My DSD (7) lives with me and my dh. She has lived with dh since about the age of 1. she has had varying degrees of involvement with her mother during this time - initially one afternoon a week, then for the last couple of years, overnight once a week, twice in holidays. The arrangement has always been that her mother just needs to contact and providing we have nothing already arranged, she could have her. This was ok(ish), although we had some difficulties as she could never grasp the concept that as we both work full time, she needs to let us know in advance when she wants her or at least what her working schedule is so that we can book the childcare we need.
Anyway, recently she has broken up with her boyfriend, and moved out of our area. She did not tell us this, the first we heard of it was when dsd came home one day crying because she 'wouldn't see mummy any more'. We reassured her that this wasn't the case... but couldn't do much more as we had no idea at all what was going on.
'Mummy' has now moved approximately 20 mins down the road... not far, I know, but this is the woman who couldn't see her daughter when she lived a 5 minute walk away... She has been living here since xmas and has not seen dsd since 3rd January. She has text us a couple of times since saying sorry she hasn't been in touch, but with no dates or even vague ideas about when she will next be seeing her. We have tried to call her to discuss this but never any answer or returned calls, and all we ever get is a text saying that she's working.
DSD has come home from school today in tears asking when she will next see her, I had to say I didn't know but that I was sure mummy would see her as soon as she can and that she is missing her too... we then tried to phone so she could talk to her but no answer (I should point out here that DSD has not even had a phonecall from her in all these weeks)... I understand that she's going through a big change but what on earth am I supposed to say?! I don't want her to realise that mummy can't be bothered to fit her in but I cannot give her any idea of when because it could be tomorrow, it could be next month! What would you do??
God i feel for you,its a horrible situation to be in,been there .sadly there isnt much you can do,thats the bit that sucks.just keep reassurin dsd that she,d see her mum as soon as she can,nd lots of cuddles so at least she can feel secure with you.good luck.
I'm sorry I have no advice, but didn't want to read and run. She's very lucky to have a stepmum who cares for her so much and can reinforce the notion that she is worthy of love. Something her own mother doesn't seem to be doing very well, sadly.
Same here, not sure what to advice but wanted to show my sympathy for such an awful situation. Do you know where her Mum works where you try ringing a land line to get her to answer a call? She's lucky to have you. It's very sad how her mum doesn't see the pain she causes dipping in and out her life like this
I wonder if it's worth posting in Lone Parents under a title such as what do I say to a 7 year old whose mother makes excuses not to see her or what do I say to a 7 year old whose parent keeps getting her down or such? Might be someone with experience of this sort of thing there.
OP your description of how your DSD's mum thinks nothing of going no contact for weeks at a time is very similar to my ex. Our situation has been the case now for about 2/3 years, with some improvement more recently, but we haven't heard from DD's dad since 2nd jan, with no sign of movement. I think as the no contact thing for your DD is more recent, and newish, then I think lots of reassurance from both you and her dad that she's loved by you, and just filling her time with things to do and surrounding her with people that care for her so she has that security to rely on. That's how I've managed my DD's contact with her dad, and it's worked well for us. At the age your DSD is, she will be more aware than my DD was when our situation got to where we are now (she was about 3/4, and is now also 7) so it's not easy to try and evade the questions or distract her from the truth. How honest you want to be is really down to how fragile you think she is about the situation. It's ultimately about being as honest as possible, but supportive, and then being able to manage the upset that follows. Let her work through her emotions and support her, when the penny finally drops that her mum just isn't reliable and she needs to focus on the life she has with your and her dad, with maybe some contact whenever her mum decides to arrange this. I follow this 'model' as it seems best for my DD, but you and your DP will know whether that's something that would work for your DSD.
I think you have told her the right thing. You don't know, that's the truth. Let her express how sad she is, she needs to get it out.
Seems her mum is not going to speak to you on the phone so I would text her, saying dsd has been upset and asking when she will see her. Can she let you know a time she will see her or have a phone call with her.
Her mum knows where you live, unfortunately you can't force nrp to step up and have contact. Sadly you also can't stop dsd from realising her mum isn't reliable and isn't putting her first, if that is what is happening. It will be painful for her but you can't control what the other parent does, just pick up the pieces and reassure her that her dad loves her and will always be there for her. I think it's actually kinder to let them realise the truth in the long run rather than letting them harbour an unrealistic dream about the other parent.
Totally agree with doubleyew "I think it's actually kinder to let them realise the truth in the long run rather than letting them harbour an unrealistic dream about the other parent."
I used to work with kids in care who lived in vain and painful hope that their parents might one day do something other than let them down. It's heartbreaking to see them get hurt over and over because they continue to expect something from their parents that they are not even capable of giving.
This seems to be true with your dsd. You don't want to cross the line of bad-mouthing her mum but you can let your dsd know that her mum does care about her but just may not be able to be the mum she wants her to be and she still has her dad and you who can give her the love and support she needs.