Worried about my friend's new partner and her attitude

(25 Posts)
tattyrose Wed 02-Jan-13 17:44:33

Hi I've name changed for this, I wanted to post in this section as I tend to find it has a good variety of perspectives.

I have a friend who I've known for just over a year. We live near each other, are both LPs and our DCs go to the same school. We see each other most days on the school run, will have coffee etc and she can be great company. Our DCs are also quite close so we will sometimes go for lunch, cinema etc as a foursome. I sometimes struggle being with her with the DCs though, as she has a very different way of parenting to me, but I try to overlook it as up until now the benefits of our friendship have tended to outweigh my issues with how she behaves as a parent. I don't mean to sound nasty and I'm not generally a judgemental person but some of her methods and her attitudes don't sit well with me.

She has openly admitted that she struggled as a mother when her DD came along, no shame in that, and her ExH did most of the parenting when they were together. When they first split up her ExH had DD every weekend until she abruptly stopped contact after they had a row and she said he had been abusive. She denied any access for several months until he went to court and got EOW instated, and she's gone from saying "He's abusive, I'll fight to keep DD away from him" to saying "He can have her every weekend, I want my life back."

Anyway, 3 weeks ago she met a man on a night out, they were ringing and texting for a week and then met up once. After one date she has moved him in (unofficially), I dropped by to give a present just before Xmas and arrived early afternoon (she knew I was coming). Both of them were in various states of undress sprawled everywhere and her DD ripped open the selection box we'd brought round as she hadn't been fed that day. My friend and her new DP were all over each other, quite explicitly, and talking in front of her DD about how they were going to "fuck up" her ExH by trashing his car, various things. Her DD then made some strange remarks about sex and another one about drugs which my friend immediately attributed to her now spending time with her father.

I made my excuses and said DS and I had to go to town, she said they'd come with us. So she stripped DD naked in front of everyone to dress her and then we all went out. She walked ahead and was all over new DP leaving her DD at a busy road so I stepped in and was left with both DCs to care for whilst they were snogging and groping in the street. I left quite quickly after that.

Then a couple of days ago she called me and said she is going to raise all her concerns about her DD's father at hearing next month and wants me to help her, and be a witness because I heard the innappropriate things that her DD had "been taught by her Dad." I really don't want to do this, I don't even know her Ex and from the behaviour I saw from my friend it is just as likely she has picked up some of these adult themes at home. But what can I say?

It also now transpires that her new DP has a DD who lives with her maternal GM by court order and she supervises his contact. When I pushed my friend why she was quite dismissive and said it's because he lives in a shared house. She seems to be suddenly neglecting her DD and behaving like a teenager. I know her ExH is very keen to become the resident parent and her DD is quite articulate and if some things are repeated then it may help his case. I don't want to help her legally but am also unsure what, if anything I can do. It's okay during the holidays but when school starts again I'll have to see her everyday and she constantly wants my support and advice.

Should I just ignore her, risk making things awkward at school for DCs? Her DD is 5 by the way. Sorry it's so long but it's been playing on my mind and I'm worried her DD is being neglected.

jessjessjess Wed 02-Jan-13 17:49:50

Can I ask what are the methods and attitudes that were already an issue before this situation started?

I think you are right to be worried. Just trying to get a fuller picture.

tattyrose Wed 02-Jan-13 17:58:41

Hi jess, yes a variety of things really, some quite difficult to pinpoint. Absolutely no discipline which has led to involvement from the school and can be tricky when I'm trying to make my DS behave at the same time. Spending money on full cooked breakfast for herself at a cafe and then complaining that her cupboards are bare and giving her DD a pot noodle or toast for her dinner. Her DD went to school with holes in her tights and shoes for weeks whilst she continued buying cigarettes and putting money aside for a holiday with her friends next year. Lots of things like that which aren't done maliciously but seem to indicate thoughtlessness on her part.

Also forgot to mention in OP that just before I left them her new DP made some vile racist remarks which my friend agreed with and laughed about. I've previously never heard her say anything remotely racist.

Fairylea Wed 02-Jan-13 18:04:09

".... ripped open the selection box as she hadn't been fed that day".

Major red flag. Yet alone everything else.

I wouldn't be getting involved with character references for her against her ex. She doesn't sound much of a parent either to be honest!

I think I'd actually be anonymously reporting her to ss. She won't know it's you at all if she carries on the way you say she does.

Quite worrying for the child

tattyrose Wed 02-Jan-13 18:31:37

I also feel bad because she has had quite a tough time lately with a family illness and bereavement, and I've wondered if her acting this way was a reaction to that. But with hindsight I can see that her parenting issues are more longstanding than that.

Fairylea you are right about not being a witness against her ex, I don't know him and from what I've seen (I accompanied her to handover once for moral support) her DD was very excited to go, and she also said she wanted to live with him.

ledkr Wed 02-Jan-13 18:39:38

Poor little girl what a life.
Call the children's help desk at ss and they will refer it for further action. It definitely sounds as if she needs keeping an eye on.

mumandboys123 Wed 02-Jan-13 18:40:30

the selection box thing - did mum say specifically that she hadn't fed the child that day or are you making that assumption based on how she treated the selection box?

I am querying because my children are like vultures around chocolate and they are otherwise well fed!

The rest of it sounds unpleasant but whether it is enough to warrant Social Services involvement I don't know. If the school has been involved in dealing with the child's behaviour, do you know if dad is aware? it sounds like a situation where the child may well be better off with dad but proving it might prove very difficult.

tattyrose Wed 02-Jan-13 18:50:24

Mumandboys she said she hadn't eaten yet as she hadn't been out to shops yet to get anything, hence her coming with us when I said we were going into town. Her Dad has PR and has made a point of letting my friend know he is ringing the school regularly for updates. I have no idea if she would be better of with her Dad, my friend speaks about him very negatively. Yes I am hoping that the school will keep an eye on things if the child says anything worrying.

jessjessjess Wed 02-Jan-13 20:05:11

I would suggest speaking to the school. They will report to SS if they feel it's warranted.

PoppyPrincess Thu 03-Jan-13 00:51:38

I agree I would speak to the school or social services.
This lady obviously needs some extra support or just for someone official to point out that her parenting isn't ideal. It isn't about getting her in trouble or causing problems in the battle over access but just about getting her some help and support which she clearly needs. And of course about making sure that her DD is well cared for.

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 03-Jan-13 00:56:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PoppyPrincess Thu 03-Jan-13 00:56:52

Or alternatively if you have a SureStart centre near by you can speak to them, they usually have a family support worker/out reach worker, if you let them know you're concerned about your friend and her DD they'll probably just knock on

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 03-Jan-13 01:00:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuzzpig Thu 03-Jan-13 01:01:07

It all sounds quite complicated and worrying. I think phoning SS would be the best option. They will presumably be able to talk to the ex as well and get a fuller picture. sad

PoppyPrincess Thu 03-Jan-13 01:18:23

Our SureStart centre work closely with HVs and SS but I don't know if all are or if its just because ours is largely used for outreach and community work and has a family support worker based there.
I think if social services got involved they'd actually be quite likely to put the lady in touch with a support worker, refer her for parenting classes etc, this is all stuff that SureStart can do.

tattyrose Thu 03-Jan-13 18:45:16

Thanks everyone for the advice.

I visited her today as she asked me to, and I'm sad to say I now have even more cause for concern. I'm worried about being too specific with details but it is clear her DD is being neglected. What was most upsetting though was that although I've never been a massive fan of how she parents she has in the past been at least reasonably attentive and interested in her DD but today nothing. She completely ignored her DD including when she hurt herself and was crying, was far too wrapped up in her new boyfriend.

I only got about 5 minutes alone with her as he seems permanently attached to her face and I told her she needed to be careful inviting a virtual stranger into her home. She complained about her DD playing up and I suggested she was having to get used to new situation and try to give her some one to one time. She didn't seem to take in what I said and got a bit flippant, saying "well you only live once" etc. I also gently suggested to her that her DD needed a bath which she just laughed off.

I have realised today that I definitely don't want our friendship to continue beyond pleasantries at the school gates, and I imagine this is unlikely anyway as her DP has quit his job because "his boss annoyed him" and will apparently be around all the time now.

She did a parenting course a few months ago which was arranged via the people at the school who support her DD so I'm not sure what other action could be taken. I'm angry with her for how she is behaving and also upset that I now feel liable in some way for her DD. I wish I hadn't visited today but part of me wanted to check how she was and my DC had been pestering to visit all week.

tattyrose Thu 03-Jan-13 18:50:16

I meant to add, she has also fallen out with her oldest friend after a big row on NYE as she felt this friend was flirting with her DP. This is a friend who has been very supportive in lots of practical ways including money, transport and attending court with her. I worry she will end up driving away all the decent people in her life who care about her DD for this man. After less than a month surely this isn't healthy.

ratbagcatbag Thu 03-Jan-13 18:56:50

Hmmmm, honestly I'd be tempted to contact the dad in all this and expain your concerns and offer to help him with any case against his ex. I agree on the sounds worrying regarding the new bloke only having supervised access, yet she's letting him have full access to her DD.
Also worth a mention to benefits agency too, if it's unofficial then I would guess she's not made the financial change from single parent to two people in the household.
I'm really worried for that little girl.

tattyrose Thu 03-Jan-13 19:07:58

Yes ratbagcatbag I'm worried too, and what is strange is how quickly this turnaround has occurred. I never worried her DD was neglected before, just that she had different ideas or priorities to me. I don't know the Dad personally, just what my friend has said. She says he was abusive so I don't necessarily want to help him either but would agree he needs to know what is going on. I don't want to make things awkward for her financially but it is clear he is living there now although he has so far maintained his other address.

Her DD asked if she could come with us when we left and sleep at our house with DS. She was crying when we left, it has really upset me.

We3NipplesOfVoldiesWeAre Thu 03-Jan-13 19:40:33

I don't think you have any choice but to contact ss. You have real concerns over the child's welfare, therefore it is your duty to inform child protection. I would bet my left eye that they are known to child services already if interventions have put in place in school.

At the end of the day, the wefare of the child comes first. Allow ss to make those desisions, they will be able to liase with all other agencies and get a clear picture. If you are really not comfortable with contacting ss, please speak to somebody at school first thing on Monday. If you call into the school office and ask to speak to somebody regarding a pupils welfare, I guarantee they will make time for you and will deal with your concerns.

ratbagcatbag Thu 03-Jan-13 19:47:54

And whatever reason he only has supervised access is a real worry, to give some perspective, my dad had two children removed by SS years ago and adopted, my DM met him and believed all his charms, it wasn't his fault etc etc, it was his ex wife who left them at two and three locked in a bedroom why they both went to the pub etc. My DM unfortunately was quite a meek person and my dad persued her and then once she was in started on the domestic abuse, she had me and my DBro, dad didn't really change and beat the crap out of us daily whilst my mum was too terrified and blinded to stop him, SS being involved in his first children didn't stop him with us he carried on anyway. I remember a teacher telling me he had lied on my school report as he knew what my dad would do to me otherwise!!!!
If someone can do that to their blood relatives, a little girl of five will have no protection from a bloke who her mum has known less than four weeks and seems to be number one priority.
Please please do something, it took me years to get over what had happened to me (also sexual abuse too, my dad was earning some pretty money for that) if only that teacher instead of lying had reported his concerns sad

millie30 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:54:29

Thank you both, ratbagcatbag your post has made me cry. I am going to speak to the school on monday, and just outline my worries and ask their advice. I'm really worried about outing myself but her DP has recently also changed his name. My friend said this would make it harder for her Ex to use him against her as he won't be able to identify who he is. This suggests she is already aware of some issues that she hasn't confided to me.

millie30 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:56:58

I was posting elsewhere and forgot to namechange back. Don't suppose it matters anyway, this little girl is what is important! Thanks again all.

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 03-Jan-13 21:24:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DontYouJingleMyChristingle Thu 03-Jan-13 22:24:29

You need to phone the duty child protection officer ASAP and tell them all you have told us. That poor little girl needs to you stand up for her, who knows what has been going on when you have not been there. Leaving it until Monday could mean that she goes the next 3 days without a decent meal or worse. Please act today, you have nothing to lose by reporting her, do you really want this woman as a friend anyway?

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