school situation with shared parenting question

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xredshoesx

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school situation with shared parenting question
« on: December 10, 2016, 10:01:05 AM »
hey all,

in my life outside of here i teach elementary school and a family i work with is going through an acrimonious coparenting situation, where PD/ uPD may or may not be involved. 

my coworkers and i are struggling because we have been told not to communicate with stepmom at all, who is the primary pick up person on dad's weeks, and to only communicate with the parent who has their parenting time.

we don't have their schedule from FOC.  we have no clue who has the kids on any given day.

any suggestions of things you wish teachers could of done better for your kid(s) at school with HW, progress reports, good/bad behavior reports, etc in a  situation like this would be helpful.  we want to respect the court orders and communicate with the appropriate people at the right time, and to make sure that both children involved, get what they need from the situation to be stronger students as well as being supported with their emotional health.

thanks!

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sweetpea79

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2016, 12:48:45 PM »
This is my input as a step mother to a SD.
And I absolutely love this question.
My H and BM shared 50/50 until our recent move. During 50/50, I the step mom was the one that did all pick up/drop off for SD on my H parenting days. He, was at work, working his butt off to pay child support to BM who refused to ever work, even when they had 50/50.
SO what I say to this, you never know someone's situation. And yes, you want to protect everyone's privacy, etc BUT, I will tell you as a step mom that was doing all the pickups/ drop offs, making sure SD had everything at the end of each day, making sure the lunches were paid at school, making sure things were turned into the teachers and the office, doing all homework with the child, At every assembly, etc you get my point here, it is VERY important that the teachers and the school are able to communicate with every parent that is present in the child's life.
My H and I brought the court order to the school and showed each of SD teachers she had each year and the principal during a sit down meeting. The office staff knew who I was and the school nurses as well as teachers.
I say it would not hurt to ask the parent that is non PD for the court orders. More than likely it is not going to say that a step parent can not be involved. But it should say which and if both parents have joint legal custody , if so, both parents have a say in the child's education, which should not exclude step parents.
I was and yes still am a huge help and influence to my SD life. BM never and will never follow thru on anything. Sad really, but it's reality. So by communicating with everyone present in the child's life, is in the best interest of the child.

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xredshoesx

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2016, 02:32:06 PM »
I agree!  I see stepmom mostly too and she is active with both kids in making sure they get missing work etc.  this all blew up because bio mom said no to a field trip and bio dad override her.....

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 08:04:00 AM »
I come at this from a slightly different angle.

I'm the bio Mum. Ds10's father is u/npd and his wife is at the least VERY N.

She is involved in EVERYTHING.  She stomps all over not just my rights, wants and needs, but also my ROLE as bio Mum. And not just at school.

Ds' s father is somewhat absent but she is not.

With the schooling:  I have requested the teachers communicate seperately with ds' s father and myself. It usually works ok. We have seperate PT interviews,  seperate reports, seperate photos, newsletters etc.. notices home are sent to both of us via our respective email addresses.

Ds attends an independent school. The fees are all inclusive and all students are expected to attend camps, excursions etc.. I don't think permission forms are sent for each activity as the understanding is already there that the child will attend.

I think the school does cc NSmum into emails and that really annoys me. She does not need to be communicated with as I am primary carer and as far as I'm concerned she should not have any decision making authority regarding my son. She is married to and lives with my son's bio Dad. Let him communicate with her what he receives from the school. If he chooses not to that's their problem.   Sorry. Ranting here  can you tell that I don't like her?

Ds is with me during the week so I do all drop offs and pickups except one. I manage all homework  lunch, uniform and activity requirements.

Ds is with his Dad and Smum every weekend and always comes back completely exhausted and irritable as they run him ragged with too much activity and very late nights  Consequently he is very tired every Monday at school.

I'd love the teacher to speak to Ds' s Dad and NSmum about it but I guess they'd deny the truth and say that I keep him up late on Sunday nights. (I don't. I'm too boring.)

The Dad and Smum also are very unhelpful with homework.  In 4 years I've asked about 4 times for the Dad to help and he hasn't. Smum helped once and expected adulation and acknowledgement in return.  At this stage it's just not worth the drama to ask them to contribute on  the homework front but as ds gets older it will need to be addressed. Hopefully the teachers will ask them to contribute.

This probably hasn't been helpful to you. Sorry!

I do strongly advise seperate communication with the bio parents though, even if you don't know the parenting plan. I'm glad the Smum is on the ball but it's still important to be in communication with the bio mum despite her behaviour.

I'm not sure who's told you not to communicate with the Smum.  But if all communication goes to bio Dad, surely she and he can keep on top of things.  Email is great. I suggest emailing everything to Dad (and bio mum) and he can forward them to Smum.

This was very rambly and ranty. Sorry.

AOD





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Steve42

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2016, 10:06:12 AM »
I am co-pareting with an aspd mother (our son is 6 and in first grade). From what you wrote it sounds like in your case biomom does indeed have a PD.

Biomom absolutely has no right to tell you who you can and can't communicate with on the father's days. When the child is with the father, that is the father's time and on those days the father calls all the shots. If the father sends step mom to pick up the kid, biomom has no right to interfere, and if the father says stepmom should talk to the child's teacher about assignments or behavior or whatever, that is absolutely the right of the father on his days.

So to answer your question about what you could do that would be helpful, in my opinion the most helpful thing you can do is to side with the non-PD parent and tell PD biomom that unless she has a court order stating otherwise, it is the father's right to delegate responsibility to whomever he sees fit when it is his days with the child.

The absolute worst thing you can do is to give PD mom any power.  The absolute BEST thing you can do is to always side with the non-PD father because he is the reasonable and rational parent that has only their child's best interest in mind.

Few questions for you...

What does the father have to say about all of this and has the topic of PD's come up in conversation or is that just your assumption (which btw sounds dead on to me)?

What is biomom's stated reason for not wanting you to communicate with stepmom?

Also what was biomom's reason was for refusing to let the child go on the field trip?
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 10:09:11 AM by Steve42 »

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xredshoesx

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2016, 10:32:58 AM »
thank you again for the honest and thoughtful advice.  i  know dealing with any type of uPD/ PD and custodial stuff can become overwhelming from my own childhood experience, what my friends have experienced, and what i've learned from participating on the boards here over the years.

more of the backstory.

one child is in middle grades, one is in elementary.  on friday middle grades went on a college exploration field trip and then saw a basketball game at the same college.  from what my MS colleagues tell me, bio mom said kid couldn't go, dad came up and talked to the teachers and gave permission for kid to go, but it was still bio mom's time. 

there was some big meeting at the end of the day with all the MS teachers but myself and the other teacher who shares the teaching for the elementary kid were left out, and my MS colleague told me to not communicate with step mom until we got orders.

now mind you, I HAD JUST RELEASED the elementary kid to stepmom.....during a soft lockdown no less.......after talking to her about what ES child needs to work on to be more proficient in math and getting her email to send the information for free practice websites, etc.

i'm pissed mostly because admin didn't include us in the convo first and foremost.  i know both mom/ biomom for pickup for the last 2 years and wasn't aware they were that way towards each other.  at this point i want to be respectful to all the parents involved and do what's right by my student without causing legal issues.

i can see how everyone's situation is different. i think that  the situations that you all have shared give me a lot of good advice because you are each coming from a different perspective, and the ease of what must be done to make it manageable depends on the level/ type of PD involved as well as the PD's relationship by blood to the kids.

in my personal situation with a very uPD mother who used PAS to keep me from my dad and his family until i was 21, i'm probably going to side with the dad/ stepmom if i see red flags with biomom moving forward and other stuff gets my triggers going after i find out more info from the admin team. 

to be honest, i love my stepmom more than either of my biological parents (she's the glue that holds my dad together fwiw). 




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kazzak

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2016, 02:28:27 PM »
I communicate with my sons principle about his circumstances. But I beg the school to keep the situation out of the classroom.... in particular with the teacher. I let the admin decide what they want to share with the teacher. But, I never discuss non classroom things with the teacher. My experience is that it is best to leave all of this out of the classroom, and let the teacher's focus on education. My preference ... send two copies of everything home and keep high boundaries so the classroom isn't disrupted.

I understand my sons teacher wants what's best for him, is an advocate for him. But sometimes best with complicated things like pd that there are boundaries with school. It's the one safe place in his life void of the chaotic nature of personality disorder. He gets normalcy at school, and that is important.

I don't think school should be involved, outside of admin. just two cents.

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 03:11:20 AM »
I guess my rather long post could be summarized as:  If the bio parents are non pds or if one of them is a non and the other a high functioning pd (as in my case) the step parent should stand back and let the bio parents parent.

If the N Smum in my situation would just but out and let me do my job as a mum and let my high functioning u/npd exH do his job as a dad we'd all get along so much better and ds wouldn't be caught in the middle so much. 

AOD

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xredshoesx

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 07:33:54 AM »
again, all helpful responses.

fwiw, stepmom is the only one in the triangle with a working phone/ email currently.


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Stepping lightly

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 03:41:40 PM »
This is a sticky situation, and I know most teachers try to stay as far out of the middle of the home dynamics as possible. 

I am the stepmom in our situation, but I do not do pick-ups and drop-offs- my husband does.  I try to stay as far out of the middle of the chaos as I can- I drove my stepson to camp 8 minutes each way for 1 week this summer and there were loads of insane accusations.

Anyway- some of my SKs teachers have made a rule that all emails will go to both parents, and if one parent emails the teacher and doesn't cc the other parent, they will forward to the missing parent.  This way the teacher is not holding information that one or the other parent doesn't also have.  This isn't a perfect solution, in our case it just gave BM fodder for accusations, i.e. there seems to be more missing homework on YOUR time, why did DS act out on your time and not mine..etc etc etc.  But...that's not the teachers' issue to manage.  There were situations once the teachers realized that BM was the PD, they started emailing only DH.   If you have a conversation with Step mom, I would email mom and dad and give them an update on whatever it was. 


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Latchkey

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2016, 03:06:43 PM »
I think legally this is a bunch of hooey and unless there is a OOP the Bio Mom is just trying to scare the administration and the teachers. Anything important should be emailed to both parents but other than that I don't see any way you can stop the teachers from communicating with the step parent in this situation. Especially since she is the only one with a working cell phone or email!
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xredshoesx

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2016, 11:59:51 PM »
i got a chance to talk to biomom today and found out a little more plus got her updated contact information for the office

she currently has full legal and they have thurs/ sunday parenting time with dad/ stepmom.

apparently stepmom registered the kids at a dif school and neglected to put biomom on the emergency card...and since then it's been back and forth between them and they are contesting custody and the kids are fearful of going over to dad's now.

since she has the kids monday-thrusday am, i am going to mostly communicate with her about any grade/behavior issues first and extend the HW due date (because it's not getting turned in on the dad days) to give the kid more time to make sure it's monitored by someone (even if it's me during their computer time).  if i do have exchanges with stepmom i'm going to document what was said for my own purposes because i really don't want to be in the middle of this.

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2016, 03:01:13 AM »
I'm sorry - the stepum did WHAT?!??!

How is it even legally possible for a step parent to register someone else's child in a different school?  Doesn't the school need the signatures of both biological parents? Doesn't there need to be an order from court to remove a child from a school if the biological parents can't agree on which school to send the child to?

I know I shouldn't project my own experience on to other people's situations but I 'm seeing red here.

That's just the sort of thing I'd expect my ds' s Smum to do.  She's come close enough to it in the past.

Am I over reacting here?

AOD


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xredshoesx

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 07:29:22 AM »
AOD it made no sense to me either.

i really appreciate all your feedback here.  this is not a winning situation right now for anyone involved and i just want the kid in my class to get what s/he needs.

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kazzak

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 09:34:42 AM »
I've found it helpful to involve the school counselor to help facilitate meeting needs in a crazy world.

I think your situation is unique because of your role as a teacher and familiarity with pd.

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Latchkey

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2016, 05:03:32 PM »
I'm glad you talked to the Bio Mom. Things really aren't adding up here and I agree with documenting what you say for your own needs. I'd also try to get a feel for what is up with the stepmom by chatting with her about the weather or something. It could be both bio parents are PD as that was unfortunately my dynamic as step mom and so I would do as the unbeknownst to me NPD Dad my exH2 told me to do with the schools and I also knew the Bio Mom had a lot of issues. It could be all 3 are PD as well. Or just the Dad or just the step mom... it's like some messed up odds for these kids no matter which way you slice it.
Basically there is a lot of triangulation going on so as much as you can step away do so and focus on the kiddos!
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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2016, 05:51:44 PM »
This thread has been a bit of a trigger for me and I apologise for allowing my own frustrations to get in the way of being helpful.

I do want to thank you, xredshoesx, on behalf of the children and even their parents and stepmum, for your compassion and determination to do the best for the children.  Of course I don't know them, but in my own case I am grateful for the ways the teachers are handling the situation. It's very difficult to be caught in the middle.

I do think you're doing the right thing under very difficult circumstances.  I just wish it could be more clear cut so that you could know without a doubt what to do.  I guess though, it should always come back to what is best for the children.

AOD


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xredshoesx

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 11:03:23 PM »
AOD every perspective has been helpful because it's helped me to see it from  different parent viewpoint- bio or step, and i'm sorry it's triggering- but i can see how this kind of dynamic may have affected so many people that have read/ responded and it's been a growth experience for me- taking myself out of that place where i was the kid in this type of PAS situation and not seeing myself in it/ reliving what i went through with my own parents. 

what's so beautiful about this part of the board is that in some of our situations here it's the bio parent that causes the problems for the kids in the middle, and in others it can be the step parent that creates the havoc, yet we all can support one another without making any of the bio parents/ stepparents here feel lesser. 

everyone has given me something to take away and use to be as compassionate and professional as possible and just keep it moving forward for my student.  thank you again for so much feedback and suggestions. :ninja:


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Steve42

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2016, 01:01:18 AM »
AOD, unfortunately there are many threads on this board that are triggers for many of us but that's the nature of a PD discussion forum.

Funny I think I had it completely backwards thinking that biomom was the PD. You know it's possible that there is no PD involved and dad and stepmom are just jerks!  Then again I don't know enough to really have an opinion one way or another.

Anyway it sounds like you are on the right track and are doing what is in the best interest of the kids!

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Stepping lightly

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Re: school situation with shared parenting question
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2016, 04:06:37 PM »
So, did the school have records that the step mom actually tried to register the kids at another school, or is this just via BM's report?  I am the step mom in our situation, and there isn't a thing BM won't say to try and gain leverage....so I'm always cautious on what is stated vs. what there is evidence for.

Honestly- I think you need to assume nothing and just document what you are told, and communicate to both parents.  If you don't stay completely out of it, you might find yourself having to testify in court during a custody hearing.  I have a teacher friend that went through it, and she said it was horrible.