10 yr old deals with step parents and new baby

Grandma - posted on 10/30/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I am a grandma so I may not belong here, however I am concered about my 10 year old granddaughter. Her Mom and step-mom both are upset because she is so unfocused and doesn't seems to pay attention or get things done at home. I feel maybe expectations for a 10 year old are much too high. She is a very active and intelligent child. She needs to be stimulated encouraged. She is made to do her own laundry and parents do not understand why she sometimes weras dirty clothes to school. I feel this is too much. I think she is fine and they need to quit picking on her before they create some bigger issues.

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Grandma - posted on 10/30/2012

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Thanks for the advise. I was thinking about approaching my son and asking him if he felt H had a problem or if it was really such a big deal. I will be watching her next week as step mom will be out of town all week. Maybe since I have worked with kids for so long, I just don't think it is unusual for a 10 yr old to be distracted easily from her tasks. Or maybe Mom is just blowing things out of proportion. See what next week brings.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/30/2012

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Ok, well, it does sound like a normal age-related type thing, especially if she's not having problems at school.



So is the laundry an all the time thing with both households? or is it one or the other?



I'd say that it could be a combo deal. Two households, two sets of rules. One has a new baby. WAY different set of rules there. Maybe the overfilling of the washer was a gambit to score some attention, or maybe she didn't pay attention.



Busy parents do make for kids who have a hard time concentrating at times. I'd address the issue to your son first. Ask if there's anything you can do to help her stay on track with things at home. Could you, maybe offer to spend the afternoons with her after school, so that she's got an adult with her, and maybe you can take on some of the smaller stuff for her? (like reminding her to watch the level in the washer, or that she needs to remember to feed the dogs...)



Gently, Grandma, gently :-)

Rachel - posted on 10/30/2012

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Worry will do nothing. You must take action. If it is enough to lose sleep over, you should step up and do something. You definitely cannot work this out behind their backs. You have to do what is best for her.

Grandma - posted on 10/30/2012

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This is my sons daughter. His ex and new wife both seem to be having problems. To me she seems like a normal kid. I am a retired school teacher and have not said anything to my son or dtr-in-law. When she rants about all the trouble with her, I cringe and try to be positive. She is a new Mom and an only child. But to me H's behavior is normal kid stuff. When she started doing laundry at 9, I thought that was a bit much but said nothing. The other day she stuffed it too full and it overflowed. I wondered about ADHD, she is very energetic and seems to have difficulty focusing. I do not think she needs meds just more adult interaction to remain on task. She is making A's at school and has not had behavior issues. I think busy working parents are just in too much of a hurry and need to slow down and encourage her in a more positive way. I just am afraid to talk to them about this.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/30/2012

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First, Grandma B, you're a mom, so of course you belong!



Now, about your granddaughter...Have you sat down with either side (Mom/stepdad or Dad/stepmom) and discussed your concerns with them? The main one being the attention thing. If they're concerned, and have mentioned it to you, have you asked if they're having her evaluated for things like ADHD, or a similar condition? Is she medically healthy? Because if not, that can cause attention issues.



As far as the laundry thing goes, both my kids (now 18 & 15) have done their own laundry since they were around 10 or 12. The eldest inherited household laundry at the age of 15, and only recently passed the duty down to his brother, and only because he got a job. Both of my kids are also expected to load/unload dishwasher, do dishes by hand, clean the public areas of the house, and keep the yard tidy. Both of them have had these responsibilities in one form or another since they were old enough to help out around the house.



Much like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the whole family to keep the house. They have more pride in it, they take more care with things, and they have a better idea of responsibility if they're introduced to a routine early.



IMO, discuss your concerns about your granddaughter's health with them. Leave your opinions about the housework out of it. As Rachel said, each household runs differently.

Rachel - posted on 10/30/2012

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There could be more to the situation you don't know. I'm not saying anything negative about you, but unless you live there and see everything you could be missing something integral to the equation. You could be right. We don't know. However, it comes down to this:

They are her parents (even step parents). They do have the final saying. Forcing your ideas will only cause animosity and possibly loss in time with your granddaughter. It could help to have a (gentle) sit down with each of them to share your ideas/opinions. I value my parents' opinions SO much (older, wiser, I love them dearly, etc.), but we had it out in the beginning. My husband and I were discussing holidays with them. Though we are Buddhist, we do enjoy the family element of holidays. However, we don't share the same ideas as everyone else. We planned on buying a few gifts for our daughter for the Christmas season, but we were quite clear that we would not share the idea of Santa with her. We would explain some believed in him, but he was not real. My parents were so upset. They are Christian, but always played the "Santa" game at Christmas. They said we were being cruel to her. They even went so far as to say if she visited them at Christmas they would share the Santa story/idea with her. That tore it. It was the first (and only) fight over my daughter we had. My husband and I were quite clear that WE are her parents and will do as WE see best for her - that went for all aspects of her life. Grandparents input is valued, but is not law.

On the note of chores: everyone is different. I was scrubbing both bathrooms in our house twice a week, doing dishes every day, dusting the common areas twice a week, and having my room spotless every day at the age of EIGHT. My 11-year-old sister has been doing household laundry since she was 9-years-old. We were taught responsibility at an early age. The lesson was everyone contributes to household mess so it is everyone's responsibility. I knew many friends who never picked up a sponge till they were in college. Everyone runs their household differently.

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