Parenting Big Kids (5-8) Support Group

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School Issues with 8yo Son and Mother

My son is 8 years old, a 2nd grader living with his mother about three hours from me. His mother and I rarely talk, simply because I can't stand her. For years I've had to listen to her claim she knows much more than I do about raising children, though this is her first and only and she does not have a college education. Reluctantly, a couple of years ago, I agreed to grant her joint custody with her being the custodial parent.

Recently, my son has been having issues with school work. Mainly, not turning in homework assignments. But, it extends beyond him just not turning it in; he simply hasn't done it. When the teacher confronted the mother about it last week, she replied that she didn't get off work until 7, that after dinner, showering and what-not she simply didn't have time. Though she lives with her mother, sister, and brother, it apparently is a situation of "everyone thought someone would do it but no one did it." My son has told me on numerous occasions he spends much of his nights surfing YouTube or playing some online video game. I've expressed my disapproval to his mother. But, again, "she's the professional".

I'm at the end of my wits with this BS and I have no freaking clue what to do. We've gone through this when he was in kindergarten; he had behaviorial issues in school. When I tried to be more aggressive, calling him on a near daily basis and talking to him about behaving and what-not, I was told by the mother and sister to stop calling and it got to a point they wouldn't answer my phone calls. I have a sense we will end up at that point again. Tonight, as his mother gave him the phone, she told him to tell me he got a "good job" sticker on his daily report. This, even though I had already spoken to his teacher today, who had said he missed yet another homework assignment.

Outside of trying to deal with this legally, which in Texas, I still don't think this is enough to get me custodial rights, I truly have no clue what to do. Clearly my son has been given free reign to do as he please and no one but him suffers the consequences of ridiculous parenting.

How can I go about handling this without isolation as was done in the past?



I should also add this puts a strain on my visitations with my son as I feel I have to punish him and correct him since they refuse to. As you can imagine, such as this past weekend, it absolutely kills what already little quality time we have of establishing a good relationship. Sick and tired of being the asshole parent...

Why did she get to be custodial parent over you? What are your hours of work? Can you be the custodial parent?

At that time, my lawyer and another said there was no reason courts wouldn't grant her custodial rights. She had already put a restraining order on me to keep me from seeing him though I never hit a chance to challenge that in court. They were drawing it out as long as possible as they had family to help cover legal fees where as I was doing it alone. So we settled for joint with full visitation.

I'm only required to work 8-4 M-F though I chose to work overtime and my bosses let me leave early Friday's to pick him up on my weekends.

You have your son every weekend? Is that correct? I'm wondering if you could work something out with the school whereby the teacher would allow you to work with your son while he's in your care and have him turn in assignments on Mondays until you can change things in court. Maybe you could have him on Wednesday evenings too, with the understanding that you and he will work on school projects, etc. together. Clearly "mom" puts very little value on his education. If you frame it in such a way that you're easing things for her, your ex might be willing to give you that extra time with him. Then the weekends would be less about school and discipline and more about having fun with him.

As for the internet access, that is horrible. There is so much porno, etc out there that I would never want an 8 year old to stumble upon. I sure hope you go back to court and try to get the custody/visitation switched around so you are primary parent. The present situation is is just not cool.

I would talk to the teacher and see if you can work out a special arrangement to do homework on the weekend when you have him. Let her know your situation - teachers understand and like having parents who help their kids. If she won't do it, then it's your job...and I think the teacher will appreciate your effort. if you do this, you reduce your stress about the whole issue, your contact with her, and on some level, you will be helping your son acheive his responsibility of school work and probably saving him from headache as well because the two of you will have less confrontations. If you want more rights, continue your battle, but for now, I think you can work with the teacher on this one. :)

I agree with the others. Definately contact the school and let them know you would like to help your son. Also, can you call him in the evenings and walk through his homework with him? If he is on the computer, does if have a camera? Maybe better than the phone, you could Skype chat. There are always tutors, but who would take him and who would pay for it?
Being a concerned parent, even from a distance, is what your son needs. You are doing the right thing by asking for help.
Good luck!!
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