Can't get results with stepdaughters schedule

doodlerbugJune 19, 2009

I understand kids have things they like to do but if they constantly complain of headaches and stomachaches...wouldn't that mean they're over doing it with their schedule? I thought having those things everyday is a sign of severe stress. We've asked her mom to take her to the doctor but she just never does. The girl is involved in numerous activities and I fear for her mental/physical health. She has already expressed that she's doing most of it because it makes her mom happy but something isn't right with this.

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sweeby

Could be signs of stress -- which could be a result of over-scheduling.
But stress (if that's what it is) could also be a result of tense family dynamics, of other problems at home or at school, of a desire for attention or sympathy, a side effect of medications, of fluctuating adolescent hormones, or one or more medical problems of some other origin.

I agree that Mom should probably take her to the doctor --
But why can't DAD do it?
He is every bit as responsible for his daughter's health as Mom is.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 8:57AM
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finedreams

sounds like my niece, she constantly complains about stomach aches, yes she is also oversheduled up to ridiculous. She goes to piano lessons, choir, tennis, ballet and Sunday school. She is 7. I think this is ridicilous but who i am to say? in your situation dad is as responsible as mom and and they both need to discuss the issue, either one fo them can take her to a doctor and see what doctor says.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 9:11AM
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doodlerbug

i agree with you that dad should be taking a more active part in taking her to see the doctor but when I brought that up he looked at me like I should 'mind my own business' basically. He always says he'll talk to mom about taking my stepdaughter to get evaluated but sadly it never gets done. I thought about the whole desire for attention,family problems but she hardly complains when she's at our house...it's always when she's leaving our house or when she's at her activities so rather than risk her health I'd rather get her evaluated and if there isn't anything physical wrong then maybe she can talk to a therapist. Can a stepmother legally take their stepchild to the childs peditrician and voice concerns about the childs health if the mom and dad aren't proactive in doing it? It seems they want to sweep these problems under the rug and ignore it. I don't want to step on toes but I want the problem addressed.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 9:28AM
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mariealways

It could be the activities, but it could also be, like sweeby says, lots of other things. My little sister always had headaches and stomachaches, which were faked for various reasons, none of which had to do with activities (she had none).

If your stepdaughter is only doing these activities for her mother, she needs to talk to her mother. She should not do things she isn't interested in just to please a parent. It can be very stressful.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 9:34AM
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kkny

I dont agree with not doing things to please a parent. I wish I had kept with piano lessons. I dont have any talent, but neither does mom, and she can play well enough at family meetins. My D took golf lessons becuase he pushed her. At first she didnt like, but now she agrees a good skill to have. I agree, activities have to be balanced -- but a parent has to have some input.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 10:05AM
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mariealways

kkny, there are way too many options in life to force a child to do something they do not enjoy activity-wise just to please the parent. it will only lead to resentment towards the parent and stress for the child. for example, I think music is important. when dd was young, i got her involved in violin. she had talent for it but didn't enjoy it. i wish she would have stuck with it but instead, she found an instrument she does love to play, and despite the fact that she doesn't have the same aptitude for it, she is getting musical training and happy learning it. same is true for sports. rather than force your dd to take golf lessons, why not have encouraged her to find another sport she loves. if the goal is an individual sport, there are plenty of those, e.g. tennis, track, cycling, etc. if golf will come in handy later in life, she can pick it up on her own.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 10:44AM
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imamommy

It's sad when I see kids being forced to participate in activities, often so the parent can live vicariously... ie. kid is in cheer because mom was in cheer (or couldn't get in cheer but wanted to) or dance etc. Or dad didn't make it into the Majors so he pushes his son to play baseball in the hopes Jr. will make the Majors because he didn't. I have seen it over and over while my kids were growing up.

My policy with my kids was to allow them to choose an activity but they had to stick to it, even if they decided they did not enjoy it as much as they thought they would. It was an activity of their choosing, so it wasn't me putting it on them and they had to finish because they need to learn to follow through and finish what they start. There are enough activities out there for kids to choose one or two that they want to do without forcing them to follow in the parent's footsteps or live the parent's dream.

Kids will usually want to do what they see others doing (especially parents/siblings) and enjoying, but if they don't want to do it, forcing them will likely lead to resentment and feelings of failure if they don't live up to the expectations. Activities should be about building self esteem, not just learning skills that will come in handy later in life.

To the original post, I agree dad should take her to the doctor if he is able. If he refuses and looks at you as if it's none of your business, then accept that it's none of your business. A step mother does not have a 'right' to take a child to the doctor against the parent's wishes... that is DEFINITELY overstepping and you will be stepping on your husbands and his ex wife's toes.

If you are truly concerned, you can mention it to her coach or teacher. They are mandated to report neglect to the proper authorities if the parents do not seek proper medical attention and if it's happening at her activities, her coach should know about it.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:32AM
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lovehadley

I totally agree that DAD can just as easily take his child to the doctor. It sounds off an alarm bell in my head that he won't, and that he is putting it all on mom.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:36AM
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sweeby

A StepMom can legally take the child to the doctor with Dad's consent - acting as his agent - but she can't generally give consent for treatment without Dad's permission.

If Dad agrees she should be evaluated, HE needs to be the one to either say so or make it happen.

Believe me, if YOU do it, you will be starting WWIII.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 12:07PM
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kkny

Ima, I think it is one thing to force children to participate in activities so the parent can live vicariously, another thing to prepare child for life. Marie, to say the child can "pick up" later in life -- not realistic. My D particpate in two varsity sports she'll never use again, but did have fun. But it is my role and my obligation to see that she not only gets a good education, but life skills -- which can include a variety of things from cooking and typing to bridge and golf.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 12:26PM
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mariealways

Bridge and golf? LOL When did bridge and golf become necessary life skills. And when did golf become a sport one can't learn later in life? I obviously never got the memo. Talk about an over-bearing parent.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 12:38PM
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kkny

Of course one can learn golf later in life -- its just not as easy or convenient. Its easier to go to college knowing these things. Just like you dont have to know how to type a term paper before you go to college.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 12:40PM
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finedreams

DD told me she wished I pushed her to stay in dancing. She was screaming I DONT WANNA DO IT!!! Now she says she wishes I pushed her harder. you can't win with them.

But sometimes parents push and overdo it. How do you know how much to push?

DD didn't do too many activities. She was in equastarian sports, now of course she has no place to do it, there are no horses in any proximity, but she can certainly ride when she can. And she received her religious education. She hated every minute of it while she had to drag herself to Temple after school or on the weekends, but she graduated and has relgious education and she told me she is greateful that I forced her to do it (or rather guilt her into it LOL). Now she has religious education and maybe hopefully will pass on her children one day.

So i guess some pushing helps. of course not to the point of making one sick.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 1:15PM
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daisyinga

I expected my son to learn to play golf and tennis. He didn't have to play on a school team, play regularly, or anything like that. But I did require him to have a working knowledge of golf. I also required him to know how to camp, ride a bicycle and swim.

I don't consider myself an overbearing parent at all.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:10PM
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mariealways

swimming is a life skill. all children should be made to learn to swim for safety reasons. golf and tennis, on the otherhand, are not. if the child enjoys them, then great. if they dont, in my opinion, there is no reason to force them to learn. in the business world, they can come in handy, yes, and are just two great lifelong sports. but so are other sports. not knowing how to golf or play tennis will not make them less successful in life. and as i said before, if they determine as adults that golf or tennis is important to learn, they will then learn it.

i've tried to get dd involved in a variety of things that subjectively i think are good to know, chess, tennis, skiing, etc. she has enjoyed most of them, but the ones she doesnt, i'm not going to force her to continue. why? because she will resent it and more importantly, there are just too many activities in life to force a child that hates something to continue. for example with tennis and golf, as a parent, we may think those sports will help in the business world but the child may never be a part of the business world as adults.

i think kids should be encouraged to find their passions as children, separate and apart from what the passions of their parents are.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:33PM
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daisyinga

i've tried to get dd involved in a variety of things that subjectively i think are good to know, chess, tennis, skiing, etc. she has enjoyed most of them, but the ones she doesnt, i'm not going to force her to continue. why? because she will resent it and more importantly, there are just too many activities in life to force a child that hates something to continue

I didn't force my son to continue in those activities, and I don't think that's what kkny was referring to. I just required him to know how. I agree with you completely that there are too many activities in life to force a child who hates something to continue. And I would go further and say that if kids are reasonably diligent with their school work, chores, and community obligations then their leisure time is way too short to force them to continue a recreational activity they don't like.

if they determine as adults that golf or tennis is important to learn, they will then learn it.

I agree with kkny that there are reasons for having a rough ability to play golf before college.

i think kids should be encouraged to find their passions as children, separate and apart from what the passions of their parents are.

I agree with you completely that children should be encouraged to find their own passions.

As far as I'm concerned, learning golf (for my son) is similar to learning to eat properly at a formally set table. My son may grow up never needing to know which bread plate is his and which fork is the salad fork. But he's going to know how, just as he's going to learn the rudiments of golf, because it's pretty likely that it will be better for him that he know.

I don't make any judgments at all about whether or not other parents think their kids "need" to know golf or be familiar with formal place settings. If we lived in a different area of the country, I might think entirely different skills were desirable. If we lived in ranch country I might think he needs to know how to ride a horse or clean tack, and I wouldn't even bother with golf.

Some skills I teach my kids because I know they'll need them. Some skills I teach them because I think they'll probably need them. Even though I think their leisure time is short, and kids need plenty of time to follow their own passions, my son had plenty of time to do the things he enjoyed and still learn the things I thought would probably help him in the future.

I think plenty of parents do the same thing - my husband's father made sure his kids knew how to change their own oil in their cars and do other basic repairs. My husband doesn't have time to change his own oil, so he doesn't use that skill, but he does play golf for business reasons. But my husband doesn't see his dad as overbearing - he's proud of his dad. As parents, we teach our kids the life skills we think they'll need. Some will be used, some won't. I made my choices as a parent based on what I thought was in my kids' best...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 4:05PM
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mariealways

daisy, requiring one to know how and forcing them to learn is exactly the same thing. that is exactly my point. as parents, we all think a child should learn certain things. and we should try to teach them those things. the more that you can teach them, the better. and children are like sponges so if they can be taught at a young age and are interested, then thats great. however, if the child is not interested in learning something that is in fact not a life skill, they shouldn't be forced. you will never convince me that golf is a life skill, sorry. how to change oil and formal dining skills have no bearing on the discussion as they are very different from making a child play golf, dance, play violin, or play soccer, etc. there are way too many children who feel that they must do activities they hate because their parents want them to and it adds so much stress to their young lives. that's just my personal opinion. to each their own.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 4:37PM
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daisyinga

that's just my personal opinion. to each their own.

I agree, to each their own. If you feel that golf is not a life skill for your son, then my opinion is that you know your son best. That doesn't make you a clueless, uncaring parent who isn't teaching her son the "proper" life skills to make his way.

By the same token, if kkny thinks golf is a life skill for her daughter to learn (not to play competitively, or even continuously, but simply to learn), that doesn't make her an overbearing parent.

But thankfully we are all free to have our own personal opinions.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 5:18PM
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finedreams

mariealways sometimes kids don't know clearly what they want and what they don't. DD said she hated dancing and singing, so I stopped taking her, now she said she was just lazy to go to practices and she waished i was more demanding.

she also didn't want religious education because classes were at the time when other kids were having fun. i insisted that she goes, she did and now is very greatful. She says she feels enriched wiht education, and those things that other kdis did in the meanwhile are not important in a long run. soemtimes parents do know best and could push a bit harder.

My brother is very happy that my parents nagged him in continue paino lessons, now he plays and teaches his kids. but he was too lazy to go to lessons. most of the time kids hate activities just because they require practice and effort.

my dad required that we learn how to swim, i hated it, so what.. now i can swim thanks to dad.

sometimes parents do know best.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 2:08PM
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