As a parent...wwyd?
I am wondering what advice you all might have for my DH. Step-parenting aside, if you were in his shoes, with BM and SS, how would you handle things?
To a certain extent, my DH's hands are tied. BM is not going to lose custody *at this point in time.* So she will continue to have a major influence over SS.
The damage she has already done is very sad.
Some recent disturbing things:
On Friday night, DH called to say goodnight to his son, and he asked him what he was doing. His SEVEN YEAR OLD SON said "I'm drinking alcohol." And cracked up laughing. DH said "____, that is not funny." And in the background he could hear BM laughing and then SS replied "Well, my mom thinks it's funny."
I mean, I just don't get it. What in heaven's name would prompt a 7 yr old to even think of saying that? I can't in my wildest dreams imagine my DD even considering saying that---not because she is a perfect angel or anything, but because the word alcohol is not even part of her vocabulary at this age. THANK GOD.
DH and I were both really disturbed by that whole exchange and really, it made us wonder what in the h*ll was going on over there.
Last week, SS was with us, and was trying to call his mom and she wasn't answering for awhile. (she did finally call back.) But in the meantime, SS was really worried that she was in jail. :( THAT fear has to stem from the incident he witnessed two months ago.
SS has started telling us that he is dumb. :( When we respond with how bright he is, and how smart, etc. he doesn't want to hear any of it. His self-esteem, at the tender age of 7, is already so low. THAT worries me because it seems to be a mirror image of his mom and the issues that have plagued her. DH thinks self-esteem (lack of) is at the root of her drinking, and self-destructive issues.
she is vehemently opposed to holding him back a year in school. BM herself repeated 2nd (or 3rd?) grade, and she is adamant that her son will not go through that. But the thing is--he is struggling so much. His report card arrived last week, and it was pretty sad, and DH is so worried. SS is not even meeting grade level expectations, as of this last semester. :(
When he started K at the private school, we paid for, they wanted to put him in JK. BM didn't want to, so DH obliged, and convinced the school to enroll him in K, which he was eligible for. It was a bad year.
When BM put him in her district, the GAL said "put him in K again." But BM freaked and had him evaluated at the district, and they said he could go into 1st. So he went. The GAL and DH were p*ssed, but nothing had been court-ordered, and once he was enrolled in 1st, no one was about to pull him back to K.
So here it is now--he has finished 1st grade, is transferring to our district, and DH really, really wants him to have a fresh start. Academics aside, this is his 3rd school in 3 years. The poor kid has had SO MUCH turmoil. It's time to give him a HEAD START and let him have some breathing room. Rather than see him struggle with making new friends, adjusting to a new school AND academics, DH would like to give him a break on the acadmeics, and let him repeat 1st. He wants him to be AHEAD of the curve, not constantly behind.
It all ties in with the self-esteem. The more he struggles in school, the more unhappy he becomes, and the less he cares about doing well.
It is so frightening for DH to watch his son headed down this path.
DH is meeting with the district admins. this week to push for SS to repeat 1st. Unforutnately, if BM doesn't agree, he will have to file a motion to modify. We're not sure if that can happen in time for school to start in August.
Any ideas? Advice? Thoughts?
Dh is worried and feels kind of trapped because, in truth, there is only so much he can do to help his son. And that is a terrible feeling.