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#31 of 51 Old 11-30-2009, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well... H is trying... he is desperately trying to not be abusive. He had a really messed up childhood and is trying to navigate/learn to be a better human being. He has finally started his own counseling.

Yes, it is true I am still considering leaving... but more on terms with I don't think I love him anymore because I am having a hard time getting over how terrible our past is. But he is honestly trying and I have not feared leaving the girls with him in awhile. He definitely has his moody moments... but honestly as humans, who doesn't? He is doing leaps and bounds better now than he ever has.

My position is I see my DSD hurting and confused and terribly anxious. I also know she is an extremely sensitive child. She isn't doing well in school at all... she just isn't picking up several things and her teacher has already hinted that there is a very good chance she is going to be held back next year.

This could very well be leading to DSD acting out at school because she is frustrated. Perhaps a counselor could help her cope with the frustration.

If she were my child and I saw her struggling with full day kindy that badly I'd pull her out... But alas, I'm just the step parent and do not have that power.

Instead I do what I can... Her Mom won't let DSD go to bed until she has corrected all her school work that she got wrong that day and go through her site words twice without mistake.

She wanted us to do the same on our weekends with her... I refused. DSD is only 5 and weekends should be her time to unwind and play. She is in school/after school homework group from 7:30 am til 5:30 pm... this poor kid has a longer day than I do!!!

It's clear to me that she is burned out and that could very well lend to her acting out...

Add in bouncing from care giver to care giver, houses, etc... I think it would do her very well to talk to someone.

And it does concern me that she is starting to turn this aggresion towards DD...

H can't just take her during the afternoon during the week... he is working nights now, and he has to sleep noon-6. He can't cut his sleep anymore that it already is. He cares for DD in the morning.

I know her Mom won't let me take DSD for the afternoon... her newest thing is telling H that I need to learn my place and not be so involved with her daughter since apparantly DSD told her Mom that we told her that I'm her new Mom and she doesn't have to listen to her Mom anymore... H told her we never said anything even remotely close to that and Mom flipped on him stating that we are nothign but liars and she knows she can trust her daughter and that her daughter doesn't lie.

As DSD also told us this past weekend that her Mom's BF is her new Dad... I honestly think DSD is just confused all around.

It's just not a pleasant situation all around...

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#32 of 51 Old 11-30-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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"H is trying... he is desperately trying to not be abusive. He had a really messed up childhood and is trying to navigate/learn to be a better human being. He has finally started his own counseling."

This is awesome news. Awesome. Regardless of whether you stay together or not, the more he can heal the better dad and coparent he is going to be.
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#33 of 51 Old 11-30-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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Wow. It sounds like she has some serious school stress. That kind of reaction is very common the first year kids are in school full-time and are required to have extra work completed at home. I am really surprised that the teacher didn't mention that as a serious stressor. I've had many teachers talk about this exact situation so I know that they are aware but maybe they don't want to say anything because parents are sensitive to being told their kid is in over their head and isn't making it. I hope your dsd gets to start her play therapy back up.
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#34 of 51 Old 12-01-2009, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. It sounds like she has some serious school stress. That kind of reaction is very common the first year kids are in school full-time and are required to have extra work completed at home. I am really surprised that the teacher didn't mention that as a serious stressor. I've had many teachers talk about this exact situation so I know that they are aware but maybe they don't want to say anything because parents are sensitive to being told their kid is in over their head and isn't making it. I hope your dsd gets to start her play therapy back up.
The teacher basically did mention it... she doesn't think DSD has reached a maturity level to deal with a structured all day classroom setting. She said she didn't want to come across negative, but wanted to inform us what she sees. I have thought that since this summer that DSD wasn't going to fare well in an all day program... and H was hesitant too... but ex never listened to us and still denied that her DD was suffering when the teacher pointed it out. She just sat and shook her head in denial the whole parent/teacher conference.


And thanks Smithie... That is my thoughts on H's counseling too... and he said himself that he is sticking through counseling on his own regardless of what happens to us because he is tired of being so angry all the time and he knows he has a lot of things to work on and he said himself he wants to be a better Father. I know he has a big heart... he just had a horrible, horrible example of family life growing up being abused by both his Dad and StepDad, and his Mom never ever advocated for him and stood by and watched while they both abused him. It doesn't excuse his actions as an adult, as he now has the choice of who to be... but I'm glad I have helped open his eyes to how he has become and he is finally seeing it and taking some responsibility for himself.

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#35 of 51 Old 12-01-2009, 10:53 AM
 
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But we're not talking about FATHERS here in general. We're talking about JSMa's H, who is by her own accounts ABUSIVE--to the point where she has (hopefully still is, given her posting history) considered leaving him (one of the reasons she has said she stays is to protect her SD)...
I'm pretty sure that a conversation like this would NOT go over well with a judge:
Father: My daughter needs counseling, but my ex won't take her.
Judge: (to ex) Why do you object?
Ex: [whatever reasons, including cost and logistics]
Judge: (to F) Well, why don't you take her on your time and your dime?
F: Because I shouldn't have to pay for it and I don't want to give up any of my limited time.
Judge: So just how important is it, then?
#1- In this thread, it has sounded to me like JSMa and her husband ARE willing to put their money where their mouths are.

#2- I understand JSMa's point to be that the SD needs counseling on a regular basis, not just twice a month when she's with her dad. I have not read her comments to mean that if weekend counseling were available, SD can't go on Dad's weekends.

#3- What does "abuse" mean to you? I must admit I have not read all of JSMa's posts, nor memorized those I have read. But the main complaints I'm aware of her making are that her husband is sometimes unfeeling / unresponsive / impatient / insensitive in response to her (many) stresses and anxieties and that he expects too much of her and doesn't see how taxing the baby, SD, work, etc. are for her. I have seen other posters refer to a single incident in which he yelled at the SD and a single incident where he punched the wall. Not a person. The wall. Not every time he's under stress. Once. Is that accurate? I'm not saying he's a great guy (I don't know him). Maybe he's a rotten match for JSMa and she'd be happier without him. Maybe he could use some parenting and/or stress management classes. But it would frighten me if the general public concluded that any father who exhibits impatience, insensitivity to women's/girls' feelings, or who yells at his child once or displays one angry outburst (that did not result in physical harm to anyone) deserves to lose all contact with his child. Anger in males is not always abuse. And some women are more inclined to do - like be depressed or passive-aggressive or emotionally manipulative or chronically nagging and disparaging - those things can be abusive to children, even though they don't involve violence or obvious outbursts of anger.


#4- You suggest that one of the only reasons JSMa is still in the marriage is to protect her SD from her husband, during visits. You use that to support the idea that the husband is "abusive" and it would be OK to cut off SD's contact with him. That's not a logical position, nor does it seem in keeping with JSMa's own choices. If she honestly believed SD were in danger during visits, the way to protect her would be to call the authorities and support the Mom in seeking to have visitation terminated. Staying in the marriage just to witness the alleged "abuse" when SD's there would only serve to endanger JSMa's own daughter (this is all assuming her husband were actually a danger to his children). JSMa may well have better parenting skills than her husband, but I do not hear her saying that she's afraid for him to be left alone with his daughter.

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#36 of 51 Old 12-01-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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Yes he is abusive. There were many incidents, including screaming at an 8 month old baby.

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#37 of 51 Old 12-01-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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You use that to support the idea that the husband is "abusive" and it would be OK to cut off SD's contact with him.
No, I use that to point out that--in this particular instance--the suggestion that SD's contact with him be temporarily suspended cannot be interpreted as stemming uniquely from the idea that fathers in general are optional. Nothing more, nothing less.
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#38 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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If he cares for his YDD in the morning, can't he bring her along?

I imagine play therapy is mostly between the therapist and DSD. I don't think the parent is very involved in the actual session. I know with dd's ST, I was in the room but I also know if we continued, the therapy would have continued between dd and the therapist with me waiting in the lounge until the session was complete.

So I guess mom should take time from work every week because dad cannot sit in a lounge with his toddler to wait? Lots of excuses on his part, IMO.

When does he go for his own therapy? Could he schedule a similar time for DSD since that must be a good time for him?
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#39 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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If he cares for his YDD in the morning, can't he bring her along?

I imagine play therapy is mostly between the therapist and DSD. I don't think the parent is very involved in the actual session. I know with dd's ST, I was in the room but I also know if we continued, the therapy would have continued between dd and the therapist with me waiting in the lounge until the session was complete.

So I guess mom should take time from work every week because dad cannot sit in a lounge with his toddler to wait? Lots of excuses on his part, IMO.

When does he go for his own therapy? Could he schedule a similar time for DSD since that must be a good time for him?

I believe dsd is in school in the mornings. And I also was not under the impression that the mom was needing to take off work to take her daughter to therapy (OP states that mom takes her to dance class at the same time another day), so it doesn't seem to me like he is making excuses for not taking her. I seriously doubt the mom would be okay with him taking their daughter out of school one morning a week to go to therapy if she is not okay with her going to begin with. For that matter, it doesn't seem likely that she will even be okay with dsd's dad picking her up on one of "mom's days" to take her either. Just my thoughts based on the OPs posts, obviously I dont' know for sure how the mom would feel about these things

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#40 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If he cares for his YDD in the morning, can't he bring her along?

I imagine play therapy is mostly between the therapist and DSD. I don't think the parent is very involved in the actual session. I know with dd's ST, I was in the room but I also know if we continued, the therapy would have continued between dd and the therapist with me waiting in the lounge until the session was complete.

So I guess mom should take time from work every week because dad cannot sit in a lounge with his toddler to wait? Lots of excuses on his part, IMO.

When does he go for his own therapy? Could he schedule a similar time for DSD since that must be a good time for him?
They aren't excuses... they are facts.

He cannot take DSD in the morning as she is in school. He can't just pull her out of school... she is doing very poorly in school, I doubt the teacher is going to okay her missing 2 hours a week, or more, depending on traffic, etc.

Most kids counseling sessions are scheduled for after school, I beleive. At least that is what my own therapist has told me as she deals with a lot of kids herself.

Mom doesn't need to take off anytime at work to take DSD to sessions.

H goes to therapy around noon, he takes DD to daycare a little earlier on the day he goes to counseling, then he goes home to bed to try to get 5-6 hours of sleep before he has to work at night.

A noon time would not work for DSD as she is in a full day school program.

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#41 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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I know that you guys have probably talked this to death, but is there no hope of going back to court and getting joint physical custody of dsd? It seems like having parenting time on some weekdays is the only way that her dad could ever be ACTUALLY 50% involved in the parenting decisions. Doctor appts., therapy, a school/childcare/aftercare choice that is made by both parents - it all seems like stuff that would be easier to insist on if dsd were in your house more often. Plus, with a child support adjustment (or elimination!), maybe your finances would stabilize and you could be home more for your own dd.

The upside her repeating kindy is, your husband has another chance to insist - INSIST - on an appropriate half-day structured program, with afternoon childcare if nobody can pick her and bring her home. He can take her down and enroll her himself and pay the deposit and say "deal with it" - the exact same bs her mother has been pulling all these years. Or, more ideally, he could take another crack at finding a mutually agreeable program.

This poor kid doesn't spend enough time with EITHER parent. I don't have to adore your husband to know that a 5 y.o. who goes to full-day kindy and spends most evenings with relatives instead of one of her parents is not getting prioritized in the way she deserves. No wonder she's acting out.
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#42 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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I have seen other posters refer to a single incident in which he yelled at the SD and a single incident where he punched the wall. Not a person. The wall.
Destruction of property is abuse.

Anger is an emotion, not a behavior.

I believe there's more to the history than this, but I don't remember all the details.
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#43 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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I figure that s/he who punches the wall, must then spackle and repaint it. And then it's over.

It's not fabulous behavior, but one wall-punching incident does not an abuser make. Maybe I run with a bunch of freaks IRL, I dunno, but we've had more than one punched wall in our social circle that did not lead to a punched wife.
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#44 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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I figure that s/he who punches the wall, must then spackle and repaint it. And then it's over.

It's not fabulous behavior, but one wall-punching incident does not an abuser make. Maybe I run with a bunch of freaks IRL, I dunno, but we've had more than one punched wall in our social circle that did not lead to a punched wife.
I hear what you're saying and agree to an extent. Certainly our house has a spackled area, though that incident was different (DH threw a small but heavy box at my leg, and I reacted by throwing that box at the wall - for the longest time, DH felt my action was worse than his, because I had "hurt the house" but I finally got him to understand that the hole in the wall was caused by the same object and same force as what he threw at ME, which caused a bruise so painful I couldn't even stand to wear a sock over it for 4 days).

Also my foster sister kicked a hole in the wall when I was a kid. She is and was not abusive.

At the same time - punching a hole in the wall and destroying chairs (I might be wrong but I recall the OP said her DH has thrown so many chairs they don't have one left that isn't broken in some way) (ETA: Per OP's post later on this page, I was apparently thinking of someone else, so this is not true) and other destructive habits, are abusive IMHO if they are part of a pattern. So, yeah, one hole doesn't qualify, but a climate of terror does. If your DH handles anger by throwing chairs and punching walls, you and your children are likely to be terrified.

Not only is the incident itself abusive, but the climate is. If you find yourself having to walk on eggshells all the time because you might set him off - that's living with abuse.

I'll momentarily ignore the fact that abuse can and does escalate, and just point out that one time OP's DH might simply MISS when hurling a chair or throwing the dictionary or whatever. OP and children should not have to worry that one time her DH might be so pissed his aim might be off, you know?

I don't know how the hole-in-the-wall incident happened, but proximity to a person also matters. Sure, it's not quite as bad if he walked out of the room and punched a wall on the way out. On the other hand, if he had his wife up against the wall and then punched the wall next to her, that's terrifying.

If a man cannot control himself enough to not destroy the house, how can anyone feel confident that he will not hurt someone? This isn't a leap. It happens all the time. Abusers frequently start by throwing stuff or punching walls, and one day he actually hits her. It's not a leap at all.

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#45 of 51 Old 12-02-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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"If you find yourself having to walk on eggshells all the time because you might set him off - that's living with abuse."

Totally agree. And maybe this is what JsMa lives with, I can't say because I'm not there.
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#46 of 51 Old 12-03-2009, 12:35 AM
 
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My son was in therapy when he was in 1st grade. The only time we could get was 10am. His school was more than happy to make the exception for him to leave school every Tues morning since therapy was clearly beneficial for him ersonally and for his school behavior. They did not even consider the time missed as an absence.

If the school and the ped both think therapy is important for dsd's behavior (particularly to address behaviors at school), they will likely be more than helpful in facilitating it. Plus, you seem to think it will cause her more trouble with her schoolwork. More likely her work will improve dramatically. At least according to your current theory.

I'd try it for a few months and see if there is a difference either way.

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I believe dsd is in school in the mornings.
JSma said;
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H can't just take her during the afternoon during the week... he is working nights now, and he has to sleep noon-6. He can't cut his sleep anymore that it already is. He cares for DD in the morning.
so that's why I suggested that he take her in the morning. If mom protests, H can go back to court and the judge will look at mom like she's dirt when he says that he is willing to take his dd- on the advice of both the school and the doctor. It will be allowed, no worries.
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#47 of 51 Old 12-03-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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to be honest. At this point, it is moot to discuss if he is abusive or not, as it is not solving the problem.

Obviously there is a need for this child to be in Counseling and receiving services.

I would fist put in a written request for the school to do an evaluation to determine if she would benefit from an IEP or a 504.

I would then contact the Counselor. I would try to get a first thing in the morning appointment. I would then talk to the school, maybe instead of having her afternoon rest period, she can make up what she was working on that morning that day.

It is Child Abuse to completely ignore the medical and psychological needs of a child. You have three people telling this mother that this child needs counseling - the school, the pediatrician, and her X. To completely ignore this is tantamount to Child Abuse and is to me is no better than JSMa's Husband being abusive in the home. I have seen Childrens Protective Services get involved in cases where there is a clear need of the child and it is not being meet. The school is a mandated reporter, and as such, if the parents don't start doing what is needed for this child, they have a duty and obligation to report them.

I don't know what you DH's custody papers say, but if he is allowed midweek visitation, he needs to start exercising it, even if it means she is spending the time with you and her 1/2 sibling. That is further time that can be used to take the child to Counseling. Your DH can give permission for you to take her to the appointments on his behalf because of his current work schedule.

If she is not cooperating with giving him his Court Ordered parenting time, file a Motion for Contempt against her. Then use the basis that even though he is working right now during the time that visitation would normally occur (or even sleeping so he can go to work), that he is going to use that time to facilitate Counseling that has been recommended by her Pediatrician and School. Again, an IEP/504 assessment will help with this, as it will show the issues she is having. That if he is not able to take her, that you are willing to facilitate transporting her to/from appointments.
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#48 of 51 Old 12-03-2009, 07:08 PM
 
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Medical neglect is a form of child abuse, I don't think anyone's disputing that.

JSma, I'm wondering if your DH would be able to turn his day around once a week and sleep in the morning (with DD at daycare) and take your DSD to an appointment after school?
I'm also wondering how he's dealing with the night work- I found it really difficult trying to combine with my family life and I know my temper suffered. Is he doing OK?

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#49 of 51 Old 12-03-2009, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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H is doing okay with his anger right now, even with being a little grouchy with crazy sleep due to the night shift... he is on best behavior at the moment because he knows I have one foot out the door...

To clear up some things... he never put a hole in the wall. Yes he hit a door, but it did not do anything to it... it did shatter the watch he was wearing at the time.

He has never broken any chairs. He threw a chair once... not aimed at anyone, just threw it out of anger towards the empty office.

There is an element of having to walk on eggshells and choosing when to speak and then what to say and making sure I don't use any "too big of words" to "make him look dumb"... that is the major underlying issue that makes my life hell.

He has kept his anger outbursts down since June. But the constant picking apart what I say and my opinions... ugh... not getting through that mess too easily.


Anyway, in regards to if he could flip his schedule once a week to take DSD to counseling in the afternoon... likely not. Anyone who has had to work shift work might be able to understand... changing your sleeping schedule around so much really wrecks havoc on your mind and body...

As for me excercising weekly visits... before H's shift ever changed a year ago we had stopped weekly visits because it was exhausting DSD. We live about 40 minutes away from her Mom, so it become over an hour round trip... and with the all day schedule DSD has been on plus dance, etc... bouncing between houses during the week did not help anything.

The distance is why I can't simply take her after work either... I'd have to end up pumping in the car while DSD was in session or something, because there it would not make sense to drive the half hour from work to go get DD, then up 45 minutes to get DSD...

Plus honestly... I obviously love and care for my DSD... but I very well may be leaving my H in the matter of a few months time... I'm not looking to sign myself up for any extra care of DSD right now.

One thing I did think though... is maybe if H can get Friday afternoon appointments for his DD... that might work and if he could get ex to agree with letting him have dinner with DSD every Friday to have her be able to go every week or something...

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#50 of 51 Old 12-03-2009, 10:42 PM
 
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He has never broken any chairs. He threw a chair once... not aimed at anyone, just threw it out of anger towards the empty office.
Sorry, I was the one who wrote that, I was obviously thinking of someone else. I tried to edit my post (because misinformation has a way of hanging around) but kept getting errors. I will try again later.

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#51 of 51 Old 12-04-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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She also told us she liked going because the counselor made her happy to come spend the weekend with us.

Also, I would just like to state again... it isn't just H being adamant about DSD talking to someone... her teacher and peditrician have also put in a strong recomendation for her to do so...
I just had a few thoughts about these two statements.

The first-if going to counseling made her "happy to come spend the weekend with you", my question would be, was she previously NOT happy to come to your home?

The second, it seems to me from what you've said that the pediatrician basically agreed that it might be good for your step daughter to speak with someone, and that was after your husband sought him out about it-Now I'm not saying that she shouldn't, but to say he STRONGLY recommends that she sees a counselor is not exactly the same thing. I think in general most doctors would shy away from saying "nope, no problem there, no counseling needed," as that could be a slippery slope toward malpractice.

The elementary school I went to as a child had counselors that were not just for academics, but also handled traditional counseling issues-for example, I was in group for children of divorced parents. I'm wondering if such a counselor exists in your step daughter's school, and if s/he has been involved with any of the issues happening? I think if there is a counselor like that at her school, their recommendation may hold a lot more significance to her mom, and might help get her back in counseling. They are also someone to have involved if/when you attempt to deal with any of these issues in court.

I have to say, with you and your husband feeling so strongly about your step daughter being in counseling, while her mom does not, I think it should fall on your (you and your husband) shoulders to make it happen. I know you don't believe it, but it IS possible that she's not exhibiting any of the behaviors that you or her teacher are seeing when she's home with her mom, which could be why she doesn't feel she needs it.

Another option I would explore would be to have her mom, you and your husband meet with the counselor she was seeing, and discuss anything the counselor was able to see as a need to continue. You also mentioned it was play therapy-is it possible mom thinks that it's not worthwhile, because her daughter is "just playing?"

On a personal note, having been the kid in the exact same position/situation your step daughter is currently in-going back and forth, even just EOW SUCKS. I know you probably don't think so, but issues between my stepmom and dad-even for the few days a month we were with them-definitely played heavily into other issues I (we-my siblings and I) had, that at face value were unrelated. So while you don't really think your marital issues or your husband's anger issues have much impact, believe me, they do; and whether or not you agree, I have little to no doubt that your marriage, and having the baby are a definite factor in your step daughter's behavior. Again, this is coming from the same perspective as your step daughter has, so I hope you would really think about that and keep that in mind when addressing her behavior and what to do to help her.

jamie. crinkly (not quite crunchy) mama to 3 amazing little girls, an awesome little boy, and a baby girl making her debut at the end of this summer.

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