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none of my business, but it makes me sick

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My friend has an 11 year old step daughter and two preschool aged sons. This regards her step daughter, "Sara."

Sara does VERY poorly in school. She tests well below the 10%ile in the standardized tests that they take every year. She has had to take summer school for the past two years. I tried to tutor her in math two years ago, and we both ended up frustrated (I'm not a pro tutor, but I really wanted to do something,). I believe that Sara has some kind of a learning disability (NO ONE is THAT dumb), and have suggested testing (which would be paid for by the school) to her father and my friend. They haven't done it. For some reason, her father puts her child support money into a college fund for her, when it is quite clear that she won't be going to college. The money would be better spent, IMHO, on getting her the right tutor and dealing with this NOW.

My friend has only negative things to say about Sara (not only about school), and it really pisses me off. I don't want to spend time with her because of this (actually, and another reason relating to her older son, which is a completely different subject), though she calls me her best friend. She only fights with her and won't do anything to help her. They are in a pattern of fighting and they don't know how to get out of it.

Is this REALLY none of my d*** business (I would really hate it if someone told me that I wasn't raising my child properly.) or should I mention again about the LD testing and suggest that they use the "college" money on tutoring Sara now? Also, it would be fantastic if my friend and her husband took parenting classes to learn better coping strategies than yelling and spanking. Jeez, how would you feel if someone you knew suggested you take parenting classes?

I was talking with my mother (who is a pro tutor, but she lives too far away) about Sara's tests scores and things, and she said that Sara is the kind of girl that ends up pregnant. The scary thing is that my friend and I have had that same conversation, and she STILL won't do anything beneficial for this child.

And, yes, before you ask, there are many issues with Sara's natural mother (and natural father, but that's a whole other story, too) that are probably factors in this, like that whole getting pregnant thing. And, yes, some of this is Sara's fault, like she lies constantly about stupid things, and doesn't take care of responsiblities around the house. But, there is no way she is poor in school on purpose. I really think she doesn't understand the stuff they are learning (and her reading scores demonstrate that).

Argh! Should I just butt out or should I say something? Thanks.
post #2 of 11
Do they realize that if they get her tested and she has some actual learning disability, they won't need that college fund because she could go for free (in many, if not most states). I have been in a similar situation and that's how I finally "hinted" someone into having her son tested. Money really motivates some people. I just mentioned that I had read that children with learning disabilities could often go to uni for free (often they can even be matched with tutors).
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks. How could I find out if that is true for California?
post #4 of 11
I'm not sure how you'd find out but a call to the admissions office of any major state university might put you on the right path. Or you could try asking someone in special ed in your public school system?
post #5 of 11
Well. That all hit home with me. Except the divorced parents bit.

I'm 35 and just now discovering I have a learning disability. It's actually exciting and a relief to learn this, because it means I'm not bad, stupid or lazy. And there's a reason I was a habitual lier (sp?).

I brought up this subject a few months ago regarding my teenage sil. I believe she has some sort of ld, and mil/fil are not willing to get her tested for it. What's with these people! It makes me angry and frustrated. I asked the very same question that you are, Julie128; should I bring this up with the in-laws, knowing I wouldn't want my parenting questioned (particularly by me, since they've already raised 6 other kids, and I'm just getting started).

I think the consensus was no, don't confront the inlaws, just try to be a good influence on sil's life. Well, since your talking about friends here, that you might be willing to cut ties with for other reasons, it might be worth it to push it.

And here's my particular take on it. I dearly wish someone had intervened on my behalf when I was a kid. People just didn't know what they do now about learning disabilities. But for pete's sake, why assume that your own child has bad character, rather than a real, biolgical problem doing school work? Or getting along with peers? Maybe there was a reason I lied all the time.

It's a difficult decision only you can make.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks journeymom. I'll send a casual email to her father asking if he has had her tested for a LD, but I won't be insistent about it. I really wish my friend would stop yelling at her, but I think that would be stepping over the line. Maybe their relationship will change if a LD is found and DD gets the help she needs.

We went over there for dinner Wednesday night. It was nice. We chatted about stuff, ate jalapeno pizza. Sadly, DD in question had a fever (they didn't tell us before we went over. huh?). Then, last night I had a slight fever, and now it is gone. I was worried about the fever because I'm 9 months pg. Was it pre-labor or the illness? Anyway, it's gone. Whew! Must be all the vitamins that I'm taking.

Okay, off to send an email.
post #7 of 11
I can't imagine the school hasn't reccomended testing for the child in question. Her education is one issue. I think her stepmother's negativity toward her is a larger one. This is a child in a very impressionable age and to live in a world where adults do nothing but fight with you isn't right. I don't see a happy outcome here. Where is this child's mother? Is she in the picture at all?
post #8 of 11
I know it's harsh... but the next time you talk to your friend... I would just outright tell her that she needs some counseling.

My DS went through really bad grades/test/lies, etc... after his dad and I divorced.
It was a very bad time for everyone, and I was a awful mother to my children. (And that took along time to admit!)

He did awful in everything...

We got him into counseling, and I met Ben and remarried.

He still struggles some in school... but his grades are at least average (No failing grades) and he is fairly happy.

I am sure there are alot of issues that need to be looked into, but the main one is that child's well being.

And if you are not comfortable confronting your friend, contact DCFS, or the girls school... and tell them.

DCFS here forces parents into counseling, and things usually end up better.
post #9 of 11
I think that you should be honest and blunt about your opinion. If you value your friendship with this person, then keeping these things to yourself will drive a wedge between you. It already has, hasn't it?

If this child is yelled at and spanked but never actually helped in a useful way, then I think this poor child is being neglected. Parents are supposed to nurture their children, not berate them into submission.

Being a nice person is not the same thing as keeping quiet about things that someone needs to speak up about. You can still be a nice person and tell your friend exactly what you think. Just be matter of fact. Don't be casual and "mention," be completely open and honest. Your friend might be mad at you for a while, but it's the right thing to do.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 


I told my friend that I thought DSD had a learning disability and that she should be tested for it. She told me that they had Kaiser test her and she tested borderline, so they (Kaiser) isn't going to do anything about it. I suggested that she ask the school to test her again anyway.
As for her parenting style and relationship with DSD, I'm staying out of it. What do I really know about it? Maybe that could make things worse.
post #11 of 11
What baffles me about this, is that if this girl is in regular ed, and is scoring that low, the school should have already had their psychologist or psychometrist do more tests.

Also, most regular ed teachers have no patience for kids who are slower than the others and are very quick to refer them for special ed testing to "get them out of their hair". If that girl is functioning so low, it is very likely the teacher would have referred her already because she's obviously more than just a little slower than the other kids.

Since its not your DD I don't know if there is much you can do, BUT there are MAJOR programs for special ed and LD kids going on to college, as well as many special services available in public schools until they are 22 years old.
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