SO HAPPY! Positive changes with DSS! - Mothering Forums
Blended and Step Family Parenting > SO HAPPY! Positive changes with DSS!
VocalMinority's Avatar VocalMinority 12:44 PM 08-07-2011

Since DSS (12) moved in with us, at age 8, I've struggled with significant frustration over his academics.  He's very bright, but has some really poor assumptions/study habits, such as the sense that being smart is an accomplishment in and of itself, regardless whether you work hard; and a tendency to lie, to get out of boring or difficult work, without regard for the long-term consequences of not doing assignments; also a tendency to dawdle and drag out his work for insane amounts of time, so he can seek sympathy later (from his Mom), over how oppressed and overworked he is.

 

He clearly acquired these issues before he came to live with us.  The Court mentioned his declining school performance, while he was kept away from his Dad, as one reason for the custody change.  However, issues like this are not "fixed" instantaneously.  I have feared that, when DSS's Mom asks to regain custody when he turns 14, DH and I will have to answer for why he doesn't consistently work to his intellectual potential, as though the minute he moved away from his Mom he should have bounced back to the study habits he had years before (when he was younger, school was easier, and he got fairly balanced input from both parents).

 

Also, it's a challenge to DSS's relationship with DH and me, that the vast majority of his time off school is spent with his Mom, in CA; and the preponderance of his time with us, he has homework, school and other structured commitments.  His Mom has really capitalized on this, too.  She doesn't visit him here very much, but seems to spend a lot of money on lavish vacations and entertainment when he's in CA, emphasizing how much more fun it is, there.  

 

Last year, DSS was entering middle school and a top-notch private school DH and I really felt would be beneficial for him.  He had a mandatory summer reading assignment, which he did not work on at all, in the 2 months he spent with his Mom.  Her email to DH made it clear that she was slathering on the sympathy over how unfair it was, to interfere with DSS enjoying a "lazy" summer and that she refused to make him work on it.  (Even though the assignment could easily have been completed with 20 minutes or so of work, several days a week.)  Final result:  ALL of DSS's scant summer time with US had to be spent scrambling to finish as assignment that was supposed to be done over 10 weeks.  Fun, fun, fun with Dad, right?

 

WELL...DSS's birthday is in the early summer, shortly before he visits his Mom.  Originally, he told us he wanted a new bike.  Then he started hem-hawing around, that he wanted something else, but he was afraid if he told us we'd say no, or that it was too expensive.  Finally, I got him to spit out that his heart's desire was...a Kindle!  Little did he realize they cost LESS than a new bike!  Moreover, he is a kid who actually loves reading (just not reading assignments), so anything we can do, to help that love take precedence over the poor study habits, we are EAGER to do!

 

No kid has ever shown more excitement over a new puppy, than DSS showed, when he opened his Kindle.  Of course, I had pre-programmed every book on his summer reading list, on it.  So, if he started one and hated it, the next book on the list would be right at his fingertips, and he could choose.

 

He just got home, from summer with his Mom, and has already finished reading ALL his required books AND completed 2 of the 3 required outlines.  It's safe to assume his mother did not nag him to do this.  And, after last summer, DH and I had just resigned ourselves to the fact that he'd have to do all his reading when he got home, so we scarcely brought it up to him, over the phone.

 

I feel like doing a jig!  And HE is pleased with himself.  He keeps talking about how sure he is that this is going to be a great year, and he's off to a good, calm, organized start.  This is what we have wanted - for him to see how it feels to be on top of his work, WITHOUT us FORCING him to be - and to like it!  It has been such work to get here, but it looks like it all may have been worth it; like we're on the right track, with him!  Yeah!



Super~Single~Mama 12:51 PM 08-07-2011

That is AWESOME!!  And, nothing like a cool new gadget to do some summer reading on!  (obviously, you and your dh have worked very hard on this with your DSS as well!! I'm certainly not trying to downplay that, but it does sound like he got really excited about the Kindle and enjoys using it!)


Mummoth's Avatar Mummoth 01:01 PM 08-07-2011

That is absolutely FANTASTIC news!! Congrats on all your hard work paying off! Congrats to DSS for figuring out the extremely important life skill of time management!


pinksprklybarefoot 02:39 PM 08-07-2011

Awesome!  I might have to use that trick with DSD.  She recently saved up her allowance to buy an iPod touch, and I know they have a Kindle app.  Totally sneaky way to get her to do some reading.


aricha's Avatar aricha 07:13 PM 08-07-2011

Yay! I know this has been a stress for you, and I know how tough the end of the summer was last year when you had to help him "cram" for the start of the new school year. I'm so glad to hear that you can enjoy the rest of his vacation without that stress!!  


Smithie's Avatar Smithie 01:42 PM 08-08-2011

 

Great news!

 

I'm so glad your DSS is home, happy, healthy and whole. I have been thinking a lot about your family these past few weeks. 


VocalMinority's Avatar VocalMinority 03:22 PM 08-08-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

Great news!

 

I'm so glad your DSS is home, happy, healthy and whole. I have been thinking a lot about your family these past few weeks. 


Thanks, Smithie.  We still have a major court date in our near future, but the "home, happy, healthy" part is the most important thing!  :-)

 


Super~Single~Mama 08:43 PM 08-09-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post




Thanks, Smithie.  We still have a major court date in our near future, but the "home, happy, healthy" part is the most important thing!  :-)

 


Really?  Is there a court date?  Or just the threat of one?

 


VocalMinority's Avatar VocalMinority 05:18 PM 08-10-2011


Quote:

Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

 

Really?  Is there a court date?  Or just the threat of one?

 


shrug.gif  DH and his atty. are supposed to hammer out how they want to word things and file something by the beginning of next week.  Then, presumably, a 6-8 week wait for a hearing.  There is a litany of issues DH has needed to take his ex back to court over, since the early days of the custody change, but he's hesitated - not wanting to rock the boat and resume spending $ on attys., after he won the most important issue (access to his kid).  But with the escalation of concerns this summer, he feels he really can't keep letting things go indefinitely and I completely agree.  

 

It's all complicated by the fact that the person who came forward at the beginning of the summer has not been as helpful as initially promised...and it's impossible to tell, from his erratic communication, whether he's just a chilled-out, west-coast slacker-type who simply doesn't "get" the importance of timing and follow-through, in situations like this; or if all of his purported worry and desire to help has been a ruse - for what purpose, who knows?  But, there may be enough to present to the court, even without him, to get someone to look into what's going on.

 

Occasionally, I feel like this is all some overblown, dramatic movie and I'm waiting to see the reveals ("What was really going on, during this confusing scene?"); and to see how it all turns out...???

 


Super~Single~Mama 05:25 PM 08-10-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post


shrug.gif  DH and his atty. are supposed to hammer out how they want to word things and file something by the beginning of next week.  Then, presumably, a 6-8 week wait for a hearing.  There is a litany of issues DH has needed to take his ex back to court over, since the early days of the custody change, but he's hesitated - not wanting to rock the boat and resume spending $ on attys., after he won the most important issue (access to his kid).  But with the escalation of concerns this summer, he feels he really can't keep letting things go indefinitely and I completely agree.  

 

It's all complicated by the fact that the person who came forward at the beginning of the summer has not been as helpful as initially promised...and it's impossible to tell, from his erratic communication, whether he's just a chilled-out, west-coast slacker-type who simply doesn't "get" the importance of timing and follow-through, in situations like this; or if all of his purported worry and desire to help has been a ruse - for what purpose, who knows?  But, there may be enough to present to the court, even without him, to get someone to look into what's going on.

 

Occasionally, I feel like this is all some overblown, dramatic movie and I'm waiting to see the reveals ("What was really going on, during this confusing scene?"); and to see how it all turns out...???

 


I'm sorry you all have to go back to court.  It TOTALLY sucks.  Oddly enough, I'm going back into court next week as well (different circumstances, can't go into it on this portion of the board just yet cause I don't know who follows me on here), and I'm dreading it even though I expect a good outcome. 

 

hug2.gif to you and your DH - court sucks.  I pretty much hate court (and I'm an attorney! I'm not supposed to be afraid of court!), and family court is my least favorite place on earth.  Good luck!!

 


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