It has been a while since I’ve given an update on Dick and Jane. Not much has changed with regards to Dick’s girls, Mary and Sue. The younger, Sue, still refused to spend any time with her father, with the exception of a Christmas dinner with him and her sister, but I maintain that was simply to get whatever gift he was giving, it was Christmas after all. Jane was sure there was more to it, as he always does. Just before the holidays Dick’s lawyer suggested that a “friend of the court” be appointed on the girls’ behalf. This would be someone who could advise the court as to the what is in the best interest of the girls, without an emotional attachment or financial bias. A motion was submitted in mid-December, with notice of the hearing date in early January received just before Christmas. Jane was sure that Medusa had told the girls and convinced Sue to see her father for Christmas as a way to prove that things were fine and no appointment by the court for the kids was needed. Personally, it think Jane gives Medusa way too much credit, this was a selfish act by a manipulative girl to get “stuff” after months of refusing to see or even speak to her father, going so far as to run and hide when she sees him.
At this point I truly feel that both parents have failed these girls. I can understand why Dick felt that living with their mother full time was best, given the emotional outbursts, threats of self harm, lack of communication from either child, that doesn’t mean you just stop being involved. Mary, the older daughter, had seemed to open up and engage with her father once she wasn’t made to stay in his home. She talked to him daily and spent more time with him than she had in months. Mary maintains that while life at mom’s house is not perfect, not having to go back and forth, with two very different sets of rules and expectations was much better and made her life easier. Because Mary was willing to spend time with Dick, he maintained responsibility for taking her to her weekly therapy sessions and any other appoints she had, in addition to weekly dinners and hanging out on most weekends However, while he has done well with Mary, Sue is a very different situation. Aside from sending texts that are not replied to or calls that are not answered, Dick has done little to keep involved in Sue’s life. She has a medical condition which she often uses as an excuse to miss school, therapy appointments, pretty much anything she doesn’t want to do. Mary would mention that Sue had missed school, yet he made no effort to check with school on her attendance or academic progress (its a small private school with no online reporting for parents) or check with the doctors as to her treatment plans.
After comments Mary made about Medusa having no control over Sue to make her attended school and given the courts are now involved since the advocate for the girls was approved, Dick is looking into things. This school year there have been 86 school days, Sue has missed over 30 days. She also missed a shadow day/entrance exam, at the high school she is expected to attend next year. The reason for all of the absences is her health, however upon checking into that, her primary doctor has not seen in her in months and the new treatment she started just prior to the living arrangement was stopped with no explanation. By all accounts Medusa has no control over Sue, she tries to be her friend, not her parent and with Dick out of the picture, that leaves this troubled girl with no parents to look out for her.
Jane has been pushing Dick to check with Sue’s school and doctors, but Dick has once gain become resentful of anything Jane has to say about his kids. My thought is Dick never thought things would turn out like this. He likely thought the girls would find life with mom was not as ideal as they had hoped and they would be willing to discuss the issues that to got them to that place, resume family therapy and go back to the old visitation where he would be able to monitor things like school attendance and work as well as Sue’s medical issues. But that has not been the case and now I feel he blames Jane for the situation.
This morning Jane shared with me that she informed Dick that since Sue is part of their family plan for internet usage, she could tell that she had not been at school last Thursday, as she was logged in online for over 6 hours. She could also see her internet search history, given the parental controls they had put in place. Dick became angry, said that was an invasion of Sue’s privacy. Really? Your 14 refuses to speak to you unless you are giving her gift, she has missed over a month of school and is not following her treatment plan, yet you have no interest in using the tools available to you to get some insight into what might be going on with your kid? Sorry Dick, lame. For all of Jane’s faults, she’s is not to blame for any of this. Dick and Medusa have always been more focused on their hatred for each other than what is in the best interest for their kids. The girls know this, they have used it to manipulate their parents, now to the point that Sue is not made to attend school or take care of herself as the doctors have suggested.
This is a textbook example of how being a friend to your kids fails them. Kids need parents and structure. Without those things they are left to learn on their own, which many simply don’t. I have no idea what will end up happening. I can only hope the friend of the court will be able to help get both girls into a better place developmentally, as neither is prepared for the next phase of life.