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Dhs ex! Where to begin?(41 Posts)
I've been with dh for 4 yrs and during that time we got married and had a little ds together. Which is the lovely part of our relationship. The not so lovely part is dh's ex partner. Dh has children with her and his previous step children, whom he is also dad to. The door has always been open to them and
although I can't say it's easy at times mostly we manage. Dss came to live with us 3 yrs ago as ex part couldn't cope with him. So he is
difficult challenging but he
lives with us and sees his mum alternate weekends.
Dhs other biological dd still lives with her mum along with her half sisters and now another new brother. Dsd really is no bother at all in comparison to her brother. So we find it strange some of the things that go on. Dsd and my dd get on very well and share a room when in our house. Only a year apart, which us nice for my dd as she lives in a house full of brothers.
The problem is we think dsd is being a bit neglected with her mum. Although she does seem to have some expensive clothes (labelled ones) I would say 50% of the weekends she's come over she's been riddled with nits. Now that's fine to an extent as dh and I just comb through with nitty gritty and conditioner and alleviate the itch, but if course because they can sometimes be hopping mad the whole house has to be done. When it's so obvious, I don't know why her mother doesn't get on top of it. Poor dsd (who actually doesn't make a fuss) must be so uncomfortable. Dsd is now 12 and she says mums too busy and she does it herself. There are other things that concern us too. But this to be honest is really getting us down. Poor dsd it's not fair on her. If ex is questioned or reminded she just blows up at us. None of our business etc. We think the important things are being neglected but don't know what to do?
Sorry so long! Theres 4 yrs of angst all in a few paragraphs!
Would she like to live with you full time?
In what other ways do you feel she is neglected?
Well not just dsd, but dss together. The focus is very much on the new son (he's 2 now) the whole house has to revolve around his routine. This means exs refusal to collect/deliver the children to or from our house/her house at all. So we have to do the journey every weekend, every time. Her refusal to have dss in holidays (he's 13). Dsd feels very put down by one of her older sisters (who is a brain box) and her mum doesn't sort it out properly. I think dsd self esteem is quite low. Also she gives her 14yr old dd alcohol to go to parked with. She's just had her Tongue pierced much to my dh's disapproval. But he's not her actual father so has had no say. Discipline just doesn't seem to be there. No focus on important things. Like spending time with all the children and caring about them equally. Also empty promises because she probably feels guilty. Basically all the typical things you'd expect absent fathers to do! Well she does that really.
Dsd would miss her friends which of course is a consideration as it would be a school/town change. But we wonder whether staying is doing her more harm than good. If not now we will try to enforce it at 16 when she goes to college.
There are so many concerns really. The newest of exs partners (she's had 3 live with her since I've known dh) has just been done for drunk driving. He's unofficially living there so she can claim extra benefits. Bu choice this isnt an ideal environment for anyone.
If your main concern is the nits, treat them properly yourself. If she's got them badly, combing and conditioner won't really work (it doesn't work unless done very consistently for several weeks). Best to see a pharmacist who will prescribe you something that actually kills them. Then treat her, and treat her again after a fortnight.
The other things you describe seem like cause for a bit of concern, but not sufficient to force a move if her mum is resistant. You haven't really answered whether she wants to come and live with you. Has she mentioned it? If it would mean changing schools I think you might be better to do what you can to support her where she is for now, but have the door open to her if she wants to move at 16.
To be honest she's so easy going she wouldn't mind. But her mum would kick up a fuss we think mainly because she would loose money (tax credits, child benefit etc).
We have tried with treatments, hedrin mostly, but if her mum isn't combing between then there's little point. We see her every other week. This week wax particularly bad as she's not been to us for 3 weeks. She gets psoriasis too so it's important the combing is done regularly.
We are both worried her mum is setting a particularly bad example of what to expect from life and not getting the encouragement all children need and thrive with when they get.
But at 12 years old surely she's old enough to be combing her own hair? Especially as the best way to get rid of nits is to comb it in the bath whilst full of conditioner - I wouldn't expect to be in the bathroom with my 12 year old helping them with that. Agree it would be good for her mum to remind her, but if she doesn't a 12 year old ought to be old enough to be told strictly by her dad that she must do this, and trusted to do it. She must be embarrassed by them at that age surely? You'd think that would make her want to get it sorted herself? Do ask your pharmacist what to use though - nits in some areas are reisistant to some products.
When dss came to live with us, she sent him in the clothes he stood up in. Not even a coat. I find it difficult to understand as I have children of my own and would never favour one over another. When another was born no one was neglected. It doesn't have to be like this, but you can't speak to ex about anything. When ds hit his head in the playground air ambulance situation, it took 4 days before we could get hold of her to tell her what had happened.
She has got long hair. It's lovely but tricky to do on your own effectively. My dd is 12 and although she does comb through herself I make sure she's done it properly. I'm not the nit police! Kids get nits that's common place, bur as parents you should help them. I've caught them from her in the past. But dh helps me as my hair is long. I'm 33 but nothing wrong with a but if help.
The nits is just one factor, it's that on the face of it her mum just can't be bothered.
purple has given some excellent advice.
I would put as much in place as you can for her whilst she's at her mum's, I would be loathed to remove her unless she REALLY wanted to move, as school and town change can be a huge emotional upheaval and she'd have to be fully on board and committed to it.
Thankyou but I have done those things already. Have we just got to sit back and watch? Dss had to move schools and town but actually he is better off with us. Yes it was an upheaval but he wouldn't have got the consistency and support he needed from his mum that he does with us. She wouldn't be alone, she has my dd, my ds and her own brother would be at the same school. Of course I don't underestimate change is hard for children, (as clearly we've been through it with dss) but if it would give her a better life it has to be a consideration.
But you haven't said she wants to move? Surely that's the most important thing?
If you're telling her to comb every day, why haven't the nits shifted?
Perhaps a hair cut is in order to make it easier? At 12 she is risking social isolation if you can't fix the nits. At secondary, nits are not viewed the same as in primary. Have you contacted the school about your concerns?
Children need reminding of all sorts of things, homework, nits, have a shower etc. We aren't her primary careers as she lives 30 miles away. She does do things for herself but is only in her first year of secondary. She isn't getting support at home. As much as we encourage we can't do very much on a daily basis from a distance. When dh calls her on the phone, no one answers. When he insists on important things ex has a go at him for being dictatorial. We actually can't win in this situation. It is very difficult. We haven't spoken to the current School no, although we did the previous one. They were under the impression that little attention was given to either of dh's children by their mother.
My 9 year old has very long hair, but is quite capable of combing it herself. Best to put your efforts into changing what you can change (eg DSD's haircombing habits and the nit lotion you use) and not waste your efforts on what you can't (her mum's behaviour).
In terms of her mum being a bad role model, she'll be this regardless of where DSD mainly lives. Best you can do is to ensure that she sees better ways of living at your house.
You say she's "easygoing" about where she lives. It could be more that she's aware that others around her have strong views and doesn't want to cause arguments. My DSD is 12 and often fails to find her own voice over issues where she's aware her parents disagree. It's easier to go along with her mum than to cause an argument. She just doesn't have the confidence for that. In that situation I still think the kindest thing is to work on increasing her confidence, but to do all you can to reduce the conflict with her mum - taking her to court over residence (and probably losing - as you'd need stronger reasons that you suggest you have to change the status quo, with her settled at secondary school already) wouldn't really help things a lot.
Does your DD have a computer or phone? Either would help your DP to have direct contact with her that don't rely on someone answering the house phone. I had a good friend in a similar position to your DP (concerns about ex's parenting ability) and he found skyping his DS to be a great way of making sure he was OK in the time when he was with his mum.
Perhaps the school would be supportive in having a chat with her to cope with her nits- I can't imagine a 12 year old not being massively bothered by having nits? If her mum isn't helping, perhaps her form tutor could have a daily chat with her about how she's getting on with combing etc in a discreet way.
Also- hair cut? Has this not occurred to you? Could also stop the 'recatching' happening.
Does she have her own mobile? Could you not contact her on that?
Have you asked her about moving in with you? How would your dd feel? Have you asked her?
Surely if children aren't taught these fundamental things then it is a problem. Both dsd and dss can't flush a toilet? Dss has now finally got better at this since being with us. It's so frustrating for me as all these basic things I taught my dc from tots. It saddens me they haven't had the same care and nurture that mothers give their children.
You really, really aren't going to get a court order for your DSD to live with you on the grounds that her mum doesn't make her flush the toiliet!
I realise you have other concerns too, but you'd need something much more major to convince a court to remove a 12 year old from her mum, her school and her home town against her mum's will (and doesn't sound from what you say that her mum would agree to her moving)
I'm sure she is bothered but she pretends not to be. I think it's become so common place for her now. She has had her hair shorter but it made no difference. She does have it cut regularly but her mums friend does it and isn't bothered about nits apparently. We've sent her home with combs, nit solution etc but if she has no support and no one bothered enough to enforce anything how will anything get better for her.
She does now have her own mobile yes, but doesn't always have it in her, battery life etc. I'm sure this will improve with time. As in a year or two it will probably be stuck to her fingers!
My dd would be fine about her living with us. Yes we've discussed it. They share a room now anyway. They actually get on very very well. We never forced a friendship on them but it's lovely that they are close.
Of course you couldn't get a court order for non flushing. And if that was the only concern then it would be simple. Its the long line of men that move in and then get kicked out, the lack of consistent parenting, favouring one child over another, false hopes and promises dashed. Ex wouldnt allow dsd to come on foreign holiday with us. Pure spitefulness and jealousy really. Don't know why you'd deprive your dd of a holiday??? Ex expecting everyone to run around after her, basic poor mothering. Not actually teaching them the fundamentals. The list is never ending. sad to watch at the side lines, when we know she would be better off with us. So no not just one thing but the whole picture together
'hopping mad'? Headlice can't hop. Just go through her hair first thing and you won't need to do the whole family.
Headinhands I'm afraid they can if left for 3.5 weeks which is what had happened with poor dsd. They were huge and quite jumpy.
Her mother couldn't have possibly missed it unless she had her eyes closed. This is a consistent problem and yes we will have to get tougher with dsd to make sure she tries to do it herself but such a shame her mother can't support her.
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