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To blame the Mum?

(84 Posts)
CrazyLoopyLou Thu 09-Nov-17 14:04:31

Dsd is 11 and started secondary school in September this year. She came from a tiny primary school with about 100 children in the whole school from pre-school to year 6. Me and dh always said it was going to be really hard and a massive shock when she started secondary, which it has been. In her school now they get something called c1s & c2s etc.. which is when they misbehave or just do anything wrong. We’ve had emails saying that she has had a few lunchtime detentions because of these adding up and it turns out she had had 16 c’s since she started which is apparently too many in that time and we both agree. When dh phoned the school to ask what they were for, he was told most of them were for lack of stationary, wrong text books & no homework. The odd few were for chatting in class. She’s with her Mum mon-thurs and with us from Friday after school for the weekend. First thing when she’s here on Friday after school is getting any homework done. IMO & dh’s it should be her Mum who’s making sure her homework’s done and in her bag ready to take to school, as well as her Mum making sure she’s got all the right workbooks for the lessons she has that day. Especially as she’s only been at the school for 2 months and is only 11. When dh has spoken to his ex about this before she just says ‘oh all she does is sit on her phone after school, I tell her to do homework but she doesn’t listen’
This made us so angry. I love dsd like my own and if she was with us all the time I would be making sure she’s got all the right stuff picked out for the next day to make sure this doesn’t keep happening. I feel a little bit sorry for her. Is it totally unreasonable to blame her Mum? Apart from the talking in class obviously! Would just like other people opinions on it.

geologyrocks Thu 09-Nov-17 14:08:03

Yabu. My ds just started secondary and i view it his responsibility to have him homework done and make sure he gas the right things for his classes.

I provide everything but ultimately its his responsibility to organise himself.

At 13 years of age it wont benefit him in the long run to micromanage him.

AuntLydia Thu 09-Nov-17 14:12:41

I dunno. It's kind of easy to blame the mum and talk about what you would be doing if you had her but the fact is you don't. Can you ask about changing access arrangements so you take on some of the responsibility? Even in the short term until dd is more able to do it independently? In my experience they don't suddenly become responsible for this stuff, they learn it and need nudging in the right direction. My dd got the hang quite quickly in year 7 but I helped her work out how to organise herself initially.

pingu73 Thu 09-Nov-17 14:14:12

The op s step daughter is 11 big difference. At 13 yes they know the ropes at 11 it’s a big change up to “big school”

Blondephantom Thu 09-Nov-17 14:16:59

YABU. When I was a Y7 form tutor I used to tell my students it was their responsibility to make sure they had everything they needed. I might ask my own kids if they have everything they need or if they have any homework but no more than that.

I’m assuming you’ve checked she has a well stocked pencil case, etc. If mum wasn’t buying pens as they run out, etc then that is different. It does sound like she needs to put sanctions in place at home like taking the phone unless homework is up to date.

Justmuddlingalong Thu 09-Nov-17 14:17:25

if she was with us all the time I would be making sure she’s got all the right stuff picked out for the next day to make sure this doesn’t keep happening. Easy to say when she isn't, no?

EdmundCleverClogs Thu 09-Nov-17 14:18:25

A school of 100 doesn't sound that small to me, and not really relevant to the issues at hand.

You say if she was with you, then 'I would be making sure she’s got all the right stuff picked out for the next day to make sure this doesn’t keep happening'. Well, in a couple of years time you'd be tearing your hair out as to why you have such a lazy teen who refuses to take responsibility for herself. It almost reads as if you consider her mum not sorting out her stationary and such as neglecting her! This is your step daughter's time to start growing up and take responsibility for herself over the little things, and accept the consequences when she doesn't. She's not a little girl anymore.

Starlighter Thu 09-Nov-17 14:21:06

Just want to say, you sound like a lovely SM OP, it’s nice that you care so much about your DSD.

Children need to take responsibility for themselves at secondary school, but she’s only 11 and she’s only 2 months in - of course her mother should be helping her more!

(At any age, I think I would help my children and encourage them to do their schoolwork tbh...)

Anyway, it’s a tricky one. Could your DH maybe talk to the mother and express his concerns in a casual, non- blaming way? And maybe call Dsd in the week and check she’s on top of things?

CrazyLoopyLou Thu 09-Nov-17 14:21:17

@pingu73 that is exactly my point.

@geologyrocks I completely get where you’re coming from and I agree but as she’s only just started its hard. Eventually you leave it to them but I just mean helping her learn to organise herself and get used to everything.

@AuntLydia I would love to do that and used to when she was in primary but her school is now a 40 minute drive from our house and more with school traffic so just isn’t possible.

Armadillostoes Thu 09-Nov-17 14:22:28

I see your point OP. Unfortunately, a lot of people in AIBU tend to have a prejudice in relation to step-parents. There is a difficult line to tread between infantilising and supporting, but letting her sit on her phone after school isn't good enough. It sounds as though she does need more support than she is getting at present.

MargaretTwatyer Thu 09-Nov-17 14:23:00

YABU. The whole reason pupils are punished for that sort of thing at secondary is because it's their responsibility.

Ttbb Thu 09-Nov-17 14:24:42

YABU. She's 11. She should be able to do that herself. My parents stopped reminding me to do homework let alone packing stationary in my bag at age 8.

Maplestaple Thu 09-Nov-17 14:25:48

I don't think the small school is relevant at all. My DC has come from a large primary to secondary and was shocked about school size and the amount of people.

Yabu, your dsd needs to learn to pack her stuff the night before. And just because she's only 11 doesn't get her out of it. She needs to grow up and take some responsibility for her actions.

However saying that, I do believe her Mum should remove her phone until her homework is done. We have a phone free 90 mins for homework every day.

CrazyLoopyLou Thu 09-Nov-17 14:25:50

@Starlighter thank you very much.

I agree secondary school is when they need to grow up but I also think parents need to help with that. As mentioned we used to have her more in the week because it was easier to get her to primary school so I used to get her stuff ready but it’s just not possible now her school is so far away.
Anyway my point is she’s young and only 2 months in and has said she’s finding it hard adjusting so I would be helping her these few months. Then when she’s used to everything slowly start leaving it to her. I didn’t mean the whole way through secondary.

CrazyLoopyLou Thu 09-Nov-17 14:27:28

I guess I’m just finding it hard because I no longer do this for her in the week and take her to school etc...

AuntLydia Thu 09-Nov-17 14:29:02

Thing is, where is blaming the mum going to get you all? It sounds like she feels she's doing what she can. If you think more needs doing then her dad is going to have to do it. Your dh is still her dad, even when she's with her mum. Has he got copies of her timetable? Can he get her to send him photos of her homework book weekly? He can help her get self organised and start introducing some consequences if she won't cooperate.

Eolian Thu 09-Nov-17 14:31:16

YANBU. It is unreasonable to expect a child to adapt to new levels of responsibility and self-organisation overnight, and some find it harder than others. What is important is to help and guide them into good habits early on, which will set them up for their whole school life (and life in general actually). Your dsd is being allowed to get into bad habits which will get more and more difficult to break. Just shrugging and saying it's her problem is irresponsible and unhelpful. As is letting an 11 year-old just muck about on her phone rather than do her homework because 'she won't listen'! In fact it's pathetic parenting.

BatteredBreadedOrSouthernFried Thu 09-Nov-17 14:32:56

My DS stared secondary this year too and there were a couple of detentions in the first few weeks for forgetting books/homeworks. It does take them a bit of time to adjust and learn their schedule and what needs done for when. DS still gets caught out now and again and I find him sitting at 10pm doing a homework he forgot he had. They need a bit of support at the start in the form of reminders to check their planner and pack the right books. At the start I took his phone in the evenings until his homework was done but now he just gets straight into his homework when he gets in. I don’t need to cajole him any more. I think the Mum in the OP needs to be a bit more supportive just for now until her DD gets into the swing of things.

Bythebeach Thu 09-Nov-17 14:33:30

I think I would help her a bit more than the mum appears to be during this transition phase but you certainly can't slate the mum. Y7 is when they need to grow up and organise themselves and your DSD needs to learn to organise and manage her own school books and homework. When my eldest started Y7, I still had running around to do for a 3 and 8 year old plus work etc so I made it clear to him before school started that he needed to organise his stuff. I gave him the odd reminder but I certainly didn't check his timetable and pack his books or do anything other than look at his homework once done IF he asked me to. Unless she has extra needs, it's not that hard to have the right books and do homework and perhaps by not babying her, her mum hopes she will grow up a bit.

AuntLydia Thu 09-Nov-17 14:34:22

Also, if dd is chatting in class to the extent she's getting marks against her name and is refusing to do her homework when asked, she's not exactly innocent in all this. Sure she may need some help getting organised but I think she also needs to see a united front here rather than a 'there, there poor you, mum should be doing more to help you' message.

mindutopia Thu 09-Nov-17 14:35:00

I would think that at 11, while she needs support and guidance, she also has to take some responsibility for herself. At 11, I was taking myself to and from school (a mile walk), doing all my homework on my own before my mum came home from work which wasn't until dinnertime, packing my own bag, keeping my own diary, etc. My mum did buy supplies as I didn't earn any money myself, but apart from taking away her phone and turning off the wifi in the house, I think your dsd should be taking responsibility for herself, but with gentle guidance from parents. I suspect though, it's much easier when she's with you and she is much more willing because it's novel and the time she spends with you is more fun time. An hour or two of homework on a Friday afternoon is probably pretty easy to get her to do, compared with the daily grind of Monday through Thursday, especially given she knows she has all weekend with you to mess around and do what she wants. I imagine it's less of a battle given your custody arrangements. Yes, her mum could take away her phone though and disconnect the wifi so she can't be distracted and also put into place certain consequences for not taking more responsibility for her own work. Ultimately though, I think your dh needs to be taking this own though and not you as she's his daughter. Would you consider switching your days around so that you have her during the week part of the time?

Bythebeach Thu 09-Nov-17 14:35:37

Although I certainly wouldn't let mine sit on their phone all evening at 11...

PandorasXbox Thu 09-Nov-17 14:35:38

I think parents should be at least supervising homework and making sure their bags are correctly packed for the next day in year 7. I do this with DS who started secondary school in September, it’s no skin of my nose and has definitely helped in adjust.


Quartz2208 Thu 09-Nov-17 14:37:18

The school are probably very clear that its the child's responsibility and the mum should not be helping. She may be taking this literally and I suspect some parents are probably still doing some helping but ultimately the codes are there to try and get her to do it herself.

I know by Year 6 in our primary school we are told to stop making sure that they have their homework as it should start to be theirs so that they can learn that it needs to be them.

have you spoken to her as to why she feels unable to do it herself: does she not have the right stationary etc

Queeniebed Thu 09-Nov-17 14:38:28

Its not up to either parent to micro manage the child due to her age. However, both parents should instil in her the attitude to be organised. Both should support her if she is struggling. You might find the parenting is weekend to week but it should be 100% if the child is to be fully supported. Your DH and ex wife should really be sorting this out between them as to how they can help her.

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