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How do other stepmom's deal with parent teacher conferences when teacher insists we be there?

I have an 8 year old SD. When at her dad's, I do homework with her about 1/3 the time. Mom does no homework, lets her skip school, etc.--then tells teachers dad is not engaged (mom is BPD). Dad is very engaged, by far the most disciplined of the parents, while I am the more academic (most degrees, have worked as a teacher and aide). Teacher insists that I come to meetings; when I do, mom is upset. LAst time, I asked mom, mom said she became suicidal at my Q; so I did not come. She then called and said I could come the next time. I did, and she acted shocked and left. Tired of the drama, do not want to seem disengaged, am indeed engaged in schooling, but what to do? Advice?

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Asked by EnnieN at 8:26 PM on Feb. 26, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (11)
  • do what is in the best interest of the child. If the teacher is requesting your presence then you should go. It shows how little the BM cares if she is gonna throw a temper tantrum and leave.

    Answer by ZaTa at 8:34 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • If mom has untreated, mistreated or undertreated BPD, you are not going to be able to do anything as far as her reactions are concerned. She has a disorder and she can't always help the emotions that come out, you are not going to be able to change it. You can try talking to her about how it is the teacher that asked you to come. You can try explaining to her that you're all there for the child's best interest and since you help with the homework, it's best for the child that you be there to hear from the teacher. If you can't reason with her, explain the delicate situation to the teacher. Tell the teacher that because BM feels so strongly against it (and even threatened to harm herself last time) you will either need to not be expected to come OR have seperate meetings. BM gets a meeting and you get a meeting. Good luck!

    Answer by NovemberLove at 8:45 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • My SS's BM is BPD but my SS isn't in school yet. But, if I were in your shoes I would go. Your SD deserves to have you there and the teachers request for you says a lot. BM is going to behave the way she is going to behave, there's nothing you can do about it. Whatever you say or do, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE for her suicide, threats thereof , or otherwise hurt feelings. The only thing that would stop me personally from going would be if my SO asked me not to go. And even then if I felt that my skid would benefit I would try to convince him otherwise. If push came to shove I'd set up my own conference. BM has to get over it and the only way she will come close is if people treat her like any other adult, she'll catch up or she won't but it's not your responsibility.

    Answer by BubbaLuva at 8:53 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • I have been to every parent teacher conference since I was involved with my SD. The first time, BM I think felt a need to tell me I could come even though I was already planning on it. I love education in general. I also love teaching and being involved. In general I am more involved than BM. If you care about your SD's well being and want to be involved in her education, I would definately go.

    When there are teacher conferences and things like that with school, Daddy, BM, Step Dad, and myself all go. I tend to ask more questions because thats how I am. The first time it really bothered BM. I think she felt threatened, but she is becoming much more secure and a much better mother than she was before.

    I like the seperate meeting idea, but it never works that way. Basically I would definately go...

    Answer by aly38914290 at 9:52 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • do what is best for the child and be respectful to BM at same time. Let her know that teacher wants you there so you are going and hope she will be there too to support the child.its so not about her, or you, its about the child... good luck with this...

    Answer by Bearsjen at 2:09 AM on Feb. 27, 2009

  • have the teacher tell BM that she wants ALL parents, bio or step, at the parent-teacher confrence, that might help a little
    bubbaluva, you have ovbiously never dealt with someone who has mental health issues. it's not something she can just "get over and grow up".
    is BM seeing a dr for her BPD? can you talk to him? the dr won't tell you anything about her treatment, but he WILL listen to you about concerns you have about her

    Answer by bi-polarmommy at 2:17 AM on Feb. 27, 2009

  • I'm a stepmom too....both children even came to live with us as teenagers. My opinion is to do all that you can for the child but when the mother is a psycho idiot it's hard when it comes to things like this. If it causes drama for you to be at the meeting then don't go. Let your husband and the mother go. The baby does not live with you and educationally you are not legally responsible for her. The teacher sees that you are the supportive one but will understand you not attending the meeting to allieviate the drama. It's not good for the child. Sometimes we have to pick our battles...Good luck.

    Answer by NJMom2Tyler at 11:39 AM on Feb. 27, 2009

  • Clarification--the kids do live with us half time, and while I am not legally responsible, in our family we all help with kid stuff and other stuff. So sometimes I am the homework person. We have clear agreements between daddy and myself, then sort of leave it up to the nature of the project and the kids' desires. Eg, SD just did a report on Obama--I am involved in a film and website about people's reactions to the new president, and I had been reading one of his books, so she asked me to work on it with her and her dad. Seems natural to me. It would be really hard for me to live in a house with kids and to agree to have nothing to do with schooling. Not sure if I would do it, but my partner would never ask that. As for teacher meetings, my preference is that daddy take the lead, but wtih BPD, I also am learning that it is important for me to show my face, or BM's stories are so outrageous people sometimes believe them.

    Answer by EnnieN at 2:34 PM on Feb. 27, 2009

  • one said not to be involved with the schooling. In my opinion, pertaining to the meeting, I wouldn't go..OR set up a different time with the avoid the drama. That drama with the child's mother can't be any good for the child to witness. Good Luck!

    As step mothers we try our hardest but sometimes our hearts get broken by crazy BM's. I have been with my husband since his kids were 4 and 7. They are now 17 and 20. I've been through it all. PM me if you ever need to talk.

    Answer by NJMom2Tyler at 5:01 PM on Feb. 27, 2009

  • Eh, if you are the one that works with the homework and stuff, go. I am a stepmom and we have full custody. I was the only one at the parent teacher conference. I handle SS's homework and school stuff, BM hadn't been in touch, and Dad didn't want to go, so it was just me and the teacher.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:45 PM on Feb. 27, 2009

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