DSD increasingly doesn't want to be at her mum's.

(11 Posts)
AnonAndOnAndOn Mon 29-Apr-13 16:14:50

DSD is 5.

Her mum lives with her boyfriend and I live with DP.

DP and his ex are supposed to share custody 50:50 but since the beginning of this year his ex has ditched at least three of her contact days each month. For example in February we had DSD 18 days, she only had her for 10.

Another example is in a recent fortnight, we had DSD for 12 nights, her mum had her for two nights and one of those nights she packed DSD off to a friend's for a sleep over. Sometimes we take DSD for so many of her mum's scheduled nights that DSD will only be there one night out of the five she's supposed to be there. DSD sometimes says to us 'what's the point of going to mummy's when I'm just coming back here tomorrow?'

DSD isn't stupid and has picked up on the fact that her mum prioritises her social life over her time with her. In fact it's got worse since the boyfriend's moved in. (He's very young. Not a horrid person but almost certainly not used to having young children around.)

Anyway, more and more often DSD will cry the night before she has to go to her mum's and says she doesn't want to go. She says she only wants my or DP to pick her up from school. She often says things like 'mummy doesn't care about me'.

On the weekend just gone we'd agreed to have DSD on Sunday night even though it was supposed to be her mum's contact night. On Sunday morning DP's ex rang him saying DSD was being really naughty, and could DP come and pick her up early? Apparently the boyfriend had told DSD off about something and all hell had broken loose after that. DP said he could hear DSD screaming in the background that she wanted to go to daddy's right now.

So DSD ended up at our place in a right state because her mum and her boyfriend just couldn't deal with it.

It's obvious to everyone that DSD's mum would rather have DSD less often. Like I said, there hasn't been one single stretch of time when DSD's supposed to have been with her mum that her mum hasn't asked us to have her for one or two of those nights.

And it's becoming obvious to everyone that DSD would rather not go over there as much.

But whenever DP has suggested in the pasty that he have DSD the majority of the time, his ex won't hear about it. Because she doesn't want everyone to think she's 'some druggy mum'.

The situation is steadily getting worse though. There are many more things I could talk about here but this is already so long. We just worry that DSD seems to be getting more and more distressed about being with her mum.

How do you think DP should handle it?

mumandboys123 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:45:27

you should reassure her that her mum does indeed care about her and make sure you say that every single time that she suggests otherwise. If she then asks questions about why she doesn't see her as much, you simply say that at the moment, her mum seems to be very busy, again reassuring that mum loves her and that she is equally loved in your home. She should be encouraged to continue to spend time with her mum and not allowed to start missing time with mum of her own accord. This will further open up a gap and you should be doing everything you can to close it - let mum dig her own grave, don't play along with it. There is every point in her spending a night with mum, even if she is coming back to yours the next day.

Twitterqueen Mon 29-Apr-13 17:53:14

Sorry Mumandboys123 I don't agree with you.

Children aren't stupid - and this child obviously knows she's not especially welcome.

I do agree that of course she should be told how much her mum loves her whenever possible, but a relationship where both are happy to see each other - albeit for perhaps a shorter time span - is far better than one where DSD doesn't want to go, and Mum doesn't want her there.

OP - could you maybe say something to DP's ex along the lines of "We can see you're a bit busy just now - would it help if we had DSD for a bit extra, just for a while? And we can go back to normal when you're ready?"

Would that perhaps make ex more amenable to having DSD and leave the way open for renegotiation later?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 29-Apr-13 17:59:43

I think your DP needs to make the school aware of what's going on in this little girls life, if they are not already aware, and ensure that she is given the support she needs to maintain a positive relationship with her Mum.

A lot of schools have family support workers attached, who can give your DP a listening ear and support - and they can recommend suitable therapies and support which the school can buy in, or suggest services that your family Dr can refer your DSD to in order to help her deal with this.

Its very unusual for a DC to be so openly negative about a parent - even when subject to quite severe emotional/physical abuse, DC's vehemently defend their parent rather than criticise - regardless of how her Mum behaves towards her, why on earth would she think that her Mum doesn't care about her?

In her mind, Mummies love their DC's - so it would be more usual for her to begin to form the opinion that being loved by Mummy includes the neglect that is going on, rather than the opinion that Mummy doesn't care.

Is it possible that she has overheard someone saying that "her Mum doesn't care" and she is repeating it to you and her Dad to gauge your reaction?

AnonAndOnAndOn Mon 29-Apr-13 18:29:41

DP always says without fail that her mum loves her and he's sure it's not true that mummy doesn't care for her etc.

But she says things to him like 'can you tell mummy to do more things with me when I'm there?' And DP has to explain to her that he can't really tell mummy what to do.

I know DSD spends a hell of a lot of time at her maternal grandparents' house. Her grandmother is very nice but her granddad is a bit of a dick. He and DSD's mum don't get in and often go for long periods without speaking. DSD says that when she's at her grandmother's her granddad will shout at her and say things to her grandmother like 'get her out of here!'

I can easily imagine he might say something like 'you're only here all the time because your mum doesn't care about you'. Or something like that.

Recently DD wrote a 'diary' (scribbles on a notebook really) about how her mum is stupid and doesn't care about her and daddy cares about her much more. Her mum found this and punished her. DP was going to discipline her as well but I said to him I thought it was a bit unfair to punish her for feeling justifiably angry with her mum. As far as I can see, she is right to feel that way. We shouldn't be telling her she can't feel what she feels.

You'd think that would be a wake up call to her mum but no. The very next day she called DP and asked him to hold on to DSD for another night because she had a party to go to.

It's interesting, I have actually suggested that DP say to his ex 'do you need us to have DSD a couple more nights a week as you seem to have a lot going on and it might be a bit easier for you?'. But he's scared to in case she kicks off. She gave him loads of verbal the last time he mentioned it.

I think that's the only thing he can do really isn't it?

WakeyCakey Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:09

I think it might be handy to make note for a little while about how often DSD is with you. Write it in a diary so you can see exactly how much you have her.

Then maybe either suggest the couple of extra nights or maybe even look into mediation where you can show exactly how much you have her.

AnonAndOnAndOn Mon 29-Apr-13 18:58:58

Thanks Wakey. I do already keep a diary actually. That's how I know we had her 18 days in Feb, etc.

Anyone ever done mediation. That feels a bit serious. What would be involved?

I just don't know how much we should push the issue. But it just obviously isn't working for DSD. Doing nothing doesn't feel right IYSWIM?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 29-Apr-13 20:25:47

I've mediated about half a dozen times with my ex; it's fine!

yes, it is 'serious' but this is a little girls childhood we are talking about - why wouldn't your DP try everything he can to make it easier for her?

mumandboys123 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:56:43

so, Twitterqueen...what's the alternative? shoe on the other foot and daughter no longer wants to go to dad's 'cos dad is with the girlfriend all the time and doesn't seem to want her there..says as much to mum. What would happen if the girlfriend came on here and said mum was encouraging daughter not to spend time with them?

My ex is an idiot. He cares, in my opinion, very little for what our children need from a parent. But I would never suggest to the children that he was wrong or not putting them first (even when he clearly isn't). That doesn't mean they shouldn't be pushed into spending time with him as he's not abusive in anyway, just not good at working out what matters most. They need him in their lives and need to know him, warts and all. They are, as yet, too young to be allowed to make their own decisions about who they spend time with.

Hareseeker Mon 29-Apr-13 21:43:10

Mediation is always an option to support open and honest communication, be aware though that people walk away from mediation for many reasons including when being faced with things they don't want to hear.

What is the worst that could happen, for your DSD and your DP if this situation continues? I believe having a 5 year old DD that they need to be listened to, because the issues can be either easily sorted by listening and supporting or turn out to require further action including the support of professionals to support everyone to focus on the needs of the child.
I'm sorry you are going through this, you sound a very supportive and flexible SM or what ever your DSD calls you.

ElenorRigby Tue 30-Apr-13 18:38:25

We have been through similar and with hindsight I would recommend you:

Record how many days DSD is staying and evidence of DSD's distress.
Record (via all media possible) for a minimum of six months.

Then make an application for residency. Six months of a status quo (where DSD is with her Dad) will hold weight in court.

Leopards really do not change their spots. Your DSD's mother has emotionally abandoned your DSD whilst prioritising her social life/bloke instead. angry

Actions speak more than words!

DSD needs help, from the caring adults that really do love her.

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