that is both my kids start doing a sing-song thing when they get in their seats "I'm not buckled yet!" whether they are buckled or not. That has pretty much solved it. It makes the grown up look every time, no matter how far their head is up their @#$!.



My 6 year old loves medicine and learning about diseases so I talked a lot about what skin cancer is this weekend. She'll probably take care of telling every grown up all about sunburns, etc.

Bottom line, I don't want dead kids (car seats) and I don't want my kids to have skin cancer. I believe teaching them what is appropriate for those situations may be my best bet. It puts power into their own hands. If they feel a bit of pressure from mommy, I'm sorry. I want them alive and as healthy as possible and if the grown ups that care from them when they are away from me are slackers, I'd rather they just learn to be responsible for their own safety & health.

I am pretty sure I addressed the sunscreen issue through the lawyers a year ago but there were other far more severe concerns (drunk driving with the kids).

Maybe I just need to make up a song they sing about sun screen before they get in the pool. Maybe modify "Head, Shoulders Knees & Toes"?

Anybody have any ideas for that?




(Should I teach them to sing 99 bottles of beer when their daddy drinks? JUST KIDDING!)
post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 
My ex & I have 67 facebook friends in common (and I'm still 'friends' with him - I just use all the privacy settings to control what he can see on my account).

Maybe I'll dedicated some time this week to posting skin cancer facts & links?
post #13 of 46
I would send sunscreen AND a swim shirt and tell him point blank to use one or the other. Period. If he kicks up his heels about it tell him that you don't want him taking the kids to the pool. It's not that hard to either put some sunscreen on or slip a swim shirt on and if he can't be trusted to remember something THAT simple, then how can he be trusted to parent his kids? Does he remember to administer medication when needed? Brush their teeth? Feed them appropriate food? If he can do those things then he's more than capable of remembering the sunscreen or shirt. And this may be playing a bit dirty, but what would happen if you called your ex's mother and told her he wasn't using sunscreen on the kids and they were getting burned? Like I said, that's on the evil side, but maybe if he heard it from her, rather than you, it might sink in better. I know sometimes I've conversations with my ex and I really think what he hears me saying is "blah blah blah". Sometimes they need to hear it from someone else.
post #14 of 46
I would be upset as well, It is not fair or safe for the kids. I would do what ever you have to do to make sure they are protected. I would call the clinic and see if the dr will back you up. Good luck mama!
post #15 of 46

A song, to the tune of Head and Shoulders

Don't forget to sunscreen us, (instead of Head and shoulders, knees &toes)
Block U.V! (instead of knees & toes)
Need protection from the rays, (instead of Heat & shoulders, kness & toes)
Grandma say-ay-ay-ay-ays, (instead of knees & toh-oh-oh-oh-ohs)
Daddy loves us, (instead of eyes & ears)
he wants-to keep-us safe! (instead of & mou-owth a-and nose)
He slathers lots on us to keep us safe (instead of head & shoulders, knees&toes)
Keep us safe! (instead of Knees & toes)
----
Apologies to the original song, I just made this up off the top of my head.

I think your sing songy carseat solution was a great idea. I think your dd can start to "remind" her dad about the sunscreen. It sounds like she is mature beyond her years.
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle View Post
I would probably take your son in to his doctor and have the doctor write something up saying that it is medically necessary given the family history of skin cancer that the children always have sunscreen. Have her be specific about what kind, how often, etc. Then send it to him via email and registered mail. Talk to an attorney about what you can do legally as well. You need to start documenting.
Yes, absolutely to all this. There's no point in talking to him unless you have the backup of a Dr. to conform the importance of the sunscreen.
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
Disagree. My child's safety is something I can absolutely control. Or enforce if necessary. Skin cancer, severe burns may not be a concern to you Jeannine, but it sure is to some of us.

Also, I nag my kids about several safety issues when they're with their father - hats, sunscreen, seatbelts, road safety... all issues he is (and admits to being) lackadaisical about.

The level of immaturity shown by 'intentionally resisting' suggestions made with regards to the health and safety of shared children is so disgustingly over the top, I can't even believe it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
Big yeah that to Ceinwen. To me putting a kid in a position to be painfully injured and at the same time increasing their risk of an aggressive, deadly, fast hard to catch cancer (melanoma) is the same as smoking constantly in a closed up area with kids and letting them play with the lit cigs. Bad, bad bad!
Hey, I'm all in favor of sunscreen and very much against skin cancer, as well as parents who don't do the right thing for their kids, just because they don't like being told what to do!

But all opinions aside: One might be able to restrict an ex's visitation (or at least his right to transport the children anywhere) if one could prove to a judge that he doesn't use appropriate car seats/seatbelts - because that's against the law (at least, it is here). I think one would have a harder time legally restricting an ex's access to the kids due to summer sunburns. The OP could try it, but I think she'd wind up looking to a Court like an angry mom looking for any excuse to vilify her ex and keep him away from the kids.

And if you can't legally prevent your kids from being alone with their other parent in the summer - and your repeated warnings, requests and demands about sunscreen go unheeded - you don't have any control. I'm not saying that's how things should be. The Dad should listen to the OP about sunscreen! But he doesn't. And it's not because he's waiting for her to say it in just the right words, while wearing just the right outfit and standing on her head. He knows what she wants him to do, but he doesn't do it. So her time and energy would be better-spent finding alternatives, such as providing the SPF clothing others have mentioned.

As far as the kids, a 6-year-old can buckle his/her own seatbelt, but he/she can't properly coat themselves in sunscreen. Sure, there's nothing wrong with a reasonable reminder to your kid to use sunscreen while they're away from you. But it isn't fair to brow-beat a young child about it, when the person you really mean to brow-beat is the adult caring for them.
post #18 of 46
There isn't anything that you can do about it. And to be honest, he may be using sunblock. Just not enough. It is very common for most people not to apply enough sunblock (think at least one ounce for a small child, that is a lot of sunscreen to rub in).

I use enough and my kids still get sunburned. I even reapply it throughout the day.

Not to mention, that using sunblock may actually be doing more harm than good:

http://www.aolnews.com/health/articl...ancer/19488158
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
Disagree. My child's safety is something I can absolutely control. Or enforce if necessary. Skin cancer, severe burns may not be a concern to you Jeannine, but it sure is to some of us.
You know, my ex is a lousy driver. To the tune of 11 at fault (and only 2 of them involving other cars) accidents in a year and that's not counting the near misses or ignored redlights. It got to the point that I was the only one driving the kids. That ended when we split.

Do I consider them safe when he is driving? No, I do not. My ex is a lousy driver(even with a defensive driving course) and always will be.

And there isn't a thing I can do legally to prevent him from driving with my kids when he has them. Why? Because his driver's license is legal and that is what a court is going to go by.

You can try to enforce putting sunblock on, but a court isn't going to be happy with you for bringing something so trivial in front of them. All the ex has to do is say: I did put sunblock on. Clearly, it did not work.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodmom2008 View Post
You know, my ex is a lousy driver. To the tune of 11 at fault (and only 2 of them involving other cars) accidents in a year and that's not counting the near misses or ignored redlights. It got to the point that I was the only one driving the kids. That ended when we split.

Do I consider them safe when he is driving? No, I do not. My ex is a lousy driver(even with a defensive driving course) and always will be.

And there isn't a thing I can do legally to prevent him from driving with my kids when he has them. Why? Because his driver's license is legal and that is what a court is going to go by.

You can try to enforce putting sunblock on, but a court isn't going to be happy with you for bringing something so trivial in front of them. All the ex has to do is say: I did put sunblock on. Clearly, it did not work.
That's different. Driving poorly is not the same as not putting a child in a safety seat. Driving poorly is not illegal, driving w/o your child in a safety seat is.

I can and will enforce putting sunblock on, and quite frankly, I don't give a damn if the court thinks it's trivial. My child's health is anything but trivial, and I will drag every issue before the court (or mediation) if necessary to protect my children.

Jeannine - your explanation comes across much differently than your original post. I don't mind giving up all control to my ex when he has our children - but when it comes to health and safety issues, I will make his life a living hell until he complies. Full stop.

My job as their mother is to make sure I protect them, 24/7 - no matter where they are. I'm not talking about him letting them stay up until midnight and feeding them fast food all weekend - but issues like water safety, car safety, leaving them unattended... sun safety. He may not like that it comes from me, but at least he's smart enough to take heed.

I work in emerg/trauma as an RN. Do I need to detail what a kid with heat exhaustion/stroke and moderate/severe sun burn looks like/goes through/feels like? When I start the IV to rehydrate them and they're screaming? Or when we consult dermatology because this kid now has a hugely increased risk of skin cancer? It's definitely something worth going to bat over.

It seems like sometimes people roll on issues because they convince themselves that they 'have no control' - watch me. I've taken back control over many issues that my ex has dropped the ball on. He may resent it, but he has (each and every time) conceded that I was right, and he wouldn't have taken care of it, had I not pushed the issue relentlessly.

To each their own, but when it comes to my kids (and again, I'm not talking little, minor things) and issues of long term health - people should not cross me.
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